Thursday, June 6, 2013

Flight 144

Gunslinger was published in 1997.  Flight 144 was published in 1998.  In just one year, Chick managed to produce a tract that completely contradicted everything about Gunslinger.  Flight 144 is meant to be another argument for sola fide, or faith alone, the theological position that good works do not bring you into Heaven.  Instead, it ends up being an argument for running like hell away from Jack Chick's idea of God.

A couple spends 50 years on the mission field, trusting in their good works. But when they die and stand before God, they learn that good works can’t save… only Jesus can.

This would be a far superior beginning if we had William Shatner looking out that window instead of this lady.

I have read this tract multiple times now and every time I read it, I forget this woman isn't the flight attendant. Why would you draw a female character in a suit jacket and little hat on a plane if she isn't the flight attendant?

"No ma'am.  Everything is under control.  The plane's supposed to catch fire and crash.  Is this your first time flying?"

Man, some days it's just not worth getting out of bed.

What sort of airport lets people crowd around the planes before takeoff?  Zambolo Airport, I am disappointed.  I guess it's a good thing you don't actually exist.

"We'll be praying for you."  Keep that in mind for later.  It's a good thing we can't see much of their well-wishers at the bottom there, because from what I can make out of them, they'd probably all be horribly stereotypical caricatures.

"Wow!  I love announcing information that's already apparent the reader out loud to MYSELF."

Why is the woman in glasses in the next row up looking so nervously at the blonde next to her?  Is she the one who's going to wreck the plane?  Once again, I'd rather hear about the background characters than the actual plot.

I don't care what perspective we've viewing them from, the Reverend's forearms are unnaturally short in relation to the rest of him.  And what angle is Ed sitting at?  For that to be possible, he'd have be able to turn 180 degrees at the waist while keeping his hips stationary.

Maybe after the plane crashes they'll find out they were secretly Barbie dolls.  It's like an episode of The Twilight Zone again.

Now there's your problem right there.  The plane is alive and speaking!  It's an abomination of nature and God had no choice but to smite it.

"[W]ith God's help."  Keep that in mind also.  The Reverend and his wife believe in God and have accepted him as their savior, and spent fifty years helping others in his name.

Mrs. Davidson's face is going to greet me in my nightmares.  Look at it.  I don't know what emotion she's meant to convey, but I feel like I've seen the true form of the Destructor.    Her eyes aren't even level with each other.  Maybe she realized she was in a Chick tract and her body is slowly dissolving in an attempt to escape.

"Tell us about yourself, Ed."  "Well I killed a guy!  I also joined a prison gang and assaulted a bunch of inmates before I found God in jail.  And once when I was a kid I threw rocks at the neighbors' cat until it died."  Ways not to begin conversations, 101.

They're trying to see who can look the most smug.  So far the Reverend's got the lead, but no one ever really wins in a Chick tract.

If he killed a guy on a tanker and just got out of jail a week ago, either his first action upon release was to visit Zambolo, or he was in prison here.  Why was he in jail in Africa?  Did they stop in for the night?  It makes it sound like the murder happened on the tanker, but in that case, why not bring him back to the US?

A murderer who found God vs. missionaries who devoted their life to helping the poor. Where could this story be headed?  The suspense is killing me!

Ed's expression is unnerving me more than Mrs. Davidson's, actually.  She looked like she was realizing she needed to change her Depends before they got on board.  Ed looks like he wants to eat my skin.

That's what getting to Heaven is all about: crowns and mansions.  It's not about being with God your creator and living your life in the best way you can for Him.  No, it's about material gain.  Appeal to people's greed to convert them.  Why not?  Chick's taught us that it doesn't matter if you're a good person so long as you accept Jesus.

"Pfft, who cares about helping others?  Converting them is the only thing that matters."  Because God never instructed that we should do good works for others:

31 When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: 32 And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?  38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?  39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.  41 Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:   42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall He answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Matthew 25: 31-46, KJV.  You know, that certainly sounds like he's saying that those who do not do as Jesus commanded and help others will not go to Heaven, but I'm sure I'm just reading the Bible wrong because Jack Chick knows better than everyone else.

I think the Reverend's repeated use of "dear" is supposed to make him come off as condescending and unlikeable, but considering how often Chick uses "little," "beloved," and "precious" in his narration to refer to those he considers unsaved, the attempt falls flat.

"No, Ed, you don't understand.  We're following the teachings of Jesus and helping others as he would.  Providing for others' basic needs is more important than proselytizing."

And scroll back up and read the fourth page again.  "We'll be praying for you."  That speech bubble is coming from someone in a turban, which is Chick art means "heathen."  So they've clearly converted at least two people, judging by the use of "we" in that sentence.  They just put others' physical needs before converting them.  Which, frankly, is more likely to get others to respect and admire their faith than just throwing tracts at them.

"Rev. Davidson...Are you sure that you and your wife are ready to meet the Lord?"  Well, let's see.  They've obviously accepted Jesus as their savior, devoted their lives to doing what he taught, and have converted at least two people.  Ed's only converted one and he's sure he's going to Heaven.  So yeah, I'd say they're ready to meet the Lord.  Watch as Chick completely contradicts the lesson in Gunslinger about how all you need to get to Heaven is to accept Jesus in order to prove me wrong, though.

You know that feeling when you throw up in your mouth a little?  That's what Ed's face looks like here.

"The Bible says that good works can't save ANYONE!"  Technically, yes, but that's a gross oversimplification.  According to the Bible, salvation is by grace alone (For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God - Ephesians 2:8), and by Christ alone (Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. - Acts 4:12).

