Monday, April 19, 2004


And I don't mean the Anti-Christ, either. From the Age courtesy of J. Orlin Grabbe:

But some scholars who study religion say that the phenomenal popularity of their Left Behind series of apocalyptic thrillers - now the best-selling adult novels in the United States - are part of a shift in American culture's image of Jesus. The gentle, pacifist Jesus of the Crucifixion is sharing the spotlight with a more muscular, warrior-like Jesus of the Second Coming, the Lamb making way for the Lion.

Scholars who study religion in American culture say the trend partly reflects the growing clout of evangelical Christians and the relative decline of the liberal mainline Protestant denominations over the past 30 years. The image of a fearsome Jesus who will turn the tables on the unbelieving earthly authorities corresponds to a widespread sense among many conservative Christians that their values are under assault in a culture war with the secular society around them.

The shift coincides with a surging interest in biblical prophecies of the Apocalypse around the turn of the millennium, the terrorist attacks of September11 and the two wars with Iraq. And the warlike image of Jesus also fits with President George Bush's discussions of a godly purpose behind US military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

For more on the strange philosophy that the fundamentalists use to transmute "love your neighbor" into "kill your neighbor," click here.