Manipulating Others Into the Kingdom

November 27, 2007 at 12:22 pm 32 comments

There’s nothing I hate more than manipulative bait and switch preachers….. except for manipulative bait and switch videos:

From GodTube

Not only are you responsible for failing to be ready to die a martyr, you’re responsible for other peoples’ manipulative tactics as well. The only thing cheesier, and the twist I was expecting, was to make the guy with the gun become an angel or Jesus. Now THAT would have been sweet and a double smack on the knuckles! (sigh)

– Mysteryofiniquity

Entry filed under: MysteryOfIniquity. Tags: , , , , , , .

Video Clip – The Adventures of Mark Twain God is great, God is good…


  • 1. Thinking Ape  |  November 27, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    As sick as that clip is, at least it is compatible with the god of the majority of the Bible, especially Yahweh. Why is it that when we were Christians we could not see the mischievous impishness of Yahweh’s character throughout the majority of the scripture itself.

    I recommend Harold Bloom’s “The Book of J” as an excellent comparison for anyone to compare the Yahweh of the most famous Biblical stories to this video clip.

  • 2. societyvs  |  November 27, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    Interesting video – once again mainstream Christianity managed to take a good message and make it a horrible one (via manipulation and scare tactics). Plus I always thought you were supposed to keep one in the chamber (lol).

    That video was truly disgusting – what’s worse there were comments about the video from Christians about how great and powerful it was – that was all fear tactics up and down the video. The scenario was beyond reasonable and played on the hype the Christian faith is/or can be ‘persecuted’ (which it is not and we all know that). It was so extreme I am not sure how that coudl even be used in any ‘good way’? I didn’t like it – it was unrealistic and missed the message of Jesus by 2 counties, a few tree lines, and one crazy ass semi-maniacal hitchhiker and scared sh*tless pastor (and wife).

    In all honesty if I was put in that scenario I would likely say ‘I am not ready to die’ (who is ready to die in all honesty?). No amount of bullets in the gun would of changed that or made me think differently – I value life and that’s what I am taught via my faith. Now if I have to ‘sacrifice’ my life for something it sure in the hell won’t be that scenario – maybe breaking up a wife and husband who have kids from killing each other (now that’s sacrifice for the right reasons).

  • 3. mysteryofiniquity  |  November 27, 2007 at 5:05 pm


    LOL, keep one in the chamber…..yes, you are supposed to and I was expecting one in the film. Sheesh, I could write better suspense than that..

    I, too, was bothered by the extreme measures (and quasi-Hollywood scenario) used to deliver the message. What’s that pastor and his wife doing picking up hitchhikers anyway?

    I think the video plays on the fears people have about dying and especially the fears Christians have (and some non-Christians) of going to hell. If some people were honest about it, they would admit that they use religion as an antidote to the finality of death. It is for me anyway. I’m afraid of dying, of not seeing my family again, of non-existence. It may be irrational, but I feel it nonetheless.

    Some Christians use the gospel message to ask us, “Do you know where you will spend eternity?” and then proceed to provide an answer, even though no one knows where anyone will spend eternity or even if there is an eternity to spend it in. It’s the usual attempt to use an extreme situation that’s likely never to happen to scare Christians into “being ready” to provide an answer to unbelievers.

  • 4. Thinking Ape  |  November 27, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    I agree with societyvs, with one qualification: I don’t think the video is too “mainstream.” This qualification may by nitpicking, but when I hear “mainstream,” I tend to think of the majority of Christians in the United States – fairly nominal, but would consider themselves “born-again” nevertheless. This video is overtly evangelical, taking cues from a lack of Biblical knowledge and incorporating an emphasis on sensationalism. I would think that most Catholic, Protestant, and Anabaptist Christians would find this video revolting.

  • 5. karen  |  November 27, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    Good grief! What is it with evangelicals and their cheesy, uber-dramatic violence and loyalty fixation?

