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The overwhelming readership of the Left Behind series of novels by Lahaye and Jenkins reveals to what extent our "exceptional" American culture cannot distinguish between reality and illusion. A huge swath of the American public has gone out and bought these and other similar escapist novels by the millions. Many Americans seek to escape reality by drugs or by religious fantasies or both.

The overwhelming readership of the Left Behind series of novels by Lahaye and Jenkins reveals to what extent our "exceptional" American culture cannot distinguish between reality and illusion. A huge swath of the American public has gone out and bought these and other similar escapist novels by the millions. Many Americans seek to escape reality by drugs or by religious fantasies or both.

It may well be a sign that many of us have died morally, spiritually, and intellectually. No other culture of industrialized countries is so hoodwinked by the vagaries of born-again evangelical cults.

Eventually, we Americans will have to wake from our state of self-indulged juvenility. Delusional interpretations of the Book of Revelation, which John wrote as an allegory of his spite for the Imperial Romans, who imprisoned him, has turned into public policy about the most crucial areas of civilization’s survival on earth: nuclear arms and global warming.

We Americans love to avoid the real issues and, instead, focus on sensational gossip about celebrity stories, which pass for news and information. Today’s middle-class Tea Party members participate in mass delusions as they support the despotic right-wing agenda, in the hope that, yes, they too can become multi-millionaires simply by sounding like the wealthy corporatists who, in turn, deteriorate the middle class’s own standard of living. In reality, the original Bostonian Tea Party members of 1773 committed acts of terrorism against the British imperial despotism—taxation without representation.

As the corporatist, neoliberal, economic policies have undermined American ideals and institutions, our government has weakened to the point of losing its ability to bridle the corporations that impoverish our economy and destroy our environment. Many Americans prefer to cling to fantasies that God will snatch us up from this harsh reality and take us to a Disney World in the sky.

In times of despair and turmoil, many Americans have turned to demagogues, like G.W. Bush, who gave lip service to shallow notions of Christian faith, and charlatans like Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, or Joel Osteen who entertain us with reassuring wet-dreams of Christ coming down to enable us with wealth and prosperity or to swoop up only those among us who care less about our community and our own political interests so long as we get right with God.

These demagogues—like W —an American president who took a nation to war on the pretext that "God told me what to do"—they have led the gullible middle-class crowds throughout American history to destroy the very American ideals that enable us to become educated, wise, critically astute, and free citizens of a functional democracy, and not enslaved in the stupor of delusions and religious superstitions.

The word "rapture" appears only once in the Book of Revelation, yet, in America, it has taken on a life of its own, far from the actual text written by John. Without critical thinking, without a culture of literate, thinking people, we are doomed to enslave ourselves to the fear stirred up by charlatans, who sell us one version or another of one "sacred text" or another and keep us locked up in the shackles of fear that we might be left behind unless we conform to some televangelist conniver.

Now at the end of the war in Iraq, we have to dig our way out of the hole in which the evangelical, born-again Christians and neoconservatives buried us all. In wagging the preemptive invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and in the policies that W’s administration established only undermined America’s Constitution and its values, from the justice system to national defense.

"When it came to constitutional checks and balances, to the powers of the executive branch, lines had been crossed, fundamental principles violated, putting at risk precisely what made America so special. Dick Cheney had led Donald Rumsfeld and the neocons in creating a separate, shadow national security apparatus to create a disinformation pipeline putting forth its own wished-for reality as a mechanism to start the war." (1)

The neoconservative, born-again Christians take liberties to invent a reality when it is needed to carry out Armageddon type actions, but creating a reality in order to justify the death of thousands of people and wasting trillions of dollars is nothing less than lying. Lying on a national scale like this equates to criminal fraud and deception.

How did W succeed in misleading the American people only to establish radical, extremist policies that bankrolled our economy and destroyed thousands of U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilian lives? W explained why he pursued the policies of radical extremists, "There is a higher father that I appeal to."

