Saturday, September 29, 2012

Wonderful Signs

In this one, the Evangelical Tract Distributors take readers on another trip to crazytown. They present the reader with no less than ten stories of miraculous signs appearing in the sky (except one about writing on a wall). Most of the stories involve the formation of sentences in the heavens, like: "Be Ye Converted For Jesus Is Coming Soon." "The end. I come quickly." The other stories describe images in the sky, like "the distinct form of a man from the waist up," or "a distinct Cross with a silvery sheen on one side." In other words, not the sort of stuff the average Joe bears witness to on a daily basis. If these 'Signs' really happened and can be verified, then Wonderful Signs is the most convincing tract ever put to paper! If the Signs really happened. Let's say I took the time to look these up. Not easy, considering most of them lack crucial bits of information (names, dates, that sort of thing). But if I did look them up, would I find any truth to these dramatic sky-writing events? Okay, I went and took the time just now. I plugged in every word into Google that I could, and looked for some article that verified these stories' historical accuracy. The results? I found a couple of the stories online. With the same, word-for-word text as that printed in the tract. And all on Christian websites. I'm afraid I'll need to see an unbiased, secular reporting of the Signs if I'm to be convinced. But I did! I found more than two sites that verified the first Sign mentioned in the tract: the appearance of words in the sky, then "an angel with large white wings, at whose side arose a large Cross, and below whom stood the word, 'Amen'. They appeared in the night sky above Stavenger, Norway, on April 16, 1916. So there you have it. One story, verified (and not disputed) by outside sources. Tip of the hat, ETD. You did good. It proves nothing, of course, but it's more evidence than I usually see in a tract. A pity there is no account for the other nine stories. Maybe I just haven't found them yet; like I said, very little information was provided to aid in such a search. Too bad, because without some rock-solid proof that each of the ten events took place, the tract falls apart. Are we supposed to take the tract author's word on faith? At least this tract is entertaining. The details of the stories are fun, and I especially enjoyed the descriptions of non-believers witnessing the signs: "Some were unsaved, and when they saw the Cross in the sky great fear came upon them." And their names are...? Yes, I'm afraid it all comes back to that. I've made mention before about the lack of credibility most tracts have when they rely entirely on Scripture to back up their claims. Wonderful Signs tries to reach even further, attempting to make readers believe the claims of the Bible and each of these Signs, too. Suspension of disbelief will only stretch so far. Ironic, then, that ETD uses one leap in credibility (the majority of the Signs) to back up another (Scripture). At least they tried. Points for effort and substance, especially for the Stavenger, Norway story. Which, by the way, is really Stavanger, Norway. That was very nearly mind-blowing. Why isn't there more information on this event? Why no photographs? Sigh. "Well probably they are right after all," a couple of Sign-witnesses allegedly said, "referring no doubt to those who are expecting the coming of the Lord." Maybe they are, ETD, but you haven't convinced me yet. Try, try again, I'll be waiting. For now, I'll be Wonderful and Sign off. Likely to Convert - 5 Artwork - 4 Ability to Hold Interest - 7 Unintentional Hilarity - 5 Level of Disturbing or Offensive Content - 0