Friday, April 4, 2014

Christian mainstream advertising

So, it seemed like an appropriate time to have this rant.  Noah.  Really?  And this is expected to be a major blockbuster movie.

No, I will not be attending.

In my opinion, it's another major Christian advertising campaign.  Cool graphics?  Big name actor?  Lots of action?  See, the church isn't an anachronism... we're cool too.  Like that story?  We've got a whole book full of 'em, check it out this Sunday.

It drives me nuts because it's so blatant, so obvious, and it's still going to make a ton of money for the Christian campaign machine.

Ok, I'm going to stop here for a second and make a distinction.  In my mind there are two types of Christians: the quiet, contemplative, non-pushy believers, and then the you're-all-going-to-hell, slick, used-car-salesman Christians.

The small town that I grew up in had at least a dozen churches.  Even though my family wasn't religious some of our close family friends were very devout.  Now, those friends were the quiet, non-pushy variety.  Every once and a while if something was going on they would say something like "we'll keep you in our prayers" but that was as close as they ever got to talking about church.  I loved that family, super nice people, just really good folks.  They did a short mission in Africa, fell in love with one of the little girls there (they already had four of their own), adopted her and brought her back to the states.  Just awesome, genuine people.  I will declare here that I have absolutely no problem with the Christians like that family.  Everyone is entitled to their beliefs as long as they aren't pushing it on others.

However, the obnoxiously vocal minority of Christians (I'm hoping they're the minority and that they're just the loudest) drive me up the wall.  In my home town they would paper the parks and playgrounds with comic pamphlet propaganda.  I actually found them online, they're called Chick Tracts.  They are about things like horrible men that repent and go to heaven, good people who aren't Christians going to hell, abortion is murder, homosexuals are evil doers, etc.  If it amuses you, check out the one on how Catholics are secretly Satanists here.  Or the one about how the generous Buddhist is going to hell, there's an interesting scene where the Buddhists beat up the Christian for trying to teach them about Christ, here.  Because you know how Buddhists react so violently to other religions.

Then, when I was in High School there was a Christian club/cult that actively recruited attractive, popular, smart kids with good grades.  By the time I was a Senior, if you wanted to be a cool kid you had to be in that group (one of the reasons I probably wasn't considered a "cool" kid).  And whatever their beliefs, once they joined the cult they became fever-eyed zealots.  I swear there was brain washing going on.  Maybe they drank LSD laced kool-aid and had group sex while listening to the Bible on tape.  That's the only way I can explain the drastic change that came over these kids.  Normal, smart kids suddenly turned into sweaty, Bible-thumping creeps.  It kind of reminded me of one of the body-snatcher movies... "Why don't you stay after school, walk down the dark hallways, spend some quality time with us, get into the bathtub naked with the slimy alien... you'll see things differently."

So, when I see advertisements for major motion pictures based on Bible stories I see the results of those used-car-salesman Christians putting on a sleek advertising campaign.  "Look, we're hip, we're cool, we like big, flashy movies too.  Come check out our service on Sunday."  I start expecting to find the Chick Tracts left on every movie seat.  I hear that voice whispering "Join us... join usss...  join usssssss...  sssss... get in the bathtub naked with the alien..."  It's this kind of subtle coercion: Big Blockbuster Movie = "Christians are cool!!!"

Now, I'm sure the vast majority of Christians are the quiet, non-pushy type that never really bother anyone.  But that extremely vocal minority (hopefully it's a minority) can give people such a bad impression of Christianity that it actually pushes people away from the religion.  I hate salesmen, most of us hate it when someone tries to sell us something.  Just leave us alone already.  Please.

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