L.B.: Recycling Sydney Watson

"It's hard to write something new about the end of the world," writes Crawford Gribben in Books & Culture:

What is interesting about much of the comment on the Left Behind phenomenon is the assumption that this market did not exist before the publication of the series' first novel. … The opposite is the case. Rapture fictions have been a feature of Western evangelicalism throughout the 20th century, and end-times novelists have repeatedly rewritten the apocalypse to take account of changing social and political concerns.

Gribben traces the genre back to the British writer Sydney Watson, whose end-times trilogy — Scarlet and Purple (1913), The Mark of the Beast (1915) and In the Twinkling of an Eye (1916) — established the basic template on which later writers, like LaHaye and Jenkins, based their works. Gribben does concede that these later novels are bound to be similar to Watson's in that they are constrained by the same laundry list of "prophetic" events that must occur in lieu of an actual plot:

… when both authors and audience share a basic commitment to dispensational theology, it becomes extremely difficult to develop new contours in plot. A narrative paradigm has been established by biblical exegesis, and no author who takes his market seriously would dare to challenge its fundamental conventions.

The Left Behind series, covering the same imagined sequence of events that Watson covered, is bound to have some similarities, yet Gribben notes that it's more than that — L&J borrow several tropes and stock characters as well:

Watson's In the Twinkling of an Eye features as its protagonist a 30-year-old bachelor journalist named Tom Hammond. His career in crisis, Hammond is offered the opportunity to launch his own paper, which quickly establishes itself as the most successful in the world. Hammond editorializes in a column called "From the Prophet's Chair," in which his growing interest in biblical prophecy develops. Buck Williams, in the Left Behind series, is also a 30-year-old bachelor journalist who launches his own internationally successful news portal and uses it to display his growing interest in biblical prophecy. Perhaps there is something to be said for narrative economy. …

At best the novels are deeply intertextual; at worst, it might even be claimed, elements of their fictions are explicitly derivative.

  • Chris

    It’s sad that L&J can’t even be slightly imaginative. It’s one thing to have the same events, since that is the point of writing an end-times narrative. But they can’t even be bothered to come up with different characters. That’s pathetic.

  • BigRoad

    Don’t forget “The Late Great Planet Earth.” I think that nuclear nightmare/miracle was in there too.

  • WKD

    Sooooo, how many monkies at typewriters would it take for L&J to produce the greatest end-of-times novel in the world. They obviously don’t have enough now….

  • Ginny

    I have just started reading In The Twinkling of an Eye, an original copy that I purchased from an antique shop. This is where I first heard of Syndey Watson, and I did see the similarities between Hammond and Williams.
    But let us not criticize L&J too much. Their series has led many people to Christ, and as Christians, that’s what our whole goal and purpose in life is.
    Many people would consider the books by Watson to be outdated and not interesting. (Not myself, of course, because I love antique things.) So L&J, if anything, have updated the stories for us so that everyone of today’s age and culture could read, understand and enjoy the story.
    ~Ginny, 22, FL

