Why the Anti-Christ is an Idiot

I actually read Left Behind out of anthropological curiosity. I wanted to find out what the fuss was all about. My impression? Well, let's just say it was a theological eye-opener.

Here's the thing that kept bothering me. The book begins with the rapture. Unfortunately, this takes place while lead character Rayford Steele, a pilot, is flying his airliner. So landing the plane is kind of dramatic since key air traffic control people, who were good Christians, suddenly vanish. Rayford is married to Irene and they have a daughter, Chloe, and a son, Raymie. Upon returning home Rayford finds that Irene and Raymie have been raptured. But Chloe remains behind with him.

Well, very quickly Rayford and Chloe go to Irene's church--New Hope Village Church--to get some answers. They find only one member remaining, a minister named Bruce. Bruce, Rayford and Chloe eventually find a video left behind by the raptured pastor of New Hope. It's a kind of "If I and millions of good Christians suddenly disappear, play this tape" tape. I assume all pastors have one of these in their office.

They do play the tape and get a Rapture and Tribulation 101 Crash Course.

This, you might be surprised to know, isn't the part that puzzled me. What puzzled me were the activities of Romanian politician Nicolae Carpathia.

Nicolae Carpathia is the anti-Christ and through the rest of Left Behind we follow his rise to power. Now here is my first quibble. If you were the anti-Christ and you wanted to keep it undercover why would you choose the name Nicolae Carpathia? Because if I was the anti-Christ I'd want to go with something more nondescript like "Bob Smith." Think about it. If you met Bob Smith and Nicolae Carpathia who would you suspect would be the anti-Christ? See my point? Bob Smith just can't be the anti-Christ. It's the perfect name.

But the name isn't what bothers me. What bothers me is that Nicolae Carpathia, the anti-Christ, starts following the End Times script to the letter. The Bible prophesies that the anti-Christ will do X. And Nicolae Carpathia does X. The Bible prophesies that the anti-Christ will do Y. And Nicolae Carpathia, monotonously and predictably, does Y.

And I'm thinking, is the anti-Christ a complete idiot?

Because either the anti-Christ is a deterministic automaton, slavishly following the End Times predictions of the Bible, or he's a complete moron. It's really one or the other.

Let's assume he's a moron. Why do I draw this conclusion? Well, first, if I was the anti-Christ I would take the time to read the book of Revelation. Shoot, I'd take the time to get a Ph.D. in New Testament apocalyptic literature. Why wouldn't you? I mean, the opposing team just handed you the play book. At the very least the anti-Christ should sit down and watch the End Times 101 educational video left behind at New Hope church.

Think about it. How could the anti-Christ NOT know he's going to fight a battle at Armageddon? Has he not seen any Hollywood movies? This whole battle is a part of pop-culture. He's got to know.

So you have to figure, on the eve of the battle, that he might think back on his whole life, where each step has been predicted in perfect detail, and wonder, "Hmmmm. Maybe I shouldn't fight this battle tomorrow on the plains of Armageddon. Seems like a bad idea. Maybe I should, well, CHANGE TACTICS! Fight the battle somewhere else. Like Boise, Idaho."

Because if I was the anti-Christ that is what I'd do. I'd change my name to Bob Smith and fight the battle in Bosie, Idaho. I'd try to mix it up a bit. Throw Jesus a curve ball. In fact, I'd actually be Dr. Bob Smith. Because I'd have gotten my Ph.D. in New Testament apocalyptic literature.

The anti-Christ might be an idiot. But I'm not.

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22 thoughts on “Why the Anti-Christ is an Idiot”

  1. Richard-

    In light of your recent comment on my blog, you might be interested to know that the anti-Christ is also a SHRINER.

    Here's iron-clad proof:


  2. I reckon the anti-christ would write a blog post about the anti-christ. And if I was the anti-christ, I would think that maybe being called Bob Smith would be going too much the *other* way and would call myself something a bit more in the middle, like Richard Beck.

