20 October 2010

Left Behind: Soul Harvest

Read all my reviews of the Left Behind books!
1. Left Behind, 2. Tribulation Force, 3. Nicolae, 4. Soul Harvest,
5. Apollyon, 6. Assassins, 7. The Indwelling, 8. The Mark,
9. Desecration, 10. The Remnant, 11. Armageddon,
12. The Glorious Appearing, and 13. Kingdom Come

Here is something that happened:

"Listen, Rayford. I know there was a global supernatural earthquake a few hours ago, and that the authors have spent two dozen pages describing the piles of bodies and rubble that are everywhere, and I know that I have a rescue chopper, but it's really important that we discuss your wife right now."

Seriously.

Mac suddenly stepped forward and put both palms on the side of the chopper. His head hung low. Finally, he raised it and turned to face Rayford. "All right, here it is.  Don't forget you made me tell you. . . . Carpathia talks about Amanda like he knows her."
Rayford grimaced and held his hands out, palms up. He shrugged. "He does know her. So what?"
"No! I mean he talks about her as if he really knows her."
"What's that supposed to mean? An affair? I know better than that."
...
"Mac," he said as they strapped themselves into the chopper, "Since we're supposed to be on a rescue mission anyway, would you mind doing a twenty-five-mile circle search?"
"It'd sure be a lot easier during daylight," Mac said. "You want me to bring you back tomorrow?"
"Yeah, but let's do a cursory look right now anyway. If that plane went down anywhere near Baghdad, the only hope of finding survivors is to find them quick."
Yes. "Let's do a cursory look right now." Swell.

The standard of writing continues to be dismal. Here's an example: a quote from the Antichrist, the most persuasive and well-spoken man on the planet whose powers of language will sway the future of the world:

"We will have in place in a few months the first truly global communications network. It is cellular, and it is solar powered. I call it Cellular-Solar."
Let's imagine life if Nicolae Carpathia had named all new technology. We'd take calls on our Talker-Listener. We'd drive to work in our FourWheels-GoesFast. It'd be like everything was named by a stereotypical Native American or a pair of terrible evangelizing authors.

The misogyny continues unabated.

“Forgive her,” Buck said. “She's going through a twenty-two-year-old's bout with political correctness.”
But for the first time, we see a cause behind the marginalizing and objectifying of women:

Don't parent me, Buck. Seriously, I don't have a problem submitting to you because I know how much you love me. I'm willing to obey you even when you're wrong. But don't be unreasonable. And don't be wrong if you don't have to be. You know I'm going to do what you say, and I'll even get over it if you make me miss out on one of the greatest events in history. But don't do it out of some old-fashioned, macho sense of protecting the little woman. I'll take this pity and help for just so long, and then I want back in the game full-time. I thought that was one of the things you liked about me.
Just to recap on the women of the book:
  • Hattie - Pregnant, weeping, and repentant.
  • Verna - Dead.
  • Chloe - Pregnant and quiet after being rescued by Buck. Again.
  • Loretta - Dead.
  • Amanda - Dead.
Ah well. At least they're allowed to wear shoes for now.

We're also treated to some theodicy this time around, with woeful results.

Those who pride themselves on accepting Jesus Christ as a great man, perhaps a god, a great teacher, or one of the prophets, expose themselves as fools. I have been gratified to read many kind comments about my teaching. I thank God for the privilege and pray I will always seek his guidance and expound his truth with care. But imagine if I announced to you that not only am I a believer, but that I am also God himself. Would that not negate every positive thing I have ever taught? It may be true that we should love everyone and live in peace. Be kind to our neighbors. Do unto others as we would have them do unto us. The principles are sound, but is the teacher still admirable and acceptable if he also claims to be God? Jesus was a man who was also God. Well, you say, that is where we differ. You consider him simply a man. If that is all he was, he was an egomaniac or he was deranged or he was a liar. Can you say aloud without hearing the vapidness of it that Jesus was a great teacher except for that business about claiming to be the Son of God, the only way to the Father?
Let me be the first to apologize, on behalf of mankind, to C.S. Lewis. This ham-handed fumbling of his famous "Lunatic, Liar, or Lord" dilemma doesn't do him justice. Lewis was probably the greatest apologist of our age, and such a clumsy theft of one of his most frequently-quoted arguments just makes me cringe. Would it have been so hard to toss in a mention of the source?

(Incidentally, it's a flawed argument: yes, someone's teachings and lessons can be worthwhile even if they puff themselves up into something they're not, or are wrong about other things. The Golden Rule is a good example of a wise teaching of Jesus, even though he was not the Christ.)

I mentioned in my review of Tribulation Force how the authors had no sense of proportion in the events. Countless pages would be spent on minutiae of no significance, and then they'd breezily mention massive crime waves or devastating plagues. Here again is the same thing. Pages and pages are devoted to the exploration of a sunken plane in scuba gear. Yes, one of the main characters is looking for his wife's body, and it could be very sad. But does that really mean they could only spare a single page to mention the collision with Earth of a meteor the size of the entire Appalachian Mountain range? I mean, couldn't we have spared two pages, or even three?

The more than thousand-mile-square mountain, finally determined to consist largely of sulfur, burst into flames upon entry to the atmosphere. It eclipsed the sun, blew clouds out of its path, and created hurricane-force winds between itself and the surface of the sea for the last hour it dropped from the heavens. When it finally resounded on the surface of the deep, geysers, water spouts, and typhoons miles high were displaced, rocketing from the ocean and downing several of the GC planes.
I wish a meteor would have fallen on the authors. But four down, nine to go!

2 comments:

  1. Uggg. Gross. I don't know how you can read ONE of these... After checking out a few of the quotes, I couldn't believe my eyes. BTW, I'm no Biblical scholar, but I think there could be a 4th option to the Lunatic, Liar, Lord thing, and that is... errrm, to stick with the Ls... literature. Jesus didn't write any of the books of the Bible. Nor did God. Is it so hard to believe that some of the quotes attributed to Jesus were actually misquotes? Perhaps Jesus never did claim to be God / God's son (which is an interesting dual-claim to make in the first place), and that idea was only later attributed to him (for whatever reason)? I don't know enough about the timeline between Jesus's day and when the Gospels were written to really get behind that premise, but I just figured I'd toss it out there. Feel free to tell me if & why I'm wrong on that front. ;)

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  2. No, you're quite right. The Gospels were written at least forty years after Jesus died, and some of them hundreds of years afterwards. And Jesus' claims to be God's son are circumspect at best. It was really assholes like Paul of Tarsus (one of the biggest villains in Christianity) who seriously pushed it.

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