Soon: Chapter 14: Bia’s Miracle

Bia Balaam (that name…), evil atheist that she is, is wandering around Washington and enjoying the cherry blossoms.  It’s May, well past natural blossom season, but Atheistopia has engineered the trees to bloom for weeks and weeks.  This will be important for a point I want to make in a moment.

But first, forget the engineering of plants, you need to see the wonder of AWESOME ATHEIST UMBRELLAS!!!

Bia slipped the pen-sized titanium cartridge from her pocket, popping the lid with her thumb, and tapped the button.  Her umbrella shot up, unfolding like a parachute above her head.

And once more, Atheistopia kicks ass and takes names.  I mean seriously…

  

TRANSFORMS INTO…

Holy bitsy bumpershoot, Batman!

Bia has taken out her Fantastical Atheist Umbrella OF THE FUTURE because it looks like rain, but in fact…

The downpour quickly intensified and [Bia's] umbrella grew heavy.  But Bia didn’t smell water.  Her legs and feet were dry, and no rain pooled on the pavement.  Instead she saw drifts of pink and white petals.

She shook them off her (AWESOME ATHEIST) umbrella.  …

Holding her (AWESOME ATHEIST) umbrella by the tip, she hooked a branch with the handle and bent it down into her hand.  (AND THE PEN-UMBRELLA HAS A HOOKED HANDLE IS THERE ANYTHING IT CAN’T DO???)  The end was shriveled.  The bark was slowly mottling and withering all the way up the branch to the tree’s trunk.  The tree was dying before her eyes. 

Scientists would be scratching their heads over this one, but Agent Balaam already knew what her boss would say.  He would recognize that it wasn’t natural and wasn’t a miracle, as some would claim.  No, it was a shockingly bold and utterly despicable act of terrorism–worthy of ruthless, immediate reprisal.

(Additions mine.  ;) )

This is actually a fairly spookifying miracle, if a bit cartoonish.  Here’s the problem, though–it is another miracle that doesn’t much look like a miracle.  Now, we know, because this is a RTC end times book, that this is yet another Miracle Directly From God, but why should Bia think it is?  If the trees can already be engineered to bloom for weeks and weeks, why can’t Evil Christian Terrorists engineer them to wither and die?  Why should Atheist Bia think this is a miracle?  I want to know!

Also: once again, an atheist is appalled by the destruction of nature.  Aren’t we atheists supposed to be unable to truly appreciate beauty, according to the RTCs?

Also also: bonus points to Jenkins for the “scientists would be scratching their heads” bit.  That’s a favorite of the creationist crowd.

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Posted on May 16, 2011, in Books, Soon. Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. It’s May, well past natural blossom season, but Atheistopia has engineered the trees to bloom for weeks and weeks.

    Ah, Atheistopia wins again. Although I guess all those poems where the cherry blossom symbolizes the brevity of life and beauty are now outdated.

    Instead she saw drifts of pink and white petals.
    …or maybe not.

    “Get ready to die,
    get ready to die,” so say
    the cherry blossoms.
    – Issa

    Yes, Bia is pretty quick to judgment here. Why would the idea of a miracle even occur to her, and for that matter why would she immediately think of eco-terrorism? Even in Atheistopia, surely there must be plant diseases and natural disasters? How could she tell the difference on such a quick glance, when botany isn’t her field at all?

    And why should the Lord smite the cherry trees anyway? What kind of a sign is that supposed to be?

    I’m so confused….

    “scientists would be scratching their heads”
    Er, hasn’t Atheistopia come up with a cure for that yet?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      How could she tell the difference on such a quick glance, when botany isn’t her field at all?

      You could say the same about that Rozensweig guy (token Jew from Left Behind) getting called in as a Scientist(!) to explain The Event. It’s SCIENCE!!!!!!!!!

      • Among other things, I enjoy classic sci-fi films of the fifties and sixties – and one of the things one sees a lot there is the idea that “a scientist” is a description of just one sort of job, like “a plumber” or “a film director”.

