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Number of the Beast

Hi Ed,
I have been away from my faith for three years now. My husband has decided to stay with his faith. He is a Pentecostal (Church of God). He asked me tonight to explain to him how that I have come to believe that the Bible is not true. He says that the book of Revelation is proof that the God of the Bible is the true God because of the Mark of the Beast and the moneyless society that is prophesied to come. Can you give me something that I can say to him on this?
Number of the Beast

Edward: There are many evangelical Christians on the web who are called “Preterists” and they argue that the Mark of the Beast refers to Nero, a famous Roman Emperor who persecuted Christians. In fact the Mark of the Beast is 666 in some copies of Revelation and 616 in other copies, and the letters of “Neron Caesar” add up to 666 in Greek and 616 in Latin. Preterists go into great detail concerning this matter since it separates their view from that of Dispensationalists. If you google (www.google.com) Mark of the Beast Preterism (type all those words into the google search box) you will come up with lots of matches and explanations. Preterism is one way that some Evangelicals explain the delay of Jesusʼ prophesied return, their explanation is that most of the prophecies and predictions refer to things happening in the days of the apostles like the “destruction of Jerusalem,” and hence do not refer to things happened in our own day. Preterists and Dispensationalists have been going at it now for a long time with their different interpretations of Scripture.

(The mainstream scholarship view is that Jesus was influenced by the apocalyptic end of the world expectations held by some folks in his day, and that Jesus simply made a false prediction and that Jesus predicted the final judgment soon after the destruction of Jerusalem, but few Evangelicals want a failable Jesus, so they resort to either Dispensationalism or Preterism. When in doubt, play them off one another, invite your husband read both sides, since the Preterists and Dispensationalists both agree that the Bible is Holy and God does not lie, and that the Holy Spirit “leads them into all truth.”

Hereʼs one Preterist article on why the mark of the beast refers to Nero, an ancient roman Emperor, not to today.

You can google more such articles

And the mainstream view is given in my article on the web, “The Lowdown on Godʼs Showdown”, that many have said they enjoyed and that helped them get over their fears of Bible predictions being applied to todayʼs latest headlines.

Also see my letter to someone who asked me about the modern state of Israel and other “prophecies” of the Bible.

We have many discussions and we still love each other in spite of our differences on religious beliefs. I was brought up in the Church of God, but I just canʼt bring myself to believe in such an awful God any longer.

I have been collecting quotations on Pentecostals and Speaking in Tongues (I can still speak in tongues, and have been contacted by other former Pentecostals who can still do so, and I believe I can teach anyone to do it if they start by repeating one syllable of gibberish over and over again, until a second comes out naturally, and keep repeating both of them, etc. )

Hereʼs the quotations I have been collecting, there are more in my files at home Iʼm sure but I havenʼt edited them together yet.

Pentecostals

Loresa Goodly filed a lawsuit in Lafayette Parish, Louisiana, in November for injuries she incurred just after she had received the Holy Spirit at a tent revival meeting and passed out on the floor. Moments later, another woman received the Holy Spirit and fell on top of Goodly before ushers could catch her, breaking three of Goodlyʼs ribs.
- Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, Nov. 18, 1995


The Many Faces of Benny Hinn

After different occurrences of televangelist Benny Hinnʼs famous antic “slaying in the Spirit,” during which crowds of people fall over, one young girlʼs leg was badly injured and an elderly woman died from complications following a broken hip. Her family sued for $15 million; Hinn settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

Hinn has been fooled more than once during his crusades by hired actors who pretended to be handicapped, then pretended to be healed — despite Hinnʼs past promises not to televise healings until they had been medically confirmed. Other people who really were sick had been pronounced healed and were televised as such. Reporters discovered, in case after case, that no one followed up on them and that none of them had really been healed. This included a half-dozen AIDS patients, several deaf or blind children, a quadriplegic teen and a woman with cancer, who quit her chemotherapy and died two months later. Reporters could not find a single verifiable healing, although in one chilling interview, a woman with multiple sclerosis serenely announced that she had discontinued her medication because she believed, thanks to Hinn, that her healing would arrive at any moment.