  • Dan

    CONVERSION POWER
    “Their series has led many people to Christ …”
    I hear this idea quite a lot when the LB series is discussed in the media or other public forums. And yet it presents something of a dilemma for me, for I’ve had great trouble finding much evidence of its proslytising potency. Who has been saved through it? Where are the testimonies that one would expect to be disseminated nationwide, if not by the converts themselves, then at least by the powerful Christian broadcasters which usually eat this sort of thing up? But no, there are only a few vague references to its “potential” for witnessing.
    Perhaps you others can help me. Has anyone had contact with someone saved primarily through contact with LB?
    The only place on the entire web I can find anything on the topic is testimonials archive at the LB website: http://leftbehind.com/channelinteract.asp?pageid=744&channelID=80
    The archive contains 36 brief testimonies, blogged over the period of 16 May to 6 June 2003. Call me overly suspicious, but it seems just a little strange that the only time newly-born-again believers felt the need to publicly proclaim their gratitude to the LB authors was during a period of less than a month mid-last-year, before abruptly falling silent once again. What happened to all those millions of readers over the previous 8 years since LB was first published, not to mention any fresh converts subsequent to June ’03? Did they decide that 36 brief anecdotes was a sufficiently princely number to trumpet the series’ great evangelistic value, and their own contributions not worth adding?
    So let’s take a look at these 36 testimonies. Acutually, 15 of them aren’t conversion stories at all, and are better classified as the “I was edified in my Christian walk by these books” variety. So that leaves us with 21 proper cases. (For any pendantic types out there, they are: Katrina, Jason, Beau, Brad, Brian, Stephanie, Uy, Jim, Jennifer, Mary, Jade, Kimberley, Richard, Neyla, Joan, Micheline, Mike, Darlene, Carolyn, Elizabeth and Ashley. I do not include the 2 instances where bloggers spoke about giving the books to undefined numbers of friends or acquaintances, who later became saved.)
    Of these, all are without exception already members of the Christian community, the “nominal” Christians (ie, Christian in name and practice only), who were stirred to seek a proper relationship with God. Perhaps not surprsing considering this is exactly the same boat as Rayford, Buck and every other main character in LB. It is not my intention to downplay the significance of any of these conversions, but LB is simply preaching to the converted (or partially converted). As in the books, these people already have some knowledge of God, Jesus, and the main biblical doctrines. The groundwork is all there already, only thing left is to give the final jolt. This is all well and good, but what about the great hordes who haven’t got this groundwork (and there are a large number of them, even in the USA. Just take a look at what pop culture is churning out, eg the Simpsons). They are “left behind”.
    LaHaye himself has admitted that LB’s target isn’t the unsaved masses. During his interview at http://msnbc.msn.com/id/4988269/site/newsweek/ he remarks, “Those millions that I’m trying to reach take the Bible literally.” Read: the same middle-American, urban, conservative evangelical, fundamentalist Christian subculture that he himself is a part of. Purchaser statistics confirm this: “71 percent of the readers are from the South and Midwest … The “core buyer” is a 44-year-old born-again Christian woman, married with kids, living in the South.”
    Ginny is quite right when she says “as Christians, [evangelism]‘s what our whole goal and purpose in life is.” Yet Rayford, Buck and co., and L&J, don’t seem to particularly care about reaching out to the unsaved who are ‘outside the pale’. The bulk of their time and energy is spent jet-setting around the globe, rescuing their own team members, hiding from and spying on the GC. (It’s a bit like the X-Men, except the X-Men actually challenged and tried to better the hostile world system they faced.) Evangelising the swarms of tormented humanity before them is not a priority (they leave that hard work mostly to the angels). This attitude of “we’re right, you’re all screwed and there’s nothing you can do about it!” doesn’t really go down that well with inquisitive non-believers (as opposed to nominal Christians).
    The Duck Speaks is typical: http://badmovieplanet.com/duckspeaks/reviews/2004/left-behind/ He writes, “I thought, going in, that the purpose of this novel was to try and convert people to the Christian faith. Maybe it is, but how can you be personally affected by a story where the dice are so obviously loaded to one side? After all, this is a world where clear proof of God exists. The Rapture has happened; pretend all you like that there are other reasons, but when the majority of the Christian population of the world disappears one night in a manner exactly described in the Bible, it’s pretty damn obvious what happened.
    “People ‘giving themselves to Christ’ in such a situation aren’t trying to fill some sort of void in their lives with God- they’re accepting reality. Since we live in a Rapture-less world, why should we follow in their footsteps? …
    “This complete disregard for opposing viewpoints can be seen in another telling moment in the story … it speaks volumes about the authors’ intentions … Bruce warns [Rayford] that his first duty will be to meet with the skeptics and cynics and deal with their questions. Ray is willing, and asks his daughter Chloe to accompany him.
    “This woke me up a little; ah, I thought, here we’ll get to it, here we’ll see some discussion- and even if it’s heavy-handed, it’ll at least be more interesting than Ray trying to beat his daughter to death with his beliefs.
    “I was wrong. We never see the meeting, never hear another mention of it, never get any idea of what is discussed. The only non-Christian point of view that’s given in the novel is Chloe’s, and it’s a pretty-half hearted one at that; one gets the feeling she’s reacting more to her dad’s sermonizing than any personal convictions. Which is the point. The authors don’t intend to give any real story time to any beliefs but their own; if it’s not in agreement with their small-minded, tunnel vision ideals, than it’s either belittled or ignored completely, and while the first method is amusingly crude … the second is creepy in its innocuousness. A brief Amazon search on Jerry Jenkins reveals he co-authored a book called The Art of Verbal Judo; which should give you an idea on his approach to evangelizing.
    “Nothing irritates me more than someone trying to force me to believe something, and that’s exactly what this novel, in its inept and idiotic manner, tries to do. What we have here is an attempt at giving genre escapism with a message to an audience that either demands more entertainment from it’s escapism to be much interested, or is already so enamored of the message that any further attempts to bring them over are unnecessary.”
    Plus, as Fred has already remarked, the main incentive used by LB to effect this evangelism is threat of hellfire, or being “left behind” if you will. Ashley’s conversion testimony at LB’s website is telling: “I found out that I didn’t want to be left behind to face the judgement of Earth.” Well, who would?
    This is hardly the gospel of the love of Christ and redemption. As fellow Christian Jeremy D. Frens says, “Scaring people into belief because the rapture will leave you behind is not an effective way to evangelize.” http://www.calvin.edu/~jdfrens/Hobbies/Books/book7.html
    Peace.

