The Anti-Christ Handbook Vol. 2: The Horror and Hilarity of Left Behind

12 Apr

-Fred Clerk

There is little I can say about Vol. 2 of this masterwork that I haven’t already said about Vol. 1. This is both an elaborate takedown of one of the most absurd series of books in the world and an excellent primer on what to avoid in writing. If you want to be a writer, read this book – and learn from it.

LeftBehind_jpg

(Piece of fan-art – artist unknown)

Perhaps the most interesting – and horrifying – part of the book covers the growing relationship between Buck Williams (the so-called Greatest Investigative Reporter of All Time (GIRAT) and Chloe Steele. Actually, calling it a ‘relationship’ is rather absurd – Buck comes across as a stalker, a far more creepy version of Edward Cullen. But when Bella’s father worries about Bella, Rayford seems inclined to push his daughter into Buck’s arms … even though I suspect that any self-respecting father would be seriously worried about a guy whose behaviour is staggeringly inappropriate. And yes, it is inappropriate.

But perhaps this is unsurprising. Rayford’s attempts to reach out to Hattie – the girl he kept telling himself he could have at any moment, if he wanted her – is almost worse. There are page after page of cringe-worthy conversations between them … indeed, there is a strong case to be made that Rayford pushed Hattie into the arms of the antichrist himself! Rayford is pretty much the textbook Creepy Older Guy you don’t want your daughter to meet, the person who is superficially charming … until you refuse him. At that point, he turns nasty …

The book goes on to discuss the growing absurdity of the antichrist’s rise to power. Precisely why anyone would pay attention to a Romanian politician after the Rapture is never really answered, but as the Rapture took place without the characters noticing … well, maybe it’s all part of his spell. Except even that tends to take away the sense of free will. Indeed, the only people who resist the antichrist are Buck – who has just converted to Real True Christianity – and – oddly – the power-broker behind the antichrist. (And here Fred offers thoughts on why that may be so, thoughts that far outshine anything you see from the authors.) Just why anyone would embrace the antichrist is beyond me – and it is beyond the authors too, because they offer no explanation. It is merely a done deal for them.

Bad theology or bad writing? Personally, I’d bet on the latter.

But there is one point where I feel compelled to disagree with Fred and it’s on the subject of peace.

Fred points out, repeatedly, that there are strong factions that are instinctively suspicious of anyone promising peace. He’s right – but I think he misunderstands the reasoning behind it.

The problem with ‘peace’ is that it isn’t ‘freedom.’ There are plenty of places in the world – North Korea, for example – which may fairly claim to be at peace, but would you want to live there? Peace is merely the absence of war! There is no shortage of people who will offer peace in exchange for servitude.

In the years before World War Two, the West – Britain and France – made a number of concessions to Hitler and the Third Reich, all in the name of peace. There were elaborate justifications for giving up territory, ending arms limits, throwing innocent civilians under the bus … All that happened was that Hitler grew stronger and his demands grew more and more unpleasant. By the time France and Britain finally went to war in 1939, the Nazi beast was simply too powerful to be slain easily. Would the world have been a better place if Hitler had been stopped in 1936?

We have not learned these lessons. President Obama’s much-touted deal with Iran has already proved itself not to worth the paper it is written on. Iran has merely grown stronger; it already has more demands. And, while Fred condemns the reluctance to make peace in Palestine, it must be noted that ‘peace’ is not security for Israel. Why should Israel give up a tactical advantage for a vague and nebulous promise of ‘peace?’ Beware the peacemaker because he may throw you into the jaws of the beast, just to purchase a little extra time for himself. Preparing for war is a far more effective guarantee of peace than signing pointless treaties or making concessions.

But overall, this book is well worth your time.

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13 Responses to “The Anti-Christ Handbook Vol. 2: The Horror and Hilarity of Left Behind”

  1. robert godfrey April 12, 2016 at 9:23 pm #

    It is arguable that the position of the UK and France in 1936 was capable of a preventative war, or rather given the intel they didn’t have, that they thought they where, the French military was a paper tiger and the British military was not much better, it is standard to attack Chamberlain for ‘appeasement’ but where do you think the huge number of planes for the RAF came from? He was the one making the orders, for aircraft, for guns, for tanks, all the while playing for time, he bet wrong, but he was not the gullible patsy like to make him out to be. Hell he also kicked in the mass recruitment (admittedly in 1938).

    They could have rolled the dice in 1936, and knowing what we know now, it would have worked, knowing what they knew then, it was a hell of a gamble.

