TF: Private study sessions

Tribulation Force, pp. 404-406

The invisible, off-stage record-breaking crime wave sweeping the United States in our story, the authors say, provided the pretext for Nicolae Carpathia’s voiding of the American Constitution:

The only positive factor about Buck’s new position was that he now had the means to isolate himself somewhat against the terrible crime wave that had broken all records in North America. Carpathia had used it to sway public opinion and get the populace behind the idea that the North American ambassador to the Global Community should supplant the sitting president. Gerald Fitzhugh and his vice president were now headquartered in the old Executive Office Building in Washington, in charge of enforcing Potentate Carpathia’s global disarmament plan in America.

I’m struggling to make even a little bit of sense out of this nonsense. There’s a nugget of a reasonable idea in there. Mass chaos and an off-the-charts crime wave likely would produce calls for new leadership, and this is the first suggestion we’ve seen of the authors having Nicolae capitalize on post-Event chaos to seize power.

But to pull that off, one has to be the sort of leader people would be clamoring for. A “tough,” iron-fisted law-and-order leader could rise to power in the wake of an anarchic crime wave. A pacifist promoting universal disarmament and platitudinous bomfoggery could not. Nicolae couldn’t ride this crime wave to power. It would, rather, sweep away whatever popular appeal he might have had.

In any case, replacing the American government and the American system of government with the sovereign reign of a lieutenant of the global “potentate” would require a bit more than swaying public opinion. It would require a massive rewrite of America’s Constitution. That would either take a host of complex, difficult-to-pass amendments or one tersely blunt and impossible-to-pass amendment.

This/these amendment/s would have to work its/their way through all 50 state legislatures at a time when those bodies are already struggling to keep pace with the post-Event crises and questions like whether or not funds for now-vacant schools can be used for more police to contend with the crime wave. Some of those legislatures are still probably in the midst of special elections finally being held to replace lawmakers who disappeared in the Event but who could not be legally certified as dead until those legislatures also dealt with the thorny question of whether or not to certify as dead the millions who had disappeared.

So I don’t see this repeal of the Constitution speeding its way to ratification. Particularly not just to pave the way for the weak-on-crime reign of some foreign prince who the authors never even bother naming. The authors have the option of declaring all this a fait accompli by narrative fiat, but that doesn’t mean Nicolae would have the same option.

But even if we conceded all of those impossibilities — which we can’t, what with their being impossible — what sense does it make to put the now deposed president in charge of dismantling his former government? And what on earth is it supposed to mean that someone is “enforcing … disarmament”? I’m picturing the empty-handed agents of the new Disarmament Bureau confronting armed criminals, police and military personnel: “Hand over those weapons or we will be forced to demonstrate the moral superiority of our satyagraha.”

For Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, tyranny is unambiguously evil. True! They’re right about that part. But for LaHaye and Jenkins pacifism is also unambiguously evil. Why? They never explain. But since they believe that all that descends must converge, they imagine that the worst form of tyranny must also be pacifist.

Well, that’s not quite right. They don’t actually imagine this because it’s unimaginable. They just assert it without offering any imaginable explanation for what it’s supposed to mean or how it’s supposed to work.

Buck’s one act of resistance to Carpathia was to ignore the rumors about Fitzhugh plotting with the militia to oppose the Global Community regime by force.

This is not true. Buck’s main act of resistance against his new boss is one of sabotage — producing the shoddiest, least-attractive official OWG news organ ever imagined. That this act of sabotage is unintentional does not diminish its effectiveness.

Buck was all for it …

Also not true. Buck may be abstractly in favor of the intent of this insurrectionist plotting, but he does absolutely nothing to support it. That’s partly because he knows it’s doomed to fail — doomed, in fact, to play into the hands of the Antichrist. Buck knows what’s coming in the near future, and thus he knows what a debacle this will prove to be. He knows that the armed confrontation Fitzhugh’s raiders have planned will end in disaster as a futile waste of people and resources that could be put to much better use later if they were preserved instead of squandered in this way.

