NRA: Throwing Chaim under the (hypothetical) bus

NRA: Throwing Chaim under the (hypothetical) bus May 24, 2013

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist; pp. 148-151

Earlier this week, I was surprised to learn that the famously atheist magician Penn Jillette agrees with Jerry Jenkins about the moral obligation to proselytize aggressively. Terry Firma at Friendly Atheist shared this comment from Jillette:

I’ve always said that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and hell and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life. … How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? … If I believed beyond the shadow of a doubt that a truck was going to hit you, and you didn’t believe it and that truck was bearing down on you, there’s a certain point at which I tackle you.

That’s very similar to Jerry Jenkins’ own views on the urgent duty to evangelize, and why no one should be offended when a sincere believer tries to “save” them:

If I had a neighbor who truly believed that if I didn’t wear a purple necklace, I would never get to Heaven, I would go to Hell, I would probably think he’s crazy. I would scoff and laugh. But if he didn’t tell me, I’d be a little offended.

I agree with both of them, up to a point. Their logic seems sound to me. Given their premise, their conclusion seems inescapable. This is an ironclad “if … then” argument. If you truly believe that God has revealed to you the one arbitrary, symbolic gesture without which everyone will be tortured for eternity, then you have an absolute duty to inform as many others as you can so that they, too, can make this gesture — wearing a purple necklace or praying the soterian incantation — and thus be spared unimaginable, endless pain. If that is what God is like and if that is how God’s universe works, then it really would be hateful not to spend your every waking hour spreading that news.

But while I agree that Jillette and Jenkins’ conclusion necessarily flows from their shared premise, I think their premise is ghastly nonsense.

Both Jillette and Jenkins defend aggressive proselytizing based on the premise that God is a cruel, capricious monster undeserving of our devotion, a God unworthy of — and evidently uninterested in — our love. This is a God whose default stance towards humanity is one of enmity and hatred. And the only way for any human to escape that default damnation is by learning and performing the secret handshake — wearing the purple necklace or uttering the magic words. That’s all rather horrifying.

This weird idea of a Hell-bent deity offering salvation only to those who have learned the secret gesture isn’t something one can easily glean from the Bible. With some studious creativity and a good bit of squinting, this idea can be shoehorned into, and then read back out of, a select handful of painstakingly excerpted Bible passages, but if you read any more of the Bible than just those few verses — even accidentally — or if you fail to read those few verses in just the right way, then it becomes very, very hard to reconcile this religion of Hell-avoidance with the God of that book.

It took centuries of hard work to transform the Bible into a manual of Hell-avoidance. It would be more credible, and far easier, to claim that the central theme of the dictionary is Hell-avoidance, since the dictionary mentions Hell more often than the Bible does. The Hebrew scriptures and the Pauline epistles of the New Testament have nothing to say on the subject. If you’re looking for Hell in the Bible, about the only place you’ll find it is in a handful of the semi-Pelagian parables of Jesus, wherein Hell is never the default destiny of the “unsaved,” but always rather the deserved punishment for selfish rich people. And yet none of the people who preach a gospel of Hell-avoidance seem to believe in that idea of Hell.*

But if this Hell-bent God and this religion of Hell-avoidance are not central to the Bible, they are central to the novels of the Left Behind series. It doesn’t matter whether or not this is how the actual universe works, it’s how the universe of these books works. In the real world, Jenkins’ premise is cruel and absurd, but the world of Jenkins’ novels is Jenkins‘ world — and in Jenkins’ own world, his premise is true.

Yet in Jenkins’ own world, neither he nor his hero, Buck Williams, lives up to this premise.

In these pages, Jerry Jenkins repeatedly stresses two things:

1. Buck loves his dear old friend Chaim Rosenzweig.

2. Chaim’s life is in imminent danger.

Buck had often been warmed by Chaim Rosenzweig’s ancient-faced smile of greeting. There was no hint of that now. As Buck strode toward the old man, Rosenzweig merely opened his arms for an embrace and said hoarsely, “Cameron! Cameron!”

Buck bent to hug his tiny friend, and Rosenzweig clasped his hands behind Buck and squeezed tightly as a child. He bured his face in Buck’s neck and wept bitterly.

