Soon: Chapter 19: Paul’s First Convert

After the gruesome yet miraculous discovery of the body, Paul has important-type work to do:

[Paul] had Ephesus Demetrius’s body moved to a morgue, and had a metallurgist examine the silver residue to see if any was salvageable.  It was not.

How does Paul even think of these incredibly pointless and offensive tasks for himself?  Is this really the hot issue right now? 

“What, Mr. Big-Time Pathologist Dude, you can’t scrape some of the silver off Ephesus’s head and like, glue it back together?  What the hell heck kind of doctor are you??” 

Arthur was a broken man.  He spent most of his waking hours weeping, praying for forgiveness, and asking Paul to tell him more from the Bible.  He took his greatest comfort from Jesus’ words in John 5:24: “I assure you, those who listen to My message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life.  They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.”

Yeah, I can see how that would be really comforting to a man whose brother was just Bedazzled(TM) to death by God.  Didn’t I just read about how Arthur “idolized” Ephesus? 

“Ha-HA!  I’ve got mine, Effie!  And you thought you were sooooo cool.  Well, in yo face, bro!  Who’s in Hell now, huh, HUH?”

At least Arthur’s newfound sociopathy will help him fit right in with the rest of the RTCs.

So, Paul successfully converts Arthur, and Arthur immediately wants to donate a bunch of his money to the underground.  No wonder Paul wanted to scrape the silver off Ephesus’s dead body.  Every penny counts.

Now, you would think that having this genuine, really-for-real miracle dropped into his lap, Paul would be ecstatic.  Here is evidence, people!  Really real evidence that cannot be explained away, a truly, Godly, silvery miracle.  Surely when Paul “accidentally” leaks word of this miracle to the populace, at least a few people’s eyes will be opened to the truth, right?

Well, no.  Because Paul has decided to cover up the entire incident.

Seriously.  How he is able to do this, I’m sure I don’t know.  He tells Koontz that Ephesus just got accidentally locked in the vault and suffocated.  That is ridiculous to begin with, because presumably that gigantic, multi-room vault is airtight, and thus would have enough air to sustain one guy for quite some time.  He’d die of thirst first.

Also, how many witnesses does Paul have to bribe to keep this whole thing under wraps?  The two guards (assuming they ever recover, not that Paul gives a crap about them), the doctors and other attendants who removed and presumably examined the body.  Quite the little conspiracy our newly-Godly Paul has cooked up for himself. 

But the readers aren’t supposed to worry our pretty little heads about such things!  The important thing is that Paul made a convert, and thus has decided to join the Watchmen.  Or rather,

“It seems to have been decided for me.”

Paul seems quite happy to have his free will usurped by the Holy Bedazzler.

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Posted on October 4, 2011, in Books, Soon. Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. Well, no. Because Paul has decided to cover up the entire incident.

    JESUS CHRIST. This guy is more of a waste of space than Rayford fucking Steele!

    *FACEPALM*

    Seriously. With personal, direct proof – not even airy-fairy oh the Russian bombs all failed at once and oh the Rapture is just electromagnetism – direct proof in the form of an impossible transmutation…

    Paul takes no opportunity to prove that the Atheistopian government is wrong. WTF.

    I need a double facepalm picture ’cause damn.

  2. It never ceases to amaze me how in all these books (Left Behind, Left Behind Kids, Soon) new converts keep rolling in after some loved ones die horribly, and yet are so happy that they now believe there is a way for them to be saved from a terrible, eternal torture that said loved ones are now in. I must assume it’s part of the RTCs mindset that everyone everywhere already knows there’s an eternal hellfire waiting for them after death, but they are just too stubborn and intelectual to admit it. Only in that light would it make the slightest bit of sense to be happy in this situation.