    Oh, and why can’t they learn to spell? Sigh …

    I was in a discussion with a fundamentalist online a while back and he presented this kind of scenario as a kind of atheist morality test: Would you say you believed something that was actually abhorrent to you (praise Hitler, say) if somebody had a gun to your head and making the false statement was the only way to live?

    I said hell yeah, I’d lie and say any stupid thing if some idiot put a gun to my head and lying gave me a reasonably good chance of escaping death. Why would I let a madman determine the parameters of my existence? Of course, people being held hostage often say things or read statements that they don’t really believe when they are under duress or threat of death. Society tends to understand and forgive them.

    Of course, if my saying that thing would harm another person – then I’d like to hope that I’d be courageous enough to hold my tongue.

    The Christian who posed the question seemed to see my answer as proof that atheists have no integrity or no morals or something.

  • 6. mysteryofiniquity  |  November 27, 2007 at 5:17 pm


    I too would lie in a heartbeat to save myself, my family, or anything of that nature. My mother would always corner me with this one. She’d wax eloquent about “end times” and how Christians will have to refuse the “mark of the beast” and if we take it, we are doomed for hell. She’d say, “Jesus said if we deny him before men, he’d deny us.” and I’d say, “If Jesus were any kind of God, he’d know your heart and forgive you for lying out loud to save some people or for taking a mark to stay alive.” She could never answer me after that.

    But it’s the same dilemma many fundies pose to other believers, “Would you lie to save yourself or _______? (insert whatever)” or “Would you deny Jesus in front of others?” The answer they were looking for of course is that we should never, ever lie because it’s a sin. To me the bigger sin is being given the choice of two evils and not forgiving someone for choosing the obvious.

  • 7. LeoPardus  |  November 27, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    Puke! Yuck! Phhhhbbbtt! That’s about it for my waxing eloquent on that video.

    That was poor. I’m sure someone thinks they made a great point. Not sure what it was though.

  • 8. kay  |  November 27, 2007 at 6:34 pm

    Ugh. What a melodramatic piece of trash. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

  • 9. mysteryofiniquity  |  November 27, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    It is pretty melodramatic. Post-melodramatic stress syndrome anyone?

  • 10. OneSmallStep  |  November 27, 2007 at 7:47 pm

    I’d say, “If Jesus were any kind of God, he’d know your heart and forgive you for lying out loud to save some people or for taking a mark to stay alive.”

    Exactly. After all, this is the same Jesus who said that the greatest love one demonstrates is to lay down one’s life for a friend. Wouldn’t it be the greatest love of all if one sacrificed eternal life/heaven for a friend?

  • 11. mysteryofiniquity  |  November 27, 2007 at 7:55 pm


    Indeed it would.

  • 12. the chaplain  |  November 27, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    This video is pretty bad, but if you want to see an even more manipulative piece of garbage, check out “A Letter from Hell,” also available on GodTube. That site is one seriously messed-up ministry.

  • 13. Littleagle  |  November 28, 2007 at 2:57 am

    Personally, I thought that it pointed out one major concept about Christianity, that most Christians do not have the faith they profess to have. They don’t really believe in what they call their faith.

    The problem is that faith in the Christian world is expected to be blind, that is to follow without question what they are taught and told by the clergy as to what is the truth of their faith. I believe Jesus was trying to teach us just the opposite, that faith is not blind, that it didn’t require fear of God, but the full knowledge that God needed nothing from you.

    Not to pray, not to follow any particular rules, especially the Ten Commandants which were merely guidelines to help us get along with each other, and most particular that there is no punishment doled out from God for not following its rules. Why would the All Mighty need its own creations to follow rules and then have no control as to whether or not they are followed and then to be so hurt and angered as to threaten eternal punishment should we choose not to follow them. No, God needs nothing. This would suggest that God is less than everything and that would be to limit that which is limitless.

    Faith on the other hand comes from your own complete inner knowing of this, that nothing is required by you from God. You are complete made of the same stuff as is God and that there is no limit to this power accept that which lays in your mind due to a lack of imagination and knowing.

