A brief history of American apocalyptic religion
Bruce Chilton, a professor of religion at Baird College, has this handy-dandy short-form guide to American apocalyptic religion up at HuffPo: “America’s Apocalypse: Armageddon in Jerusalem.”
He ties together some of the uniquely American strands of contemporary evangelical End Times belief, including the fixation on Israel as the literal site of Armageddon—and makes clear that we can thank good ol’ Cyrus Scofield and his reference Bible for this fixation on the Middle East — and for the belief that the “Gog” of prophecy will be Russia.
It’s definitely worth reading if you’re at all interested in the mess that is contemporary fundamentalist evangelical thought on the End Times.
Left Behind fails as a novel for many, many reasons, but all of its other faults — the odious lack of empathy it holds up as a moral example, its blasphemous celebration of self-centeredness masquerading as Christianity, its perverse misogyny, its plodding pace, its wooden dialogue, it fetishistic obsession with telephones, its nonexistent characterization, its use and misuse of cliches, its irrelevant tangents, deplorable politics, confused theology, unintentional hilarities, hideous sentences, contempt for craft, factual mistakes, continuity errors … its squandering of every interesting premise and its overwhelming, relentless and mind-numbing dullness — all of these seem to be failures of the sort that one might encounter in any other Very, Very Bad book hastily foisted off onto the public without a second glance.**
Any one of those faults, on its own, would have been enough to earn Left Behind a place on the Worst Books of 1995 list. The presence of all of those faults — in a single book and in such concentrated form — is more than enough to secure its place on a list of the Worst Books of All Time.
Yet the book’s signature failure is something far simpler. Left Behind disproves the very thing it sets out to prove. It presents an inadvertent but irrefutable case for the unreality and impossibility of all of the events that Tim LaHaye claims are prophesied to occur at any moment.
Those events are not about to occur. They never will occur. They never can occur. Don’t believe me? Go read Left Behind and see for yourself.
That signature failure, Left Behind’s forceful refutation of itself, is what earns this book my vote as the Worst Book of All Time.—
Fred Clark- in the final analysis on the final chapter of the first book in the Left Behind series (via ursinechase)
I’m always pleased to see others picking up on how well Slacktivist eviscerates the bad writing, the bad theology, and complete lack of humanity in LaHaye’s “masterpiece.”