The weeping here is for the family of their mutual friend, the former rabbi Tsion Ben-Judah, whose wife and teenaged children were recently murdered by “black-hooded thugs.”

Chaim’s sobbing appears to embarrass the “tall, dark-complected driver” who accompanies him.

Chaim nodded toward him. “You remember Andre,” Rosenzweig said.

“Yeah,” Buck said, nodding, “how ya doin’?”

Andre responded in Hebrew. He neither spoke nor understood English. Buck knew no Hebrew.

Readers already knew that “Buck knew no Hebrew.” But after that odd, unprecedented eruption of a Jersey accent from Buck it was probably necessary to clarify what is and isn’t true about how this character speaks.

Chaim tells Buck that Tsion has gone into hiding, and that “the authorities are trying to implicate him in the murders of his own family.” Here, finally, is an example of the kind of scheming, conniving evil I was lamenting the lack of in our last installment. Murdering Tsion’s family is evil. But murdering his family in such a way that he takes the blame and disgrace for it kicks things up another notch to Antichrist-level evil.

Unfortunately, though, this attempt to pin the blame on Tsion is rather poorly executed. And it’s not even the work of the Antichrist, but of “the authorities” in Israel — the one nation not yet under the power of Nicolae Carpathia. These “authorities” are Israelis who have not accepted Jesus as the Messiah and who are therefore, according to the authors, evil and manipulative. But, again, Tim LaHaye is a staunch friend of Israel. Ahem.

Tsion’s driver has also been killed.

“What?” Buck asked. “Not him too?”

“I’m afraid so. A car bombing. His body was barely recognizable.”

“Chaim! Are you sure you’re safe? Does your driver know how to –”

“Drive defensively? Check for car bombs? Defend himself or me? Yes to all of those. Andre is quite skilled.”

So Chaim is in good hands with his capable manservant Kato … I mean Andre. Yet he and Buck are both still worried for his safety:

“But you are associated with Dr. Ben-Judah. Those looking for him will try to follow you to him.”

“Which means you should not be seen with me either,” Rosenzweig said.

This is followed by another full page describing all the clumsy, amateurish awesomely sophisticated James-Bond maneuvers Buck has planned to escape being followed while he is in Israel. Plus a bit more of Buck/Jenkins’ signature telephone-porn. Realizing that Chaim used both their real names when booking Buck a hotel room:

Buck had to suppress a smile at the man’s sweet naiveté. “Well, friend, we’ll just use that to keep them off our trail, hmm?”

“Cameron, I’m afraid I’m not too good at all this.”

“Why don’t you have Andre drive you directly to that hotel. Tell them my plans have changed and that I will not be in until Sunday.”

“Cameron! How do you think of such things so quickly?”

“Hurry now. And we must not be seen together anymore. I will leave no later than Saturday night. You can reach me at this number.”

“Is it secure?”

“It’s a satellite phone, the latest technology. No one can tap into it. Just don’t put my name next to that number, and don’t give that number to anyone else.”

OK, so Buck is only in Israel until Saturday night, so that gives him … we have no idea. As usual, Jenkins hasn’t bothered to tell us what day it is. Or, for that matter, what month it is.

As they depart, Chaim says:

“If I were a praying man, I’d pray for you.”

“Chaim, one of these days soon, you need to become a praying man.”

Here, finally, Buck hints at his concern that his dear, sweet friend still isn’t wearing the purple necklace of salvation. Until he sees that amulet hanging from Chaim’s neck, he has to worry that his friend could walk out of the airport terminal and get hit by the Hypothetical Bus — sending the unsaved old professor straight to an eternity of hellfire and torment.

But it’s even more urgent than that here. It’s the Great Tribulation and the Hypothetical Bus isn’t hypothetical for anyone anymore. Buck knows that “Bible prophecy” says the first four “seals” of divine wrath will kill “a fourth of the earth.” And he knows that the seven seals of wrath will shortly be followed by seven “trumpets” of wrath, each of which will, in turn, slaughter another huge portion of the ever-dwindling population of those who survived the previous judgments. A frail old man like Chaim Rosenzweig seems particularly vulnerable and unlikely to be among the tiny remnant of those who somehow escape death in the coming months.

