This week in End Times mania: Confusing ‘Left Behind’ with reality

Some people have a hard time telling the difference between the Bible and the biblical fan-fiction concocted by John Nelson Darby, Cyrus Scofield, Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye, John Hagee, et. al. And it seems those same people have an even harder time telling the difference between this fiction and reality.

And these folks have been busy this week.

Here’s a round-up of LaHaye-ish End Times mania in the news.

1. Arizona state senator introduces anti-Agenda 21 bill.

Susie Cagle of Grist reports on the latest eruption of official right-wing paranoia over this decades-old, voluntary collection of best-practices for sustainable cities:

Last May, less insane heads managed to prevail in the Grand Canyon State, shooting down a bill that would have prohibited state and local governments from adopting anything even a little bit related to sustainability and Agenda 21. But the idea has crawled out of the grave in the form of SB 1403, a new bill that would prohibit any local government in Arizona from implementing any “creed, doctrine, principles or any tenet” of Agenda 21.

“Any way you want to describe it, Agenda 21 is a direct attack on the middle class and the working poor,” the bill’s sponsor Sen. Judy Burges said during a hearing on it in 2012. “The primary goal of Agenda 21 is to create social engineering of our citizens and it will impact every aspect of our daily lives.”

David Frum pleads with his fellow Republicans to “Ditch the Agenda 21 Tinfoil Hat Brigade” and taps Rob Sisson of ConservAmerica, the former mayor of a small city, to respond. Sisson writes:

Have we entered some parallel universe where saving tax dollars and conserving natural resources has become a UN plot against American liberties?

Apparently so.

In 1992, President George H. W. Bush signed the U.S. onto a non-binding United Nations agreement called Agenda 21. The agreement is hardly more than a list of ways that local communities can better conserve natural resources. The general header for such practices is “sustainability.”

Sisson outlines several ideas from Agenda 21 that he implemented as mayor of Sturgis, Mich., “saving taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Yet Glenn Beck, the John Birch Society, and various tea party groups have condemned “Agenda 21” as a globalist conspiracy to destroy America. And state legislators are listening.

… Lowering costs and conserving resources is always a good idea – even if the UN agrees. Can we all please get real?

Nope. Getting real is not an option when it comes to the United Nations because 60 million fans of the Left Behind series “know” that the UN exists only to pave the way for the Antichrist and his one-world government. And unfortunately for reasonable conservatives like Sisson and Frum, those 60 million Left Behind fans are also Republicans, having been taught that the Democratic Party is, like the UN, just another precursor to the imminent OWG.

2. Tennessee man quits job over three-digit sequence on tax form.

Thanks to Kevin S. and Benjamin C. for alerting me to this one. Bob Smietana has the story for The Tennessean:

Walter Slonopas, 52, resigned as a maintenance worker at Contech Casting LLC in Clarksville (Tenn.) after his W-2 tax form was stamped with the number 666.

The Bible calls 666 the “number of the beast,” and it’s often used as a symbol of the devil. Slonopas said that after getting the W-2, he could either go to work or go to hell.

“If you accept that number, you sell your soul to the devil,” he said.

Math can be confusing. Even simple arithmetic can be tricky. But this isn’t math or arithmetic — this is just counting. Every time we count from 1 to 1,000 we will use the number 666. Not because of Satan, but because of our base-10 number system.

Walter Slonopas just quit his job because he works for a company with more than 665 employees and because he does not know how to count to 1,000.

And also because he’s been fed a stream of paranoid, self-righteous, contra-biblical lies by someone masquerading as a Christian pastor. That’s where the blame for this lies. The jackwagon in the pulpit of Slonopas’ church has a millstone reserved with his name on it.

Smietana is a terrific religion reporter, but he horribly bungles one aspect of this story.

For believers such as Slonopas, who take the book of Revelation literally, any tie to 666 is a betrayal of their faith.

No. No, no, no, 666 times no. Believers like Slonopas do not “take the book of Revelation literally” — they take the book of Revelation and cut it up into a thousand tiny pieces, placing those pieces into a hat along with a thousand more tiny pieces taken from Daniel, Ezekiel, parts of Matthew, the screenplay for The Omen, folklore, blood-libels, and urban legends. And then they take those pieces out of the hat one by one, stringing them into sentences to which they accord all the authority of holy scripture.

They take those fabricated sentences “literally,” but not the book of Revelation.

3. Apocalyptic Christianists influence Chuck Hagel’s confirmation hearings.

CUFI lobbies against Hagel appointment,” the Jerusalem Post reports. They describe Christians United for Israel as “a Christian pro-Israel group.”

And that’s true up to a point. CUFI is an expression of televangelist John Hagee’s “Bible prophecy” beliefs. So it’s “pro-Israel” in the sense that they want the nation of Israel to thrive long enough to rebuild the Temple and sign a peace treaty with the Antichrist, after which everyone in Israel must either be converted to Christianity or be slaughtered en masse.

I suppose “pro-Israel” is one way to describe that, but I think Frank Schaeffer’s description of the CUFI crowd is more accurate. He calls them “Jesus on Acid.”

4. Microchip lies recycle through Facebook.

This popped up on the Slacktivixen’s Facebook page this week, “Micro Chip Implant Coming March 23, 2013”:

This evil plan is being launched by America. its a micro chip injected in your hand. it will contain all your personal data heath and bank accounts etc. its also a GPS device being monitored. they can deactivate it at any time if they find you suspicious or not loyal to their government or go against them or their system and you will lose everything you ever had. soon this device will be made common just like they did credit cards, turning paper money into digital money. means nothing is physically in your hand. it will be made a must for every citizen with time according to their plan and then they will spread it outside America so they can monitor and control as many people as they can and turn them into slaves with their digital technologies.

The heroic folks at Snopes do a great job of debunking this, as well as of tracing how this lie (it’s too intentionally crafted to call it a legend) was assembled.

Bookmark that Snopes link. You may need it as we get closer to this imaginary March 23 deadline.

Oh, and the high-school classmate of the ‘vixen’s who passed along this lie? He’s a state trooper. So be careful out there on Pennsylvania’s highways — there’s at least one paranoid idiot out there patrolling in uniform.

5. Christianist Islamophobia now reshaping “Bible prophecy” fantasies.

Daniel Burke has a good piece for Religion News Service on “How the ‘Islamic Antichrist’ reflects our era’s anxieties“:

Protestant Reformers picked the papacy as their embodiment of evil. American colonists chose King George III and some Cold War Christians suspected the Soviet Union was satanically led.

Now, amid threats of Islamic terrorism, a nuclear-armed Iran and tumult across the Middle East, a growing group of American evangelicals say the Antichrist will be Muslim. …

Scholars say the arrival of Islamic Antichrist prophecies was, well, predictable. …

Apocalyptic Christianity always needs an enemy, scholars say, and the Antichrist is nothing if not adaptable.

“The Antichrist idea is very responsive to changes in current events,” said Robert Fuller, a professor of religious studies at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. “It’s a symbol for what is most unsettling or troubling.”

Kudos to Burke for showing, throughout his piece, how the “Bible prophecy” of End Times preachers is a cultural creation projected onto the Bible and not at all anything that could be derived from a desire to “take the book of Revelation literally.”

