Saturday, September 16, 2006

Left Behind

Erin writes: What are your thoughts on the Left Behind series?

I've started four or five different responses to this question.
Sarcastic: "It sounds like the title of a gay-porn series."
Silly: "Is that what Mike Seaver is doing these days?"
Serious: "It scares the crap out of me...but, not for the reasons you'd probably imagine. Or, maybe you would."

So, let's stick with serious. ;)
As a used-to-be-Catholic, I read the first book and really had a hard time "getting it". Catholics don't cotton to that particular view of rapture. And, in doing some research (for this blog), I wasn't surprised to learn that only 4% of Catholics like the series.
I read the second book (in the series), after I started questioning religion in general.
From a literary perspective, I think the books are fairly juvenile and poorly written. They're definitely written for a mass market. Not that that's a bad thing... it just *is what it is*. The characters are incredibly one-dimensional. Example: All of the children have been taken away, one presumes - from the text- to heaven. Yet, NONE of the parents "left behind" seem to give a crap. What's up with that? I know if I woke up on a plane and found that my children were missing... I'd go ape-shit crazy! Yet...here we have a planet of people who've been "left behind" and, after a tertiary phone call or "check-in" to confirm that their families are gone, they get over it pretty damn quick. I suppose one could argue that God stepped in to ease their transition and loss, but...if they've been "left behind" (for non-belief), then why bother? Why not let them suffer completely and fully in their loss?
Why does it scare me? It scares me because I know that millions of people truly and deeply believe this crap. There are millions of people who read these books and think, "Yup'...that's how it's going to go down." The message in the book is: "it'll all be over soon." for believers. And, I've seen some of the fans argue, on message boards, that this gives them license to fuck up the planet and proselytize. There's also some subversive language (in the books) that says the bad guys are the pacifist/rationalists. Um. Shit. That's me! I'm the bad guy? Not only the bad guy...but it is people like me who are presumed to be the *cue dark music* Anti-Christ. *rolls eyes* Sorry...I have toilets to clean and four loads of whites, I don't have time to be the anti-Christ.

5 comments:

erin said...

Do you want to know what really bothers me about the books? Aside from them being poorly written garbage, that is. Okay, the people who are on a plane in the beginning, they are looking through the plane and all the people who have vanished, their watches, clothes, etc. stay behind. But I always wonder...if someone had breast implants, would those stay behind, too?

Atheist in a mini van. said...

HHAHAHAHAHA!! I didn't think about the breast implants.

What about tampons? Pace-makers? Transplanted organs? Kind of makes you wonder, huh?

Yeah, I agree. There are alot of little-thought-out details that you'd think would be thought out.

erin said...

I know! I need to know what happens to the silicone and the tampons, so that when I'm left behind someday, I won't be TOO surprised.

Jain said...

Yeah, this is a reply to quite an old entry, but I just thought I'd throw in my two bits. Okay, so - when exactly did this series start publishing? I wanna say late-late 80s, early 90s at the earliest? If so, wow, whoever came up with that notion totally ripped off Stephen King's novella The Langoliers (what with people disappearing mid-plane voyage and bits of them getting left behind in the places where they once were). So not only is it dogmatic and boring, it's also ripping off a much more popular author. Boohiss!

Atheist in a mini van. said...

Yes, Jain!! I totally agree. In fact, the first time I heard of the Left Behind stuff, I had to ask if it was Stephen King's project.