The Left Behind Series

Last night I completed one of the least ambitious reading projects I have ever undertaken. I have now read all sixteen volumes of the Left Behind series.

As I am sure you are aware, this is a series of novels written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, describing the Earth’s last days as foretold in the Book of Revelation. It begins with the Rapture of the church, in which millions of believers disappear from the face of the Earth. This is a bit awkward for those folks driving cars or flying planes at the time. The story then meanders its way through eleven subsequent volumes, documenting the rise of the Antichrist (who is a big supporter of evolution, by the way) and his attempts to make life unpleasant for Christians. Not to worry. Jesus wins in the end.


Why would I subject myself to this right-wing awfulness? Well, first, you should keep in mind that we are talking about large print and wide margins here, so even with sixteen volumes to wade through this was not a large investment of time. Second, these books have sold over sixty million copies (with another 30 million for the accompanying kids series). Looks like quite a lot of people think these books are great literature. When you add this to the incredible success of Mel Gibson’s super-right-wing Passion movie, it paints a sobering picture of where to locate the mainstream of American Christianity.

I won’t attempt a formal review of the series. Even granting their somewhat idiosyncratic understanding of Revelation, as literature this is pretty thin gruel. Paper-thin characters, clunky writing, implausible plot twists, that sort of thing. The pretense that this was an engaging, suspense-filled story that happened to be set during the End of Days gets thrown out pretty quickly. Most of the pages in most of the volumes are given over to outright prostletyzing, whenever the characters can be persuaded to take time out from mocking unbelievers.

The remarkable thing about the story is that there is little to distinguish between Christ and Antichrist. Both are petty tyrants who insist on constant acts of supplication from their followers. Both rain down unplesant consequences on those who disobey them. The only difference seems to be that Christ is more powerful. It is hard to understand the mentality of people who find this an appealing worldview. If it’s true, then I guess we’re stuck with it. But why should anyone want it to be true?

To show you what I have in mind, permit me a few lengthy excerpts. All are taken from the final volume: Kingdon Come. (I have already returned the other volumes to the library, you see.) Christ has returned and has established his milennial kingdom on Earth. We are ninety-three years in, and the only things people seem to do anymore are preach to the children born after Christ’s return (who must still make a choice to follow Christ), go on various missions from God to root out pockets of unbelief, and infiltrate the occasional group of Satan worshippers. I don’t understand how they keep from going mad with boredom.

At this point in the story the leadership of Egypt has managed to vex the Lord by failing to observe the Feast of Tabernacles. Finding them insufficiently faithful, God has afflicted them with drought, and has now sent a group of believers to lecture to them. Without going into the details, the “good guys” here are Rayford, Tsion, Kenny and Chaim (AKA Micah. Don’t ask). Here we go:

Without so much as a call or an official invitation, Rayford Steele’s small band entered the Egyptian parliament building that had been rebuilt in Cairo during the first year of the milennial kingdom. Whatever had been going on, the entire place fell mute, and all heads turned to watch the men approach the dais.

The man presiding immediately said, “We’ve been expecting you,” and several members of the government stood to applaud. Others glared at them until the ovation petered out.

Tsion strode to the microphone with the others forming a half circle behind him. “Excuse me,” he said as the presiding official moved away and took his seat.

“Micah!” someone shouted, and it seemed to Rayford that many who began clapping again recognized Chaim, the famed leader of the Jewish remnant at Petra during the Great Tribulation, standing behind Tsion. But again, the applause was short-lived.

Rayford had seen Tsion Ben-Judah in countless situations, but never had he seen him carry himself with such authority and — clearly — anger. “On your knees!” he shouted, and immediately the assembled slid from their chairs to the floor.

“Woe to you says the Lord God of Israel, for helping to scatter His people throughout the generations. He healed your land and reestablished you, populating you solely with believers until your offspring were born. Yet you kept the name of your nation, a stench in the nostrils of God. Egypt: `temple of the soul of Ptah,’ indeed. Ptah a pagan deity from generations past. Where is he in your time of need?