Burke also has a sidebar piece on “Muslim views of the Apocalypse,” which is also helpful (apart from that headline, which confuses the genre of Revelation with the events attributed to it). If you’re interested in that subject, let me again recommend Gershom Gorenberg’s excellent The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount, which examines the role that site plays in apocalyptic “prophecies” of various Christian, Jewish and Muslim groups.

My favorite bit from Burke’s main article is this:

If bad theology, the Antichrist often makes for good reading, as attested by the more than 60 million copies of “Left Behind” books sold.

Prophecy may not be the best career option, however. Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University closed its Tim LaHaye School of Prophecy just one year after it opened in 2002.

“It never did attract hardly any students, so we shut it down,” said Ronald Godwin, Liberty’s provost. “The students were looking for a major that would land them a career.”

I don’t think those 60 million copies sold can be attributed to “good reading” as much as to “tribally sanctioned reading” and the relative paucity thereof, but I do love the unintentionally hilarious candor of Liberty’s provost.

It seems even Liberty students agree that there’s not much of a future in believing there’s not much of a future.

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  • Invisible Neutrino

    Walter Slonopas, 52, resigned as a maintenance worker at Contech Casting
    LLC in Clarksville (Tenn.) after his W-2 tax form was stamped with the
    number 666.

    Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face!

    Why didn’t he just ask for another number? I’m sure they’d have obliged.

  • Makabit

    A friend of mine was Agent 666 at her government job because the badge number went to a gentleman who didn’t want it for ‘religious’ reasons. He asked if he could trade off, and my friend begged for it, so everyone was happy. He got to go to heaven, and she got the best badge ever.

  • Ross


    A friend of mine was Agent 666 at her government job because the badge
    number went to a gentleman who didn’t want it for ‘religious’ reasons.
    He asked if he could trade off, and my friend begged for it, so everyone
    was happy. He got to go to heaven, and she got the best badge ever.

    good sure, but best? I mean, there’s still 86, 69, and 007

  • Alethea

     They’re sending him a new form, but he said that he still doesn’t want the job back. It’s sad that he’s such an idiot, but I suppose someone else will be grateful to have his job in this economy!

    He’s going to have fun explaining that to his next employer: “Reason for leaving my previous job? Uh…my employer was Satan…no, no, I don’t want to give him as a reference.”

  • stardreamer42

     In the article, he’s quoted as saying that would be like “selling out his faith for money”. I play the world’s tiniest violin for him, and I’ll bet there are a minimum of 500 people in Clarksville who would love to be hired as his replacement and couldn’t care less about the serial number on their W-2 form.

  • Jon Maki

    means nothing is physically in your hand

    Well, nothing except the microchip, which is literally in your hand.
    (Which still doesn’t match up with a “literal” reading about the Mark of the Beast…)

  • Invisible Neutrino

    Also, regarding Muslim Apocalyptic ideas –

    One hopes that if one of their folks writes this all up in fiction that they be more like the Christ Clone and less like Left Behind. :p

  • Boze Herrington

     Yes! Moar Christ Clone!

  • Magic_Cracker

    Ooh! Ooh! Call it “Face of the Prophet,” and feature a Muhammad clone.

  • Charles Scott

    Just as an asside, isn’t it 6*6*6, instead of just the sixth numeral placed three digits in a row?  Seriously, everybody who ever had 216 on their w2, lived in apartment 216, ever spent February the 16th not huddled fearfully in their church, are all, unknowingly, putting their own souls and those around them in immortal danger!

    Hopefully, popular imagining will be corrected by the year 2160, so the collective year long pant-filling of RTCs will take care of the horrific fertilizer shortage*.

    *That’s right, the fertilizer shortage.  It’s in Revelations, people!

  • aunursa

    Seriously, everybody who ever had 216 on their w2, lived in apartment 216, ever spent February the 16th not huddled fearfully in their church, are all, unknowingly, putting their own souls and those around them in immortal danger!

    In the Left Behind series, Nicky’s airplane is the Condor 216.

    And the region codes assigned to each of the ten regions are based on arithmetic equations that involve three 6’s. For example, the code for the United North American States is -6 (which is derived from the equation 
    (6 – 6) – 6 = -6. The code for the United Indian States is 42, which is derived
    from (6 * 6) + 6 = 42.


    I still have to say that when I read L&J’s regional ID codes, that it seemed rediculously, idiotically contrived. Like, “I live in region negative 6 of 10, but I used to live in region 216. Out of ten.”

    Maybe if the antichrist ever does come to exist, he would have everyone take an branding of A — for Antichrist.  Most of the Bible Prophecy fans would be confused, and perhaps since they couldn’t see a connection between the letter A and the number 666, they might think it’s not anything to worry about.

  • Ken

    And the region codes assigned to each of the ten regions are based on arithmetic equations that involve three 6’s.

    Reminds me of the “four fours” puzzle, see Wikipedia, where you find formulas using four 4’s and common operations.  It’s possible to do all the numbers from 1 through 100 at least.   I don’t know if anyone’s tried “three sixes”, but it might be possible to find ways to do 1 to 10 – I’ve found 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 10, so only 4 and 8 are left.

    (I just found a reference that Donald Knuth found ways to do all numbers from 1 to 208 with just one 4, square root, factorial, and brackets – Mathematics Magazine, Nov-Dec 1964, pp. 308-310.)

  • Lori


    The code for the United Indian States is 42  

    Now I believe Niki is the Antichrist. Who else would assign 42  to someplace other than England?

  • Ben English

    That weird interpretation is an idiosyncracy of the Left Behind books. The actual manuscripts of Revelation use words or numerals. Stamping 666 on someone’s hand in AD 95 would have meant stamping DCLXVI.

  • Tricksterson

    Considering yhe time it was written it’s actually DCLXVI so it’s letters the End Timers should be looking for, not numbers.

  • Marc Mielke

    Declan Xavier? 
    Daphne Chlamydia Xerxia Violetta? 

  • EllieMurasaki

    Danielle Cameron/Leah Xander/Valerie Ingersoll poly femslash!

    Though gender roles being what they are, a m/m/m or m/m/f trio might shock them worse. It’s just Femslash February, is all.

  • Lunch Meat

    Math can be confusing. Even simple arithmetic can be tricky. But this isn’t math or arithmetic — this is just counting.
    Every time we count from 1 to 1,000 we will use the number 666. Not because of Satan, but because of our base-10 number system. Walter Slonopas just quit his job because he works for a company with more than 665 employees and because he does not know how to count to 1,000.

    Real Christians count in base 6!

  • Vermic

    You know … I love the weekly Left Behind takedowns on this blog and I’ve been following them faithfully for years.  But deep down, I’ve always been hoping that one day they would become irrelevant, because the books had become irrelevant, and therefore end.

    That a day would come when Fred would say, “Left Behind was a terrible series.  But the year is 20-umpty-something, and these books were written in the late ’90s, and they have now lost their influence and are forgotten and disregarded, except as poorly-written curiosities of a bygone era.  My labors are fulfilled.   Let us bid farewell to Messrs. LaHaye and Jenkins, seal them alongside the Jerky Boys and Battlefield Earth in the Vault of the Discarded ’90s, pour a forty on the ground above, and meet with them no more.  From this day forward, Left Behind Fridays will be replaced with [relevant topic in 20xx] Fridays.”

    But now I see, that day isn’t coming soon, is it?  If ever?