Hinn has also claimed — each time on record — that
1) He conducted services in a hospital overseas and healed so many people the place nearly shut down (a reporter checked up on this and the hospital categorically denied it).

2) Someone videotaped him raising a man from the dead in Guyana (this was also refuted and ultimately retracted by a ministry spokesman).
- Information drawn from The Many Faces of Benny Hinn (a video and book of the same title that summarizes a host of investigative reports on Benny Hinn), produced by The Door Magazine.

“Even the most credulous, faithful followers of Benny Hinn would be hard-pressed to explain why so many national TV news magazines and local stations, from Chicago to Orlando to Dallas to Sydney, Australia, keep uncovering the same damning facts year after year.”
— Gregg Hartman (www.christianhumor.about.com) See also Matthew Barry, “Adventures in Faith Healing,” Freethought Today, March, 1998
Source: http://www.ffrf.org/


Reverend Tony Leyva, Pentecostal TV-evangelist who used to wear a Superman costume and carry a Bible, nicknaming himself “Super Christian,” and who was in the Guinness Book of World Records (for four years) for preaching the longest known sermon (72 hours straight), and who was hired by a Georgia television station to replace Jimmy Swaggertʼs show, was arrested by the FBI, along with three of his fellow fundamentalists, on charges of transporting boys across state lines for the purposes of prostitution or criminal sexual activity. Reverend Leyva railed in public against “filth” and “smut.” In private he sodomized more than 100 church boys, and was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison in 1989.
- Mick Echols, Brother Tonyʼs Boys: The Largest Case of Child Prostitution in U.S. History


Police in Vinton, Louisiana were surprised when a driver wearing only a towel got out of a car, then got back in and sped off. They were dumbfounded when the car hit a tree and disgorged 20 people wearing nothing at all. There were fifteen adults in the interior of the 1990 Pontiac Grand Am and five children in the trunk. The driver of the car, Sammy Rodriguez and his brother, Danny, both said they were Pentecostal preachers. They made statements that the devil was after them. And their hometown, Floydada, Texas, was going to be destroyed if they stayed there. They fled Floydada in five cars, but wound up abandoning four of them, along with the familyʼs clothes, pocketbooks, wallets and other belongings because “the devil” had “gotten into those things.”
- Associated Press, “Cops Chase Car With 20 Naked Passengers,” Aug. 20, 1993


An unemployed maid and mother of seven burned a winning $60,000 lottery ticket because her minister at an Assembly of God church in Fortaleza, Brazil, said her plane would “sink in sin in hell” if she went to claim the prize money. “Destroy the ticket — the devilʼs work — to save yourself from hellfire,” Preacher Wagner said, as the congregation chanted, “Burn, burn, burn.” So Maria Banoiza Nascimento returned to her one-room shack (where she lived with her unemployed husband and her four seriously ill children), and burned the ticket. Then, for good measure, she burned her identification card and her childrenʼs birth certificates as well.
- Associated Press, 1995


A devotee on her knees in some abysmal and mysterious cathedral while solemn music echoes, and clouds of incense come down the wind, and priests in luxurious, operatic costumes busy themselves with stately ceremonials in a dead and not too respectable language — this is unquestionably beautiful, particularly if the devotee herself is attractive. But the same devotee aroused to hysterical protestations of faith by the shrieks and contortions of a Pentecostal preacher, her knees trembling with the fear of God, her hands clenched as if to do combat with Beelzebub, her lips discharging hosannas and hallelujahs — this is merely obscene.
- H. L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy

Speaking in Tongues

One summer night Louie and Mel set to over the issue of speaking in tongues, Louie arguing that this manifestation of the Spirit was to be sought earnestly, Mel holding that it was a miraculous gift given to the early church but not given by God today. I forget the Scripture verses each of them brought forward to defend his position, but I remember the pale faces, the throat-clearing, the anguished looks, as those two voices went back and forth, straining at the bit, giving no ground — the poisoned courtesy (“I think my brother is overlooking Paulʼs very clear message to the Corinthians.,” “Perhaps my brother needs to take a closer look, a prayerful look, at this verse in Hebrews.”) as the sun went down, neighbor children were called indoors, the neighbors turned out their lights, eleven oʼclock came — they wouldnʼt stop!