However, Romans 1: 5 also says that faith entails obedience to God: "By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for His name".  And Galatians 5:6 adds that faith requires work in love: "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love."  And Philippians 2:12 refers to salvation as a process, contradicting the fundamentalist notion of once saved, always saved:  "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."

I'm going to move on now, but I'll have other verses later on.  The point is, the Bible says salvation is God's gift.  It cannot be earned.  But the Bible also tells us it can be lost by disobeying God.  So since God instructs us to do good works, yes, works are necessary for salvation.

What Ed is advocating (as is Chick) is "screw what Jesus actually told us to do!  All you need to do is believe in Him!"  And in that case, what was the point of Jesus ever telling anyone anything?

That is the biggest fish I've ever seen in my life.  I'm sure it was intended as perspective, but it failed miserably.  It looks like a scene from the sort of movie that would be featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

 No one survived?  The plane hit the water in one piece and then would have gently drifted down, given that water would slow their descent, giving the passengers ample time to get to the flotation devices and oxygen masks, but no one survived?  Um, okay.

Wait, so Ed gets to bypass judgment entirely?  That's in direct contradiction to 2 Corinthians 5:10: "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."  And Chick believes that the Bible is the literal, inerrant word of God, so doesn't this make him a blasphemer?

Remember everyone!  Accept Jesus, don't do anything he told you to do, and it's all good!  You'll get a mansion.

Well, yes, this should be where they are rewarded, as they've accepted Jesus as their savior, and again, Chick, you yourself said that's all that's necessary for salvation.  How is it that this tract's message is "You need belief in God for salvation, not works," but the couple who believed in God is being turned away for not converting others (i.e., not performing a certain work)?  Did no one proofread this?

Judging by Chick's previous message and the entire Bible, this cannot possibly be God, because even in Chick's bizarre fundamentalist worldview where you don't actually have to do a thing besides accept Jesus to get into heaven, the Davidsons obviously qualify.  So who is this?  Satan?

The only way those verses could be taken more out of context is if they randomly appeared during a John Waters film.  Maybe in voice over while the guy in Pink Flamingos is lipsynching to "Surfin' Bird" with his anus.  Here are the verses in context, emphasis mine:

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.  24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:  25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.  26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:  27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

What it's saying is that those do the works God commands will enter Heaven, and those who do not and pretend to do good works will not.  So again, works are required and there is no reason the Davidsons are being rejected by scary faceless God.

At what point while drawing and scripting this thing did Chick sit back and say to himself, "Yep, this will make people want to convert"?  Does he honestly think people will be rooting for the smug murderer who advocates against helping people if you can aggressively convert them instead?  Does he think anyone would look at his interpretation of God casting out people who believed and did nothing but follow the teachings of Jesus throughout their life and consider this a loving God they'd want to spend eternity with?

"No!  It was ALL me!  ME ME ME ME ME!  Stop trying to steal the glory!"

Again, according to the Bible, salvation is an inheritance ("Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." - Galatians 5:21) that is given to everyone who accepts Jesus ("Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not." - 1 John 3:1).  But the Bible also says salvation can be lost (1 Timothy 1:19, 1 Timothy 4:1, 1 Timothy 5:8, 1 Timothy 6:10, 1 Timothy 6:12).  And it says that those who don't do as God commands will not go to Heaven (Matthew 7:21).

The Davidsons are coming off as much more loving than Chick's God.  They devoted their lives to helping others in the name of their faith.

Though, with that said, how can people of other religions do good works in the name of Jesus?  Wouldn't that imply that they're of the same religion?  Otherwise, why do good works in Jesus's name?

But the Davidsons accepted Jesus and - argh, just forget it.  This tract is completely nonsensical both in terms of the Bible and Chick's other tracts.  I guess this was his retaliation for people saying he ought to be feeding the poor and not making crappy comics or something.

Again, Rev. Davidson is coming much better off here than faceless God, given that he actually seems to care that other people are going to suffer for all eternity.

Why does Eve look so scheming here?  The Bible makes it clear she didn't set out to destroy Adam's salvation or anything.  She was curious and tricked, not a prelude to Jezebel.

For a minute I didn't realize that the narration on this page and the last were meant to be God speaking.  I thought Chick had stepped in as narrator, as he usually does, and was suddenly declaring himself to be Jesus.  Which would explain a lot.

Again, we see God all nonchalant about his creations burning for eternity, while Rev. Davidson is comforting his distraught wife and glaring in rage at this monster.  God is coming off badly in comparison to the supposed villain.  Fail, Chick.  Fail.

Even if we bought the absolutely moronic premise that God doesn't want humanity to do the things he commanded in the Bible, just to believe in Him, the tract clearly establishes that the Davidsons believed in God.  So he's just punishing a set of believers for also doing good works in his name, which, again, he commands in the Bible.  This tract is anti-logic.

I think Chick is fundamentally misunderstanding the point of good works.  Catholics, for example, don't believe that good works can earn salvation.  They believe salvation is a gift from grace alone, but that it can be lost by failing to do the works God commands.  Which sounds like common sense to me, but what do I know?  I don't make hateful little comics for a living.

Why does he always draw the angels so happy when they're throwing people into the Lake of Fire?

In conclusion, Jack Chick is an idiot who worships a monster of a God, and he can't even keep it straight from one tract to the next how salvation works.  Just wow.  You've outdone yourself this time, Chick.

Oh, and Chick has a self-promotion tract on his site that states you don't have to convert others to get into Heaven, so what is even.


  1. Oh man, I remember finding this one in a bus station bathroom. I thought for sure it was some kind of parody until now.

    1. Yeah, I don't blame you