SNL’s ‘DJesus’ is a pacifist compared to Tim LaHaye’s lethal Death Jesus

Here’s the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, as envisioned by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins in The Glorious Appearing [note: this is R-rated graphic violence]:

Rayford watched through the binocs as men and women soldiers and horses seemed to explode where they stood. It was as if the very words of the Lord had superheated their blood, causing it to burst through their veins and skin.

… Tens of thousands grabbed their heads or their chests, fell to their knees, and writhed as they were invisibly sliced asunder. Their innards and entrails gushed to the desert floor, and as those around them turned to run, they too were slain, their blood pooling and rising in the unforgiving brightness of the glory of Christ.

… Their flesh dissolved, their eyes melted, and their tongues disintegrated.

… And Jesus had killed them all.

Jesus Christ, killer. Mass-murderer. Spiller of blood and entrails. He crushes his enemies, sees them driven before him, and revels in the lamentation of their women. (That quote is from the Bible, right?)

This is received not as the most pernicious blasphemy imaginable, but as wholesome, biblical, family-friendly entertainment for good evangelical Christians. It’s seen as edifying. It’s part of a beloved and phenomenally popular series of books, published by a respectable evangelical Christian publishing house and sold in every Christian bookstore chain in the U.S.

But the following video, on the other hand, has been denounced as an outrageous sacrilege — not by Tarantino fans, but by American Christians. Quite a few American Christians who have no problem at all accepting, enjoying and celebrating Tim LaHaye’s gory Jesus in the Left Behind series nonetheless pretend to be horrified by Saturday Night Live’s spoof “DJesus Uncrossed”:

YouTube Preview Image

Is this possible? Is this at all believable? Can anyone credibly claim to find that video offensive, but not be even more offended by that scene from The Glorious Appearing?

I don’t think that is believable at all. It seems like indignation-addicts just seizing on one more excuse for getting high on offendedness.

It’s understandable if someone thinks the SNL skit goes too far — that’s what it’s trying to do. But the premise of the sketch is far more reverent than the premise of Tim LaHaye’s scene of mass-slaughter.

LaHaye revels in gushing entrails and melting eyeballs, his blood-smeared face breaking out into a pious grin as he cheers. “This,” he says, “this is what Jesus Christ is really like! This is the real, true Jesus!”

The SNL skit, by contrast, presents itself as offering the most over-the-top, ludicrous idea it could conceive. “Nothing,” it says, “nothing could be more absurd than to imagine Jesus like this.”

James McGrath has a thoughtful response to SNL’s skit, drawing on this quote from Brian McLaren’s book Everything Must Change:

This eschatological understanding of a violent Second Coming leads us to believe that in the end, even God finds it impossible to fix the world apart from violence and coercion.

… If we remain charmed by this kind of eschatology, we will be forced to see the nonviolence of the Jesus of the Gospels as a kind of strategic fake-out, like a feigned retreat in war, to be followed up by a crushing blow of so-called redemptive violence in the end. The gentle Jesus of the First Coming becomes a kind of trick Jesus, a fake-me-out Messiah, to be replaced by the true jihadist Jesus of a violent Second Coming. This is why I believe that many of our current eschatologies, intoxicated by dubious interpretations of John’s Apocalypse, are not only ignorant and wrong, but dangerous and immoral.

(post updated to add content note at top)

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  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Could you PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE warn for the extremely violent, extremely detailed scene of carnage by Jenkins and Lahaye? I didn’t expect it to be THAT violent, that reveling in blood and pain. I almost threw up. I think I still might.

    On another note: What does Jesus have against the horses?

  • Leila

    It’s based on one of the OT prophets about how God will judge and deal with Israel’s enemies, Zechariah 14:12-15.  As far as the series goes, maybe it was because the riders were still on them or to keep others from using the horses to flee…

  • Tricksterson

    Or L&Js Jesus is a sadistic life hating asshole?

  • Baby_Raptor

    I remember reading somewhere a long time ago (I was into these when I was in high school, so probably ~12 years) that the horses being shamelessly murdered was tied into that one story in the Old Testament where God got his rear handed to him by people in chariots. 

    I guess it was “Curses on your family line” taken to the most extreme extent ever?

    Leila’s theory makes more sense, but I figured I’d offer mine as well. 

  • Phwise

    It’s too bac the armies of the antichrist didn’t bring some chariots of iron along with their horses; it’s well known that scions of Yahweh’s line, like the big man himself, cannot overcome an army which uses chariots of iron.

    I wonder if it’s just chariots, or if God is somehow vulnerable to iron in general?
    Here’s a thought: In Exalted terms, God is an unshaped Raksha. His primary emanations are Father (Heart grace), Son (Cup grace), and Holy Ghost (Ring grace). Would explain much.

  • Makabit

    What’s with the chariots of iron? The only reference I recall is Sisera’s army, and they get pretty trashed.

  • GDwarf

    What’s with the chariots of iron? The only reference I recall is Sisera’s army, and they get pretty trashed.

     “The LORD was with the men of Judah. They took possession of the hill
    country, but they were unable to drive the people from the plains,
    because they had iron chariots.” Judges 1:19.

  • http://twitter.com/DataSnake DataSnake

    Judges 1:19: “And the LORD was with Judah, and he took possession of the hill country, but he could not drive out the inhabitants of the plain because they had chariots of iron.”

  • Lorehead

    First chapter of Judges.  “The Lord was with the men of Judah. They took possession of the hill country, but they were unable to drive the people from the plains, because they had iron chariots.”  Some atheists, more concerned with fighting Fundamentalist Christians in the present than with appreciating Judges as a historical source, choose to read this as saying that iron chariots are God’s kryptonite.

  • Turcano

    Somebody needs to convince PZ Myers to build one.

  • Lorehead

    That might work as a joke, or even a meme (a term Dawkins popularized), but read in context, the passage talks about things that are a lot more interesting to me than yet another contradiction in the Bible.  If you just want a go-to verse to make literalism look ridiculous, why not 1 Corinthians 7:25, “Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.”  Is this verse, which says it’s not divinely-inspired, the literal Word of God?

    Really, you get the same kind of oscillation from any believer in an interventionist Deity: events, especially ones such as religious wars,  in their view are largely determined by supernatural forces.  As a result, believers  sometimes explain events as happening by God’ will, and sometimes give naturalistic explanations.  And assigning success to God and failure elsewhere is a rather common frame.

  • Makabit

    Have they noted that three chapters later, the problem is resolved?

    (Oy. Atheist…well, clobber texts is probably wrong. “Dumb-ass giggle texts”?)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Riastlin-Lovecraft/100000678992705 Riastlin Lovecraft

    There’s a joke about RTC’s distrust of the unorthodox, bronies and L&J being prophets here, but I can’t quite find a way to make it funny.

  • http://tobascodagama.com Tobasco da Gama

     For that matter, why is anyone riding horses? And, more importantly, did they also have bayonets? Were L&J preemptively throwing a bone to their Mormon buddy Mitt Romney?

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     They have horses in with their modern army because Revelations has horses in it.

    It’s the same reason Ethiopia has to attack Israel back in Book One:  It’s In The Script, so Shut Up.

  • Lorehead

    Bertrand Russell, in “Why I am not a Christian,” wrote that he considered the Buddha morally superior to Jesus, in that the Buddha showed moral consideration for animals, while Jesus slaughtered a herd of pigs for no good reason.  Surely he could have exorcized the demons without harming the pigs.

  • Jurgan

    I knew Jesus ended up killing people in the end, but I didn’t really think it would be that graphic.  I’ve always been half-convinced by your contention that these books offer readers a chance to relish the thought of their enemies’ deaths, but that passage proves it.  There’s no way you include all that if you’re not getting a sick, sadistic thrill from it.

  • Tricksterson

    I havent read “Glorious Appearing” but from what I’ve heard that’s just a taste.  It goes on for page after page after page like that.

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

    Yeah, it’s pretty much a whole whack of Bible quotes and Rayford being awed and enraptured at what he sees.

  • Foelhe

    My first thought: I actually don’t doubt for a second that Christians are offended by this. It has nothing to do with making Jesus violent, and everything to do with making him ridiculous. Sure, you’d argue that this guy has nothing to do with Jesus’ actual teachings, but why spend time on teachings when we can focus on the guy’s nifty crown of thorns and the way he flings people into Hell?

    Aaaand then I got to McLaren’s quote. So now I’m not sure which is worse: that I keep giving conservative Christian’s the benefit of a doubt in spite of everything they’ve done the last few years, or that “benefit of a doubt” means I assume they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel when they’re actually digging their way through Earth’s mantle.

  • aunursa

    My first thought: I actually don’t doubt for a second that Christians are offended by this.

    Amazon.com 5-star reviews of Glorious Appearing

  • Jessica_R

    To be fair, my ideal prayer is a mix of Neibuhr and Conan “…grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and if you do not, then to hell with you!” 

  • aunursa

    CONTENT NOTE: Additional violent deaths courtesy of L&J’s Jesus

    “Jesus is Lord!” the condemned shouted. “Jesus is Lord!”
    Gabriel stepped forward as Jesus returned to the throne. “Silence!” Gabriel commanded. “Your time has come!”
    Rayford watched, horrified despite knowing this coming, as the “goats” to Jesus’ left beat their breasts and fell wailing to the desert floor, gnashing their teeth and pulling their hair. Jesus merely raised one hand a few inches and a yawning chasm opened in the earth, stretching far and wide enough to swallow them all. They tumbled in, howling and screeching, but their wailing was soon quashed and all was silent when the earth closed itself again.

    Rayford felt sick to his stomach at the sight of such carnage caused by the one to whom he had pledged his devotion.  Suddenly he bent over and threw up onto Chaim’s head realized that all those who were left were believers, worshipers of Christ, and that he himself was among those who would populate the millenial kingdom. 

