/ / Articles

Christians and The Can-Do Apocalypse

God is still God even if society goes down the toilet, and He doesn’t stop loving us or providing for us.
| Oct 21, 2015 | 15 comments |

Some guys at my church recommended that I read One Second After by William Forstchen. They don’t seem to be the reading type so I was curious to see what kind of book would have hooks strong enough to draw them in. If you haven’t read it or heard about it, the book takes place in a small town in North Carolina and details what would happen after an EMP strike on the US (I get so irritated with movies that take the time to explain what an EMP is, even though everyone who has ever watchecoverd a movie should know by now, so I’m not going to bother). I’m still reading the book but so far, it’s what you would expect: a flawed but well-meaning ex-military man with skills and charisma tries to keep his family alive and his beloved town from falling apart, with mixed results. What has attracted so much attention to this book is the supposedly realistic portrayal of how American society would break down without electricity. There is no zombie outbreak, no spikes-and-leather warriors of the apocalypse, no cannibal motorcycle gangs. Just normal people thrown into an extraordinary situation.

This isn’t a book review, but I will have to say that the writing is pretty bad. Exposition abounds, and the author, editor, and proofreader apparently don’t know the difference between “have” and “of” (as in “must of” instead of “must have.” This is a pretty frequent infraction, and I can’t help but wonder if this is a devious attempt to further corrupt the English language, like what happened with “alright” becoming mainstream). But I digress. The story is gripping and the reader immediately feels empathy with the characters. I get a similar feeling with Dean Koontz books – completely ridiculous but I can’t stop turning the pages.

As I’ve been reading, one thought remains on my mind: this is the kind of apocalypse book that conservative Americans, and I believe American Christians, would devour. It’s definitely a dyed-in-the-wool, traditional American values book, which I agree with by and large. But here it’s on full display – the independent American spirit, family sticks together no matter what, take care of your own, don’t trust the government, don’t take any chances when it comes to your family’s safety, etc. Newt Gingrich, who has collaborated with Forstchen in the past, wrote the ominous foreword, and the book’s claim to fame is that it was recommended before Congress as prophetic reading. This is a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-to-work apocalypse, not a fanciful sci-fi bloodfest. It’s the kind of book that makes you proud to be an American.

Blacked out cityscape

There’s nothing wrong with this, but as a Christian, I began to wonder how I would react. Honestly, my first reaction to an event like this would be to grab my guns and hunker down with the family. The Bible does not prohibit this, but it doesn’t advocate blowing away trespassers either. In fact, I get the impression that we as Christians should err on the side of love and compassion. We are told numerous times to love our neighbor, love our enemies, bless those who curse us, etc., and in an apocalyptic situation, this would seem to mean share food stores and shelter, help people defend their families, and sacrificially help those in need. God is still God even if society goes down the toilet, and He doesn’t stop loving us or providing for us. It’s not a matter of, “Well, the fat lady has sung for civilization. Guess it’s just us with our wits and our guns.” We would need to trust Him no matter how dire the circumstances and to show love and compassion no matter what.

I’m not saying we should let our homes be overrun by bandit hordes or give away everything we had for sustenance. But I do think that we, as American Christians, shouldn’t be so quick to rely on ourselves in a time of crisis, even if we are well-prepared and suited for it. Our first reaction would be to circle the wagons and keep others out, but I don’t think that’s what Jesus would do at all.

Except the zombies. Shoot every one of those suckers in the head.

Similar articles

15
Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of
Dane Tyler
Guest

Sorry, sorry…I know this is interesting and you’re saying things of relative import, but…

…I just can’t get past the “of” for “have” and the “alright” uses in the book. I … I can’t!

These aren’t minor mistakes anyone could make. This book clearly hasn’t been edited, or the only editing it got came from the author. No beta readers? No copy editor? No proofreader? Really?

That being said, as a conservative Christian, I sort of resent the implication that we want only to hunker with guns during the apocalypse. And I bet I’m not alone in hoping we’d be different.

I’m a pre-trib millennialist anyway, so I don’t believe true believers will be here when the actual, biblical apocalypse begins, but if something like this happened, I’d like to believe my family and I, all people of deep and abiding faith, would turn to God and trust in Him for all our needs, and would reach out to others who don’t have that same hope we hold.

Of course, no one truly knows how they’ll react in a crisis until they face one. But if we have the character of Christ in us, hopefully we can do better.

And now that I know about the “issues” the book has…I probably won’t read it. (It would have made me angry to find those issues on my own, so thank you.)

Parker J. Cole
Member

I’d be a casualty of any kind of end game scenario. I have no survival skills whatsoever. When the A/C went out at work for three days, it was the end of civilization as I knew it.

