L.B.: Dr. Dives is bored

Left Behind, pg. 59

Buck Williams and the authors have been so busy checking his e-mail that they seem to have forgotten he has a gory wound on the back of his head from his odd and violent pratfall on the tarmac.

He’d better see a doctor. Maybe we could just have one wander by:

Buck kept pressing a handkerchief soaked with cold water onto the back of his head. His wound had stopped bleeding, but it stung. … when he was tapped on the shoulder.

“I’m a doctor. Let me dress your wound.”

Whew. That was convenient. What’re the odds?

“Just let me do this, pal,” the doctor says. “I’m going crazy here with nothing to do, and I have my bag.”

You can understand why the doctor is getting antsy.

Nothing to do in the airport except to sit around in the “exclusive Pan-Con Club” and stare out the window watching the rescue workers and EMTs below scurry from plane crash to plane crash. It’s kind of amusing for a while, seeing them set up a desperate triage there among the smoke and the broken bodies, separating the gravely wounded from those in need only of First Aid and those merely suffering from shock after the loss of their loved ones. But it gets old eventually, just sitting there, so what the heck — why not patch up that rich guy’s bleeding scalp over there?

The doctor is exactly like Dives, the rich man in the parable, ignoring the pain and need of the beggar Lazarus on his very doorstep (see Luke 16:19-31). But at least Dives did not complain of his boredom while feasting in his first-class travelers’ club.

The doctor’s boredom is monstrous. It is sociopathic. It is a violation of medical ethics, of the Hippocratic oath, of common decency, of the Golden Rule.

Yet LaHaye and Jenkins do not seem to intend us to view the doctor as monstrous. His behavior, after all, parallels that of Rayford Steele and Buck Williams — our sympathetic heroes.

The authors, like all of their characters, seem to have forgotten entirely about the scene of tragedy and suffering they have just left behind them. It’s out of sight and out of mind. For L&J — as for Rayford, Buck and the doctor — those other people and their suffering and need simply do not exist. Lazarus is invisible. Lazarus does not exist.

That’s the central characteristic of the morality L&J are portraying. That is the morality they are teaching.

And that is the morality that 40 million earnest Christians are learning from these books.

 

  • Jennifer

    That is just CRAZY.
    Why am I suspecting the authors just plain keep forgetting they’re having an apocalypse going on around them while they worry about Buck and Rayford’s psuedo-friends not acting with the right etiquette?

  • the other michael

    good lord.
    just to be sure–I get confused going in & out of caps: “I’m going crazy here with nothing to do,” is a direct quote?
    are they truly evil or are they just not trying?
    m

  • Stacy

    This is pretty damning. I think Jennifer is right, L&J (or more to the point, J, from what I’ve read, Lahaye only worked on the theological bits and left Jenkins to do everything else) don’t remember that other stuff. But, DAMN, a doctor sitting around with nothing to do but patch some guy’s superficial head wound? Surely L&J don’t mean to imply that everyone who would be out in the midst of the wreckage helping out have been raptured, leaving only sociopaths and assholes??

  • Peatey

    Why did the editor get paid? Was there even an editor for this book?

  • none

    I could sort of understand williams and steel’s ignoring the wreckage and injured, After all there’s not a lot of specialist help a pilot or a journalist would be able to offer the EMTs (though I doubt there’s a scene in which either offer their help, even as stretcher bearers or something, but they’re pre-saved so it could be assumed that this absence is a poinient portrayal of their characters, at least that’s what I would assume), but for a doctor to just be lounging around in the bar, while a scenic view of the blood and wreckage outside was smoking and bleeding in front of him. That is beyond stupid.
    Now if the Doctor looked incredibly tired and was covered in blood and dirt from the hours of work he had alreadydone on the casualties, now that would make sense, the doctor was obviously just taking a rest before he went back on duty, when he saw a obviously minor flesh wound that just required a quick looksie and maybe a trip to the hospital when he gets to a city, well that makes sense.
    a Tiny bit of extra description and the whole thing makes sense.
    The only reasons I can think of why the editor didn’t do a better job is either A, because he was really stupid or B, he read through it once and realised that if he told L&J that they had to make all the many many changes neccesary to the book, then the editor would have to read through it again.
    The Horror.
    So who was the sorry induhvidual responsible for the editing? There needs to be some illumination on this shadowy figure, it’s their fault after all.

