After a marathon "Guitar Hero" session the other night (in which I began to work my way up to tackling some of the more difficult tracks on "Hard") my fret hand finally cramped up and I switched off the Playstation. The console is set to channel 3 which, with my basic cable package, is the Headline News.
Not surprisingly, I was greeted with the vacuous Glenn "Fuckface" Beck and decided to see what sort of tripe he was prattling on about. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to see that his topic was "The End of Days?" and his guests were none other than Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, the professional doomsayers and amateur human beings who wrote the eschatological "Left Behind" series of Fundamentalist Christian novels.
As he is wont to do, Beck proceeded to verbally fellate LaHaye and Jenkins with credulity, treating their visions of flying Christians, a "one world government," and the Antichrist as if they were talking about something as concrete as the GDP of New Zealand. I didn’t get to watch the whole debacle because my brother finally interjected with, "If you don’t change the channel, I’m gonna put this liquor bottle upside your head."
The whole "End Times" thing has always fascinated me, not because I believe any of it, but because so many other people believed and still believe it. Back in my Christian days, I was lucky enough to belong to a church that never discussed such things, so I never gave any serious thought to the Rapture, the Antichrist, or any of that jive.
And, for further clarification, this rant isn’t directed at a majority of Christians, the ones who take a more progressive view of the Bible and eschew all this Apocalypse craziness. The religious folks I’m friends with laugh off the "End Times" as fantastical malarkey, and rightly so. This is solely directed at the assholes who believe that Revelation is a literal version of true future (or present) events.
What these literalist Christians don’t realize is that we’ve been living in the "End Times" ever since before the man called Hay-Zeus supposedly walked the Earth. Hay-Zeus was, if anything, an apocalyptic preacher (he believed he was living in the "End Times"), as were his followers, as were their followers, as were blah-blah-blah-yakkity-schmakkity right up to the present day. The problem with all this "The End is Nigh" talk is that, so far, it’s been all smoke and no fire and, if I may employ my own acute powers of prognostication, it will continue to be so.
The very concept of the "End Times" is like Fundie porn; or, more accurately, the "Grandpappy of All Snuff Films." Of course, the uber-faithful see it as the greatest possible thing that could ever happen; the good people fly up to Heaven, those "left behind" have to convert or die, Hay-Zeus comes out of the sky to slaughter everyone else, and this horrible, awful, sinful planet is turned into some kind of "Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy" paradise where, presumably, people just sit there and love God all day. Or something. Because, see, the psychotic, ultra-violent, fever-dream/acid-trip "prophecy" in Revelation is, like all other "prophecy," kind of vague and completely open to interpretation (unless you’re one of those literalist schmucks). In fact, the only specific prophecy I can think of is found in a book called "Good Omens," which is much more interesting (and better written) than the Book of Revelation.
Of course, LaHaye and Jenkins are convinced that we are living in the "End Times" because, I don’t know, the world is a crazy place and people are fighting wars. And "them damn gays" want to marry. And Richard Dawkins is a best-selling author. And whatever else they don’t particularly agree with is happening somewhere, maybe, possibly, and they sure as shit don’t like it. So they long for the day when a majority of the world’s population will perish in a horrific battle while they sit on a cloud in Heaven and look down on the damned with smug grins.
In keeping with his propensity for unmitigated insanity, LaHaye (who looks like a cross between a slimy used car salesman, Ron Popeil, and the Crypt Keeper) also believes in the Illuminati. Got that? The fucking Illuminati. He thinks it’s some kind of liberal conspiracy, which fits in perfectly with his "one world government" deal, so he can point to an invisible enemy and yell, "See! One World Government! They run the United Nations! If a Democrat is elected president, the Seventh Seal will be broken! Massachusetts is Megiddo!"
So, the moral of the story is this. LaHaye, Jenkins, and their ilk are amusing in some respects but... Anyone who actively seeks the abject destruction of our planet and cares little about the eternal torture of well over a billion people is someone you should always keep a very wary eye on. Oh, and Glenn Beck sucks, too.
And here's a little something for people who are constantly looking for the Number of the Beast.