NRA: You know who else was an evil, homicidal tyrant?

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist; pp. 116-120

Buck Williams is studying — carefully reading through the notes and sermons from Bruce Barnes’ computer:

Late in the afternoon, Chicago time, Buck broke from the fascinating reading of Bruce Barnes’s writing and finally got through to Chaim Rosenzweig.

That word “finally” there confirms what we already suspected about Buck’s “reading” — that it just means he had Bruce’s papers in front of him while he dialed and redialed his phone.

Buck has been trying to reach Chaim in the hopes that he can help Buck find the born-again Rabbi Tsion Ben-Judah. Chaim Rosenzweig is a high-level assistant to the Antichrist and Ben-Judah is the Antichrist’s Public Enemy No. 1, so it’s a bit strange to seek Chaim’s help with this. But since Chaim and Tsion are the only Jews Buck knows, he figures they must also know each other. And since that’s how these books work, they do.

“Cameron! I have finally talked live with our mutual friend. Let us not mention his name on the phone.”

Just in case anyone is listening in, it’s best to avoid drawing their suspicion by mentioning that you don’t want to draw their suspicion.

“It was a strange message, Cameron. He simply said that you would know whom to talk with about his whereabouts.”

“That I would know?”

“That’s what he said, Cameron. That you would know.”

Buck seems puzzled by this, but readers will be reminded that I was wrong above to say Buck only knows two Jews — he actually knows four, with the other two being Moses and Elijah. Yes, the actual patriarch Moses and the actual prophet Elijah from the Hebrew scriptures. Buck and Tsion met them in the last book at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, where they have returned to act as evangelical Christian street preachers. This is Tim LaHaye’s idea of the “Two Witnesses” from the book of Revelation.

The evangelistic technique of these two witnesses doesn’t seem very promising. Mostly they’re just chanting “Jesus is Lord,” which is a succinct statement of what Christians believe, but not a particularly persuasive approach to winning converts. There’s also the problem that anyone who comes forward during their altar call tends to get burned to cinders by giant flames shooting out of their mouths.

The Two Witnesses have been out there for more than a year now and it seems that Buck and Tsion were the only two people who have been allowed to approach to speak to them. They confirmed to Buck and Tsion that they are, indeed, Moses and Elijah, returned to the Earth. That seems like a newsworthy bit of information, but Buck never reports it through his news organization. It also seems like a compelling piece of information that might serve as a persuasive attention-getter for Tsion’s own evangelistic ministry, but he seems to be keeping it a secret too.

All told, the Two Witnesses could use a refresher course in my Four Essential Rules for Street Preaching:

1. Speak clearly in a loud voice.

2. If you’ve returned from beyond the grave, lead with that.

3. Don’t kill everyone who tries to talk to you.

4. Give a clear, concise presentation of Christian belief.

They’ve got the first and the fourth one down, but still need practice on the other two.

Anyway, readers here on page 117 quickly realize that Buck will need to talk to Moses and Elijah to reconnect with his friend Tsion. Buck himself will figure that out in about another 30 pages.

We return to Rayford Steele. When last we saw him, we were slogging through an elaborate multi-page set-up in which it was arranged to have Nicolae Carpathia’s top-secret meeting with his 10 global princes on the airplane, where Rayford (and therefore readers) would be able to listen in.

But then Rayford got off the plane.

Fortunately, instead of a top-secret meeting, Nicolae will be making another global broadcast, and Rayford and readers will still be able to listen in by watching it on television in the Baghdad airport terminal. So it all works out. We don’t actually hear what Nicolae says in his broadcast anyway, just Rayford’s distracted impression of the gist of it:

It was clear Carpathia had completely effected his will and spin onto the news directors at every venue. While the stories carried the horrifying pictures of war, bloodshed, injury, and death, each also spoke glowingly of the swift and decisive action of the potentate in responding to the crisis and crushing the rebellion.

Rayford stops watching before Nicolae begins to speak:

Rayford shook his head and went to a desk in the corner, where he found stationery from a Middle Eastern airline and began composing a letter to Earl Halliday’s wife.

