I invite this upon myself by subscribing to OneNewsNow and WorldNetDaily, but sometimes I see something that just angers me so much that I actually almost give in and see it for myself. Truly, abstinence is the best policy when it comes to known bullshit. But this one would definitely be a sight to see, I think. Here’s the latest email:
American Family Association / American Family Radio is partnering with Revival Fires International, the ministry of Evangelist Tim Todd, this week (Aug. 24-28) to place a Truth for Youth Bible into the hands of teenagers who will distribute them to lost students in our public schools. Teenagers are urged to participate in this vital campaign by going to: http://thetruthforyouth.com/tfy_bibles_2009.asp or calling toll free 1-800-733-4737 (8:00am – 6:00pm CST) and ordering a FREE BIBLE for a teenager to distribute at school. Tim Todd has underwritten the costs of making this Bible available free of charge.
It’s easy to be clear about the concept here. This isn’t a free Bible for teens. It’s a free Bible for teens to give to their unsaved friends at school. There are so many things wrong with this I don’t know where to begin.
First of all, if you’re 12, I don’t think you’ve really taken a lot of time to explore your faith. I mean, ideally, a young person has never been forced to go to church or to believe anything and has been invited to explore the world around hir with an objective point of view. Parents encourage critical thinking and let the child make up hir own mind. If a young person hasn’t yet figured things out for hirself, how could ze possibly be ready to start preaching to hir peers? Oh, right, THAT DOESN’T MATTER TO PEOPLE WITH AN INDOCTRINATION AGENDA. Besides, I’m sure a lot of these kids have been speaking in tongues for years already.
Secondly, it angers me to no end that the specific target is the public schools. This is a space that is supposed to be secular, where no religion gets taught as truth. These Christian extremists are making it their battlegrounds, nonetheless. If it isn’t teaching intelligent design and abstinence, it’s secret distribution of their literature through their agents. It’s dangerous, and I hope school officials intercede and do not allow students to pass out these materials to other students.
The worst part of this all is the content of the Truth For Youth book. It’s not just a Bible.
“The Truth For Youth” consists of the entire New Testament in the God’s Word version, along with 100 pages of powerful full color comics that are packed with “absolute truths” regarding issues young people are faced with, such as: Evolution, Sexual Purity, Homosexuality, Abortion, Pornography, Drugs, Drunkenness, Peer Pressure, School Violence, Secular Rock Music, Sorcery and Witchcraft. God’s wonderful plan of salvation is incorporated into each of the stories.
My first question is, what is the God’s Word version? I mean, if you believe there is any spiritual meaning to the Bible, doesn’t that mean you believe it is God’s word? Who gave these people permission to claim their version as the real God’s Word version? (And isn’t it silly to talk about versions as if any one version is better than another. The very existence of different versions speaks to the lack of legitimacy the Bible has, but I digress…)
My next favorite part is “absolute truths.” Why is absolute truths in quotes? That doesn’t speak well for the book. They either are absolute truths or they are not absolute truths. If you have to make up the expression “absolute truths” to describe the cheesy filth you call knowledge, well, it might be more obvious that it’s cheesy filth. Let’s take some guesses as to how these topics play out:
Evolution: It didn’t happen, and everything you learn in Biology is a lie.
Sexual Purity: It’s the only way your Christian friends will respect your body. And don’t bother learning all that stuff about sex, you don’t need to know it. When you get married, it’ll all come naturally.
Homosexuality: It’s a sin, a choice, and the root of all evil.
Abortion: You shouldn’t have to think about doing it, because we covered that purity thing already, so what you need to know is how to build a pipe bomb for the local Planned Parenthood because abortion is truly evil.
Pornography: Don’t do it. Sexual purity! Come on, you know you like the Jonas Brothers.
Drugs: Don’t do them.
Drunkenness: We can’t tell you alcohol is bad, because we want you to partake in communion, so we’ll just address alcohol abuse.
Peer Pressure: Don’t do anything your friends tell you to do unless they’re saved Christians, in which case do everything they tell you to do.
School Violence: Don’t be violent unless you know a kid that is gay.
Secular Rock Music: Don’t listen to it. The mere absence of God makes it unholy.
Sorcery and Witchcraft: 1) It exists. 2) It’s evil. 3) Avoid any contact or promotion of it. This includes Harry Potter.
Think I’m making a whole lot of trouble over nothing? Here’s the scariest part of the email:
In the past seven years, a partnership with American Family Association in these evangelistic efforts has resulted in more than 350,000 Bibles being given away in school and more than 2500 young people sending decision coupons, emails or letters confirming they have surrendered their hearts to Christ. A total of more than 1.25 million Truth for Youth Bibles have been distributed since the conception of the Truth for Youth Bible for teens.
That’s 50,000 Bibles (plus trash literature) a year being given away in schools. The convert success rate doesn’t seem to be high percentage-wise, but 2500 people “surrendering their hearts to Christ” is 2500 who lost the ability to think for themselves. And if there are over a million Truth for Youth Bibles out there, then this is a serious concern.
I want to wrap up this post by pointing out this atheists would never do this. Atheists might encourage critical thinking and skepticism, and teach science and reasoning, but we don’t have extensive campaigns to convert youth. If promoting intellect helps our cause, well that’s just convenient then.
In the end, I couldn’t bring myself to lie or give $3 to see a Truth For Youth publication for myself. Truthfully, I’m probably better off.