“Perhaps,” Grandpa offered, “it would be meet for us to pray for the Spirit to lead us,” hoping to adjourn, but both Louie and Mel felt that the Spirit had led, that the Spirit had written the truth in big black letters — if only some people could see it.

The thought of Uncle Louie speaking in tongues was fascinating to me. Uncle Louie worked at the bank, he spoke to me mostly about thrift and hard work. What tongue would he speak? Spanish? French? Or would it sound like gibberish? Louie said that speaking in tongues was the true sign, that those who believed heard and to those who didnʼt it was only gabble — what if he stood up and said, “Feemalator, jasperator, hoo ha ha, Wamalamagamanama, zis boom bah!” and everyone else said, “Amen! Thatʼs right, brother! Praise God!” and I was the only one who said, “Huh?”
- Garrison Keillor, “Protestant,” Lake Woebegon Days


A Former Pentecostal on “Speaking in Tongues”

Anyone interested in the phenomena of “speaking in tongues” should try a google search http://www.google.com on “glossolalia” and read about some of the scientific studies on the subject. Or you could try going to the Discovery Channelʼs website and searching there on the term. I recently saw a documentary featuring a linguistic expert who has studied people speaking in tongues all over the world in many different religious settings. He said that it is all gibberish, not anything akin to a genuine language, and that it is also all remarkably similar in tone and sound. He played examples from several Christian groups, some voodoo and vodoun practitioners, and some Hindi festivals and some Polynesian religious rituals. The sounds were all remarkably similar in their use of vowels and consonants but none of the examples fit the definition of actual language. His theory is that the similarity is accounted for by the human subconscious producing certain sounds when an individual is in an auto-hypnotic state. I used to pray in tongues when I was a Pentecostal. I could do it now anytime, on demand, it was just freeing the subconscious and spouting whatever gibberish came into my head. If this was truly a “gift from God” I certainly would have lost the ability when I gave up Christianity and became a Witch.
- Pat fatmama67@hotmail.com


For the last 20 years, between 7 and 9 percent of Americans have spoken in tongues — but almost the same percentage said the practice is evidence of demonic possession.
- Bernard Katz, “Quoteline and Commentaries,” The American Rationalist, July/Aug. 1998


Michael Trofimov pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the murder of his father. Trofimov, who had recently joined a religious group, was found was his hands around his fatherʼs neck “speaking in tongues and screaming for God.” His uncle said, “He was a good young man and then he started going to these [religious] meetings.”
- Chuck Shepherd, John J. Kohut & Roland Sweet, More News of the Weird (1990)


True story: A young Pentecostal girl dared her girlfriend in church to shout out some nonsense syllables just to see if someone would stand up and “interpret the tongue.” So the girl shouted, “coca-cola, coca-cola, coca-cola” and a church member promptly stood up and “interpreted the tongue” as a message from God.

Years later, I read that when the Coca-Cola company tried selling their brew in China, they discovered that the Chinese symbols that were pronounced, “Coca-Cola,” meant literally, “Bite the wax tadpole.” So maybe you can get a “message” out of “coca-cola, coca-cola, coca-cola,” albeit a stuttering and meaningless one.
- E.T.B.


As a former tongue-speaking Christian it wasnʼt the repetitive nature of many of the syllables I spoke that raised doubts. It was the fact that people in our group would sometimes “speak in tongues” a long time yet the “interpretation” could be quite brief. Or they would “speak in tongues” briefly and the “interpretation” came out long-winded. Folks who loved the King James Bible “interpreted tongues” in King James English, while those who loved other translations of the Bible delivered less Elizabethan-sounding “interpretations.” And the messages received via this miraculous discourse were as trifling as the simplest cares and woes found in the Psalms with which everyone in the congregation was familiar — as if God didnʼt have anything more relevant or specific to say to us. Yet it seemed to me that if God was going to give people miraculous linguistic abilities, Heʼd have found far better uses to put them to.
- E.T.B.


Conversation on the “Ex-Tian” Listserv

Rob Berry: Iʼve heard that a trained listener can tell the difference between a New Yorker and a Southerner speaking in tongues, so the “tongues” spoken by an individual reflect the normal language of that individual. And a Japanese person speaking in tongues is not going to have any “L”s in their babbling.