The Antichrist’s Global Community has consolidated all governments, all banks, all religions, all currencies and all languages. But the airlines apparently all continue as independent, private sector businesses.

Logic told Rayford he should not feel responsible. … Rayford didn’t even know yet how Earl had been killed. Perhaps everyone on his flight to Glenview had perished. All he knew was that the deed had been done, and Earl Halliday was no more.

If you’re thinking I skipped the scene where Earl died, that’s because the authors did too. There was a scene in which Earl feared Nicolae wanted him dead, and there was a scene in which Fortunato said they would need a replacement for Earl after he gets dealt with, but this is the closest we get to a scene confirming that any of that ever really happened.

As he sat trying to compose a letter with words that could never be right, he felt a huge, dark cloud of depression begin to settle on him. He missed his wife. He missed his daughter. He grieved over his pastor. He mourned the loss of friends and acquaintances, new and old.

Like, for instance, his old acquaintance Irene. Or whatsisname, the kid.

Rayford knew he was not responsible for what Nicolae Carpathia meted out against his enemies. The terrible, dark judgment on the earth rendered by this evil man would not stop if Rayford merely quit his job. Hundreds of pilots could fly this plane. He himself had learned it in half an hour. He didn’t need the job, didn’t want the job, didn’t ask for the job.

And yet here he is, doing the job. For the Antichrist.

Twice now in two pages Rayford has reminded himself that he is not “responsible” for the evil deeds he is facilitating by collaborating with the Antichrist. He’s working his way through many of the classic rationalizations: If he didn’t do it, someone else would; he’s only doing his job/following orders.

These rationalizations are familiar, so let’s step back and deal with that familiarity.

How does Godwin’s Law* apply to a story about the Antichrist?

In Tim LaHaye’s “Bible prophecy” mythos, the Antichrist will be a global dictator and tyrant and the epitome of evil. The Antichrist, LaHaye insists, will be the cruelest and most evil leader the world has ever known.

So I’m afraid we’re going to have to Godwin this thread, because, by definition, the Antichrist must be worse than Hitler.

That’s a difficult, in some ways offensive, idea to grasp in trying to read these books. We’ve already got an idea in our heads of what superlative evil looks like, and these books’ claim that the Antichrist will be even more evil than that can seem like disrespect to the gravity of the real, historical evils this Antichrist is supposed to surpass, and to seem like disrespect to the real, actual people who really suffered under such evil regimes.

It takes a bit of mental wrangling, then, to keep in mind that Nicolae Carpathia is supposed to be worse than Hitler, that the Global Community is supposed to be worse than the Third Reich.

But what does that mean for our hero, Rayford Steele, who is a personal assistant to the Antichrist and a high-ranking officer in his regime? The authors have stressed that Rayford has “Clearance level 2-A” — the highest level of security clearance, reserved for the highest ranking servants of the Antichrist who work personally and intimately with this worse-than-Hitler tyrant.

I suspect that the authors would cry foul if they heard us make the comparison this invites and demands, but how can we not ask? What makes Rayford Steele any different from a Nazi collaborator?

I think Jerry Jenkins is trying to address just that question here with all of Rayford’s soul-searching. The problem is that Rayford’s own justifications sound like he’s cribbing from Burt Lancaster in Judgment at Nuremberg.

And then Rayford’s justifications get even worse:

He didn’t need the job, didn’t want the job, didn’t ask for the job. Somehow, he knew God had placed him there.

That’s right, it’s God’s will that Rayford collaborate with Nazis.

On one level, this is just another appalling example of Piperism — the shallow, Panglossian theology that holds that everything that happens must be God’s will because if it wasn’t God’s will then it wouldn’t have happened. But even John Piper isn’t quite as enthusiastic as the authors are here in attributing evil directly to God.

Look again at that phrase above, “The terrible, dark judgment on the earth rendered by this evil man.” The Antichrist himself can say, along with his collaborator Rayford, that “Somehow, he knew God had placed him there.”