    From Glorious Appearing

  • nichevo

     that last quoted paragraph is the ultimate portrayal of a narcissistic monster. a perfect thumbnail of ray-ray.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bobby.herrington.1 Boze Herrington

    I never finished “Glorious Appearing,” so I just read that part about the sheep & the goats. That’s appalling! In the story in the Bible, the sheep are taken into heaven not based on whether they believed, but on whether they had fed the poor, visited the sick and imprisoned, loved their neighbors. Many of the sheep, in fact, are surprised to find themselves welcomed into God’s presence.

    Jenkins is inverting the meaning of that passage by making all the sheep “born-again believers.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary.withers Mary Withers

     And, conversely, many of the “goats” are surprised to find themselves headed for the lower floor, as they “did signs and wonders and miracles and prophesied in the Lord’s name.”

    Lord makes it clear:  “If you did all that and were still a nasty mean selfish crud, to hell with ya!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/bobby.herrington.1 Boze Herrington

    I know Jenkins likes to say, “I’m no C. S. Lewis,” but he really needs to go back and reread the end of “The Last Battle.”

  • The_L1985

     No he doesn’t.  Aside from the Plato-inspired vision of heaven, and perhaps a feeling of completion for having read the entire series, I can think of no good reason to read The Last Battle at all.

  • Jim Roberts

    I have to say, growing up, The Silver Chair was my least favourite of the books and I loved The Last Battle. They’ve switched places now.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary.withers Mary Withers

     The “lady” in Silver Chair would make a great Fox anchor, wouldn’t she?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jess-Goodwin/28602067 Jess Goodwin

     Maybe not for you or me, but for LaHaye and Jenkins, it would be a step up.

  • auroramere

     For some reason, what bugs me most about this scene is the ‘goats’ acknowledging Jesus before being swallowed up by the earth. I’d like to think at least some of them would tell this Jesus what they really thought of him, once they realized there would be no mercy.

  • arghous

    For some reason, what bugs me most about this scene is the ‘goats’
    acknowledging Jesus before being swallowed up by the earth. I’d like to
    think at least some of them would tell this Jesus what they really
    thought of him, once they realized there would be no mercy.

    It’s from the verse that says “Every knee shall bow.”  No, not that Voldechrist curses us, but rather once dead the scales drop from our eyes, and we see just how totally, awesomely wrong we were to reject him, and we realize much too late that Jack Chick was right, that nobody could possibly reject him because of reason or lack of evidence or love for another, non-effed up god, but because of pride, and thus of course we’ll be forced to conclude that VC really is Just and not at all a Bad Person, so we can’t have anything to reproach him for.

  • SisterCoyote

    I always kinda figured God has a sense of humor. Jesus did, at least. The SNL sketch is pretty funny – L&J is just horrifying. Especially the whole “reading-it–as-family-entertainment” thing. I usually more joke about the fact that my parents considered Left Behind too secular (and too much of the wrong theology) for us to read as kids, but I suddenly find myself incredibly glad of the fact.

  • Grey Seer

    …I found that passage fairly neutral, to be honest, which says a few mildly disturbing things about my mental state. However, this is because I’m a long-time fan of Warhammer 40,000, which has a whole line of hundreds of novels fleshing out it’s universe. And virtually all of these books will have horrible violence in them at some point, because, well, they’re 40k books.

    But when your gloriously returned Jesus cheerfully commits atrocities that wouldn’t look out of place in a 40k novel, you are doing it wrong. When the Millenial Kingdom you envisage as the ideal future nation of the faithful starts looking like the Imperium of Man, you are likewise doing it wrong. And when the rhetoric you find yourself spouting about oppression and vigilance and god’s holy wrath and righteous authority starts to outdo that of the Ecclesiarchy (which, for all it’s faults, is literally faced with the task of protecting the faithful from the numberless hordes of soul-eating daemons woven from children’s nightmares), then you are DOING IT WRONG.

    Seriously, people. This should not be a hard concept to grasp.

  • WalterC

     It says a lot that, if Nicolae Carpathia had actually won the final battle, that scene would probably turned out much the same, except Carpathia would have killed far fewer people (his followers outnumbered Christ’s by about a 100 million-to-1 ratio).

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     Being a slightly different isotope of gaming geek, LaHaye and Jenkins’ TurboJesus always makes me think of Exalted‘s insane, rage-fueled Divine Tyrant, Malfeas. 

    Of course, in that universe, he turned out not to be quite omnipotent enough, and got _beaten_.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I am with you on that Grey Seer.  For those unfamiliar, wholesale slaughter of millions happens all the damn time in Warhammer 40,000 just to underscore both the scale of the conflicts going on and just how horribly bleak the settings is.  And the kicker?  It is as often as not the ostensible “good guys” who are doing it (harsh decisions, sadistic choices, and “I did what I had to do”  rationalizations are all frightfully common occurrences in that universe.)  

    This is a good (quick) example of the kind of stuff we are referring to.

  • heckblazer

    Good guys?  There are no good guys in 40K ;).  The Left Behind quote also immediately made me think of the setting, specifically how it totally sounded like something the chaos god Khorne would do.  He’s a divinity whose followers chant “Blood for the blood god!  Skulls for the throne of Khorne!” and whose best known worshiper’s famous quote is “Kill! Maim! Burn! Kill! Maim! Burn!”

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Good guys?  There are no good guys in 40K ;)

    Hence why I used the qualifier “ostensible”.  In 40K, “good” is relative.  

    Of course, sometimes you are just in the mood for the bloodthristy batshit insanity that only Khorne can provide.

  • Thomas

     This cup is the new covenant in my blood. For the Blood God.I think we’re onto something here.

  • hidden_urchin

    See, all I was thinking was, “Someone saw Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

     

    See, all I was thinking was, “Someone saw Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

    Thank goodness!  It’s not just me!

  • http://tobascodagama.com Tobasco da Gama

     Wait, you mean that Jesus ISN’T the God-Emperor of Mankind?

  • AnonymousSam

    The phrase “God-Emperor” just got me doing parallel comparisons between Turbo Jesus and the Lord Ruler of Mistborn. Thanks. ._.

  • Launcifer

    Nah. I mean, sure, he’s technically a corpse on a throne and all but, seriously, the Emperor of Mankind actually does something what with the Astronomicon and whatnot.

    Damn, now I’ve imagined this bizarre French film where Jesus is a lighthouse keeper.

  • MikeJ

    even God finds it impossible to fix the world apart from violence and coercion.

    Look what you made me do!

  • tatortotcassie

    My guess is that, as Fred has repeatedly pointed out, for these guys it all comes down to intent.  That’s why it’s ok that the Tribbles do nothing whatsoever to thwart the Anti-Christ and actually go along with his plans — because they do so reluctantly and sulkily and pull off kindergarten passive-aggressive stunts like making Nicky fall down in an airplane.  It’s not that they WANT to do it.  That would make it WRONG.  Hence:

    Glorious Appearings — Intent: show the mighty power of Badass!Jesus -> good
    SNL DJesus– Inent: mockery of Badass!Jesus -> bad

    (Oh, and what Lliira said about the horses?  That was one of my first thoughts too.  I mean, it’s not as if the horses had any choice whether or not they went along with the followers of the Anti-Christ.  . . . unless L&J argue that the horses’ intentions could have been more pure, and they could have bucked off their riders in a show of kindergarten passive-aggressivenss, just to show how unhappy they were with everything?)

  • mhelbert

     Hey! What’s the trouble with Tribbles? They’re cute furry critters. It’s not their fault that they have an insatiable appetite for quadrotriticale.

  • John (not McCain)

    The trouble with tribbles is not their appetite; it’s that they’re born pregnant and will destroy any environment where they do not face any predators.  Sort of like Quiverfull people.

  • LoneWolf343

     When they went past book seven, it is when I realized that they were in it for the money. Large-print, one-inch margins, lots of annoying filler…they were just padding for more money.

  • http://twitter.com/revgeiger Chris Geiger

    Remember the place of horses in history. The horses are not being punished with their deaths; the owners/riders are. The punishment is not the death of a living thing, but the destruction of property.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Yeah. Turbo-Jesus is so awesome that he causes disembowelment just by talking. If I recall correctly, he was quoting the bible. 

    This is their porn. It was sickening and terrifying to me even when I actually believed some of it. 

  • Worthless Beast

    Horses?  Okay, I understand exploding people, because people suck, but those horses are innocent!  If the poor things have to die, there are more humane ways of putting them down. 

    I don’t need to click the video.  I saw the skit on SNL and thought it was hilarious – a parody of historical retcon bloody revenge movies – And it was funny precisely because it was *wrong.*  There is a special kind of humor that comes from something being or being perceived as *wrong.*  Much of the humor of Family Guy runs on it, as have many jokes on The Simpsons. 

    Thank you, once again, for reminding me why it was very, very good that I stopped reading the books after book 6 or so. 

  • TheDarkArtist

    I really hope that I’m not the only one who would pay $10 to go see a full length “Djesus Uncrossed” in the theater.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     The thing about the horses is that people like L&J don’t believe
    that animals have souls, and therefore don’t matter. They’re just
    objects, possessions to decorate human life, and their deaths are
    utterly meaningless.

    I’m confused.  I thought you were trying to show that L&J think animals are _different_ than humans….?  That’s pretty how much how they treat every living thing in their stories that isn’t a main character.

    Or a phone.

  • Vermic

    If we remain charmed by this kind of eschatology, we will be forced to see the nonviolence of the Jesus of the Gospels as a kind of strategic fake-out, like a feigned retreat in war, to be followed up by a crushing blow of so-called redemptive violence in the end. The gentle Jesus of the First Coming becomes a kind of trick Jesus, a fake-me-out Messiah, to be replaced by the true jihadist Jesus of a violent Second Coming.