  • Diamondrock

    That is sick. It’s just sick. I knew these books were bad, but I didn’t know they were this bad. You are doing us all a service, Fred.

  • animus

    The end of the world
    has wandered away from view
    and been forgotten.

  • wednesday

    While this morality pops up at inopportune moments (and some of those defeat my argument), I think the goal *here* is to show us that these people aren’t Saved! yet, and therefore they’re going to act like selfish gits with screwed-up priorities.

  • Keith

    While there is plenty to blame on the editor, let us not forget that some agent also read at least the first three chapters and a prospective outline for this tripe and then, went and sold it to some hapless editor.
    As for Wednesday’s comment, I’ve thought of this myself: these people weren’t saved, therefore by deduction (or reduction), must be sinners and selfish gits, all of them. But Dr. Dives is a characiture of such a person. Especially if you go by the wonky morality of J&L, where the smallest transgression gets you left behind, there are bound to be a lot of decent people who just like to eat shrinp or wear clothing blended from two different fabrics running around. And obvisouly, they are, as they’re the other EMTs and doctors out on the tarmac treating the wounded. A world full of sociopaths is a very small world indeed.

  • Scott

    “as they’re the other EMTs and doctors out on the tarmac treating the wounded”
    The EMTs and doctors were ordered to be out there. In L&Jville, people only do what they’re explicitly told to do by some Authority.
    Where’s Julian Jaynes when you need him? :-)

  • nitpicker

    But the authority told the pilots too take the bus back to the terminal…and those that did died!
    The whole concept of morality in the Left Behind series is made up of paradoxes! And those paradoxes create yet more paradoxes!
    Cthulu must have been the editor, nothing human could have been responsible for this

  • Karmakin

    yeah, thanks for doing this.
    The one thing that I get out of it, that really is pretty frightening, is the amorality of the characters. I think what the author’s are pushing is a limitation of morality to biblical terms. Which is something that right-wing religious groups have been doing for quite a while..it’s very convient for them.
    So in this case, considering that there’s no direct reference in the Bible after the rapture to go out and help the injured, it’s ok to not do it.

  • Lesser Panda

    I went out trying to figure out who the editor of the Left Behind series is, and found this quote from Jerry Jenkins that I just had to share:
    “There have been times when I wondered why [God] didn’t choose a better writer if He was going to pour out His blessing on a series like this,” the author recently told Beliefnet.com. “It’s just been an incredible ride.” (from Christianitytoday.com)
    Even Jenkins himself knows the books are no good! Which means that he KNOWS he’s taking money for producing crap.
    …and, BTW, I found an unsubstantiated blog-like post indicating that a guy named Curtis Lundgren, the chief fiction editor at Tyndale, was the series editor for LB. Which doesn’t *necessarily* mean that he was the one responsible for fact-checking or substantive copy editing, where much of the stuff we’re complaining about should have been caught–just that he acquired the books, which certainly was a sound business decision for Tyndale. So is he a “good” editor for spotting a bestseller and making billions of dollars for his company, or a “bad” editor for inflicting this sludge on the world’s reading public?
    I remember when the first of these came out: I was a cataloger in a large public library system smack-dab in the middle of the Bible Belt. Even though we already had a pretty large selection of strictly Christian fiction (and non-fiction, so we were familiar with Tim LaHaye), we were baffled with what this stuff WAS. Was it Christian fiction? Science fiction? I thought it was hilarious, and that it would bomb spectacularly. Guess I was wrong. :-)