Yet he opts not to share this knowledge with Fitzhugh or his fellow plotters. He never tells them about the utter, counterproductive failure he knows will result from their plans. But still, he tells himself, he’s “all for it.”

Buck was all for it and had secretly studied the feasibility of producing an anti-Global Community Web site on the Internet. As soon as he could figure out a way to do it without its being traced back to his penthouse apartment on Fifth Avenue, he would do it.

So after more than a year and a half, this is what the Tribulation Force has accomplished in their task “to stand and fight the enemies of God”: A feasibility study.

I appreciate the idea of an anti-Antichrist “Web site on the Internet.” Buck could become like the Max Headroom or the Eyes Only of the Great Tribulation. But while the idea of an anti-Nicolae outlet has promise, it might not be anywhere as effective or damaging as what Global Community Weekly could become as a sneakily subversive official GC outlet. I wish Buck had spent a bit of time studying the feasibility of what he might accomplish in his current post.

Buck could, for example, use his position as publisher to produce an article supposedly debunking the prophecies he’s learning about from Bruce. The article would be a chance to list them all, purportedly in the interest of dismissing and ridiculing them, but providing only an overconfident and patently inadequate rebuttal. “While it’s true that these so-called prophets accurately foretold the destruction of the Russian Air Force, the Event itself and the rise of the Global Community, all with seemingly stunning precision, experts say this is all just coincidence. Whatever credibility they still pretend to have will be proven fraudulent in the coming months when their predictions of war, famine and a massive earthquake fail to materialize. …” That sort of thing. A veiled warning would be better than no warning at all.

At least Buck had convinced Potentate Carpathia that Buck’s moving to New Babylon would be a mistake. New York was still the world publishing capital, after all. He was already heartbroken that Chloe’s father was being required to relocate to New Babylon. The new city was palatial, but unless a person lived indoors 24 hours a day, the weather in Iraq was unbearable.

Here is something that might have seemed possible or plausible when this book was written in 1996. But it is impossible to believe now.

If you had said to me, in 1996, that with the full concentration of the United Nations and the infusion of several billion dollars it would be possible, in 18 months, to create from scratch a fully functioning, “palatial” modern city in the Iraqi desert, I likely would have agreed that it sounded possible. Several billion dollars, after all, seems like a lot of money, and it would sound like enough to plausibly enable the best and the brightest from every nation on earth to accomplish such a thing.

Now we know different.

After nearly a decade and hundreds of billions of dollars, Baghdad still lacks reliable electricity and water treatment. We now know, from the hard-earned lessons of experience from the American-led misadventure in Iraq, that what LaHaye and Jenkins describe here is beyond implausible. It’s simply impossible.

As a general rule, readers should be charitable toward authors undertaking the very difficult task of describing the “not-so-distant future.” See Dan Meth’s “Futuristic Movie Timeline” or John Pavlus’ “When the Future Expires” for illustrations of how very difficult such prognostication can be.

But I’m less inclined to be charitable toward Tim LaHaye because he does not claim to be making predictions. LaHaye claims that the world of the Left Behind novels is a certainty, prophesied by the very Word of God. That’s not true of every detail of his fictional landscape, and I’m still willing to cut him some slack on those incidental failed predictions. Like LaHaye and Jenkins, I would never have predicted the sudden and revolutionary proliferation of cell phones back in the mid-’90s when the first of these novels were written, but that technological detail isn’t something about which the authors claimed to speak with prophetic authority. (It’s probably also a bit unfair to chide them for writing, in 1996, about “a Web site on the Internet.”)

But the construction of “New Babylon” is something about which the authors claim prophetic certainty. LaHaye is not guessing or offering a speculative interpretation of how his alleged prophecies might unfold. This is something he says with utter certainty will happen much as it is portrayed here. The Antichrist, LaHaye says, will rise and will form a tyrannical one-world government that — absolutely, certainly — will be based on the site of ancient Babylon in the Iraqi desert. This, LaHaye says, is spelled out right there in the prophecies of the Bible.

