Sunday, June 12, 2011

Whole Lotta Dyin' Goin' On

Hello and happy Sunday, my increasingly dwindling readership! I hope you had a good week.

Okay so Mr. Stahley dies and Darrion asks Ryan what happens to him now and here's Ryan's response.

"I asked Bruce that same question," Ryan said. "The Bible is clear. When a Christian dies, he or she goes to be with God. That means there's a big reunion going on right now with your father and your other family members who were Christians."

And the collective response of everyone who reads this blog: What about your parents, you insensitive prick. You know, the people who raised you and loved you, who are now suffering for all eternity without end because Zod can't apply the brakes.

:deep breath: I know this kind of insensitivity is par the course for Ellanjay protags but it still shocks me for some reason.

Mrs. Stahley converts and Ryan and Judd talk. It's the usual kind of humble posturing you get from young Alpha-males in training.

"Yeah, Bruce always said God can do big things through you when you feel the weakest. That way he gets the glory."

And you'll note that God in RTCland gets all the credit for all the good and none of the bad. He gets credit for sparing Noah but not for the flood. Or if a firefighter rushes into a burning building and saves children, God was acting through him, but if a gunman shoots a busload of children, it is man using his free will to do evil.

Judd tells Ryan that Bruce is dead and we get one of the few instances of grieving in these books as Ryan grieves for Bruce. Oh and we find out that Bruce had three children before the Rapture slaughtered them.

Mrs. Stahley gives the YTF all her savings as a thank you for saving her so their money worries are gone. The chapter ends with this reflection from Judd.

He had lost a dear friend. He had seen Darrion, her mother, and her father accept the gift of salvation. He had witnessed Mr. Stahley's death and the death of others. He had seen destruction near his home and in downtown Chicago. In the midst of it all, he had seen the power of God's love at work in the lives of his friends.

Collective Response of everyone who reads this blog: When? When Zod slaughtered all your parents and siblings? When he sentenced Ryan's parents to an eternity of suffering? When he bombed the hell out of nine cities?

Head, say hello to Desk. I'm sure you'll have tons in common.

Next Chapter, we find out that Buck has a modicrum of sympathy for other people. Apparently he rescued Verna and brought her to his house. Though, I have a feeling he only did it so he could chalk another saved on his fuselage. Oh and hear Bruce talk about his brief talk with Carpathia.

"Last night in fact," Buck said. "He wanted to know about the coverage of the war here. His voice got real emotional when I told him. He said it was a tragedy."

"Makes me sick," Judd said. "Is that all he said?"

ARRGH! That's because it is a tragedy even if Nicky Alps is the cause of it. Nicky is showing more sympathy towards human life than the so-called heroes.

Oh and Nicky wants Buck to go to Baghdad and New Babylon to cover meetings. Nine cities are bombed and they're covering meetings. Oy vey!

But Buck opts out. Appparently even meetings are too scary for our Buck. Buck has decided to go to Israel.

Oh and we finally see Chaya. After forever hiding in the background, she has something to say. Apparently her father doesn't want her at her mother's funeral because she's a Christian now.

Oh and Token Jew's wife and family have been killed because he converted to RTC-anity. I have a feeling he'll demonstrate all the compassion and sympathy of a soapdish when we see him later on.


Anonymous said...

You know, in a better written book, Nicky's emotion might even be sincere. He might actually be upset that all those good people have to die because some fools are still following the tyrant Demiurge. Or if he was unrepentantly evil, he could be going "There's an awful lot of fighting going on. Be a shame if something happened to you."

Oh, and I've figured out one place where Judd sees the hand of God. See, he let Mrs. Stahley die so that the kids wouldn't have to worry about money! Isn't he swell?

hidden_urchin said...

"And you'll note that God in RTCland gets all the credit for all the good and none of the bad. He gets credit for sparing Noah but not for the flood. Or if a firefighter rushes into a burning building and saves children, God was acting through him, but if a gunman shoots a busload of children, it is man using his free will to do evil."

QFT. Apparently free will can only lead to evil whereas submitting entirely to God can lead only to good. I guess that pretty much sums up the authoritarian viewpoint.

Rubyfruit said...

