Random thoughts about religious TV
I'm a big fan of religious programming, and in Milwaukee there are two awesome Christian channels I check almost daily. One of my favorite shows is We Sold Our Souls For Rock 'n' Roll, which is about how Satan is at work in the music of AC/DC, Metallica, and, um, Sting. (Solo material, sure, but The Police?) It reminds me of when I was 14, and this youngish, mullet-haired preacher came to my church to talk about "backward masking," which is when rock bands put evil messages on their records that subconciously inspire teens to get stoned and blow their heads off.
I love religious programming because it's terrible at doing what it's supposed to do, which is convert people. In We Sold Our Souls For Rock 'n' Roll, rock lyrics are printed over flames and screaming devils, and a disembodied voice disputes the sickly Satanic messages coming from songs like "You Shook Me All Night Long." Anybody who has actually heard rock music doesn't take AC/DC lyrics seriously. When Gene Simmons spits blood, everybody knows it's a joke. So when We Sold Our Souls For Rock 'n' Roll warns listeners against the "danger" this music presents, it just makes the church seem out-of-touch. I feel dumb writing this because it seems so obvious, but the powers that be at the religious TV channels are totally oblivious to it. Case in point: The other night I was flipping through the on-screen guide when I noticed Kirk Cameron was hosting a show on how to talk to people about your faith on the religious channel. I'm not sure it's possible for a show synopsis to be more enticing than this.
Kirk (and a mustochioed British guy whose name escapes me) chatted for a half-hour about different scenarios that Christians find themselves in when trying to convert people. Talking about your faith is a natural impulse, Kirk explained, because anyone who doesn't accept Jeezus will perish. Anyway, the point of the show was this: Christians are being too nice when talking about God. In order to convert people, you have to explain in bloody detail the lifetime of damnation that awaits if you don't accept the Caucausian Jeezus Christ in your life.
Talking about burning in hell fire for waching Desperate Housewives is hilarious, not persuasive. What Christians need to do is talk about what awaits believers in heaven; namely, topless virgin angels and all the cheeseburgers you can eat. Pitch it as an invest in the future, like mutual funds. Death is the ultimate retirement, and should be sold as such. Of course, I endorse what Kirk is saying 1,000 percent. I like my religious programming crazy, after all.