Prostitute led Christian to a place to eat. “The best place in town,” she called it, “with a relaxing environment, all the food one can eat and the best entertainment.” These are things that were not glorified on Christian’s side of the chasm and around his own people. He had always been taught to deny himself so that others might benefit. That is why he left the comfort of his own community to come and reach out to the people of Enticement. Here, people were concerned with service, but it was a service to emotion instead of a service to well being. Christian did not have to wonder why people loved the darkness. There was entertainment and guiltless gluttony. There was self-indulgence, which was something Christian always thought to be wrong.
Back to: Book I
The restaurant was nice and the staff polite. Christian was actually excited about the experience. He and Prostitute were led in by the hostess, who apologized in advanced for the limited seating. This was a popular place, and the only table available was next to the loudest two men Christian had ever heard.
“What is your name, sir?” one of the men asked as though proximity was synonymous with interest.
Christian responded with his name. “Ah said the other. I might have guessed judging from the symbol on your coat. My name is News, and this ugly fellow is Film. It is nice to meet you. Tell me, Christian, why are you here instead of on the other side of the chasm? Your nation usually does not venture this far unless they are giving out pamphlets.”
Christian, knowing the value of trust and believing in truth, was honest with the man, “I came to reach the unrighteous.”
News responded quickly, leaving no room for elaboration, “Who is unrighteous?”
“Those people on this side of the chasm,” Christian admitted.
“And what makes us unrighteous, friend?”
“Well,” Christian thought for a moment, “I imagine it is because those here have not surrendered to the King. Have you not noticed the darkness, here?
“It is just as bright here as it has always been,” replied News, “Why submit to a King who does not himself come to this side?”
Before Christian could speak, News began again, “I have seen what people do in the name of the King. In fact, there was a recent event in which some of the King’s subjects where captured and taken from their country. For months they were tortured and finally, within the last week, they were beheaded quite gruesomely in front of the whole world. Those who beheaded them also claimed to be from the other side of the chasm and be subjects of the same King. I think we are better off on this side of the Chasm, young friend. If you knew what was best, you might stay over here too. We welcome everyone, not just those who have surrendered to some King.”
Christian was perturbed. He knew that the group who did the torturing and murdering were not from the King. His heart broke and his face was downcast. Why did the King only accept those who did surrender to him? Why did he allow such a chasm to exist? News did not seem to struggle about these issues, only report on them. Perhaps his downfall was that he cared more about viewers than he did about investigating the cause of such an atrocity.
“Why do you think this happened?” asked Christian.
News paused, “I do not pretend to know why people do the things that they do. I only know that I am better off staying away from some things. If there is truly a King, though, I will wait until he comes and I see him. Until then, I will just keep watching the world.”
News gestured toward Film, “You may speak to my friend here, though. He lives in a world of fantasy. Tell him, Film. In what light do you see the King’s subjects?”
“All preachers are pedophiles,” responded Film, “and I don’t think much more needs to be said.”
Christian was a little surprised at his response, “Why do you say that?”
Film chuckled, “That is how they are portrayed.”
Christian thought for a moment, “May I ask you both a question?”
“Why, yes,” answered News, “You have answered our questions. What would you like to know?”
“Why are you here?”
News answered for them both, “I am here to find a great story to report and Film is looking for inspiration.”
Christian deduced that both men were there for precisely the same reason and it was to become more popular or to gain more viewers. “How will you know that you have found what you are looking for,” he asked.
“When I can’t look away,” replied News. Film agreed, “When we can’t look away.”
“Why is that important,” Christian continued.
“Because,” News answered honestly, “My reports are worth nothing if people do not pay attention.”
Christian replied, “I am safe to conclude, then, that you both value shock factor more than you value truth? If this is the case, then you have proven that you love the dark and have not seen the light. Furthermore, you have implied that your portrayal of any group of people may not be accurate because it has been adjusted to acquire a greater number of viewers.”
For the first time since Christian and Prostitute had entered the restaurant, News and Film were silent. Christian was correct in his accusation, but News and Film would not change. News and Film could be righteous, but they would need to care more for truth and for honoring the King than for the gaining of popularity.
The waitress arrived with food for Christian and his guide. The entertainment would begin shortly. Prostitute reached across the table and took Christian’s hand, “If you really want to reach someone, you can’t just criticize him. You must build a bridge before you can expect people to cross it.”
Continue to… Book III