    I’m glad that Fred still gives us Left Behind Fridays.  I’m depressed that it still matters.

  • D Johnston

    As Clark himself said, the books themselves are irrelevant. They haven’t been a big deal in years. The ideas, on the other hand, are evergreen. That sort of paranoia going to fade out because it’s tied into the fears associated with a complex world, and the world ain’t exactly getting simpler.

  • Cathy W

    Can you say the books are irrelevant when they’re soon to be a major motion picture starring Nicolas Cage, or at least with the camera pointed at him more than just about anyone else?

  • Worthless Beast

    I am sad to think that the books are presently, and may go down *historically* as Word of Dante.

    Yes, that’s a TV Tropes link, but if you’re in the Northwest, you’re going to be kept inside by bad weather anyway, so you might as well make the most of it. 

    Dante’s words, themselves, have lasted in the cultural conciousness a long, long time…

  • Worthless Beast

    Er, Northeast.  Why did I type Northwest?  My direction-dyslexia is acting up again.

  • Kadh2000

     That’s okay.  Despite you writing “Northwest” I read “Northeast” anyway. 

    -Living in the Northeast myself.

  • banancat

     I do the exact same thing with East/West.  I have absolutely no trouble with North vs South, but something about East vs West gets me every time.  I have to actually envision a map and thing about which coast is East and which is West and then determine my current location and my destination in relation to the coasts.  It’s a split-second process because I’ve done it so many times, but I never have to do anything like that to figure out North vs South.


    For the forseeable future, as long as there is a world, there will be claims that it will end soon.

  • Gary W. Longsine

    There have been waves of apocalyptic fervor, feeding from Revelations and related  paranoid fantasies, since the time of Christ.  Such will be with us until we figure out how to inoculate minds against delusion and superstition.  See the works of Dr. Andy Thomson on the cognitive neuroscience of religion, for an initial understanding of the problem we face.

  • Magic_Cracker

    He’s a state trooper.

    Wait, what? A government agent is telling me not to trust the government? It’s the Liar-Tells-You-He-Always-Lies paradox! I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO BELIEVE!!! Help me Obi Wan Van Impe! You’re our only hope!

    …a growing group of American evangelicals say the Antichrist will be Muslim. …

    Too bad Falwell’s gone on to his reward. I think he said for the record that the Antichrist is (a) already here, (b) a Jew, (c) living in the South. Where’s an internecine bloodbath when you need one?

    Why didn’t he just ask for another number? I’m sure they’d have obliged.

    There story I saw yesterday said that it had happened once before and they did oblige, but since it happened again, he’s KNOWS it’s a conspiracy.

    Now, I have to laugh at all of this stupidity, because if I don’t I might give into my natural impulse — which same impulse I had reading comments on the “Missouri-Synod Lutherans: Interfaith action against gay people is fine, but not prayers for slain children” thread —  to take them by the collars and scream “WHAT THE MOTHERFUCK IS WRONG YOU, YOU SHITFERBRAINS SHITBIRD SHITHEAD?!?! YOU’RE MAKING YOURSELF AND EVERYONE AROUND YOU MISERABLE FOR NO REASON BUT TO FEEL SLIGHTLY KINDA SORTA MAYBE LESS MISERABLE ABOUT YOUR PATHETIC SHITSTAINED EXISTENCE!!! WAKE THE MOTHERFUCK UP ALREADY AND JOIN US IN REALITY, YOU FUCKING FUCK OF A FUCKWIT!!!!”

  • Mr. Heartland

    Does the ‘Pope as eternal Antichrist’ idea still have any juice?  Some small sick part of me wishes that my people were still seen as the alien within.  I feel as if I’ve slept through some terrific romance. 

    (In all honesty I don’t mean to downplay the suffering of Muslims or any other scapegoated minority.  Much less suggest that I envy them.)  

  • Magic_Cracker

    I think the Pope could still get in on the action as an Associate Antichrist, or Assistant to the Regional Antichrist. If there’s one think history’s greatest monster is going to need to know how to do, it’s delegate.

  • Mr. Heartland

    Indeed indeed.  I’m all for diversity myself.  Multiple Antichristes from multiple backgrounds makes life richer for everyone. 

    I rememberfrom my boyhood in the eighties, some segments of fundie culture that hadn’t been completely absorbed into the GOP were even thowing around R-O-N-A-L-D W-I-L-S-O-N R-E-A-G-A-N as a candidate.  Antichrists have gotten way too homoginized and mainstream since then.  None of the old indie rebel spirity anymore. 

  • Magic_Cracker

    Man, I remember seeing the Antichrist open for Patti Smith at CBGB’s in ’76. Helluva show. Then he went Disco years., the monster.

  • Ross

     Wait, if the Pope is the Antichrist, does that make the Antipope the anti-antichrist?

  • Magic_Cracker

    Not quite, Antipopes (there have been many) are classified as Pseudoantichrists. 

  • LL

    I guess I can look forward to my mother sending me some hysterical email about that microchip sometime in the next month or so. Sigh.

  • flat

    send her this article.

  • Andrea

    Somehow I fear that would only end in a repeat of the time someone’s concerned aunt literally called Fred on the phone to berate him about the state of her nephew’s soul.

  • Katie

    More evidence that they are operating out of their own reality.  According to Fox News, the reason why solar energy has taken off in Germany is that its *practical* there.  Because Germany gets more sunshine than the East Coast of the US.  

  • Tricksterson

    Or California or the American southwest or…

  • Vermic

    I honestly feel sorry for whoever wrote the microchip Facebook post.  It’s probably because of the lack of capitals and punctuation, but they just sound so scared that it breaks my heart a little.  The world they imagine they’re in is such a dark, confusing, terrifying place.  I just, I dunno, want to give them a hug and reassure them that they don’t have to be afraid of this.

  • aunursa

    [CUFI is] “pro-Israel” in the sense that they want the nation of Israel to thrive long enough to rebuild the Temple and sign a peace treaty with the Antichrist, after which everyone in Israel must either be converted to Christianity or be slaughtered en masse.

    I attended a CUFI presentation at a church (the audience was mostly Christians but included a few Jews) in which their regional director explained CUFI’s history, goals, and motives.  I’ve spent quite a bit of time on their website and I’ve monitored their Facebook page.  And I haven’t seen any evidence to support this assertion that one reason CUFI is pro-Israel is in order for Israel to play its role in the Christian end-times prophecies.

    Learn Why Christians Should Support Israel

    Now maybe they have secret documents and communications that they hide from their website and their Facebook communiques, documents that are intended only for the Christian members telling them “the real reason to support Israel.”  But I doubt it.

  • Carstonio

    placing those pieces into a hat along with a thousand more tiny pieces
    taken from Daniel, Ezekiel, parts of Matthew, the screenplay for The Omen, folklore, blood-libels, and urban legends.

    Don’t forget heavy metal albums. During the Iraq war, someone on a metal board joked that the number of the beast was 202-456-1414. My response? “Not a fan of George W. Bush, I presume.” But I imagine that Tea Partyers would not say that as a joke.

  • Mr. Heartland

    “The primary goal of Agenda 21 is to create social engineering of our citizens and it will impact every aspect of our daily lives.”

    Right, and mandating that businesses have X number of parking spots while building freeways straight through a city’s guts are what exactly?  Does a boy raised by wolves have a natural instinct to live in a cul-de-sac thiry miles from downtown? 

