Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Miscellaneous Chick Tract Bullshit

Am I just noticing things I haven't in the past, or is this new Chick tract even weirder than usual?

…first, there's the fact that it opens in media res like this.  The title is "Why Should I?" so presumably "because you're a victim" is the answer to this, but…that doesn't really make any more sense.  Right out of the gate, we're feeling disoriented.

"You're strange, dude" is definitely the appropriate response here.  And let me emphasize: this tract is not about evolution.  It's a complete non-sequitur here, and it never comes up again.  Granted, amongst wingnutty evangelicals, not "believing in" evolution is something of a litmus test, but to the heathen masses whom this tract is meant to reach, this would just be distracting and bizarre.  What does it have to do with anything?  The writer here seems to have lost his or her sense of perspective.  It really shows up one thing, though: tracts like this are all "just accept Jesus and you're good!" but there are all these sub-beliefs you're required to have--evolution and climate change are hoaxes, gay people are damned, abortion is a sin--that don't remotely follow from that and that you would never infer on your own.  Sure, there are individual tracts that address each of these things, but if they're requirements, that's just not good enough.

Note that this young sinner has somehow never encountered the concept of a "soul"…

…but he IS familiar with common religious bromides.  The author wants to use him to address ALL objections to Chickism, starting with the most basic, but in so doing, he's been rendered incoherent.

And check out this shit: "get saved now; otherwise, you'll have to do it the lame, shitty way."  Stupid martyrs!  This also limns something that Fred Clark has pointed out a number of times in his great series of posts on Left Behind; namely, that rapture-mania is to a large extent a way to deal with fear of dying.  I ask you: what possible difference is there between getting abruptly beamed up to heaven by God and getting there via decapitation?  Are to we assume that there are (or are going to be) two quantitatively different categories of people in heaven: the ones who died, and the infinitesimally smaller number who were raptured up?  I'm pretty sure even the most ardent rapturites would not make that claim (certainly, there's no Biblical support for it--but then again, there's none for the rapture, either, so that wouldn't stop them if they were determined).  So what does it matter?  So you're beheaded: that sucks, I guess, but it's just a fraction of a second of pain and then you're good.  The point, which they can't spell out because it would show that their faith is less than absolute, is this: it would be scary.  You hope there's an afterlife and it's a good afterlife and you're in it, but you don't know (though you'd think that if all this crazy supernatural shit started happening, that would bolster your beliefs rather substantially).  So they want to have it both ways: you get the benefit of going to Heaven by some magical means that doesn't involve dying even though the effect is exactly the same as dying.  They're just so terrified.  It would make me feel bad for them, if they weren't such colossal dicks.

Nice passive-aggressive footnote there.  As you know if you're even passingly familiar with Chickism, their preferred text is the King James Version, and anything that deviates from that is heretical.*  John 14:2 in the KJV says "in my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you."  Even by the most insanely literal-minded reading, it strikes me as a bit of a stretch to interpret this as "everybody gets a mansion!" but never mind that. 
*They think that the KJV was inspired by God.  So we're not only meant to take it on faith that every word of the Bible is "true," whatever that means, but we're ALSO meant to take it on faith that a project spearheaded by some gay king** is likewise infallible?  That's a lot to swallow, and it's not at all apparent that there are any reasons to prefer it other than "it says what we want it to say."

**James' sexuality is neither here nor there, of course, except that it's fun to remind these people that the author of their preferred holy text is, by their fucked-up standards, very likely slow-roasting in Hell as we speak.
Now, Biblegateway has a whole fuckload of English translations available, and the majority of them say "room" rather than "mansion"--which, you must admit, makes rather more sense: the notion of a house containing multiple mansions brings to mind some pretty crazy MC Escher shit.***  But that will not do for Chickists.  It take a special kind of mind to imagine that dozens of scholars and translators are in on some nebulous evil conspiracy to suppress The Truth in this manner.
***To which someone might say: "This is GOD we're talking about!  He can to ANYTHING!  If he wants a house with a bunch of mansions, it's NO PROBLEM!"  To which I say, right, sure: so you're dead set on the word "mansion" being taken absolutely literally, but when it comes to figuring out how to shoehorn these mansions in, you suddenly become a-okay with figurative language.  You can't have it both ways, dude.
Why are they so obsessed with mansions, anyway?  Why would this possibly be considered theologically important?  A mere "room" supplied by Jesus isn't good enough?  Do they think it's inadequate as a bribe to potential converts?  Or are they just such incredible megalomaniacs that they can't imagine that they wouldn't get giant palaces in the afterlife?  Neither option seems particularly flattering.

Chick tracts, man.  They're bats.



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