A recent link on Pharyngula took me to a site that would be a perfect home for the Terry Pratchett character “Visit-The-Ungodly-With- Explanatory-Pamphlets.”
Despite the evidence of the senses, Chick.com seems not to be a spoof site, but some of these “tracts” defy belief. I’ll gloss over the bizarre claims in the adult tracts – such as the Pope having invented Islam.
Look, instead, at the comics aimed at children. The new “classic” one Phayngula linked to is about evolution. “Evolution” is by definition racist, in this bizarre interpretation, serving to make a blond-haired blue-eyed selfish child think he can be god…. Rejects friend’s message about Jesus. Godless evolution-influenced child dies and gets sent to eternal damnation.
Death is a pretty huge theme in the tracts aimed at children. Here’s a sample The Little Princess
Story line: dying girl goes trick-or-treating on Halloween, dressed as a princess – it’s her dying wish. Meets couple who pray for her. Whole family gets converted. She dies. But that’s well worth it because she goes to heaven and her family become “Christians”….
I am forced to refer to Oscar Wilde’s remark about the death of a Dickens character:
One must have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without laughing.
But, then, I’m not a child subject to a style of brainwashing that owes so much to the manipulative powers of Victorian melodrama. And I am a bit disturbed by the juxtaposition of a smiling child holding out flowers and the explicit death threat.
You might think that this sort of thing (Catholic plots, eternal damnation, Armaggedon fears) appeals to only a tiny subset of the population – the truly mentally-challenged, So, the number of unfortunates who are subject to it might be counted in Westboro Baptist numbers.
Not so, according to its claims. The website claims that Chick has sold 700 million tracts worldwide. Let me momentarily assume this isn’t bearing false witness (because it’s on the Internet which is – like television – not allowed to lie.) That suggests at least seven hundred people have bought a Bumper Million Pack of the things. And that’s an issue for global deforestation in itself.
A whole list of “tracts” is here. I was going to count how many of these contained death threats or rants against other religions. But that would be more or less all of them. Here’s a few quotes from the blurbs:
They thought he was dead, but he woke up screaming, “I’ve got to get saved! I saw hell! I never want to see it again!” Dramatic!
Suicide…The subject is common among teens today. But when Lance decides it is the only way out of his troubles, he discovers that hell is not the party place described in popular songs
Here is a description of the horrible times the Bible says are coming in the future. There is no one to turn to for help but Jesus. He is the only hope.
When this Catholic dies, he learns that his church couldn’t save him
Bob was mean and didn’t need God, until he nearly died in jail.
Time was running out for Ashley. Drugs would soon kill her. But a praying grandmother made the difference.
This soldier learns that it’s not what you know that gets you into heaven. It’s WHO you know… Jesus
A young man goofs when he is talked out of receiving Jesus as Saviour. Adapted for Black audiences.
Danny is dying of cancer. The man in the bed next to him tries to win him to Jesus. A compelling story with a happy ending.
When the collapsing roof dumped him into the flames, Fred thought he had seen hell. But the real hell is much worse.
And so on, ad nauseam..