Soon: Chapter 3: Paranoia

Paul spends the moments after his discovery of the letter, and the remaining three pages of Chapter 3, ruminating on the message and engaging in some good old-fashioned paranoia.

Of course, Jenkins first makes sure to let us know what an evil atheist Paul Apostle is, because he is aghast at the letter, feeling that it has turned his heroic, war hero father into someone…

…gullible and cowardly…[who] had offered his son [only] a myth about a man who died on a cross and was coming to punish those who didn’t buy it…

I needed more from you at twelve, Dad.  I deserved better.  Thanks, Mom, for sparing me this till now.

And, fellow evil atheist that I am, I think Paul has a point.  That letter was nothing but rote evangelism.  Paul Sr. could have left the kid a couple of tracts and it would have been all the same.  That letter had nothing personal, nothing individual, nothing that could give a boy any insight to his father beyond his religious affiliation.  Yeah, a kid deserves better.

Paul, making sure that the intended audience knows that atheists are evil and misguided, has this to say about his dead father’s RTC-ity:

And the idea that the Bible’s prophecies were being fulfilled, that God’s Son was coming soon–well, urgency was part of the come-on in virtually every fraud.  “A onetime offer,” “Get in on the ground floor,” “Fire sale–prices will never go lower,” “Something for nothing”–how could his father fall for that?

The florid what-if pitch was another typical huckster tactic–fire-and-brimstone razzle-dazzle to throw in a scare and close the deal.

Well, yeah.  Paul’s dad’s, Jerry Jenkins’ particular brand of Christianity, involving as it does eternal torture for all who don’t exactly agree, is “fire-and-brimstone…to throw in a scare.”

But here’s the real scare: Paul Apostle, Our Hero, will come to recognize the truth, and, even more importantly, the rightness and righteousness, of this very philosophy and tactic.  Paul isn’t here to re-introduce this atheistic, solar-car-driving, cancer-curing world to a kinder, gentler religion.  He’s here to point and laugh as God rains fire on the heads of those who would dare not believe in his God. 

And those unfortunate enough to be born into a world where they cannot, by definition, even learn about this God.

So, Paul won’t be proven wrong about the fire and brimstone, the urgency, the scare.  He’ll just be proven wrong about the “fraud” and “huckster” parts. 

Everything else, he’s spot-on.

So, after making sure that Paul is deeply unlikeable by calling his dead, RTC father naive and a pathetic dupe, (gasp! this must be how all atheists think!),  Paul’s mind immediately goes to…dun dun DUNNNN…conspiracies.  Clearly, Ranold B. Decenti had someone plant this letter in Paul’s dead mother’s house.  Because Rented Bacon Lid has nothing better to do with his time than have someone travel from D.C. to Chicago to stage a loyalty test to see if Paul knew the Christian truth about the Dork Too Stupid before Bacon Lid ever said anything.

Spinning the plot, Paul had to acknowledge it seemed like a stretch.

Oh, ya think?

But, just as a glimmer of reason begins to flicker in Paul’s mind, it extinguishes itself.

But “a stretch” didn’t mean impossible or even far-fetched.

Naturally, the one emotion that manages to take hold, after all Paul has just been through, is anger.  He resolves then and there to become an exterminator of the Christian threat.

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Posted on February 1, 2011, in Books, Soon. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. So I guess the reason scams are wrong is because they’re lies, not because they use emotionally manipulative tactics to scare people into believing them.

    Which…yeah, all right, I’ll give them that one. Emotionally manipulative tactics often are wrong, but given that we live in a world that accepts advertising it’s hard to fault the authors for accepting it as a valid strategy.

  2. Isn’t he already an ‘Exterminator of the Christian threat?’ Maybe he’s not personally shoving people into napalm barrels, but he’s part of the government apparatus that makes the whole thing possible. He must know on some level that the people he lectures to are perpetrating a vicious religious persecution and that he is at least partially responsible for the things they do.
    I’m now picturing Jenkins as a Neuremburg defendant: “I just put them on the train! They were all alive when they left the station!”

  3. Ya think they could have called him Saul, just to make things really clear?

    GDwarf, I think we’ve seen on LB how RTCs will regard truth-telling as a higher priority than, say, keeping Jews alive when the Nazis are knocking on the door.

    Mind you, I think the inhabitants of this world do need to hear the Word of the Lord. They cured cancer in less than thirty years from now; given enough lead time, they can probably cure the world of its LBGod infestation. (See also The Salvation War…)

  4. That’s what’s been bothering me. Why would evil atheistic people in an evil atheistic world give their child a name like Paul that’s so loaded with religious significance?