  • sophia8

    “Their series has led many people to Christ, and as Christians, that’s what our whole goal and purpose in life is.”
    And when you’ve converted everybody, your purpose in life is…?
    I’m no Christian, but I think that quite a few Christians could and would dispute that statement, Ginny.
    But as for precursors of the LB series, there are plenty to be found in non-religious literature. SF, for instance, has been putting out post-nuclear holocaust books since at least the 1950s. And in the Cold War 1970s, there was Survivalist fiction; Jerry Aherne probably started off that particular genre with his Survivalist series – his hero was an ex-Special Forces soldier who shot and blazed his way across a devastated, Russian-invaded continent. And of course, we shouldn’t forget the Mad Max films!
    You can read more about post-Apocalypse fiction at: http://www.emptyworld.info/article_01.html

  • Ginny

    Well, I am not here to debate, but there were a few things said that interested me.
    >
    I know it is hard to understand, but if only *one* person is saved through it, then that is a great accomplisment. Many people who call themselves Christians cannot even boast of the that much.
    >
    No one is trying to *force* you to believe anything. It’s a simple case of if you do not like the contents of the book, then do not read it. No one is threatening your life if you chose not to read or believe it.
    Sure you can say “The threat is if I do not believe it, then I will suffer for eternity.” Yet that is not much of a threat if you do not believe it now, is it. *smile* OK, enough tongue twisters.
    Please do not be pushed away by men. If I based my faith upon men, it would be worthless and I would have given up a long time ago.
    The message is simple: For God so loved the world…
    He still loves every one of us today.
    Take care and have a happy holiday season.

  • Ginny

    !”Their series has led many people to Christ, and as Christians, that’s what our whole goal and purpose in life is.”
    And when you’ve converted everybody, your purpose in life is…?
    I’m no Christian, but I think that quite a few Christians could and would dispute that statement, Ginny. — Sophia)
    Sophia, like I basically told Dan, my faith is not based upon man (or these other Christians). My faith is based upon Christ. He said “Go into all the world and preach the gospel…” That sounds like a pretty clear statement to me.
    I hope you can understand.
    Peace, love and happiness this Christmas!

  • sophia8

    Jesus said (reportedly) quite a lot of things – some of them uncomfortably unChristlike. How about the stuff in Matthew about mutilating yourself if you don’t like your body, or killing the child that curses its parents? Not to mention the one about coming to save only the Israelites (Matt 15:24). Doesn’t that mean that people like you should only try to convert Jews?
    You cannot pick and choose which bit of Christ’s commandments to follow – he comes as a package.
    And you haven’t answered my question.

