Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Only Doorway

If you've read any of my other reviews, you can already see exactly where this tract is going. Published by Fellowship Tract League, we are told once again that Jesus Christ is the only thing that can get a person's sinful soul into Heaven.

Boring. But there is a bit in this one I hadn't heard or read before. Apparently, if you try "to enter Heaven some other way than through the way Jesus provided," then "you are a thief and a robber." That's right, a thief AND a robber. There's a difference, apparently. What that difference is, the tract does not elaborate on. Nor does it reveal exactly what it is you are supposed to be stealing. You could be swiping a way into Heaven, I suppose. Which implies there are other ways into Heaven, doesn't it? The tract quotes John 10:1, wherein Jesus says that if you "entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way," then you're a robber/thief. Scriptural proof from the holy horse's mouth that there are other ways into Heaven!

So the title of this tract is wrong. Nevertheless, the author spends the remaining 2 1/2 pages trying to prove it right. "There is no other way to get to Heaven," the author states, listing religion, the preacher, water baptism, church membership, being a moral person and doing good works among the many things that are "not the way." Well, of course they aren't. None of those things involve climbething.

"Don't let the devil deceive you by making you believe there is some other way," the author implores. But Jesus said we could climbeth! Does that mean He's... the Devil?!? Spooky.

Getting back to the title metaphor, we are told "you enter the door by asking Jesus to come into your heart and save you." Standard issue tract message. Nothing new here. Same goes for the Sinner's Prayer on the back. All the good stuff is on the first page, and can be used to annoy any fundamentalist who tries the "one way to Heaven" approach on you.

"Jesus is the door..." the tract states and restates, and quotes John 10:9 to make sure things are clear: "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." Ahem. Sounds kinda dirty. Especially since a pasture is a place where you sow your seeds. But who am I to judge? If you can get Saved by entering Jesus, then going in and out until you sow those seeds into that pasture, go for it!

Just close the door behind you.

The Only Doorway
Likely to Convert - 1
Artwork - 3
Ability to Hold Interest - 3
Unintentional Hilarity - 6
Level of Disturbing or Offensive Content - 1

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Deliverance For You

Here we have a tract written by none other than Billy Graham, one of a very select few whom Jesus has on speed-dial. He's one of those big-name American pastors, with his own ministry named after him and numerous books that were, not so very long ago, rocking the Christian bestseller lists. He's a bigger Christian household name than Oral Roberts, Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggart and Jerry Falwell, and he managed it without resorting to sex scandals, drug abuse, or generally being an asshole.

So, a tract from this guy ought to be pretty powerful and convincing, right? Yes it should. Too bad this one isn't.

"We all know how the world has radically changed since the turn of the century," the tract begins. And no, he isn't talking about the year 2000 onwards - he means the last century. "Twenty years ago we used to go down to the seaport to watch the ships come in," Billy says, "but now it is to the airport to watch the planes come down." "Once it was the telegraph but now it is the television."

Not only is this tract seriously out of date, but Billy makes it seem like he really needs a life.

This reminiscing about the not-so-recent past does actually go somewhere. "But with all our progress," Billy writes, "man has not solved the basic problems of the human race." He narrows those basic problems down to three: Sin, Sorrow and Death. Sounds like the name of a goth band. "These three problems make up man's history," and "it all seems rather hopeless" when a person "begins to think about it." Yes, Heaven forbid we start thinking.

Fortunately, Billy has "a rainbow of hope" to "put in your heart." I don't need to tell you what that rainbow is, but I will anyway: "Jesus Christ can meet and solve these three basic problems of your life." Apparently "it has been proved millions of times over." Like most tract authors, Billy neglects to provide the tiniest hint of that proof. I shouldn't be surprised about that, and I'm not. I am disappointed, though. Should not the famous Billy Graham be held to a higher standard?

Jesus "can meet your every need, lift every burden, solve every problem." That's quite a claim, and kind of a hard sell. Perhaps Jesus "can give you hope" and "deliver you from the fear of the future," "the perils of the present trouble" and "the penalty of past sin." I can make the same claims about my glorious man-parts, but that doesn't make them true. And an atheist isn't likely to believe even a pastor of Billy Graham's stature without some kind of evidence to back such claims up.

Incidentally, the cover image of a guy at his desk, face-palming while looking at on-screen tax forms, has nothing whatsoever to do with the material inside the tract.

Does Billy Graham expect us to believe him simply because he's a famous guy? I hope not. If Tom Cruise can't sell me on Scientology, Bill, then you haven't got a prayer.

Deliverance For You
Likely to Convert - 2
Artwork - 4
Ability to Hold Interest - 3
Unintentional Hilarity - 4
Rainbows of Hope - 1
Level of Disturbing or Offensive Content - 0