        And many RTCs seem to be mentally stuck in the fifties…

        (Just once I’d like to see someone say “but Dr Foo, what sort of creature is this?” and he reply “I don’t know, I’m a doctor of computational physics, not xenobiology”…)

        • Just once? To hear something like “but Dr Foo…?” “Dammit Jim, I’m a doctor, not a…!” Consider your wish granted.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy

          And many RTCs seem to be mentally stuck in the fifties…

          I concur. (And I am old enough to remember the tail end of the Nifty Fifties.) With one exception: These RTCs are NOT stuck in the REAL1950s. They’re stuck in a Mythological Fifties according to Ozzie, Harriet, and Donna Reed.

  2. Inquisitive Raven

    Why couldn’t it be a hidden problem with the original bioengineering? It just took how ever many years to show up.

  3. …Does God have something against sakura, here? This is arguably a miracle that takes innocent lives (granted, a tree is pretty alien compared to a human, but the point yet remains). Why can’t God invoke a miracle designed to evoke respect for his philosophy, rather than dread of his power? Although, given that dispensationalism seems to think that morality without piety is worthless, even if it somehow is a perfect match with RTC precepts otherwise, the irksome conclusion is that morality isn’t its own purpose. In other words, do they really see ANY philosophy held by God, beyond authority for its own sake? (I can’t even begin to figure out what the point of such a philosophy would be…)

    • Why can’t God invoke a miracle designed to evoke respect for his philosophy, rather than dread of his power?

      I’m sure many gods could, but their god is a dick.

    • The philosophy mostly seems to be “If God does it, it’s right.” (“If the president does it, it’s not illegal.”) It’s hard to get people to sign on to that unless they’re already buying the whole package.

    • You make a really good point, Skyknight. Although Jerry Jenkins doesn’t seem to want to admit it, the truth is that Bia is basically right: this tree-withering is a despicable act of terrorism. This book’s God is a terrorist. He causes public calamaties in order to “send a message” and scare people into behaving the way he wants. Jerry, I hate to break it to you, but THAT’S TERRORISM, no matter who does it. The only thing the scenario is missing is God taking credit for the attack in a grainy videotaped manifesto.

      And really, it would be much better if he did record such a manifesto. Instead he’s keeping coy and silent, the big omnipotent coward, content to let his human followers suffer the blame and retribution for his crimes. Isn’t that backwards from how this Jesus thing is supposed to work?

      • The usual definition of terrorism is attacks on civilian populations rather than on the organs of state; well, we don’t even know what the organs of state are in Atheistopia. But we know what God wants everyone to do: agree to his manifesto, lie down and prepare for death.

        • No worries, he will begin to attack the civilian populations soon enough. After all, the apocalypse is coming, and what is that other than a massive, concerted, world-wide attack on innocents (well, of course, Jenkins and his god wouldn’t see them as such, though, the only thing that they did was not listen to the demands of an otherworldly terrorist)?

      • “It’s good because God does it” is a major theme both of Christian literature and the theology of its writers. It doesn’t matter that God has caused more death, destruction, and pain than anyone in Atheistopia–the atheists cured cancer, made green cars, and invented pen umbrellas. So far God’s blinded someone (who admittedly deserved it), caused an earthquake and a major oil fire, killed innocent trees, and did nothing to stop his followers from being killed or blamed for things he personally caused.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy

          Atheistopia–the atheists cured cancer, made green cars, and invented pen umbrellas.

          Still more proof that Jenkins is Unclear on the Concept of “Dystopia”. Of course, to Jenkins’ target audience, the bad of Atheism outweighs any good they might accomplish in building their Utopia. We see NO hint of the actual way Evil corrupts attempts at Utopia — the end of Utopia justifying any means to bring it about, from the French Revolution through the Russian Revolution through the Iranian Islamic Revolution. THAT is the real danger of Utopia — the Republique of Perfect Virtue always beckoning from the future, on the other side of the “Regrettable but Necessary” Reign of Terror.

