LBCF, No. 136: ‘Chairface Stonagal’

It is only after our heroes confess this particular sin and embrace the “Bible-prophecy” teachings of Tim LaHaye that they become Real, True Christians and receive divine forgiveness and salvation. In Left Behind, the refusal to acknowledge LaHaye’s teaching as supreme truth is the equivalent of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the unforgivable sin that condemns one to Hell along with the preterists, the a-Millennialists and the Jews. [Read more…]

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LBCF, No. 135: ‘A billion Samanthas’

LaHaye and Jenkins seem to think that this alien-abduction theory would be comforting to those who settled on it. As though the idea that some alien species had, without warning and without explanation, whisked away two billion people, and might do so again at any moment for all we know, would somehow settle things. As though it would simply make people say, “OK, then, that explains that” and go on with their daily lives. [Read more…]

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LBCF, No. 134: ‘New Babylon’

The story has just moved beyond unrealistic, beyond implausible, into the realm of hopelessly impossible. And keep in mind that, for the authors and most of their millions of readers, this isn’t merely a story. This is a fictional account of what they think of as actual events that will soon occur. Their unreal and impossible fiction is a reflection of their unreal and impossible beliefs about the actual world. [Read more…]

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LBCF, No. 133: ‘Mystery Dance’

Rayford’s newfound resolve to evangelize his daughter seems to have less to do with her eternal fate than it does with his own determination to exculpate himself, to fulfill his obligation to “force her” to choose and be done with it. As ever, it’s all about him. This is what the pressure to evangelize is often about. [Read more…]

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LBCF(T), No. 132: ‘The sticking-place’

Rayford Steele gets a thrill from the idea that he is living in “the most cataclysmic period in the history of the world.” That thrill — which plays a big role in the allure of Rapture-mania Christianity — comes from the idea that this makes him special, that it makes his life more meaningful than it might otherwise seem. That attitude only makes sense from an extremely self-centered perspective: Sure, the apocalypse means widespread suffering and death, but it makes MY life more significant, so on balance that’s a plus. [Read more…]

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LBCF, No. 131: ‘7 pages, 6 phone calls’

Bad writing entails a failure to convey or communicate whatever it is that the writer is trying to express. LaHaye & Jenkins have failed at something prior to and more fundamental than that. They began by portraying one whole world — the post-Event world following the Rapture, and then they abruptly and completely abandoned it for a different one, a different kind of world, in which the next set of preordained events from their End Times Checklist could be imagined. [Read more…]

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LBCF, No. 130: ‘Dissipation’

Every attitude expressed by Buck here — his condescending exploitation, his bitter, spiteful frustration — is reinforced later in the book or the series by born-again characters intended to be perceived as wholly reliable narrators. Hattie refuses to be merely a sexless and submissive helpmeet, so she is condemned as a slut. These are, in the world of Left Behind, binary options for women. [Read more…]

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I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly

Michele Bachmann still treats “Left Behind” as a how-to manual for politics. White Christians in Alabama are fine with disenfranchising black voters, but not with extramarital affairs. “I’m going to rewrite the ‘Pina Colada Song’ as a Palm Sunday story,” somebody thought, and did. And Billy Sunday wasn’t much of a hitter, but he once stole 82 bases in a single season. [Read more…]

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