Thursday, January 15, 2009

This weekend on the show: End times theology for kids!

This Sunday afternoon, tune in to "The Atheist Experience," where Tracie and I will be joined by a guest. Charity is an 18 year old ex-believer who will be discussing the series "Left Behind: the Kids" and other wacky end times beliefs.

Update: Since I leaned heavily on the Slacktivist blog to get us through the horrid technical errors that left us phone-less, I'd be remiss if I didn't link him so you all could enjoy what I was reading.

- Slacktivist main page
- Posts on "Left Behind"


  1. I'll be certain to check it out.

  2. There's a Left Behind: The Kids now?

    Those two dried up old lizards will just keep milking this thing for as long as they can, won't they? I just looked at the Wikipedia page - so, these kids all had Christian parents, but they hadn't gotten around to making "the decision", so now they're stuck down here during the Tribulation, and will probably wind up in hell?

    Honestly - if I were God, I'd sue these assholes for defamation of character.

    Did you know that one of them accosted the Dalai Lama in a hotel in Israel a couple of years ago and tried to convert him?

  3. Bad enough that this sort of crap exists, and now it is being aimed specifically at kids? Nasty stuff. I guess you have to get at the children early to make sure that they turn out stupid and ignorant.

  4. cipher, have you heard about the PREQUELS to the Left Behind series? The Anti-Jeebus was made from sperm from gay men.

  5. cipher, have you heard about the PREQUELS to the Left Behind series? The Anti-Jeebus was made from sperm from gay men.


  6. Aiming at the high-brow, well-thought-out stuff, I see. Oh, the humanity! My faith is shaking in its boots already.

  7. I hope someone mentions the late 70's early 80's movies from Mark 4 productions.

    Does anyone remember seeing these?

    Thief in the Night, Distant Thunder, ect...

  8. I'm pretty sure you don't watch the show, Rho. What makes you think we're trying to reach you as an audience, or are attempting to threaten your faith? Do you expect me to run show topics about Scientology or Mormonism past you too?

  9. These folks are not far from my house:

    Endtime Ministries

    And look, they have a Youth Corps!

    And the Endtime Youth Corps has a YouTube Channel.

  10. Sounds like the theological equivalent of Red Dawn.


  11. What makes you think we're ...attempting to threaten your faith?

    Um, the fact that you do shows on atheism, contra Christianity. And I'm a Christian.
    I mean, other than the fact that I'm a psychic. And it's blindingly obvious.
    I'm just saying that you going after Left Behind would be a lot like Hank Hanegraaff dissecting Dan Barker's book. I mean, anyone could do it, but can one earn respect for it?

  12. Sounds interesting :)

    I was always curious about that series, but never bothered

  13. About that whole aspect of Christianity that's in love with the thought of the failure of life as we know it and also with the Book of Revelation and is happy about trouble in the Mideast because it's a "sign..."

    Pretty disturbing. Imo, it's one of those places where authentic spirituality ends and we enter the realm of the clearly psychological...

  14. @Rhology
    Um, the fact that you do shows on atheism, contra Christianity. And I'm a Christian.

    Why don't you call in? Anyone can call, and you can grill the hosts.

  15. Well your psychic powers failed, and you are in fact mistaken. Contrary to your fantasy, everything I post or discuss is not about you. We don't put on "The Atheist Experience" for your pleasure. I don't wish to make a convert of you. I don't actually give a damn whether you personally remain Christian all your life. I find you at most snotty and rude, more interested in firing off what you imagine to be clever one-liners than any kind of serious discussion.

    If you're not interested in the Left Behind series, it's because you're not their target audience either. Ergo, we're not talking either to or about you. If I do a show about Jehovah's Witnesses, I'm not talking to or about you. We're talking about "Left Behind Kids" because I think our viewers will be interested in observing one of the apologetics tools that Tim LaHaye uses to push his message on kids. You're not Tim LaHaye and you're not one of our viewers. The show does not relate to you in any way. Feel free not to watch, and try not to be shocked when you discover that the world is not a gigantic conspiracy against you, nor is it a mirror for your puny ego.