          Jerry Jenkins wouldn’t know REAL evil if it jumped up and bit him in the nuts. That’s why he can write God as Evil; his Tribe (the RTCs) are Good, everyone else is Evil, nobody is mixed, and the end justifies the means (see above). He could have written on the corruption of Utopia, the Dystopia beneath the PR Appearance of Utopia (op cit Stalin), with real Evil in his bad guys.

          Instead, he hack-writes hack-formula for an RTC audience who wants to be masturbated that I Am Right. WIthout even the greatness of Pulp. Where there are wimpy villains, there will be wimpy heroes.

  4. Maybe I’m misunderstanding here, but I don’t see any evidence from what you’ve quoted that Bia does think this is a miracle. She’s dealing with Christians, so she knows that they will claim it’s a miracle (because they always do); but she recognises the attack for what it is.

    • No, it’s just asking a question: Why does Jenkins think that Bia should consider this a miracle? He seems to think that this is self-evidently a miracle, but Bia’s conclusion is completely rational and justified.

      (Funny thing is, we’ll soon see a genuine miracle that is totally brushed off… :D )

  5. You’re right, Bia clearly doesn’t think it’s a miracle; but she does instantly think it’s an act of Christian ecoterroism. She doesn’t even consider any natural causes. Because of course, in Atheistopia anything bad MUST be the Christians doing, right? Apparently Jenkins thinks that atheists don’t believe in natural disasters.

    • Mrs G, there’s actually a lot of politics tied up with the definition of “natural disaster”; I commend to your attention “Acts of God: The Unnatural History of Natural Disaster in America” (written pre-Katrina, which makes that a superb example of what he talks about). Basically, bad stuff happens, but just how bad it is for people depends much more on what human action has been taken than on the “disaster” itself.

      With Atheistopian weather control, social programmes, and so on, I rather suspect that major disease outbreaks simply don’t happen any more.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      This is NOT Atheism. This is Atheism as IMAGINED by an RTC. Take the RTC mentality and tunnel vision and flip it one-eighty, like Ayn Rand did to Communism to make Objectivism. While such “Fundamentalist Atheists” DO exist IRL, they are pretty rare. (And they don’t speak fluent Christianese.)

  6. And what’s with all the stuff about Bia’s Transformer Umbrella anyway??? That’s a weird detail to concentrate on. It doesn’t add anything to the narrative, in fact it’s pretty clumsy.
    I suppose Jenkins just had to HAD to put in some lovingly-detailed techno-porn here but couldn’t think of a way to work a phone into the scene.

    • What I love is how we’re supposed to be impressed by the “miracle” of the cherry tree, while in the very same scene there’s this awesome techno-magical umbrella with so many features, I’m pretty sure just owning one makes you an honorary Batman villain.

      And we’re supposed to think it’s the TREES that the scientists will be “scratching their heads over”.

      ——————

      Bia: So as I was saying, I was standing right here, and this tree started withering before my eyes —

      Government Scientist #1: Yes, yes, but I’m more interested in that umbrella you’ve got there. You say you can fold it up into a titanium rod the size of a pen?

      Bia: That’s right. In fact, you can actually use it as a pen. It’s got an ink cartridge built in. They’re pretty common, actually.

      Government Scientist #2: But how can it fold that small when it’s wet? What happens to the water?

      Bia: It doesn’t get wet; the fabric is completely waterproof. Also, it’s got millions of nanofans woven into the material which blow away moisture, so your hands don’t even get splashed when you close it. (Demonstrates.) See?

      Scientist #2: My Godlessness. Frank, do you realize the implications of this technology?

      Scientist #1: The military applications alone! The possibilities for espionage! This could give us the edge we need to eliminate the Christian terrorists once and for all.

      Bia: I just thought you’d be more interested in the trees, is all.

      Scientist #1: Not really, trees die all the time.

