Wednesday, May 04, 2005

How Can It Be A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood -- If The Neighborhood is Damned?

(Much thanks goes to Cyn for directing me to the really scary Kirk Cameron link posted below.)
Ever have two completely unrelated thoughts come together -- and create something new, different, and a little bit scary?

I'm watching the E True Hollywood Story of I Love Lucy...and then it hits me: If I were a Fire and Brimstone Christian this would be a real bummer! Say my name were, oh, Kirk Cameron -- would I be thinking, "Wow, the Ricardos and the Mertzs are together hell!"?

I mean how does on go around knowing that more than 99% of the people you lay eyes on are destined for a sulphorous pit of fire? This includes: your family, non-church friends, the nice couple who live next door and their children, and pretty much everyone you see on tv, or read about, or...

And why in the hell are the people who believe this always grinning? Yeah, I get they think they're on the Stairway To Heaven, but even so -- isn't knowing most people are doomed a bit of a mood dampener? If not, I bet Stephen King had no idea The Stand was a comedy, or he would have marketed it differently.

Dont get me wrong -- I admire people of faith -- but this particular vein of Christianity is a mystery to me. The whole thought of looking at people who are by all accounts decent human beings, "knowing they" are going to suffer, and going to church to praise the Man behind the suffering.

The person I understand the least is Jack Chick. In case you are not familiar with Mr. Chick, he writes these religious tracts which are both terrifying in their malevolence and hysterically funny in the delusional quality which permeates every panel. Allow me to explain a Chick tract.

1. Everyone looks like they are out of an Enzyte ad. You know... the commercials with "Bob" who has found the key to natural male enhancement....

I have to think they got the idea for Enzyte Bob from The Church of the Subgenius...

Only instead of Enzyte, the Smiling people have God. The non-smiling people, unlike in the male inhancements ads, are not are not necessarily in need of drugs -- they're merely Godless Infidels.

2. A typical tract/cartoon has a "Ward", a "June", a "Wally", or a "Betty Jane" who is going straight to hell -- we know this because no crazed grin. These people are living their lives, and "delusionally" worshipping their "false idols," when "Bob" -- or someone much like "Bob" -- show up and inform them they are going to hell. They spew some out of context Bible quotes until the infidel -- instead of doing any of the normal things -- falls to their knees and admits the error of their previously hellbound ways!

3. The following elements are also common: the devil, God (who wears white and has beams of light coming from his face), demons, and the occasionally person who does not accept The Gospel According to "Bob" -- who of course dies bad and goes straight to hell -- without passing Go or collecting $200.

One of my favorite ones is about a missionary couple who've been in Africa for 50 years and end up sitting on an airplane next to an ex-con who is born-again. While in Africa they built schools and a hospital for lepers, but they did not preach to people on how to get saved, so when the plane crashes they go to hell. The convict -- because he does force his beliefs on others -- goes to heaven. The last image is of the two old people being tossed naked into hell.

Nice, loving stuff, huh? And not the least bit paranoid.


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