Two new Jack Chick tracts are up. They are both pretty mediocre. "The Royal Affair" tells the story of David and Bathsheba with a pretty standard threat of hellfire and brimstone at the end. There's nothing of note in the tract other than that Jack Chick apparently thinks that the word "literal" actually means "figurative." (Memo to Jack: David didn't go through a "literal hell." He went through a figurative hell. Figurative and literal have opposite meanings. They are not synonyms.)
The second tract, "Going Down?" is standard Chick tract but with a single interesting twist. It is not uncommon in Chick tracts for someone to have a near-death experience, briefly witness the horrors of hell, and then come back to life knowing about the terrible threat of hell. This tract is an example. However, whenever this happens in a Chick tract, the people who have experienced hell always then accept Jesus as their personal lord and savior. However, in this new tract, the person who experiences hell does not learn about Jesus but rather dies shortly thereafter being dragged back down to hell. Few tracts better illustrate the utterly random nature of the afterlife in Chick's universe: in this case, the return to this world appears to almost be a divine accounting error which doesn't even serve the minimal purpose of saving the individual's soul.
Contemplating this tract also leads to another issue: Chick's theology concerning the immediate afterlife is inconsistent. In most Chick tracts, when people die they stand before Jesus and are judged. In some tracts, such as the above, they are sent immediately to hell. I am aware of no tract in which someone dies and comes before Jesus only to come back to life. In a tiny minority of tracts (such as this one) people who die without Jesus instead go to a temporary realm to wait until they are judged on Doomsday.
Why is Chick's theology of the afterlife so varied? Does he realize how contradictory his various tracts are on this matter? The most obvious hypothesis is that Chick's theology has changed over time. However, there are no chronological trends in which of the three approaches to the afterlife he takes. I suspect that Chick simply does not care about the details of the afterlife that much since the primary issue is being saved or lost; all else is secondary. Thus, a combination of whim and plot-demands control the exact depiction of the afterlife. Given Chick's apparent lack of great intellectualism he may not even have given the matter enough thought to realize the inconsistent nature of his theology.
I do hope that the May tracts are better than this set. It is a big let down given that in January we had a tract about angels fighting werewolves.
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