Sunday, September 30, 2007

Is this the way the world ends?

The title of this book is misleading: "Have a Nice Doomsday: Why millions of Americans are looking forward to the end of the world" implies a sort of nervous temptation to believe that all the myths about global warming, nuclear terrorism and other such apocrypha would come true.

But Guyatt's book is nothing of the sort. It touches upon the eschatological ambitions of nearly 50 million Americans who believe that the coming of the Antichrist is on hand, and we need only prepare for ultimate doom. Guyatt, an English-born history lecturer at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, spent several months in the US meeting doomsday enthusiasts and proponents.

Guyatt speaks about the booming apocalypse industry that comprises books, DVDs, stickers, pamphlets and so on. He focuses attention on the likes of Joel Rosenberg, Tim LaHaye and John Hagee who have made a fortune for themselves by linking sayings in the Bible with the destructive forces shaping our world today.

One such book he discusses is The Last Jihad by Joel Rosenberg, which predicted 9/11 and the war in Iraq before these events occurred. Rosenberg bases his claims on the Book of Ezekiel, which he claims, "is an intercept from the mind of an all-knowing God." Guyatt maintains a calm disposition throughout, though he cannot escape being surprised and even, at times, appalled by the extent to which Biblical prophecy has been made into a contemporary art.

Even more insidious, in Guyatt's view, is the acceptance that eschatologists seem to find in the corridors of power. By Rosenberg's own admission, he has been invited to a bipartisan Congress meet, in which not less than eight Congressmen expressed curiosity at his ideas. "Has Joel Rosenberg completed the circuit between apocalyptic Christianity and American foreign policy?" Guyatt asks the reader, and one can read the dreadful scenarios crisscrossing his mind.

The only trouble with Guyatt's account is his blatant left-liberal propagandizing. Nearly all the actors in the book are tech-savvy right-leaning xenophobes, falling over each other to bring Israel's voice to Washington. Surely that cannot be the case. Barring that, the book offers a timely and cautious look on why Americans need to know who's driving their foreign policy, stuck in one too many quagmires as it is.

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From St. Petersburg Times

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