L.B.: The Nonattenders

Left Behind, pp. 172 – 174

Tucked into the parody of a spy novel that is Chapter 10 is a brief visit back with Rayford Steele. This is an oddly placed, somewhat jarring insertion. Had the story of Buck's adventure in London actually achieved some kind of narrative flow, this would have interrupted it.

The abrupt switches between the Rayford and Buck storylines seem to be simply chronological. LaHaye and Jenkins have Buck arrive in London and make a phone call on Saturday morning, so they feel the need, just then, to revisit Rayford and the phone call he is making on that same Saturday morning. It's as though the characters were Parcheesi pieces that the authors were trying to move around the board at the same pace. You get the sense that these shifts in point of view and storyline weren't so much written in this order as they were cut-and-pasted at a later point into this chronological scheme. Aside from a few TV-style expository flashbacks in the opening chapter, the book follows this straight-ahead chronology fairly strictly.

That's a legitimate choice by the authors, but I wonder if it was a choice or if they just think this is the way stories must be told: start-to-finish, with chronology the only factor governing what follows next. I wonder if students of Jerry Jenkins' Christian Writer's Guild are encouraged to consider that narrative shifts such as these might also be made in the service of character or theme and not only of a strictly chronological plot.

In any case, Saturday morning finds Rayford Steele on the phone with Bruce Barnes, the visitation pastor at New Hope Village Church. The Rev. Barnes has been left behind. He's an ordained minister in an evangelical church — a premillennial dispensationalist evangelical church that regards rapture-mania as an article of faith — and yet he is left behind.

It turns out to be rather useful to have a character like Bruce around. He went to "Bible College" (evangelical PMDs do not attend seminary — unless it's Dallas, which is really just a Bible College putting on airs) and studied the End Times, so unlike Buck and Rayford, he is familiar with all the alleged prophecies that will be fulfilled in the coming chapters and sequels. When we meet Bruce Barnes, he is weighed down with sadness. This is mainly because he was rejected by God and left behind for being a faker. But this sadness may also arise from his recognition that, as the only Bible College alumnus left on earth, he's going to get saddled with all the exposition.

In the following chapter, we'll read Bruce's story in detail. This story gives the authors an opportunity to clarify the central distinction at the heart of the book: the difference between Real, True Christians and false ones.

Chapter 11 is thus a very important chapter for L&J. This is the chapter they want readers to photocopy to give to their unsaved friends. This is the chapter they would point to for people like me and — if you've been reading along thus far here — you. It begins their answer to the question that the rich young ruler asked Jesus: "What must I do to be saved?" (Rest assured, they do not answer, as Jesus did, "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.")

Rayford introduces himself on the phone as "the husband of a former parishioner." Bruce remembers meeting him earlier, and he is familiar with the Steele family:

"By former parishioner, I assume you're telling me that Irene is no longer with us?"

"That's right, and our son."

"Ray Jr., wasn't it?"

"Right."

"You also had an older daughter, did you not, a nonattender?"

Chloe and her father are God-damned nonattenders, so Bruce isn't surprised that they have been left behind. Apparently, attendance counts toward our final grade. Chloe is a "nonattender," and therefore is doomed. But Bruce, an attender, is also doomed. We can thus surmise that church attendance is a necessary, but not sufficient, element in being an RTC. As we get into Chapter 11, we will see that there are many such elements for L&J, and we'll consider whether these many elements are compatible with the sola fides of justification by faith.

"How do you account for the fact that you are still here?" Rayford finally asks the apostate reverend.

"Mr. Steele," Barnes says, "there is only one explanation for that, and I would prefer to discuss it with you in person."

That discussion is theologically significant, as L&J begin drawing bright lines between the RTCs and the ersatz believers like me and Bruce. But these theological distinctions occur within the larger context of this story: the "tribulation" in which all those left behind receive the torment and judgment they richly deserve.