With Hidden_Urchin in the observation that Free Will is Always Evil and Complete Submission to God is Always Good, and adding some commentary about how off-putting Ryan's insensitivity to suffering is, and a guess as to why such insensitivity is especially off-putting coming out of Ryan. Perhaps it's because he's twelve, and kids are viewed as innocent...or something like that.

But as it was said before, this lack of sensitivity and empathy is normal in Left Behind. Not even the kids are safe.

And I seriously feel that Left Behind falls apart because they made their villain seem like the best example to follow, while the heroes are terrible human beings.

Firedrake said...

Something occurs to me reading this. I've been trying to justify some of the RTC behaviour patterns by saying "if I genuinely believed that saying the magic words would keep people from eternal torture, I would regard getting people to say them as more important than anything else". This is still true. But I wouldn't be happy about it! If we're all milling around in the slaughterhouse, but by wearing a badge saying "I think the farmer is a wonderful chap" we can go to a nice pasture rather than become beef shank, I'll get the others to wear the badge but I won't be enthusiastic about the situation...

Buck? Sympathy for other people? Ah, man, this is what happens when you take Jenkins out of the loop - the character gets watered down...

(Is that perhaps "Buck" rather than "Bruce" talking about how Eeeevil it is to describe the deaths of Unsaved people as a tragedy?)

My OH is not Jewish but has been to Jewish funerals. Granted, she hadn't recently stopped being Jewish.

aunursa said...

I'm confused: Ryan grieves over the death of Bruce. But in the next chapter, Bruce talks about Carpathia?

aunursa said...

"if I genuinely believed that saying the magic words would keep people from eternal torture, I would regard getting people to say them as more important than anything else".

L&J don't claim that you must say the magic words in order to avoid eternal torture. Rather, they claim that you must believe the magic words in order to avoid eternal torture.

My OH is not Jewish but has been to Jewish funerals. Granted, she hadn't recently stopped being Jewish.

The authors may be implying that her father is angry -- not because Chava is a Christian per se -- but because she converted from his Jewish faith to Christianity.

aunursa said...

I forgot to add...

I'm not suggesting that it would be right for a father to prevent his daughter from attending her mother's funeral. Just that the authors may be implying her conversion as the reason for his anger.

Mouse said...

Sorry about the glaring Bruce/Buck typo. Clumsy fingers and slow brain. I should have picked it up sooner.

[shuffles away sadly]

smurasaki said...

There are two explanations for Ryan's incomprehensible characterization here, but I'm not sure either of them say much good about the author.

1) The author - because he can't stand to think of even fictional people in hell - has blotted out of his own mind that Ryan's parents went to hell.

2) The author, and therefore his characters, really doesn't think of non-Christians as people, so of course Ryan wouldn't grieve or think about his parents having gone to hell.


(Completely irrelevant to to post... I finally have to ask: are you wearing a Naruto headband in your picture?)

hidden_urchin said...

Unfortunately, smurasaki, I think it's the second option. I get the distinct feeling that non-viewpoint characters are all NPCs and exist solely to have something done to them by the main characters. Once it happens, be it conversion or death/damnation or what-have-you, they cease to be important and so are forgotten. The idea that these characters could exist outside of their importance to the main characters does not seem to occur to the authors.

Firedrake said...

I suppose a better author could have made Ryan's behaviour a matter of post-traumatic stress - he's just blanking out the part of his knowledge that tells him his parents are in hell. (But this would of course require an author who regarded that as a bad thing. These authors...)

Nancy said...

Don't worry if your readership seems to be "dwindling"; not all of us reply to every post :-) Keep it up: it's fascinating.

Firedrake said...

Seconded! Sometimes the whole thing is just too deeply bizarre to be responded to with anything other than "guh", which doesn't make for an interesting comment...

Mouse said...

Yes, I am wearing a Naruto headband, but as far as I'm concerned, the series ended with the Sasuke Retrieval Arc.

Anonymous said...

That's where I stopped watching Naruto too. And I stopped reading the manga only a little later (after the fight with Sakura and the puppets, which was at least moderately cool) because even after 3 years Naruto still seemed like an immature twat, and his schtick was wearing thin before the time skip as far as I'm concerned.

Don't know about dwindeling readership, but I started reading this blog only just now, so hopefully that makes it up a little.