You can look that up for yourself and find that, yes, the books of Daniel and Revelation do refer to Babylon quite a bit. If you read those books in their entirety, or if you’re at all familiar with the genre of apocalyptic literature, you’ll recognize the device being employed here. Apocalyptic writers who were writing to encourage others living under an oppressive tyrant couldn’t very well go around criticizing that tyrant by name.

Oppressive tyrants tend not to allow that sort of criticism. That’s part of what makes them oppressive tyrants.

So apocalyptic writers refer to past tyrants as symbols of the contemporary regime. Pharaoh was the go-to reference for the Israelites in the Bible up until their conquest and exile. After that, it’s usually Babylon. The book of Daniel uses Babylon as a stand-in for Antiochus Epiphanes. The book of Daniel Revelation uses Babylon as one of many elliptical references to Rome.

Tim LaHaye, however, takes a different approach to reading apocalyptic literature. For LaHaye, such writings are never about the world in which they were written, but only about a future world that none of the writers or any of their imagined readers would ever see. So for LaHaye, every biblical reference to “Babylon” means only that — the ancient city in what is now Iraq. Thus, he says, the site of that ancient city will be rebuilt — rapidly — into the “palatial” city of New Babylon, just exactly as described here in Tribulation Force.

Due to what we now know about building cities from scratch in the Iraqi desert, I’m prepared to close the file on this one. This is a false prophecy. It will not happen as Tim LaHaye predicts. It cannot happen as Tim LaHaye predicts. Tim LaHaye is simply wrong and his prophecy is not true.

That’s not unusual. Self-proclaimed prophets like LaHaye don’t have an impressive track record in predicting what the future holds. For all of the difficulty illustrated in the links above, science fiction writers and satirists have proven much more reliable prognosticators than people like LaHaye. Those writers look at what is and extrapolate what may be by following the trajectory as far as they can imagine. In doing so, both science fiction writers and satirists portray plausible futures that can teach us a great deal about the world we live in now.

So-called prophets like LaHaye, on the other hand, aren’t at all interested in the world we live in now. They’re not extrapolating from what is known, but rather asserting What Shall Be based on claims of special revelation.

That revelation turns out, in retrospect, not to be so special. When the words of such seers clash with the words of the satirists, you’re better off betting on the satirists.

Buck provides an update for the Rayford/Amanda ‘shippers:

Buck had been thrilled at how Rayford and Amanda White had taken to each other. That took pressure off Buck and Chloe, wondering about the future, worrying about leaving her father alone if they were ever to marry. …

And then Jenkins provides some unintentional catnip for the Buck/Bruce slash ‘shippers:

Buck missed Bruce more than he thought possible. Buck tried to see him every time he got back to Chicago to see Chloe. Anytime Bruce came through New York or they happened to run into each other in a foreign city, Bruce tried to make the time for a private study session.

Alas, those private study sessions are doomed to end in tragedy. But for those readers most concerned with the chaste soap opera of Tribulation Force romance, the final chapters of this book will be rewarding. There’s plenty of juicy details about hand-holding and even — gasp! — kissing as the romantic subplots become more of a preoccupation in these final pages than that whole End-of-the-World tangent.

Bruce was fast becoming one of the leading prophecy scholars among new believers. The year or year and a half of peace, he said, was fast coming to a close. Once the next three horsemen of the Apocalypse appeared, 17 more judgments would come in rapid succession, leading to the glorious appearing of Christ seven years from the signing of the covenant between Israel and the Antichrist.

Bruce had become famous, even popular. But many believers were growing tired of his dire warnings.

This complaint with followers’ fatigue with “his dire warnings” makes sense only once you realize that this isn’t really about Bruce. These new believers know what’s coming and desperately want to be as prepared as possible, so they would be eating up every detail Bruce could share with them about the “17 more judgments” about to hit them “in rapid succession.” They would be begging him for dire warnings.