    So, fear not and live to your highest vision of yourself as this is the gift God gave each of us. There is nothing you can do that would offend God for God gave you nothing that you are capable of doing that would be offensive to it. Offensiveness is a judgment and only people judge whether a thing is offensive. God cares not of these things.

    If we lived as Jesus did in this full knowledge and thus full faith, there would be no war, no killing, no harm done to one another or this planet because we would know that it does not serve the greater ends of life itself.

    The war in the middle east, which has been going on for thousands of years, (want is going on in this moment of now is just a continuation of what has been happening due to religious differences generally due to the declaration by Christians that theirs is the one and only true God), and would end in this moment were we to have true faith in each other rather than in what books of man have brainwashed us for centuries to believe and we would all live in peace!

  • 14. Rockman  |  November 28, 2007 at 4:44 am

    Isn’t saying that you follow the Ten Commandants or you will burn in the eternal fires of Hell pretty much the same as having a gun put to your head? What kind of free choice is it when this happens as Christians are taught in their religion of free choice, but having a gun to their heads? Can you imagine what kind of mentality it takes to make such a threat as this anyway? I would have to say God is an insecure control-monger who really has no power to carry out the threat anyway. If this is God, I’ll take my chances.

  • 15. mysteryofiniquity  |  November 28, 2007 at 10:59 am

    Littleagle brought up a good point when he says:
    Personally, I thought that it pointed out one major concept about Christianity, that most Christians do not have the faith they profess to have. They don’t really believe in what they call their faith.

    There’s nothing like a gun to your head to force you to admit that you really don’t believe all the stuff you say you do. Conversely, there’s nothing like a gun to your head to make you lie through your teeth as well. Karen was right. Why let a madman (christian madmen) put parameters on my existence? Now THAT makes me angry!

    (oh, thanks for embedding the video!)

  • 16. loopyloo350  |  November 28, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Personally, Here in the Bible Belt, we know when we are being manipulated. Whether it is the God Tube or the boob tube, not really much different. But if you fell for that sort of thing when you were Christians I would be amazed. There are enough fools to go around but to equate all Christians with being manipulaters is kind of off the mark, don’t you think.

  • 17. mysteryofiniquity  |  November 28, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    Who said all Christians were manipulators? No me.

  • 18. Rachel  |  November 28, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    Ugh, I couldn’t make it past the first couple minutes. I’m glad you guys realize that not all Christians fall for this junk.

  • 19. loopyloo350  |  November 28, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    My apologies, misunderstood your meaning.

  • 20. karen  |  November 28, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    You know, I was thinking about this last night and, looking at the enthusiastic comments on the site itself, I wondered about something:

    Doesn’t it seem like a lot of Christians have a ‘martyr complex’? It’s ridiculous for any American Christian to imagine this gun-to-the-head scenario, and yet they’re constantly thinking about it and predicting it, particularly in End Times church. Remember the story about the female victim at Columbine who was asked to renounce Christ or die? That may have been an urban legend, but I remember being subjected to martyr stories and asked if I was willing to Die For Christ frequently in the churches I attended.

    The other guilt-producing tactic was to have some missionary get up in front and talk about all the hardships and threats they endured for the gospel in another country and then lay on the speech about how easy we American Christians have it, and how someday we might have to choose to lay our lives on the line for Christ, too.

    There’s a fascination with this whole martyrdom issue, which is really scary when you think about how other fundamentalist religions are so fixated on it as well (radical Islam, for one).

  • 21. mysteryofiniquity  |  November 29, 2007 at 10:15 am


    Excellent point there. I’ve always believed that the ones who have the most to prove or to justify to themselves are the ones that scream the loudest. Persecution gives people something to rail against and feel noble about and martyrdom “proves” their devotion.

    Jonathan Kirsch wrote in God Against the Gods “The soldier of God may delight in taking the enemy’s life, but when the battle turns against him, he must be equally willing to offer his own life, all in the name of the True God. Holy War is the weapon of the powerful and victorious; martyrdom is the weapon of the weak and the vanquished.”

