Sunday, September 21, 2014

America and the End-Times Industry: False Theology and Major Profits

When I answered a phone call from one of our parish leaders Friday morning, I really did not expect a mental trip back in time.  However, what we talked about catapulted me right back to 2003-4 when I was involved in the Catholic End Times catechesis revival. Tomorrow night, I will revisit that in a talk at a local parish (replacing a speaker who canceled.)

The Left Behind series of adult and children's books and the low-budget movie with Keith Cameron were a problem for Catholics 10 years ago. I had gotten into writing and presenting on this topic because before that, when I had been a parish DRE, I had encountered a catechist  trying to teach 7th graders that there will be a "Rapture" and then discovered the Left Behind children's books were not only in the parish school library, but were being read in the 5th grade classroom.

Anti-Catholic, based on a false interpretation of Scripture... yes this stuff is a catechetical problem for Catholics.

As a result, I ended up assisting the Catholic Conference of Illinois with writing a statement on the Left Behind books and videos. That led to an article in the final issue of the USCCB Department of Education journal The Living Light, several local and regional presentations and two national interviews. After that, things quieted down for me, and for catechesis,

In preparing for tomorrow night, I found that Left Behind has been an integral part of an entire industry in America. Dating back to the 1970 publication of Hal Lindsey's The Late, Great Planet Earth, which sold 10 million copies, Americans have been eating up all things apocalyptic. boasts that they have now sold 63 million copies of their books.  When you think about it, not only has Hollywood cashed in on apocalyptic movies about the end times and the anti-Christ, but the History Channel has made a career out of presenting various scenarios for the apocalypse, most based on misreadings of the Book of Revelation.

Now, Hollywood is giving us a major actor to play the main character in a new "major motion picture."  And here we go again. 

It's been interesting to see where this has gone in the past 10 years.  I will probably post more on this topic over the next few weeks until we see the reception of the movie...

Here is my PowerPoint, posted on SlideShare.  Feel free to share this with parish leaders and catechists.


  1. Since I'm not Catholic, this is not a subject I am familiar with, but I have seen a trend in the last 10 years or so of movies about Man having to start over in a destroyed land. i wonder if it's because we see this world as being too messed up to ever fix and the only way to correct it is to destroy everything and start over. This comment may not have anything to do with what you wrote about, but it is what popped into my mind after reading your post.

    1. It is related, actually - the non-theological apocalypse scenarios are part of what has become a meme in the culture. These stand against teachings of the mainline Christian churches that the end of time is to be seen as a positive thing - a sign of hope that some day all will be well because God will finally make it so.