Tuesday, December 06, 2005

God As Terrorist

Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins' Left Behind series fascinates me.

The books are the ultimate in religious pornography, allowing people who congratulate themselves on being "believers" to partake in the voyeuristic destruction of anyone who doesn't share their particular brand of faith.

The books take as gospel the Bible's Book of Revelation, a chapter that's more than a little questionable as prophecy, and certainly a 180 degree reversal from the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels.

Here's a snippet culled from Apollyon: The Destroyer Is Unleashed, the fifth book in the Left Behind series:

"I confess I have been troubled," Rosenzweig said..."But I have to say I don't understand your God. He seems mean-spirited to me [editors note - mean spirited, in the context of the End Of The World, is perhaps the greatest understatement of all time]. Why can he not get people's attention through wonderful miracles, as he did in the Bible? Why make things worse and worse until a person has no choice? I find myself resisting being forced into this by the very one who wants my devotion. I want to come willingly, on my own accord, if at all."

"Doctor, God has blessed you beyond what any human deserves. If your wealth of friends, education, knowledge, creativity, challenge, admiration, income, and comfort do not draw you to him, what else can he do? He is not willing that any should perish, and so he resorts to judgements that will drive them to him or away from him forever. We're praying you will choose the former."

Note that the good Doctor's faith in the Hebrew God doesn't seem to count for much. Just a page or two later, we see how serious God is about not willing that any should perish:

One of the locusts had found a way in and had locked itself onto Chaim's wrist, between his glove and sleeve. The old man lay jerking as if in the throes of a seizure, wailing and crying as he slammed his hand on the ground..."Get it off me!" he bellowed. "Please, Cameron, please! I'm dying!"

...Though it had no effect on him, Buck instinctively threw it against the wall....It's eyes were open and seemed to glare at Buck. In a strange way, it made sense. If Tsion was right and these were demons, they were madly conflicted beings. They would want to kill believers, but they were under instructions from God to torment only unbelievers. What Satan meant for evil, God was using for good. (emphasis added)
Good, apparently, being a fairly relative term. I'm struck by how similar this line of thinking is to radical Islam. The torment of "unbelievers" is, according to Mssrs. LaHaye and Jenkins, a good approved by the Almighty.


At 11:26 AM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

I read the first six or so of these and would like ot finish out the series solely out of curiosity. They're badly written and contain a lot of questionable theology, but they're a bit like crack if you get started on them.

At 1:05 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

If you mean that it destroys your brain and empties your wallet, then I suppose I can see the corrolation.

In seriousness - what about them is addictive? I promise not to make fun. I'm honestly curious. To me, they're just-this-side of horrifying, and for all the wrong reasons.

At 1:53 PM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

I'm always interested in seeing what someone else's view eschatology is. So for me any books on end times are interesting. So I suppose for a nut like me they're like crack in that way. Oh and in the two ways you listed.

It wasn't until fairly recently that I had some of the scarier passages pointed out to me. I'd always known they where like Chrisitan Harlequins (vapid, easy reads with a big pay off for their audience), but I didn't really catch the anti-semitic stuff until Rath (a poster on CHUD of all people) schooled me.

For someone who buys into a literal understanding of Revelation I can see that they are a validation of belief. For me they're a representation of what some Christians "think".

At 7:53 PM, Blogger Bud said...

Yeah, but Scott, as many people have pointed out, they're not a literal interpretation of Revelation. The're right-wing screeds intent on pushing an agenda, which boils down to "repent, or you're really screwed."

I guess my biggest complaint (and I have many) is that the Jews, acknowleged by both Christians and Jews to be the Chosen People of God (one of whom is the man being tortured in that passage) are "Left Behind." I mean, WTF?

Not to mention that their whole reasoning behind "The Rapture" is based on something like two lines in the entire Bible.

At 1:03 PM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

I didn't say that the books were a literal interpretation. I said that for someone who believes in a literal interpretation this could be a validation of that belief. They could say "Oh some famous Christian writers believe much like me."

"repent, or you're really screwed." is actually pretty much what the message of the whole Bible is, no? What "you're really screwed" means is what's up for interpretation.

And yeah the whole fate of the Jewish people is a question I have unanswered. The Bible seems to indicate the the gentiles will be grafted onto a tree. I have always assumed that that included us into the family of God and didn't exclude the Jews. I am not alone in this but I don't think I'm in the majority.

Re: The Rapture

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17: "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."

1 Corinthians 15:51-53: "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."

Mark 13:26-27: "And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven."

More than a couple of lines if these are all speaking of the same event, but even if there was only one line would that make a difference?


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