Dark Christianity
dark_christian
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May 2008
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Left Behind: bearing no fruit

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]catvincent)

To balance the horrors I last posted, here's the mighty Fred Clark, aka Slacktivist, taking on the Book of Revelation, PMD timelines and the minds of the LB readers:

' In the religion of LaHaye and Jenkins, of course, "rightness" is all that matters, i.e., that the propositions to which one attests are correct. The Rev. Billings is the embodiment of their idea of rightness, which is why the authors seem to take Billings' fictional vindication -- in a story they imagined and wrote themselves -- as proof of their own actual vindication. But that earlier word, "fruitless," also carries a theological meaning. If L&J had not, like Billings, wasted so much of their lives with an exclusive focus on supposed "prophecy," they might have realized that the rest of the Bible teaches that to be "right" without bearing fruit is just another way of being wrong.

By that standard, the prophecy-mania religion of L&J is wrong. It is not wrong simply because it is based on the incoherent fever-dream of a long-dead Adventist, or because it replaces the Bible with its own unrecognizable reinterpretation of it. I'm sure those don't help, but they're not the main reasons the religion of L&J is wrong. It is wrong because it is fruitless -- it does not, and cannot, bear fruit...

One delightfully strange thing about PMDs is the way they earnestly insist that all they're doing is providing a straightforward, linear reading of a straightforward, linear account. All the while they insist this they're jumping to and fro -- from Revelation to Daniel, to Thessalonians, back to an (earlier) chapter of Revelation, then to Ezekiel. Even as they tie themselves into knots flipping around, back and forth, to and fro, unable to work their way through John's apocalypse from beginning to end without recursive loops back to earlier chapters, even as they themselves get lost in the convoluted mess of it all and they are forced back to the drawing board to try again to force this narrative into a tidy timeline -- through all of that they seem utterly sincere in insisting that this impossible-to-follow-the-same-way-twice approach is really nothing more than a straightforward, linear and "literal" reading. It would be laughable if it weren't so heartfelt.

No, scratch that. It's still laughable...

Left Behind is a fictional world, and as such its creators are free to invent a fictional president, a fictional Manhattan that's 50 miles long and a fictional U.N. with fictional powers. They are even free to invent a fictional Bible full of fictional prophecies. This is exactly what L&J have done. Their problem -- and it's a big problem -- is that neither they nor most of their millions of devoted readers realize that this is what they have done. They recognize that "Fitz" is a piece of fantasy and imagination, but they think the equally unreal Bible in their story is the same one we have here in reality. They present an inhuman planet inhabited by alien creatures who hardly seem to care that all of their children have vanished and yet they imagine that this imaginary world is a realistic portrayal of realistic people. '

Worth reading the whole thing. Fred usually is.

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