    The day will soon come when there will be nowhere within the borders of these states where you can run and hide from Those People.  If that’s your idea of apocalypse then I see no reason for the rest of us to worry about you. 

  • Naked Bunny with a Whip

    I just want to know when my phone is going to get one of these mass-produced microchips that can receive GPS signals, can upload and download data over ubiquitous wireless connections, and don’t require any antennae or use any battery power.

  • SisterCoyote

     Right?! Geez, anyone who thinks the best use of that technology is to monitor RTCs is losing it; that kind of tech would market itself!

  • Steve

    Yeah, that was my thought.  great, if it would work.
    Believe me, if this was technologically possible, my company would already be selling them to you for lots of money.
    And they employ lobbyists.

  • Vermic

    For what it’s worth, my coworker thinks the next pope after the current one will be the Antichrist.

    (Or at least that’s what he thinks today.  He’ll change his theory if/when the radio programs he listens to change theirs, no doubt.)

  • Becka Sutton

     I was going to say “into the prophecy of st malachy is he?” but then I realised it can’t be that because that would be the one after the next Pope.(*)

    * Of course the Prophecies are a medieval fraud anyway.

  • Alan Alexander

     Someone has probably beaten me to it, but this comes from the prophecies of St. Malachy, who wrote a “prophetic” verse for each of the future popes back in the 11th century. “Prophetic” in the same sense as Nostradamus, who had a few prophecies that look accurate if you squint and look at them sideways. For example, the current pope was prophesied to have something to do with olives, and Ratzinger picked Benedict as his papal name and the Benedictine monks are associated with olives or something like that. Anyway, the creepy bit is that, per Malachy, the pope to follow Ratzinger is simply identified as “the last pope.”

  • The Other Weirdo

     We’re about to find out.

  • SkyknightXi

    Why are fundamentalists so reluctant to acknowledge that 616/666 was a gematria code for Nero(n) Caesar used precisely because John was trying to circumvent the Imperator’s censors? What strikes them (and/or struck Darby) as blasphemous or the like about that idea?

  • Tricksterson

    Because then they’d have no reason to get hysterical.

  • Christine

     Because then they have to acknowledge that *everyone* agrees that Babylon = Rome, and they can’t pretend to have some secret knowledge that confirms that the Pope is the Antichrist.

  • Dash1


    What strikes them (and/or struck Darby) as blasphemous or the like about that idea?

    I don’t know what struck Darby, but as a former Plymouth Brethren, I wish it had been a clue stick.

  • connorboone

    I distinctly remember, growing up in Orange County, reading about Mondex and its association with the Mark of the Beast in one of my social studies textbooks.  I think it was 4th grade.  They made sure to mention that ‘some people’ were worried about the theological implications of Mondex being an anagram for Demon X.

    So, yes, the microchip Mark of the Beast was mainstream enough to be in a textbook circa 1988 or so.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Who the fuck is Demon X? Speed Demon’s long-lost brother?

  • connorboone

    I dunno, but Agent 666 and Demon X sounds like a hell of a comic book.

  • Magic_Cracker

    I like it. Agent 666 is strictly by the book (“According to book 6, section 4, subsection 12, paragraph 9b of your infernal contract…”) but Demon X plays by his own set of rules.

  • connorboone

    Yes… it would be a great Heroes for Hire sort of title.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Yeah. They could exact a sort of rough justice for the powerless by dragging their tormentors directly to Hell. Why, would the Adversary do this? Why, to give God a black eye, and, of course, to to fill up Hell. You know what happens then.

  • connorboone

    You combine it with a “God is powered by belief” thing and make sure that they occasionally take down Randian Evangelicals that use their power and privilege to drive down the poor and minorities – but they can’t drag them to Hell, because the Evangelicals have said the Magic Words…

  • Magic_Cracker

    Yeah! Finding a way around the Magic Words could be a major recurring plot-point. If they can find away to undo them, they can harvest all those souls in one fell swoop. Meanwhile, they get some unlikely help from Loki who’s hoping to ride the coattails of the End Times straight through to Ragnarok.

  • connorboone

    Oh, see, I was thinking it would be more on the ‘social justice is lies from Satan’ is actually *true*.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Ah, I was thinking “Satan is doing social justice to pick up God’s seeming slack.” It could turn out Satan himself is behind the Magic Words and RTCism in the first place — he creates a need for justice by tricking  nominal Christians into rejecting Jesus’s actual teachings (and label such teachings as ‘Satanic’), and then he meets the need himself by sending out his fallen-angelic agents to tempt people into Wrath  for the wrongs done them (often at the hands of aforementioned nominal Christians). The Magic Words, in the meanwhile, are really just another infernal contract (oral) and don’t get you into Heaven so much as they keep you from Hell … for now.

    Agent 666 uncovers the plan, and tho’ she finds it distasteful that the Evil One would stoop so low as to manufacture sin, rather than let humans fall into sin on their own (per his original charter with YHWH), Demon X will be all, “Hello? Who did you think we were working for? ‘Prince of Lies’ ring any bells for you?”

  • Foelhe

    Well, now I’m imagining the apocalypse as a Buddy Cop movie.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Well, now I’m imagining the apocalypse as a Buddy Cop movie.

    “You’re a maniac, Demon X!”

    “But, Captain, Jesus saved my partner!”

    “I don’t care if Jesus saved your vicious old grandmother! You don’t just go off and massacre a bus load of nuns on their way to bathe lepers– not without filing the paperwork first and finding a right-wing death squad to do it for you! I’ll have your leathery wings for this!”

    “I’ll go over your head! All the way to the 9th Circle!”

    “When Hell freezes over!”


  • Foelhe


  • Foelhe

    (Crap, of course I’d forget the endquote there.)

  • Magic_Cracker


  • Vermic

    Agent 666 is strictly by the book (“According to book 6, section 4, subsection 12, paragraph 9b of your infernal contract…”) but Demon X plays by his own set of rules.

    The old Lawful Evil/Chaotic Evil dynamic!  Always fertile soil for interpersonal drama.  And, needless to say, the sexual tension just pours off the page.  Other fans may disapprove, but I’m an X/666 shipper and proud of it.

  • Magic_Cracker

    And don’t forget the Bad Cop, Slightly-Less Bad Cop dynamic:

    Demon X: You’ll do what we say or I’m going to reach down your throat and rip that miserable, tattered soul of yours and wipe my flaming ass with it!
    Bus Driver: You can’t do that! I’ve got a deal with the Dark Lord himself! No bodily harm until my natural death! [produces infernal contract]

    Agent 666: [takes contract, scans it] He’s right, X. I’d have to fill out a Form DCLXI to get a emergency amendment.

    Demon X: Then get filing, pardner! We’ve  got a youth choir in Manhattan right now and those souls won’t damn themselves unless we get this guy to ‘accidentally’ drop them off in the East Village. [Agent 666 leaves. Demon X leans over Bus Driver, cracking his knuckles which spark like burning black powder.] You better hope she’s a slow typer…

  • Marc Mielke

    Nobody seems to have assigned genders yet! I want Agent 666 to be the cute anime girl who opens the comic up with an irrepressibly peppy and enthusiastic public service video titled “Your Infernal Contract” given to all new clients. And then outside of the video she’s all business. 