But it’s still even more urgent than that, because — as the two friends have just discussed for several pages — the “authorities” and the “black-hooded thugs” who killed Tsion’s family may also be coming after Chaim. The Hypothetical Bus is hunting for Chaim Rosenzweig. Its targeting system is locked onto him. This must seem to Buck as though it is likely his very last chance to convince Chaim to put on the purple necklace before it’s too late.

And yet he doesn’t:

“One more thing, Cameron. I have placed a call to Carpathia for his assistance in this.”

“I wish you hadn’t done that, Chaim. I don’t trust him the way you do.”

“I’ve sensed that, Buck,” Rosenzweig said, “but you need to get to know the man better.”

If you only knew, Buck thought. “Chaim, I’ll try to communicate with you as soon as I know anything. Call me only if you need to.”

Rosenzweig embraced him fiercely again and hurried off.

And that’s it.

Buck thinks, “If you only knew” — if only his dear friend somehow knew what Buck knows. If only there were someone who knew what Buck knows and who had a chance to speak to his friend Chaim, to tell him those things that Buck knows that he desperately needs to know — that his eternal fate depends upon him hearing and knowing. If only someone would tell him.

To paraphrase Penn Jillette, how much does Buck have to hate Chaim not to tell him? What’s stopping him from laying it all out and explaining to Chaim that Nicolae Carpathia is the Antichrist who will betray Israel, defile the rebuilt Temple and slaughter anyone who gets in his way?

I suppose the authors would say that Buck can’t risk telling Chaim what he knows about the Antichrist because that might jeopardize the secret plans of the Tribulation Force, but that can’t be the reason for Buck’s silence because:

A. Buck and the Trib Force are supposed to be heroes, and heroes are supposed to accept greater risk for themselves if there’s a chance that it might help save others; and

B. The Tribulation Force doesn’t actually have any plans, secret or otherwise.

What exactly is the worst thing that could happen if Buck told Chaim everything? The “naive” old professor might run to Nicolae and tell him all about it — tell him that his pilot, Rayford Steele, and his pet journalist, Buck Williams, were secretly conspiring to silently disapprove of him?

The bottom line here is that Buck and Jenkins have embraced the premise that Buck has an absolute obligation to tell Chaim everything. And yet Buck doesn’t tell Chaim anything. Chaim ought to be more than “a little offended” by that.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

* It’s interesting that Jenkins’ analogy involves a purple necklace. I like to think that’s an unintentional, subconscious acknowledgement of what the Bible actually does have to say about the idea of Hell.

Here’s a longer quote in which Jenkins presents his analogy in more context. This is from a 2007 interview, but he has used this same “purple necklace” analogy many times:

When we first started this, we went at it with such a sense of sincerity and pure motive. I mean, my feeling — and I was informed in this, too, by Dr. LaHaye’s attitude — would care about people. We really believe this.

We realize it’s a divisive message, especially in a pluralistic society, and that there would be people who disagree and say, you know, you’re [saying] Jesus is the only way to God, and that he’s going come back and rescue people out of the Earth. And so they’re saying we’re crazy.

And then they try to go further and say, it’s spiteful, condescending, or kind of hateful to other people. I often use this illustration, but if I had a neighbor who truly believed that if I didn’t wear a purple necklace, I would never get to Heaven, I would go to Hell, I would probably think he’s crazy. I would scoff and laugh. But if he didn’t tell me, I’d be a little offended.

And so my feeling is, people can laugh and scoff and disagree, and that’s their right. And, you know, honor that right. We live in a society where we’re free to compete in the marketplace of ideas. This is our idea. People are wondering what these crazy Christians think is going to happen? This is what we think.

Note that his main point is that others should not be offended by the “divisive message” he and Tim LaHaye are sharing. He wants us to appreciate their sincerity, and to recognize that because they sincerely believe we are damned if we fail to embrace their message, their proselytizing is actually an expression of genuine concern, respect and affection.

