Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Apocalyptic Book Boom

These people are pretty scary. I think it's entirely possible we can see a clash of civilizations develop; not that it isn't already, but the potential to escalate is definitely massive. If it does, no one will be talking about Paris or Lindsay then. This is courtesy of Talk2Action, via Cursor.org.

Apocalyptic Book Boom: Christian Publishers Prepare for 2008 Election
By Richard BartholomewSat Jun 02, 2007 at 04:25:39 AM EST
topic: Broadcasting & Media section:Front Page printable version print this story

The latest issue of Christian Retailing magazine (page 4, not online) has an interesting round-up of the latest crop of apocalyptical Christian Zionist and anti-Islamic titles from Christian publishers, under the sub-heading "Geopolitical, apocalyptical books offer 'perspective' in forthcoming election campaign". Highlights (with links to some of my previous discussions added):

...More than 310,000 units have been presold for Strang Communications' The Final Move Beyond Iraq...Written by New York Times best-selling author Mike Evans, the book is tied to a one-hour documentary.

...Evans said that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "is a radical zealot bent on the destruction of the West and installation of a world Islamic system."

...The title follows another successful [Strang imprint] FrontLine book on the Middle East. Pastor John Hagee's geopolitical best-seller Jerusalem Countdown has sold more than 1 million units.

...FrontLine also has two other books on the Middle East releasing this fall: Culture Clash: Islam's War on America by Mark Gabriel and In Defense of Israel: The Biblical Case for Supporting The Jewish State by Hagee.

And if that's not enough:

Harvest House Publishers recently published Middle East Meltdown: Oil, Israel, and the Religion Behind the Crisis by John Ankerberg and Dillion Burroughs, while Global Warning: Are We on the Brink of World War III? By "Left Behind" series co-author Tim LaHaye is set for release Sept 1.

...titles about the Middle East have done well for Harvest House in the past, including more than 70,000 copies sold for Unholy War by Randall Price (2001) and more than 100,000 in book sales for Islam: What You Need to Know by Ron Rhodes (2000).

Tyndale is also on the scene:

...Joel C. Rosenberg's Epicenter: Why the Current Rumblings in the Middle East Will Change your Future has sold more than 100,000 copies since it was released last Spetember...This month, Tyndale will release a third edition of Armageddon, Oil and Terror: What the Bible Says About the Future of America, the Middle East, and the End of Western Civilization, written by Bible scholar John F. Walwood.

Some of us might be sceptical of a book of predictions that has been re-edited twice since first publication, but apparently it

...has sold more than 2 million copies and has been translated into 10 languages...

The man from Harvest House told Christian Retailing that

"...more people are looking for answers to difficult questions such as 'why has peace been so elusive' and 'why are the conflicts going from bad to worse?'

Also, with the 2008 election looming,

"Many of those who are buying books want to make a well-informed decision...[Christian books] provide a clear and biblical perspective on what's really happening-a perspective Christians cannot get from the secular media."

There's also input from Mark Hitchcock, author of Iran: The Coming Crisis--Radical Islam, Oil, and the Nuclear Threat.

For some reason, all this fatalism, pessimism, and fear-mongering is not criticised as defeatism by the conservative Christian leaders who are so quick to denounce the media for ignoring all the "good news" from Iraq. However, one sceptical conservative commentator got the measure of it all back in December 2003, in a piece for the National Review:

You thought Saddam was bad? Wait until you see the next guy. You thought life was going to get better? Wait until you experience the coming Tribulation and the rule of The Antichrist. If conditions improve, it's only so they can become twice as bad in the very near future...And so it goes -- and has gone for many decades.

Of course, not all apocalyptic books are religiously-inspired, and back in March the Inter Press Service drew attention to a March Weekly Standard article by Irwin Stelzer, in which Stelzer gives us an account of a "seminar" that George Bush recently led. Stelzer tells us that anyone

who likes to regale his friends with references to that illiterate cowboy in the White House is due for some considerable embarrassment when the nonpartisan studies of the Bush years begin to hit the bookshops...Bush has circulated copies of Natan Sharansky's The Case for Democracy to his staff, and recommended Mark Steyn's America Alone.

The full title of the latter book is America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It. Inter Press adds a gloss:

Steyn's book...sees Europe's demographic trends and its multicultural 'post-nationalist' secularism as leading inevitably to the 'Eurocalypse,' to the 'recolonization of Europe by Islam', to the emergence of a 'Eurabia', and to the onset of a 'new Dark Ages' in which the United States will find it difficult to survive as the 'lonely candle of liberty'...Steyn...sees Islam - and not just 'Islamist radicals' or 'jihadis' such as al-Qaeda - as a unique threat that cannot be reconciled with 'free societies.'

Dick Armey offered his own views on how Bush relates to the idea of the "End Times" in an interview for the BBC World Service, which I blogged here.

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