  • Ginny

    Hi, Sophia!
    (You cannot pick and choose which bit of Christ’s commandments to follow – he comes as a package.)
    I couldn’t agree more!!!
    OK, I did not write out a reply to all the questions you just asked just yet. I’m still working on it.
    I just wanted to know what question is it that I did not answer in my last post? I apologize if I missed it.
    Thank you for all these questions though. As I look them up, find answers and all, it helps me with my own Bible study.
    BTW, I’ll look up the answers to those other questions today and get back with you ASAP.
    Everyone have a good Thanksgiving?
    Toodles!

  • bellatrys

    So…which hand have you cut off?
    Seriously, how do you know what it is that Jesus is telling us to do, with such absolute certainty, and not that it is your own desires and interpretations that you are obeying instead?
    I assume you have studied 1st century greek and know all the original contexts of the Province of Syria and the whole of Jewish cultural conflicts leading up to the gospels? from multiple sources, not just “bible Christian ones, right?

  • Dan

    “Jesus said (reportedly) quite a lot of things – some of them uncomfortably unChristlike. How about the stuff in Matthew about mutilating yourself if you don’t like your body, or killing the child that curses its parents? Not to mention the one about coming to save only the Israelites (Matt 15:24)”
    Hi Sophia,
    be careful, or you’ll fall into the same trap as the fundies – ie, superficially literal interpretation. And we can all see the kinds of absurdity it can lead people to.
    Actually, that reminds me of that well-known (true) tale of the man who wanted to ascertain God’s will for his life, so he decided to open his NT at random and apply whatever verse appeared. The passage selected read, “The Lord rebuke you” (Jude 1:9). Shaken, he decided to start over. This time it read: “Then he went away and hanged himself.” (Matthew 27:5). And trying once more, he got, “Now go and do the same” (Luke 10:37).
    As bellatrys has noted, the NT is an enormously complex text that has to be interpreted in light of its social, liguistic, literary, cultural and theological context. Most of the seemingly bizarre statements then become clear. Eg, that passage about killing the child that curses the parent (Matt 15:4) was simply reiterating a 1000 year old Torah law (Ex 21:17), which was a designed to enforce the “honour your mother and father” rule. “Cursing” in this context is NOT the same as saying “go to hell!” to your parents during a blazing row over curfews. Rather, it refers to malicious wishing your parents to be dead, or acting that way. In ancient times, the power of curses was greatly feared and legislated against.
    In fact, Christ used that passage as a basis for prohibiting the use of religion as an excuse to neglect one’s family obligations! A modern equivalent may be, “if you’ve just got a $15,000 bonus, and your mum live in squalor and pa needs a pacemaker, help out your parents BEFORE you give all that money as a tax-deductible donation to your church’s roof fund.”
    With all the horrible neglect of many seniors, it’s surprising that this message isn’t propagated more. Then again, considering it is the churches themselves that should be teaching this, perhaps their silence is not so surprising.

  • bellatrys

    Exactly, Dan! One of the most eyeopening courses I had at my (liberal Christian) school was not theo at all, but a phil of language one, where we studied rhetoric, analyzing various texts – including the Parables – and learned that we take for granted in modern writing all kinds of stuff that we just don’t think about. Frex, who is the audience? Who is the “assumed voice” of the speaker? Is s/he being sarcastic? Making in-jokes? What sort of meta-text is understood between speaker and audience, and how are you going to know this if you’re dealing with something older than your own generation?
    You see this very clearly, if you try to watch comedy shows from the 1970s or earlier – most of it rolls right past, because you have no idea what contemprorary news item they’re talking about.
    One thing I realied very quickly was that without a very deep and close understanding of the times, you’re going to miss most of the ObRefs the apostles and their group took for granted. And the more I learn the more I realize I don’t know.
    Frex, fact-checking for an article I was writing on the Passion this spring, I discovered that some of the parables Jesus makes about “kings” aren’t abstract, but are thinly veiled examples from the Herods – the Pahlavis to Rome’s US in many ways – referring to things that took place within living memory or parents memory. This casts a new light on them, they’re not made up, they’re political commentary on current events.
    Then, knowing (as I sort of did already) the dense *longstanding* interaction between Canaanite culture, Macedonian/Greek culture, and now Roman gives a new flavor to all the Gospels – you have to imagine a place much more like the contemporary mid-east, where Western influence is fighting with various redefinitions of “traditionalism” and politics and money are changing everything. Is it okay to go to the new theater and watch this imported stuff with pagan gods in it? Should we go and burn down the theatre instead? These are the sorts of things that were going on back then, if you read Josephus and other contemporary sources – with modern commentary from archeology.
    The least useful thing, for understanding the Bible, is the Bible itself. It’s as if you were to try to understand the Constitution with out knowing anything about Britain, France, Neoclasscism, and the lives of the individuals involved in the writing of it.