“You deigned to rebuild this structure after the global earthquake, somehow believing God would be pleased by an edifice that looks nothing like a temple dedicated to Him but rather harks back to your days worshipping patron deities? Still, all He required of you was to observe the sacrifices and feasts, and you thumbed your noses at Him. Is it any wonder He has cursed your land?

“Where was your backbone, your leadership, when unbelievers persuaded you to commit the affront of absenting yourself from the Feast of Tabernacles?”

A man looking not much younger than Kenny stood. “Sir, if I may argue our side of the issue –”

Your side? You are accursed! Or are you a believer, confident you shall live past your hundreth birthday?”

“It merely happens that I respectfully disagree –”

“Respectfully? You are fortunate you remain on this Earth, for God willed that your young compatriots become examples for the rest of this nation.”

“But, sir, that is precisely our point. What kind of a loving God is so capricious that He would –”

“Demolish this building!” Tison roared. “Rebuild it as a temple to the Lord. Delight in His ways. Seek His face. Follow His statutes. Never again disobey His commands. And henceforth this land shall be known as Osaze, `loved by God.’ Lest you fear that his wrath evidences something other than His love, imagine what He could have done in the face of this ultimate insult.”

“Now we His servants shall travel throughout Osaze, teaching the whole counsel of God to the wicked and the undecided and the unbelieving. Woe to anyone who attempts to hamper this effort! While the Lord has not told us when He will restore the life-giving waters, He hereby confirms His immediate judgment of sin. There shall be no more even temporary tolerance of disbelief. THose whho choose their own way will continue to perish by their hundreth birthdays, and anyone who dares blaspheme before that shall immeidately surely die.”

As Rayford followed Tsion and the others out, the entire auditorium was filled with weeping and men and women pleading for forgiveness and mercy.

Charming. Pretty much defies comment, wouldn’t you say?

In the very next section we are shown the manifesto of “The Other Light,” the group of Satan worshipping misfits giving God so much grief. Members of TOL are keen to keep this document hidden, knowing how incendiary it is. A gruop of savvy believers managed to get their hands on a copy, lucky for us. Make sure you are sitting down before contemplating the horror of it all:

To the thinking members of the global society: Use your brains! You are capable of rational thought. We of The Other Light acknowledge that everyone who entered this period of history was a believer in God, either surviving the last seven years on earth as they knew it or returning from heaven with him.

We do not deny that God was the Creator and that Jesus is His Son. We deny that He ever came to earth in the flesh or that He died and was resurrected. We aver that He unfairly treated one of His own creations, an angel, and summarily cast him out His presence, forever besmirching his name and reputation.

Worse, He has left men and women no choice but to believe in Him and serve Him, denying our free will. We have no quarrel with those who believe and follow Him and consider themselves devout. We simply insist on the right to decide for ourselves.

And now we come to the crux of our manifesto: If it’s true that we, as His opponents, are not allowed to live past age one hundred, this merely proves our point: He will not countenance an alternate point of view. Critics and even some of our most loyal members have suggested that if it’s true, we should have abandoned our ill-fated cause when the first wave of deaths hit.

We, however, insist on our right to rebel, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Because of the new world, the population is exploding as never before. Literally billions more souls will be born with every generation, and therein lies our hope. Even if it’s true, our progeny, properly informed and coached, will — by the end of the Milennium — amass an innumerable force. God’s own prophecies indicate this.

Even if it’s true that we will continue to die out every hundred years, if we remain committed to our cause against the vengeful, bloodthirsty God of the Old Testament, we have hope. If we can equip the eventual mega-army of dissidents to where they can actually emerge victorious in the end, perhaps the new ruler will resurrect us and allow us to reign with him.

The biggest mistake God makes will be to loose our leader for a season at the end of this Millenium, for that shall truly signal the end of His kingdom. Let us not be deterred by intermittent defeats. Watch our ranks grow with every generation, and we will in the end prove that God is anything but gracious and loving and forgiving.

Our hope and wish and instruction to the future torchbearers of the Other Light is that they continue to add to and refine this manifesto until — by the last generation — it becomes the most motivational and strategic call to arms the world has ever known.

