Sunday, March 10, 2013

Satan: The God of This World

Here's another reminder, this time from Fellowship Tract League, that Satan is the chief, boss, ruler, and all-around grand-poo-bah of planet Earth. "Satan has influence and power enough to keep a man from looking into the Bible," the uncredited author tells us, and "certain men have joined Satan to help in his work." What is that work? Keeping people from "seeing that God's Son gave his life for a sin-cursed world." Apparently this keeps him quite busy.

And, no one is safe! "It is sad to see man and women with broken lives under the dominion of Satan," the author says, but it turns out that "good parents, first class citizens, fine moral leaders, and church members" are "also under the dominion of Satan."

A frightening reminder to one who is devout, to be sure, but what about the non-believers? Will they care? Will someone who has never heard of Satan come to fear the Devil's dominion? Not likely - the word 'Devil' is never mentioned.

And Hell isn't mentioned until the last page! Satan may be "a deceiver," and he may also be "the god of sin," but what exactly does that mean in the real world? This tract assumes you already know about Heaven and Hell, so it doesn't bother to explain.

The tract ends with the usual blurb about how you need Jesus to save you, complete with standard prayer. In fact, most of Page 3 is about Jesus, too. Only one page and a bit deal directly with Satan, and then only in abstract terms. Satan is "the god of sin." So what? That and a quarter won't even get you a cup of coffee.

Try again, League.

Satan: The God of This World
Likely to Convert - 0
Artwork - 1
Ability to Hold Interest - 2
Unintentional Hilarity - 2
Level of Disturbing or Offensive Content - 1

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Do You Flirt With Danger?

"...Timothy thought it was safe for him to hang out with grizzly bears." So begins this latest tract from Evangelical Tract Distributors, written by Roscoe Barnes III. I laughed hard when I read that line, and so should you.

I should have been pissed. After all, here's another tract that's using my name in vain! The message Roscoe is going for is so obvious, and the skill with which he delivers it so stupid, that I'm prepared to let that slight go.

As I'm sure you've guessed, things don't turn out so well for poor Timmy. "People warned him of the danger of" grizzly bears, but Tim "believed he was safe." Then, "despite his belief and good intentions, his rendez-vous with danger resulted in death."

Where is this heading, I don't hear any of you asking? "Like Timothy, we sometime feel we're on the right path," [the typo is Roscoe's, not mine] but "if we live without Christ" then we are "flirting with danger." In other words, if you haven't been Saved you are, essentially, kicking a grizzly bear in the nuts.

"Now that you have seen the warnings," Roscoe sums up, "you have a decision to make. Will you heed the warnings" and "accept God's offer" of Savedhood? Or "will you flirt with danger?" And get mauled by the bears of Hell?

Roscoe Barnes the Third has created a serviceable metaphor with this tract, one that demonstrates the jeopardy he believes the unSaved to be in. A thinking person will see the holes in his reasoning; one can choose to avoid bears, but (according to the theology Roscoe puts forth) Hell is a bunch of bears seeking you out. Plus, bears are real; there is plenty of physical, biological, tangible and visible evidence to prove their existence. There is no such evidence supporting Hell's reality. A person does not have to accept the threat that bears pose to our well-being on faith alone. They need only watch an episode of The Colbert Report.

Of course, there are plenty of non-thinking people who will accept this tract's message of fear at face (muzzle) value. Even they might have trouble taking this tract seriously, however, after reading that first sentence! " to hang out with grizzly bears." That's paws-itively unbearable!

Do You Flirt With Danger?
Likely to Convert - 2
Artwork - 5
Ability to Hold Interest - 4
Unintentional Hilarity - 8
Level of Disturbing or Offensive Content - 1