Thursday, May 28, 2009

Two New Jack Chick Tracts

Jack Chick has recently added to his website, not one, but two new tracts: "Evil Eyes" and "It's a Deal."

Jack Chick is a best-selling evangelical tract writer and conspiracy theorist. His tracts encourage people to accept Jesus as their personal lord and savior. This by itself would not be cause for note. However, Chick is refreshingly explicit in articulating and endorsing the more ridiculous elements of extreme evangelical beliefs. Multiple tracts revolve around good individuals being damned because they died before they accepted Jesus as their personal lord and savior while bad individuals are saved at the last minute since they accepted Jesus before they died. Multiple tracts state explicitly "It isn't a question of good or bad. It is a question of saved or lost." If one tried to write a parody of the evangelical conception of God and tried to accent its wretched, cruel and capricious nature, one would have trouble constructing a deity that looked more cruel and evil than that in Jack Chick's mind.

Like many extremists, Chick feels a need to make his argument primarily by attacking groups he dislikes. Thus, he has tracts about how all sorts of people are going to hell: Jews, Catholics, atheists, Mormons, Muslims, Catholics, Dungeons and Dragons players, Wiccans, Catholics, Protestants who think that good works help for salvation, evolutionists, and Catholics. Did I mention he really doesn't like Catholics?

In the past, his anti-Catholicism has generally been highly conspiratorial, claiming among other things that the Catholic Church secretly founded Islam as a way to control the Arab world. Apparently all of the historical conflicts between Christendom and Islam were really just to prevent us from realizing the truth. Or something like that. He also thinks that the Catholic Church founded liberation theology to help control the communists. As with Islam, the fact that the Church has generally been unfriendly to liberation theology is obviously just more evidence for the conspiracy (although honestly in this case, I suspect that he simply heard the term "liberation theology" at one point and jumped from there).

However, one of the new tracts, Evil Eyes, takes a new angle on his anti-Catholicism. In the past, he has portrayed the low level personnel in the Church such as most priests as simple pawns in the larger conspiracy. In this tract however, the Catholic priest in it publicly doubles as a priest of Santeria. Now, one important thing about Jack Chick is that he believes that every deity of every other religion is really an actual demonic entity. Thus, in this tract, an individual uses a voodoo curse on a man to turn him into a zombie. The local Catholic priest, who is also a Santero, tries all he can but is powerless. However, the day is saved when the young born-again cousin uses the true word of God to expel the demon that is the cause of the curse. At the end, the priest gives up both Catholicism and Santeria to become a true born again Christian. One of the most fascinating details in this tract is that not only does Chick think that it is perfectly natural for a Catholic priest to also practice Santeria, but he considers it natural that the priest would do so as part of an accepted community practice. Chick sees everyone else's religions as part of one large blur and assume that the practitioners themselves also see them that way. This is not unique to Chick but is also true for other evangelicals such as the writers of the Left Behind series.

The second tract involves Satan making a deal with a basketball player to have his soul in exchange for letting the player play really well. This tract is part of a running series of tracts that Chick is producing now which are particularly aimed at African-Americans and hence have all African-American characters and stereotypical black plotlines. I'm not sure what Chick is thinking given that African-Americans have one of the highest percentages of evangelicals of any racial group. In any event, as with most Chick tracts involving contracts with the Devil, the protagonist realizes that he's in deep trouble and accepts Jesus as his lord and savior, thus nullifying the contract. The point is then made that the Devil doesn't need a contract to get your soul. This leads to a question: More often than not in Chick tracts, people end up in hell. Furthermore, even people who know about the Devil and God often wind up in hell; in at least some cases people wind up in hell even after seeing the Devil first hand. Therefore, why does the Devil bother to make contracts with people? Indeed, it seems in the Chickverse that making a contract with the devil is a sure sign that you'll eventually realize that you really need Jesus. So if the Devil is trying to collect as many souls as he wants, he shouldn't be trying to make contracts at all.

The only thing more striking than the cruelty of Chick's God is the incompetence of Chick's Devil.

There's a fascinating element to Chick tracts. Aside from the interesting view into a warped mind whose views are shared by a disturbingly large number of people, one learns all sorts of tidbits that one wouldn't learn otherwise. For example, according to the Dark Dungeons tract, not only is Dungeons and Dragons a way to lure children into the occult but if your character advances to at least eighth level , then you will start to learn real spells. Obviously, I was never patient enough. I'm am however curious. D&D 4.0 recently came out. The power level of magic in the game is substantially reduced from that of 3rd edition. Does this mean one has to get to a higher level before one learns real magic? If so, this seems like yet another reason to not play 4th edition.

16 comments:

Hepius said...

What the hell? I got to lvl 12 in 2nd Edition and never learned any real spells! And I was a magic user.

I want a refund.

Gary Gygax recently died. I'll never forget that name. I spent a lot of time with that game in my youth.

Gadfly said...

Per one of Chick's older tracts, about Catholicism and Muslims, then the Santero priest is really a Muslim, right?

And, that's why gOd sent Katrina to smite New Orleans.

sniffnoy said...

I've said this before - then it was in reference to Angels? - but it really bugs me that one of the things Chick tracts essentially say is "With Jesus, you can break contracts!" Seems to me that if you sell your soul to Satan, and he pays up, you better carry out your end of the bargain...

Though, now that I read "It's a Deal", I guess it accounts for this, with its notes at the end... no, wait, they only make it more confusing...

Jay said...

Chick tracts have the unique property of being their own best parody.

The unsettling thing is that there are people who agree with him.

sniffnoy said...

Hardly unique. Conservapedia, for one.

Jay said...

Sniffnoy-

I forgot about conservapedia. And Ray Comfort's sites. And Answers In Genesis.

Damn. I need to amend my earlier comment. Strike "unique" and replace with "sadly common".

Muslim Dude said...

"As with Islam, the fact that the Church has generally been unfriendly to liberation theology is obviously just more evidence for the conspiracy."

Joshua this is just not true

Joshua said...

What isn't true in that sentence? That the Church hasn't been happy with liberation theology?

Muslim Dude said...

You implied that Islam is opposed to liberation theology which isn't true

If you are interested, here is some reading on the matter:

http://yahyahayderseymour.wordpress.com/2008/05/15/coming-soon-imam-husayn-the-liberator-reflections-on-islam-and-liberation-theology/

Joshua said...

Oh. I see. I didn't mean that. The sentence wasn't as best written as it could be. What I meant was it appeared that in Chick's mind, the Catholic Church's historically antagonistic attitude towards Islam was further evidence for a conspiracy and in the same way the Catholic Church's attitude towards liberation theology was further evidence of a conspiracy.

FilmGurl42 said...

Chick tracts will always offend me as long as I remain a Christian.

Jr said...

"This tract is part of a running series of tracts that Chick is producing now which are particularly aimed at African-Americans and hence have all African-American characters and stereotypical black plotlines. I'm not sure what Chick is thinking given that African-Americans have one of the highest percentages of evangelicals of any racial group"

Well who buys his work? Only people who are already Christians of course. I suspect Chick's calculation is that African-Americans will buy them to hand out to their friends, family and so on.

Joshua said...

Jr, that's a very good point.

sadinrv said...

This Chick thing is very sad we have an engineer here who is well educated and spends his spare time giving this garbage to people on the street but I guess the fact that he designed something that almost exploded might say his education didn't take.

Anonymous said...

This has encourage me to order more Chick Tracts!

If atheist swine hate them so mucn, that alone is worth spreadng them around!

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