Nicholas Kristof, in an NYT Op-Ed piece last week talks about Glorious Appearing: The End of Days, the latest in the runaway bestseller Left Behind series by authors Tim LeHaye and Jim B. Jenkins, which has passages like this one,
"Jesus merely raised one hand a few inches and a yawning chasm opened in the earth, stretching far and wide enough to swallow all of them. They tumbled in, howling and screeching, but their wailing was soon quashed and all was silent when the earth closed itself again."
This unabashed and apocalyptic vision where everyone but those who have accepted Christ will have their own flesh dissolved, their eyes melted and their tongues disintegrated, is perhaps taken by a worrisome portion of its readers (the books have totalled 60 million in sales worldwide) as the literal, and Biblical, truth, the coming destiny of mankind. Kristof asks, Could devout fundamentalists really enjoy paradise as their friends, relatives and neighbors were heaved into hell? A serious question, and something that followers of any of the Abrahamic religions should have to grapple with, I wonder what answers or explanations they arrive at.
The Return of the Warrior Jesus is an older article on the issue by David Kirkpatrick, it appeared in the NYT in April this year and examines the broader issue of the image of Jesus morphing from an effeminate/marshmallowy/bearded lady one to that of a vengeful warrior intent on delivering a terrible form of justice to those who have refused to believe in him or who have transgressed his laws. Recommended.
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