Like Penn Jillette, I’m willing to accept that argument. I would note, though, that this argument suggests that others who hold views other than the one held by LaHaye and Jenkins are also due the same generous hearing Jenkins pleads for here. Jenkins is quite gracious to his hypothetical neighbor with the purple necklace. I don’t know if he’d be quite so gracious to an actual neighbor with an actual Book of Mormon (or an actual Koran, or an actual copy of The God Delusion).

The bit with the purple necklace is Jenkins attempt to provide an example his listeners will find “crazy.” He wants us to see this purple-necklace faith as sincere, but goofy, absurd and arbitrary. He also wants us to see this purple-necklace faith as precisely analogous to his own soterian gospel. And it is. This sincere but foolish neighbor is foolish because he thinks we “get to Heaven” and avoid Hell by wearing a purple necklace, whereas Jenkins knows that we “get to Heaven” and avoid Hell by reciting an essential prayer. The silly neighbor has put his faith in a magical amulet, while Jenkins knows that only the proper magical spell can save us. They both agree, though, about the essential meaning of life, which for both of them involves only this: avoiding Hell.

And that, again, is why it’s intriguing that Jenkins settles on a purple necklace. Because if there’s one thing the Bible literally teaches about a literal Hell, it’s that Hell is for people who wear purple. So if you are going to make avoiding Hell your top priority, then nothing is more important than finding every purple-clad rich person in fine linens and pleading with them to help you feed the beggars at their gates before it is too late.




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  • Carstonio

    Beyond the cruelty of Jenkins’ premise, he doesn’t present proof. One would have to accept that a god exists and that heaven and hell exist, and I’d like to see Jenkins try to explain these to someone with zero knowledge of the Abrahamic religions, or of any religions. But more than that, Jenkins doesn’t acknowledge the possibility that he’s wrong about the guidelines for getting into heaven or hell. Using his hypothetical example, imagine a competing theologian who insists that a purple necklace is required for admission to heaven and that it’s an orange one that sends one to hell. There would be no reason to treat one as more likely than the other.

  • arcseconds

    … and, you know, with respect for people’s autonomy, and common civility…

  • Adding a fifth to my list of objections — Jenkins is making the same faulty assumption as Pascal, in acting like there’s only one religion to consider. What if one neighbour believes that a purple necklace sends you to heaven and an orange one sends you to hell, while another neighbour believes the opposite?

  • Persia

    Yeah, that’s my thought. Especially in a world where thousands upon thousands of people are wearing purple necklaces and everyone knows why.

  • Ironically, Chaim Rosenzweig is the only character who actually treats this story like it’s a violent action thriller. Everyone else fantasizes about physically fighting the Antichrist but Chaim is the only character that I can recall who actually does it.

  • Jenkins’ analogy is gobsmackingly disrespectful of Jenkins’ own religion. It’s the kind of thing one might expect from the most scornful of atheists. He’s saying his religion is one in which you have to use the right magic in order to avoid punishment and obtain reward. And the magic is entirely superficial and arbitrary, at that.

    “Say your right words,” the goblins said.

  • hf

    Your straw-man depresses and repulses me.

  • arcseconds

    how do you ensure something like that, then?

    or did you not really mean ‘ensure’?

  • Michael Albright

    I’m going to argue that whether hf meant “ensure,” Dawkins, judging by his writing, wouldn’t agree with it. In his stead, to bring hf’s comment into line with what Dawkins has said on his own behalf: “I think he would be satisfied if he successfully persuaded parents not to indoctrinate their children, instead providing them with relevant information and allowing them to decide when they’re old enough.”
    Essentially, if every religion had a confirmation process, without all that emotional pressure, that would be Dawkins’s ideal.

  • Michael Albright

    Yes. Delectable, savory, chopped liver, browned with onions and mushrooms in a rosemary-sage cream sauce served with a glass of fine merlot.

  • She’s not using a straw-man. She’s arguing with what you actually said. Throwing out accusations of logical fallacies where there are none, rather than trying to have a conversation with what people have actually said, is not making you look better.

  • Daniel

    So in short, the people (like yourself) who seem to have the most appealing ideas for what the afterlife consists of- even down to saying “we’re not really sure” (which to me makes it sound potentially explorable, a place where you can indulge in curiosity) are the people for whom heaven and hell are not priorities- compared to say “loving thy neighbour” etc.