And be encouraged. Even if it’s true that we die out every generation, it stands to reason that our progeny will become more numerous each time. And if that’s true, it should be exponentially encouraging to each new wave that carries on our message.

So, what if it’s true? Add to this document. Refine it. Improve it. Pass it on. And we’ll see you on the victory stand in the end.

Now, I’m not a real big fan of Satan worship. For that matter, I’m not a big fan of worship of any sort. But just look at the sort of thing the believers find so threatening. Thinking for yourself. Choosing your own way. Rational thought. Freedom of conscience. The courage to deny authority. A willingness to see future generations improve on the wisdom of the current one.

They are right to be afraid. Such things are, indeed, the enemy of religion.

One sticking point I’ve often had with Christianity is the whole concept of eternal life. What would one do with all that time? Sounds like it would get a bit dull. Here’s what LaHaye and Jenkins offer on the matter:

The only thing that mattered now was to praise and glorify Jesus, the lover and Savior of his soul. As he and the billions who had lived through the Milennium ascended, he saw descending the most beautiful and massive foursquare city of transparent gold, so stunning that Rayford knew his finite mind would never be able to take it in.

All that matters is praising and glorifying Jesus. For eternity. Is that really such an improvement over swimming in a lake of fire?

Comments

  1. #1 andy.s
    October 29, 2008

    I hereby resolve to start using the phrase “Woe unto you…” more often in everyday conversation.

    21st century English just doesn’t have the flair to it that the Elizabethans had.

    Or is it “Woe unto ye”? Is “ye” the objective case of “you”? Have to look that up somewhere.

  2. #2 Blake Stacey
    October 29, 2008

    It’s been said that the religion of the Left Behind books is more like Anti-Antichristianity than Christianity, as it focuses on the Antichrist and other eschatological matters almost to the exclusion of anything else. Fair enough, I suppose. . . but in the absence of any empirical evidence favouring one faction of self-identifying Christians over any other, how many millions of Left Behind books have to be bought before Anti-Antichristianity is acknowledged as a real claimant to the title?

    (“Biblical literalism” is a red herring. Every faction has its own effective canon in which it places confidence, deprecating or remaining blissfully ignorant of other translations and other books. To an outsider, the LaHaye/Jenkins rejection of damn near everything except Revelations is the mirror image of the liberal believer’s rejection of Leviticus.)

    Even if it’s true that we will continue to die out every hundred years, if we remain committed to our cause against the vengeful, bloodthirsty God of the Old Testament, we have hope.

    How many people in the real world live to be a hundred anyway? Dying by thirty, say, would be an intimidating threat.

  3. #3 Blake Stacey
    October 29, 2008

    We are ninety-three years in, and the only things people seem to do anymore are preach to the children born after Christ’s return (who must still make a choice to follow Christ), go on various missions from God to root out pockets of unbelief, and infiltrate the occasional group of Satan worshippers.

    Oh, yeah, all the children die in the first book. (Rapture = death without preliminaries.) And everybody just seemed to shrug it off and move along, didn’t they?

    Makes you realize just how dangerous and subversive a book like The Golden Compass really is. We can’t have a few disappearing children being treated as a threat and a crime, now, can we?

  4. #4 Jason Rosenhouse
    October 29, 2008

    Blake –

    As LaHaye and Jenkins tell the story, after Jesus establishes his Kingdom on Earth, believers are immortal, while unbelievers die at one hundred. The milennial kingdom is not the real world as we know it!

  5. #5 Blake Stacey
    October 29, 2008

    Well, naturally — it just seems a little weird: “OK, so you’re gonna punish me by taking away something I never had . . . ?”

  6. #6 Peter
    October 29, 2008

    It’s actually not really much to do with what’s in Revelations, more their own stuff they came up with set in the same fictional universe.

  7. #7 The Ridger
    October 29, 2008

    You must read Fred Clarke’s marathon review of “Left Behind”. There are 186 posts directly on the text, and another 32 peripheral ones. The amount of detail and the level of criticism are astounding, perhaps the more so because Fred’s a Christian.

