Dark Christianity
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dogemperor [userpic]
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.

Current Mood: tired
Current Music: Doomed: Dark music for tortured souls [SomaFM]
dogemperor [userpic]
Dobson, Armageddon and our Government


Atlantic Online has the transcript of an interview between James Dobson and Joel C. Rosenberg concerning nuclear conflict and Armageddon. The scariest part, I think, is at the end:

Rosenberg:...And given the events going on in our world today, people at the Pentagon, people at the CIA, people at the White House are asking to sit down and talk about these issues, to understand the Biblical perspective, because it is uncanny what is happening out there and it deserves some study.

Dobson: Joel, you are doing a great work. What you just mentioned of people in the Pentagon and the CIA are asking you for interepretations of what you see that allowed you to write these books. I think that's done by divine inspiration. And I appreciate it.

Assuming Rosenberg isn't just talking out of his backside, the idea that people in the Pentagon/CIA are discussing foreign policy with someone who believes that nuclear war is God-ordained is frankly terrifying.

The entire article, in case the Atlantic link doesn't work )

dogemperor [userpic]
McCain and Hagee kickstarting the Apocalypse?

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]1400scale)


dogemperor [userpic]
Food for Thought

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

Has anyone ever concidered that if the Bible and consequently Revelations are entirely true, and if Dominionists succeed in their goal of placing Dominionist/Fundamentalist leadership and Dominionist/Fundamentalist principles and Dominionist/Fundamentalist Laws at the basis of every government on earth.... then Dominionist Christianity will be the one world religion fortold of and Dominionist Christianity will be the supporters of the Beast and bringers of the oppression fortold of?

Food for Thought

Current Mood: hungry
dogemperor [userpic]
file under WTF

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]redstar826)

the fact that a game like this exists is just mind boggling to me

'Convert or die' game divides Christians
Some ask Wal-Mart to drop Left Behind

Ilene Lelchuk, Chronicle Staff Writer

Liberal and progressive Christian groups say a new computer game in which players must either convert or kill non-Christians is the wrong gift to give this holiday season and that Wal-Mart, a major video game retailer, should yank it off its shelves.

The Campaign to Defend the Constitution and the Christian Alliance for Progress, two online political groups, plan to demand today that Wal-Mart dump Left Behind: Eternal Forces, a PC game inspired by a series of Christian novels that are hugely popular, especially with teens.

The series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins is based on their interpretation of the Bible's Book of Revelation and takes place after the Rapture, when Jesus has taken his people to heaven and left nonbelievers behind to face the Antichrist.

Left Behind Games' president, Jeffrey Frichner, says the game actually is pacifist because players lose "spirit points" every time they gun down nonbelievers rather than convert them. They can earn spirit points again by having their character pray.

"You are fighting a defensive battle in the game," Frichner, whose previous company produced Bible software, said of combatting the Antichrist. "You are a sort of a freedom fighter."Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
Lobbying for Armageddon

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]1400scale)

No, this post is not intended to make me sound like a broken record.

Someone (Rechan, I think) once mentioned that he'd like links to some editorials and whatnot dealing with the Religious Right's fascination with the End Times, and particulary the conclusions by many of us that they are, in fact, trying to fulfill prophecy and cause Armageddon to actually take place.

I did some digging and found THESE:

They're fairly rough in appearance, somewhat similar to conspiracy theory websites, but the links are exhaustive and more importantly, they SPECIALIZE on this subject.

In addition, I'm adding a few more editorials off the top of my head that were not linked to at that site:

And last, but not least, the original two articles that turned me onto this whole messy business:

Anybody wishing to add to the list, please do.

dogemperor [userpic]
Apocalyptic President

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

By Sidney Blumenthal
The Guardian UK
Thursday 23 March 2006

Even some Republicans are now horrified by the influence Bush has given to the evangelical right.

