The Turner Diaries offers truly fascinating, though incredibly difficult to imagine, insight into the dissociated and dualistic mind of a paranoid, fundamentalist. From the beginning of the novel it is evident that religious thought is working underneath what looks like an entirely politically themed plot. As I neared the end of the first section of the novel, I was actually very surprised at how completely religious the book began to sound. As Earl becomes more immersed in his role for the Organization we see the story shift from that of an impassioned bigot into the story of a fundamentalist soldier for the “army of God,” in his case the “army” for the Organization/Order. Continue reading
Much of what Strozier wrote in this week’s set of essays seemed to respond to my concern about how easily the “saved” characters in Glorious Appearing accept the punishment of the surrounding sinners. It is no less appalling to me that they could simply sit and watch, and even enjoy, the mass murder of most of the remaining population by Jesus – especially considering the gruesome manner in which the deaths were carried out. Continue reading
After viewing Jesus Camp in class last week, I was really struggling with separating my personal beliefs from my observation and judgements of the Fundamentalist lifestyle/belief system. It’s incredibly frustrating to see something that I so strongly disagree with at work in real life. Hearing about this type of organized religion and indoctrination is difficult to grasp, but seeing it in action on screen was a huge shock for me. After thinking a lot about what was presented in the documentary, I was able to step back a little bit and take into consideration the psychology behind groups like these. This week’s Strozier readings helped me to gain a more level-headed perspective on the inner workings of those so heavily influenced by the Fundamentalist mindset. Continue reading
As I turned to the last page of Glorious Appearing, I let out a sigh of relief that it was finally over. But lo and behold, the one-lined epilogue stated otherwise. After four hundred pages of waiting to read about a perfect ending to the world and the destruction of evil, the epilogue leaves us waiting again for another ending to come. Christ came, punished the sinners, and all seemed well, “But after these things [Satan] must be released for a little while” (399). All the protagonists just spent seven years waiting for this moment to be reunited in a perfect society under the kingdom of Jesus. And yet Rayford’s last statement was “We’ve only got a thousand years” (398). Must they always anticipate an end? Continue reading
In his concluding essays, Strozier presents a very thorough analysis of the various tenets of apocalyptic fundamentalism and how they influence the overall doomsday mindset that has prevailed in society. It is interesting to trace Strozier’s didactic approach to understanding the fundamentalist way of thought. His previous readings writings introudced us to the dualism and particular psychology associated with apocalyptic violence. In his later essays, Strozier narrows his argument by linking the root of violence to paranoia.
It took quite some time to get used to the tone of Glorious Appearing. As a liberal New Yorker without strong religious affiliations, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop (so to speak). This can’t be serious, I kept thinking, even though I knew the premise of the series. Continue reading
I find myself struggling with the idea that apocalyptic thinkers are able to abandon their fears and sense of responsibility because their time construct, according to The Fundamentalist Mindset, has been dissolved by the notion of the end of days (30). While I understand why this seems to make sense, it’s difficult to believe that this shifted perspective of time manages to remove a sense of accountability to a degree that justifies or even motivates publically or individually harmful actions.
The reading mentions that these apocalyptic believers have “no fear of future consequences (except from a judging deity)…”(30). This particular passage calls attention to why the general theory seems to be flawed. The “exception” to this seemingly boundless loss of fear is the wrath and judgment of God- a pretty significant force to be reckoned with. True believers trust completely in God’s plan for them, so why, then wouldn’t the wrath and judgment of their one true object of faith be enough to dissuade them from acting recklessly against others? Continue reading
Over the past couple weeks we’ve alluded to Hitler and the Holocaust a few times. With this week’s reading, it was really all I could think about. Hitler is directly analogous to Carpathia who, in Glorious Appearing and the rest of the Left Behind series, is the Antichrist. Then in Strozier’s essays, the description of how the fundamentalist mindset exhibits violent potentials seems to resonate with Hitler’s actions towards the Jews in the Holocaust. Because of our fixation with the end of times and our curiosity in psychological reasoning, we are left to analyze his actions from a purely apocalyptic standpoint. Continue reading
As presented in Strozier’s essays, apocalyptic fundamentalism has had a great impact on human psychology. Strong Christian believers have experienced immense changes in their mentality, as well as in their attitudes toward other ways of thought. We can say that such changes in mindset definitely alter the ways in which fundamentalist groups approach the apocalyptic phenomenon, and how accepting they are of other beliefs. It is exactly these alterations that have redefined the psychology and malevolence of doomsday culture.