And since I did only come in just now, please forgive me for bringing something up that would've been more relevant in a past post, but: Mouse has discussed how stupid these characters often act and how it might get them killed. That's true and all, but I wonder if that isn't a very smart thing to do. They are now saved, meaning they go to heaven if they die. If you get killed by eeeevil NGO troopers because you were a Christian, heaven probably breaks out the red carpet. By contrast, staying alive means you get to ride out the tribulations smack in the middle of it, which is considerably less plesant. And it doesn't matter in 7 years time, since whether you lived or died, you get to live in the millenial kingdom. Given all that, I think the kids should be lining up for dangerous jobs that stop just short of being suicidal.

But as I thought about that, I realized something else: The same reasoning could be applied to the world minus as it is now. Sure, it isn't as bad as the tribulations, but it has plenty of downsides, especially for those poor, poor RTCs that are being brutally oppressed by the gay liberal overlords. If they honestly think that, and honestly feel they're sure they'll go to heaven when they die, why aren't they lining up for dangerous professions?

As I personally do not believe there is a paradise waiting after death, and I never have, I have some trouble imagining how it would shape someone's thinking to be sure of that.

It's tempting to just smirk and say RTCs apparently aren't all that sure either and/or they really don't feel persecuted... but I shouldn't go down LaHaye's route and just assuming the worst about the beliefs of others without understanding them. So, anyone has some insight in RTC reasoning. Or perhaps some of the reasonable faithfull on this blog would like to share their views on 'why my belief in paradise doesn't compell me to run with scissors', so to speak?


Firedrake said...

The traditional Christian approach is simply that suicide is a sin; why this should be so is never adequately explained, but I suspect a process of natural selection (i.e. a subsect which didn't have this prohibition would pull a Jonestown and not be around any more).

As to risky behaviour in a more general sense, that's more of a problem. In theory, it's the job of the RTCs here to spread the Word so as to save as many people as possible from eternal torture, and being alive is a necessary part of that; unfortunately this isn't borne out in their actions, in which they don't evangelise at all (and after one of the apocalypse-flags drops they can't evangelise, because all the remaining unconverted now have hardened hearts and are stuck on their courses).

(Gave up on Naruto around ep.20, btw, because I got fed up with all the flashbacks and replays.)

Anonymous said...

Oh, and PS on this post: How often do L&J thinks it happens that an eeeevil liberal forbids his daughter to go to his wife's / her mother's funeral because she is Christian? Father and daughter not getting along anymore, that I could understand, but outright forbidding comming to the funeral? Maybe if the guy was worried about NWO goons showing up if she gives a Christian-themed speech, or because he has been thoroughly brainwashed I could at least follow the reason a little. But I suspect this is another case of "This is what atheists would like to do to us RTCs right now."

Firedrake said...

I've certainly heard of people not being invited to weddings because they are known to go all RTC on the other guests.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, also unplesant. Still, I think there's a difference between inviting someone to your wedding, which is a party for you, or a funeral, which is not much of a party but it is generally for the survivors to grieve. If you're worried someone you know will make a scene of your wedding, I could better understand not wanting to invite them (though it is in a way also saying you're not inviting them to your new life). But not inviting someone to a funeral when you know how much the deceased meant for that person? Unless the spouse doesn't want to invite the deceased mistress or something like that, pretty cold and I suspect very rare too. But perhaps I'm wrong.

Redwood said...

If he felt that his daughter would be all RTC-evangelizing at the funeral, I can sympathize. I had this happen to me personally.

My grandfather was a Jew whose family died in the Holocaust; he married a Lutheran and became non-religious. My mother became a practicing Jew, my aunt nominal Christian with a heavy dose of New-Agey "spirituality", and my uncle joined the Air Force and was assigned to Colorado Springs, where he became a born-again at one of the mega-churches there.

When Grandpa died, my aunt was busy taking care of the financial issues, and my uncle helpfully offered to take care of the funeral arrangements. So none of the rest of us realized until we got there that he had hired a fundie preacher to conduct the funeral, and he and the preacher spent the entire two hours telling the rest of the family (particularly the Jewish part) that we were going to burn in Hell.

So yeah, I can empathize.