Monday, December 20th, 2010

If ever there was doubt that an awful lot of evangelical preaching and teaching has been hopelessly ineffective, the Christian Post dispels it:

The majority of Protestants and evangelicals believe that good people and people of other religions can go to heaven, according to author David Campbell.

Campbell, who co-wrote American Grace, How Religion Divides and Unites Us, contends that surveys of 3,000 Americans, used to write the book, show that American people of faith, though devout, are very tolerant. So much so that most believers also believe that good people, despite their religious affiliation, can go to heaven.

Among the faiths, 83 percent of evangelical Protestants agreed that good people of other religions can go to heaven. Ninety percent of black Protestants also believe good people can go to heaven.

When prodded further, more than half – 54 percent – of evangelical Protestants said yes, people of religions other than Christianity can go to heaven. Sixty-two percent of black Protestants agreed with the statement.

I haven’t read the book in question, so I don’t know what the questions were that were asked of those surveyed (what does “when prodded further” mean?). But those numbers are so high that it’s fair to believe that even if the actual figures are half of what the article presents, there are millions–maybe tens of millions–of “evangelicals” who have no clue what Scripture and their faith actually teach. What’s more, because they think that “good people” can be saved, it means that they have no incentive (other than obedience to Christ’s command, which probably won’t impress folks who have such a deficient understanding of Scripture) to witness for Christ. Is it any wonder that the evangelism efforts of so many evangelical churches is so anemic?


No, your browser isn’t broken. That’s “Merry Christmas” in Klingon, in case you aren’t up on your foreign languages. They don’t observe Christmas on Kronos, of course, but that hasn’t stopped some super-nerds from celebrating the holidays in true warrior style. According to the Wall Street Journal:

Across the country this week, productions of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” are warming hearts. In this city, one version poses this question: What if Charles Dickens were a Trekkie? [That’s Trekker to you, Qatlh (slime devil).]

The answer runs an hour and 20 minutes and includes three fight scenes, 17 actors with latex ridges glued to their foreheads and a performance delivered entirely in Klingon—a language made up for a Star Trek movie.

For those not fluent in Klingon, English translations are projected above the stage.

The arc of “A Klingon Christmas Carol” follows the familiar Dickens script: An old miser is visited on a hallowed night by three ghosts who shepherd him through a voyage of self-discovery. The narrative has been rejiggered to match the Klingon world view.

For starters, since there is neither a messiah nor a celebration of his birth on the Klingon planet of Kronos, the action is pegged to the Klingon Feast of the Long Night. Carols and trees are replaced with drinking, fighting and mating rituals. And because Klingons are more concerned with bravery than kindness, the main character’s quest is for courage.

We’ve all seen Shakespeare transported to other times and places–A Midsummer Night’s Dream set in 19th century Italy, for instance (very good) or Richard III set in 1930s Britain (not so hot)–but for literary reimaginings, this one takes the Rokeg blood pie.