    Index to “Left Behind” at Slactivist

  8. #8 The Ridger
    October 29, 2008

    ps – “you” is the accusative of “ye”. It would have been the dative in Old English, but we lost the accusative forms and expanded the dative to all non-nominative usages. (Oh, this debased form of English we use these days…)

  9. #9 Caliban
    October 29, 2008

    I think being something of a geek can persuade one not to see the Christian world view in a very positive light.

    Anyone familiar with with fantasy books and video games always have the obligatory evil-demon-overlord type who craves nothing but power for it’s own sake, and will not rest until all of creation either worships it or is destroyed. Enter, the good guys: usually some variation of wizard, elf, fighter, dwarf etc, who defeat the demonic tyrant and return life to puppies and bunnies.

    The thing is, the ego maniacal demons of the fantasy genre have more than a striking resemblance to the god of the Old Testament and the book of Revelations.

    Only creepy, uber-evil demony types have any interest in being worshiped in the first place. A psychologically healthy, secure deity wouldn’t want to dominate and control the universe with threats of eternal torture and what not. That’s what Sauron does. It’s all rather silly.

  10. #10 Pierce R. Butler
    October 29, 2008

    You read the whole damn 16 volumes?

    Get ye to an EEG lab and demand an emergency assessment of whatever brain cells may remain!

    A follow-up IQ test may be in order too – let us all pray that you can score in the upper two digits…

  11. #11 beagledad
    October 29, 2008

    I still don’t get why you did this to yourself. Wouldn’t it have been quicker and simpler to scald yourself with hot water? It hurts my brain just to read the excerpts you’ve quoted.

  12. #12 llewelly
    October 29, 2008

    … these books have sold over sixty million copies (with another 30 million for the accompanying kids series).

    Let’s put that in perspective. Approximately 62 million people voted for G.W. Bush in 2004.

  13. #13 bradford daly
    October 29, 2008

    wow, talk about taking one for the team. you’re my hero.

  14. #14 Adrienne
    October 29, 2008

    So let me get this straight: this person Tsion featured in the first big quote is supposed to be a good guy? WTF?

  15. #15 Pseudonym
    October 29, 2008

    OK, your next task is The Celestine Prophecy. And I’d like a report on which is worse.

  16. #16 Dave M
    October 30, 2008

    “Woe unto you” is good. I also like the verb “to besmirch.” Say that three times fast: besmirch besmirch besmirch! I feel like besmirching something now. What shall I besmirch? Woe is me! I cannot decide what to besmirch!

    Okay, I feel better now. Good job Jason! Taking one for the team indeed. I only got halfway through the first one. Yikes, that prose! Makes Dan Brown look like Shakespeare.

  17. #17 Badger3k
    October 30, 2008

    Ah, somebody left the link to Slactivist – I enjoyed reading his takedown of the atrocious writing of the series. What gets me is that Robert M Price actually likes the books and thinks the writing is pretty good (at times, IIRC). No accounting for taste, I guess. I tried reading the first book but stopped. Too bloody stupid.

  18. #18 Badger3k
    October 30, 2008

    Bugger – it’s slacKtivist – misspelled that. I forgot to ask – does this mean that you are going to finish the Left Behind video game, watch Kirk Cameron in the movies, or even try the new “Heaven – the Game” game (from PZ http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/10/at_last_i_know_what_heaven_loo.php#more)?

  19. #19 Paper Hand
    October 30, 2008

    Yet you kept the name of your nation, a stench in the nostrils of God. Egypt: `temple of the soul of Ptah,’ indeed.

    So, the Egyptians speak English in this future age? The Arabic name isn’t anything like “Egypt”.

  20. #20 Jud
    October 30, 2008

    Hmm – a “massive” city of “transparent gold.”

    “Massive” doesn’t really seem to fit with “transparent,” does it? And if it’s transparent (clear), then how can it be gold in color (or vice versa)?

    If I were a 7th-grade English teacher, I’d mark down a composition for obvious errors like these.