L&J believe that the rain has already started, and they genuinely desire to persuade as many others as they can to join them on the ark. (There's plenty of room, since this time they won't have to give a damn about the animals.) But they're also excited about the flood they believe is coming. They're quivering with anticipation, watching the headlines for confirmation that things are getting worse just as Noah watched the skies for the gathering clouds.

This eagerness, this enthusiasm for apocalypse, is theologically malodorous, but it is also politically dangerous. Here again are L&J and their 50 million readers cheering for entropy, celebrating calamity, wars and rumors of war as the confirmation of their desires, and railing against peace and progress as setbacks to this consumation for which they devoutly wish. They believe that things must fall apart and the center must not hold, because even now the beast is slouching toward Jerusalem.

They want this to happen. And, whenever they can, they vote for it.

  • Grotesqueticle

    “They want this to happen. And, whenever they can, they vote for it.”
    DING! DING! DING! Which is precisely why these people must be fought, unrelentingly, at every turn.

  • Skyknight

    I’d have preferred that the reason Barnes was kept on Earth was that God decided his will was strong enough for him to, throughout the rule of Carpathia and Fortunato, act as a kind of dispensationalist Bodhisattva (i.e. he’s attained salvation, but he’s needed more down here in order to allow as many others as possible to attain). But no, it’s a trance involving Playboy et al.
    {sigh} Did LaHaye not take account of how Dante essentially made lust the LEAST serious of the seven cardinal sins (it’s the layer of Hell furthest from the Satan [if you don't count the consolation-prize layer of the virtuous unsaved], and the floor of Purgatory closest to Heaven)? If it were a problem with letting go of envy or anger (MUCH more serious to Dante, and I don’t think he diverged terribly far from then-current theology), it might make more sense…
    Although…wouldn’t a problem with letting go of anger interdict LAHAYE from the Rapture? I remember a 1982 book on fundamentalist political influence called “Holy Terror”. In a section regarding the fundamentalists’ war on secular humanism (apparently a redundancy for them, as though the religious humanists of the Renaissance didn’t exist), LaHaye is quoted as saying that he’s had a lifelong problem with anger.
    For some reason, Voltaire’s comment about the god of the triangles comes to mind.
    I get the feeling that, even after these twenty-three years (he hasn’t recanted Left Behind, if “The Regime” is any indication), he STILL hasn’t dispelled that problem.

  • Grumpy

    Care to add a few more allusions to your penultimate paragraph??

  • Scott

    The RTC thing is also how the rule by fear despite their “once saved always saved” belief. If the sheeple knew they were always saved, Manly Evangelical Leaders couldn’t keep them in line w/ threats of Hell. Now, since you can never be sure if you’re an RTC, your burning would just mean you weren’t really saved, and the threat is back in their arsenal.

  • J

    “This eagerness, this enthusiasm for apocalypse, is theologically malodorous, but it is also politically dangerous. Here again are L&J and their 50 million readers cheering for entropy, celebrating calamity, wars and rumors of war as the confirmation of their desires, and railing against peace and progress as setbacks to this consumation for which they devoutly wish . . .”
    Something that gets missed a lot whenever evangelicals or anyone else talk about the spread of Christianity in Africa: This kind of theology does NOT sell well there. While plenty of Africans are happy enough to go to church and believe fervently in Christ, I’ve heard that American pastors who go there and try to peddle the LB-style sturm-and-drang-show about the coming of the Antichrist and the Tribulation and what-all tend to lose audiences.
    Why? Maybe because many people in Africa already LIVE a pretty hellish existence and, unlike Americans, recognize that good people tend to suffer just as often and profusely as bad ones.
    “They believe that things must fall apart and the center must not hold, because even now the beast is slouching toward Jerusalem . . .”
    Here’s an intellectually embarrassing anecdote: HUGE numbers of evangelicals think that the line “slouching toward Bethlehem/Gomorrah/Jerusalem” comes from either A.) the Bible or B.) Robert Bork. More evidence that these folks’ knowledge of history begins with whatever year they learned to read.