    This is probably the worst case thus far. This is not a prophecised area-effect earthquake or something. This is a single man sniped by God just to convince his brother. And said brother is explicitly said to be happy about the Bible verse that states you might be able to avoid hell, mere hours after his brother died unsaved. Yes, Arthur is positively thrilled that Al Capone loves him so much that he’s sending a man over to collect his protection money so that he won’t have to horribly murder him like he did to his brother. I could understand someone caving in and paying the money/worshipping God, now that he’s broken and terrified. But to be happy about it?? Ugh, L&J are horrible, horrible people.

  3. Actually silver should be quite easy to salvage from a corpse; it melts at about 960C and boils around 2200C, while most crematoria run at 750C-1150C.

    I think the difference in attitude that we see between converting people one at a time and spreading the word en masse may be a side-effect of the books’ purpose as instructional tools. The hypothetical reader is expected to be going out and winning souls in person, because he doesn’t have the genuine and blatant miracles to back him up, and the protagonist is intended to serve as a model of what the hypothetical reader should do.

    I am moved to suggest a guideline for authors writing about people working as double agents for Evil Powers. Every so often, the author should ask himself “What do the hero’s bosses want him to do? What would be most convenient for their larger plans?” If the hero’s always doing those things, maybe he should consider doing something else…

    Ivan, as I said over on Mouse’s Musings, I think it’s Stockholm Syndrome.

    • A really bad case of it too. The hostage writes books about the next kidnap victim he hopes will be locked up with him, and imagines how thrilled his new friend will be to be given the privilige of being held in this cell with him, instead of being murdered like their own familiy members that tried to resist the abducter were..

  4. So, perhaps the RTC claims of proof with absolute refusal to produce them are some sort of overarching strategy to . . . convert people who need proof?

    I has a confuse.

  5. It’s actually a very clever technique. You use the miracle as proof to the reader that yes, of course there is a god who does things directly. Then you have it covered up or dismissed so you can keep demonstrating the proper technique for converting people in a world where there are no obvious miracles–aka, ours.

    • Sounds about right to me – thanks for laying it out clearly.

      • It’s the same reason the marvelous occurrences in Left Behind are viewed so mundanely by the populace. The miracles and plagues have to happen, but they can’t bear to work with the idea of what would happen (besides great lamenting that allows for an I Told You So) if people actually saw something that was clearly the work of God with no other possibly explanation. That would require them to think that our current views are legitimate because we haven’t seen any proof of God’s hand in the world, and that our minds would be changed by proof. It would invalidate the idea that we’re just being stubborn and denying God because we’re stupid that way.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy

          This is a problem with a LOT of Pop Christian Apocalyptic. Everything goes down item-by-item on the End Time Prophecy Checklist (and by the time we’re into the scrolls and trumpets, each and every item is Spectacular and Supernatural), and nobody notices anything out of the ordinary. Seas have all turned to blood, the sky is rolling up like a scroll, chimera demon locusts rampaging all over stinging everybody, Everything Perfectly Normal, Ho Hum…

          The usual RTC justification is to stretch a Bible quote that “God Hath Sent Them Strong Delusion, That They Should Believe A Lie”, but it just don’t stretch that far.

          • I wonder whether the RTC viewpoint is that this is already happening – there are already lots of things happening that they regard as Truly Terrible (it’s illegal to beat people up for being homosexual, women have the vote, black and white people can marry each other) but the Lumpen Masses don’t see these for the obvious signs of the end of the world that they so clearly are. Seas turned to blood? Why would you sheep think that’s divine intervention, when you don’t even believe that the institution of marriage is being attacked?

  6. I have a feeling the lack of suitable mourning that tends to crop up (crop down?) has to do with the idea that God will “wipe away every tear”. Although that somehow get interpreted not as comfort that tempers agony into something one can actually bear, but as divine mindwipe. I guess it connects with the idea of Heaven being, like God, a perfection elemental; even a cubic micron of sorrow would defile the infinite expanse. So, mere comforting is not enough; all ability to grieve must be dispelled. That an inability to grieve sounds like guaranteed sociopathy (something one normally does NOT define as part and parcel of things blessed and/or heavenly) doesn’t seem to enter the equation.