  21. #21 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    October 30, 2008

    Lest you fear that his wrath evidences something other than His love

    Isn’t that what all the domestic abusers say?

  22. #22 Dan
    October 30, 2008

    Jesus wins in the end.

    You just had to go and spoil the ending for me. didn’t you! ;-)

  23. #23 Jason Rosenhouse
    October 30, 2008

    Ridger -

    Thanks for the link! I now realize I only noticed the most superficial levels of stupidity in the series.

    Dan –

    Sorry about that. Actually, throughout the series the characters are constantly reminding us that the story’s end has been foretold. And since the characters never, ever, have a moment of doubt or wavering belief, it rather kills any attempt to generate suspense.

  24. #24 Moopheus
    October 30, 2008

    “OK, your next task is The Celestine Prophecy. And I’d like a report on which is worse.”

    I actually read about half the Celestine Prophecy. It does have some similar themes (I gather, not having actually read any of Left Behind), one of which is complete antagonism towards what we might regard as rational thought and argument. Basically, it seems that our actions and feelings are all subject to the interaction of wooish energy fields beyond our conscious control, and that higher-level brain functions are irrelevant or bad. I think. It’s hard to say for certain. I didn’t finish reading it, and deciphering the meaning of the writings of someone who did too much LDS back in the hippie days isn’t easy.

    But there’s a certain appeal to the idea of regarding Lucifer as not so much evil as the opposition to a deranged tyrant.

  25. #25 Joshua Zelinsky
    October 30, 2008

    “So, what if it’s true? Add to this document. Refine it. Improve it. Pass it on.” See open-source and creative commons are obviously works of Satan. Only the devil would have such a diabolic strategy.

  26. #26 J. J. Ramsey
    October 30, 2008

    “Last night I completed one of the least ambitious reading projects I have ever undertaken. I have now read all sixteen volumes of the Left Behind series.”

    I wouldn’t call that unambitious. Judging by the excerpts from it, getting through all the volumes looks like a feat of endurance.

  27. #27 speedwell
    October 31, 2008

    Folks, “Add to this document. Refine it. Improve it. Pass it on” is meant to be a sharp, terrifying contrast to the prohibitions in Revelations:

    22:18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if anyone adds to them, may God add to him the plagues which are written in this book.

    22:19 If anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, may God take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book.

    You see, the Satanists actually encourage and support the constant desecration of what we’re supposed to assume is their Holy Writ. Having a sacrosanct, inviolable Holy Book to rule absolutely over one is supposed to be a good thing, therefore adaptability and an evolving mission statement are supposed to be evil.

  28. #28 misha
    November 3, 2008

    From the evil free-thinker dude manifesto:

    So, what if it’s true? Add to this document. Refine it. Improve it. Pass it on. And we’ll see you on the victory stand in the end.

    that sounds like a … (shudder) … wiki…

  29. #29 Christophe Thill
    November 3, 2008

    “But just look at the sort of thing the believers find so threatening.”

    If we are to believe the last sentences of the manifesto, the Satan worshippers are also believers in open licenses.

  30. #30 Jon D
    November 4, 2008

    Have you perhaps heard of/read Survivors? It was written in response to the Left Behind series by Dave McKay under the pseudonym Zion Ben-Jonah, based fairly obviously on Tsion Ben-Judah from Left Behind. I bought a copy off from a girl selling them on the street in Sydney for about 40cents (all I had on me at the time) then read it over a couple of evenings. It supposedly corrects – and I use the term incredibly loosely! – some mistakes in the Left Behind series, and is very similar in a lot of ways. I actually quite enjoyed reading it, despite it well.. having just about all the same problems you’ve mentioned above!

    You can get it for free online if you’re at all interested: http://cust.idl.net.au/fold/survivors/index.html

    quite a lot shorter than Left Behind!

  31. #31 Modusoperandi
    November 7, 2008

    “Woe unto you”, “to besmirch.” …don’t forget “froward”.