    Go away for a while, I'm tired of you and turning on moderation.

  16. Computer, define 'Persecution Complex'

    "Um, the fact that you do shows on atheism, contra Christianity. And I'm a Christian."

  17. Rho,

    We atheists would happily dissect highbrow contemporary Christian literature... if we could find some.

    The problem is that your theology does not have much - excuse me, ANY - intellectual substance. It's a collection of fairy stories and Bronze Age morality tales.

    For example, the Bible tells us that the diversity of human languages occurred as punishment for the Tower of Babel. How is one supposed to "seriously" discuss such a demented notion?

    One can, at least, find some sardonic pleasure in spectacles such as the success of the LEFT BEHIND series or utility in regarding it from an anthropological perspective; "Why Do People Read This Stuff?"


    RED DAWN was a great movie.

  18. cipher: Seriously.

    If you feel like having your intelligence physically sucked out through your eyes, you can visit and learn all about it.

    Of course, it was the first site to come up on the search since I don't really care enough to dig any deeper. Unlike some I'm only slightly masochistic.

  19. Contrary to your fantasy, everything I post or discuss is not about you.

    Tell me about it. In another comment thread, Dan posted some comments directly in response to something I wrote, so I posted a response directly addressed to Dan. Then Rhology writes something along the lines "notice how Tommy blithely ignores my 10 arguments blah, blah, blah!"

    Talk about being egocentric.

  20. I find you at most snotty and rude

    Darth Rhology: Define snotty and rude and provide evidence why, on atheism, such qualities are bad.

    Sorry, I just couldn't resist.


  21. RDissonant here,

    Related to this theme, I'd like to point out that several schools in the Netherlands where I live, who outwardly state they are open to all religions equally, have recently put several books on the extra-credit list i disagree with. These books could be read instead of for example Darwin or even Dawkins for extra merit. These include the Bible, a bible-study our school published itself (the religion teacher wrote it) and nastiest of all several books by mr. Jenkins, which include basically teen-books which describe the theoretical evilness of having atheists at the wheel. It's a dystopic view similar to the movie 'equilibrium', only with culture/emotion replaced by religion. Essentially like the Left Behind idea, they are considered by our teachers as accurate and important, despite being, of course, complete and utter nonsense.

    Anyone read these religion-promoting LB-style books by mr. Jenkins that would like to comment?


  22. I find that business about the Netherlands very disturbing. I look to Europe - the Netherlands, especially - as an example of the sort of progressive society we ought to have, and could have, if everyone here weren't so goddamn selfish.

    Jeroen, what kind of schools? Are they Christian private schools?

  23. AtheistUnderMask,

    It just never ends, does it? Adding to my last comment - we'll never have a truly progressive society because, not only are self-absorption and "me first-ism" ubiquitous here - nearly everyone in this country is a moron.

  24. What really bothers me is that tripe like this gets published and the untold talented wither in obscurity, unread.

  25. RED DAWN was a great movie.

    Yeah, maybe if you were a teenager like I was during the Reagan years. Looking back now though, it is just a silly fantasy.

    Now that I think about it though, I'm surprised that they didn't try to portray the Wolverines as dyed in the wool Christians to further play up the differences between them and the godless Commie Russians.

  26. Rho:
    Aiming at the high-brow, well-thought-out stuff, I see.

    Yeah, it's always the other guy's beliefs that are low-brow and not well-thought-out. Do you really think that you beliefs are any less weird (from a naturalistic worldview) that those of the Rapturists?

  27. Speaking of Red Dawn, it's being remade. Except instead of Soviets parachuting in, it's going to be Muslims... which means they now have an air force.

    I can't speak for you, but I'm kind of tired of movies taking the easy way out and making Muslims the villains. Yes I know some of them are evil, no I don't want to waste 10 bucks and 2 hours to watch it.