    • That I can actually see. I mean, good luck finding a modern name popular in the Western World that isn’t related to a religion.

      It can be done, but there go all the Johns, Peters, Pauls, Simons, Ruths, Marys…

      • Maybe they named him after their favourite Beatle?

      • I agree. If it’s not Biblical name, then it’s probably related to Greek or Roman myphology – and while for me it’s myphology, it used to be – and for some people still is – an actual religion A lot of names in any language have ties with religious beliefs that exist or used to exist in a name’s country of origin. So as an Evil Atheist Person, if I wanted to avoid any unintentional symbolism, I’d have to write exclusively about people living in fictional godless worlds.

        • I think “Paul” is just the Latinized or Hellenized form of “Saul”. Not that that answers all that many questions.

          • Paul means “small”. Saul means “wanted”, prayed for”. BehindTheName agrees with my name reference book on that.

        • {note to self: Make sure you’ve got EVERYTHING you’d like to say convened before you press “Post Comment”}

          Maybe we should see what “Saul” means, then fish out names in other languages with the same meaning. Of course, we’re in trouble no matter what if “Saul” references the Hebrew god in some way (and given that there’s an “el” in “Saul” if you squint…).

          Then again, given the fact that the forefront characters’ family names are just anagrams for “Apostle” and “Enticed”, I don’t think Jenkins is having much faith in anything that even pretends to be oblique. I guess to him, if it isn’t instantly obvious, it’s forcing unnecessary work on the reader.

        • “Mythology”, not “myphology”. Grrrr.

    • Inquisitive Raven

      Well, in this case, we’ve just gotten evidence that Paul’s dad wasn’t an evil atheist, so that might suffice to explain it.

  5. What drives me nuts about this is that completely illogical leaps of faith are treated as completely rational and desireable.
    And not just on the religious front. nope, conspiracy theory becomes foremost, and suddenly, everything’s CONNECTED!!!!
    Jeez louise… Considering how easily swayed this moron is, I guess we’re lucky that this is just a Christian conversion tract.
    I have horrible thoughts about what this moron would do if his dad had left him either a copy of “Mein Kampf” or “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”….

  6. I cannot say that the sharper-line atheists (e.g. some of FSTDT’s denizens) are helping the idea that theists must necessarily be dupes, when they often say that all are born atheist. Er, no. Born APAtheist (not caring whether God exists or not) sounds more likely; atheism sounds more like a reactive concept to me, alternately a solidified or more zealous apatheism. Or even better still, solipsist (only aware of the existence of the self, initially thinking that every perceived thing is an extension of the self, and/or exists only for the self). I suppose my point is more that the sharp-line seem to think that atheism auto-implies materialist monism. Have fun convincing a three-week-old child of that, who probably doesn’t even have a grasp of the concept of matter…

  7. It’s both fun and really annoying when a few lights of sense shine through in these texts. These are perfectly rational arguments and yet we all know the author will go on to non-refute them and ignore them once he’s magically converted.

    Not that I could consider liking even meta-Paul here.

  8. Paranoia seems to be a recurring mind-state for Jenkins and even LaHaye. EVERYTHING, absolutely everything, is some sort of sign or portent or omen of what is to come. Every world event is being analyzed for how it fits into the End Times Checklist. Ever word uttered by someone in some sort of power is examined, considered, and fit into the timetable. I shudder to think of what they’;re making of what’s going on in Egypt.

    • The US Far-Right-Wing in general seem horrified by what’s going on in Egypt. Apparently it’s going to set back US diplomacy in the region forever!!11!11

      I think the truth is that most of them like the idea of dictatorships, especially ones under the US thumb, and so are naturally opposed to attempts for people (especially Arabs!) to try and get a democracy going.

      • Some of it is simply that Israel has a great deal invested in being The Only Democracy In The Middle East, and doesn’t want the money tap turned off – and has a wildly disproportionate influence on American politics.

      • A part of me would like to think that the authoritarians in the US are looking at what’s happening in Egypt and realizing It Could Happen Here and are therefore freaking out.

        And then I wake up. 😦

        Egypt after all has been simmering for decades. And there’s been nothing in the US to make anyone thing that any sufficient number of people are going to take to the streets, drag CEOs out of their board rooms, march on the state assembly building and set it on fire, storm stockholdes’ meetings, etc. The authoritarians are secure in their power for the time being.

        So it’s more likely they’re terrified that there’ll be another nation not under their control, whether its a democracy (for very large values of that word) or something else.

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