So I was organizing things in my garage when I opened up a box I forgot I had, and what (among other things) did I find in it? Still more things that I forgot I had, including a pile of literature from Tony Alamo‘s Alamo Christian Ministries. It’s pretty cheesy stuff, at least in terms of the quality of writing, not to mention the You’ve-Got-To-Be-Kidding Madame Tussauds-esque photographs of Alamo. Most of the pile consists of newsletters that usually contain a single rambling article by Alamo surrounded by correspondence from a dozen or so sycophantic followers.
And some people are cynical enough to believe that that’s exactly what the Church of Scientology is counting on. They’re in the news again. Believe it or not, but a reporter for an investigative program on the BBC network called “Panorama” is actually claiming that people from Scientology have harassed him. I realize this accusation strains credulity, but that is what he is saying.
In fact, a lot of people have liked this book. And isn’t that all that matters? I mean, if you can write in a congenial autobiographical style that makes people feel good by telling them the kinds of things anyone would want to hear, if readers warm up to you the way kids would to a favorite uncle who intrigues them with views different from those of their parents, if you can effectively manipulate the emotional hooks in a story when truth and logic abandon you, does it really matter if your premises are faulty, your facts are few and far between, and the cover of your book is a tad misleading? So what if this book is less than the sum of its parts (much less, actually)! Why can’t we all just be open minded for a change, and if, in the process of opening our minds our brains fall out, so what? If God is bigger than our puny little brains, He shouldn’t care what’s in them, right? So let’s try putting the stuff Philip Gulley and James Mulholland have written in their book, If Grace Is True: Why God Will Save Every Person (San Francisco, CA, USA: HarperSanFrancisco, 2003) into them and see what happens. Continue reading