The “terrible, dark judgment on the earth rendered” by the Antichrist is always exceeded in these books by the even more terrible and darker judgment on the earth rendered by God. The authors constantly give what sounds like a perverse rendition of the people’s song in 1 Samuel: “Nicolae has slain his thousands, but Jesus his tens of thousands.”

Somehow, he knew God had placed him there. For what? Was this surprising bugging of the intercom system by Earl Halliday a gift directly from God that allowed Rayford to somehow protect a few from the wrath of Carpathia?

Already he believed it had saved his daughter and son-in-law from certain death in the Chicago bombings, and now, as he looked at television reports from America’s West Coast, he wished there had been something he could have done to have warned people in San Francisco and Los Angeles of their impending doom.

As we’ve already discussed, repeatedly, there was plenty he could have done to warn people. He chose not to.

He chose, instead, to send his wife back to Chicago to check on his daughter, and in order to ensure her safety he did nothing to warn anyone in San Francisco or to attempt to interfere in the slaughter that he, as Nicolae’s pilot, was helping to ensure.

Rayford Steele is charged with being a collaborator complicit in all the evil of the Antichrist’s wicked regime. Here is Jerry Jenkins’ three-part defense of Rayford:

If he didn’t do it, someone else would.

And he’s only doing his job.

And he has to protect his own family, first, before sticking his neck out for anyone else.

The prosecution rests.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

* For those not familiar with all Internet traditions, Wikipedia has a good summary of “Godwin’s Law.” The key points are the law itself:

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.

And the customary corollary:

There is a tradition in many newsgroups and other Internet discussion forums that once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress.

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  • arcseconds

    ‘clearance 2a’ is yet further evidence of L&J’s obsession with status, no matter who is giving it out.

    If I woke up one morning and found I was living in the Third Reich with clearance 2A granted to me by Hitler, I would regard this as something going seriously awry with my life.

    (Clearance 1a, maybe that’s Carpathia himself and no others?) 

  • Rakka

    Bertolt Brecht would want a word with our “heroes”:

    When the Regime commanded that books with harmful knowledge
    Should be publicly burned and on all sides
    Oxen were forced to drag cartloads of books
    To the bonfires, a banished
    Writer, one of the best, scanning the list of the Burned, was shocked to find that his
    Books had been passed over. He rushed to his desk
    On wings of wrath, and wrote a letter to those in power ,
    Burn me! he wrote with flying pen, burn me! Haven’t my books
    Always reported the truth ? And here you are
    Treating me like a liar! I command you!
    Burn me!

  • arcseconds

     There’s a similar passage in Stanislaw Lem’s ‘Cyberiad’, where an intellectual wanting his writings to be trashed and his books burnt and to be sentenced to exile only to be vindicated in later generations is roundly ignored by his contemporaries.

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

    Hell, if I woke up in 1937 Germany with top secret Gestapo clearance? I’d be stealing as many files on all the top leaders as I could and absconding to the UK or USA to give their intelligence agencies a bit of a leg up.

  • arcseconds

     Well, I’m not saying it couldn’t be useful.  And if you had planned it all along to be some kind of deep agent (or were a committed Nazi but had a change of heart), then good!

    I’m just saying, if you unwittingly end up being one of Hitler’s trusted leutnants, and you’ve just cottoned on to the fact (“wait on a bit… the flags, the goose-stepping, the silly salutes, the bizarre racial theories, the disturbingly violent power-grabbing ‘contingency plans’…  we’re the Nazi Party!”), it’s probably time to have a serious think about how you wound up there (and, yes, what you should do next). 

    Not just go “oh, well, these things happen,  my dad wanted to be a musician and he wound up as an IT professional; I wanted to be a  photojournalist but I’ve ended up running the propaganda for a homicidal megalomaniac.  a job’s a job, and someone’s got to do it”.

  • Taneli Huuskonen

     The clearance levels, in descending order: 2-A, 2-N, 2-T, 2-I, 2-C, 1-H, 1-R, 1-I, 1-S, 1-T.

  • P J Evans

     Bingo?

  • EllieMurasaki

    No, no. Sunk aircraft carrier, submarine, and patrol boat.

