WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
How to be a Perfect Christian by The Babylon Bee (Adam Ford and Kyle Mann)
Type: Christian, Humor, Nonfiction
Basic Idea: A satire guidebook on how to be a perfect Christian.
Writing Style and Setup: 4/5 Well Done: As a person that loves to write and read dry humor and satire, I found this book a real joy. It’s divided into chapters each devoted to a topic in the Christian community, poking good fun at both conservative and liberal Christians and our often faulty thinking, all while talking in an entertainingly hypocritical voice.
The pace of the book could simply be put as steady and consistent, but in a few instances the topics were a bit repetitive. I think it would have been best if at two or three places they had grouped the topics together, it was not painfully noticeable though.
Moral: 5/5 Excellent Advice: I left this book feeling more convicted than I do sometimes after I go to church. It cleverly teaches us the right attitude and perspective by telling us what attitude and perspective not to have. It lovingly points out the hypocrisies and flawed thinking that permeates our supposedly Christian world. Many people may read this and think the authors are trying to put down certain Christian views or say that we should do away with them, but I don’t believe this is so. Rather, I think the authors are trying to show us that our supposedly “perfect” standards against card playing and dancing and use of Christian romance novels and end times movies aren’t exactly Gospel as we say they are. It teaches that having the right attitude, growing through our relationship with Jesus Christ, and having love and truth in our hearts is more important than any supposed Christian culture we may have today.
Overall: 4/5 Well Done: I’ll just say, this book isn’t for everyone. Some don’t like satire. Some won’t understand or enjoy the humor in the book. Some might even think the humor is a little inappropriate, and that’s fine. I personally loved it, finding it a hilarious, realistic outlook on Christian culture, leaving me with some new thoughts and perspectives I had not considered before. Something to keep in mind if you do choose to read this is that just because the authors are poking fun of something does not mean they themselves do or don’t support it. I think the target was more on those that have a bad attitude to Christians that don’t agree with the non-cut and dry things we often argue about, such as dancing and rock music. Often we, with all pride and no charity, look down on those who don’t hold the same standards we do. I would recommend it to Christian adults and older teenagers who would not be offended by reading it and would be able to enjoy it. If you know you probably won’t enjoy it though, I would not recommend it, and younger audiences may not understand the satire behind it, though some mature ones may.
Many, if not all, of the following potentially offensive things were mentioned for the purpose of satire or in a satirical manner.
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: ½/5 Brief Mention: It mentions that worship leaders should have a “Risqué neckline.” It says people in the youth ministry are usually masochists.
Violence: 2/5 Suggested Violence: It says to punch people. It says to knock unbelievers on the head with a giant Bible. It mentions Rocky Balboa beating somebody up in a movie. It mentions a man being hung at the stake.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 Brief, Light Misuse: “Sucks” is misused once.
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1/5 Brief, Light Mention: There is a picture of a Christian with his foot on the head of a Democrat. It is mentioned that democrats support abortion and are anti-war, while Republicans are pro-war. It mentions America bombing Middle Eastern countries, including Iraq, and the bombing of air plains. It mentions being a Democrat is the sin unto death. Screaming from a sprain is mentioned. It mentions “being burned by Nero.” A person says he thinks God will strike another person with lightning, and it mentions God the Father does this. Dead dogs, salmonella, and fatal illnesses are mentioned when talking about how you feel. “Bleeding-heart,” forms of “bleed,” “stand on… bones” “crusade,” “diehard,” “grenade,” forms of “kill,” “seizure,” “ninja,” “on death row,” “tearing up,” “while getting struck by lightning”are all used for descriptive purposes.
Religious Issues: 2½/5 Possible Offense and Frequent Mention: The whole book is a friendly by Christians for Christians satire book, so lots of themes about God, the Bible, and Christianity may come up that some Christians may find a bit irreverent or offensive. A list of denominations is given, including Baptist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Reformed, Mainline, and non-denominational. Speaking in tongues is talked about, though in a satirical manner. Amish, atheist, Catholics, Methodist, Muslims, Puritan, and the Illuminati are mentioned. It mentions people worshiped idols. Men are called Reverend. It mentions sometimes women are co-pastor and allowed on stage. It briefly mentions that Martin Luther “rant”ed about the pope.
Magic: 2/5 Mention of Demonic and Magical Things: Dungeons and Dragons is mentioned to be a sin, and mentions someone who wrongly said a spell once summoned Abaddon the Destroyer. It says children who listen to any non-Christian music will become demon summoning spell casters. It mentions that music notes will summon Cthulhu. “Magic” and “magical” are used for descriptive purposes.
Others: It mentions that certain Christians drink beer. Dancing, drinking, playing cards, and smoking are mentioned as sins. It says the Apostle Paul broke dance. It mentions that your coffee should be alcohol free. It mentions that Pentecostalism was started by people that were “high” after going to an ABBA concert. It says Pentecostals can dance and get “drunk… on the Holy Spirit.” Several Christian people are mentioned including the following: Billy Graham, C. S. Lewis, Chuckey Spurgeon, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Eugene Peterson, Francis of Assisi Francis Schaeffer, J. C. Ryle, John MacArthur, Joel Olsteen, John Calvin, John Hagee, John Owen, John Piper, Johnathon Edwards, Karl Barth, Kirk Cameron, Martin Luther, Paul David Trip, Ray Comfort, Steven Curtis Chapman, and St. Augustine. The 700 Club, ABBA, Batman and Robin, Battlestar Galactic, Bon Jovi, Bible Adventures, Big Brother, Black Sabbath (and Ozzy), Breaking Bad, Bruno Mars, Call of Duty, Christina Aguilera, the Chronicles of Narnia, Conan the Cimmerian, The Da Vinci Code, the Dark Lord Sauron, The Dark Night, DC Talk, Def Leppard, The Delta Force, Disney, Donkey Kong, Dr. Seuss (and one of his books), Ellen the talk show hostess, Fixer Upper, Game of Thrones, Gladiator, Half-Life 3, Halo, Hillsong, The Hunger Games, Journey, Karl Marx, Lifeway Research, The Lord of the Rings, Madden NFL, Metallica, MMMBop, Petra, Pokemon, Pop, Psalty the Singing Song Book, The Purpose Driven Life, Pokemon, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rocky IV, Ronald Reagan, Seinfield (and Jerry Seinfield), Soul Train, SportsCenter, “Stairway to Heaven,” Super Smash Bros., Star Wars (including the Death star, force, Jedi Mind tricks, the named movies, and its named characters), Taylor Swift, Texas Hold ‘Em Tornament, U2, Vans Warped Tour, Veggietales and World of Warcraft are mentioned. Bible verses from the ESV and NIV are used. The Message and NLT are mentioned. It mentions drums and electric guitars being a must at church. Bars, bridge, Communism, Disneyland, drugs (including meth and drug dealing), Halloween, hippies, homosexuals, peace signs, poker, piercings, punk bands and secular bands in general, tattoos, sexism, yoga briefly mentioned. It says your church should be mistaken for a “nightclub.” It mentions men having long hair, and says worship leaders should resemble rock stars. “Winning the lottery” is used for descriptive purposes.
Overall: 2/5 Child Appropriate: The book is fairly appropriate for children, but I don’t know if most children would understand the satire intentions of some of the content, so I would recommend it morally to people who could understand it, as well as are fine with that kind of humor and pop culture references.