Saturday, June 05, 2010

The Wrong Message

I'm one of the people who find Chick tracts to be amusing. The over-the-top fundamentalism is hard to take seriously, but there are apparently people who think these things are good proselytizing tools.

"Charlie's Ants" is a particularly amusing one to me. It's targeted at children, which might explain how it hilariously sends messages that I don't think the author ever intended.

The basic idea in this tract is to use a child's concern for the fate of an anthill as an analogy for God's love for humanity, but Chick does it so badly that he manages to describe God as some kind of incompetent, petulant child. The "I'm trying to SAVE you!" frame is the perfect example. Is Chick really trying to say natural disasters like the Nashville flood, hurricane Katrina, and the earthquake in Haiti were all the consequences of God throwing a temper tantrum because he couldn't communicate effectively?

And I'm sure that if I asked Jack Chick if there were anything God couldn't do, he would be quick to say that "with God, all things are possible." Yet he's quick to put limits on God when he needs to explain some of God's behavior that doesn't easily fit into his image of God's perfect love.

My religious views aren't mainstream, but I can't see how even a conservative Christian would be comfortable with the way Jack Chick talks about things that God "cannot" do and how the way God chose to act in the New Testament is the "only" way that he could have acted. It strikes me as terribly presumptuous for Jack to place limits on God so casually. He doesn't say that God "won't" allow sin into Heaven, he says that God "can't" allow sin into Heaven, and speaking as someone who makes a living choosing the right words to describe things, there's a huge difference between "can't" and "won't".

Fundamentalists are usually quick to argue that there are no contradictions in the Bible. Maybe if they could see the contradictions in themselves, they'd be more able to understand the problems that many of us have with Biblical literalism.

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