    Come on Richard, admit it - it's you, isn't it

  3. A dear friend of mine wrote his senior thesis on the sociological themes of the Left Behind series.

    As far as literal takes on the Rapture, I prefer Heinlein's "Job: a Comedy of Justice". It's chock full of Unca Robert's special brand of 80-proof crazy, but still good fun.

    Thanks for the series on Biblical literalism.

  4. i can't remember the cs lewis literature i've read this one, maybe the screwtape letters, but i remember him discribing evil as having the tenant of stupidity. maybe he's not that smart..

  5. Richard,

    For years I was torn between Dick Nixon and Henry Kissinger as antichrist. Now I am still torn between two choices for the anitchrist: Barney or David Hasselhoff. Google it for authoritative word.

    Shortly before he died at 88, my Dad said that viagra was his idea of the Rapture: that it lifted up millions of men.

    Have a blessed Thanksgiving,

    George C.

  6. Richard,
    I was raised on this stuff. Almost every sunday someone would say that today could be the day we get raptured. Let's spread our arms and legs and bust holes in the ceiling as we ascend to the right hand of Jesus so that the anti-Christ hs to repair it. No kidding!
    By the way, why is it always the girl who is left behind and the son goes to be with Jesus? C.S. Lewis has the girl going back through the wardrobe and LaHaye has the son being raptured and not the daughter. Another reason to detest this drivel.
    As for the anti-Christ's identity, just google it and you will find that many "scholors" claim it is George Bush. Can't argue that he is at least the opposite-Christ in his actions if not the anti-Christ. If I did believe in the anit-christ I would have to say George would get my vote as the perfect choice.
    One other note, why would a valley by a little town of Meddigo be where the final showdown occurs. It's a bit old school to have opposing forces lined up against each other when tactics have change and evolved so much over the years. A little shock and awe would destroy a force that's all exposed and vulnerable like that.
    Of course I didn't ruin the story. You would have needed to suspend disbelief anyway in order to enjoy LaHaye's fiction.
    Rick T.

  7. You all might appreciate this book. Right Behind, a parody of the Left Behind series. The climax has the hero duking it out with the "antiChrist" in a Christian bookstore, throwing Precious Moments figurines at each other and smashing each other over the head with Thomas Kinkade paintings.

  8. Richard,

    You've got to check out the analysis of Left Behind on the blog Slacktivist. It's absolutely hilarious - he's taking it about 10 pages a week and dissecting it to show them as the Worst Books Ever - and expose their theological, moral, and literary weakness.

  9. That analysis is top quality. I enjoy both the comedy and the lesson in ethics.

    One last Left Behind memory: The VHS version of the Left Behind movie includes some of the most unintentionally hilarious movie trailers in the history of the medium. Nick Mancuso plays the Antichrist in three or four different productions, one of which stars both Mr. T and Gary Busey as members of a sort of Christian SWAT team. Top quality all around.

    I am thankful for comedy, myself.

  10. Having been unable to subject myself to LEFT BEHIND I appreciate the research performed by others, as long as the book reports are brief.

    Keith, Your comment reminds me that I did read RIGHT BEHIND, having purchased a copy on impulse when the title produced an image in my mind of left and right buttocks coming together to produce a TOTAL BEHIND.

  11. Mike,

    Left Behind, Right Behind, Total Behind sounds like "moonshine" to me. :)


    George C.

    P. S. Good to see that you are another Loreena McKinnet fan. Check out my blog for my appreciation of her.

  12. Beck - I know little about this anti-Christ stuff. But don't forget: I'm your breakfast guy.

  13. Thanks everyone for all the fun comments. And also for all the links and book references. Who knew how deep and wide the Left Behind wake has been! My conclusion: Left Behind is a kind of like anti-theology: It's not good theology but it produces good theology in reaction to it. Curious.

  14. Well, doesn't this prove that the Idea of an all-knowing deity removes free will? Revelations says that the Antichrist would sign a deal with "Babylon" (which, in the Left Behind series, is interpreted to be the West). He does (in the books), but did he have the option not to?

