by Sean, crossposted from Hiding in the Backwaters
We’ve probably all noticed the “Left Behind” books at the book store. Their stark covers draw the eye and actually briefly held my interest until my boyfriend at the time, whose family is very Southern Baptist, explained to me what the Rapture is.
I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that those left behind because they were not righteous enough should invent some way to prove their devotion and redeem themselves, but this is just creepy.
Imagine: you are a foot soldier in a paramilitary group whose purpose is to remake America as a Christian theocracy, and establish its worldly vision of the dominion of Christ over all aspects of life. You are issued high-tech military weaponry, and instructed to engage the infidel on the streets of New York City. You are on a mission – both a religious mission and a military mission — to convert or kill Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, gays, and anyone who advocates the separation of church and state – especially moderate, mainstream Christians. Your mission is “to conduct physical and spiritual warfare”; all who resist must be taken out with extreme prejudice. You have never felt so powerful, so driven by a purpose: you are 13 years old.
This game immerses children in present-day New York City – 500 square blocks, stretching from Wall Street to Chinatown, Greenwich Village, the United Nations headquarters, and Harlem. The game rewards children for how effectively they role play the killing of those who resist becoming a born again Christian. The game also offers players the opportunity to switch sides and fight for the army of the AntiChrist, releasing cloven-hoofed demons who feast on conservative Christians and their panicked proselytes (who taste a lot like Christian).
Could such a violent, dominionist Christian video game really break through to the popular culture? Well, it is based on a series of books that have already set sales records – the blockbuster Left Behind series of 14 novels by writer Jerry B. Jenkins and his visionary collaborator, retired Southern Baptist minister Tim LaHaye. “We hope teenagers like the game,” Mr. LaHaye told the Los Angeles Times. “Our real goal is to have no one left behind.”1
And we give Islam a hard time? At least the Christian wackos are waiting for several million people to up and vanish before they begin their righteous slaughter. Or so we hope.
HAT TIP: Andrew Sullivan
1Hutson, Jonathan, “The Purpose Driven Life Takers (Updated),” Talk To Action, May 29, 2006, talk2action.org.