20 September 2008

It's finished!

After nearly five years, slacktivist has finished his epic deconstruction of the eponymous first novel in the "Left Behind" series.

I think this ties it up nicely:

Any one of those faults, on its own, would have been enough to earn Left Behind a place on the Worst Books of 1995 list. The presence of all of those faults -- in a single book and in such concentrated form -- is more than enough to secure its place on a list of the Worst Books of All Time.

Yet the book's signature failure is something far simpler. Left Behind disproves the very thing it sets out to prove. It presents an inadvertent but irrefutable case for the unreality and impossibility of all of the events that Tim LaHaye claims are prophesied to occur at any moment.

Those events are not about to occur. They never will occur. They never can occur. Don't believe me? Go read Left Behind and see for yourself.

That signature failure, Left Behind's forceful refutation of itself, is what earns this book my vote as the Worst Book of All Time.

Indeed. Ultimately, the major flaw of "Left Behind" is that it's actually antagonistic to the whole of the Rapture-ready/"end is near" theology. The latter relies on uncertainty; it needs vague ominous warnings to appeal to people. This way, any major upheaval in global politics, weather, geologic activity and so forth can be invoked as a sign of the Last Days, without any need to assign it to a broader outlook. "Left Behind" betrays this by laying out such a world in detail, and it's a world that anyone with a modest understanding of geopolitics would recognize as having no resemblance to our own, and anyone with a thorough understanding of the globe would recognize that the world of "Left Behind" could never come to pass.

Any admirer of Tim LeHaye cannot believe LeHaye's insistence that the Rapture is near at hand. LeHaye himself has seen to it.