  • Damanoid

    Dear Mrs. Halliday,

    Your husband Earl is dead.  I don’t know how it happened, but  I hope you will agree that, logically, I was not responsible.  I want you to know that I feel just as bad about this as you do yourself, if not worse.  As a woman, you will probably not understand the importance of your husband’s job, but I want you to know that Earl Halliday was a great pilot, almost as good as I am myself. 

    Earl once built an electronic listening device for me, which is practically a phone.  And he built it with his own hands.  I cannot possibly find the words to express what this means to me.

    As a widower myself, I understand the grief you must be going through.  It may take days or even weeks, but eventually, the grief will pass.  Someday soon I’ll look you up and we’ll share a few laughs about old Earl (that is, if my boss doesn’t nuke your city off the map first, ha ha!   Just kidding).

    Well, looks like I’m running out of room, so I’ll wind this up.  Best wishes to you and any kids you two may have had.  Earl probably told me if he had any, but there’s a lot going on in my life right now and I honestly cannot remember.

    Sincerely,

    Captain Rayford Steele

    Pilot, Global Community One
    (Official Aircraft of Supreme Potentate Nicolae Carpathia)

    PS. Sorry about the Middle Eastern stationery.

  • patter

     Delicious!  I was hoping somebody would take that one and run with it.

  • Water_Bear

    Whenever we need a fictional mass murderer, why does it always have to be a 20th century totalitarian? It’s overdone, and there are plenty of equally terrifying examples who didn’t use the same sorts of “marching and big banners” visual style.

    [Trigger Warning: Ludicrous Brutality]

    The Congo Free State under it’s primary shareholder King Leopold II was the well-known atrocity of the nineteenth century; the abuses there done by a private corporation without any government involvement motivated the European powers to take a more active hand in African colonization to ensure that nothing like it ever happened again.
    Highlights: ~10-15 million deaths (at least 20% of estimate total pop), bushels of human hands used as currency, wars with slave traders over ownership of the locals, the invention of the “Free Trade Zone” in Africa, Leo is currently remembered as the “Builder King” and has a commemorative 12.5 Euro coin.

    Emir/Khan Timur the Lame (Tamerlane) is a great example of a charismatic and brilliant conqueror/mass murderer, way more anti-christ-y than some Brand-X Hitler clone. A military genius with severe childhood injuries which left him unable to hold a sword or ride a horse, who rose from the peasantry to command a vast empire and destroy cities from Baghdad to Dehli.
    Highlights: ~17 million deaths, pyramids of skulls, enslaving tens of thousands of skilled people and bringing them back to Samarkand to renovate the place.
    Quotes: 
    “I am not a man of blood; and God is my witness that in all my wars I have never been the aggressor, and that my enemies have always been the authors of their own calamity.”
    “When I rise from the dead, the world shall tremble.”

    Vlad Dracul AKA Vlad the Impaler. If you don’t know the story, look it up; he was one of history’s most colorful monsters, inspired the modern vampire myth, and is currently celebrated as a national hero in Romania. 
    Highlights: Made a forest of 20,000 impaled bodies outside his capital to scare away Ottoman invaders (it worked), massacred all of the beggars and noblemen of Wallachia, ate bread soaked in human blood, inspired Count Dracula.

    Those three are my favorites, but there are plenty more if you’re willing to look for them. There’s no excuse to keep leaning on Hitler/Stalin clones when history is so full of much more interesting mass murderers.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    Whenever we need a fictional mass murderer, why does it always have to be a 20th century totalitarian?

    That’s the twist in “Wikihistory” – a time traveller is complaining about how all the newbies rush off to try to kill Hitler, which is pointless because it gets reverted immediately:

    What gives is everyone’s repeated insistence on a course of action which, even if successful, would only save a few million Europeans. It would be no more trouble to travel to Fuyuanshui, China, in 1814 and kill Hong Xiuquan, thus preventing the Taiping Rebellion of the mid–nineteenth century and saving fifty million lives in the process. 

    http://www.tor.com/stories/2011/08/wikihistory

  • Water_Bear

    Ah, the Taiping Rebellion. After the late-end of the Crusades it has to be the weirdest Christian democide (do people still use democide?) ever. And of course I completely forgot it on my “interesting mass murderers” list… :(

    On the subject of time travel, my main objection with the “let’s kill Hitler” thing is a bit of a selfish one; I (and probably quite a few other people) wouldn’t exist without WWII. My Fraternal Grandmother was a German woman who was impregnated by an American GI, and my Maternal Grandparents only met because my Grandfather got kicked out of the army for psych problems. Killing Hitler doesn’t just mean a dead Hitler and a ton of live Jews, because there are a lot of us today who can’t exist without that specific chain of events.