  • pharoute

    What irks me most about RTC is they aren’t selling their land on the cheap! Come on, if the Rapture is coming soon then that nice 4 bedroom you got isn’t helping you any. I’ll take it off your hands for a song; after all having lots of money won’t get you in.
    *sigh* Apparently modern RTCs have learned from the past about selling before you are really sure The End is nigh.

  • lightning

    Once again, I get the feeling that L&J are preaching Dungeons and Dragons Theology — collect all the right Game Tokens and you get into Heaven. Like God is the all-time fussy little bureaucrat.
    And attempting to “force” God to end the world by forcing prophecies to “happen” will work about as well as Cinderella’s stepsisters mutilating their feet to make them fit the fur slipper (not in the Disney version, of course).

  • mds

    Yeah, it’s so great to know that the people charged to care for the least fortunate, and to exercise wise dominion over nature, actually want to make everything as miserable as possible, since Christ will have to return then…or else!
    evangelical PMDs do not attend seminary Well, the Southern Baptist ones at Louisville do…and once upon a time, they also learned that separation of Church and State is a good thing, that all believers are allowed to read the Bible for themselves, and that one should be cautious about that predestination business. Now, thanks to President Mohler’s holy purges, they learn that the State should be controlled by the Church, that Southern Baptist churches should be a strict hierarchy submitting to their pastors, and that we are all fanatical Calvinist Dominionists now.
    Gad, sometimes I wish that we really would get a “Rapture,” only it’s Klaatu showing up to invite the sane people into galactic civilization. Come to think of it, if we keep inching towards the Dominionists’ dream of America, I’d probably willingly go with the aliens who want To Serve Man.

  • Andrew Reeves

    Well, regarding the attendance thing, it’s an issue of basic syllogistic logic: All true Christians are Church attenders, but not all Church attenders are true Christians.

  • Andrew Reeves

    Oh, and one other thing. It seems to me that increased Evangelical involvement in politics is a sign that there’s a *decreasing* of the belief in the eminent parousia. After all, that they’re working dilligently to take control of the government levers of power seems to indicate that they have rather given up on being raptured Any Minute Now and have settled in for the long haul.

  • VKW

    Rapture shmapture! People fly up to heaven, yadda yadda yadda! The important thing is the marketing opportunities this will provide, like: “The Rest of My Family Got Raptured and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt!” Or bumper stickers: “Honk if You Weren’t Raptured!”

  • neotoma

    You know, the more I read you wonderful dissection of the Left Behind books, the more I’m glad that I was raised in the Catholic Church. Yes, it can be as wacky as hell, but it’s not going to descend back into the snake’s nest that the pre-millenial dispensationanlists seem to be wallowing in any time soon.
    Even *with* Ratzinger at the helm…

  • Jesurgislac

    mds: Gad, sometimes I wish that we really would get a “Rapture,”
    Me too. Well, aside from the children vanishing. If it was just the adult nutters, who’d really miss them?

  • fluttbucker

    As the ’91 Gulf War was ramping up, Cal Thomas wrote an op-ed piece calling for the use of tactical nukes.
    Hiroshima-size bombs that would take out any Iraqi tank force or small city that got in the way.
    My take then was that Mr. Thomas was more interested in jump starting the Apocalypse than in saving the lives of U.S. troops.
    If we can prod God enough, he’ll come around and do the right thing.

  • Theo

    Here’s an intellectually embarrassing anecdote: HUGE numbers of evangelicals think that the line “slouching toward Bethlehem/Gomorrah/Jerusalem” comes from either A.) the Bible or B.) Robert Bork. More evidence that these folks’ knowledge of history begins with whatever year they learned to read.
    So where does it come from?

  • Pat K.

