Wednesday, February 10, 2010

God as author

I can’t find this online so we’ll have to take Jim Ring’s word for it in the summer issue of the New Zealand Skeptic. He quotes from Nicholas Guyatt’s book Have a Nice Doomsday: why millions of Americans are looking forward to the end of the world, in which Tim LaHaye, the bigot responsible for the 60-million-selling Left Behind series of 16 apocalyptic “novels”, says this:
The best way to reach the minds of people is the printed page. God chose the printed page to communicate with mankind. So how can you improve on that?
Jeff Sharlett reviews the book for the New Statesman here. It sounds great:
It’s an important project – as Guyatt points out, around 50 million US citizens believe Jesus will return with fireworks during their lifetime [. . . ]

At the same time, apocalypse preachers tend to undermine any attempt to see them as prophets, sage or sinister. What are we to make, for example, of Tim LaHaye, who, at the age of 80, wears his hair as dark and shiny as shoe polish and who boasts to Guyatt about the golfing amenities of the fabulous Palm Springs home that his Left Behind books bought? Even LaHaye’s bigotries are laughable – Guyatt spends several pages discussing another LaHaye book, The Unhappy Gays. This is only tangentially related to the apocalypse – LaHaye, like many fundamentalists, sees gay pride parades as harbingers of the end - but Guyatt knows that the image of LaHaye “undercover” in a “loud, brown, floral shirt and what appears to be a white PVC safari jacket, complete with silver pocket clasps and enormous triangular collars . . . cruising the haunts of San Diego’s gay community” is the kind of comic material that requires no justification.
The best book I have read on why the idea of apocalypse has such deep appeal to Christians (and to post-Christian society in general) is Norman Cohn’s The Pursuit of the Millennium. It is one of the best books I have read full stop.

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