  • bellatrys

    (Then again, on a literal level – which in my church’s tradition includes both “proper” and “improper” modes, ie, non-figurative and metaphorical, are *both* considered “literal” – if you’ve got gangrene, or one of those really bad eye infections that sometimes travels along the optic nerve, amputation is the only way to go to prevent death or total blindness. It’s funny that I’ve never heard a minister or teacher point this out, as a way of understanding the “offend thee” line. Lack of imagination, or lack of life experience?)

  • Scott

    Killer Ending
    The new Left Behind novel reinforces a trend toward a Jesus who comes not with peace but a sword.
    Jesus has been depicted as a lamb and a shepherd, a rock star and a lowly carpenter. In “Glorious Appearing,” the climactic twelfth installment in the Left Behind series released this week, Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins give us Christ the Destroyer….
    …Jesus’ split personality–swinging from belligerent to gentle within “Glorious Appearing’s” 400 pages–is a sign, perhaps, that evangelicals like Jenkins and LaHaye are still in transition between the Jesus the friend and Jesus the general….

  • sophia8

    My post was clearly a little too subtle for some. Dan, I was taking a parodic poke at Bible literalists! I’m suprprised that self-mutilators haven’t yet made that Matthew quote into a religious justification. And that quote about killing children who curse their parents – isn’t that simply a reiteration of the stuff in Leviticus about stoning the child who disobeys his parents? I can’t see it the way you’ve described.
    Bellatrys, yes, I cannot agree more that tody’s Ameican Christians are totally ignorant about the world of the Gospel-writers, and the historical context of the New Testament.
    Ginny, my question was – and still is – “If your whole purpose in life is to convert people, what happens when you’ve converted everyone?”

  • carla

    thought i’d try to turn off the italics . . .

  • D

    The question that always occurs to me when I hear the argument, ‘Well, if it just brings one person to Christ, than it’s valid’ is ‘Does it matter the quality of that convert?’. I mean, if it’s a rush just to get everybody to pray the sinner’s prayer and get into church once a week, then by all means, use whatever means are necessary. If you actually want to see someone’s life changed from the deepest depths of their soul, well it’s going to take a bit more than scare tactics and shallow social manipulations.
    And actually there’s another question that always occurs to me:
    How many people did it turn away?