  • EllieMurasaki

    That’s an overcomable objection given the right premises. For instance, if one subscribes to the belief that there’s souls already in existence before whenever souls are assigned to bodies, and the follow-up that if two people meant to have sex and make baby don’t in fact have sex then the soul meant for that baby goes to the next baby in line, then you’d still exist, you’d just have different genetics and personal history.

    I don’t agree with anything I just said, but either way you make a valid objection that would make a marvelous (and, to my knowledge, unexplored*) complication to the time-travel-to-save-lives deal.

    * All the stories I can think of that deal with ‘time travel might make this person not born’ are attempts to ensure that that person will be born. Bar Supernatural 5×13 in which trying to make those people not born is a last-minute revision to the plan and doesn’t work anyway.

  • Water_Bear

    Well, as an atheist with a decent understanding of genetics I’ve got to disagree on that one. Frankly, even a genetically identical person with the same name who grew up in another country or made different medical choices in another timeline would barely count as a twin, much less a version of myself.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yeah, like I said, it’s not premises I agree with, but there are people who believe them.

  • Andrea

    Indeed, that’s part of the Wikihistory twist – the guy who goes back in time to kill Hong Xiuquan (ROT13’d for spoilers) vf qrfpraqrq sebz uvz.

  • aunursa

    That’s the twist in “Wikihistory” – a time traveller is complaining about how all the newbies rush off to try to kill Hitler, which is pointless because it gets reverted immediately

    I’ve noticed a fascination in time-travel stories with November 22, 1963.  From The Twilight Zone to Running Against Time (a 1990 film starring Robert Hays of Airplane! fame) to Quantum Leap to the the afore-mentioned Stephen King, several time-travel stories have focused on attempts to save President Kennedy (by stopping Oswald, who in most of these types of stories is presumed to have acted alone.)

    These “what if?” scenarios suggest that saving JFK would have resulted in more disasterous unintended consequences.* Thus it’s like the famous Star Trek episode The City on the Edge of Forever, in which — in order to prevent Nazi Germany from winning WWII, Kirk must prevent himself from allowing social worker Edith Keeler, with whom he has fallen in love, to die in an auto accident.

    It’s gotten to the point where I have a secret wish for one of these scenarios, (e.g. when I browsed through the day in 11/22/63): The time traveler finds himself on the Sixth Floor.  As he’s approaching the room where Oswald is lying in wait, he finds various other people appearing in the hallway.  It turns out that they are all time-travelers, from all of the other fictions that focus on that one event in history.

    * For example, in The Twilight Zone episode, Kennedy’s survival sets off a chain of events beginning with Khruschev’s assassination later that day, and results in an impending nuclear war.  In King’s 11/22/63, Kennedy’s survival also results in disasterous consequences for the United States, and King throws in catastrophic earthquakes caused by the time distortion.  You can read about these “what if?” scenarios at this Wikipedia page.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     I remember one *really* fun “Let’s Kill Hitler” story.

    It’s told from the perspective of the head of a special guard detail in the bunker, early 1945. Times look bad, but he is optimistic. Because of his job. For the past however many years, strange people have inexplicably appeared and attempted to kill Hitler, often wearing clothes and using weapons unlike anything the reich has ever seen. The special guard detail is assigned to capture or kill such intruders. A few times, the attackers were pursued by more time travelers, though mostly, it’s the dedication of Hitler’s personal guard who save the day. They’ve never managed to recover any usable technology due to boobytraps, but a few times they managed to inspect the travelers’ identity papers. They all seemed to come from a fairly narrow period of time in the 22nd century, and they all had signs of having had to break in somewhere and fight there way to something right before coming back in time. The guards assume that some time after that narrow window in the 22nd century, protection got better around the time machines. They’re not surprised to see some of the people look american, or –rarely — jewish, though it is a bit surprising that a lot of them appear to be japanese, since Japan is their ally.

