Saturday, June 25, 2005

Yo! Jesus Has Arrived, and He Ain't Happy ...


"For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the
world until now ­ and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut
short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect, those days will be
­Matthew 24:21-22

I bet that some of you are wondering what got into MY Rice Krispies this morning. I was perusing some old material I've accumulated and I came upon something I had saved from Nicholas Kristoff, one of the op-ed columnists for the NY Times. He wrote a piece titled
Jesus and Jihad
on July 17th, 2004. It talks about the "Left Behind" series of books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins and given my train of thought from my last two posts it seemed appropriate to re-visit this.

I'm not sure how many of the LaHaye/Jenkins "Left Behind" books are out there, but there's quite a few and so far they've sold some 60 million of them in total. Here's a chunk of what Kristoff had to say, starting off with quoting a line from the book:

"Jesus merely raised one hand a few inches and a yawning chasm opened in the earth, stretching far and wide enough to swallow all of them. They tumbled in, howling and screeching, but their wailing was soon quashed and all was silent when the earth closed itself again."

"These are the best-selling novels for adults in the United States, and they have sold more than 60 million copies worldwide. The latest is "Glorious Appearing," which has Jesus returning to Earth to wipe all non-Christians from the planet. It's disconcerting to find ethnic cleansing celebrated as the height of piety.

"If a Muslim were to write an Islamic version of "Glorious Appearing" and publish it in Saudi Arabia, jubilantly describing a massacre of millions of non-Muslims by God, we would have a fit. We have quite properly linked the fundamentalist religious tracts of Islam with the intolerance they nurture, and it's time to remove the motes from our own eyes.

"In "Glorious Appearing," Jesus merely speaks and the bodies of the enemy are ripped open. Christians have to drive carefully to avoid "hitting splayed and filleted bodies of men and women and horses."

"The riders not thrown," the novel continues, "leaped from their horses and tried to control them with the reins, but even as they struggled, their own flesh dissolved, their eyes melted and their tongues disintegrated. . . . Seconds later the same plague afflicted the horses, their flesh and eyes and tongues melting away, leaving grotesque skeletons standing, before they, too, rattled to the pavement."

"One might have thought that Jesus would be more of an animal lover.

"These scenes also raise an eschatological problem: Could devout fundamentalists really enjoy paradise as their friends, relatives and neighbors were heaved into hell?"

Kristoff hit the nail on the head: if something like this had been written in an Islamic country and depicted Christians and Jews getting their comeuppance on Judgment Day, the howls over it in this country would be deafening. I can just see old congressman John Hostettler from Indiana (see Thursday's post if you don't recall him) licking his chops over taking our enemies to task for declaring war on good, God-fearing Christians in this country.

Here we live in a country that depicts itself as extraordinarily tolerant and inclusive, but we have a large contingent of the evangelical faithful who buy this tripe (apparently as much as 60 million of this garbage), who honest-to-God believe that this stuff depicts what God is going to do. They have no problem with the fact that this vision basically dumps all the non-believers into the garbage pail of existence or post-existence, which for many of them is more important. Well, I guess many faithful figure something like this is going to happen to the "other" guy, and oh well they deserve it by virtue of not embracing Jesus. They don't figure that this sort of thinking has any bearing on how they treat the non-believer, or "other" believer before Jesus does the slicing, dicing, frying and flailing --- wow, how cool are these specific Christians, who are so compassionate, understanding, and fundamentally big-hearted and minded enough to overlook the fact that most of us on the planet deserve to be boiled in oil when the big finale finally comes?

I need to clarify something: I don't for a second believe that all Christians think us non-believers or "other" believers are going to fry in oil, or whatever, at the end, any more than all or even many Muslims are proponents of Jihad and blowing up buildings and innocent people on the street. But I have to say I'm amazed how people can take the same book and come up with such totally different messages. In the case of the Bible, which I'm most familiar with, I always focused on "Do unto others as you would have done unto you", "Turn the other cheek", "Be compassionate to the poor and weak", and all these messages that speak to our better natures. I can't recall anywhere that Christ says "Thou must believeth in me as the Son of God or thou will fry in hell, or I'll make filet out of you on Judgment Day", in fact everything that's directly attributed to Christ seems to be pretty much peace loving, understanding, open-minded and generous in every way possible; those who interpret Christ, to include some of the writers in the New Testament, are the ones putting these weird spins on things that pretty much run totally contrary to the man and his message as he overwhelmingly otherwise seems to be depicted.

Well, anyway, my point is that don't think the loonies only exist in Islamic countries, no siree, we have our share here, too. What's even more amazing is that they haven't a clue that what they see as just a literal interpretation of the Bible is just as whacked out as anything Osama Bin Laden and his rationalists have ever come up with out of the Qur'an--- gotta love that ol' good time religion, yes indeed! And on top of this, as you may have gleaned from yesterday's post, these people are doing their damndest to have their skewed point of view represent you by funding institutions like Patrick Henry College, and I'm sure they're thinking of other interesting ways to make your life on Earth here hell before Christ has a chance to on the Judgment Day --- Praise Jesus!


Anonymous Josh Canel said...

The most disturbing aspect of the Left Behind series is how unbiblical it really is, and how the believers reading it don't understand that. The interpretation of Revelations that most of us are aware of is of relatively recent date (the last 150 years or so). Even leaving aside how contentious the inclusion of Revelations in the Bible was to early Christianity, there is little to support concepts like the Rapture. So, in many ways, despite their popularity, the Left Behind books, if they aren't de facto heretical, are pretty close to it.

9:03 AM  

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