    • Stephen Yates April 12, 2016 at 10:00 pm #

      What could France realistically have done in 1936? (Forget Britain we could barely contribute anything to the Battle of France in 1940 let alone in 1936). The most they could have achieved was to force Germany to withdraw from the Rhineland. Following such a withdrawal (which I believe was planned if the French forced the issue) they would have had no grounds and no support for further action. It seems unlikely that this would have stopped Hitler (maybe it would have eroded his support, but it could also have served to unify support against the nasty French and British) and would at most have slowed him down.

      It also must be noted that it’s very easy to judge these things with hindsight, we today know what Hitler and Nazi Germany was to become, Baldwin or Sarraut simply didn’t have that information.

      There’s a better case for intervention on behalf of Czechoslovakia in 1938, but it still must be noted that Britain was largely unready for war. e.g. The first Spitfires were only just coming off the assembly line at the time and the first Hurricanes were only just starting to arrive with their squadrons. Our tanks were few in number and hopelessly outdated (the poor performing A9 and A10 cruiser tanks didn’t arrive in service until 1939). Even the Navy was little better with the new aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal not commissioning until Nov 38 and Illustrious not commissioning until May 1940 and the first new battleship HMS King George V not commissioning until Dec 1940. How well France would have performed, largely alone, is anyone’s guess, However given their performance in 1940 and their defensive mentality it seems unlikely that they would have succeeded.

      • Veraenderer April 13, 2016 at 10:34 pm #

        It gave the order that the germans troops should retreate without a fight from the rhineland if france had reacted, but realisticly there would have been fights between german and france troops (if france had reacted through sending their army into the rhineland), simply because france was at that time the arch enemy of germany, some soldiers and officiers would had refused orders to retreate without fight, civilist would had attacked france soldiers etc. .

        With other words a reaction from france would have led to a war between france and germany. A war which would be supported from nearly every german, not every frensch and with a good part of the world seeing france as the aggressor (and perhaps even without british support) –> france would not have been overrun by german troops, but it could have led to a unholy alliance between germany and the sowjets

    • PhilippeO April 13, 2016 at 3:54 am #

      Seconded godfrey

      recent historian generally agree that Chamberlain do right thing, with delaying the war. Britain need time to prepare.

    • chrishanger April 15, 2016 at 6:38 pm #

      That’s not debatable. But my point here is that rolling the dice would have had a far superior outcome to what we actually got.

      Chris

  2. PhilippeO April 13, 2016 at 4:34 am #

    ” President Obama’s much-touted deal with Iran has already proved itself not to worth the paper it is written on. Iran has merely grown stronger; it already has more demands. And, while Fred condemns the reluctance to make peace in Palestine, it must be noted that ‘peace’ is not security for Israel. Why should Israel give up a tactical advantage for a vague and nebulous promise of ‘peace?’ ”

    This is confusing “belligerence” and “security”.

    What happen if Obama didn’t deal with Iran? Russia and China (and probably EU) would trade with Iran, and Iran would have no incentive to reduce its nuclear capacity.

    What happen if McCain is President and attack Iran? after few years more radical and anti-american regime would replace current regime and more danger.

    Iran getting stronger is fact of life, and not necessarily bad. Remember none of 9/11 is come from Iran. stronger Shia might get ISIS and al-qaeda busy attacking Iran instead of attack US and Europe.

    same with Israel; peace would at least let Palestine authority become stronger, and economically-inclined Palestinian would at least more concerned with their own problem. Sure there would be terrorist in Palestine, and substantial population will support them, but Israel could deal with that.

    what if Israel continue with current policy ? Palestine would be more and more hostile to Israel each year since Israel control policing, road, water, and trade. Radical would have more recruit, and Moderate would be weakened. And accusation of apartheid would be widespread in US and Europe. it could only go worse.

    bad people is fact of life. danger is fact of life. war and victory had limit, you could not live in permanent war state. you could not control how other nation pick its policy. you could not win every war. peace had its limit and its use. It enable you live together, and sometime trade, for a time. and sometime your enemy fight each other., instead fighting you.

    • chrishanger April 15, 2016 at 6:41 pm #

      I am not – of course – responsible for setting Israel’s national security policy. However, I would prefer – very much – to negotiate from a position of strength, rather than surrendering vital positions and security measures in exchange for vague promises of peace. That’s basically what killed the Czechs – they gave up their defences, only to discover that Hitler was far from satisfied.

      Chris

      • philippeo April 19, 2016 at 5:05 am #

        the Czechs choice, like Israel, is the best among bad policy. If Czech refuse to hand over German minority areas, whathappen ? they will lost their ally Britain, theyhave insurgency, and even with fortress defence line, they only delay, not stop German war machine. Britain might not be best ally, but Czechs simply didnt have better option.

