My best friend from college and her husband who was also one of my best friends from college sent me an xmas card. It came with a newsletter and a tract.
The weird thing about every (christian) tract I've ever seen is that they assume you already believe in God.
Every tract ever:
-Hey, you know that God guy? And that Heaven place?
-Well, did you know that if you want to go to Heaven and be with God, you have to accept Jesus? The bible says so!
-So, say this prayer.
So, here's the tract they sent me. I haven't actually read it yet.
-The cover says, "God's Simple Plan of Salvation"
The problem with this is that I don't believe in God and I don't believe I need any salvation. A good tract should convince me of both of these, and convince me that the "plan" will work.
-My Friend: I am asking you the most important question of life. Your joy or your sorrow for all eternity depends upon your answer.
Maybe "sorrow" is just a really big understatement. Or maybe the people who wrote this tract don't believe that hell is literally full of fire.
-The question is: Are you saved? It is not a question of how good you are, nor if you are a church member, but are you saved? Are you sure you will go to Heaven when you die?
I think, "Are you saved?" and, "Are you sure you will go to Heaven when you die?" can be different questions, depending on who you ask. I'm sure there are religious groups that don't believe in this "being saved" thing but do believe in Heaven, and their adherents probably believe they will go to heaven when they die. Aren't catholics like that? I mean, they have that stuff about confession, but they don't have anything about being saved.
-God says in order to go to Heaven, you must be born again. In John 3:7, Jesus said to Nicodemus, "Ye must be born again."
-In the Bible God gives us the plan of how to be born again which means to be saved. His plan is simple! You can be saved today. How?
I kind of wonder how they know that "to be born again" means "to be saved". But since they're quoting the bible and they haven't even tried to convince me that the bible is a trust-worthy source of information, it's a moot point.
-First, my friend, you must realize you are a sinner. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
Proof? What is "sin"? How do you know I've done it? I'm not going to take the bible's word for it.
-Because you are a sinner, you are condemned to death. "For the wages [payment] of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). This includes eternal separation from God in Hell. "... it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).
I think that at this point they think they have convinced me that I am in dire need of this "saving". But they haven't. Not only are they basing this on an unreliable source, but it also all sounds ridiculous. They haven't really explained what a sinner is. I suppose they're assuming I already know. It means I've broken any commandment in the bible, and, according to some xtians, even if I haven't, I'm still a sinner because of Adam. But then, if they are assuming I am already familiar with the bible, then why are they telling me ...
OK, I just figured it out. They are assuming that I'm one of those wishy-washy I-believe-in-God I-went-to-bible-school once xtians who hasn't really seriously thought about any of this, and they are seriously concerned that I don't believe in Jesus hard enough.
OK, I'm perusing the tract now, and it basically says this:
1. You're a sinner.
2. You're going to go to hell.
3. God wants to save you from hell.
4. He sent Jesus to serve your sentence for you.
5. You have to say you're sorry and accept the gift.
This thing about having to accept it has always bothered me. It's so weirdly illogical. God was all like, "I am so mad at you!! I will kill you!!! No, instead I will kill this other guy. But now you have to say you're sorry and say you accept this guy's punishment, or else I'll just go ahead and kill you too." I don't know, I mean, if someone owed me $100 and their friend gave me $100, I would be all satisfied; I wouldn't go after the original person for any reason.
The christian answer I've gotten to this before is that God is perfectly just, so he can't just let it go that So-and-So was the one who really owed the $100. God can't let that person just get away with it.
But then he does let that person get away with, with just saying, "Yeah, I'm sorry, and I accept my friend's gift."