  • Tricksterson

    I can’t help but see them as Scully and Mulder.

  • Tricksterson

    They coould be played by Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith in the movie version.

  • P J Evans

    It never did attract hardly any students

    Said by a college administrator. My brain hurts. (Using colloquial English with friends or family, you might could get away with that. But please, don’t do it if you’re speaking to reporters or in public.)

  • MikeJ

    I thought the actual number was supposed to be 616.

  • P J Evans

     Depends on the name being turned into numbers. Both numbers have been used.

  • BC

    The Muslims, at least the Shias, have their own apocalyptic legend – the return of the Second (I think) Imam.  So when Jesus and this Second Imam return, will that be the battle of Megiddo?   Aha, think I have found that link!

  • PepperjackCandy

    If the 666th employee of every company with 667 or more employees quit, I wonder  how many jobs that would open up?

  • Worthless Beast

    The Antichrist through the ages thing…

    … Am I weird for always thinking that “hunting the Antichrist”  was very silly?  What I mean is… back when I was a teenager, I was *facinated* by all this eschatology stuff – it’s why I read Left Behind (to my credit, I was reading it mostly for the explosions, was dissapointed when said explosions were pre-empted by technobabble, and gave up on it upon giving up on seeing any female with more substance than a Barbie doll).  In any case, even when I was “into” this stuff, I didn’t think L&J were real, true prophets simply because I thought “Knowing the marks of what will make the Antichrist precludes his rising in any of our lifetimes.”  Too many people today “know” what the Antichrist is “supposed to be,” and too many non-believers *know* what the Rapture is too much to be surprised by it. In fact, on any forum where atheists gather to talk about religion, it seems there is the inevitable comment of people “wishing the Rapture would happen”  so all the stupid people will go away and leave them the planet.  (Some wish it would hapen to religions to which it doesn’t even apply, too).  

    So, if this stuff actually happened, the way it is laid out in the books, too many people would be repentant and/or rejoicing (but knowing *exactly* what went on because it’s so a part of pop culture it was features on The Simpsons!), or planning a war against Heaven to get their children back… or you know, not electing or putting into power the obvious Antichrist.  I don’t think there are enough magical-Antichrist-mind-powers to erase all traces of logic.  

    If End Times Prophecy happens in any manner resembling what the “prophets” of today think… it’s not going to happen for a long, long time, I imagine. Give or take a thousand years, when we’ve buried bad theo-fiction.  

  • Invisible Neutrino

    Indeed. And even in the 1980s and 1990s enough of this stuff had seeped out into popular culture that anyone proposing anything implanted into the forehead or right hand would already have been tagged with a OMG MARK OF THE BEAST from the fundies.

  • Lliira

    Left Behind cannot be called “good reading.”

    Unless you compare it to L. Ron Hubbard’s books, at least the later ones. Which has me wondering — how much really really really bad stuff, worse than Left Behind, is quite popular and we just don’t know it? When people claim the Twilight books are the worst books ever, I have a whole slew of books to point them to that are worse, including anything by Jerry Jenkins. But now when people say the Left Behind books are the worst-ever, I have to point them to Battlefield Earth. It’s worse in every way as a book. (The Left Behind series is still worse because of its greater influence, but outside of that context, it is better than Battlefield Earth.)

    How much of the popularity of these books is due to people simply not knowing how much better stuff is out there? If you only ever ate over-boiled brussels sprouts, you’d probably think cheap hot dogs were the best food ever once you discovered them.

  • aunursa

    LB: Freeze Frame: Roll Credits
    Left Behind fails as a novel for many, many reasons, but all of its other faults — the odious lack of empathy it holds up as a moral example, its blasphemous celebration of self-centeredness masquerading as Christianity, its perverse misogyny, its plodding pace, its wooden dialogue, it fetishistic obsession with telephones, its nonexistent characterization, its use and misuse of cliches, its irrelevant tangents, deplorable politics, confused theology, unintentional hilarities, hideous sentences, contempt for craft, factual mistakes, continuity errors … its squandering of every interesting premise and its overwhelming, relentless and mind-numbing dullness — all of these seem to be failures of the sort that one might encounter in any other Very, Very Bad book hastily foisted off onto the public without a second glance.

    Any one of those faults, on its own, would have been enough to earn Left Behind a place on the Worst Books of 1995 list. The presence of all of those faults — in a single book and in such concentrated form — is more than enough to secure its place on a list of the Worst Books of All Time.

    Yet the book’s signature failure is something far simpler. Left Behind disproves the very thing it sets out to prove. It presents an inadvertent but irrefutable case for the unreality and impossibility of all of the events that Tim LaHaye claims are prophesied to occur at any moment.

    Those events are not about to occur. They never will occur. They never can occur. Don’t believe me? Go read Left Behind and see for yourself.

    That signature failure, Left Behind’s forceful refutation of itself, is what earns this book my vote as the Worst Book of All Time.

  • c2t2

    I still think Fred must be mind-whammy-ing us all, and these are actually good books.  The 60-plus million copies sold and praise from professional writers (King, now Burke) almost makes it seem like we’re in the thrall of an internet magician trying out remote hypnosis techniques.

    If not, these books are mind-numbingly dull, with etch-a-sketch plots, vile politics, contempt for worldbuilding, and awful protagonists we’re expected to admire.

    And wildly popular.

    I, for one, welcome our internet hypnotist overlord. All praise the Hypno-Fred!

  • Tricksterson

    I have to disagree.  Battlefield Earth at least qualifies as So Ba It’s Good.

  • Tricksterson

    I meant So Bad.  I did not mean to insult the sheep.

  • ReverendRef

     I meant So Bad.  I did not mean to insult the sheep.

    Better to insult the sheep than to kill us with them.

  • Lliira

    I disagree. Battlefield Earth is the most racist, misogynist, vilest work of fiction I have ever seen. If it were merely Jonnie running around being the biggest Gary Stu who ever existed, it could be amusing. But it’s not; it’s a seething mass of hatred. Genocide is peachy keen when the good guy does it. Women are objects who solely think about whatever man they’re attached to (who is not attached to them), and nothing else whatsoever. Scots are awesome warriors, the French are cowards, Africans are rapist-cannibals, and if you oppose the Gary Stu, it is only right and just that your entire race is enslaved for eternity. Psychologists, journalists, bankers, doctors, and government are all evil, and like being evil because they’re evil.

    It’s just gross. Hate and hate and some more hate. No sense of joy or fun, and most definitely no sense of affection or caring. Added to horrible science, atrocious writing, and huge stretches of incredible boredom punctuated by the very occasional extremely short, impossible action scene.

  • Ann Unemori

    They got one point right: Scots ARE awesome warriors. “FREEEEEEDDOOOOOMMMM!!!!!!!!”

  • Jessica_R

    And the really infuriating thing is that more often than not the rabidly Anti-Agenda 21 folks tend to be rabidly anti-choice too. 

  • Worthless Beast

    I wonder how many people have taken up reading the Left Behind books *because of this blog.*  Mind you, I’m sure those who have were always responsible readers and did so via library-borrowings or used yard-sale copies or maybe books that were unwanted-gifts to you by some relative…

    There’s a certain charm in reading or watching something because it’s really, really bad.  Usually, there is something to make fun of in the work (Haha! Phones!) or you just want to see how much of a trainwreck something really is.