David O. Miller: Actually this is true only for those Japanese who have never studied English. Those who have, consistantry have “L”s whele the “R”s berong and “R”s whele the “L”s berong. And that could totally change the meaning of the babbling couldnʼt it? Obviously, “uga-bali-raka-fulu” and “uga-bari-laka-furu” are two entirely different things, right?


I used to speak in tongues. Now it only comes in handy when I perform cunnilingus.
- E.T.B.

Evangelicals

An evangelical Christian once told me, “Only Jesus Christ can save man…” (What about woman, I wondered? Oh, well, one does not expect semantic sophistication from literalist Bible believers) “… and restore him to his lost state of peace with God, himself and others.” Yeah, sure, and only new Pepsi can make you feel really happy, and only our brand is better than the competition, and only our country is the best country. It is truly amazing to me that people can utter such arrogant nonsense with no humor, no sense of how offensive they are to others, no doubt or trepidation, and no suspicion that they sound exactly like advertisers, con-men and other swindlers. It is really hard to understand such child-like prattling. If I were especially conceited about something (a state I try to avoid, but if I fell into it…), if for instance I decided I had the best garden or the handsomest face in Ireland, I would still retain enough common sense to suspect that I would sound like a conceited fool if I went around telling everybody those opinions. I would have enough tact left, I hope, to satisfy my conceit by dreaming that other people would notice on their own that my garden and/or my face were especially lovely. People who go around innocently and blithely announcing that they belong to the Master Race or the Best Country Club or have the One True Religion seem to have never gotten beyond the kindergarten level of ego-display. Do they have no modesty, no tact, no shame, no adult common sense at all? Do they have any suspicion how silly their conceit sounds to the majority of the nonwhite non-Christian men and women of the world? To me, they seem like little children wearing daddyʼs clothes and going around shouting, “Look how grown-up I am! Look at me, me, me!”

There are more amusing things than ego-games, conceit and one-upmanship. Really, there are. I suspect that people stay on that childish level because they have never discovered how interesting and exciting the adult world is.

If one must play ego-games, I still think it would be more polite, and more adult, to play them in the privacy of oneʼs head. In fact, despite my efforts to be a kind of Buddhist, I do relapse into such ego-games on occasion; but I have enough respect for human intelligence to keep such thoughts to myself. I donʼt go around announcing that I have painted the greatest painting of our time; I hope that people will notice that by themselves. Why do the people whose ego-games consist of day-dreaming about being part of the Master Race or the One True Religion not keep that precious secret to themselves, also, and wait for the rest of the human race to notice their blinding superiority?
Robert Anton Wilson


Your Own Personal Jesus

Many evangelical Christians boast that they have a “personal relationship” with Jesus. What makes it so “personal?” Well, they say, we have the words attributed to Jesus in the four Gospels. But there are so few of them, a couple thousand. You could fit all of Jesusʼ words into a small 16-page booklet. And they are subject to interpretation.

Well, they say, there are “answered prayers.” But again, that is a matter of interpretation, because no matter what happens, an evangelical Christian interprets it as “Jesusʼ will,” even when bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people.

Whenever I have a “personal relationship” with someone it does not consist of a few thousand words spoken two thousand years ago, recorded accurately (or inaccurately) by someone else, and which require interpretation from third parties for me to “truly” understand them (especially when the third parties disagree concerning the meaning and intent of those words).

Neither should a “personal relationship” depend on me having to interpret the results of every prayer uttered. And the range of interpretations covers every conceivable outcome: “strongly positively answered,” “weakly positively answered,” “strongly negatively answered,” “weakly negatively answered,” or even, “try again later when you have more faith.”
- E.T.B.


Question: Whatʼs the difference between a trained psychologist and a born again Christian?

A trained psychologist can read a person like a book, but a born again Christian reads a book like itʼs a person.
- E.T.B.


Converted or Addicted?

Psychotherapists will tell you that in dealing with an addict, you have to understand that the personʼs primary relationship is with the drug.~The drug has the ability to control the addictʼs thinking to a remarkable degree, and you must understand that any relationship you may feel with the addict is a distant second to the one they have with their drug.