    Slouching towards Bethlehem
    W.B Yeats
    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.
    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert.
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    The darkness drops again; but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

  • BugHunter

    Not to be pedantic, but the actual title of the poem is ‘The Second Coming’

  • eyelessgame

    LaHaye and Jenkins have Buck arrive in London and make a phone call on Saturday morning, so they feel the need, just then, to revisit Rayford and the phone call he is making on that same Saturday morning.
    Um, Saturday morning in London and Saturday morning in the States don’t happen at the same time. It’d be Saturday afternoon in London before anyone in the US got up.
    I haven’t read the book, so perhaps the narrative interruption happens at the correct “real” time — noon in London is 7 AM New York, and all that. Does it? Or do LaHaye/Jenkins live on a flat earth?

  • pharoute

    “flat earth”
    HA HA! They do indeed. Belief in a round earth and the heliocentric model of the Solar System is just a tool of Satan.

  • Dan

    Why stop with Yeats? We can have an entire DIY ‘Test Your Knowledge’ for them. Where in the Bible do these verses appear?, like
    “God helps those who help themselves.”

  • Karen

    While unrelated to the current thread, here’s a like-minded review of the “Left Behind” movie – notable not only for the authors similar problems with (and criticisms of) the characters/plotting/plausibility, etc, but also to show some of the plot changes they made for the sake of cinema:
    http://goodbadugly.coldfusionvideo.com/leftbehind.html

  • Tim Lehnerer

    Cold Fusion video is THE AWESOME. I was fortunate enough to meet the webmaster / review guy at B Fest three years back, and I swear he is the single nicest human being I have ever met.

  • Theo

    W.B Yeats
    Cool. I’ve seen bits of that poem quoted here and there but never read it whole.
    Is it just me, or is it a bit Call of Cthulhu-ish in feel? :-)

  • Lila

    Be sure to follow the link in the Cold Fusion review to Jabootu’s Bad Movie Dimension (Jabootu is the God of Bad Movies). The discussion board there is an entertaining and civil place to while away some time if you’re a fan of bad (or so-bad-they’re-good) films.

  • mds

    Is it just me, or is it a bit Call of Cthulhu-ish in feel? :-) It’s not just you. What, you think Yeats didn’t mean for it to sound creepy? “Slouching Toward Bethlehem” was also the title of an episode of Angel, and was used therein as a cryptic utterance by someone who had seen the future. If one was familiar with the poem, this revealed the season’s main storyline rather early. Ah, all those folks with M.A.’s in English, writing for television.
    Hey, it’s not really off-topic; I much prefer to get my apocalyptic fiction from Joss Whedon.

  • –susan

    This bloodlust is philosophically even stranger to me in light of the “The Jews killed our Lord, those sadistic bastards” argument I’ve had with various Christians. But this was what God wanted; Jesus had to die, terribly, for Christianity to exist. He still would have been the son of God if he’d lived to old age, protected and guarded (against his will, presumably?) by his followers, but he wouldn’t have been the Savior. Oh, but NOW, it’s time to bring it on and get with the foretold killing? I’m with mds, I prefer the Buffyverse, where they want to actually stop the apocalypse. These PMD folks sound more like demons every day.

  • patter

    God helps those who help themselves
    Oooo, oooo, I know that one — it’s Haitians 2:27!

  • J

    Re: Yeats, slouching toward Bethlehem, et al
    Yes, thank you for posting that, Pat K.
    Is it just me, or is it a bit Call of Cthulhu-ish in feel? :-)
    Maybe even more of a connection than you suspect, Theo. Yeats was a contemporary and fellow countryman of the Irish fantasist writer Lord Dunsany, who would, during one of his American speaking tours, deeply impress and influence a young Howard Philips (H.P.) Lovecraft. Whether or not Yeats and Dunsany ever met or corresponded, I don’t know, but they probably read each other’s stuff.
    Just one of those “seven degrees” things.

  • Caliban

    This is in response to mds’ comment about Southern Seminary and Mohler. I was eating lunch with my dad a while back and talking with him about the fundamentalist takeover of the SBC, and I mentioned something inane and insulting that Mohler had said. I asked my dad what he knew about Mohler, and he replied “Oh, that short little (expletive)?”
    Turns out they knew each other at Southern.

