Curse you Mr. Fantastic, and your pal Jesus Christ too!
August 19, 2005 4:25 PM   Subscribe

The Antichrist Checklist : The most recent entry in Slacktivist's extremely insightful and entertaining series on mocking and deconstructing the Left Behind books. Being written from the perspective of a non-fundie Christian just makes it even more powerful. Slacky reveals how manufactured the cooked-up, hacked-together "prophecy," that fuels the series is. If you believe all that nonsense, and can make it through this series with your wacky premillennial dispensationalist beliefs intact, then I'm sorry but there is no hope for you.

Highlights of this week's installment, the best I've seen in a while: the antichrist, the paucity of the biblical evidence for him/it, and this sentence: "The composite sketch derived from all these descriptions yields a portrait that looks a little like Nebuchadnezzar, a little like Antiochus Epiphanes, a little like Nero or Diocletian, and a little like Victor von Doom."
posted by JHarris (24 comments total)
If the chart linked to above tickles your fancy (they are cool in a mythological kind of way), why there are plenty more where that came from:
posted by JHarris at 4:30 PM on August 19, 2005

Do they really figure 1/3 of the Earth's population gets raptured? I thought you've have to be Saved by Grace through Faith in Jesus. Was I taught wrong? Do Buddhists, Muslims, Atheists, etc. get to be Raptured too?
posted by davy at 5:30 PM on August 19, 2005

No, but every single child gets raptured.

I wonder what it would look like. I imagine the scenes in "The Forgotten" where people got sucked into the sky by aliens.
posted by arcticwoman at 5:36 PM on August 19, 2005

The one-third figure comes because, in the Left Behind belief system, all children get an automatic free pass into Heaven-land regardless of religious alignment.
posted by JHarris at 5:37 PM on August 19, 2005

"every single child gets raptured"

Not the married ones?
posted by davy at 5:55 PM on August 19, 2005

"every single child gets raptured"

Actually, the "imperfect ones" got left too. And yes, they actually do call these children "imperfect" in the description. Lovely.
posted by TricksterGoddess at 6:49 PM on August 19, 2005

No, but every single child gets raptured.

Awesome! I knew there was a good reason not to have a bar mitzvah!
posted by kenko at 7:36 PM on August 19, 2005

That's why I miss the Puritans--they were hardcore. Children could be sinners. And only 140,000 made it to Jesusland.

Thank you, Jonathan Edwards.
posted by bardic at 7:43 PM on August 19, 2005

Out of curiousity, what's an "imperfect one"?
posted by substrate at 8:50 PM on August 19, 2005

And people think the Muslims are nuts?
posted by kozad at 8:57 PM on August 19, 2005

Out of curiousity, what's an "imperfect one"?

From the discription linked to earlier:
The Christian science fiction series Left Behind: The Kids is the story of four imperfect children--Judd ("The Runaway"), Vicki ("The Rebel"), Lionel ("The Liar"), and Ryan ("The Skeptic")

If liars, rebels, skeptics and runaways aren't worthy in God's eyes... I don't think there will be many kids in heaven.
posted by arcticwoman at 9:09 PM on August 19, 2005

bardic, I thought it was 144,000. In "Revelations" it's 12,000 from each of the 12 Tribes of Israel (what that has to do with Celtic-Anglo-Saxon-Norman Puritans I don't know), while in the "Old Testament" book of Numbers 144,000 represent the total census of Israelites in the desert. I Googled several explanations for the Revelations' 144,000 figure, one's here, in case anybody cares.

From scanning the Amazon reviews and recalling the theology, the "imperfect children" would be "bratty" teenagers: before puberty children are pure, but after they reach the Age of Reason they're presumed to be able to understand right from wrong. (This is why Baptists don't baptise babies, because they're too young to understand the difference and choose the Good.) The "imperfect" would be teenagers who had masturbated, snuck out after their parents drank themselves to sleep, smoked cigarettes and played Spin the Bottle, etc. (But they're called "children" because they're "underage", so carnal knowledge of someone who's 17 years, 11 months and three weeks old counts as "child molesting" so you'd be a "pedophile".) I never had much erxperience with "pure" teenagers, when I was that age we were all doing something "rebellious" or "delinquent", but apparently somewhere on the planet there are 16 year olds who've never "touched themselves sinfully" or shoplifted CDs or ever had any fun at all.

So no kozad, it's not that Muslim weirdos are any worse, but that around here Christianity is "normal".
posted by davy at 9:22 PM on August 19, 2005

Speaking of children and the Left Behind series : my father is one of those crazy fundies (being that he is both crazy and a fundie. He'd probably still be crazy without the Jesus, but the Jesus sure helps) and after going to church on Sundays, he would... how do I say this without sounding creepy? He would show me movies. Specifically, the Left Behind movies.

