Monday, September 18, 2006

skipping towards armageddon


I recently started and am almost finished with a book published by Soft Skull Press and written by Michael Standaert called Skipping Towards Armageddon: The Politics and Propaganda of the Left Behind Novels and the LaHaye Empire.

Overall, I would say that the book is a good survey of the subjects covered in the subtitle. Standaert explores how the Left Behind novels can be viewed as political propaganda on behalf of the Religious Right and he also explains Tim LaHaye's extensive and varied connections to extreme-right and evangelical circles.

I was a bit surprised by how far to the right some of Tim LaHaye's connections go: the John Birch Society, Christian Reconstructionist groups which want to bring back stonings and slavery, anti-semitic organizations, militias, etc. And it was interesting to see Standaert trace some of the political implications of Premillenialism (one of several possible Christian views on the end-times). Specifically, Premillenialism teaches that the Second Coming of Christ will occur before the 1000 year period of peace, justice, and prosperity. In this view, a utopian existence will be ushered in by Jesus through supernatural means, and so efforts to improve our lives through human means (the UN, international co-operation, progressive social movements) will necessarily be considered suspect.

I wouldn't insist that all Premillenialsts are like this, but I think that in many evangelicals, Premillenialsim is woven together with conservative/reactionary political ideas to form a coherent and seamless (and somewhat problematic) worldview.

Perhaps more later...

an extensive excerpt from the book (pdf)
Soft Skull: Skipping Towards Armageddon
Eight Diagrams: An interview with Michael Standaert
The Huffington Post: Boycotting the Image, but Not the Word? (about a violent video game based on the Left Behind books)

Planet Grenada's past:
number of the beast
the rapture
christian reconstructionism
wayward christian soldiers


DA said...

"Christian Reconstructionist groups which want to bring back stonings and slavery"

I wish I could say that doesn't describe a signifigant portion of the Muslim world.

Abdul-Halim V. said...

Yeah, I often think about what an ideal Islamic state would look like and I have to wrestle with that. I typically imagine that democratic reforms in the Muslim world would naturally bring into power Islamic political parties which woudl gradually implement aspects of the shariah at a comfortable pace.