  • B-W

    It turns out to be rather useful to have a character like Bruce around. He went to “Bible College” (evangelical PMDs do not attend seminary — unless it’s Dallas, which is really just a Bible College putting on airs)
    Acknowledging (and appreciating!) mds’ note re: Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, I thought this was one of the funniest lines I’ve read in a while.
    Of course, I did attend and graduate from seminary, and so I’m biased…. :)

  • Darryl Pearce

    Thanks.
    Thank you!
    …just… thanks.

  • Mabus

    Pharoute, in regards to selling land on the cheap, the PMDs learned their lesson a very long time ago. It’s a neat little story involving a “false prophet” by the name of William Miller. They did sell their houses, and quit their jobs, and even put on white robes in which they waited on the hilltops. Fortunately (or unfortunately), neither Kool-Aid nor pudding existed in 1848.
    Sometimes I think the collective guilt about having to freeload after this episode has something to do with the “let the poor take care of themselves” mentality.

  • Tim Lehnerer

    Some bad movie sites of note:
    http://www.coldfusionvideo.com (and its linked sites)
    http://www.badmovies.org
    http://www.stomptokyo.com (and all its links / partner sites; the Bad Movie Report is a particular treat)
    http://www.jabootu.com (and its link partners)
    http://www.badmovieplanet.com (Especially The Duck Speaks and 3 Beer Theater)
    http://www.badmoviezone.com (a message board upon which a certain Telstar Man posts)
    twtd.bluemountains.net.au/Rick/liz.htm (And You Call Yourself a Scientist!, written by an authentic scientist)
    Okay. Thread drift over. Back to the bad literature.

  • Petra_Means_Rock

    My God they’re on TV right now.
    And they said the raputre isn’t upon us, because Christians are still here.

  • aunursa

    The abrupt switches between Rayford and Buck continue through the first eleven books in the series. As various characters are introduced, become saved, and are killed off throughout the series, it becomes clear that some characters (including these two) are ‘protected’ from death … at least for several more books.
    If anyone cares about whether or not a particular character will survive to the end of the series, but you don’t want to bother reading the series, you can email me.

  • jackd

    “You also had an older daughter, did you not, a nonattender?”
    Pastor Bruce sounds as if he’s reading off an index card. It would be sorta interesting if this were the character’s voice, distinct from the others’. But I have the feeling it’s just another ‘feature’ of the mad typing skillz of LaHaye/Jenkins.

  • Skyknight

    Trust me. The diction and storytelling won’t improve. In book 9 or 10, when Carpathia’s fellows are getting blasted by the chalice judgements, Jenkins really doesn’t visit that much detail upon each of them. Just “chalice judgement manifests, Carpathia’s followers are hideously tormented (and don’t atone), ‘true’ Christians are spared”, with only a few additional details (e.g. during the heat judgement, Carpathia seems to be right at home in those supposed-to-be-killing temperatures. He even uses binoculars and a telescope to ascertain whether the sun has grown or approached. Let’s just say that while he survives the heat, his eyepieces don’t…).
    Then there’s the sheep/goats judgement in book 12. Jesus’s pronouncements sounded more like a ritual (like a judge telling a condemened-to-death prisoner “May God have mercy on your soul”) than any real explanation of guilt or the like.

