Flatter Jesus

This parody of the infamous Chick Tracts comes from Betty Bowers. It really does get at the not only problematic but disturbing character of a particular sort of Christian theology.


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  • AJ

    As a Christian, I must say Chick Tracts are some of the vilest things I’ve ever seen. I love these kids of parodies and dissections.

  • AWRM

    Um wait. Does this mean that we are not to tell Jesus that we love Him and appreciate all that business on the cross? And darn it to heck: I never knew that my theology declared that Jesus is telling me to be obsequious towards him or, as a consequence, He is going to “send me to hell”. I must have missed that part. Somewhere buried in Deuteronomy or Numbers perhaps. Maybe it isn’t clear because of some obscure Hebrew nuance was missed in the translation. Maybe.

    Or maybe I think Jesus really does love me unconditionally and wholly. Maybe the Trinity is well, kind of like us insofar that He/She likes to be told that He/She is loved by the ones He/She so adores… Flattery? Huh? Am I just being insecure because I like my children to tell me that, despite my ridiculous beliefs, they still love me?

    And maybe hell is separation from God. I kind of got the idea somewhere along the line that it wasn’t a place we were sent to so much as a place we chose. If we choose to remain separate then free will and all that says that’s where we remain. Separate from light, creation, learning, beauty, kindness, laughter … and so much love.
    So ya. I suppose that this humour is aimed at some exceedingly narrow segment of believers that might have a theology that comes somewhere near this. But to me, it doesn’t come across this way. To me, it comes across as smug and sophomoric slander (“My, my… aren’t we the naughty ones! Ho, ho, ho…We can do this because we are so clever”) and a distortion of our faith that is nowhere near what even those at the far right might believe. I think we’ve stretched things out too far here and truth is not well served. Sorry. Perhaps others will take the humour differently…

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

      I’m not sure what to make of your comment. Did you assume that I posted this to say something to you and about your particular form of Christianity? If so, why did you understand it that way?

      • AWRM

        Hi. I dunno. It just struck a chord the wrong way in me. To me, it came across as a rather vile distortion of the Christian message more than it did a satire of some very narrow viewpoint – that I think is so marginal that it’s hardly worth the effort. It is attacking a caricature of the right and not the reality. It’s something that I’d expect to see on an atheist website.
        I think that perhaps many people misunderstand what our views on hell are (not that I’m completely clear either…) And there are a lot of people that actually think that we believe that the God of Love sends us there because He’s choked that we don’t do as He says. And a lot of people don’t understand why we praise God… so, with this in mind, the satire comes across to me as an attack on elements of our faith and so, to me, the comic made an insinuation that Jesus is insecure, passive aggressive and vindictive.
        If such a narrow viewpoint was prevalent, perhaps the satire would be effective but, in my experience with some very dogmatic fellowships, I don’t think that the view being satirized is widespread at all. The right wing has it’s problems but this struck me as an unfair stereotype that would simply be inflammatory. Maybe your world is different and I do acknowledge that possibility.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

          I’ve certainly seen something close enough to the view satirized in the image to recognize it and find the critique relevant. If you haven’t come across it, or very little, then so much the better. The view that Jesus is eager to be spoken of in lavish terms, and that people will be punished for failing to laud him, certainly can lead quite quickly to the depiction of Jesus and/or God as like a rather unpleasant sort of human being. Inasmuch as that depiction seems problematic to any of us as Christians, presumably we ought to formulate statements that do not lead there.

          • AWRM

            Oka dokes. We’ll leave it at that. Maybe I’m just being persnickety… and we certainly don’t need any more of that in Christendom!