    McLaren phrases the issue better than I ever could, but have always wanted to because I see this attitude in more Christians than I wish I did.  There are some Christians for whom TurboJesus is the real Jesus, and they’re looking forward to seeing him kick ass.   The real Jesus is the badass, unforgiving, “depart from me, I never knew you” Jesus.  The gentle Jesus who let himself get crucified was just playing around, but now Round 2 is coming and the gloves are off and it’s gonna be awesome!!!
     
    You see this unwholesome gloating in a lot of Jack Chick’s work, and I know at least one guy in real life who thinks this way.  It’s fucking horrifying.

    This eschatological understanding of a violent Second Coming leads us to believe that in the end, even God finds it impossible to fix the world apart from violence and coercion.

    Related to this, I’ve always been a little depressed by the J.R.R. Tolkien draft (in his notes somewhere) about the final battle at the end of Middle-Earth and how Morgoth will finally be slain (by Turin, IIRC).  It seems like such a wasteful end to things.  I know JRRT was heavily influenced by Norse mythology and Ragnarok, but to the extent Middle-Earth reflects his own Christian outlook I find it worrying.  Morgoth’s role in the great plan of Eru is to turn evil, sow misery and corruption for millennia, and ultimately get stabbed and die?  What lesson are we meant to take away from that?

    In my headcanon, the proper ending for Morgoth’s story is that he is redeemed and reconciled.  Yes, even him.

    Or a phone.

    Rayford cried for days after that scene in Fail-Safe where the ambassador’s phone melts.

  • Carstonio

    Good pull from Fail-Safe.

    The outrage over the the spoof isn’t about Jesus at all. These folks obviously view Revelation as their revenge fantasy, their last laugh at all those gay urban intellectual atheist elites who mocked them. Using TurboJesus for laughs undermines their tribalism that’s masquerading as Christianity.

    http://www.salon.com/2002/07/29/left_behind/

  • Diona the Lurker

    I’m currently re-reading the Silmarillion, and my biggest problem with Morgoth is that it does seem as if his role as the bringer of darkness and pain to Middle Earth is planned by Iluvatar. No, neither Eru or the text say that it’s the case, but it’s difficult to believe that he didn’t forsee what Morgoth would do, especially given that it was him that created Morgoth and his character. In which case, he’s just used, and then destroyed when he’s fulfilled his purpose. In other words, Iluvatar doomed him to fall and be evil, and have no redemption ever. That’s incredibly manipulative and unmerciful behaviour, and not exactly what you’d expect of a supposedly good deity.

  • Diona the Lurker

    That was a reply to Vermic. Silly Disqus ):

  • Madhabmatics

     is it any surprise that the elves, complete and utter jerkwads, have a really awful perception of god

    I mean the first half of their scripture establishes that dwarves are racially inferior by divine nature

    (I like to read The Silmarillion as a something like the Aeneid, i.e. “This is totally the origin of our powerful and unique race [p.s. nothing good about our society comes from The Latins])

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Morgoth’s role in the great plan of Eru is to turn evil, sow misery and corruption for millennia, and ultimately get stabbed and die?  What lesson are we meant to take away from that?

    I am unsure of the lesson we readers are supposed to take from that, but I know that Sauron took the lesson “Better to be seen as a God with a capital ‘G’ than to actually try to be one.”

  • Foreigner

    I don’t know why anyone would be looking for lessons in the Silmarillion anyway. Unless as an example to authors that they should damn well try and finish what they started.

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    Which, come to think of it and given the snippet in the article, is also how they think of non-Christians…  or people in general.

  • nichevo

     i never understood that line of reasoning. if you posit that people keep existing after they die but animals don’t, to me that makes killing animals all the more monstrous since you are depriving them of their very existence.

  • AnonymousSam

    To these people, having nowhere to go after death makes life itself utterly meaningless. They make the ultimate nihilists.

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    That matches with what I’ve seen.  The number of times I’ve been questioned on how life can have any value if there isn’t an afterlife…

    It’s one of those questions I know that the asker doesn’t really believe, if they give it any thought.  I mean, if you really could look into the eyes of a beloved spouse/parent/child and say “if there weren’t a supernaturally immortal component to you, I wouldn’t care if you were flayed alive,” I don’t think the presence of said supernaturally immortal component would make a difference.

    But, it makes a great excuse for cruelty to animals.

  • AnonymousSam

    On the other hand, these tend to be the same people who believe that atheists and Satanists are the same thing and there’s nothing stopping them from deciding on a whim to go commit a few atrocities, because, hey, why not, it’s not like there’s a god, right?

    In fact, LeHaye describes (yet fails to consistently portray) the Earth descending into violence and chaos following the Rapture because without the godly to share their presence with the unbelievers, the unbelievers decide on a whim to run rampant.

    These are the people who say, unironically, “If it weren’t for God, what would be there to stop me from stealing and murdering and raping?”, which if you just think about it, is very nearly stating “If it weren’t for God, I’d be doing all these things.” It’s a scary thought.

    I’m a bad person with whom to discuss such things because thanks to my APD, I don’t have an empathic response when I hurt someone, so I have to make up for it by being conscious of everything I do and why and what effect it has on others. I can readily imagine people who would commit atrocities because they felt like it — if I’d turned out differently, that’d be me. I’m a literal sociopath.

    Now look at Rayford and Buck’s portrayal throughout the books. Notice how little they care about anyone else’s pain. Read the excerpt above, how people are horribly, agonizingly destroyed — and Rayford sees this as a great triumph and is glad for it.

    The ideal RTC, LeHaye seems to be saying, is a sociopath with an extra dose of righteousness.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    These are the people who say, unironically, “If it weren’t for God, what
    would be there to stop me from stealing and murdering and raping?”,
    which if you just think about it, is very nearly stating “If it weren’t
    for God, I’d be doing all these things.” It’s a scary thought.

    I’m pretty sure I’ve seen someone write EXACTLY THAT in an Internet Argument. 

    Scary thought indeed.

  • The_L1985

     It’s even worse when you hear that sort of argument from your own father.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    The ideal RTC, LeHaye seems to be saying, is a sociopath with an extra dose of righteousness.

    Worse than that, because they *enjoy* the pain of others. It’s not just that it doesn’t affect them. It brings them joy and satisfies them.

    L&J would never write a sex scene. But exploding people and animals graphically: holy! Oh God yes, mm entrails that’s so good…

  • AnonymousSam

    Sadism and sociopathy can go hand in hand. I’m not sure if I’d call their character sadists, but the authors themselves? Possibly, at least in some constraints.

    (I’m occasionally very mean to my written characters as well, in a way that I would never inflict on anyone else. I do generally aim to give them happy endings, though, as much as they sometimes rebel against me and try to be as miserable as possible. Asshats.)

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    (I’m occasionally very mean to my written characters as well, in a way that I would never inflict on anyone else. I do generally aim to give them happy endings, though, as much as they sometimes rebel against me and try to be as miserable as possible. Asshats.)

    I’m often very mean to my characters. It’s what creates drama. I also go for happy endings, but people have to suffer first for them. I think I’m most like Lois McMaster Bujold in this way, though I am nowhere near as good a writer as she is.

    I have often wished there were two different words for sadists: one for people who enjoy inflicting pain on others who do not consent, and another for people who enjoy giving pain to people who want it and do not cross certain boundaries. I try to use “torturers” for the former. 

  • AnonymousSam

    “Monster” is a good word too.

    I had to keep reminding myself while writing the intro to this story that the world ending was not a bad thing. I’m so used to clamping down on bad impulses that the whole idea of millions of people dying kept giving me pause. 15K words into the story and I’m still hitting that block as I realize I’m scheduling one character in particular for a nasty incident in which she loses an arm and has to come to terms with a life that’s suddenly going to be much, much harder. It’ll change everything, including how she uses magic, to the point that she has to re-learn it from the ground up because conventional magic revolves around being shaped with one’s hands.

    At the same time, though, I’m absolutely thrilled to be doing this. I want a likeable, fun, strong character who’s going to demonstrate that missing a limb is no impediment to a good life and worthy accomplishments.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    (I’m occasionally very mean to my written characters as well, in a way that I would never inflict on anyone else. I do generally aim to give them happy endings, though, as much as they sometimes rebel against me and try to be as miserable as possible. Asshats.)

    That is actually a pretty good thing to do in fiction.  Sometimes, you need to torture the characters you love, because in the end it will make their successes and joys all the more meaningful.  

  • AnonymousSam

    Yeah, that’s generally what I’m aiming at. What I try to do is make the characters intriguing and human enough that the reader feels a certain amount of investment in their security. Threatening that security presents the possibility that their investment will be lost, which creates an emotional impact that is repaid by the characters eventually finding success and joy.

    … ‘Cause, see, I don’t do that empathy thing, but sociopaths can be pretty damned sneaky and manipulative. :p

  • aunursa

    L&J would never write a sex scene.

    Yep.  Buck’s assault of Chloe in Book #2 (their first kiss) is about the closest they get to a sex scene in the entire series.

  • Worthless Beast

    Not defending L & J here – (I definitely think Fred could have put that passage behind a cut or something), but what if it’s what you know?

    In my own work, I’m more likely to write about entrails because it’s… what I know.  I’m an asexual / adult virgin, so I am not confident in writing sex scenes, however, I do actually know what horse entrails look and smell like because…um… I had the unfortunate experience to see one hit by a van.  There’s also the fact that I was raised in a family that raised its own meat for part of my childhood and I have a artistic / lay-scientific interest in anatomy.

    Then again, when I write something nasty, it’s meant to be horror / a “war is hell” thing, not “Yay! Righetous death!” thing.