    Moopheus “I didn’t finish reading it, and deciphering the meaning of the writings of someone who did too much LDS back in the hippie days isn’t easy.”
    I fail to see what having sex with Mormons has to do with it.

    misha “that sounds like a … (shudder) … wiki…”
    :How so? ~~~~

  32. #32 cl
    November 8, 2008

    Last night I completed one of the least ambitious reading projects I have ever undertaken. I have now read all sixteen volumes of the Left Behind series.

    All I have to say is “wow” – I admire you. I’ve never even considered reading a single page of them. Now I want to, just so I can “know empirically” what I’m denouncing.

  33. #33 barry21
    November 9, 2008

    Oh.

    My.

    (fake)

    God.

    Your obsession with creationism puts my own to shame. As Rick could have said, “Jason , I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

  34. #34 Nemo
    November 12, 2008

    I forced myself to read the first book (a pirated online copy). It’s a cultural phenomenon, you gotta know what people are talking about. But, I think that was enough.

    But now I’m thinking, it might be interesting to read some anti-fan fiction, written from the point of view of The Other Light…

  35. #35 Richard
    November 29, 2008

    Here’s a thought for all that cant seem to fathom the greatness of our Lord, try reading the bible from cover to cover with an open mind.
    It is always interesting to me to read blogs from people who seem to think that they were evolved from apes and that they were created by chance.
    We have a truly great and wonderful Father in heaven watching over us. I pray that all will see his grace and redeeming love. Perhaps we will meet in heaven when our time on earth is done, but that wont happen as long as you continue to deny His existence.
    Proverbs3:5-6 : Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    And lean not on your own understanding.
    In all your ways acknowledge Him;
    And he will direct your path.
    God bless each and every one of you.

  36. #36 Blake Stacey
    November 29, 2008

    Quoth Richard:

    Here’s a thought for all that cant seem to fathom the greatness of our Lord, try reading the bible from cover to cover with an open mind.

    We tried. Oh, heavens, we tried. Our chief discovery was that the Good Lord described therein was an ignorant savage who desperately needed an editor.

  37. #37 Mike Hartmann
    February 19, 2009

    Let’s say that I have spent my entire life following the principles and guidelines the Bible just to find out when I die it’s a complete lie and I’m just turned into worm food. What would be the impact? I will have spent my adult life in a one man and one woman marriage. I would have abstained from sexual activities which could have a negative impact on my health ( AIDS and other STD’s). I will have raised my children to value all human life born and unborn, regardless of their beliefs, opinions, color, religion or ethnic background. What is the harm? Who have I hurt?
    Now let’s say that everything in the Bible is true. What have I gained? All of the above plus eternal life in paradise or eternal torment being burned with fire, listening to screams day and night of the others being tormented just like me for all eternity and knowing that I could have prevented it. Imagine listening to the screams of your children or grand children being burned. What would you do to make sure this doesn’t happen?

  38. #38 rare footage
    February 28, 2009

    you know whats so ignorant to me…? the fact that non-believers think that us believers are scared to choose or think for ourselves, when actually that’s exactly what we are doing… we are choosing to believe just like your chossing not to believe. I’d rather choose to believe and increase my chances of living eternal life with God then to blind myself and act supprised when it comes to judgment day and he tells me to go to his left…

  39. #39 Aki_Izayoi
    September 9, 2009

    “In the very next section we are shown the manifesto of “The Other Light,” the group of Satan worshipping misfits giving God so much grief. Members of TOL are keen to keep this document hidden, knowing how incendiary it is. A gruop of savvy believers managed to get their hands on a copy, lucky for us. Make sure you are sitting down before contemplating the horror of it all”

    Actually… Qasim Marid was the one who showed them the document, and he was a plant from TOL sent to sabotage the COT ministry of Buck (called “Cameron” now) and Chloe Williams.

    I do not like the Left Behind series… but at least Kingdom Come has somewhat better characters, but unfortunately, Nicolae Carpathia wasn’t there (my favorite LB character). I still had to skip the preachiness so I only read about 4/5 of the book. However, I do not like any of the Left Behind characters with the possible exception of Ekaterina Risto in Kingdom Come and Nicolae Carpathia.