In his latest PR offensive President Bush came to Cleveland, Ohio, on Monday to answer the paramount question on Iraq that he said was on people's minds: "They wonder what I see that they don't." After mentioning "terror" 54 times and "victory" five, dismissing "civil war" twice and asserting that he is "optimistic", he called on a citizen in the audience, who homed in on the invisible meaning of recent events in the light of two books, American Theocracy, by Kevin Phillips, and the book of Revelation. Phillips, the questioner explained, "makes the point that members of your administration have reached out to prophetic Christians who see the war in Iraq and the rise of terrorism as signs of the apocalypse. Do you believe this? And if not, why not?"

Bush's immediate response, as transcribed by CNN, was: "Hmmm." Then he said: "The answer is I haven't really thought of it that way. Here's how I think of it. First, I've heard of that, by the way." The official White House website transcript drops the strategic comma, and so changes the meaning to: "First I've heard of that, by the way."

But it is certainly not the first time Bush has heard of the apocalyptic preoccupation of much of the religious right, having served as evangelical liaison on his father's 1988 presidential campaign. The Rev Jerry Falwell told Newsweek how he brought Tim LaHaye, then an influential rightwing leader, to meet him; LaHaye's Left Behind novels, dramatizing the rapture, Armageddon and the second coming, have sold tens of millions.

The rest behind the cut... )

The article can be found here.

dogemperor [userpic]
American Theocracy: A Clear and Present Danger


This NYT book review is a must-read. I want to get the book, too...

Although Phillips is scathingly critical of what he considers the dangerous policies of the Bush administration, he does not spend much time examining the ideas and behavior of the president and his advisers. Instead, he identifies three broad and related trends — none of them new to the Bush years but all of them, he believes, exacerbated by this administration's policies — that together threaten the future of the United States and the world. One is the role of oil in defining and, as Phillips sees it, distorting American foreign and domestic policy. The second is the ominous intrusion of radical Christianity into politics and government. And the third is the astonishing levels of debt — current and prospective — that both the government and the American people have been heedlessly accumulating. If there is a single, if implicit, theme running through the three linked essays that form this book, it is the failure of leaders to look beyond their own and the country's immediate ambitions and desires so as to plan prudently for a darkening future.


Phillips is especially passionate in his discussion of the second great force that he sees shaping contemporary American life — radical Christianity and its growing intrusion into government and politics. The political rise of evangelical Christian groups is hardly a secret to most Americans after the 2004 election, but Phillips brings together an enormous range of information from scholars and journalists and presents a remarkably comprehensive and chilling picture of the goals and achievements of the religious right.

He points in particular to the Southern Baptist Convention, once a scorned seceding minority of the American Baptist Church but now so large that it dominates not just Baptism itself but American Protestantism generally. The Southern Baptist Convention does not speak with one voice, but almost all of its voices, Phillips argues, are to one degree or another highly conservative. On the far right is a still obscure but, Phillips says, rapidly growing group of "Christian Reconstructionists" who believe in a "Taliban-like" reversal of women's rights, who describe the separation of church and state as a "myth" and who call openly for a theocratic government shaped by Christian doctrine. A much larger group of Protestants, perhaps as many as a third of the population, claims to believe in the supposed biblical prophecies of an imminent "rapture" — the return of Jesus to the world and the elevation of believers to heaven.

Prophetic Christians, Phillips writes, often shape their view of politics and the world around signs that charlatan biblical scholars have identified as predictors of the apocalypse — among them a war in Iraq, the Jewish settlement of the whole of biblical Israel, even the rise of terrorism. He convincingly demonstrates that the Bush administration has calculatedly reached out to such believers and encouraged them to see the president's policies as a response to premillennialist thought. He also suggests that the president and other members of his administration may actually believe these things themselves, that religious belief is the basis of policy, not just a tactic for selling it to the public. Phillips's evidence for this disturbing claim is significant, but not conclusive.