    The people like Tim and Jerry (I’d like to nominate the composite name “Timkins”, as it’s precisely as macho as they deserve) who see them as central to Christian belief are the ones who simultaneously make them the least attractive places ever- one because it’s supposed to be, and the other because it’s some sort of brainwashing hive mind shared with people like them. I have often wondered why in Chick Tracts we are never actually shown what happens in heaven, but a prurient glee is taken in depicting Hell. Timkins seem to have the same interest.

  • Daniel

    Exactly. What the analogy demonstrates is two contradictory points about Timkin’s faith. If Christianity, this life altering, heaven securing, bliss bringing uber-belief is analogous to something as simplistic as just wearing a purple necklace, then there is no substance to it and so it shouldn’t be taken seriously. It is just as eccentric as the necklace wearing neighbour.
    If on the other hand it should be the guiding light of your life, and inform and instruct everything that you do then it is clearly far more than just a purple necklace, and therefore cannot be dismissed as a harmless affectation. If saying the right words at the right time is sufficient to get into heaven, then you can’t ask that every other aspect of someone’s life be governed by rules stemming from that same faith. Either it’s cutesy and eccentric or it is complex, involved and meaningful- it can’t be both and it’s disingenuous to present it that way.

  • Disincent–

    Can we not? Please?

    *breaks out in hives at the corporatespeak invading the English language*

  • this car would be driven by a cossetted urban douche bag pretending to be rugged

    The stereotype in Canada or the USA of an SUV driver who never gets dirt on it is exactly this – an urbanite or suburbanite whose idea of “rugged offroading” is hittng the gravel shoulder on a highway.

  • Daniel

    Careful. Gravel might damage the paintwork. Best be safe, just drive in the bus lane.

  • Daniel

    But then Buck Williams would have been getting a hummer in the middle of a nuclear holocaust. There’s no way he deserves that.

  • Daniel

    I still really hope that at the end, from out of nowhere, some actual arse kicking heroes appear who it turns out Nicolae has been trying unsuccessfully to kill since the disappearances. That’s the point when we find out that he’s know about the tribbles all along and that he regards them as what they are- pompous buffoons- instead of the arse kicking heroes they imagine themselves to be.

    They all have to have their counterparts, of course. There’s Raymond Granola, vegetarian former bicycle-rickshaw driver and champion hackey sack player, his daughter Chloe (named after the Greek fertility goddess) recently graduated from the Sorbonne, his life partner humourously referred to as “Amanda” because before the operation she was a he. She also works in fashion, as an executive in Jean Paul Gaultier. There’s Ray’s sidekick, ace blogger Baruch Williams- grandson of a refugee from the Nazis and a lapsed Catholic who sheltered her. Williams is an atheist, though, and has incontrovertible proof that aliens did it, and Nicolae is actually one of them.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Interesting analysis – and it rings true, I think. (Also – I certainly hope there’s room for curiosity in heaven!)

    BTW – “Timkins” is the best name yet for our fearless typist and his leader, and I think I’ll borrow it next time I have a comment to post about them.

  • arcseconds

    If your encryption is good enough, and the keys are secure, you can be assured of security even in this situation.

    Which is why Mr. Neutrino is right to say the key (if you’ll pardon the pun) here is encryption.

    Although, those are big ‘if’s.

    Even if the encryption is pretty good, it might not be good enough, as Nicolae could throw the entire computing power of the world (and all the cryptanalysts) at cracking the code, if it was important enough for him.

    Moreover, the encryption business suffers from the same kind of problems that you point out with the satellite. If the good enough encryption at both ends is handled by trusted technology, then a compromised satillite is fine (although they could maybe work out who was phoning whom), because they can’t do anything with the encrypted signal.

    But who says the encryption technology hasn’t been compromised?

    (This phone is off-the-shelf, isn’t it? Even if it’s super-spiffy hard-to-get off the shelf).

    That would just require the Tibbles to be cryptanalysts and firmware programmers, rather than running their own space launch programme, but apart from Buck’s phone-phreaking in the first book, we don’t have much evidence of competence in this area, either.