  • 22. HeIsSailing  |  November 30, 2007 at 12:37 am

    TheChaplain says:

    check out “A Letter from Hell,”

    I did. Pure Garbage. What concerned me most were some of the comments for that, and MoI’s wretched video. This is not fringe stuff we are watching – this is mainstream Fundamentalism. The highest calling of the Christian is unquestioning faith in God, and martyrdom expresses and proves that faith beyond any other trial. The very first Christians viewed their own martyrdom as a virtue, indeed, there were some sects that believed one attained salvation via their own martyrdom.

    If you don’t think that martyrdom complex continues today, pick up a copy of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs at your local Barnes and Noble and give it a read. Christian martyrs continue to be upheld as the ultimate standard of faith and virtue.

  • 23. HeIsSailing  |  November 30, 2007 at 12:44 am

    SocietyVs says:

    In all honesty if I was put in that scenario I would likely say ‘I am not ready to die’ (who is ready to die in all honesty?).

    I am sorry, but if I was put in that situation, I would have found the nearest big rock and bashed that psycho’s head in, and I mean that literally. That punk deserved grave injury, especially after brandishing that weapon towards the wife. Even as a Christian, that would have reached beyond the point of ‘turning the other cheek’

  • 24. LeoPardus  |  November 30, 2007 at 11:28 am


    We must come from a similar violent stock. Hmmm… I was born in TX. That must be it. 🙂

    My thought when watching the perp was, “He’s waving the gun right in their faces. Snatch it away and pistol whip him!”

    O’ course I think that with a passle o’ years in martial arts…. More violence. 🙂

  • 25. karen  |  November 30, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    And I was exasperated with the wife, who stood there passively watching and gnawing her fingers instead of a) calling 911 on her cell phone, b) flagging down passing cars c) picking up a big rock, sneaking up and smashing the jerk in the head with it!

    These pastors’ wives definitely need some assertiveness training.

  • 26. societyvs  |  November 30, 2007 at 6:39 pm

    “I am sorry, but if I was put in that situation, I would have found the nearest big rock and bashed that psycho’s head in, and I mean that literally. That punk deserved grave injury, especially after brandishing that weapon towards the wife. Even as a Christian, that would have reached beyond the point of ‘turning the other cheek’” (HIS)

    Sounds rosey enough – are you sure you wouldn’t ask your wife’s help in smashing his head in also? I am not sure I would jump tp your extremes – I have had knives pulled on me – and because I do care about the other person brandishing them – I didn;t just go and find the closest weapon to ‘duke it out’. What good is that?

  • 27. HeIsSailing  |  November 30, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    Society vs:

    Sounds rosey enough – are you sure you wouldn’t ask your wife’s help in smashing his head in also?

    Let me tell you, that guy is lucky if it is only me beating him up. He had better pray he does not face the wrath of my wife. Last year, she took up power lifting and is now hooked – and very very strong. When we wrestle, I have about 20 seconds where I can be in the advantage if I sneak up on her – after that I have to run for my life!!

    Seriously though Society, I have had knives pulled on me too, and I have been jumped and mugged a couple of times. Each time I played it cool, but I was alone. But now that I am married – who knows what I would do if my wife was threatened in that way? But really, the situation that wretched video presents is so artificial anyway, I can’t really say what I would do!!

  • 28. HeIsSailing  |  November 30, 2007 at 8:16 pm


    We must come from a similar violent stock. Hmmm… I was born in TX. That must be it.

    I am originally from rural New Mexico. I would not say the people up there are necessarily violent, but… but let’s just say those cowboys have learned how to defend themselves quite handily.

  • 29. loopyloo350  |  December 1, 2007 at 9:38 am

    This is a very bad piece of work, but I disagree with just lableing it as Christian. Personally I think it is some mans wet dream about how he thought the good old days were, IE the fifties. The thing was that was just a piece of manipulation too. It was nowhere near that and no woman I know would have been content to cower in that car, I”ll give you odds it was written by someone that is still in college and very naive.
    HelsSailing–Peneasco,Artesia,Hagerman,Roswell,Carlsbad-haven’t been home in 37 years, I hope people do not fall for such foolish things as this video, frankly I would have thought until yeasterday that no one I knew would. Unfortunately my neighbor and friend emailed me a few things yesterday that she is getting that quite frankly shows how easily lies and misinformation are spread. I find a lot of it very offensive and have always been the type that if pushed will push back hard.