  • stardreamer42

    It’s a stupid idea. If there is no afterlife, then this life becomes INFINITELY valuable, because it’s the only thing we have! When the only thing that matters is what we do right here and right now, when there’s no supernatural overseer with a whip standing over us, it becomes MORE imperative to be right and ethical, not less so. How can anybody not grasp that?

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    When the only thing that matters is what we do right here and right now, when there’s no supernatural overseer with a whip standing over us, it becomes MORE imperative to be right and ethical, not less so. How can
    anybody not grasp that?

    Many people don’t grasp it because on their view, ethical behavior simply is a function of being appropriately punished and rewarded. On this view, in the absence of a reliable authority figure appropriately dispensing rewards and punishments to the virtuous and the guilty, there simply is no ethical structure. Relatedly, on this view, when people are behaving badly, that’s a sign that the Powers That Be are not doing their job.

    This is a pretty common thing to believe, IME.

    But even among the people who reject that view, and who have internalized some behavioral code, or at least believe such internalization is possible, there’s a lot of meta-ethical confusion about on what basis we can say that a particular behavioral code is or isn’t a moral or ethical code.

    And often that meta-ethical confusion manifests itself as the belief that in the absence of some Entity that is (definitionally) Perfectly Good who endorses a particular behavioral code as The True Morality, there simply isn’t any basis on which we can say that… any behavioral code has as much claim to be a moral or ethical code as any other.

    Such people would agree with you that in the absence of a knowable supernatural source of good it remains imperative to be right and ethical, but would go on to say that it’s also impossible except entirely by accident.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Relatedly, on this view, when people are behaving badly, that’s a sign that the Powers That Be are not doing their job.

    This is a pretty common thing to believe, IME.

    Heck, I believe that, to an extent, but that extent ends at the temporal.  For example, if entire industries worth of companies are denying their workers benefits in order to eek out a little extra profit, then I think that the government is not doing its job of enforcing employee protections.  

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave
    when people are behaving badly, that’s a sign that the Powers That Be are not doing their job.

    if entire industries worth of companies are denying their workers
    benefits in order to eek out a little extra profit, then I think that
    the government is not doing its job

     Sure. That said, I don’t consider companies people.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    What if no one’s watching 
    What if when we’re dead, we’re just dead 
    What if there’s no time to lose 
    What if there’s things we gotta do 
    Things that need to be said

    ~Ani DiFranco

  • Worthless Beast

    Personally, I think if there is an afterlife, this life is *still* infinitely valuable!

    I mean, I see these arguments go on back and forth – the highly religious claiming that a world after death is the only thing that makes a human soul valauable, and to counter them, atheists who claim that religious people are not living “fully-human”  lives because they hope for pie in the sky…  I find the argument annoying because I take a third option.

    Even back when I was a conervative type (and an LB fan, ugh… my life might be less valuable than any of your for that *alone*… ) the Baptist church I went to… well, I remember them teaching that *this* life, the earthly life was the *one that really counted* because it’s the only life in which we really have the *choice* of whether or not to be good.  I definitely remember getting the impression that *this* life was the life where what we did counted for eternity and made our choices of who we were going to be.  So, Heaven? Something we all looked forward to, but ulimately beside the point when it came to morality (especially with that “once saved, always saved” theology that church had).

    So, the way I see it… I’m still foolish enough to really want this life not to be all there is, but, either way, this life is important and “all we have.”  If there is a Heaven, I don’t know what it’s like.  If death is oblivion, I’m not going to care about this life when I have ceased to be. Either way, at the end, we wind up in some other state, which makes the state we know and what we leave behind in it infinitely valuable.

    I’ll imagine pie in the sky as long as it makes me happy, thank you, but I won’t pretend it makes life “more” valuable.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    No it doesn’t.  Animals don’t have souls.  You aren’t ‘depriving them of their very existence’, because they never existed.  You can destroy a rock, but you can’t kill it – it was never alive in the first place.

  • The_L1985

     That mindset never made sense to me.

    As a child, I played at taking my stuffed puppies to church to be baptized.  My mother told me that was silly, because animals don’t have souls.  The concept of people having souls, but animals not having souls, didn’t make sense to me at all, but I stopped anyway to avoid upsetting my mother.

    I still refuse to believe that my dog doesn’t have some kind of soul or spirit.  He just doesn’t act like the soulless automaton that some people seem to view animals as.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    He just doesn’t act like the soulless automaton that some people seem to view animals as.

    I get off the bus a few steps before equating complex cognitive systems with disembodied souls, but I basically agree with you about dogs.

    My mom has the secular version of your mom’s attitude… she doesn’t talk about souls or any other theological abstraction, but it’s clear she thinks of non-human animals as automata with roughly the same degree of mental life that Microsoft Word has.

    It is a perpetual shock to her, when she visits, that our dog has a personality, expresses sometimes-arbitrary preferences, makes autonomous decisions, initiates interactions with humans with the clear intention to communicate things, genuinely seems to like us, and generally behaves like a moderately complex cognitive system… and when she finally accepts that, she turns around and starts anthropomorphizing the dog, attributing all kinds of mental states to her for which there’s just no evidence.

    I suspect I just puzzle her with my oft-repeated “yes, she has a personality, but no, the reason she’s giving you that look is because giving you that look works“.

    Then again, I often describe human behavior that way, too.

  • Carstonio

    Years ago during a cicada emergence, a local radio personality ate live cicadas on the air. This upset his wife because she believed the insects had souls. 

  • Makabit

    Dogs definitely have souls. How can anyone look into a dog’s eyes and not see they have souls?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H17edn_RZoY

  • veejayem

    If  my dogs aren’t waiting for me in the afterlife then I’ve got no use for it.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    If my dogs aren’t waiting for me in the afterlife then I’ve got no use for it.

    My dad adored his dog, and once asked our priest what the church’s position was on animals and heaven. The priest (incidently, a Franciscan) who tends to answer such questions from the best of the church’s expressed principles rather than its specific doctrines, said that if we are right in thinking of heaven as unfettered, ever-expanding love, he can’t imagine something that is the source and subject of so much love not being part of it.

    As it turned out, dad died a few years before his dog. We have a range of religious beliefs within my family (including none), but when the dog had to be put down we all liked the idea of him waking up to the most joyous reunion imaginable.

  • EllieMurasaki

    [People] don’t have souls. You aren’t ‘depriving them of their very existence’, because they never existed. You can destroy a rock, but you can’t kill it – it was never alive in the first place.

    I do not like the places that logic takes me.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    You aren’t ‘depriving them of their very existence’, because they never existed. You can destroy a rock, but you can’t kill it – it was never alive in the first place.

    First, things which are not alive still exist. 

    Second, that kind of thinking shows a complete and utter ignorance of science. Animals feel, they think, and they learn. We are more like them than unlike them by a very far ways.

    I don’t know whether animals have souls. I don’t know whether I have a soul. Anyone who claims that it is meaningless that animals feel pain is at least walking down the first steps to an evil path.

    The Christianity I was raised in says that God gave us this world to care for. It’s one Christian belief that I’ve kept as an atheist. (Though without the God thing — it’s humanity’s job to care for the world because no one else can, and we’ve done a shitty job so far.) I think it’s telling that some Christians believe “care for” means “torture, kill, and use up.” It’s a doctrine of power with no responsibility.

  • AnonymousSam

    Well, yes. They’ve abdicated responsibility to God. If God doesn’t object when they make a decision, then clearly it can’t have been the wrong one. If it leads to something bad, then God is giving an important lesson, which might seem confusing, but why think about it too deeply? Just pray until the confusing feelings go away and then continue about your life.

    I find that people like this rarely show much aptitude or interest in science, empathy or basic consideration anyway.

  • Lorehead

    Saying that animals don’t deserve moral consideration because they don’t have the unobservable, supernatural, irreducible property of deserves-moral-consideration begs the question.  What we do know is that at least dogs, horses and pigs have the capacity to feel emotions and pain, while at least dolphins and great apes have similar intelligence to human children.

    It gets particularly bizarre when people insist that nonhuman animals and human fetuses with similar brain development deserve nowhere near the same degree of moral concern.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    They (both) don’t deserve moral consideration – at least not on the level of moral actors – because they are not sapient, which is the closest we can get to measuring that supernatural property.  Though there’s potentially interesting point there RE: Seperation of Emotion from sapience.  Personally, I think something like emotion would resolve itself in any event, but anyways.

  • Lorehead

    Well, Peter Singer argued that the relevant criterion was sentience, rather than sapience.  It’s not clear to me, anyhow, that newborn babies do have more sapience than adult chimpanzees, we don’t consider mentally retarded humans (as opposed to actually brain-dead ones) unworthy of moral consideration, and my moral intuition tells me that torturing dogs is wrong.  On the other hand, I do care more about humans than about nonhuman animals.

    I also note that, when Singer’s own mother developed advanced Alzheimer’s, he continued to support her.  He admitted that this went against the ideas he’d promoted as an academic philosopher, since she was no longer sentient.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    They’re just objects, possessions to decorate human life, and their deaths are utterly meaningless.

    A common sign of violent psychopaths is that they like to torture animals. Just sayin’. 

    Even most people who don’t think animals are worth anything don’t revel in causing animals pain. L&J are seriously disgusting. And doesn’t the Bible have something to say about how when you kill an animal, you have to do your best to make sure it feels no pain or fear? I know it says that God loves sparrows.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    Actually, I’m pretty sure the bit about God hearing a sparrow’s fall is from one of the early Christian philosophers, someone along the lines of Augustine or Thomas Aquina. Not in the Bible itself anywhere.

  • Lunch Meat

    No, it is. Matthew 10:29-31: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

  • EllieMurasaki

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+10&version=NIV

    Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Their deaths aren’t meaningless! They can still be a source of pleasure to an RTC as they bask in the schadenfreude of watching someone else’s beloved pets die.