  • Dan

    That’s precisely it, D. In 1492 the Spanish crown gave all Jews an ultimatum: convert, leave the country, or be burnt at the stake. That particular method led to thousands of Christian converts. As did the actions of King Olaf Trygvasson of Norway, who ordered all his pagan subjects to convert, or be tortured to death! In the modern era, churches could easily bolster their numbers by following the Saudi way: provide massive financial benefits for individuals and states in the Third World if they convert, or become “officially” members of the religion.
    But what would that achieve? If people feel constrained to convert (not necessarily being actually constrained), they rarely become ideal members of the fold for the simple reason that their hearts aren’t really in it. Plus, they tend to harbour a hidden resentment against the system they’re now part of. This all makes for an inherently unstable community, socially and spiritually.
    That’s the main problem I have with LB. L&J’s zeal to spread the gospel is laudable. I for one don’t doubt their sincerity. But sincerity isn’t enough. What about the White Man’s Burden? Europeans sincerely believed that forcing masses of poorer people from vastly different cultures to conform to European standards was doing them a favour. I live near Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia, and I can tell you, anti-colonial fanaticism still runs high throughout SE Asia. Zeal is great, but it has to be tempered with sensitivity, which requires a proper understanding of the situation and how best to deal with it. To effectively achieve their goal L&J’s methods must be appropriate, else they court disaster. As Hosea said, “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”.
    btw Ginny, please don’t think I was trying to attack you. That passage about feeling forced to convert was a quote from a non-believing reader, Lame Duck. I just included it as an example of how “outsiders” see it. I’m sure L&J aren’t trying to threaten or coerce anyone into the kingdom, but that’s not the point. What’s important is how the targets (ie the unsaved) perceive it. People tend to react negatively and aggressively if they merely feel threatened, whether or not the threat is actually credible in their mind is irrelevant.
    PS. Sorry if I took you too literally, Sophie (and yes, I’m aware of the irony, ha ha!) Sometimes a little tricky to tell with nothing but bare words to judge by. Which just goes to show how careful we have to be when reading anything (but especially those things which have massive FX on peoples’ lives)!

  • none

    “And that quote about killing children who curse their parents – isn’t that simply a reiteration of the stuff in Leviticus about stoning the child who disobeys his parents? I can’t see it the way you’ve described.”
    OK Sophie, perhaps I need to deconstruct it a bit more:
    You’re quite right about the stoning. One of the Torah’s 17 capital offences, mentioned in several places, was variously described as cursing/striking/contempt of one’s parents. It was an extension of the “honour your father and mother” commandment. Hebrew society placed far greater empahsis on obedience, especially to the parents, the primary authority (at least in personal terms). God is described as Israel’s father, being the ultimate template for all people, with the parental prerogative to lay down binding rules on how His “son” behaves. Blasphemy is thus the equivalent of cursing a parent (and also merits the death penalty).
    But I digress. In short, you treat mum and dad with contempt, you die. I should point out that their is no evidence that the sentence was actually carried out ever by anyone. The ancient rabbis vehemently argued that it had never been used. It’s also the negative to the positive promise: if you honour and obey mum and dad, “you will live long and it will go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you” (Deut 5:16).
    Now, there are two NT passages dealing with the stoning-the-child precept, Matthew 15 and Mark 7. Both accounts are substantially the same so for the sake of brevity I will only deal with Matthew.
    The chapter opens with a halakhic dispute over whether eating food with unwashed hands makes the food ritually “unclean”. The rabbis who confronted Jesus relied on the “tradition of the elders”, ie the so-called “Oral Torah” handed down from generation to generation, as the basis for their position. (Matthew 15:1-2) Oral tradition was considered the Word of God too, and so was on a par in authority with the written Scriptures (a position still held today by the Orthodox Jews). And tradition clearly stated that food eaten with unwashed hands was definitely unclean; the equivalent of eating pork, or eagles’ claws, or whatever else forbidden stuff.
    In v.3, Jesus rebuts the proposition by saying that the Oral law cannot be as authoritative as written Scripture, because in practical terms it often contradicts Scripture! To Jesus, the written Word is paramount, and anything that goes against it is invalid. Thus he rejects the appeal to tradition’s authority. And since the Scriptures say nothing about washing hands making food clean, Christ concludes that things are clean or unclean by virtue of the written Law, and not additional things like handwashing (Matt 15:20).
    In this context, Christ is not primarily dealing with stoning rebellious children. He uses the verses to derive a general principle (equivalent to the modern ratio decidendi) as proof of the oral and written Torahs’ inconsistency. (Note: this is only a single example; Christ provides others throughout the gospels.) The argument runs thus:
    1) The Torah says you must honour your parents, (Ex 20:12, Dt 5:16).
    2. The Torah goes further, and rules that anyone who does NOT honour their parents (“cursing”) must die (Ex 21:17, Lev 20:9). So this is no trivial matter! (Matt 15:4)
    3. The oral Torah (which the rabbis are relying on) says that anything that is declared Corban (ie dedicated to God) whether money, property, animals, whatever, must go to God (ie the Temple or the rabbis or the poor), period. So if for example a man dedicates a large amount of his money to God, then discovers that his parents have been evicted and are starving in the street, and desperate for medical attention, he cannot use that dedicated money to help them, no matter how much he may want to. It MUST “go to God”, regardless of whether the parents may die there in the street before he can raise enough money again to help them. (Mt 15:5-6)
    4. The above-mentioned rule thus forces a person to disregard (= dishonour) his parents in this cirumstance, violating the Torah law in 1. and 2.(Mt 15:5-6)
    5. The written Scripture is from God and cannot be contradicted.
    6. Since the oral Torah violates the written Torah’s laws, the oral Torah cannot be divine authority, and thus cannot be used as a ground for arguing that unwashed hands makes food ritually defiled (initial argument rebutted).
    So Jesus believed that honouring one’s parents took precedence over Corban (gifts dedicated to God). He seems to be saying that in the situation mentioned above, the person should use the Corban money to help his parents FIRST, this discharge his religious responsibility. (for another version of this principle, see Matthew 5:23-24)
    I hope that clears matters up. Jesus and the rabbis’ methods of debate
    Peace.