Fund-geli-costal Christianity (conservative hard-line Fundamentalist, Evangelical, Pentecostal Christianity) is open and unabashed about this. The relationship with Jesus is supposed to be the primary relationship in a believerʼs life. There is even a scripture that goes something like, “Not unless you hate your mother and father blah blah.” The interpretation of this scripture Iʼve heard from believers is that it isnʼt absolute hatred, but relative. In other words, you love your mother, but you should love Jesus so much that it in comparison itʼs like you hate her. Doesnʼt this sound an awful lot like a drunkʼs love for the bottle?

It may be helpful when trying to have a relationship with a believer to remember that you and their relationship with you means very little to them compared to their need to continue in their thought addiction. Kind of interesting that “true believers” will happily sacrifice a relationship with their own children in order to cling to the comfort of belief. Comfort is a poor choice of words really because anybody here can tell you being a fundamentalist is anything but comfortable. They promise you comfort, security and power just like the ads for alcohol promise sex, power and a rippinʼ good time, but it sours fast with either addiction.
- Saint Vilis vilis@rcn.com at the Yahoo Group, ExitFundyism


(The ‘Methodists’) demonstrate to secure, contented, happy mankind that it is really unhappy and desperate, and merely unwilling to realize that it is in severe straits it knows nothing at all about, from which only they can rescue it. Wherever there is health, strength, security, simplicity, they spy luscious fruit to gnaw at or to lay their pernicious eggs in. They make it their object first of all to drive men to inward despair, and then it is all theirs.
- Deitrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison [Bonhoeffer is a famed moderate/liberal Christian minister who was imprisoned by the Nazis for his opposition to Hitler. His book, The Cost of Discipleship was widely known and read in Evangelical Christian circles, though perhaps less so today.


The church must stop trying to act like a “spiritual pharmacist” — working to produce acute guilt, and then in effect saying, “We just happen to have the remedy for your guilt here in our pocket.”
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer


Evangelical Christianity: Being made to feel sinful and guilty for not having felt sinful and guilty, in order that one might experience release from sin and guilt; Like donning lead boots and walking about in them until totally exhausted in order to have the exhilarating experience of taking them off again.
- Conrad Hyers, Once-Born, Twice-Born Zen [Hyers is a moderate Evangelical Christian and former Chair of Religion at Gustavus Adolphus College]


Is the Heart of Man Deceitful Above All Things and Desperately Wicked?

According to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus taught, “If you see a woman and lust after her, I say that you have already committed adultery in your heart.” In other words, even if you donʼt commit adultery “in the flesh,” youʼve committed it just by lusting after someone. Now suppose you see someone in need, who needs some cash or a kind word, and you yearn in your heart to give it to them (but donʼt do give it to them “in the flesh”). Does that mean you have “already committed charity in your heart?” Think about it. If a lust-filled yearning is evidence of the depravity of the human heart, then what about the yearnings people feel to help and support one another? Is that not an indication of goodness in peopleʼs hearts?

Gandhi, the famous Hindu peace-activist, taught that people should seek out what was best in their own religions and hearts. Even Jesus put a positive spin on “the heart” when he taught that “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart” (Luke 6:45 & Mat. 12:35), and when he taught that people ought to “Love God with all their heart,” (Mat. 22:37). How is that possible if the heart is merely “wicked and deceitful?”

No doubt the “wickedness” of “the heart” expressed by Jeremiah 17:9 (“The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked”) applies to some people at some times when they do certain things, especially when they are at their lowest and weakest points. But to take Jeremiahʼs hyperbole and bake it in an oven until it becomes as dry and hard as a brick of dogma, and make that brick a cornerstone of your theology takes a heart dry of compassion and lacking in honest appraisals of othersʼ beliefs and actions.
- E.T.B.


In my opinion Man is innately evil.
- Kano V.