But this passage is really about Tim LaHaye. Here, yet again, he indulges in one of his favorite poses — that of the brave, misunderstood Cassandra. LaHaye savors imagining himself as the beleaguered “prophet without honor” who speaks the truth even when people don’t want to hear it. Just because he has become “famous, even popular,” doesn’t mean he isn’t still being persecuted for his bold truth-telling.

This is one more instance of what has become a familiar refrain in these books: “You’ll see. One day soon you’ll realize that I was right and you were wrong and everybody who didn’t listen to me is gonna be really sorry but it’ll be too late and you shoulda listened to me when you had the chance, smartypants!”

I’ve struggled to describe that in a way that doesn’t make it seem juvenile, but that’s difficult because it is juvenile. “You’ll see and then you’ll be sorry,” just can’t be described in any way as a mature or healthy sentiment, but it’s one of the central themes of these books.

(P.S.: Post-posting fixes on the page numbers, Daniel/Revelation error. Thanks.)

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  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    The thing I’m having trouble figuring out is what sorts of crimes would be common. 

    I wrote something over at that other place that hinted at some of this, but I’ll spell it out here.

    1.) Drugs. Lots & lots of drugs. And drinking. You have an entire planet in mourning for its lost children, a massive economic, personal, spiritual Depression on a global scale. Some will turn to God for succor, and sometimes, the opiate of the masses is just opium.

    1a.) Because people are drinking more to numb the pain, expect more auto accidents, especially hit-and-runs. (I imagine more than a few elementry school playgrounds would have drunken drivers plowing through them in half-blind rage)

    1b.) You’re grieving, you’re self-medicating with alcohol and drugs, and so is your spouse/partner/baby’s daddy/baby’s momma, along with your mother-who-used-to-be-a-grandma, your father-who-used-to-be-a-grandpa, and your brohter-who-used-to-be-an-uncle. I’d expect an uptick in domestic violence. Not just assault, but murder as well.

    1c.) Every industry that sells to children or families has gone belly-up, and there’s massive unemployment as every grade school teacher and day care worker is out of a job. But drug dealers don’t take unemployment checks or credit, so expect a rise in property crime. At first, it’s looting of the Raptured folks, but very quickly it would shift to property crimes like theft and mugging.

    1d.) With empty houses, and economic collapse driving folks into foreclosure, expect to see more people squatting in houses with unclear ownership. In those conditions, money that was going to homeowner’s insurance is now spent on a different kind of “insurance”; squatters would be well armed, and post a lot of “no trespassing” signs.

    2.) If you really want to believe the whole “God is no longer present” stuff, one reasonable consequence is that people would be more self-absorbed, and much more likely to look the other way. Today, if you smashed a car window and stole the stereo, if someone saw you, they would probably call the police, maybe even take your picture. Post-Rapture, between the absence of God and the general grief, they’d just shrug that it’s not their car and move on. So personal crimes like assault and rape would probably slowly creep up, as the “good samaritan” factor dropped off.

  • Anonymous

    After I reply to a comment, my comment is not connected to the initial comment.  Is anyone else experiencing this problem?

  • Anonymous

    After I reply to a comment, my comment is not connected to the initial comment.  Is anyone else experiencing this problem?

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    After I reply to a comment, my comment is not connected to the initial comment.  Is anyone else experiencing this problem? Yes. It’s why I’ve been using blockquote and/or italics and quoting the post I’m responding to.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    After I reply to a comment, my comment is not connected to the initial comment.  Is anyone else experiencing this problem? Yes. It’s why I’ve been using blockquote and/or italics and quoting the post I’m responding to.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    After I reply to a comment, my comment is not connected to the initial comment.  Is anyone else experiencing this problem? Yes. It’s why I’ve been using blockquote and/or italics and quoting the post I’m responding to.

  • http://ifindaudio.blogspot.com/ Murfyn

     As soon as he could figure out a way to do it without its being traced back to his penthouse apartment on Fifth Avenue, he would do it.This would be a good generic excuse.  When will x accomplish y?   As soon as x could figure out a way to do it without its being traced back to x‘s penthouse apartment on Fifth Avenue . . .