    (although, you could be in a position to put a fair amount of trust the technology, if for example it has been produced pre-Nicolae, and had been publically audited as being secure, or something…)

    He’d probably be better off not using the satellite phone, actually, as he can’t be sure of the security even if it is encrypted, and it might be pretty obvious if Nicolae’s intelligence agency already has access to the satellite or monitor unusual RF transmissions from around where Nicolae is (or his lieutenants).

  • I haven’t even finished the post yet, but this diversion into discussing Hell brought to mind a conversation I had with my boss last week. She made the comment that Ariel Castro would get a job torturing people in Hell. And I was dumbfounded. I thought Hell was where evildoers were sent to be punished, but in her mind, it was where bad people went to keep doing the things they liked.

    I can’t really wrap my head around it. If I believed in Hell, I would find comfort in the thought that Castro would be undergoing what he’d done to those women. But she, a born and raised Southern Baptist who believes in Hell, thinks he’s gonna have a good time, and isn’t comforted by that thought.


  • MuseofIre

    Um. Chaim’s driver is a dark-complected, Hebrew-monoglot named *Andre*? I guess he could be a Sephardi whose family retained their traditional Spanish-inflected names, but it doesn’t exactly scream “ordinary working-class Israeli” to me. Which, considering the deep level of stereotyping in practically every other character’s name in the series, is kind of interesting.

  • j_bird

    Wait, reindeer piss doesn’t actually improve gas mileage?


    Anyone want to adopt a reindeer? He’s toilet-trained…

  • Sue White

    I wonder how Jenkins would feel if his goofy neighbor had the political clout to make THIS life a hell on earth for anyone who doesn’t worship his purple necklace?
    Telling the unconverted heathen about your sincere religious beliefs is one thing. Forcing people to live by them is another.

  • Maybe Andre is just messing with Buck.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Start Wearing Purple?
    At first I thought the face on the poster was Ron Post of Those Annoying Post Bros.
    Then I clicked on it, got to YouTube, and now I don’t know what to think.
    Gibber gibber tweet gibber tweet gibber…

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Great Episode.
    Starts out with everyone filing into Springfield Community Church and Bart & Milhous passing out the hymnals at the door. (That should have been the first clue.)
    Sure enough, the hymnals were doctored. “For our first hymn, turn to ‘In the Garden of Eden’ by I.Ron Butterfly.”
    This being the Simpsons, they don’t realize they’ve been had until about three verses in, at which point the Reverend cuts the service short, takes Bart and the other kids into his office, and preaches Hellfire-and-Damnation to them until Milhous cracks and fingers Bart.
    It’s while polishing the pipe organ as punishment that Bart & Milhous make their little bet. After which, weird things start to happen to Bart. His breath doesn’t fog the freezer windows at the Quik-E-Mart. The automatic doors don’t work for him. The family dog reacts to him like a stranger. THEN the dream you cited above happens…

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    That’s what makes Buck being an actual globe-trotting reporter so incongruous. He’s literate and verbal in English only…

    A Gary Stu Author Self-Insert DOESN’T know something?

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    The same giant-ass Range Rover he bought in a product placement insertion a couple minutes after Chicago just took at least one nuke hit and he (and the dealer he immediately bought it from) were somewhere outside the major damage zone but still close enough to see the mushroom?

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Don’t forget the Manly Firm Handshake.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    I still really hope that at the end, from out of nowhere, some actual arse kicking heroes appear who it turns out Nicolae has been trying unsuccessfully to kill since the disappearances.

    The only candidates I can think of are six colorful ponies from a magical land called Equestria. Who DID take down their world’s Antichrist figure at the beginning of First Season. (And as Antichrist figures go, Nightmare Moon is a lot classier villain than Nicky Mountain Range.)

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    I found it quite amusing that this was used as a symbol of Buck’s machismo, being as in its country of origin- lefty, liberal, NHS loving Britain- this car would be driven by a cossetted urban douche bag pretending to be rugged. Which Buck clearly isn’t.

    But Buck DOES fit the archetype of “a cossetted urban douche bag pretending to be rugged.”