Now, I was a kid who watched a lot of horror movies. The only thing that scared me more than watching The Blob at age 6 (good Lord, I had nightmares for years that the Blob was going to get me in my sleep), was watching the Left Behind movies at age 12. I was seriously the only middle schooler more afraid of the impending Antichrist than puberty. Puberty was easy compared to freaking out that I was going to get beheaded for loving Jesus!

Thankfully, I have since realized that I don't really care one way or the other about Jesus, and I'd really like the mark of the beast because I'm sick of losing my wallet. The end.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:36 PM on August 19, 2005

grapefruitmoon, the first Left Behind movie was released in 2000. Your profile indicates that you're 23, so the movies that scared you must have been something other than the Left Behind films if you saw them at age 12. The first book wasn't even published until you were 13.
posted by solid-one-love at 9:40 PM on August 19, 2005

I think grapefruitmoon is referring to a trilogy of rapture films: Image of the Beast, A Thief in the Night, or A Distant Thunder. I went to a fundie private school, who showed us these in jr. high. I can't even begin to describe the psychic trauma those films left behind in my little noggin.
posted by Dr. Zira at 10:34 PM on August 19, 2005 [1 favorite]

An ex-girlfriend of mine had a mom who read scripture to her by candlelight when she was a kid. Mind you, the mom was also not only certifiable but genuinely certified at one point.

And me, raised Roman Catholic, I rank RC dead last out of 27 possible religions on the Belief-o-Matic. Not a huge surprise.
posted by dreamsign at 12:32 AM on August 20, 2005

He was elected 18 months ago? Why 18 - that's three times six!
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:18 AM on August 20, 2005

I think grapefruitmoon is referring to a trilogy of rapture films: Image of the Beast, A Thief in the Night, or A Distant Thunder.

I know I called them the "Left Behind" trilogy because the first one (apprently called A Thief In The Night) ended with this hippy-dippy acoustic folky song that had as its chorus "You've been left behind" as the girl screamed "Nooooooooooo!"

I had to watch them in church when I was in junior high. They were disturbing then, but, in college, when I found them airing on a public access channel, they became the Best. Movies. Ever.

They feel like what would happen if Russ Meyer suddenly converted and felt it was time for Jesus to make movies. No, really.
posted by Katemonkey at 2:21 AM on August 20, 2005

I'm surprised no one has remarked on the charts yet. They are awesome in their over-complicated, obsessive, oddly imaginative way. They have pipes and tubes connecting Hell with Heaven with Earth with Whatever, and dozens of little arrows (some proceeding out of the crotchular region of a horizontal clay guy) flowcharting a soul's way throughout the gears and cogs of a profoundly weird cosmology. You keep expecting to run into the Plane of Concordant Opposition, Greyhawk or Krynn, except there are fundamentalists that consider this stuff to be seriously real.
posted by JHarris at 6:53 AM on August 20, 2005

Hmm... maybe the charts need to be a FPP, not that I think about it.
posted by JHarris at 6:55 AM on August 20, 2005

Yes, those are indeed the movies I was referring to. I didn't realize they had since made more movies.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:40 AM on August 20, 2005

Lately, all this nonsense just makes me think of Time Cube.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 1:20 PM on August 20, 2005

I'm extremely impressed by the Slacktivist, I wish we'd hear more from people like him: Christians who have actually read the Bible and listened to the words of Jesus and understood them, Christians who don't reject intellectual study of both the real world and the theological one, Christians who aren't just waiting around for God to rapture them to Heaven where they can thumb their noses at all of us sinners while exulting in their Chosen Superiority.

His pointing out that the Pre-Millenial Dispensationalist fundies are vehemently opposed to any process or entity that is actually concerned with bringing about peace - extending love and the hand of brotherhood to all people and nations everywhere, something which is a central teaching of Jesus - is most disturbing to me. Christians who don't believe in peace and love are not Christians in any way. How do the rest of us cope with what amounts to a death cult bent on genocide?

I didn't realize the Left Behind series was so virulently evil, inhuman and distorted, and knowing that 50 million + readers have eaten it up is pretty terrifying.

Good post, JHarris, I'll be checking in every Friday from now on.
posted by zoogleplex at 3:04 PM on August 20, 2005

Does anyone know how many people have actually read, and actually agree with, the books? I mean, I've read the beginning of the first because it's a fucking hoot. Of course, I read it while sitting in a library so I don't add to the circulation numbers, but, my point is, how many of those copies were bought by churchgroups or etc, and perhaps never found fertile ground (other than the town dump)?

Because, really, as a great lover of religious kookery (ie high school was filled with hours of recording and remixing [with tape decks!] Bob Larson, and I still have copies of Bud Macfarlane's Pierced By The Sword and Conceived Without Sin) these books are just beyond the fucking pale in bad writing. My mother gave Macfarlane a pass ("his heart's in the right place") but even if she was a premil-dis instead of Catholic she wouldn't be able to stomach the horrible Left Behind Series.

So, anyway, are the circulation figures believable?
posted by sohcahtoa at 7:19 PM on August 21, 2005

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