During W’s presidency, the neoconservatives and the right-wing Christians teamed up to manipulate the wishful thinking of an America that no longer knows the difference between TV drama and reality. There are two worlds in America, the fantasy view of right-wing religious fundamentalists who spin their own reality and act on it without considering the consequences even when engaging in war, and the pragmatic, humanists who work from rational sets of known facts as a basis for public policy that serves the greatest good of all citizens, including the poor and the middle class, not just the wealthy.

"Hitler, to the Family [a secretive fundamentalist Christian organization in which many right-wing power brokers participate], is no more real than Attila the Hun as drafted by business gurus who promise unstoppable "leadership" techniques drawn from history’s killers;" (2)

In the hindsight of the W administration, the most dangerous threat from extreme fundamentalists arises not from the Islamists, but the neoconservative, fundamentalist Christians. W’s administration has proven this.

(1) Craig Unger, The Fall of the House of Bush, (Simon & Schuster, 2007) pg. 14.  
(2) Jeff Sharlet, The Family, (Harper Perennial, 2008) pg. 3.

Originally posted to Mark Biskeborn on Sat Sep 25, 2010 at 07:55 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kamarvt, DWG, LynneK, whoknu, Joieau

    Mark Biskeborn is a writer. His most recent novel: Mojave Winds. Available at amazon.com or bn.com

    by Mark Biskeborn on Sat Sep 25, 2010 at 07:55:03 AM PDT

    •  Bingo ! (0+ / 0-)
      Its really the Tea Party or TeaBagger Cult.

      Emphasis on the "cult" element.

      They are dead lost in paranoia, in communal delusions. It takes a whole village of nuts to believe that Obama wasn't born in Hawaii and/or is a secret Muslim.

      Please, my sig line............

      Career criminals + Angry White Males + KKK wannabes + Personality Disorder delusionals + Pro-Life Christians =EQ= The GOPer Base

      by vets74 on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 06:20:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rapture does not occur in Revelations (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whoknu, Joieau

    nor anywhere else in the text. It is a notion that is based exclusively on a sentence by Paul.

    The Lahaye and Jenkins fiction series violate Rev 22:18-19, which explicitly states that anyone who adds or subtracts from the prophecy is damned.

    The success of political exploitation of religious conservatives boils down to teaching that morality consists of opposing abortion and homosexuality and to serve God you only need to go to church and go to war. It keeps any teaching on compassion, mercy, forgiveness, justice, materialism, and peace from getting in the way of a political narrative steeped in greed-driven domestic policy and aggressive foreign policy.

    •  Correct about any 'word' (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      whoknu

      in any Gospel that could be translated as "Rapture." But the concept is gospel-based, even if a fanciful extrapolation...

      Matt. 24:30-36
      Matt. 24:40-41
      John 14:1-3
      Acts 1:9-11
      I Cor. 15:51-52
      I Thes. 4:16-17
      Phil. 3:20-21
      2 Thes. 2:1-12

      My father believed with all his heart that he'd be among the few to be the first humans to get out of here alive (raptured). He didn't, any more than any other Christian in any other of the hundred or so generations since their god-man didn't get out of here alive. Odd belief.

      Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

      by Joieau on Sat Sep 25, 2010 at 09:14:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The whole idea IS to be left behind (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whoknu

    Come on, all you teabaggers. Hurry up and rapture on out of here.

    (The mother ship awaits, to probe all your orifices.)

    Dear God, Please O Lord let it be Sarah Palin/Glen Beck in 2012? Amen, and thanks for all the fish

    by Pale Jenova on Sat Sep 25, 2010 at 08:51:39 AM PDT

  •  Only one-eyed, (0+ / 0-)

    one handed Christians will be raptured.

    Every act of Islamophobia gives aid, comfort and support to al Qaeda and the Taliban. There was a time that sort of thing was called treason.

    by grada3784 on Sat Sep 25, 2010 at 10:19:56 AM PDT

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