  28. Speaking of Red Dawn, it's being remade. Except instead of Soviets parachuting in, it's going to be Muslims...

    Then where does the "red" part come in? Jesus.

    I suspect a remake of such Reagan-era paranoid jingoism might have played better in the kind of neocon shithole America would be had it elected McCain. As it is, it may be a hit or a curiosity. The director is a longtime stunt coordinator helming his first feature. So, expect mindless Hollywood Product centered on lots of action and short on, shall we say, political exegesis.

  29. @Martin
    political exegesis.
    Not to mention any connection with reality.

    Although Red Dawn, for me, was decent macho entertainment, I had real issues with the idea of a Soviet army getting across the ocean without any supplies. As a submariner at the time, I found the concept that the Soviet Navy would somehow dominate the oceans professionally insulting.

    I am interested in seeing how this movie solves the supply problem. It should make great comedy. (albeit, unintended comedy)

  30. Off-topic question:

    Has anyone in this atheist community researched the claims that Possum_momma is a fraud? She's been accused of running several Internet scams, including lying about that famous Christmas essay, the Tom and Nancy Fundamentalist Christian fiasco, having her kids stalked on a camping trip, claiming various fictitious medical maladiies for herself and her children, the Gosselin blog drama, and a little scamming at the Split Coast Stampers forums?

    I don't mean just asking her, but actually researching the claims themselves in a methodical, impartial way?

  31. Both Matt and I consider Possum Momma to be a close personal friend. We have known her for several years; we both speak to her on a regular basis; and we know a lot about her husband and kids. The bullshit that people are saying about her is personally offensive to me. There are some very, very stupid people in the world who won't let go of a false concept once they've latched onto it.

  32. Someone stalked her children?!

  33. Well,
    I guess by saying it's "personally offensive," that means you don't feel impartial enough to examine the claims?

    Hypothetically, if she is guilty, then your taking her at her word would be a mistake.

    I was hoping someone reading this, without the emotional investment of a good friend, might have investigated so that there was independent verification of any of the stories listed above?

  34. OverTheMoon, while I don't have a personal stake in the matter, Kazim probably means that he knows her well enough to know that the charges are not true.

  35. @maddogdelta
    Here is how the movie will solve the supply problem...

    The opening scene will be the bottom of the Atlantic ocean...Peaceful...Calm...Several brightly colored fish will be swimming around, even if those fish are not indigenous to the Atlantic.

    Suddenly, a hand will reach out and grab one of them. It's Bin Ladin swimming, with a dialysis machine behind him. He will swallow the tiny fish whole, and, once he reaches the beach, he will put his hands on his knees, and take several minutes to catch his breath.

    Sorry, but I had to throw that in.

  36. @OverTheMoon
    I was hoping someone reading this, without the emotional investment of a good friend, might have investigated so that there was independent verification of any of the stories listed above?

    So you are proposing a Federal Special Prosecutor to go after a blogger to see whether rumors that do not indicate any criminal activity be investigated just to satisfy your prurient interests?

    Why not, just for the sake of argument, take the word of people who know her in real life and can attest that she is a very nice person?

    Unless, you want to jump in with a conspiracy theory started by some asswipe who gets his jollies abusing random people on the internet?

    Personally, I'll take the word of people who have had real life dealings with her. Also, I personally live by a code which, in short, says "Don't assume people are jerks, let them prove their jerk". I find I get along with more people this way, and generally enjoy life more.

    Might I suggest that you do the same.

  37. Dear OTM,

    Kindly go away and don't attempt to use this forum to spread libel again.

  38. I am interested in seeing how this movie solves the supply problem. It should make great comedy.

    That's easy Mad Dog, they all sneak across the Mexican border and pretend to be Latinos. After several years of working in landscaping and construction, they stock up enough supplies and in a lightning sweep, seize control of every no name town in Flyover Country, USA. Meanwhile, all of the Muslim immigrants in Europe take over the NATO countries and use the military hardware against us.