  • http://ifindaudio.blogspot.com/ Murfyn

     As soon as he could figure out a way to do it without its being traced back to his penthouse apartment on Fifth Avenue, he would do it.This would be a good generic excuse.  When will x accomplish y?   As soon as x could figure out a way to do it without its being traced back to x‘s penthouse apartment on Fifth Avenue . . .

  • Anonymous

    Good catch annursa, next time I should try to find a way to say that Ben and Sam were baffled by Buck standing there looking alternately terrified and smug and go into Buck’s traditional Sheriff of Nottingham’s “Oh if only I could get at him!” inner monologue about by golly how he wished he could be a courageous Christian warrior but you know, he’s got dry cleaning to pick up. 

  • Anonymous

    However, I must point out that ‘extremely difficult and challenging challenging things’ are sorta kinda what stories are _supposed_ to require of people. I know this story has lowered our standards a bit and we just wish the ‘heros’ would do _anything at all_, but in actual fact, they’re supposed to be doing _difficult_ things.

    I’m thinking about satire that is so good that people think that it’s for real, real stories that are so bizarre that readers think they are from The Onion, and opinion pieces written such that readers cannot tell whether the writer is serious or sarcastic.  Any piece designed to feign censorship could be easily misinterpreted by the intended audience. In some cases that’s not a swipe at the writer’s ability.

  • Anonymous

    However, I must point out that ‘extremely difficult and challenging challenging things’ are sorta kinda what stories are _supposed_ to require of people. I know this story has lowered our standards a bit and we just wish the ‘heros’ would do _anything at all_, but in actual fact, they’re supposed to be doing _difficult_ things.

    I’m thinking about satire that is so good that people think that it’s for real, real stories that are so bizarre that readers think they are from The Onion, and opinion pieces written such that readers cannot tell whether the writer is serious or sarcastic.  Any piece designed to feign censorship could be easily misinterpreted by the intended audience. In some cases that’s not a swipe at the writer’s ability.

  • Anonymous

    Also remember to an RTC “Crime Wave” includes such things as clerks saying Happy Holidays, women in comfortable shoes in positions of authority, and Muslim community centers opening without protest or threats.

    This, I like a lot — the idea of Buck as unreliable observer.  There actually is no “terrible crime wave”, just happy and free people going about their lives, but through Buck’s newly RTC’d eyes he sees only a hellish anarchy teeming with permissiveness and sin.  (As a bonus, this also explains why no “real” crimes are ever shown on-screen, as it were.)  It’s all he can do to shut out the horrid, horrid debauchery by locking himself in his Fifth Avenue penthouse 18 hours a day.

  • Anonymous

    This, I like a lot — the idea of Buck as unreliable observer. There actually is no “terrible crime wave”, just happy and free people going about their lives, but through Buck’s newly RTC’d eyes he sees only a hellish anarchy teeming with permissiveness and sin. (As a bonus, this also explains why no “real” crimes are ever shown on-screen, as it were.)

    Buck and Rayford may also be creating a crime wave the same way people create kidnapping epidemics–by selective reading of the news. If you think the world around you is pretty stable, a double homicide in your city, say, may be tragic, but doesn’t reflect a world in breakdown. If someone (BRUCE) has told you that one consquence of the post-Rapture situation will be rampant crime, that homicide, combined with every other crime that’s reported on, will build up into your mind to proof of complete societal collapse.

    I have to say, though, that given the complete flux society finds itself in, plus no kids, I wouldn’t be surprised if people were acting out more than strictly usual. 

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    I don’t consider drugs to be causes of bad behaviour in and of themselves, being under the influence isn’t going to make you behave more responsibly by any means

    I tried to make the point that the uptick in drinking and drug use was self-medication for grief. When you’re drowning your sorrows in alcohol, sometimes that’s numbing the pain but a side-effect is lowered inhibitions, which can lead to acting out your grief in a variety of ways otherwise unimaginable when sober. Like plowing the family Volvo through a set of monkey bars…

    Are you saying that people would be apathetic because they wouldn’t believe there was a God (any more)? 