Then feel free to kill yourself. Think of it as one less evil person in the world.
- David Worrell (featured at http://holysmoke.org/quotes.htm


One of Christianityʼs chief offenses is not that it has enlisted the services of bad men, but that it has misdirected the energies of good ones. The kindly, the sensitive, the thoughtful, those who are striving to do their best under its influence, are troubled, and consequently often develop a more or less morbid frame of mind. The biographies of the best men in Christian history offer many melancholy examples of the extent to which they have falsely accused themselves of sins during their “unconverted” state, and the manner in which harmless actions are magnified into deadly offenses.
- Chapman Cohen, Essays in Freethinking


I regard revivals as essentially barbaric. The fire that has to be blown all the time is a poor thing to get warm by. I think they do no good but much harm; they make innocent people think they are guilty, and very mean people think they are good.
- Robert Ingersoll


Instant Conversions

Some people have an instant “conversion” to alcoholism.~They take their first drink, or have their first good drunk and understand (in the words of a very young alcoholic client I once had) “This (drinking) is what I was put on this world to do.”

For some people their religion is an illness they are trying to recover from and the recovery process is more difficult than recovering from alcoholism.
- Saint Vilis mailto:vilis@rcn.com at the Yahoo Group, ExitFundyism


In the days of my youth, ministers depended on revivals to save souls and reform the world. The emotional sermons, the sad singing, the hysterical “Amens,” the hope of heaven, the fear of hell, caused many to lose what little sense they had. In this condition they flocked to the “mournerʼs bench” — asked for prayers of the faithful — had strange feelings, prayed, and wept and thought they had been “born again.” Then they would tell their experiences — how wicked they had been, how evil had been their thoughts, their desires, and how good they had suddenly become.

They used to tell the story of an old woman who, in telling her experience, said, “Before I was converted, before I gave my heart to God, I used to lie and steal, but now, thanks to the grace and blood of Jesus Christ, I have quit ʻem both, in a great measure.”

Well, while the cold winter lasted, while the snows fell, the revival went on, but when the winter was over, the boats moved in the harbor again, the wagons rolled, and business started again, most of the converts “backslid” and fell again into their old ways. But the next winter they were on hand again, read to be “born again.” They formed a kind of stock company, playing the same parts every winter and backsliding every spring.
- Robert Ingersoll, “Why I am An Agnostic”


Were it true that a converted man as such is of an entirely different kind from a natural man, there surely ought to be some distinctive radiance. But notoriously there is no such radiance. Converted men as a class are indistinguishable from normal men,

By the very intensity of his fidelity to the paltry ideals with which an inferior intellect may inspire him, a saint can be even more objectionable and damnable than a superficial “carnal” man would be in the same situation.
- William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience


One Sunday afternoon my cousin and I were eating at a restaurant. He paused, and started pointing at people. “Heʼs a Christian . Heʼs a Christian . So is she and she and that other guy.” I asked how he was so sure. His reply? “I was a hard-core evangelical Christian for a few years, remember? Itʼs not hard to see once you know what to look for. Look for someone who looks like theyʼre wearing clothes just a little bit nicer than theyʼre comfortable in, that have a smile on their face. It wonʼt look like a happy smile, itʼll look kind of contrived and forced, like theyʼre trying to convince themselves theyʼre happy and rich.”
- Justice McPherson


Knock! Knock!

Two evangelical Christians at the door: May we come in and share some good news with you?

Me: Donʼt you mean, “may we blatantly disregard your privacy for a few minutes in order to further our own personal goals?” Tell me, which denomination do you belong to, and when was it founded? Thatʼs Protestant, isnʼt it? I bet the Pope has rings older than your denomination. I bet your denomination numbers a couple million at most. Catholics number far more. In fact, if you added up every member of every Protestant denomination on earth, the Catholics equal or exceed that number. You say thatʼs a logical fallacy, truth is not determined by sheer numbers? Thatʼs what all small denominations say. Heck, maybe youʼre knocking on doors because youʼre bored seeing the same faces in church or you fear your heaven wonʼt have enough folks in it to form a decent choir. I have a hot tip for you, youʼll be happier if you seek out people whom you admire — and things you enjoy — on an individual basis, rather than try to pour yourself and the whole world into a “one size fits all” religious Jello mold.
- E.T.B.


Evangelist: A bearer of good tidings, particularly (in a religious sense) such as assure us of our own salvation and the damnation of our neighbors.
- Ambrose Bierce, The Devilʼs Dictionary


Pardon The Misspellings

Last Christmas I heard an Evangelist warn, “Santa is just Satan misspelled!”