        Israel is in similar situation, EU and US Never recognize West Bank as Israeli. Netanyahu policy is essentially ‘go alone’ policy. It antagonize Democrats in US and alienate EU. and for doubtful military value ( Israel wall, missile shield, and IDF didn’t actually need WB). WB value is ‘reprisal’ not military, Palestine sent bomber and rocket, so Israeli public want vengeance. Reprisal and Vengeance Do have use in Diplomacy. But ithink Israeli undervalue EU and US as ally importance in Israel economy and security.

      • chrishanger April 19, 2016 at 6:41 pm #

        That’s not how i see it

        For the Czechs, the choice is between holding out (with a reasonable chance, even by what was known at the time, of beating Hitler off when he attacked) or giving up their best hope of defending themselves in exchange for empty promises from Hitler, Britain and France. It was a staggeringly unwise choice to make, as was proven in 1939.

        Chris

  3. Chance April 13, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

    Not only has Iran grown stronger with the US’s deal, but the United States involvement in the Middle East has created a hatred towards western involvement. The more the US uses the drone strikes to weed out terrorists, the easier it is for the radicals to get people to sympathize with their cause.

    The United States has built a bridge from the Middle East to stability out of sand, and now they are walking on it. And it’s about to crumble completely

  4. denis1968 April 14, 2016 at 11:49 am #

    Probably off-topic, but I can’t help noticing how any dicussion about any book on this blog immediately becomes a debate on the matters political and (usually) historical. Not that I have any problem with either, but surely there are other things worth writing about, and debating? Surely there are still authors out there who concern themselves with people – men and women – rather than the fate and destiny of empires and federations, may the Force be with them? Just saying.

  5. Nunya Biznes April 15, 2016 at 6:27 pm #

    I went to a private Christian university and in English 1301, I had a great teacher, but she had biases and let those affect her grading. I always got excellent marks on all my papers, my professor even suggested that I had the talent to write, but on two essays, I got bad marks. The first was when I suggested that the Church had failed in its mission when compared to the Sermon on the Mount and the Great Commission, and the second when I reviewed the Left Behind series as absolute trash.

  6. Tarun Elankath April 18, 2016 at 10:19 pm #

    This argument is based on highly false equivalences. (Basically a strawman argument). Where is Iran’s conquered territory ? Has it grown its military to such an extent hat it is the supreme power in the middle east ? How can a deal with Iran be in any way equated or compared to WW2 appeasement ?

    Why is Saudi Arabia treated as a close ally while Iran gets the stick ? I’ll tell you why – because the CIA’s oil inspired coup didn’t work out and ruffled a lot of egos, jobs and careers at the US state department – the sordid history of the CIA’s intervention is *extremely* well documented in wikipedia. Of course, no politician (apart from Bernie Sanders) talks about Iran’s history in foreign policy.

    Frankly, developing nuclear weapons makes *perfect* sense for a sovereign nation. Note the US spends more on its military than the next 10 nations combined – there is utterly no way you can compete with that. Your only valid strategies for defence as a sovereign nation are to be a US bootlicker or ensure you have sufficient investment in the US (via trade or simply have ownership of politicians and media houses). If you can’t do either, then you *need* nuclear weapons.

    Nuclear weapons are the perfect shield against arbitrary US military intervention and regime change. (This is no tinfoil hat – please remember that the regime change plan of seven nations in the middle-east was officially documented as revealed in the Snowden documents).

    In the 1971 war against Pakistan, India was explicitly threatened by the US who gave material support to Pakistan. Thankfully, we won that war quickly and got a surrender. But the threat was enough for us to kickstart our nuclear program and today we have a nuclear deterrent in place. Today there is no chance of war with any western power – simple trade and investment makes that a no go – but in the 1970’s that wasn’t the case. We were a functioning democracy which was part of the non-aligned movement in the cold war and Pakistan was a banana republic that lived on US aid (and still does for that matter).

    Btw America’s greatest ally in the middle east – Saudi Arabia, which incidentally executes, beheads and whips many more folks than Iran is in secret negotiations with Pakistan to obtain (chinese) nuclear weapons. Of course, there is no talk about sanctions on them – the house of Saud are cunning and own most of the mass media and heavily contribute to US super pacs. Don’t take my word for it – do your own research folks!

    Iran is the bad guy because they were stupid in not playing the US capitalist game. That is changing now – most governments in the world realise that if you wish the US to be friendly towards you – ensure you have some puppets in the congress and senate. There is appeasement, but not the way you think.

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