Quick Read: Left Behind

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When I was in 4th year of secondary school I did a few week’s work experience at my local library. One day I was doing something monotonous with a pile of newly-donated books in a section of the library that was otherwise empty, and passed the time by flipping through a few of them.

One of the donations was a large boxed set of a book series I had never heard of before– the Left Behind books, starting with an initial instalment of the same name. I read the first few chapters out of curiosity, and found the premise somewhat intriguing. Millions of people disappearing around the globe! Chaos and destruction!

But there was also something distinctly strange about it. Parts of the plot didn’t make sense, and at the end of the chunk I got through the book veered off into expositing about a branch of Christianity I had never heard of and couldn’t understand. I kept an eye out for it on the shelves, intending to read more, but as far as I know the librarians never put it up for borrowing.

It occurs to me that the scenario I just described is probably exactly what authors Tim LaHaye and Terry B. Jenkins intended when they created the series, except their version would have ended with me coming to some sort of religious revelation. If I had actually read the rest of Left Behind and gone on to research its purpose and origins, it likely would have accelerated my movement toward atheism instead.

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