    But even though the war looks bad now, and even though there’s been no practical advantage to studying these dead time travelers, he figures things have to get better soon. After all, no one would come back in time to assassinate the leader of the losing side.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    Given all the history I’ve read showing how out of touch Hitler was with military reality towards the end of the war, I’m surprised I haven’t seen a time travel story where the reason the time police kept stopping the temporal assassinations was because if he died, the Nazis would replace him with someone competent.

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

    So much that. It’s been hypothesized that half of what saved the Soviets was Hitler’s own hubris and overreach. O_O

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I am reminded of the Red Dwarf episode where the crew travel through time, accidentally preventing the assassination of JFK by bumping into Oswald.  They then have to figure out how to re-assassinate JFK so that history takes its proper course.  

    Which they arrange in the most hilarious manner possible.  

  • Ken

    The Umbrella Academy: Dallas is my favorite time-travel Kennedy-assassination story.  I really did not see it coming…

  • EllieMurasaki

    in order to prevent Nazi Germany from winning WWII, Kirk must prevent himself from allowing social worker Edith Keeler, with whom he has fallen in love, to die in an auto accident.

    Is there a negative missing in there?

  • Water_Bear

    Yes, he needs to let her die for the world to be safe but it’s very difficult to do. Stupid Bones and his butterfingers…

  • aunursa

    Yeah, I saw that mistake and edited it last night. Well before your comment was posted. It should say:

    in order to prevent Nazi Germany from winning WWII, Kirk must prevent himself from saving social worker Edith Keeler (Joan Collins), with whom he has fallen in love, from a fatal auto accident.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    several time-travel stories have focused on attempts to save President
    Kennedy (by stopping Oswald, who in these types of stories is presumed
    to have been the only gunman.)

     I liked Suppressed Transmission‘s take on the JFK assassination:  “If you arrive in an alternate reality, and history states that John F. Kennedy was killed in Austin, Texas on 11/23/63 by (some other guy), it should be obvious that Conspiracies Are Afoot…

  • banancat

     I think people tend to use 20th century monsters because we’re more familiar with them and most of us learn about them in school.  The older ones also tend to get overlooked because it’s hard to know where the truth ends and legend begins with them.  The farther back you go in history, the harder it is to determine what really happened.

  • HyperSpiral

    Outing myself as a manchild here, but I cannot help but read the title in the voice of Regular Show’s Muscleman.

    On a more serious note, I am continually disappointed and horrified that “Hitker wasn’t a Republican. Democrats aren’t Republicans. Therefore Democrats are Hitler,” is an actual opinion held by functioning adults who write best-selling books on the subject and are elected to be leaders of the most powerful country of the free world.

  • Kadh2000

    Maybe Rayford and Buick are like the two witnesses.  Different definition of witness though.

    To have the apocalypse independently verified,  God chose those two to observe it firsthand.  As it was presented in the Bible, they were to also follow the checklist and be able to say that it all happened as written.  Thus they were placed in positions close to the antichrist but were unable to interfere.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    I’ve always kind of assumed that Steven King’s Friendship with Jenkins either prevented him from viewing Jerry’s work with anything resembling an objective eye or it prevented him from saying what he really thought.

  • MaryKaye

    Nicolai starts with a difficult position in the Bad Guy championships as he has to compete with the one who snatched *every child on the planet* from their parents, without even offering the closure of a mangled body to help the parents grieve.

    I think he needs to use the mind control more.  Given the one language/currency/religion thing he must have more of it than we’ve seen so far.  So, God snatches babes from their parents’ arms?  Well, Nicolai has the parents kill their own children and thank him for the privilege.  God wants to be surrounded by praise-singers even though he’s murdered their families?  Nicolai can make them actually believe what they’re singing.  Whoops, I think God does that too. 