  • sophia8

    Sigh. I thought I made it clear that I completely accept that the Bible has to be read in context. Anonymous, you should be writing this for the redneck fundies who take every word of the Bible literally.
    For the record, I’m not a Christian, so I have no particular interest in the exact meaning of the Bible – except when the literalist fundies use it to affect my life.

  • Dan

    (Whoops, forgot to put my name on that last msg!)
    Changing the fundie world one blog at a time!

  • none

    Ginny, my question was – and still is – “If your whole purpose in life is to convert people, what happens when you’ve converted everyone?”
    ****
    Well, obviously not everyone will be converted. *But* if that *were* to happen, then I would say Jesus would then set up his eternal Kingdom here on earth. *smile*
    Merry Christmas everyone!

  • Ginny

    “btw Ginny, please don’t think I was trying to attack you. ”
    No sweat, Dan! *smile*
    Merry Christmas.
    PS: The last post was me. Forgot to sign my name in.

  • Ginny

    Guys, the message is so simple.
    Love the Lord your God first
    Love your neighbor as yourself.
    For God so loved the world, He sent His one and only Son….
    That’s what the message is all about: LOVE
    Wishing you Love and happiness this Christmas season!

  • Charles Kaltwasser

    I have a Koran in chinese and a Bible in chinese. When I look at them both, side by side, my god?!! OK please try to understand this one fact. Moses lived, if there was a Moses, about 3500 years ago. 1500bc, right? And the talk of the global town is that Moses had some kind of “exodus” from “Egypt.” Rite? But looking at the bible and the koran together in their chinese translations, I start to surmise like this. Couldn’t the so-called “exodus from Egypt” actually be referring to an “exodus from the Egyptian hieroglyphics” toward the lap top friendly alphabetical system of signal reproduction? That is the hebrew and arabic so-called scriptures known as bible and koran are actually alphabetic inventions with the egyptian pyramid writings the source of the alphabetic inventions? I ask this to everyone. and no one has a real honest clue one way or the other!!!

  • Ken Cameron

    Charles,
    Why would the Exodus Accounts be so bloodied, turbulent, fearful, just to depict a change in writing…especially since less than 1% were literate then ?
    Rabbis will tell you the stories are
    deliberately colourful, like the Eden story,
    but they have an underlying tale to tell,
    usually ethical.

  • Charles Kaltwasser

    Exodus was writing when Moses was alive, that’s the theory and the other theory is that moses lived around 1,500 BC or 3,500 years ago. There’s no way in heaven or hell to tell what the literacy rate was 3,500 years ago. Was it 1% or 100%, or something in between? Absoulutely NOBODY knows that stat. we live in a world where people PRETEND they know what the scriptures are in fact taking about, but it is just an act, a show, to get some goodies from those who don’t have a clue….


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