    The other night, I was watching a riff on the movie “Waterworld.”  I actually… actively enjoy that film and will watch it when it comes up as a TV random film special.  I enjoy it because it’s so nonsensical and horribly written.  It’s not a good film, but it is goofy. I think that LB must be like that for some people… I really can’t see Mr. Clark being able to survive his dedicated reading and dissection without having some kind of “Haha! Phones again!” moment every once in a while.  

  • jclor

    I, for one, would shell out to see an End Times movie based upon a truly literal interpretation of Revelation.  That would be one trippy, technicolor, CGI-filled crazy-fest.  Sadly, LB and its ilk, in attempts to borrow from Tom Clancy and seem “realistic”, take all the fantastic fun out of John’s religious fever dream.

  • Magic_Cracker

    That would be one trippy, technicolor, CGI-filled crazy-fest.

    If that’s the case, you might want to check out Alan Moore’s “Promethea.” It’s a comic, mind you, not a movie, but pretty damn trippy.

  • Zornorph

    I live in a small district in a small country. The license plates start at 1 and go up from there and they get changed every few years. Back in the 1990’s, the 666th person to come in to get his car licensed happened to be a pastor. He groaned at told the girl he couldn’t drive around with 666 on his car given his profession. They gave him 667 and the next person got 666. They thought it was funny as hell (pun intended) and were happy to have it.
    That same year, I got motorcycle license plate 69 – I was in my 20’s, so you can imagine how that pleased my juvenile sense of humor.

  • P J Evans

     Here in the US, people have gotten their house numbers changed when they have 666. I think it’s silly – but I’m nowhere close to being an RTC.

  • aunursa

    Yeah, I wouldn’t mind getting a “superstitious discount” for a hotel or cruise ship Room #1313.

    Reminds me of the Cheers episode where Carla buys a house for a great bargain.  But then Cliff finds out that the reason the house was such a good price was that apparently it was built over an old cemetery.  She becomes afraid that the ghosts will attack her, so Cliff agrees to spend a night in the house with her.  In the morning they hear a very loud noise from outside as the house shakes.  As Carla fears the worst, Cliff investigates. It turns out that the house is next to an emergency strip for a nearby airport.

    Carla: You’re telling me that this house is not built over a cemetery — but it was so cheap because it’s next to an airport?
    Cliff: Uh, yep.


    Carla: I’m home!

  • B

    What really gets me about “taking Revelation literally” is that besides the fact that people who say they’re “taking Revelation literally” are not actually taking Revelation literally… Revelation wasn’t SUPPOSED to be taken literally.  It has Old Testament imagery out the wazoo.  It has horns representing kings and people representing kingdoms and all sort of totally symbolic stuff.  If you told John of Patmos that you had decided to take Revelation literally, he’d probably ask you what you were smoking.

    (Aside: I finally got around to reading “Apocalypse and Allegiance” based on an earlier recommendation of this blog and found it excellent… even if a small part of me that used to read Revelation in church because I wasn’t allowed to read anything but the Bible in church found it a tiny bit disappointing that Revelation isn’t actually deeply mysterious after all.)

  • Gervase Charmley

    I used to live in a city where every taxi firm had ‘666’ in its telephone number. I suppose that there are some people who would never take a cab in that city. My favourite 666 story concerns Rev. Dr. W.B. Robertson of Irvine, a Victorian Scottish minister. In those days communion services in the Scots Presbyterian Churches were infrequent, and therefore were large events with several ministers taking part over several days. At one of these services Rev. Dr. Robertson was assisted by a minister called Rev. James Dunlop. At the last service, the Monday morning post-communion service, Dunlop was the preacher, and instead of selecting the usual encouraging texts, he decided to discourse on the meaning of “The number of the Beast”. Robertson was most annoyed, and at the end of the service he went to Dunlop and said, “Man, Dunlop, what kind of a subject was that to take! It was a most unsuitable text!” He went on, “But if you would preach on the number of the Beast… I can give you a much better theory.” Dunlop was of course intrigued and asked what it was. “It is that YOU are the Beast!” came the reply, “And I will prove it to you! What is your name? James Dunlop. Let us put it in Latin, Jacobus Dunlopus. Take the sum of all the letters in it that are Roman numerals, and you will find it amounts to the Number of the Beast.” Here is the working:
    J (I) – 1
    C – 100
    U(V) – 5
    D – 500
    U (V) – 5
    L – 50
    U (V) – 5
    = 666
    “Showing,” Robertson declared, “That YOU are the Beast, Dunlop!”

  • P J Evans

     It’s even more fun when you know that Greek and Hebrew numbers were written with actual letter – they had 1-9 on the first 9, 10-90 on the next nine, and after that I’m not quite sure what they did. (Possibly they had a letter for 100 and one for 1000, and used the smaller ones as multipliers.)

  • EllieMurasaki

    Dunno about Hebrew, but Greek, there’s a couple letters got dropped from the alphabet but not from the numerals, for a total of 27. 1-9, 10-90, 100-900, and then start again with an extra marker (what it was I forget) for a thousand times the number.

  • Ann Unemori

    For a minute I thought you said “where every TAX firm had ‘666’ in its telephone number.” Now THAT might have been a more interesting coincidence, or would it just be a coincidence? (insert demonic laughter here, heh-heh-heh-heh…”

  • Chris Doggett

    According to the Numerologists (a reliable source if there ever were one) the Number of the Beast* is not six-hundred sixty-six, it’s 6, 6, 6. The reasoning being that twelve is a number often used to symbolize completeness or wholeness, so six represents incompleteness, failure, sinfulness. The repetition indicates, well, repeated spritual failure and sinfulness. You get a similar sort of interpretation later on with 144,000 being 12 x 12 with three trailing zeroes to indicate magnitude. 

    Not saying I buy into it, but that just means you have to avoid repeated sixes, like being the sixth person hired at the sixth job you’ve ever held for six month. Or being in the sixth apartment in the sixth floor of the sixth apartment building. 

    *I don’t remember all the jokes, but there’s “668, the neighbor of the Beast”, and 6″ x 6″ x 6′, the lumber of the beast.

  • Makabit

    “*I don’t remember all the jokes, but there’s “668, the neighbor of the Beast”, and 6″ x 6″ x 6′, the lumber of the beast.”
    667 is the Beast Across the Street.

  • Kadh2000

     665… missed being the beast by that much [Maxwell Smart voice]

  • claude

    .666 is the mark of the milli-beast


    666 in base 6 is 3030.  Which is kind of lame.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    Also, speaking of 666?

    Back when CPUs were just starting to get into the 600 MHz range, and Intel was able to make the jump to naturally double the frequency of the 333 MHz CPUs?

    Well, holy shitkicker of a fuss. Intel had to come up with a bit of a silly reason to legitimately claim that actually it is not a Pentium III 666 but a Pentium III 667.

    (Something about how 333 MHz was really like 333.333333 so if you doubled it you got 666.666666 so that rounded up to 667.)

