Didion's frightening question is how much the kind of thinking found in the Left Behind books influences the decisions of President George W. Bush, proud evangelical Christian, doubter of Darwin, and courter of the fundamentalist Christian right.
She cuts through to the scary political implications of these books having a fanbase of 55 million:
We understand immediately: this will be an end-times scenario with a political point. These are not books that illuminate Christian theology. The apocalyptic events of Revelation roll out in their appointed order, each judgment more literal than the last … famine giving way to pestilence, fire to the falling star to the darkening of the sun by a third … the plague of locusts to the plague of two hundred thousand brimstone-breathing horses to the plague of boils, the sea turning to blood, and, in Armageddon, the Euphrates drying up. What might seem to be the lesson of the Christian litany, that only through the acceptance of a profound mystery can one survive whatever spiritual tribulation these poetic fates are meant to signify, is not the lesson of the "Left Behind" books, in which the fates are literal rather than symbolic …
Consider: 55 million Americans believe that such events will occur soon and inevitably.
I spent years working for groups like "Evangelicals for Social Action" — trying to get Christians to follow the Bible's teachings about justice and mercy for the poor, and the "Evangelical Environmental Network" — trying to promote a stewardly care for God's creation. In that work I would frequently encounter rapture-maniac Christians of the LaHaye/Bush variety who seemed genuinely to believe that any such efforts to make the world a better place were contrary to the will of God as they understood it.
To such people God's will was for the world to spiral downwards into chaos and ever-increasing suffering. Such a view leads these Christians to pursue the opposite of what Jesus taught. It is, in one word, "Anti-Christ."