  40. #40 Kelly B
    March 12, 2010

    Well I hate that you feel the way you do! Our Lord loves you, and to further the conversation , I feel you have total failed to understand the point of this novel. It is only to show others that there is only one way to heaven and no matter how “boring” you think it is, it is depicted quite true! Choose Jesus and you will see! If you take this simple challenge i will meet you on the other side! I believe your issue is that you have a problem with authority? Is this true? Sounds like it! I believe you are scared, and that you might actually like having a lord who loves you no matter what. Christianity is very simple and people continue to make it a difficult task. I wish you all the best, think about what i have written. It might make you happier than your big bang theory lol!

  41. #41 Modusoperandi
    March 12, 2010

    Kelly B “Well I hate that you feel the way you do!”
    Badly written fiction is depressing. Badly written fiction taken as documentary by its intended audience is worse.
    Like Red Dawn and Gibson’s Passion of the Christ, it’s rightwing porn.

    “I feel you have total failed to understand the point of this novel.”
    Face it. It’s a revenge fantasy. It’s The Crow, but based on a much older comic book (…all the way back to 1827, when Darby thought of it).

    “It is only to show others that there is only one way to heaven and no matter how ‘boring’ you think it is…”
    Aren’t its readers generally Calvinist or Calvin-leaning? If so, the die has already been cast. The damned have been damned and the saved been saved since long before they were even born and despite the surety of those professing to be in the latter group…only God knows for sure (Dun-dun dun!).

    “…it is depicted quite true!”
    No. Ragnarok is true. Obviously. Left Behind is a fictionalization of fiction.

    “I believe your issue is that you have a problem with authority? Is this true?”
    I don’t. I do have a problem with people telling other what to do based on an imagined authority. That’s why Thor keeps telling me to tell you what to do. He’s worried that Loki, that trickster, has lead you astray.

    “I believe you are scared…”
    A little, but we all die. Making up stories about how we really don’t to get around that fact doesn’t change that fact.

    “…and that you might actually like having a lord who loves you no matter what.”
    Except for those who believe the wrong thing. Those, He loves enough to punish with an unimaginably horrible, eternal torment.
    Hitler, I assume, went to Hell. So did most of his victims. Calling that “justice” (much less calling “an eternal punishment of firey burning for the finite sin of the simple act of disbelief” “justice”) mangles the very word in to incoherence.

    ” Christianity is very simple and people continue to make it a difficult task.”
    It is simple. “Believe the right thing”. Now, quick, believe the wrong thing. See how unsimple an imaginary simplification is?

    “I wish you all the best, think about what i have written.”
    I’ve heard it before, and it doesn’t improve with repetition.

    “It might make you happier than your big bang theory lol!”
    The Big Bang was pretty awesome. Messier than a six day Creation, but more reality-based, to boot.

  42. #42 Lindsey
    March 7, 2011

    Wouldn’t you rather have practiced religion and found out it was a fake, then not have practiced and found out it was true?

  43. #43 Lenoxuss
    March 7, 2011

    @ Lindsey: Could the reason for this please, please be more interesting (or at least more coherent) than “God might punish unbelievers and reward believers“?

    Myself, I’d “rather” my beliefs correspond to reality, whatever it is.

  44. #44 Lenoxuss
    March 7, 2011

    Mike Hartmann @ 37:

    I will have spent my adult life in a one man and one woman marriage. I would have abstained from sexual activities which could have a negative impact on my health ( AIDS and other STD’s). I will have raised my children to value all human life born and unborn, regardless of their beliefs, opinions, color, religion or ethnic background.

    I have the strangest feeling that that last sentence is, how shall I put it, missing a demographic? And that the demographic in question is strongly hinted at in the first sentence I quoted?

  45. #45 Derek Murphy
    August 10, 2011

    Awesome – I’m planning on writing a novel-response to the left behind series called “The Bible Part II”. In my version, the antichrist wins and saves humanity from God’s evil destruction.

    You might like my current book, “Jesus Potter Harry Christ”. If you’d like to review it, let me know and I’ll send you a copy.