  • Tricksterson

    Like women?

  • Darkrose

    I’m clearly missing something: why does a modern army have horses?

  • Worthless Beast

    It probably has something to do with passages in Revelation or one of the Old Testament books these guys use for prophecy I forget… You know, taking decriptions of armies in ancient terms literally, forcing them into the modern.

    Horses are still used for surprising purposes in modern life – such as mounted cops in cities because manuverability and whatnot, but I don’t know any modern army that uses them in force like in ancient times.

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

    Yeah. L & J show astonishing lack of creativity when it comes to trying to relate the story of Revelation in modern times.

    Eeesh, I mean, when *I* used to believe in this stuff I never read material that gloried in the deaths of unbelievers and certainly the Second Coming of Jesus was to be heralded as a general worldwide cessation of hostilities, not as a last-gasp orgy of death and destruction.

  • heckblazer

    Horses were used by American special operations forces in Afghanistan in areas where the terrain was too rugged for vehicles.  

    The last cavalry charge that I am aware of was successfully done by Polish lancers in WWII against German infantry.  During the war Poland, Germany and other countries also used horses for mounted infantry who traveled by horse but fought on foot.  Horses were also heavily used for transport by Germany in WWII.  While they were building rockets and jet planes most of their battlefield supplies were still mostly schlepped around by horse-drawn carts.

    If there was a shortage of fuel or parts or maintenance personnel as a result of the Rapture I could see horses still being used in combat.  Given that this is Left Behind, I doubt they thought things out that much so I expect it’s probably some prophecy thing.

  • Persia

     IIRC, there are some mounted divisions in use in Afghanistan because of the mountainous terrain. They certainly wouldn’t be needed in a Glorious Field of Battle such as L & J envision. (Maybe stuff’s started breaking down because so many mechanics were Raptured?)

  • Baby_Raptor

    Because prophecy. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary.withers Mary Withers

    ‘Cause the Bible *says* they are horses.   

    Oddly enough, first time I read Revelation as a kid, in the stories of warfare, the hundreds of horses with their breastplates of jacinth (green stone) and their tails that spit fire, and the locusts with the sound of a thousand chariot wheels, flown either by men with long hair or by women, I remember thinking, “Wow!   John of Patmos saw some modern warfare through a rip in time!”

    A 1st Century shepherd — even a literate and intelligent one — would assume that any massing army had horses.   If he had a vision of modern warfare,  he just mistook the plates on the tanks for protective armor for the (nonexistent) horse inside.  ;->

  • Carstonio

    Now I have Ghost Riders in the Sky in my head…

     I’ve heard the claim that a vision that Ezekiel had could have been of a alien spaceship.

  • Ben English

    Holy shit, I’m glad I lost interest in the LB series before Glorious Appearing.

    Speaking of:  http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8548453/3/Parousia-A-Fanfic-of-the-Earth-s-Last-Days

    I’m afraid to go too far with Buck’s homophobia because he hasn’t been an RTC for THAT long…

  • Darkrose

    You are made of fucking win. That is absolutely brilliant. 

    And honestly, Buck strikes me as the kind of guy who’s massively homophobic because he’s afraid of acknowledging his true feelings about Rick Drywall–I mean, Rayford Steele.

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

    You DID see that scene with Kirk Cameron and Rayford in the movie? Where he’s all but leaning into Rafe’s space when they pray? X-D

  • Jessica_R

    I love Christoph Waltz so I loved that sketch, especially that the best joke was the critic blurb “It’s like a less violent Passion of the Christ!”. It makes fun of that abysmal dick swinging form of Christianity, of course the religious right are going to be taking their fainting couches over that.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I think that the difference in indignation by Real True Christians between these two depictions of Christ-as-Killer, is that in L&J’s case, they quite clearly believe (with !PASSIONATE SINCERITY!) in this version of Christ-as-Killer and treat it as absolutely serious, while in SNL’s case they quite clearly do not believe in Christ-as-Killer, and treat the matter as absurd.  

    It is not about the works you do, it is all about what is in your heart as you do them, don’tcha’know.  Though why they prefer someone to seriously believe that Christ is a heartless figure of vengeful violence rather than see treating one of bravest pacifists in western mythology as a killer as absurd is beyond me.  

    Okay, that was a lie, it is not beyond me.  Altemeyer noted the authoritarian mentality tends to have a lot of pent up hostility and self-righteousness waiting to come out, it just needs approval from the authority it submits to (in this case Jesus and God) to vent that hostility.  

  • vsm

    I think I preferred the pope sketch. It’s based on the same idea of placing a holy figure in a very secular media product, but it’s a bit subtler and meaner and focuses more on Waltz’s performance.

  • Random_Lurker

    Fred answered it himself, many times, in the LB series, so I’m confused that he thinks the outrage is not genuine.  It’s not about how evil the antichrist acts, it’s about who’s side he’s on.  If it was about actions, then GA Jesus would trump the poor antichrist without any real contest.  No, what’s at issue is the treatment of the issue: SNL is not portraying murderer-Jesus reverently.  Everything involving the J-man must be with hushed reverence, bowed prayer, or whatever and whatnot that each church deems appropriate.  SNL is using him in a joke.  That’s what gets them raw.

    Why they talk about the violence in their complaint is probably the same reason they say abortion is about saving babies, or “making a prayer request” for that poor young thing down the street who’s seeing THAT boy, and you just know where that is going to lead, and we pray it doesn’t lead to, ahem, challenging their walk with god…. anyway.  It’s because they know other people will take their comments more seriously when disguised properly.

    sort of related: Gandhi 2
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfvLcozLwtE
    courtesy of Weird Al

  • Seven87eight

     oh good, I was gonna post that if no one had gotten to it yet.

  • Chris Kern

    That single final quote shows how un-Christian and even “anti-Christ” the Left
    Behind novels are. All you need to know is that book 12 contains the
    phrase “And Jesus had killed them all”. How could anyone, much less a
    *preacher*, read the four Gospels and think that “And Jesus had killed them
    all” represents a true prophecy of what will happen?
     

  • Baby_Raptor

    Oh, that’s easy. God said himself that “The wages of sin are death.” So anyone who sins but doesn’t accept Jesus’ sacrifice and forgiveness DESERVES the ultimate justice Turbo-Jesus is putting out here. God said so. /LaJenkins

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

    Side note: The thing that never quite satisfied me is that if Jesus Christ came along and supposedly wiped away all our sins, past and present, why do we still die of old age?

    That, of course, implies that the “wages-of-sin” doctrine is still in force.

  • flat

    The Djesus sketch shows how absurd this kind of thinking is, the same way the Ciaphas cain novels do to 40K

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    “Hither came Jesus the Nazarene; brown-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandaled feet . .”

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    My favorite part is how smug some people like to be about the Islamic prohibition on images of Mohammad– I’ll often hear other atheists be like “well at least they don’t threaten newspaper cartoonists!” in defense of their (I would say racially biased) targeting of Islam & the normalization of Christianity– but then they TURN AROUND & GET UPSET ABOUT PARODIES WITH JESUS IN IT.

    Also Djesus was a wonderful satire of Tarantino, but you know what, you’re right, it is an even better parody of people who would read a book about pacifism & economic justice & somehow decide it is a boilerplate for revenge fantasies & neo-feudalism.

  • Madhabmatics

     cair sent out an email complaining about this sketch too, haha

  • Carstonio

    I hadn’t read Glorious Appearing so Fred’s point and McGrath’s didn’t occur to me. I had remembered Revelation as attributing the destruction of sinners to the Biblical god instead of Jesus. While they’re obviously right about the hypocrisy of the folks bashing the SNL spoof, from my reading they haven’t given their own opinion. I would like to think that they laughed at the over-the-top absurdity, but that’s not something I can assume.

  • patter

    Fox News personality Bill
    O’Reilly has announced Killing Jesus: A History

    Oh, goody.  Another huckster cashes in.

  • http://www.angelsparrow.com valarltd

    The L&J images are straight from Revelation, that would be the difference. Rev 19:15, we are told Jesus treads out the winepress of God’s wrath. And in verse 21, the armies are “killed by the sword” of the one on the horse. And back in Chapter 14, the blood flows out of the winepress, deep as the horses’ bridles for 200 miles

    It’s great imagery, vivid and grusome. I’ve used it.

    No longer quite so immaculate,
    his perfect hair tumbled and matted and his telegenic face smeared
    with blood, Brother Josiah glared at the interloper. “Why do you do
    this?” he asked. “Who are you?”

    “I am he that treadeth out the
    winepress of God’s wrath,” Joshua said. “’And the winepress was
    trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even
    unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred
    furlongs’.” He looked around the sanctuary. “I think I need to do
    more treading, we’re not even ankle-deep in the back, and it has to
    go clear to Nashville and Little Rock.”

    But if you’re dedicated to a theology where God is not a monster, it doesn’t work at all.

  • Nekouken

    Nobody else was reminded by the video of “Ghandi II” from UHF?

    I’m thrown by the passage being from book 12. It seems a bad idea to delay the money shot in your revenge porn so long. Comparably, that would be like making a Gone with the Wind porn parody in which you had to watch the entire movie of Gone with the Wind before the first sex scene.

  • Parisienne

    You know what? To my mind the most obscenely blasphemous thing in that quotation isn’t the violence. It’s the use of the word “unforgiving” in connection with Jesus and his glory.

    Anyone who can use the word “unforgiving” in connection with the one who is full of grace and truth has never read the Bible.

  • VMink

    My mom has the secular version of your mom’s attitude… she doesn’t talk about souls or any other theological abstraction, but it’s clear she thinks of non-human animals as automata with roughly the same degree of mental life that Microsoft Word has.

    “It looks like you’re trying to describe neurological complexes as emergent behavior.  Would you like some help?”