  • walden

    ·  666: Number of the Beast

    ·  664, 668: Neighbor of the Beast

    ·  DCLXVI: Roman numeral of the

    ·  660: Approximate number of the
    ·  1/666: Common Denominator of
    the Beast

    ·  666i: Imaginary number of the

    ·  -666: Negative number of the

    ·  0.005015: Reciprocal of the

    ·  1010011010: Binary number of
    The Beast

    ·  -0.80902: Sine of the Beast

    ·  443556: Square of the Beast

    ·  25.807: Square root of the

    ·  295408296: Cube of the Beast

    ·  0.58779: Cosine of the Beast

    ·  -1.37638: Tangent of the Beast

    ·  2.8235: Log of the Beast

    ·  6.5913: Ln Beast

    ·  1.738E289: Anti-log of the
    ·  666!: Factorial of the Beast

    ·  2, 3, 111: Factors of the Beast

    ·  665.5-666.5: Range of the Beast

    ·  660: Beast rounded down

    ·  670: Beast rounded up

    ·  1-666: Area code of the Beast

    ·  00666: Zip code of the Beast
    ·  1-888-666-6666: Toll free
    number of the Beast

    ·  $665.95: Retail price of the

    ·  $399.96 (net), $359.86 (30
    days): Wholesale Price of the Beast

    ·  $55.50: Monthly cost of the
    Beast in twelve easy equal monthly installments

    ·  $699.25: Price of the Beast
    plus 5% state sales tax

    ·  $769.95: Price of the Beast
    with all accessories and replacement soul

    ·  Phillips 666: Gasoline of the

    ·  Route 666: Highway of the Beast
    (aka Highway to Hell)

    ·  666º F: Oven temperature for
    roast Beast

    ·  666 Minutes: Weekly news
    program about the Beast

    ·  66.6 mHz: FM station of the

    ·  666 kHz: AM Station of the

    ·  666k: Retirement plan of the

    ·  666 mg: Recommended Minimum
    Daily Requirement of Beast

    ·  DSM-666 (revised): Diagnostic
    and Statistical Manual of the Beast

    ·  999: A Beast and a half

    ·  6, uh… what was that number
    again?: Number of the Blonde Beast

  • Dave

    “beast” would be the String of the Beast, I suppose.

  • Christine

    Can someone tell me what number I need to worry about in octal? Is it 666 or 1232? I’d hate to accidentally damn myself.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    Just for the sake of completeness, 29A is the hexadecimal value of the beast. :P

  • Jamoche

    In octal it’s still 666, hence ‘chmod 666’ – the Permissions of the Beast.

  • Invisible Neutrino

     Er, that’s only ’cause the individual bits that set the permissions are only three bits wide. (<_<)

  • Jamoche

    Yes, but if you go around setting 666 on all your files, you’re going to turn your system into the devil’s playground.

  • flat

    Tonight I had a biblestudy and we discused among other things the problems that are specific to the dutch christians and we came to the conclusion that every nation has some specific problems that in their churches that no other country has.

    So reading this article reminds me of the conversation we had earlier.

    We also were talking about the end times a bit, but that was more about the mayans.
    And how the world is going to be when Jesus comes back.

    (as one of my fellow churchmember told us: acording to one boy she is teaching heaven would be playing videogames the whole day long)

  • Darkrose

    If heaven was playing videogames for eternity, I’d probably have to reconsider my agnosticism.

  • Magic_Cracker

    If heaven was playing videogames for eternity, I’d probably have to reconsider my agnosticism.

    Even if Heaven turned out to be a 1980 Infocom text adventure?>West of Eden
    >You are standing in an open field west of a pearly gate with a padlock.
    >There is an Apostle standing at a lectern here.

  • flat

    > press enter to enter.

  • Magic_Cracker

    >You can’t go that way!

  • flat

    me grumbling: stupid 1980 Infocom text heaven ascendance.

    >You are still a sinner, go back to get eighties evangelism from you rad American evangelical Megachurch.
    Me: but I am principally against those kind of churches and evangelism, am I not sinning by doing what this game tells me to do?

  • Magic_Cracker

    >You haven’t said the Magic Words. You are likely to be eaten by a Satan.

  • Madhabmatics

     I’m glad that entrance into heaven is not a text adventure because my first response to a text adventure is to start typing profanity to see what the developers hid in the parser

  • banancat

     My first response to a text adventure is to find all the answers online.  Google will be available for the one to get into Heaven, right?  Or can I install a Greasemonkey script to just do the whole thing for me?

  • Madhabmatics

     Have you tried Frog Fractions?

    It has a text-adventure parody, I was dyin’ laughing. Educational game of the year imo

    I’ll just spoil something (if you want to get to the rest of the game, when you unlock the dragon swim down)

  • mistformsquirrel

     Frog Fractions is one of the trippiest games I’ve ever played I will spoil nothing for those who haven’t tried it, just… let me say this:  don’t feel constrained

  • Darkrose

    Hmm. I’d probably prefer something more like NetHack.

  • AnonymousSam

    “Oh my god, Heaven is just like I imagined it!”

    You begin praying to Yahweh. You finish your prayer. –More–
    The voice of Yahweh booms: “Thou hast angered me.” –More–
    Suddenly, a bolt of lightning strikes you! You fry to a crisp. –More–
    Do you want your possessions identified? [ynq]

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     Hmm. I’d probably prefer something more like NetHack.

    Well, that would fit the fundavelical view of the world even better:  LOTS AND LOTS of ways to lose the game FOREVER.  :-P

  • EllieMurasaki

    ways to lose the game


    (if you don’t know what I’m talking about mwahaha)

  • Worthless Beast

    Aw, Hell.  I’m still loosely-Christian and, at present, I’m hoping Heaven is Hyrule.

  • Tim Lehnerer

    >>(as one of my fellow churchmember told us: acording to one boy she is teaching heaven would be playing videogames the whole day long)<<

    I would worship or revere any entity capable of bringing City of Villains back.

  • Tim Lehnerer

    >>(as one of my fellow churchmember told us: acording to one boy she is teaching heaven would be playing videogames the whole day long)<<

    I would worship or revere any entity capable of bringing City of Villains back.

  • Darkrose

    I keep thinking that the whole LCMS kerfluffle is rooted in the fear that one day, you’re participating in an interfaith vigil for 20 children and 7 adults who were murdered, and the next, you’re part of the Enigma Babylon One World Faith.

  • flat

    well I am christian and i don’t play videogames, so make of that what you will.

  • chris the cynic

    Ok, first off, I could have sworn that scholarship was leaning toward Domitian as the beast, not Nero.  This would especially make sense because figured speech (on the surface it seems to say one thing, but if you dig deeper than the Emperor usually does it says something completely different) was in wide use throughout the empire at that point in time so the book of Revelation would fit right in.  Read Statius’ dedications to Domitian.  On the surface it looks like bootlicking, on closer inspection it looks like flipping him off.

    There are also some other reasons to think Domitian not Nero.  Nero was popular in the eastern empire, perhaps not in Jerusalem, I have no idea, but it was Italy, and Rome in particular, that thought he was an asshole. Domitian was part of the dynasty that crushed the Jewish Rebellion.

    Ever hear of Masada?  Nero was dead and in the ground for that.  Domitian’s father and brother were the ones who crushed Israel.  (And then died off leaving Domitian in charge.)

    Second, I too would like to see a movie based on a literal reading of revelation.  I want my dragon.  A real, literal, multi-headed dragon.  With a sword in one of them. Wait, no, it’s the other beast with a fatal head wound isn’t it?

    Third, wasn’t the buddy cop thing about the apocalypse Good Omens, granted they were cops for differing powers in the cold war that was about to turn hot, but still.