"Charlatan biblical scholars"... truer words have not been written. Our country is being run into the ground by True Believers™ who believe in the crap spoon fed to them by charlatans and fear-mongerers.

dogemperor [userpic]
Theological question


A while back my father gave me his personal bible. It's one that I hadn't ran into before, the Ryrie Study Bible, Expanded Edition. Apparently, the main translator/commentator, Charles Ryrie, is one of the big theological bigwigs in the dispensationalist premilleniarian movement. Essentially appears to be the King James Version, with much commentary and annotation. Any of y'all know much about this guy, or any other theological scholars who are informing Dominionist-type theologies?

dogemperor [userpic]
The Brutal Christ of the Armageddonites


~Religious fanaticism in American foreign policy

dogemperor [userpic]
faith v. fear

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

So, in chapel today (oh the joys of attending Christian univeristy), and Tiger Dawson of Halftime spoke to us. While a lot of it was pretty cool, there was the "no rain before the flood" comment harped on, which most people around me nodded in assent. But I was curious about what kind of orginization Halftime was...
It's an initiatve of the Leadership Network, which is partnered with Lifeway Christian Resources, Zondervan and Church Communication Network, among others. The thing that bothers me about all of these programs is that while I know they're Christian, they're first and foremost buisnesses and selling things. . . It's no doubt to me that this is conservative, but that doesn't make it dominionst. It's more the emphasis on money that makes me think.
Does anyone have any ideas about these groups?

dogemperor [userpic]


Evangelical association decides not to fight global warming after all.

dogemperor [userpic]


Has anybody seen this? Should it be viewed as any sort of hopeful sign?

And as an evangelical Christian, Anderson says, he believes global warning is also a social justice issue, because, he says, it is the poor who feel the brunt of famine or flooding that may come from climate changes.

"Climate changes in terms of famine, in terms of the inability to grow crops, in terms of the flooding of islands, most affects the poor," he says. "So we here in America probably can do many things to exempt ourselves from the immediate consequences, but the front edge of disaster is most going to affect those who have the least."

dogemperor [userpic]
We as Christians must combat global warming

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

"For most of us, until recently this has not been treated as a pressing issue or major priority," the statement said. "Indeed, many of us have required considerable convincing before becoming persuaded that climate change is a real problem and that it ought to matter to us as Christians. But now we have seen and heard enough."

Current Mood: blank
dogemperor [userpic]
Apocalyptic Fiction

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

OK; Most folks around this group are aware of Dominionist-sponsored "Left Behind" series.

But Left Behind is not the only Apocalyptic Fiction out there: Slacktivist.com correpondents seemed full of ideas, some of which seemed heavily theological, some less so. Everything from James Beauseigneur's "Christ Clone" trilogy (another exploration of End Times, but apparently less Dominionist than LB) to Walter M Miller's A Canticle For Leibowitz (recommended mainly for being "a good book with Post-Apocalyptic leanings")

I was just wondering what anyone else around here might have read, or read about... Whether anyone had recommendations, or anti-recommendations...

dogemperor [userpic]
Question Time ????

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]navytron89)

While visiting my mother at Christmas I stopped at a truck stop and found a nasty little dominionist-type book called "Armed & Dangerous" the author is named Ken Abraham and has over 60 pro-Christian books under his belt as well as several biographies of famous Christian individuals (including Bill Gaither, Chuck Norris & Jim "Sleaze and  Grade: A Scumbag" Bakker).

Other books by this guy include the Progidal Project (basically an end-times series), Promises of a Messiah (another dominionist pile of used toilet apper),  & Stand up and Fight back :a (dominionist) guide for teenager.

I've googled and looked for him in several places, yet have found little information other than a basic bio.

Can anyone else fill in the blanks on him and where he rates on the scumbag scale of dominionism?