  39. The claims against Possummomma are malicious and false. Having been on the receiving end of malicious and false claims by a vengeful theist myself, I can tell you it's not fun. Attempts to spread such falsehoods here will not be tolerated.

  40. Thanks for the responses. I am not sure about the Internet abuser, but I suppose I'll come across him if he's related to this isue.
    I think the advice to talk to people who really know her is what I was trying to do. I do understand not investigating if you really know someone. I just thought maybe someone close or at least familiar with the backstory could say, "Here's a few links to look at."
    Not trying to libel, just asking...I've been reading about this and her blog can be read now with comments.
    Thanks, anyway.

  41. I knew people in Oklahoma 30 years ago who believed they would get raptured at any moment. These people have either died by now, or if they still believe in the rapture, they've wasted 30 years of their lives waiting for it.

    BTW, I'll have a good laugh when I hear about the death of 79-year-old Hal Lindsey, one of the cranks who has made a career of promoting the rapture delusion over the past 40 years. Instead of learning the obvious lesson, however, Lindsey's christian fans will just rationalize his non-rapture by saying that he went to heaven any way.

  42. I think you're missing the point.

    See, there's this real world out there, where things happen. People who know other people in this real world can see them happen and tell you "I know that happened." Not everything that happens happens in a hyperlink on the internet.

    What Kazim and others are telling you is not that they are not impartial, not that they don't want to "investigate" someone they know personally, but that there's nothing to investigate. The rumors are baseless, and they know this from personal, real life experience. Just because they can't take you to a website that has pictures and video to back them up doesn't mean they're wrong or lying.

    Moreover, where's the evidence for your claims? You have people telling you "We know her, we know this is the way it happened, and those other stories are bullshit." Perhaps, then, that should lead you, instead of twisting their words to make it seem like they were admitting their inability to be objective, to question the veracity of unbacked, randomly circulating rumors.

    Unless you're just here to spread the rumors under the guise of an innocent "investigation," which is entirely possible.

  43. I think (hope) OTM has gotten the message, Akusai. Thanks all the same. Further comments regarding Possummomma, even from our friends, will be moderated into oblivion, as they're OT and not appropriate here.

  44. I reckon these rapture believing christians are just a bunch of pussies who have locked onto a prophesy that, if fulfilled, will allow them to avoid death.

  45. I read the first book of the kid's version of Left Behind after my nephew manifested some vague interest in reading it (which fortunately never went past "vague"), and it is total garbage. Teaches all the good things Christianity is famous for: racism, intolerance, divisionism and general stupidity.

    My local library is overrun with copies of those books, including the audiobook versions, clogging up the shelves.

  46. One of my hobbies used to be reading End Times novels. I've read scenarios ranging from Roman Catholic (which actually wasn't that bad a novel, as far as such things go,) to a Seventh-Day Adventist version that had mandatory Sunday worship as "The Mark Of The Beast." But most followed variations of the standard fundagelical Scofield Bible Pre-millenial Dispensationalist view. And I can say that, without doubt, the Left Behind books (at least the three or four I managed to force my way through) are The. Worst. Novels. EVER. They are to fiction, even End Times fiction, what George Dubya is to the American Presidency.

    Oh, and thanks for linking to the Slacktivist Left Behind Dissections. The readers and commenters are a very diverse bunch, and the resulting comment discussions are almost as good as the original dissections.

  47. Considering all the technical issues, I think you folks acquitted yourselves very well.

    I too bad Rho didn't call. Maybe next week he'll take the opportunity to try to convince Matt of the "error in his ways"

  48. I too bad Rho didn't call. Maybe next week he'll take the opportunity to try to convince Matt of the "error in his ways"

    Knowing him, he probably has a new post up on his blog about how The Atheist Experience is censoring him because they're afraid of answering his questions. Like I said before, he's a legend in his own mind.

  49. I have to admit that it is not without a small measure of glee that I have bounced several of Rhology's efforts to post new comments. Some of them have been fairly long, too. I guess he didn't believe me when I told him he was going away for a while.


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