    Not that I object t Demon X and Agent 666, though I feel that those who ship them miss the importance or portraying that it is in fact possible for infernal agents of the dark lord to be:
    A) Straight
    B) Of opposite genders
    C) Working closely together
    D) Entirely devoid of sexual tension.

    If you replace A) with not-straight and B) with of the same gender, the same still holds true.

    It is vitally important that Agent 666 keep things strictly professional and Demon X consider Agent 666 alternately his partner and crime and the person who stops him from doing fun stuff, but never a romantic interest.

    Otherwise it sends all the wrong messages about employee relationships of the demonic kind.

  • mistformsquirrel

    Surely sending the wrong kind of signals is exactly what demons would want to do though, right? <_<

  • connorboone

    I’ve always held those who ship X/666 in contempt;  X is clearly dealing with unrequited love for the Captain, and 666 is just too legalistic to even consider dating within the workplace.   I strongly prefer X/Captain and 666/Gabriel.

  • Magic_Cracker

    666/Gabriel = HAWT!

    Even with Gabe’s smooth groin. The things that boy can do with his horn!

  • chris the cynic

    Also my memory, faded as it is, is that the number is 600 and 60 and 6 (or 600 and 10 and 6, depending on which manuscript you trust) so all of those combinations of 3 6s sort of miss the point.

  • aunursa

    Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
    Revelation 13:18 (KJV)

    This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.
    Revelation 13:18 (NIV)

  • Amanda

    The last three digits of my zip code are 666. I really wonder if some people refuse to move here because they don’t want to live in The Zip Code of the Beast.

    I’m ok with that.

    When I worked in retail, I did have a couple of incidents where a customer freaked out over their total coming out to $6.66, and would immediate add a pack of gum or something to change it. Maybe the Antichrist is in cahoots with the retail industry to get people to buy more stuff.

    I know a lot of buildings don’t have a 13th floor. Maybe in some situations that can be done with 666. Just skip it and pretend that doesn’t mean that 667 is the real 666, or the 14th floor is really the 13th floor.

    My cat is sitting here watching me type. He has a microchip. The vets said it’s in case he gets lost, but should I really believe them? They tried to pass a mandatory pet mircrochipping law here and people freaked out, and it didn’t pass. They might know something that I don’t know.

    Wouldn’t surprise me if my cat was a Satanist.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Check out the Satanic Bible and see if it isn’t describing cats!

  • snowmentality

    In Heinlein’s The Number of the Beast, one character advances the hypothesis that the number of the beast is actually (6^6)^6, or 10,314,424,798,490,535,546,171,949,056.

    The book is pretty much fan fiction anyway (I didn’t think it was possible for an author to write their own fan fiction, but Heinlein manages it in Number of the Beast) — so that all fits together nicely with the End Times fan-fiction theme.

    (I love that book, in a total guilty-pleasure sort of way.)

  • Invisible Neutrino

    [18] This calls for wisdom: let him who has understanding reckon
    the number of the beast, for it is a human number, its number is six
    hundred and sixty-six.

    Revised Standard Version.

  • Ruby_Tea

    Oh, and also…

    Disney is implanting visitors with the Mark of the Beast!

    Not really.

  • Amaryllis

     Well, it was funny until you got to the last one.

    I’ve also heard —

    Form 10666 – IRS Form of the Beast ( but then, they’re all hellish anyway)

    Lotus 6-6-6 – spreadsheet of the Beast (but then, if it’s Lotus, it’s hellish anyway)

    666F – oven temperature for Roast Beast

  • Carstonio

    As Rob Halford once observed on a solo album, the road to hell is Route 666. US Route 491 used to bear that number, and any road with 666 should have a crossroads where blues guitarists can sell their souls.

  • Amaryllis

     20 children and 7 adults who were murdered

    Thanks you for remembering the seventh adult (which most people don’t, and it always bothers me).

  • aunursa

    Cmment left today on the Facebook page for the Left Behind reboot…

    I am so PSYCHED to see this movie done with the caliber of performers such as Nicholas Cage :) The first two were enjoyable, and I am not belittling the actors involved in those films; however, imho Nicholas Cage is in a different class – a step above – and logic tells me that the script and the costars will follow.

  • Ruby_Tea

    So, wait…because the stars are good, the script must, by “logic,” be tight?

    I guess she’s never seen Titanic.

  • aunursa

    It’s typical of the anticipation and enthusiasm for the film among LB fans.

  • Water_Bear

    Not to imply that Titanic is good, because it’s not really, but it’s certainly well put together and extremely effective. Even though it’s unoriginal and manipulative it does both of those things well; the cliches are used to maximum effect and the movie does actually lead you through the expected emotional motions, if a little forcefully. It shouldn’t be a surprise it made ludicrous amounts of money, because it took a fairly timeless formula and executed it precisely.

    Of course, that has nothing to do with it’s star power. Otherwise we’d never have [insert blockbuster flop here].

  • Ruby_Tea

    Oh, I agree that Titanic is effective and well put-together.  But the commenter’s point was that with a good cast, the script had to be good.  And Titanic’s script was pretty abysmal.  Casting talented actors like DiCaprio and Winslet was not enough.

    To give another example, it’s kinda like saying that Jaws 4 had to have a great script, what with the casting of a terrific actor like Michael Caine.

  • Ross

    Wait, I thought it was well-established that the stars in Titanic were actually only visible from the southern hemisphere. Those stars were TOTALLY WRONG.

    (James Cameron, I hear, copped to this, and lamented, “Just think how much more money Titanic would have made if I’d got that right!”)

  • Cynthia Schrage

    The star scape was changed for the recent re-release, due to the influence of Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

    I love that man.

  • Ruby_Tea

    Hey y’all–

    Off-topic, but hopefully useful–this scam is making the rounds:

    Do NOT trust such a message.

  • Adamlangfelder

    This case of the guy who quit because of 666 on his tax form reminds me of when I used to work in a supermarket. When the customers’ total was $6.66 they wouldn’t take the receipt. I used to collect them and post them on my fridge.

  • MaryKaye

    It seems like, if one is a Christian and cares to quote Scripture, that this is the quote for people who are afraid of their grocery-store receipt:

    Romans 8:38-39New International Version (NIV)

    For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    I’m not even a Christian and I like that one.  Because really, living in constant fear that some trivial slip will cost you God’s love–that’s a terrible, diminishing way to live.  Not at all worthy of any God worth worshiping.  Better by far to hold your head up high and say, “I am a child of the Most High and these things do not threaten me.”

  • Jellybeans

    Every time I hear people getting worried about microchips, I think of a roleplay setting I do a lot in which is ruled by the United International Government, an organisation that keeps control with technology gifted by alien AIs and which works off a rank point system, with each person having a certain amount of rank and losing it for crimes. It makes sure that every single person has an ID chip installed in their hand, which has all of your personal data stored and can be scanned by anyone, and if you go below -5 rank points, you are no longer legally a person and can have anything done to you.

    And yet at least they aren’t the resident Megacorps of the setting, where the police state which is ruled by the biggest weapon manufacturer on the planet is one of the nicer ones…

    So yeah, every time I hear people talk about the chips, I think “Could be worse. At least Eurasian Incorporated isn’t involved” which I don’t think is the correct reaction.