Monday, March 16, 2015

Would You Be Happy In Heaven?

An interesting question, posed by an uncredited writer for Evangelical Tract Distributors. We are treated to a story very much like that of The Fortune Teller, involving a group of people on a train. We are also treated to an unmistakable air of self-righteous smugness.

Our nameless narrator, who identifies himself as "an old man," tells a story of a group of men traveling to a Christian Conference on a train. "As the train steamed out of the station," two women carrying "a novel of the sensational type" entered their car "and took seats opposite each other." The old man and his friends "conversed on the Christian Conference" and "got enthusiastically engaged in the subject of God's Grace, God's truth, and God's Son."

"Presently," the two women found that "the conversation above referred to seemed to break in upon the enjoyment of the readers." It turns out that their novels "of the sensational type" proved "incapable of absorbing the mind as completely as desirable." "Presently" (again) one of the women spoke up about how "abominable" it was to "be bored to death with this religious nonsense." This leads to a heated debate that eventually arrives at the titular question, and the old man manages to ask that six-word question using only 31 words. He just loves going on and on about every little detail.

Heh. Like I should talk!

After he's finished asking "the haughty girl" if she would enjoy en eternity of "blessings and joys" of Jesus "if a few minute's conversation about" them "is so abhorent to" her, the woman apparently turned "ashly pale" and "her tongue seemed chained." She left "without saying a word" with her friend at the next station, offering only "a sad, sad look at the gentleman" before she "was seen no more." This was because his words, which "were calmly and kindly spoken" to her, "seemed to have wondrous power." If he does say so himself. A lot like a similar set of words from Suppose It Is All True After All? What Then?. But where that tract attempted to scare readers with the notion that Hell and Judgment might be real, Would You Be Happy dares to posit that Heaven might not be for everyone. Indeed, "before Heaven could be a Heaven to you, a great change must take place in your desires, your tastes," etc. In other words, you need to get Saved before Heaven will be appealing to you! What a unique predicament.

This raises an interesting point - if a person finds the Word of God "distasteful" and "abhorent," how are Christians supposed to reach them? Or are such people acceptable losses? Perhaps not; this tract is a step in the right direction. Before it can be truly effective, however, it needs a rewrite into plain English from this century. One of the women actually says: "I declare..." Really??

Points for daring, but not much more, E.T.D.

Likely to Convert - 0
Artwork - 2
Ability to Hold Interest - 2
Unintentional Hilarity - 5
Level of Disturbing or Offensive Content - 0

And before anyone nails me for it, the misspelling of "abhorent" and "ashly" are direct quotes from the tract, not me being a bad speller.

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