  • Left BeHeretic

    Ah Yes. Left Behind.
    In the interest of full disclosure I consider myself a fundy type but in the best sense of that phrase, if there is such a beast. hehe. Anyway, you know. Nicene Creed. A mix of conservative and liberal beliefs with a smidge of libertarian to keep it exciting.
    I remember buying the first novel – hard cover – and going through it and being intrigued but bothered in a funny feeling in the back of my mind sort of way. Then I bought the next and the next and I quickly (these ARE quick reads, remember) realized that the writing was sub-par and that’s being charitable.
    For one thing the size of the font meant that they could “fluff” the books far beyond the number of pages they should have been. Then there was the endless, repetitive exposition; mindless “romantic” sub-plots, the CHEESY, STUPID name “Tribulation Force?” Who the hell are these people? 7th Graders? Good Lord it was painful. Eventually I stopped reading about the time the AC ressurects from the dead which was the ONLY place I felt any real….chill. When he quotes the words of Christ as his own. Otherwise, I bailed. I managed to recoup some of my costs as I’d sell each book to a friend of my wife for about 2/3rds the new cost. Of course I was done in about 6 hours so she would get the book, essentially, new.
    Then. I posted on the Left Behind boards. Strange how they’re gone now, eh?
    My tag? See above name.
    I posted how I thought the books were poorly written, plotted, the characters had about 1/3rd of a dimension at best. General criticism that was not nasty but by no means overly polite either.
    Then Mr. Jenkins replied to my post!!! and merely said he was trying to do his best.
    Anyway. My original post had come out of some anger that this stuff was out there and I think it also came at the time where Lahaye was offered, what?, $40 million?, for a series revolving around a Christian “Indiana Jones” and like LB he wouldn’t even be writing the damned things! That must have put me over the edge and so I posted the above mentioned critique.
    Later I had a chance to reflect on why I had done it and I felt that what I had said had been done out of spite and not honest criticism and apologized for my inelegant way of presenting my opinion on that board but held to my original statement of the quality of the books.
    Just reading this breakdown from week to week reinforces what I had already realized and why I stopped reading them.
    Keep up the dissection.
    It’s most enlightening although I should think you’ll be very old once you finish all of the books.
    All the best,
    LBH
    PS.
    Anybody seen a pic of Jenkins lately? I think he’s pulled a Peter Jackson and lost a ton of weight.

  • Left BeHeretic

    Ah Yes. Left Behind.
    In the interest of full disclosure I consider myself a fundy type but in the best sense of that phrase, if there is such a beast. hehe. Anyway, you know. Nicene Creed. A mix of conservative and liberal beliefs with a smidge of libertarian to keep it exciting.
    I remember buying the first novel – hard cover – and going through it and being intrigued but bothered in a funny feeling in the back of my mind sort of way. Then I bought the next and the next and I quickly (these ARE quick reads, remember) realized that the writing was sub-par and that’s being charitable.
    For one thing the size of the font meant that they could “fluff” the books far beyond the number of pages they should have been. Then there was the endless, repetitive exposition; mindless “romantic” sub-plots, the CHEESY, STUPID name “Tribulation Force?” Who the hell are these people? 7th Graders? Good Lord it was painful. Eventually I stopped reading about the time the AC ressurects from the dead which was the ONLY place I felt any real….chill. When he quotes the words of Christ as his own. Otherwise, I bailed. I managed to recoup some of my costs as I’d sell each book to a friend of my wife for about 2/3rds the new cost. Of course I was done in about 6 hours so she would get the book, essentially, new.
    Then. I posted on the Left Behind boards. Strange how they’re gone now, eh?
    My tag? See above name.
    I posted how I thought the books were poorly written, plotted, the characters had about 1/3rd of a dimension at best. General criticism that was not nasty but by no means overly polite either.
    Then Mr. Jenkins replied to my post!!! and merely said he was trying to do his best.
    Anyway. My original post had come out of some anger that this stuff was out there and I think it also came at the time where Lahaye was offered, what?, $40 million?, for a series revolving around a Christian “Indiana Jones” and like LB he wouldn’t even be writing the damned things! That must have put me over the edge and so I posted the above mentioned critique.
    Later I had a chance to reflect on why I had done it and I felt that what I had said had been done out of spite and not honest criticism and apologized for my inelegant way of presenting my opinion on that board but held to my original statement of the quality of the books.
    Just reading this breakdown from week to week reinforces what I had already realized and why I stopped reading them.
    Keep up the dissection.
    It’s most enlightening although I should think you’ll be very old once you finish all of the books.
    All the best,
    LBH
    PS.
    Anybody seen a pic of Jenkins lately? I think he’s pulled a Peter Jackson and lost a ton of weight.

