I am currently working on a course for RealityBites on how slavery and trafficking can help us in both evangelism and discipleship so I wanted to blog about ‘Tarzan’.
In a debate with atheists I once met an American entrepreneur who told me that Tarzan is a rational guy who understands how business works!
Ludwig ‘Tarzan’ Fainberg is a Ukrainian trafficker. He likes to be called ‘Tarzan da Boss’ and he is the ultimate materialist. His business card reads: ‘Welcome to Planet Sex, Land of Fantasy’. He boasts that his life would make a great Hollywood movie. In the 1990’s he attempted to purchase a Russian submarine to help him smuggle cocaine. Tarzan then gave up drug smuggling and turned to human trafficking. He is now languishing in a prison in Panama. Tarzan outlined his faith thus: “You can buy a woman for $10,000 and make your money back in a week if she is pretty and young. Then everything else is profit.” A 2003 study in the Netherlands found that, on average, a single sex slave earns her pimp at least $250,000 a year.
Worldviews and Tarzan
This is a very powerful story if you want to talk about repentance. Too often Christians explain sin in terms of breaking moral rules. It doesn’t sound very convincing. The heart of sin is a failure of worship. When humans turn away from the true God they exchange the truth about God for a lie (Romans 1:23-24). Instead of loving and serving the Lord, Tarzan is enslaved to the powerful and popular money god. This fraudulent god blinds Tarzan (2 Cor 4:4) and the greedy trafficker is enslaved to unseen powers that spur Tarzan to ply his wicked trade. Of course this idolatry leads Ludwig to break many important ethical rules but sin is essentially a spiritual issue of the heart. When Jesus proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom he constantly challenged people to forsake their false gods and worship the true God who is revealed in Jesus. In our evangelism we need to help people to understand contemporary idolatry. Tarzan, the human trafficker, is a good story for doing this.
Four Ways of Looking at the Story
Materialist faith: “We believe that Tarzan is a rational businessman. He knows that human trafficking is profitable. His victims are just machines so why worry about them?”
Relativist faith: “We believe that Tarzan is being true to himself. He is living authentically. Well done Tarzan.”
Karma faith: “We believe that Tarzan’s victims are suffering because they have a bad karma. Tarzan will have a very bad rebirth in a prawn if he carries on like this.”
Christian faith: “We believe that Tarzan is enslaved to dark, unseen powers (2 Tim 2:26). He must repent, get baptised and follow Jesus.”
1) How does Tarzan’s ruthless faith destroy lives?
2) Is Tarzan following his heart?
3) Why is human trafficking so profitable?