Interview Page 4

Zender makes his point

all from reading this book. Thatís my goal.

      ERICA: In a nutshell, who is the book for?

      MARTIN: This book is for people who are in church, people who have quit church, and people who have never gone to church.      

      ERICA: That covers just about everybody.
Yep. It sure does. n




resort to name-calling. Anyway, what I basically do in this chapter is, I say, "Okay, letís have a little contest here." You know, like Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel. I say, "Letís apply these nineteen points, developed and written by the Christian religion, to both myself and to the Christian religion. Letís see who the real cult leader is."

      ERICA: What a great idea.

      MARTIN: Itís so objective. I mean, Iím taking the Christian religionís own definition of what constitutes a cult, and turning it on itself. People are so biased in their minds about Christianity. They think that because this religion has Christís name attached to it, it must be the only religion thatís above reproach. Well, let the readers decide for themselves. The Christian religion sets itself up as the expert on cults. Itís like the Pharisees telling the people, "Weíll tell you when the Messiah arrives." Uh, excuse us fellas, but we can look for ourselves, thank you very much.

      ERICA: Dare I ask the results of the contest?

      MARTIN: The beautiful thing about it is, I let the facts of this chapter speak for themselves. I donít need to whine or cajole or anything. I just lay out the facts, step aside and let the readers see it for themselves. You laugh and you cry. There are some very funny parts in this chapter. Funny, because itís so obvious that Larson canít see the trouble with his own religion. Sad, because it slowly dawns on you how many people are trapped in this religion and donít even realize it. This chapter is very damaging to the system. But I think that, because of this chapter, many people will finally see the truth and get set free. Those who have already seen truth, or have suspected what was true, will say, "Yes!  This is what Iíve been thinking all along!" It will confirm  things for them. I  think that millions of people are going to get free of religious bondage, free of guilt, free of false ideas about God,

Martin Zender is an accomplished essayist whose writings have appeared, to critical acclaim, in The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Chicago Tribune, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and other newspapers. He is also a popular conference speaker. In 1999, Zender hosted the controversial talk-radio program, Grace Cafť, on station WCCD in Cleveland, Ohio. His freelance newsletter, This Here Thing, is read in six countries.

With a child-like approach to truth, inescapable logic and a quirky sense of humor, Zender cuts to the heart of subjects as controversial as death, sin, evil, hell, sex, free will and the devil. He is neither pastor, professor nor reverend, having simply studied scripture at his kitchen table for twenty-two years.

Zender and his wife of nineteen years, Melody, have three sons. Five cats allow them to live on a four-acre farm in Indiana.