What if there were a type of fiction that -- intentionally -- catered to 
believers in religious fantasies that predict a coming apocalypse that 
(according to their dogma) will kill all but the most faithful believers? What 
would its primary characteristics be? 

Well, if you believe that True Believers of apocalyptic fantasies *are* 
actually focused on the things they tell people they're focused on, it would be 
about the joys of being "saved," and how their unwavering faith saved them, 
while so many others perished. 

But that's not really true. What the fiction designed to appeal to these True 
Believers focuses on are the Terrible Things That Are Going To Happen To The 
Non-Believers™. There will be page after page of terrible things happening to 
people who aren't on the Believer Bus -- bombs going off, planes crashing from 
the skies, terrorism, floods, riots, etc. These NON-God-fearing people will 
disappear, be torn apart, be tortured, be blown up, and more. And this will 
happen over and over and over, so that the True Believers will be presented 
with a morality tale similar to paintings of Hell by Hieronymus Bosch that 
supports their group fantasy of being "special," and other people *NOT* being 
special. In fact, these non-believers are SO not special that they're all going 
to die in horrible ways.

Think I'm exaggerating? Well, welcome to the "Left Behind" series of books. 10 
books, which have now sold over 65 million copies, almost ALL sold to 
evangelical Christians who believe in dispensationalist prophecies, almost ALL 
of them living in America. (The books have not sold well anywhere else on 
earth, which says something about the collective religious insanity that is the 
United States.) Think my title for this post is sensational? The "Left Behind" 
books are LITERALLY "Apocalypse Porn." 

And now there's "Left Behind," the movie. It's a remake, actually, preceded by 
a series of earlier low-budget, direct-to-DVD movies starring evangelical 
Christian nut case Kirk Cameron. That movie didn't do very well, so Hollywood 
decided to do what they do best and do a big-budget remake of it, starring 
Nicolas Cage. Anyone who saw the loathsome remake of "The Wicker Man" starring 
Cage knows that their choice of star is a tipoff as to the quality of the movie 
and what to expect. 

For the first half hour of the movie, it's just tedious, all exposition and 
introducing characters that you *hope* are all going to die so you don't have 
to watch them for a full two hours. Then the Rapture happens, and the immediate 
onscreen action starts switching between a plane in which Nick Cage is the 
pilot and back on earth, where his daughter is wandering around a shopping 
center. Daughter is hugging her younger brother, and suddenly finds herself 
hugging empty clothes. Up in the air, Cage's co-pilot disappears, as do many of 
the passengers. 

Elsewhere, there is the very Apocalypse Porn you would expect, as the TBs are 
whisked off to Heaven in a moment and those considered unworthy of the trip 
just disappear from behind the wheels of the cars they were driving or the 
planes they were flying. For a while it looks like the only ones who are going 
to profit from all of this are vendors of used clothing, because there are 
piles of it everywhere. :-)

Finally people figure out that the Rapture has happened, and that they have 
been (wait for it) L E F T   B E H I N D. No Saint Peter for them. Just life 
back on earth, which will get real gnarly, real fast, as predicted by 
prophecies of the coming seven years of tribulation. even if you don't get to 
see much of it in this first movie in what they obviously hope is a franchise. 


This really IS fiction for elitist True Believers, to not only pat them on the 
back for being TBs, but to give them a fictional glimpse of all the terrible, 
awful things that are going to happen to Non-Believers. It's like an entire 
series of novels written by Jim Flanegin, in which the only two things the 
author is capable of are 1) telling people how incredibly "special" he is, and 
2) fantasizing about the terrible life that those who are NOT as special as he 
is are going to face. 

We've certainly seen a similar 'tude in the TM movement. Anyone who paid their 
dues and spent time as a TM teacher (meaning NOT Jim Flanegin, Lawson, Judy 
Stein, Richard Williams and those other poseurs) has been exposed to all of the 
carefully-planted memes about the terrible things that will happen to them if 
they ever stopped meditating or (horrors!) fell Off The Program. THAT is 
Apocalypse Porn, too, just on a smaller level. 

Suffice it to say that the rest of the film doth not merit a detailed review. 
It's terrible, and I suspect that even if one were a believer in the coming 
Rapture it would be terrible. 

I'm "reviewing" it here primarily for those who are interested in the cult 
mindset. If while reading FFL you've ever gotten the feeling that some of the 
TM TBs like Jim, Nabby, and Buck *really* don't like you because of your 
non-belief, and are actually *looking forward to* the Bad Things they fantasize 
will happen to you because of your disbelief, this may be your kinda movie. 
You're getting that feeling because it's true. 
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