I could probably learn if I had kids to take care of or my nephew but if it’s just me…I’d be the body you’d probably rummage for warm clothing.

 

 

Kathy E
Guest
Kathy E

Oh, do I relate to this!

Parker J. Cole
Member

hahahaha! I’ve no illusions about myself in that regard. hahaha!

Kessie Carroll
Member

Alas, Babylon remains my all-time favorite apocalypse book (America of the 50s gets royally nuked), and a small Florida town basically reverts to the old west, with the hero becoming the sheriff. Christian apocalypse novels are just … Lacking. (Ever read Solar Flare? Don’t.)

Out here in AZ, the biggest concern would be water and shelter. I imagine all the people would flock to the canals and follow them north to the CO River.

Kathy E
Guest
Kathy E

Several years ago (2010?), several authors had novels around this sort of disaster. One author (Larry somebody??) wrote one where the disaster was caused by a natural fluctuation in the sun &/or Earth’s magnetic field, followed people in eastern US trying to get to comparative safety in PA Amish country. And Terri Blackstock wrote her 4 novel ‘Restoration’ series, starting with ‘Last Light’. As I remember, you’ll find a lot less of the glaring & irritating grammatical errors in these novels.  Heard of these or read them??

Julie D
Guest

I remember the Blackstock quarter…crept me out no end, and the last one had a fairly ridiculous string of coincidences leading to well…it was too easy to imagine an alternate ending that was much better, was how I saw it at the time.

Upon reflection, it was a chain of consequences that makes sense, but has rather too much explosive power for one match, if that makes sense…

 

Kathy E
Guest
Kathy E

Just read Kessie’s post … after I wrote mine above. Larry Burkett’s the author of the “Solar Flare” she mentioned. It is apparent in his fiction writing that whatever strength he had was in his NON-fiction!  Ms Blackstock is a novelist, usually suspense, but her writing shows that she understands fiction in a way Burkett didn’t. And as I remember (as a former public librarian) there was a third Christian author who brought out a novel with a plot based around such a disaster. I remember all these because one of my job duties was book selection/purchase. So, does anyone else remember another similar apocalyptic novel from roughly 10 years ago?? [And Kessie? Agree with you about ‘Alas Babylon’. One of the spookiest things is that that war was set off by fighting in the eastern Med, specifically Syria! An accidental bombing by us of Latakia, where the Russians have a base. Uhmm …]

Leah Burchfiel
Member
Leah Burchfiel

And then I felt a disturbance in the Force, as if millions of essays and theses on the connections between civilization and violence (and the cult of toxic masculinity) all cried out at once to be cited.

That’s a thing we covered in my cowboy pop lit class, that that kind of fiction needs a lack of civilization to take place. Even in samurai movies like Yojimbo that they ripped off back into a spaghetti western, the plot could only take place because there was lawlessness, ergo a lack of civilization. This is also why a great deal of it is based around the individual (with some small groups like Magnificent Seven/Seven Samurai), because action in concert with great amounts of people = civilization, more or less, especially when a hierarchy gets involved.

And then we could tangent off into how it’s kinda disturbing that we value the violence within this storytelling (even if only because STUFF ACTUALLY HAPPENS), but I am guilty of the same delight in badassery.

Brent King
Member

“Except the zombies. Shoot every one of those suckers in the head.” You’re too funny! Yet I do feel you nailed the truth. I would aspire to say it so well:

“In fact, I get the impression that we as Christians should err on the side of love and compassion. We are told numerous times to love our neighbor, love our enemies, bless those who curse us, etc., and in an apocalyptic situation, this would seem to mean share food stores and shelter, help people defend their families, and sacrificially help those in need. God is still God even if society goes down the toilet, and He doesn’t stop loving us or providing for us. It’s not a matter of, “Well, the fat lady has sung for civilization. Guess it’s just us with our wits and our guns.” We would need to trust Him no matter how dire the circumstances and to show love and compassion no matter what.”

Lelia Rose Foreman
Guest

I’m not waiting for the Carrington Event, a devastating solar EMP, or an enemy attack. I’m storing up food for when the Richter 9 earthquake hits the Pacific Northwest (USA). I want to be able to feed the neighbors until the I-5 bridge over the Columbia river is rebuilt.

Anyway, excellent book review and fascinating comments.

Becky Farb
Guest
Becky Farb

I actually prefer apocalypse stories where the protagonists don’t “hunker down” and only look out for themselves. The idea of people coming together in times of catastrophe and protecting each other is something that makes a story really stick out for me. Some may call me a hopeless idealist, but harsh situations don’t only bring out the worst in people. Heroes also rise from adversity. (Wow. That sounds way cheesier than I thought it would.)