    No, I’m saying if you accept the presumption that there was a presence of God on Earth before the rapture, and after the Rapture that presence withdrew, then there ought to be some effect related to what we might call “Godly” behavior. The most plausible effect, the one that fits in best with most folks view, is that the presence of God is felt when we act according to “the better angels of our nature”. Or, in cartoon terms, imagine that everyone’s shoulder-angels vanished, leaving behind a sign saying “vacant, post no bills”.

    If we accept Fred’s “Jesus in a funny hat” perspective, the noble (Christian?) spirit that gives us cause to act with mercy, kindness, and love toward strangers would be absent, withdrawn by its creator. The spirit that told us “Love Thy Neighbor” has left the building; the inspiration behind “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” has packed up and taken all that thought and sentiment with him. People could still choose to love their neighbors, but it would be a choice of reason, not faith, a decision couched in the practical, not the spiritual.

  • Rob Brown

    No, I’m saying if you accept the presumption that there was a presence of God on Earth before the rapture, and after the Rapture that presence withdrew, then there ought to be some effect related to what we might call “Godly” behavior. The most plausible effect, the one that fits in best with most folks view, is that the presence of God is felt when we act according to “the better angels of our nature”. Or, in cartoon terms, imagine that everyone’s shoulder-angels vanished, leaving behind a sign saying “vacant, post no bills”.

    If we accept Fred’s “Jesus in a funny hat” perspective, the noble (Christian?) spirit that gives us cause to act with mercy, kindness, and love toward strangers would be absent, withdrawn by its creator. The spirit that told us “Love Thy Neighbor” has left the building; the inspiration behind “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” has packed up and taken all that thought and sentiment with him. People could still choose to love their neighbors, but it would be a choice of reason, not faith, a decision couched in the practical, not the spiritual.

    Ah I see.  Sorry for misunderstanding, and also taking a day plus to look at the comments again and respond.

    That’s certainly a possibility.  But again, it brings another possibility to my mind.  As we both know, but newer readers of this blog may not know, there’s been much written so far by both Fred and the Slacktivites about how the sort of God who does such terrible things like Rapturing everybody the way he did (as opposed to the way chris the cynic wrote about in his story “The Rapture” over on Right Behind, in which God safeguarded everybody who would have otherwise died in plane crashes and such) has to be evil.

    That seems to beg the question of whether whatever it is that makes us do good things came from a God or a TurboJesus like that.  It doesn’t seem likely; even though previous excerpts of future books posted in the comments have shown Rayford having at least one Pet The Dog moment, ultimately he doesn’t seem to have become a much better person as a result of the influence of this God.

    So in the warped version of Earth created by Jenkins & LaHaye, I think it’s far more likely that all the good done by humans has been despite any divine influence, whereas a lot of evil done by humans could very well be because of it.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NYIMSCWWLA5XTAYXL3FXNCJZ7I Kiba

    I still can’t figure out why, if there is supposed to be an unprecedented crime wave, anyone would move into a 5th Avenue penthouse. It would seem to me to be the least safe place to live if you didn’t want to get mugged, shot, or robbed. I would expect Bucky’s penthouse to have been robbed and possibly burnt down by the time he came back from his Middle East excursion.   

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GVT7C7S6IP2OC44PFUZGAJ4OBM JohnK

    Jenkins and Buck can’t resist the glamor of wealth and all of its trappings. It’s sort of like how Buck keeps taking gifts, rides, and perks from someone he knows is the Antichrist; sure, it might make more sense not to take money and favors from someone that you’re afraid is going to corrupt your soul and damn you to Hell forever, but if he didn’t do that he would have to scale back his jetsetting rich boy lifestyle.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Really not surprised. Look at LaHaye and Parshall’s book, Edge of Apocalypse. Joshua Jordan is an extremely well-off man and L & P go to some lengths to get the reader to identify with him.

