Joan Didion on Left Behind

Thanks to "david" in Atrios' comments, I found this essay by Joan Didion in The New York Review of Books. Didion's frightening question is how much the kind of thinking found in the Left Behind books influences the decisions of President George W. Bush, proud evangelical Christian, doubter of Darwin, and courter of the fundamentalist [Read More...]

L.B.: Meet Buck Williams

Left Behind, pg. 6 Here we meet LaHaye and Jenkins' second protagonist: Buck Williams. I grew up in Jersey, so I'm a long-time admirer of Buck Williams. The man was a rebounding machine — dominating the NBA boards for a decade, pulling down more than 13,000 rebounds (No. 12 on the all-time list). Williams is [Read More...]

L.B.: The denial of death

Left Behind, pp. 4-5 Left Behind has been praised by some as an "evangelistic" book, but it's not. Although the book does attempt to scare people into conversion, that is secondary. The authors' real message for those they regard as unsaved is to thumb their nose and do a little victory dance. "You just wait [Read More...]

Left Behind: Pretrib Porno

Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days, by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. Tyndale House Publishers, 1995. Pages 1-3. The first words of Left Behind are "Rayford Steele," the protagonist's name. It sounds like a porn star's name — and in a sense it is. The Left Behind series is dispensational porno, [Read More...]

“Left Behind” is evil

The apocalyptic heresies rampant in American evangelicalism are more popular than ever. It's easy to dismiss these loopy ideas as a lunatic fringe, but that would be a mistake. The widespread popularity of this End Times mania has very real and very dangerous consequences, for America and for the church. ("Premillennial dispensationalism" — the technical [Read More...]

Hide the beer, the pastor’s here

"It is a mistake to think that Christians ought all to be teetotallers; [Islam], not Christianity, is the teetotal religion." — C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity In this intriguing article in New York magazine, Craig Horowitz explores the strange alliance between pro-Israel Jewish groups and conservative American evangelicals. Without realizing it, Horowitz relates one howling [Read More...]

In the sweet by and by

The birthdays in the previous post are from Dr. Mac's Cultural Calendar, which also notes that today, Sept. 23, is also in a sense the birthday of a peculiarly American version of Christianity. On this day in 1667 in Williamsburg, Virginia, a law was passed barring slaves from obtaining their freedom by converting to Christianity. [Read More...]