      Scientist #2: Especially with all the genetic modifications we give them. You never know what they’ll do next! Ha ha! Now, about this umbrella technology — you simply bought this? In a store?

      Bia: I guess. It came free with my $50 Lancôme purchase, so … yeah?

      Scientist #1: Ma’am, we’ll need to bring your umbrella back to the lab for immediate reverse-engineering.

      Bia: Sigh. Whatever, I’ve got like six more at home and one in my glove compartment. (Leaves.)

      Scientist #1: Doug, this umbrella is the miracle of the century. My Godlessness, is that a hook?

      Scientist #2: Hold on, Frank, I’m getting a call. (Holds thumb to temple.) We’ve got a new assignment. There’s a report of an unidentified Middle Eastern male spotted in a tortilla in Quito.

      Scientist #1: Ecuador, eh? Then we’ve got at least a 20-minute drive ahead of us. What a pain.

      Scientist #2: Heh. Nobody ever said modern life was easy, Frank.

      Scientist #1: Let’s roll. (They press a button on the end of their scanner-batons, expanding them into lightcycles, and drive off.)

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      I suppose Jenkins just had to HAD to put in some lovingly-detailed techno-porn here but couldn’t think of a way to work a phone into the scene.

      This sounds like a pattern I’ve seen so often in beginners and fanfics. Writer comes up with something NIFTY! and has to include it whether or not it fits in the story. And because it’s HIS CREATION, he has to describe it in loving detail.

      This is a common mistake of BEGINNERS. It should not be a common mistake for an experienced writer.

  7. Also: once again, an atheist is appalled by the destruction of nature. Aren’t we atheists supposed to be unable to truly appreciate beauty, according to the RTCs?

    Nah, they giver atheists/liberals credit for this one–we’re treehuggers who care more about the planet than people.

  8. Base Delta Zero

    “This sounds like a pattern I’ve seen so often in beginners and fanfics. Writer comes up with something NIFTY! and has to include it whether or not it fits in the story. And because it’s HIS CREATION, he has to describe it in loving detail.

    This is a common mistake of BEGINNERS. It should not be a common mistake for an experienced writer.”
    A common mistake of beginners and Tom Clancy.

    Still though, while it isn’t precisely ‘relevant’, it’s a fairly short snippet – if he’d gone on a three page monologue about the umbrella’s operating mechanism, it’s history, where it was manufactured… (of course, it was snipped, so it’s possible he *did*. This is Jenkins, after all.) After all, it is said that every sentence should either advance the plot or establish character, and details like this are a nice way to establish the character of the world.

    “Scientist #1: Ma’am, we’ll need to bring your umbrella back to the lab for immediate reverse-engineering.”
    You seem to be under the impression this isn’t common technology in a world with lasers, high-gigaton nukes, and implant phones.

  9. Headless Unicorn Guy

    A common mistake of beginners and Tom Clancy.

    Clancy founded the modern Technothriller sub-genre. In Technothrillers, like classic SF “gadget stories”, the Nifty Tech Gadgets are additional characters in the story. So with Technothrillers and Gadget Stories, you cut the Nifty Background Item/Maguffin some slack.

    Speaking of Slack, something that Slacktivist first brought out regarding the 22-volume Christian Apocalyptic Series That Shall Not Be Named (and which elevated Jenkins to GCAAT) was that Jenkins seemed to be writing “failed Technothrillers”. Like he was trying to imitate Tom Clancy and didn’t have a clue how Technothrillers worked. Especially since he was trying to “realistically” Technothriller such subjects as the Book of Revelation and (in Soon) the Book of Acts and in doing so stripped them of their mythic imagery and depth. With his attempt at a “Realistic” Apocalypse, “He abandoned the power of myth and had nothing to fill its place.” Stripping away the power of Allegory and Myth, he ended up with a hack emptiness that he tries to fill with See-How-Clever-I-Am character names and pen-umbrellas.

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