    No, I’m afraid God’s just going to win this one.  He has unfair advantages, plus he gets the first move (Rapture) *and* the last move.  It’s just too much.

    It occurs to me that Rayford is an allegory for the RTC God.  Each of them is, by any reasonable standard, responsible for enormous evil–apparently RTC God is responsible for *all* evil.  But somehow his hands have to be regarded as clean.  The in-text explanation for Rayford’s “innocence” is “he had to, he had no choice.”  This one is also used for God from time to time:  “sin is so offensive to the Pure One that he has no choice but to punish it.”  But the real explanation shines through, which is “If you’re the One, whatever you choose to do *defines* good.”  That is Rayford, and that is Rayford’s God. 

    I think L&J would deny, if asked, that anyone but God gets to say that.  But it’s enough a part of their worldview that any favored character tends to believe as if they get to say that.
     

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Kuperberg/698603245 Jonathan Kuperberg

    As the descendant of Polish Jews and the great-grandson of a Holocaust victim (not that it changes anything here), I fail to see how it is offensive to say that the final one-world government, if one believes in it, is worse than Hitler. No-one doubts that Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich were radically evil (except for the craziest neo-Nazis and militant postmodernists, nihilists and total relativists, few of whom exist even in the academy, who say good and evil have no real existence.) But the fact remains that they lost World War II and their reign came to an end in 12 years from the 1933 elections. This put a limit to the physical damage they could do and they did not succeed in wiping out God’s chosen people of the Old Covenant, the Jews, or ending Christianity- though millions of people of both faiths questioned their beliefs as a result of the War and related atrocities. They also did not have access to nuclear weapons.
    They were responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people. What if a putative Antichrist one-world government used more mass rape and torture than the Nazis as well as human sacrifice to Satan/demons and cannibalism on top of their genocide, if they won every battle to rule the whole world unopposed, killed hundreds of millions of people in death camps and battle, used thermonuclear weapons to snuff out the lives of further hundreds of millions in “non-Aryan” areas such as Africa and South America (the H-bomb has never been used in warfare thus far) for a total death toll in excess of one billion, and managed to all but wipe out Christians and Jews? It would be correct to call them “worse than Hitler” without minimising the fate of his victims.I do not believe in taking Revelation literally. But fundamentalists and Charismatic/ Pentecostals, along with cults like the Jehovah’s Witnesses who believe in a literal end-times event involving the ultimate evil ruler, are not trivialising anyone’s suffering- even the victims of the Holocaust, remembered yesterday- by saying that there will be worse to come.The ultra-liberal Jewish Anti-Defamation League and National Council of Jewish Women, despite having anti-rightwing sections on their web sites and regularly criticising evangelical and fundamentalist Christians for evangelising Jews, saying they only believe half of God’s Word, sometimes implying their guilt in the death of Christ, and believing in conspiracy theories which target Jews or the heavily Jewish-supported Freemasons (Illuminati, CFR, “international bankers”, responsibility for racial integration, etc.) and their politics on guns, abortion, homosexuality, size of government, constitutional interpretation and separation of church and state have NEVER raised this as a criticism against them. If they were to bash the LaHayes it would be for setting up the Moral Majority and Concerned Women for America- not for stating the truth that it is possible a dictator worse than even Hitler may one day exist.  

  • EllieMurasaki

    What if somebody did all these things that would be worse than Hitler? Well of COURSE they’d be worse than Hitler. Can we stop freaking out about unlikely hypotheticals now?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Kuperberg/698603245 Jonathan Kuperberg

    Well that’s what the Left Behind series is about. The hypothetical that a sick, satanic one-world ruler probably something like I described will take charge. Not an event which has already happened. And I was explaining why that ain’t antisemitic.
    The only way one could be antisemitic would be to take an event which had already happened and compare it to the Holocaust, when the event was *not* worse than what Hitler did. One could charge some anti-abortion activists with that. Leave Tim LaHaye alone. He has better family values than you ever will.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I thought you were taking your bigotry somewhere the fuck else.


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