Current Mood: discontent
dogemperor [userpic]
Interesting article


What the "Left Behind" series really means

These media products are more than harmless American Christian kitsch culture or just more American religious swill. Swill it may be, but it is also dangerous propaganda and the writers know damned well that propaganda value. Just as the propaganda value of associating Jewish people with rats in Nazi Germany helped the German populace accept persecution of the Jews, the Left Behind books foster a morality that excuses horrors done to "non-believers." Forget about sanity and reason. Christian fundamentalist media promotes a hermetic worldview cut off from reason. From the standpoint of those who consume such media messages, it is not so much propaganda as it is an abundant offering so complete as to be a parallel bizarro world of its own. It gives answers to questions not even asked.

dogemperor [userpic]
A little light reading


Amusing article from Slate on those low-budget 'Left Behind' apocalypse films.


The article is pretty funny, even if the subject matter is not. Take a look!

Current Mood: amused
Current Music: Vertigo - U2
dogemperor [userpic]
Dispensationalism and its dangers


This excellent recent article by Chip Berlet talks about dispensationalism and why it isn't good to blend it with public policies:

Prophecy Belief and Constitutional Boundaries

A group of ultraconservative political operatives have harnessed a particular reading of Biblical prophecy, known as Premillenial Dispensationalism, (embraced by tens of millions of evangelical Christians) and transformed these beliefs into campaigns to deny basic rights to groups of people framed as sinful and subversive.

Premillennial means a belief that Jesus Christ returns in the End Times and, after a series of confrontations and battles against evil, he reigns over an earthly utopia for a thousand years…a millennium. Therefore, Christ returns before (“pre”) the Godly millennial kingdom. Dispensations are epochs, or blocks of history, during which certain things happen. Premillennial Dispensationalists think that we are poised on the edge of that historic epoch during which the End Times preface the second coming of Christ and his millennial reign.Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
Dialogue about dialogue


Here's a post from Chip Berlet on the DefCon blog about Prophecy, Belief, and Constitutional boundaries. Here's an excerpt:

A group of ultraconservative political operatives have harnessed a particular reading of Biblical prophecy, known as Premillenial Dispensationalism, (embraced by tens of millions of evangelical Christians) and transformed these beliefs into campaigns to deny basic rights to groups of people framed as sinful and subversive.

Premillennial means a belief that Jesus Christ returns in the End Times and, after a series of confrontations and battles against evil, he reigns over an earthly utopia for a thousand years…a millennium. Therefore, Christ returns before (“pre”) the Godly millennial kingdom. Dispensations are epochs, or blocks of history, during which certain things happen. Premillennial Dispensationalists think that we are poised on the edge of that historic epoch during which the End Times preface the second coming of Christ and his millennial reign.

A large portion of Christian evangelicals who hold these specific theological beliefs also believe that devout and Godly Christians, before the tremendous confrontations or “Tribulations” that culminate in a huge global Battle of Armageddon, will be spared injury or death when they are brought away from Earth and held in God’s protective embrace in an event called the “Rapture.”

It is easy to poke fun at these types of religious beliefs, but it is deeply offensive and provocative in a way that undermines a serious and important public debate over the proper boundaries for religious belief and public policy decisions. It is not accurate to dismiss Christians who hold these beliefs as ignorant, uneducated, or crazy. Social scientists have thoroughly refuted these stereotypes with polling data and in-depth interviews. In addition, it is not fair to ask people of faith simply to abandon their beliefs when they step into the Public Square or political arena.

It is also not fair, however, for those in the Religious Right to use God as a trump card in public policy debates.

There are some very interesting comments to this post which seem to be going along the lines of some of the commentary here in this community. Some people understand the need to reach out and engage moderate Christians, and others feel that there isn't any way to establish a dialogue when one side speaks English and the other is speaking in tongues. All in all, it's a thorny question, and a difficult matter to unravel. How can we disengage the political and theocratic elements from the spiritual ones? How can we confront the horrible monster that this politico-religious synergy has spawned?

Go read the post and its comments. I'll be interested in hearing your comments.

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