  15. I think your probably correct in some of your criticism of some of the cheezy aspects of the movie. They are using at times childish plots and weak writing, which is common in Christian based evangelical movies. Most of them are pretty poorly written, made, and have bad scripts and acting. Even if they hype if from a poorly written book like Left Behind.

    Some of your comments are based on some fallacies of what the Anti-Christ is often thought of and perhaps based on a believe system or outlook that many don't have even in other religions. Let me give you an example. First, this Anti-Christ is commonly thought of as someone who could be anyone, he could be uniquely gifted, but then again he could be any normal politician or normal person. The goal in many supressive religions and also this feeds into many religous views of the Anti-Christ is to enslave the follower. For example in Islam, it's not about free will, it's about once you're in the religion one of the pillars states if you backslide they return you to the religion by killing you. This is a form of enslavement. If some believe in freedom of choice and liberty, which many Christians believe in, others believe and force enslavement, which is thought of by many to be evil. Slaves don't have free wills, they may have them but they are punished when they go against them. In a religous and often spiritual view of man, or what is taught, we become slaves to our sins or instincts. Some become slaves seemingly totally losing their will to something that is considered demonic.

    Many talk about the anti-christ as someone who recovers from a head wound. That could be anyone who is hit with a bullet or someone like JFK a perfectly normal and sane person in politics who is seemingly killed. And then with a miracoulous recovery, he seems almost godlike. And that miracle could leave the person seemingly brilliant, but somehow brain damaged. They might even have wonderful powers that will fool many. These help put this person, or maybe they make a choice to begin with that leads them into a type of bondage. They might even be literally dead and more like a puppet to a demonic presence that in this rare case is a type of incarnation, as Christ was incarnated into the body of a person, but yet human, this anti-christ could be a type of devil incarnated and taking over the body of a human. Not born with freedom that he decides to use to follow the spirit of God, but "reborn" with an evil spirit that blasphemes and yet has great powers.

    If we look at historical figures, we can see versions of "anti-christ" of the false prophet. Mohammad, being one of them. And he claims to be a prophet, but it really "against" Christ and the Church and Jews and his religion is mostly filled with, "anti-Christian" and "anti-Christ" comments. For examples, you cannot be friends with them, because they will try to convert you, etc. Much of their teaching is build on being negative toward these other religions. Negative is anti, to be against Christ, by choice or even reduced mental incompetence is to be "against Christ" or simply anti-Christ.

    There are many Anti-Christs in the world, but only a rare person that falls into and meets the needs of becoming "The Anti-Christ".

    There is a saying that absolute power corrupts absolutely. With many men in power they find power like a drug and become more and more corrupt. It's no surprize then that a person could easily give into to a dark nature and even be seemingly nice toward religion at first and then turning against it. Many Muslim accounts look for a Muslim Messiah who is the Magi, who is according to their theory a type of Messiah who will destroy and put other religions into submission. Including the mass beheadings of those who are enemies of Islam, this fits nicely into many Revelation like predictions and the Muslims even take and twist those to find their own end time prophesies. They think Christ will come back on earth and die, which of course is a typical thought of someone who would be their leader. So filled with rage it would even fight Christ as he came back from heaven. There are even sci-fi references often to ideas of fighting aliens, etc. It would be easy for a world leader to treat angels as Aliens, anything is possible.

    Some worry about the thought of a guy having free will, well we can think of this as a role that "someone accepts". Many sell their soul to the devil for a lot less, and being the leader of the world is a pretty big price to accept and it would be easy to see someone filling that role.

  16. Also left behind is really basically a hyped bad movie script. It's not very well done on many levels and doesn't make a lot of sense. It's just an overhyped and overproduced Christian B movie with a lot of strange and fictionalized accounts thrown in. To seriously try to defend a belief based on what this movie says shows that the person takes this movie to seriously and hasn't really studied or looked at a lot of theores of end time theology. Even many theories which are better and more serious have a lot of flaws and holes in them. Left Behind is light on theology and invents much of it, and heavy on fiction.

  17. Well you are kind of an idiot. because if the whole anti Christ thing is true that means Christianity is the right religion. and religion it self is a bunch of bullshit

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