  • chris the cynic

    Fred has talked before about the idea of total depravity vs the idea of utter depravity.

    Total depravity being the idea no part of a human being is untouched by sin so let’s forget about trying to figure out which part is the sinful part.  There’s good and bad in everything, moving on.

    Utter depravity being what people like L&J seem to believe in, where people are horrible horrible inhuman creatures and if they didn’t have the holy spirit in them holding back their wicked fallen natures there would be no good.  God is like some kind of a dam holding back all of the really bad parts of your personality.  When the rapture comes and God skips town that dam breaks down, the darkness floods into your being, and then you succumb to your satanic baby killer nature.  Sure, you’ve never had a desire to be a serial killer before, but that was because God was there to protect you from yourself.

    One area where I think it would be great to play this up would be in the reaction to the event. L&J portray the event as if it didn’t change people’s lives at all.  What if it didn’t?  What if people responded to the disappearances by just ignoring them and going on with their lives?  It wouldn’t work for everyone, teachers for example, but what if those whose lives were changed considered the event only in the most callous selfish terms of how it affected them.  Not, “Oh my god the children are gone!” but instead, “Now I have to find a new job.  Fuck.”

    What if instead of the lack of grieving parents being something largely ignored it had been played up as a sign of how far humanity had fallen.  Formerly loving parents didn’t care that their children had apparently vaporized.  And those who still had (older) children showed the same lack of concern for them.

    If that had happened you’d be convinced that the godless world was horrible before the authors had a chance to mention the crime wave.

    I lost the internet for a few hours.  This was on topic when I started writing.

  • Ima Pseudonym

    [blockquote]What if instead of the lack of grieving parents being something largely
    ignored it had been played up as a sign of how far humanity had fallen.
     Formerly loving parents didn’t care that their children had apparently
    vaporized.  And those who still had (older) children showed the same
    lack of concern for them.[/blockquote]

    Then these books, and by extension the authors, would be a hundred and fifty times better and far less absurd than they actually ARE. 

  • Ima Pseudonym

    My HTML skeelz are teh suckz.  

  • Joshua

    Use angle brackets, not square brackets. Square brackets are typically used in examples because not everyone knows the secret codes to getting < and > characters to appear in an HTML page.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Oh, say, folks?

    I was going through some of Fred’s old entries, and way back at the very beginning he notes that LaHaye and Jenkins aren’t even original hack writers; the character of Buck Williams seems to have been a pale copy of a much better version.

  • Anonymous

    sure, it might make more sense not to take money and favors from someone that you’re afraid is going to corrupt your soul and damn you to Hell forever, but if he didn’t do that he would have to scale back his jetsetting rich boy lifestyle.

    Well, technically L&J would say that Buck’s acceptance of Jesus saved him from Hell forevermore.  I don’t believe there is a single character in the series who accepts Jesus and then later retracts or is otherwise “corrupted”.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    As we both know, but newer readers of this blog may not know, there’s been much written so far by both Fred and the Slacktivites about how the sort of God who does such terrible things …has to be evil.
    That seems to beg the question of whether whatever it is that makes us do good things came from a God or a TurboJesus like that. 

    I always try to consider the author’s perspective, their intended message, when I write these things. And most PMD rapture stuff, whether it’s L&J or Hal Lindsay or even Jack Chick all seem to think that once everyone “good” has been raptured away, the world gets mean and ugly. It’s seems like a given to them, but the closest you get to an answer is that “God/Jesus has withdrawn his protection/presence from the world”. But we don’t really know what that means, so I just made my best guess.

    In reality, disasters tend to bring out both the best and the worst in people; a “record crime wave” demand some supernatural phenomenon keeping people from reaching out to one another, IMNSHO.

  • Jesse Cooper

    I’m reminded of the quote that Christoforo guy provided during the Ocean Marketing debacle: “I wwebsite as on the internet since you was a sperm in your daddys balls…”


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