  • Dr. Sinister

    Another note on the apocalyptic tone of the above Yeats poem: William Butler Yeats was a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a well-known occultist society that existed in the late 19th-early 20th century. Among the ranks of the Golden Dawn were such well-known kooks as Aleister Crowley, who called himself “The Beast” whose number is 666.

  • http://ilx.wh3rd.net/thread.php?showall=true&msgid=6419391#6479988 I Love Comics

    TS: Liberality For All vs. DMZ

    wot, no commenting on the jewish aspects of The Heckler?
    also, his take on Ragman is pretty revealing. The only way that a religious character can be TRULY religious is to be shown at temple every coupla issues(i.e. “attends regularly”). The aspects o…

  • Dragoness Eclectic

    >Is it just me, or is it a bit Call of Cthulhu-ish in feel? :-)
    Well, there was a CoC campaign that culminated in the evil cultists activating the Sphinx as an avatar of Nyarlathotep to destroy the world, which the above poem immediately brought to mind…
    (Not “Shadows of Yog-Sothoth” or “Masks of Nyarlathotep”… one of the other early Chaosium campaigns).

  • Dragoness Eclectic

    ..and I second the motion to thank Fred for his tireless efforts to dissect this piece of rotten pulp laughingly referred to as a “book”. I only got as far as the third one, “Nicolae”, before giving up in disgust. When the ONLY interesting character in your apocalyptic epic is the Anti-Christ, you have a problem.
    Yeats imagery was reminiscent of Lovecraft, but I recall that HPL was an antique Anglophile; he liked to affect antiquated English styles. He may have been directly inspired by Yeats, not just indirectly through Dunsany.
    I find the “Left Behind” series oddly encouraging: if dreck like that can not only get published, but become bestsellers, I should be able to succeed as a writer if I apply myself.

  • Ben

    Yeah I read a few of the books, up to the one where the people next to the wall get killed or so. It was all right I suppose, simplistic in thinking that the world is black and white but otherwise all right I suppose. The part that really turned me off is the part where god slaughtered all the animals, because we’re so much better then them (Yeah, since when? Was it the mass extermination or what)? I’m a so called Christan, but I’m confused about my faith with a world so ready to kill each other in the name of god. Didn’t the ten commandments say “thall shall not kill”, and so how is it okay to kill if you loosely apply the term terrorist to anybody who doesn’t agree with you? Yet the world blindly believes God appointed Bush, when they forget that the devil is just as good with lying. For crying out loud, how is a president who wont admit he has made mistakes appointed by God? We are men, not perfection, and I’m sick of the Christian faith going willingly against the bible because it can. I may not be the most versed guy on the bible and the christian faith but I can tell right from wrong. How is giving a damn about a world that is the only one you’ve got wrong? Didn’t god appoint US to take care over the critters and etc? What the hell? As for people blindly wanting to bring on the end of the earth, I honestly believe that to be true. God gave us free will, so we’re suppose to just accept that because people aren’t happy here that we should destroy everything? I respectfully decline from the smiling hypocrites, especially thoose Christians that say god wants you to be rich so all the better to serve him. *snorts* Until this thing is straightened out, I’m respectively decline to be apart of the so called Christian churches. Sorry for the rant, but those books are a still shot image of what is wrong and to think that we can’t be wrong is to think ourselves gods ourselves. What ever happened to “love Thy neighbor”, did it magically transform into “Bomb thy neighbor because I’m better then him and rather then being the bigger man I’ve got to prove it by hurting him seriously”. I’m tired of the bullshit, I’m tired of the “Gods will demands” because the devil is suppose to exist too in influencing people. So what, is it true that the greatest trick the devil ever played is him not existing? If so, we’re in trouble, in more ways then one.

  • kim

    Ben — Here’s an article you should look at. It’s called “Satanism is Alive and Well” and it shows that these so-called “Christians” who believe the opposite of what Jesus taught are really Satanists. It also has links to a set of essays the go into more detail, using bible quotes to show the Xian Right are Satanists.
    http://lightningbug.blogspot.com/2004_12_26_lightningbug_archive.html


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