Soon: Chapter 1: Paul’s Ph.D.

There are two topics that are consuming the next few pages (and the comments section!): Paul’s religious studies, and World War III.  They both feed into each other, so I have just decided to tackle the Ph.D. first.

So, Paul and Jae met in graduate school…

…just after Paul had left the army’s top secret, elite counterterrorist strike unit, Delta Force.  He had joined the army to honor his father, who had been killed in World War III when Paul was an infant.  Despite his obvious proclivity for it, the military wasn’t much of a career since there was little armed conflict in the world anymore…

No worries, readers.  Paul may have left the Army, but it wasn’t because he was some sort of unmanly wuss who couldn’t hack it.  He just couldn’t fight enough to suit him, like a man oughta.

By the way, is it really such a great thing to have “obvious proclivity” for something that “wasn’t much of a career”?  It’s such an odd little non sequitor to put those two phrases next to each other, though at least it is a way of telling us twice that hey, never fear, Paul liked shooting stuff.  They just didn’t let him shoot enough.

A world without armed conflict?  Score another one for This World Rocks.

[Paul’s mother] had taught him that every war stemmed from the fairy tales of religious extremists and that the most rewarding career he could choose would be one in which he helped maintain an intellectual, humanistic society that eschewed both religion and war.

An intellectual, humanistic society?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again–those atheist bastards!!!

Good use of RTC buzzwords, though, Jenkins.  “Fairy tales” is always a winner.

I don’t think I’ve met an atheist, no matter how “militant,” who would say that all wars are caused by religion.  Most people have a good enough sense of history and perspective to also recognize the contributions of power, corruption, land, and  money.

Paul dreamed of a corporate job, but when his Ph.D. in religious studies didn’t open those doors, Jae urged him to pursue the NPO.

What, a degree in religion didn’t lead Paul to corporate power and instant wealth?  Why, I’m shocked!  I mean, heck, these days when you major in religion, you can write your own ticket on Wall Street, so especially in a world where religion has been outlawed, how can you blame Paul for thinking that…

Oh.  Never mind.

So, Paul joins the NPO, which is had risen from the ashes of the FBI and CIA after World War III.  He travels all over the world, teaching and consulting and banging as many half-drunk coworkers as he possibly can.

Two more things to note:

Studying the world’s major religions had introduced [Paul] to a broad range of cultures, background that proved invaluable when investigations drew him or his colleagues overseas.

Yeah, keep your eyes open for instances when Paul demonstrates a working knowledge of other cultures.  Then, chug like crazy.

Also: Paul has never read the Book of Revelation.  Needless to say, this turns out to be Very Significant later.

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Posted on December 20, 2010, in Books, Soon. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. So, it’s a world without war, where a career in the military is largely for show.
    Where a good career is seen as one that helps people.

    It just gets, uh, “worse” and “worse”? I guess? At this point I’m looking into getting a passport into this world.

  2. Considering how close the Apocalypse was to NOT being included in the canon, I’d think reading it would be more than a little important to get a sense of Christian philosophy in those formative years (q.v. what about it suggested “put this in the canon”, what about it suggested “keep it out of the canon”).

    Anyway, the idea that reading the Apocalypse is Absolutely Necessary in order to understand the world is annoying redolent of the idea that the Bible wasn’t MEANT to be understood until our time. So where does that leave the contemporary recipients?!

  3. Let me get this right…

    This guy joined the military during a widespread, prolonged time of peace, but isn’t able to make a career out of it.

    Then he went off to college and got a doctorate in religious studies, which would probably take about 8-12 years.

    Is it really that big a mystery why his father-in-law dislikes him?

    • If you can get a doctorate in religious studies without reading Revelations, I’m guessing it might not be quite so rigorous as you’re thinking. Maybe a couple of months? A few cereal box tops?

      I’m also wondering about his joining the military to honor a father he never knew, and then going into religious studies in a world with no religion. How was his mother raising him?

  4. I guess in RTC-myth the Book of Revelation is so obviously a clear message about the End Times that the only way one could not understand it is by not having read it.

    (Insert Fred’s snark about hopping around the verses here.)

  5. So the guy leaves Delta Force for a career in the military (huh?), but that doesn’t pan out because world peace has been declared (oh! the humanity!) so he goes back to school to study the one thing that’s supposed to be the root cause of all evil (Ph.D. in what, two years, maybe three?) and he’s surprised to find that being an expert in world destroying evil doesn’t land him a job….
    You know, this almost sounds like the beginning of a twisted satire, except….

    • Not quite. He was in Delta Force when he was in the Army.

      It seems to me that all that is an awful lot of achievement for a man only 36 years old. Army, gets into Delta Force, then college, then all the way to Ph.D. I suppose it’s possible, but then again, I have no idea the timeline for entering an elite unit like the SEALs…

      • It’s possible to join Delta at age 21 if you’ve naturally got what they’re looking for. Say he had the minimum 2.5 years when he did that, he could be out by 23.5, so that gives him 13 years for the PhD…

        • Now, he’s been married to Jae for 10 years, and they met in graduate school, and she’s the one who told him to go into the NPO…oh, this timeline…grrr…

          • I don’t know American academics. In the UK, a first degree is often still three years (though many places are switching to four) – so he starts the first degree at 23.5, and after 26.5 he’s “in graduate school”. He’s a hero of RTC literature, so he’d have married the moment he met anyone prepared to put up with him… I mean, the moment he met the right woman. OK, that’s an absolute maximum of 9.5 years, not 10, but it still just about works.

            I bet I’ve now put more thought and research into it than Jenkins did.

            (“Pursue the NPO” makes it sound like another qualification.)

      • “Not quite. He was in Delta Force when he was in the Army.”

        Whoops, misread that. So if they have world peace and there’s nothing for a brave manly man to do in the army, why are they maintaining an elite counter-terrorist task force?

        “I have no idea the timeline for entering an elite unit like the SEALs…”

        I don’t know the full details either, but I do know it’s not something you join directly (as in, you’re expected to put a few years in as a regular soldier first) and you’re usually expected to serve a while before you can release. Although I think if they’re compressing any time line, it’ll be the Ph.D. A lot of these far-out paranoid types seem to think a degree is something you can just get with a few semesters of classes. Especially if you’re a manly man, since manly men are so much better than those girly academic types, even on academic subjects. _sigh_
        See also: Orson Scott Card’s “Empire.”

  6. I just…. WUT O_O

    Yeah, I’m reduced to STARING AT THE SCREEN IN DISBELIEF at Jenkins’s back stories here.

  7. VLTTP, but I’ve got to comment on Our Hero’s “obvious proclivity” for military service as an Informed Attribute. I’d personally consider someone with a “proclivity” for military service and counter-terrorism work to be someone who’s calm, self-controlled and able to follow orders – who doesn’t endanger innocents, who brings bad guys back alive so they can be questioned about their bosses’ plans and then tried in a courtroom, who rightly sees information as the most valuable weapon of all, and who doesn’t endanger his comrades or innocent bystanders with reckless feats of unnecessary heroism.

    I am also pretty sure, by contrast, that Jerry J. wants us to envision Paulie as the next incarnation of Jack Bauer. And I’d lay good money that neither my idea of ‘good soldier’ nor Jerry’s actually gets backed up in the events of the rest of the book.

  8. I’m getting the distinct impression from reading this that Jerry Jenkins is a slavering warmonger. I hope I’m wrong. :\

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