  • 30. evangelistbillybolitho  |  December 2, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    Children of Promise

    “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise”.

    {Galatians 4 v 28}.

    When God looks at this old world, He no longer looks upon it like He did in the days before His only Son was crucified at Calvary. For Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary gave birth to the new covenant or testament, which He wrote on the hearts of men who accepted Christ as Lord and Saviour. No longer does He see tribes and races of people as such, for now because of Christ’s sacrifice He sees only the children of promise and the children of the bound. Let me explain, God states clearly in scripture that the children of God are those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, regardless of race or gender, they are the children of God, yes the children of promise. You see it is written, “And if ye be Christ’s then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to promise”, {Galatians 3 v 29}.

    Abraham had two sons, one by a bondwoman called Agar, and another by a freewoman called Sarah, as it is written, now these two sons represents the two covenants. The first son Ishmael of the bondwoman represented Jerusalem, which is now in bondage, which also represents the old covenant, but the freewoman’s son Isaac represents the heavenly Jerusalem, which is the new covenant. All God’s people are one in Christ Jesus, who are under the new covenant. Under this covenant there is no longer Jew, Gentile, slave or free, men or women, for we are all one in Christ. “For ye are all the children of promise by faith in Christ Jesus”,
    {Galatians 3 v 26}.
    Now God’s plan for the people of Israel is the same plan which He is using for the whole world, and that is that we must all repent and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. There is no other plan for salvation, only through Jesus. Who was crucified for our sins and rose again for our justification, and who is alive forever more. Praise be the wonderful name of Jesus. As it is written, “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 v 12}.

    As Isaac was, so are we the children of promise, no matter what nation we are from, God considers us all equal and precious in His sight. So precious are we that He sacrificed His only Son for each and everyone of us. So, let us all stand together as, the children of promise. I would like to state that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and many more in Israel are likened unto an olive tree which also represents the children of promise. We who believe are grafted into that tree, and so we become one with them, and are known as the true Israel of today. Now today there are still people in Israel who are chosen by God according to election of grace who will be grafted back into the olive tree, which represents the children of promise.

    We must pray for them, that they will see Jesus, for it is written, “ There shall come out of Zion the deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins”, {Romans 11 v 26 & 27}
    So dear saints, let us always pray and standby Israel, for I believe that there are many yet to come to know Jesus as their true Messiah. God bless Israel.

  • 31. Rob  |  December 31, 2007 at 9:42 pm

    This is a fairly typical approach in certain wings of Christianity.; the flawed scenario. I remember one that was very popular while I was a Christian. “Would you lie about the presence of political dissidents hiding in your basement in the light of Christian teaching about respecting authorities and always telling the truth?” The question is meant to set up some sort of moral quandary for believers, where no moral quandry would be likely. And yet, many people really struggled with this kind of thing – I have seen it. Would I lie about hiding political dissidents in my basement if the secret police came asking? Well, I would if I decided to hide political dissidents in my basement to start with, as the very act of hiding someone wanted by the authorities is reason enough to demonstrate how I interpret my moral obligations! The whole question is completely absurd on a logical level. But, that’s not the level that is being addressed.

    With this video; would a pastor lie about his faith or give the illusion of turning from it to save his life? Maybe or maybe not. But surely the pastor’s wife would have taken a stick or a big rock and beaned the pyscho who put them in the situation
    while he was monologuing with his back turned to her. Problem solved.

  • 32. mysteryofiniquity  |  January 1, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    Good point, Rob. If I were the wife, I’d take my best shot. If it were me on the end of a gun, I would think that if the choice is between lying or committing murder, I would choose lying as the lesser of two evils. Either scenario would work because if God were a merciful God he (sic) would realize the impossibility of such a scenario and not hold it against the victim.

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