    … Never thought I’d be trying to make a Clippy joke in relation to Left Behind.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    “It looks like you’re trying to describe neurological complexes as emergent behavior.  Would you like some help?”

    * snorfle * That’s lovely.

  • christopher_y

    Blast you, sir! After all this time I’d almost managed to forget Clippy…

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    What should be surprising, when one realizes everything else they believe God does in perfect morality and the fact that this is a revenge fantasy, is how mild the violence is.  Yes, they all die horribly, but that seems to be glossed over.  This could have been Saw on a massive scale… but with no intended redemption for Jigsaw’s victims.

    Not to justify anything, but just to bring up the question of… why wasn’t it? Considering everything that L&J seem to believe and the otherwise empathy they seem to lack.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    > why wasn’t it?

    Limited imagination?

  • GDwarf

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if neurological complexes are emergent behaviour, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t meaningful. Pain is real no matter why it exists.

  • Diona the Lurker

    Fred’s quote from Glorious Appearing reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw recently: ‘If you think a great white shark is scary, wait until you see God! Revelation 17’.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Katherine-Harms/602268732 Katherine Harms

    To take Jerry Jenkins as representative of all Christians is just as bogus as to take SNL as representative of all non-Christians.
     Jerry Jenkins wrote fiction. He claimed to base his work on the Bible, but like any fiction writer, his work is his own creation. I like to think that is what he would tell you if you asked, but I can’t say for sure, because I don’t run in his circles. Many, many people read his books, but if anybody preached sermons from them I am not aware of it. Even though the book of Revelation is extremely horrifying, it might be hard to reconcile that book with the fantasy Jerry Jenkins wrote. Maybe his book is as bad as this writer describes it. How does that justify doing something even worse?
    I think everything SNL does is in poor taste. The episode about Jesus is possibly the poorest I have ever known about. I don’t see how anyone who had any respect for Christianity or even simple respect for religions of all kinds could have authorized it, produced it or performed in it. Correct me if I am wrong, but I am fairly certain we won’t see a similar production about Mohammed or Buddha any time soon.

  • Lunch Meat

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I am fairly certain we won’t see a similar production about Mohammed or Buddha any time soon.

    I’ll just leave this here: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2012/09/12/this-is-the-anti-muhammed-movie-that-sparked-deadly-islamist-protests-in-egypt-libya-yesterday/

  • aunursa

    I could be mistaken, but I think she was referring specifically to the possibility of a Saturday Night Live production about Mohammed or Buddha.

  • Foreigner
  • Carstonio

    Whether it was about entertainment generally or SNL specifically, her aside was essentially sad violins, the equivalent of “Mama likes you best!”

  • AnonymousSam

    To take Jerry Jenkins as representative of all Christians is just as bogus as to take SNL as representative of all non-Christians.

    I’m pretty sure that’s not what our Christian host was doing, or what the many Christian commentators here were doing.

    He claimed to base his work on the Bible, but like any fiction writer,
    his work is his own creation. I like to think that is what he would tell
    you if you asked, but I can’t say for sure, because I don’t run in his
    circles. Many, many people read his books, but if anybody preached sermons from them I am not aware of it.

    He claims this is exactly how it will happen. This is untrue, of course. Regardless, millions of people consider LeHaye and Jenkins to be experts on Biblical prophecy. The Left Behind movies are now part of the curriculum for at least one public school — as representative of Biblical prophecy.

    The SNL parody garners its humor from the fact that these people exist, that this is exactly what they claim Jesus is like, and yet they’ll find this horrifyingly offensive because it’s done out of mockery instead of fear and awe.

    Maybe his book is as bad as this writer describes it.

    Did you read the excerpt from the book at the very front of the post? You phrase this sentence as if it were a hypothetical, from-second-hand supposition when you can read it and see for yourself that yes, it really is that bad. It’s a Jesus who relentlessly marches across the plain and his quotation of the Bible causes people to suffer horrific deaths. Then, when the dust settles, he bodily condemns the survivors to Hell and the authors gleefully describe their screams of agony while the protagonists feel happy about it. This was also quoted in one of the front page comments.

    The parody may be tasteless content in itself, but then again, I think Passion of the Christ is even worse, being a narrative-lacking non-linear portrayal of a man being tortured to death, but I gather that people have differing opinions.

  • Vermic

    Maybe his book is as bad as this writer describes it. How does that justify doing something even worse?

    Forgive me, but I feel that you may be missing the entire point of Fred’s post.  Fred is arguing that SNL’s skit is, in fact, not worse than Left Behind’s portrayal.  The difference is that SNL is presenting Badass Murder Jesus as a joke.  The entire joke is predicated on the understanding that this is not how Jesus would actually behave.  SNL’s very presentation of Badass Murder Jesus as a joke refutes the idea that they actually believe in this. 

    LaHaye & Jenkins are not joking.  They are presenting Badass Murder Jesus as how they think Jesus really is (at least in the world they have written, which likely — though not necessarily — matches closely to their real beliefs), and the slaughter committed by their Badass Murder Jesus as the “happy ending” to their saga.

  • Makabit

    To take Jerry Jenkins as representative of all Christians is just as bogus as to take SNL as representative of all non-Christians.

    I think more Christians probably watch SNL than read Left Behind, just at a guess.  This just has to do with audience sizes, and demographics and such.

  • hidden_urchin

    OK, I know it’s not NRA Friday (which sounds like a special discount at a gun range if you ask me) but when the flash-fiction bug bites one must write.  Also, we’re never going to get to Glorious Appearing so I might as well take advantage of the opportunity.

    James lunged at Adam and wrapped his arms around him.  He could feel wetness soaking through his pants but he refused to open his eyes, refused to look at the horror that he
    knew was around him.  He hugged his friend and prayed the most desperate prayer of his life, “My life for his, Lord. My life for his.”  He could hear the screaming of riders and horses and smelled what could only be described as the stench of the grave.  “My life for his,
    Lord.  My life for his.”  Adam twisted and writhed in pain but James held onto him as if his own body could shield his friend’s from the words of the Lord.  “My life for his, Lord,” he
    sobbed.  “My life for his.”  Adam’s skin grew hot and James added his scream to the others, “My life for his, Lord.  My life for his.”

    And, in His unholy wrath, the Lord heard.

    The screaming died and James was conscious that his pants, once wet with blood, were now dry.  He opened his eyes and looked around.  Horses were getting shakily to their feet, sides heaving.  Many of the riders were still curled up on the ground, now crying, and some, strangers and friends alike, hugged each other for comfort.  A blood bay gelding stood over one rider and nosed her gently.  The rider got up unsteadily and wrapped her
    arms around the horse’s neck.  She buried her head in its mane and sobbed.

    Then, the Lord spoke again, His words for James alone.

    “You would lay down your life for your friend?”

    “Yes, Lord.”

    “Why?”

    “Because you told me to.”

    “You follow Me and yet you ride against Me?”

    “Yes, Lord.”

    “Why?”

    “Because you told me to.”

    The Lord stood quietly for some time as the hosts of Heaven waited uneasily and the remnants of the forces of evil wept.  Then every person, every animal, every stone
    and blade of grass each heard in its own way the voice of the Lord.

    “Forgive me.”

    Edit: Formatting

  • Madhabmatics

    Of course the elves who decided not to travel west are dumb compared to the glorious elves of light, which is why we have a racial mandate to rule them

    of course this is objective God told us so, it’s in our scriptures right here after Humans Are Nerds

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    This is one of the problems I have with Tolkein. He loved his elves so. He made them his perfect race, and in so doing, made them absolutely insufferable. I like his elves in The Hobbit, but everywhere else, I’m thinking oh great,  the Perfect Pure People who get their jollies from lecturing everyone else. It doesn’t help that a lot of people have taken Tolkein’s Perfect Pure People and run with them. 

    Galadriel gets some awesome lines, though.

  • AnonymousSam

    In total agreement. Over the years, a lot of authors have gone down the road that Tolkein made tradition, and it always amuses me how you can almost see the cognitive dissonance in trying to make “immortal, fairest and wisest of all creatures” not come across as insufferably condenscending even as they prance about in pure perfection.

    Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory have a pair of trilogies with elves and I swear they weren’t conscious of the sheer amount of meta text that complains about just how annoying the elves were until a ways into the writing when they finally decided to let the human characters start complaining about them. In the second trilogy, it’s pretty much a given that the elves are highly decadent and would let the world go to Hell in a handbasket while they were busy shaping gardens into a perfect sphere without use of a tool, all because they considered panicking at the coming apocalypse as hasty and overjudgmental behavior.

  • Vermic

    I give Tolkien some leeway on his rose-tinted portrayal of Elves because I think some of what’s going on is selection bias.  That is, most of the Elves we meet are noble and wise and good because at the time LOTR happens (the late 3rd Age), any Eldar not invested in Middle-Earth or the struggle against Sauron have already left.  We only ever meet the ones who cared enough, and/or are wise and brave enough, to stick around.  And even these are pretty impotent — in the War of the Ring, even in the 3rd Age in general, they don’t really do all that much.  They stick to their own kind and their own boundaries, and their influence on the quest, while crucial, is pretty much limited to offering advice and sanctuary.

    (That leads to an interesting irony.  Throughout LOTR, much is made of the fading of the Elves and how much poorer Middle-Earth will be when they finally leave.  But the reality is that Elves have isolated themselves for so long that for 99% of the people in Middle-Earth, their disappearance from the world won’t even be noticed, let alone missed.  In many ways, the Elves left Middle-Earth long before they sailed away.)

    Certainly the Silmarillion, which is set at a time when Elves are numerous and influential, has no problem showing that they can be colossal assholes.

