Violence, Paranoia, and a Dualistic Mindset


For me, finishing Glorious Appearing segued into Strozier’s discussion of paranoia and violence in “The Apocalyptic Other.” According to Strozier, one of the characteristics of a paranoid is the belief that he “lives in a world of shame and humiliation, of suspiciousness, aggression, and dualisms” (63) as well as deep-seated feelings of persecution and victimization. While Strozier, through his example of his patient Harriet clarifies that these feelings are usually a product of their minds, in Glorious Appearing, the protagonists do in fact live in a world that closely matches that description. They are a tiny rebel army trying to defeat an enemy that is millions strong. If they are captured by the enemy, they are tortured and then executed. Many of the main characters from the previous books have already been killed. In this world, the persecution is real, and therefore the divine vengeance is justified.

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Please read

Colby’s note on the recent article in the NT Times is an important one for us to read in conjunction with this week’s materials.

For another article on how some members of the current GOP political field invoke some of the apocalyptic teachings we have been studying, see this article on Christian Dominionism:

Mercy, Revised

Last week, I did not write about Glorious Appearing, which makes me feel the task all the more necessary, if unfortunate.  Firstly, the overall structure of the book must be noted: I felt like I had whiplash from the constantly changing storylines, one moment with this person, next page with another, then a third introduced, then full circle and back to the first character. Continue reading

Becky teaches children about necromancy…

All y’all remember Becky from Jesus Camp? Well here she is teaching children how to raise the dead. At one point she tells them that she can teach them to pray their dead pets back to life…

And while we’re at it, here’s a clip from The Simpsons where they spoof the “Left Behind” series with “Left Below…”

Enjoying Violence, Avoiding Dualism and Endism without an End

Much of what Strozier wrote in this week’s set of essays seemed to respond to my concern about how easily the “saved” characters in Glorious Appearing accept the punishment of the surrounding sinners. It is no less appalling to me that they could simply sit and watch, and even enjoy, the mass murder of most of the remaining population by Jesus – especially considering the gruesome manner in which the deaths were carried out. Continue reading

Disconnecting with One’s Self for “God”

After viewing Jesus Camp in class last week, I was really struggling with separating my personal beliefs from my observation and judgements of the Fundamentalist lifestyle/belief system. It’s incredibly frustrating to see something that I so strongly disagree with at work in real life. Hearing about this type of organized religion and indoctrination is difficult to grasp, but seeing it in action on screen was a huge shock for me. After thinking a lot about what was presented in the documentary, I was able to step back a little bit and take into consideration the psychology behind groups like these. This week’s Strozier readings helped me to gain a more level-headed perspective on the inner workings of those so heavily influenced by the Fundamentalist mindset. Continue reading

Killing Time

As I turned to the last page of Glorious Appearing, I let out a sigh of relief that it was finally over. But lo and behold, the one-lined epilogue stated otherwise. After four hundred pages of waiting to read about a perfect ending to the world and the destruction of evil, the epilogue leaves us waiting again for another ending to come. Christ came, punished the sinners, and all seemed well, “But after these things [Satan] must be released for a little while” (399). All the protagonists just spent seven years waiting for this moment to be reunited in a perfect society under the kingdom of Jesus. And yet Rayford’s last statement was “We’ve only got a thousand years” (398). Must they always anticipate an end? Continue reading

Fundamentalism: The Be All and End All

In his concluding essays, Strozier presents a very thorough analysis of the various tenets of apocalyptic fundamentalism and how they influence the overall doomsday mindset that has prevailed in society. It is interesting to trace Strozier’s didactic approach to understanding the fundamentalist way of thought. His previous readings writings introudced us to the dualism and particular psychology associated with apocalyptic violence. In his later essays, Strozier narrows his argument by linking the root of violence to paranoia.
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