Sunday, January 24, 2010

Jack Chick is Wonderful.

Have you ever heard of Jack Chick? Since the eighties he's been writing, drawing, and publishing bible tracts for good Christians to go out and spread the gospel in a fun and easily understood way. His website is here: and the tracts can be read online for free here.

Back when I was a teenager I used to collect these things and other tracts like it. I thought they were hilarious. At the time I did believe in God, I just couldn't accept that the people who published tracts could approach anything like the truth. But since I believed in God it started to get to me after a while. One can only read about how one is going to hell so often before it begins to get to one.

Now, of course, I've learned a few things. In order for Chick Tracts to be effective, the reader must already believe in God. Not just any God either, Jack Chick's God. Over and over in these tracts there is something odd going on. When I was younger I couldn't put my finger on it, but a few years ago I identified what was wrong. In the tracts, the reason why the non-believers haven't accepted Jesus as their lord and savior is because they've just never thought about it. They are instantly converted by kind expository Christians by being told that God so loved his children that he sent his only son to die on the cross for them so they could be cleansed of sin and get into heaven. Non-believers in these tracts are instantly and completely convinced of the truth of these claims. On the basis of simply being told as though the truth of the bible were simply self-evident! Jack Chick evidently hasn't met a non-believer who arrived at his conclusions after a great deal of thought.

This leads me to a an idea I have about Jack Chick. He's never met anyone. Anyone outside his congregation, anyway. I imagine he lives and works in a cabin in the woods and when he's finished a new tract, he calls his publisher who sends someone to meet with him and take the holy text from him for printing. I believe this because his characters are caricatures. Every believer is a good-hearted, good-intentioned, reasonable, compassionate, and patient person. Every non-believer is a selfish, cruel, mean-spirited, bad-tempered malcontent who derives pleasure from keeping the word of God a secret. They're hilariously unreasonable and usually uglier than the believers.

Chick and company are wonderfully ignorant of anything that isn't in the bible, from science to sexuality to hobbies and how actual real people behave. I say wonderfully because I want you to understand how I envision their place in the world. We live in reality. A reality defined by history and shared culture. Progress in science and human rights and happiness comes from learning about what is true and acting upon it. I consider Jack Chick and his cohorts to be Reality's Loyal Opposition. This is a valuable service because one's opponents helps to define one's place in the world and view of it. Their side looks to a heavily edited, badly translated transcription of an old Jewish oral tradition for guidance in the modern world, and my side finds out what is true by going and and looking.

Keep up the good work, Jack! We wouldn't be the reasonable, compassionate people we are today without your ignorant bigoted intolerance!



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