  • Foreigner

    In defense of JRRT’s elves one should say that, actually, they are far from pure or perfect. In the grand scheme of things, they failed. They didn’t heed the words of Manwe and rushed back to Middle-Earth to fight Morgoth all by themselves, and in doing so they Fell. Their fight against Morgoth was lost, and they were reduced to blood-feud, treachery, theft and murder. In the end the Valar stepped in to rescue Middle-Earth not for the Eldar, but for Men, and the Eldar were removed gradually from the circles of the world because they had lost any right to it. The (very few) Eldar we see in LOTR are well aware of the fact that they are the last remnant of a race of losers, and have become wise because they have accepted their fate. (That, and living such a long time does tend to suit the philosophical turn of mind). 

    Um, or so I read somewhere.

  • Madhabmatics

     the only sympathetic elves were the ones that told the valar to screw off because they liked living in the wilds very much

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     Which is funny, since one ‘lesson’ people have taken from the Silmarillion is “To err is human, but to REALLY screw things up you need an elf.”

    So, not always perfect.  But even their screwups are epic.

  • alfgifu

    Like Madhabmatics, I always read the eternal superiority of Tolkien’s elves as the result of seeing their story filtered through their own legends, combined with:

    a) legends passed down by surrounding cultures that benefitted from scraps of elvish technology etc (rather as the Anglo-Saxons revered the Romans) and

    b) the happenstance that most of the genuinely nicest elves were the ones willing to put their love of Middle Earth, a broken and fallible place, over the paradise in the West. These just happened to be the elves that most of the legends and stories revolve around, so of the entire species they were the ones most likely to genuinely deserve admiration.

    (A slightly less handwavey thought: who can blame an author who experienced a whole ton of pain and misery for falling in love with a vision that sums up to him everything that is potentially wonderful about the world? Even if it is inconsistent and problematic.)

  • Madhabmatics

    Yeah we thought dwarves were animals and hunted them for sport. But who would think that short, bearded people that kept babbling at us and begging for mercy were people like us instead of short deer?

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Thanks for the warning addition, Fred. TBH, I’d call it X-rated graphic violence, personally. I read fantasy novels, but I cannot remember ever seeing anything like that. Written down in cold blood on the page like that, which to me, makes it worse than a scene in a movie that goes by quickly. It’s like the most twisted fantasy from a Saw movie, but we’re supposed to think it’s good and holy.

  • Launcifer

    Don’t go giving them ideas, now. Jesus… Jigsaw… one of these is obviously an allegory of the other. Heh.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

      I read fantasy novels, but I cannot remember ever seeing anything like that.

    Terry Goodkind’s “Sword of Objectivism Truth” series springs immediately to my mind.

  • AnonymousSam

    Ugh. Even in the first book, before the series went way down hill. There were parts later on that were absolutely terrible in more than one way, but even the very first book had plenty of blood and gore. The worst of which being that wonderful scene where a child loses her tongue and nearly dies. By the protagonist, who we’re supposed to identify as good and righteous and, literally, the best and wisest man ever to live (considering he gets literally deified at the end of the series). Even better, even with his sneering contempt, we’re apparently supposed to view this attempted murder as better than the alternative (letting her grow up to be an evil woman).

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    I’m so glad that I never made it past the first paragraph of the first book.

    UGH.

  • GDwarf

     

    but even the very first book had plenty of blood and gore.

    Confession time: I kinda enjoyed the first book. But yeah, it still had lots of stupid:
    A medieval society banning *fire*? Seriously? Yes, I get it’s a straw-man argument about gun control and safety regulations, but even at the time I was struck by how utterly preposterous and stupid that was.

    Then there was the fact that 1/3rd of the book was suddenly BDSM almost-porn. I *like* BDSM, and still thought it was out of place and weird. Especially when the protagonist starts going on about how his torturess was really loving because she learned about how to hurt him the most and etc. It was weird and creepy.

    I also still remember how one character discovers another died a noble death by tasting the ashes left behind by his self-immolation. Yeah.

    Really, the more I remember of that book the worse it seems. It had some good ideas (I liked that magic only works if its target can potentially understand it, though that does raise the question of why one can, say, burn down a tree with spoken magic…) and the writing wasn’t bad. But it also had lots and lots of issues just under the surface.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The worst of which being that wonderful scene where a child loses her tongue and nearly dies. By the protagonist, who we’re supposed to identify as good and righteous and, literally, the best and wisest man ever to live (considering he gets literally deified at the end of the series). Even better, even with his sneering contempt, we’re apparently supposed to view this attempted murder as better than the alternative (letting her grow up to be an evil woman).

    …wouldn’t her motive be revenge on the person who cut part of her out and tried to kill her?

  • AnonymousSam

    She eventually does do that. We’re supposed to see her revenge effort as yet more proof of her evil nature.

  • EllieMurasaki

    What.

  • AnonymousSam

    Okay, full story. This is what I can remember, at least. It’s been awhile.

    The character in question is the snotty, spoiled, selfish daughter of an evil queen. Her favorite hobby is bullying and mistreating her serving girl. The first time Richard encounters her, he’s playing the part of intimidating bodyguard to Kahlan, who we’ll just call a sorceress for simplicity’s sake (her true power is indicative of Goodkind’s view of women and is not great). When the princess makes some kind of snide comment about Kahlan, Richard threatens to cut out her tongue.

    At one point when the story takes a dive into a twisted BDSM sideplot as Richard is captured by a dominatrix, she encounters Richard playing the part of torture pet and is interested in getting some revenge on him. The dominatrix invites her to come torture Richard, which she accepts.

    We eventually come to Richard, tied up, being tortured for the bajillionth time since this sideplot began. Here comes the princess, who starts experimentally poking at him while badmouthing Kahlan. This makes Richard angry, so he breaks his bonds and kicks her in the mouth, severing her tongue. He utters the words “Promise made, promise kept,” sneering at her.

    The girl barely survives and a witch regenerates her tongue. Years later, coming into her own sorceress power, the princess has become queen and seeks revenge on Richard. This backfires and her old serving girl is able to turn her spell against her, leading to her gruesome death.

    The moral lessons here are… not great.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Wait, back up, this inspired Legend of the Seeker? Am I gonna have to take that off the to-watch list? The show’s treatment of Cara and Kahlan as described by trustworthy friends of mine is what put it ON the to-watch list.

    As for what you describe…ugh. I don’t have any better words than ‘ugh’.

  • AnonymousSam

    I only watched a few episodes of Legend of the Seeker and read the synopsis of a few others, but it honestly felt like what they did was take a list of all the proper nouns in the entire book, get a person who had only read the book once to summarize each one in one sentence without using adjectives, and then wrote the scripts on that. The characters were, at best, only loosely related to their novelized counterparts.

    I recall there’s at least one part where the script writers obviously had to assgrab and retcon plot points because they had just written out something vital to the storyline and had to get it back in by making up material from scratch. The ending of the first season is also… completely out of left field. It bears no resemblance whatsoever to the book’s ending..

    So it might still be good. I don’t know. Once I discovered that basic character relations had been completely rewritten from the ground up, I couldn’t watch it because it kept clashing with what I knew from the book. I think the very first episode establishes that Darken Rahl is Richard’s long lost twin brother — when in the book, Darken Rahl is Richard’s father. It’s hard to ignore that kind of discrepancy, but it might actually work in your favor, since you’ve never read the books.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     It wasn’t clear to me, having only watched the first season, that Darken Rahl actually was Richard’s long lost brother, and not just lying.

    It was fun watching my wife, who has read the books, become increasingly apoplectic at the various things they changed.

    I just liked playing “Spot the former power ranger” among the guest cast.

  • Tricksterson

    Spoiler Warning from the books:

    In the books Darken was Richards father not brother.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Yes. I worked that out from my wife screaming ‘Wrong!’ at the TV when he introduced himself to Jenssen as her brother. But it wasn’t clear to me whether he was actually meant to really be their brother or if he was meant to be no relation at all to them and just making up crap. My suspicion was lit up by the fact that he apparently claimed his father’s name was “Penis”. Though it turns out that’s actually canon accurate

  • AnonymousSam

    I seem to remember the very first episode making it canon. It’s been awhile since I watched it though. I really liked that they expanded on Kahlan’s sister right up front, but there were too many continuity clashes for me to stand even having it on as background sound.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Ah. Not having read the books, I just thought it wasn’t any good.  But it was nice to see so many former Power Rangers get work.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    FWIW, I watched the LoS show and enjoyed it as a guilty pleasure, and never read the books. AS’s summary doesn’t really match the show, though there is rather a lot of soft-core torture-porn in both. By the standards of television fantasy, I’d say LoS is OK, but that’s not exactly earthshattering praise.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    FWIW, I watched the LoS show and enjoyed it as a guilty pleasure, and never read the books. AS’s summary doesn’t really match the show, though there is rather a lot of soft-core torture-porn in both. By the standards of television fantasy, I’d say LoS is OK, but that’s not exactly earthshattering praise.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Good to know, thanks, Dave, AnonymousSam.

  • Alicia

     The Legend of the Seeker is to the original book series what Left Behind the Movie was to the Left Behind books. The writers of both adaptations were more or less just ordinary people; they didn’t have any bizarre sexual fixations on the violent torture and murder of political enemies, they didn’t have any especially radical political views to convey. Naturally, ‘Seeker’ prunes out almost all of the Objectivist nonsense (I don’t remember anything) and tells a straightforward swords and sorcery fantasy.
     
    It’s significantly better than both versions of LB but in terms of writing quality I’d say it’s on par with Xena – Warrior Princess or Merlin. Some episodes are good, others less so, but never nearly as horrifying as

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    > I’d say it’s on par with Xena – Warrior Princess or Merlin.

    Yeah, I’d agree with that.