If thatʼs true then maybe “Evangelist” is just “Evilʼs Agent” misspelled?

And maybe, “Fundamentalist Christian” is just “Filthier Mad Cunts in Satan” misspelled?
- Source unknown


Speaking Of Misspellings

Maybe, “God Bless America” is just “Assbead micro gel” misspelled?

Maybe, “House of Worship” is just “Whore Sushi poof” or “Whore of his opus,” misspelled?

Maybe, “Christian Fellowship” is just “Lisa, his elf porn witch,” or, “Elf Porn with Ass Chili,” misspelled?

Maybe, “Assembly of God” is just “Bloody fag mess,” misspelled?

Maybe, “Praise Jesus” is just “Jesus is rape,” misspelled?

Maybe, “Pensacola Christian College” is just “Gil Selects a choice anal porn,” misspelled?

- Darin Boyd


A nifty slogan to have printed on a T-shirt before being dragged to an evangelistic rally by your friends: God Damned Me To Hell And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt.
- E.T.B.


When Gary told me he had found Jesus, I thought, Yahoo! Weʼre rich! But it turned out to be something different.
- Jack Handey, The Lost Deep Thoughts

Christian Tracts By Jack Chick

If youʼve never seen a Christian tract produced by Jack Chick (who has sold over 400 million of them in over 70 languages), they are cartoon booklets that one reviewer summed up as “hard core Protestant pornography.” The reviewer continued, “Consider the following scenarios found in Chick tracts. One: a masked burglar penetrates a dwelling but is welcomed by the unusually friendly occupant. The two hug and the scene ends with the burglar crying, ‘I want it! I want it!’ and dropping on his hands and knees to the floor. Two: a young, unmarried couple who are ‘all love, man,’ are invited into a bachelorʼs pad by its two muscular occupants, who have been hoping theyʼd come. After gasping and sobbing with joy the couple leaves ‘20 minutes later’ relieved and grateful. Three: a bearded hipster in a turtleneck enters a gay bar and asks a lonely guy if this seat is taken. Bearded turtleneck tells lonely guy that he knows ‘a special love’ that can ‘fill that emptiness,’ adding, ‘Youʼve tried everything else.’ The two leave the bar together and we see a final shot: lonely guy raises his eyes to the ceiling and says, ‘I want you to control everything,’ while bearded turtleneck clenches his fist in grim passion.

“This is spiritual porn, pure sadomasochistic fantasy with an emphasis on the rhetorical foreplay leading up to the inevitable seduction and submission to Jesus Christ. The money shot, when it comes, is a close-up of the humiliated but grateful sinner gasping, sobbing, and quaking with passion as the salty body fluid of tears coats his or her smooth, round cheeks. Even if the sinner rejects Jesus Christ we get to see him on his knees gasping, sobbing, and quaking with passionate agony before an unmoved Jesus on the Day of Judgment. Either way, the sadistic Chick gets his fix. Chick calls these lost souls, ‘broken’ in his first printed tract, Why No Revival? ‘Fill me with your love,’ a man prays on his knees, his rump turned to face the reader: ‘Iʼm vile and unworthy.’

“There are numerous variations: a bound and gagged woman sweet-talks her rough-and-tumble captors into joining her on the floor; a waitress at a truck stop canʼt resist joining the shocking intimacy displayed by a threesome at her table; two young bucks with bibles knock on the door of a lonely, middle-aged woman. But all the fantasies use the conventions of pornography: strangers meet (they are often celebrity look-a-likes) and through a sequence of wooden dialogue, bad acting, and clunky transitions immediately establish an unrealistic level of intimacy climaxing with the words ‘gasp!’ ‘sob,’ and joyous close ups of squirting, salty body fluids. After the action a lame joke serves as the coda and the tract is titled with a ripped-off mainstream movie title or pop-culture phrase: Miss Universe, The Gay Blade, or Superman. Chick tracks are the Tijuana bibles of Christianity. (For those of you not ‘in the know,’ Tijuana bibles were primitive porno comics in a tiny rectangular format widely circulated throughout the early and mid-twentieth century.)”
- Daniel K. Raeburn, “The Holy Book of Chick,” The Imp, No.2, 1998

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