    Paul seems quite happy to have his free will usurped by the Holy Bedazzler.

    Well, knowing Jenkins, he wouldn’t dare let it be the INFERNAL Bedazzler. Raquel Welch as Luxuria already invalidates that for Tyndale standards.

  7. So the pitch is “Be converted to Christianity, or be converted to a transition metal.” Got it.

    • Yeah, if I have to get turned into an element, I’d like to be an alkali. Preferably in the rain, so there’s a decent explosion.

    • Does the text ever explain why Arthur accepts “God” as the explanation and not “terrorist” or “chemistry professor turned evil genius”? Is it all because of the woman who quoted Bible verses at Ephesus*?

      *ignoring for now the fact that Arthur & co shouldn’t be able to recognize bible verses.

      • I’m guessing that he’s in an emotionally unstable state, and he’s ready to latch on to anyone who can give him a reassurance that everything makes sense. You can get a lot of converts that way, if you don’t care about rational thought.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        * ignoring for now the fact that Arthur & co shouldn’t be able to recognize bible verses.

        But don’t you know that cradle Atheists raised in what has been an Anti-Theist culture for generations ALL think and speak in fluent Christianese? It’s a Jerry Jenkins novel, after all…

        • Doesn’t Jenkins at least see that this is ridiculous? LaHaye, I’ll give a pass because he’s so steeped in his own Christian fundamentalism he’s incapable of seeing beyond those self-imposed borders.

          No recently converted person would speak the fundamentalist and evangelist jargon flawlessly. 😐 They might not even want to.

          • “Doesn’t Jenkins at least see that this is ridiculous?”

            In a word, no.

            In a few more words: Paul immediately picks up the jargon–not just Bible verses, but turns of phrase: a certain verse “works on me every day,” and in the next book (only a few months after becoming a Christian) he “does not feel led” to pray aloud.

  8. and had a metallurgist examine the silver residue to see if any was salvageable. It was not.

    Ahhh, there’s the sociopathological levels of callousness we all know and love. That last sentence practically screams for a sad emoticon.

    Seriously though, how do people read this stuff and not pick up on the utter inhumanity of the author?

    • “That last sentence practically screams for a sad emoticon.”

      These books would be sooooo much more fun if they were littered with emoticons.

      “Turns out Ephesus had been Bedazzled by Gawd. Arthur was a sad panda. 😦 Also, none of the silver could be salvaged from Ephesus’s corpse. 😦 😦

      Then, Arthur became a Christian! 😀

      Paul flew back to Chicago, but the plane ride was bumpy. 😮

      Koontz listened to Paul’s story, but didn’t buy Paul’s obvious and blatant lies. 😡 “

    • I have to admit, as callous as Paul’s salvage attempt would be in the real world, if I were a RPG player, that’s exactly what I would be doing. The GM would roll the die, announce that Shamgar the elf barbarian had failed his saving throw and turned into solid silver, and the rest of us would instantly abandon the quest in favor of arguing over how to get him to town and sell him. And then the GM would facepalm and make up something like, “You can’t salvage any of it, it’s magical silver,” and then someone would demand to search the rulebooks to prove that there was no difference, and meanwhile Shamgar’s player would just shrug and roll up a replacement Shamgar II with exactly the same stats, and in the end nobody would have converted to Christianity. I mean, finished the module.

  9. Headless Unicorn Guy

    HC, how many more chapters do we have to endure this Pain in Our Collective Asses? It just gets worse and more painful with each and every Christianese chapter — When Will It All End?

    • I just finished Chapter 20. There are 36 chapters in Soon. Plus, looks like I’ll be taking a break in December to do a Very Special Wintermas Review of Twas the Night Before.

      Once I’m done with Soon, I plan to have another poll for what I should do next. Both Soon and Babylon Rising are the first books in their series, but I have another idea or two. So, we’ll see!

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