  • Tricksterson

    The “Objectivist nonsense” wasn’t really there in the first few books.  It around “Faith of the Fallen” that Goodkind goes full bore gonzo on the Objectivism.  While I have no evidence, just by reading the books (and using my knowledge as a former Objectivist) I think he converted at some point.  The early books are really just Robert Jordan with heaps of S&M added.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     The Objectivism is not well-preserved in the adaptation. 

    My wife loved those books, but after watching the first season of Legend of the Seeker, she went back and tried to reread them, now that she knew what objectivism was all about, and she was really taken aback by how morally destitute the whole thing was in retrospect.

  • AnonymousSam

    In fact, you can summarize the books’ morality as “Anyone who does something against Richard or someone he likes is bad and deserves death. Anyone who disagrees with Richard is a stupid fool at best and probably deserves death. Anyone who believes in a philosophy that Richard doesn’t like is a stupid fool who definitely deserves death.”

    Throughout every book — all twelve of them — there is not a single character who crosses Richard and survives, I don’t think, and there is not one single person of greater intellect, including his grandfather, one of the greatest mages to have ever lived — Richard spends a good ten pages in book 11 (if I recall) ridiculing the man for being too stupid to realize a simple truth about the world.

  • vsm

    I’ve considered reading the books just for all the absurdities, but I’m guessing twelve volumes of Objectivism would be a bit too mcuh for me, even for evil chickens and the righteous slaughter of pacifists.

  • AnonymousSam

    It’s actually more like six books of objectivism, four books of fantasy with Unfortunate Implications, and one book dedicated to the evils of the Clinton family, but yeah. They’re terrible.

  • vsm

    the evils of the Clinton family
    Oh wow, I read what happens to them. I’m pretty much forced to read these now.

  • Turcano

    My favorite scene is where the hero valiantly cuts down a mob of anti-war protestors “armed only with their hatred of moral clarity.”

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I should clarify: I read fantasy novels that are not extremely terrible.

  • AnonymousSam

    Burn. ^_^

    You’d be forgiven for having read the series, though. The first few books aren’t in-your-face terrible. It’s a slow descent that begins with little niggling things that seem like lapses in the author’s moral intentions. Then it just keeps getting worse and worse, so instead of being “pretty bad moments,” it’s “completely awful books.”

    The climax at the very end is the big one.

    How many books can end well with the protagonist being deified? Not bowed down to as a lord, but literally promoted into the kind of godhood which can best be described as omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent?

    The protagonist of the Sword of Truth gets all of this following a scene where people come to the decision that the words they’ve been saying all along ought to be literally true:

    “Master Rahl guide us. Master Rahl teach us. Master Rahl protect us. In your light we thrive. In your mercy we are sheltered. In your wisdom we are humbled. We live only to serve. Our lives are yours.”

    And then they make him God, citing that they trust his judgment with so few reservations that they trust him with limitless power over life and death and the fabric of space and time itself.

    Under what circumstances can a book end like this and be good?

  • Turcano

    How many books can end well with the protagonist being deified?

    I don’t know, Vlad Taltos seems to be on that trajectory.

  • P J Evans

     It’s going to be interesting to see how he gets there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

     

    “Master Rahl guide us. Master Rahl teach us. Master Rahl protect us. In
    your light we thrive. In your mercy we are sheltered. In your wisdom we
    are humbled. We live only to serve. Our lives are yours.”

    Yeesh. And Goodkind claims to be an Objectivist; the ones who believe that people should only live for themselves?

    Oh, wait, that doesn’t apply to other people. I sometimes forget that Objectivism amounts to “My Narcissism Is Totally Awesome, The Philosophy.”

  • AnonymousSam

    No, see, it’s totally okay because he tells them not to do it (even though they do it anyway). When he spits on people for believing in socialism, that’s his affirmation that he’s in the right. :D

  • Turcano

    It doesn’t really apply to them, either; Objectivism was a cult even in Rand’s own lifetime.

  • veejayem

    It’s the sensation of gloating that disturbs, I think. There’s a real sense of RTC wish-fulfilment about it all.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     It’s the sensation of gloating that disturbs, I think. There’s a real sense of RTC wish-fulfilment about it all.

    Oh, definitely.  There’s a distinct whiff of revenge-porn in the air sometimes when some religious people go ranting about the Eternal Torture that they have to look forward to watching the Others suffer.

    Didn’t one of the “church father” saints come up with a theological argument that the people in Heaven were _obligated_ to enjoy the torments of the damned?  I misremember which, though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    Umm… I want to say that was either Augustine or Aquinas who wrote about “enjoy[ing] the torments of the damned,” but look how I screwed that up last time. I’ll research first this time….

    Ha! Got it right this time. “The blessed in the heavenly kingdom will see the torment of the damned so they may even more thoroughly enjoy their blessedness” – St. Thomas Aquinas

  • The_L1985

     The more I learn about Thomas Aquinas, the more revolted I am that the Catholic church thought he was worthy of sainthood rather than posthumous excommunication.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bobby.herrington.1 Boze Herrington

    In fairness, that quote is not found in any of Thomas Aquinas’s extant writings, as Will Durant acknowledges in “The Story of Civilization.”

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

    Buck, not Rayford, would be the dude who would break down over the melted phone, no?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sue-White/1605859612 Sue White

    Holy smoke.  I don’t know what’s creepier about that passage from _The Goriest Appearing_ – the scene itself, or the way Rayford seems to be watching from a safe distance like it’s all a big show.  Through binoculars, even.  It’s a wonder he didn’t whip out his phone and make a video.

  • http://twitter.com/DataSnake DataSnake

    You gotta love how LaJesus makes a point of killing all the retreating soldiers, even though they clearly pose no threat to anyone.

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

    Tea Party sends out (and quickly retracts) an ad photoshopping their target into a Nazi uniform. The kicker? The target is Karl Rove. 

    http://edition.cnn.com/2013/02/20/opinion/avlon-gop-family-feud/index.html

  • Tricksterson

    The Revolution will eat it’s own.

  • http://twitter.com/KeroseneBitumen Christina Nordlander

    “Jesus Christ, killer. Mass-murderer. Spiller of blood and entrails. He
    crushes his enemies, sees them driven before him, and revels in the
    lamentation of their women. (That quote is from the Bible, right?)”

    You know, Fred, the expression “wins the internet” gets tossed around lightly a lot these days, but this time…

  • Mark Z.

    “(That quote is from the Bible, right?)”

    Khan 3:16!

  • http://twitter.com/DataSnake DataSnake

    The funniest part? One of the first groups to express “outrage” was Mrs. LaHaye’s Ladies Against Women: http://thehill.com/video/in-the-news/283717-concerned-women-for-america-blasts-snl-djesus-uncrossed-skit

  • MaryKaye

    [Spoiler warnings for _Second Darkness_ from Paizo]

    The roleplaying game company Paizo  had an interesting debacle with elves in one of their six-month Adventure Path series, _Second Darkness_.  The whole motivating purpose of this adventure is to save the elves from destruction.  But Paizo is pretty tired of elves as the Best Race Ever, so they depicted elven society in remarkably negative terms:  passive, ungrateful, treacherous, full of veiled internal conflict which prevents it from getting anything done, and so xenophobic that even non-heartland elves are treated as subelven scum. Either one of these ideas has merit on its own, but putting them together was perhaps ill thought out.  From the message-board comments, a lot of groups’ attempts to play this Adventure Path ended in player revolt along the lines of “never mind the Second Darkness, we’re just going to kill the elves ourselves.”

    When I wanted to run this I had ample warning of the problem, so we made the PCs all elves themselves, and part of the secret behind-the-scenes elven organization trying (badly) to deal with the issue.  We *still* ended up with an outcome in which the PCs infiltrated the drow city, learned how to stop the Second Darkness plan, and then started working on how to reunite elf and drow society because *the drow were in most respects preferable to the elves*.   (I agreed with them, too.  Contrast the abundant and beautiful, if bloody and dark, art in the drow city in part 4 with the complete lack thereof in the Elven fortress in part 5.  The elves are spiritually dead.  Also–spoiler–the architect of the elf-destroyer plan is in fact an elf by birth,  not a drow; it’s the elves who are driven by xenophobic hatred and malice, whereas the drow are pretty much  minding their own, admittedly drowish, business.)

    It has a reputation as Paizo’s most problematic AP ever, and in our hands this was richly deserved; without making the PCs all secret-society elves I don’t think I could have made it work at all. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    One of the things I like about Warhammer Fantasy’s High Elves is that they are flawed but still pretty decent people, rather than the usual stereotypes of elves as Perfect Pretty People or Arrogant Self-Absorbed Assholes.

    They have the same potential for evil as anyone else. Warhammer’s Dark Elves are not a separate race, just the breakaway faction that embraced being sadistic assholes.

    The xenophobic asshole Wood Elves are another breakaway faction (and they at least have solid reasons for breaking away, and became xenophobic because they spent centuries isolated and surrounded by enemies).

  • Makabit

    I’ll just add that, coming from a Jewish perspective, the idea of armed uprising against Rome is, rather than being utterly out of place,  deeply satisfying. So while Jesus is clearly not the man for it, the scene of Peter doing his schtick is actually…appealing to me. Masada, and all. So, another take…

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Actually, though it isn’t stressed it’s pretty clear in the Gospels that many of Jesus’ early followers were expecting exactly that: Jesus was going to lead the revolution. When it became clear that this wasn’t part of the plan, we’re told that many of them left him. Even the inner circle of disciples had trouble accepting that he had no intention of starting a war.

  • Makabit

    Well, that was what Moshiach was supposed to do. See also: Bar Kochba revolt.

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

    I don’t believe animals have souls, but then I also don’t believe humans have souls.

    That said, treating harmless animals (e.g. domesticated pets as well as livestock) humanely and decently is something that’s just what you do. Even animals that represent threats or are unpleasant shouldn’t be tortured: if you must kill them, do it swiftly.