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Syndicated Cynic: Haunted salvation

“We’ll scare the Hell out of you.” Come on.

Imagine this. Jesus is wearing a ghost costume, hiding behind a shroud, jumping out and scaring a couple of prepubescent kids, telling them that if they’re frightened, they are going to Hell.

Sounds silly, right?

That’s essentially what the Christian scare-houses are trying to do.

I have no problem with Halloween or anything like that, but I think this conversion tactic is sickening.

By showcasing extreme and terrifying situations, these events, such as Tulsa’s own Nightmare run by GUTS Church, are trying to convert anyone and everyone looking for the seasonal scare, including many people that are already Christians.

Multiple youth leaders of mine were forcibly “saved” at Nightmare when I was in high school.

A typical Christian scare-house or “hell house” usually presents the audience with a few scenarios that are the result of bad situations, such as someone goofing up sexually and then killing him or herself, someone having an abortion, someone drinking and someone shooting students in a high school.

After these scenes, there is typically a scene that shows Hell, followed by one that depicts Jesus and salvation.

After seeing this, viewers are supposed to decide they don’t want these drastically bad things to happen to them, so they will become Christians. This way, they won’t have to see someone shoot up their schools.

I’m sure many Oracle readers have been to something like this before, and maybe have even helped put it on, but I can’t find any biblical backing for this sort of ordeal. I think it’s ultimately desensitizing and harmful to the cause of Christ, and reminiscent of the old hellfire preachers.

In the Gospels, we see a picture of Jesus that is painted with kindness, forgiveness and love.

Yes, it’s clearly stated that there are repercussions for sins, and bad things do happen many times when people make bad choices, but these hell houses that are popping up across the United States promote fear.

This tactic is simply not reminiscent of the love of Christ.

In one prominent scene from GUTS’ Nightmare, a car crash takes place, and the devastating aftermath unfolds around attendees.

Since the rest of the experience is sin-based, then it can become easy to see such an event as the result of sin.

What then can be said of the Christians involved in these types of tragedies? Or what happens when people sin and no one ends up covered in blood, screaming for help? Wouldn’t this confuse you?

It’s the world we’re in. Christians mess up. Christians drink alcohol. Christians have sex. Christians make bad choices. Christians don’t go to Hell.

That aside, scaring people to Christ isn’t what Christianity truly is, and it could potentially leave those involved feeling further disappointed and confused later in life.

Is this the type of image that we would want to represent our religion?

Do we want to be known as the people that attempt to scare teens into joining us? Don’t we have so much more to offer?

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