  • http://www.signposts.org.au/archives/2004_08_09-left_behind.php signposts

    Left Behind

    If you have missed this commentary on the novel Left Behind, you should remedy that immediately. Slacktivist is sharing reading notes as he goes through the novel. A sample from his latest entry: Buck Williams and the authors have been so busy checking…

  • Chris

    I remember the first time I saw the LB series it was in the science fiction section of B. Daltons. I was vaguely drawn to the title Nicolae Rising, then noticed it was about the Antichrist. I was intrigued until I saw it was about the Rapture, which always struck me as a foolish bit of heresy. Thus ended any genuine interest in the series, leaving only car wreck fascination.

  • nitpicker

    was searching for a possible identity of the editor of the first book, and came across this little website: http://www.cephasministry.com/evangelists_lahay.html
    It’s a review of the Left Behind, and is very…interesting to say the least.
    the person who wrote is very into literalism.
    Oh and Mother Teresa is soo going to hell.
    The dirty trollop.
    Oh and here’s a review of the movie(!?): http://www.americanwasteland.com/leftbehind.html

  • lightning

    From a Christian perspective (as opposed to a Fundie perspective) it makes perfect sense — if you assume that LaHaye and Jenkins are shilling for the False Prophets …
    Something tells me that Jesus would not have a toll- free number (Operators are standing by. Please have your credit card ready.)

  • Stacy

    nitpicker: There are no words. What a sad life that fellow must live.

  • Adam

    I particularly liked:
    “I suppose it should not surprise me since I know Tim LaHaye also endorses the corrupt NKJV Bible (he was on the oversight committee) and that he openly promotes the teachings of sicko pervert Sigmund Freud!”
    People can be very strange. Thank you, nitpicker.

  • Jesurgislac

    The authors, like all of their characters, seem to have forgotten entirely about the scene of tragedy and suffering they have just left behind them. It’s out of sight and out of mind. For L&J — as for Rayford, Buck and the doctor — those other people and their suffering and need simply do not exist. Lazarus is invisible. Lazarus does not exist.
    I wonder if Bush is a fan?

  • http://www.kiltedliberal.com/archives/2005/12/if_the_rapture.htm Kilted Liberal

    If the rapture comes, can I have your car?

    For years I have felt that I should read the Left Behind series, the one about the rapture and its aftermath. Not because I would enjoy reading such hate filled bullshit propaganda, but because I felt that necessary to understand…

  • http://www.kiltedliberal.com/archives/2005/12/if_the_rapture.htm Kilted Liberal

    If the rapture comes, can I have your car?

    For years I have felt that I should read the Left Behind series, the one about the rapture and its aftermath. Not because I would enjoy reading such hate filled bullshit propaganda, but because I felt that necessary to understand…

  • http://carsblog.biz/ Future cars, Hybrid Cars

    The Car Blog

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  • jess

    Having our heros not assist almost makes sense. Based on the one first aid class I took, an important part of handling emergencies is controlling the scene. That means getting bystanders away from hazardous materials and potential explosives ASAP. And multi-plane wrecks qualify as hazardous. I could see the firefighters and EMTs telling everyone to clear the runway and leave the heavy lifting to people with special equipment. But a good writer would have mentioned something like that.
    Now at the terminal, there’d probably be designated areas for the wounded, the official clinic (not sure of the size of this, but probably better than nothing) and almost certainly a few gates or something commandeered for miscelaneous injuries. And while there might be nothing much to do for people with no medical background (depending on how many people were already volunteering as stretcher bearers and passing out bottle water, blankets, etc.) then it should have been mentioned in some degree. Perhaps an announcement, or Captain Steele being informed at the airport office. And the doctor pretty well establishes that the authors either forgot about the disaster that just happened right outside the terminal, or don’t care.
    Wanna take bets on which one it is?

  • melissia

    Both.


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