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Range Rovers were symbols of rich, shallow white people who lived in the suburbs when Jenkins wrote these books. He’s never exactly had his pulse on the cultural zeitgest of broader America — just of his own teeny piece of it.

    Just like Jenkins has demonstrated Area Knowledge of only Greater Chicago. Outside of that, it’s cruise ships on the Jordan River.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    No. His every action demonstrates he’s a take charge, rugged, world weary man’s man, very much like Indiana Jones but with a wider readership and a greater facility with language. Pointing that out should be like pointing out the Great Wall of China is long.

    His every action demonstrates he’s an Author Self-Insert in a bad fanfic.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    I dare anyone who is taking a writing course to use the phrase “ancient-faced smile of greeting” in an assignment.

    Sounds like something Ambassador Londo Mollari would say.
    Even has a similar rhythm to “What, O moon-faced assassin of joy?”

  • Ah, but you see, in LaHaye-world, English is the chosen language!

  • Headless Unicorn Guy



  • Image has disappeared. You might want to remake it and then save the final output to imgur or something.

  • Not surprised. :) In fact ISTR Fred has also likened the kind of thinking propounded by L&J to the D&Dish casting of magic spells with dice rolls.

  • MuseofIre

    Much as I’d love that, it would also mean that the saintly and guileless Chaim is also having on his dear, dear friend Buck. And that would just be implausible, wouldn’t it?

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Not at my (soon to be former) employer, where the weak likn is management policy that insists that usernames and passwords are typed up and left next to the PC they relate to.

    Is Scott Adams’ website still collecting “true pointy-haired boss” anecdotes for possible inclusion in future Dilberts?

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    I thought it was Christianese.

  • Daniel

    I forgot to add that Buck is a thirty year old man who can boast

    “I’ve never
    had to worry about disease and all the emotional stuff that goes with
    intimate relationships.”
    He can impress a girl by saying he’s lived for thirty years without ever having had a meaningful emotional connection with another person. What a guy!

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    If an event doesn’t happen within direct eyesight of Buck and Rayford, it’s in some sort of weird neither/nor indeterminate state, so I guess that the people in Chicago are neither alive or dead.

    Considering Ellenjay made the major strategic error of trying to tell a story of literally COSMIC scope ONLY from the POVs of their two Author Self-Inserts, that’s quite an undertaking.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Problem is, Global Thermonuclear War is one of the items on the End Time Prophecy Checklist (at least since Hal Lindsay and Christians for Nuclear War), so Ellanjay have to check it off. No matter what.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    I forgot to add that Buck is a thirty year old man who can boast

    “I’ve never had to worry about disease and all the emotional stuff that goes with intimate relationships.”

    That’s because Buck is supposed to be The Romantic Lead in a Christianese Romance Subplot. He HAS to be a Pure Virgin though an Utterly Depraved Heathen, conforming completely to the Evangelical Purity Cult. Otherwise he couldn’t be a Christianese Romance Lead.
    Remember the target audience are easily-offended Church Ladies who must be reassured that “You, Dear Reader, are always right.”

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Because he’s a CELEBRITY Author.

    And nobody dares edit a CELEBRITY Author. Not if they want to keep their job and perks and be able to claim access to the CELEBRITY.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    You mean Hattie the Hottie, future Whore of Babylon?

  • Daniel

    Oh, I know that. It’s the same for Chloe. The difference is if you hear a twenty year old woman has not yet had a serious relationship (not necessarily sexual) you’d think “fair enough, twenty’s still quite young”. But to hear someone who is thirty saying they’ve never had an “intimate”- meaning sexual, but specifically mentioning “emotional stuff” as well- relationship is either very sad or extremely weird. It’s not something most non-sociopaths would be so happy to admit. “In thirty years I have never actually known anyone that I have made an intimate emotional connection with! Let’s get married!”

  • hf

    No, I get it. Even Penn Jillette wasn’t talking about Pascal’s Wager, but about a certainty of Hell — “beyond the shadow of a doubt”. (If you want something closer to Pascal, look at my other response. But even that assumes the existence of something like a Christian Heaven, per the parent comment at the link.) Getting from there to Dawkins was pure other-bashing on your part.