The "Left Behind" books

I was wondering if anyone could give me a brief synopsis of these books and what you opinions of them are. I used to work in a Christian book shop on a saturday morning when I was still in school and people would buy them by the truck load (most of these same people also found the sight of rosary beads offensive so the lady who owned the shop would keep the rosaries in a secret box especially for Catholics which was so kind of her) and I had/have many friends who’ve read them and absolutely love them. The slightly worrying thing is though is that they seem to take the books literally, almost as literally as they take the book of the Revelation to John, as if the end really will happen the way it does in Left Behind and that the Pope wouldnt be “saved” or “raptured” unless he submitted to the teachings of Luther. My friends who say this are all non-Catholic Christians and it seems they say these things as a result of discussing the Left Behind books and not the Bible itself. I dont know any Catholics who have read the books, which is why Im asking you guys for your opinion of them. I tried reading them for myself but I struggled to get through the first one because I simply couldnt get into it, but I do want to find out more about them and what they have to say because my non-Catholic Christian friends have rather anti-Catholic views and are slightly obsessed with the end times and I worry that it may be a result of reading these books.

I’m a long time fantasy and sci-fi geek. These books have a reputation as good comedy at best among people who read that sort of literature. Deservedly so, someone described them once as reading like Dungeons and Dragons crossed with the revelation crossed with bad theology. A fairly accurate assesment.

These books are simply “tract novels”, in a sense that they’re stories which wrap up large chunks of proselytizing. It proposes the ideas of the Rapture, the New World Order, the Catholic Church as the “Whore of Babylon”, and uses a Cardinal in the novel series to become the next Pope and leader of a new World Religion, and this “Pope” eventually is shown to be the “False Prophet”. Yes, these books could have easily been an influence in propagating anti-catholic misconceptions and in the “end times fever” that your friends may be undergoing. My opinion is that they are poorly written, and carry a rather poor theological premise that obviously contradicts proper (Catholic) doctrine. When I started down the road to understanding the “Rapture”, I first looked upon the Left Behind novels, because they are referenced by others so many times, from Secular to Religious writers alike. Remember to spend time with your Bible, and with your Catechism, to teach your friends about the truth of the faith which we share and uphold. Peace be with you :slight_smile:

I read these books, and really they are kind of like an action/adventure mixed with the new age protestant teaching about the rapture. However, if you know where your faith is coming from, they are interesting fiction

I would suggest you get your hands on a copy of Carl Olson’s “Will Catholics Be Left Behind?” It’s a book length treatment of the theology and its problems exemplified by evangelical rapture theologians and the stuff written by LeHaye and Jenkins in the Left Behind series.

Carl Olson writes for Our Sunday Visitor each week and he’s a pretty good writer and extremely knowledgeable.


I read the book series. I thought it was a good fiction story. It is an author/s take on events of the end times, so to speak. It just interested me how they interpreted the Book of Revelation events.

If you know your faith and what the CC teaches on the subject, you will gain knowledge how the Rapture theorists interpret the end times.

They are poorly-written.

My husband, a computer guy by trade (Master’s Degree), read the first thirty pages of the first LB novel, and found two computer “errors.”

The authors could have talked to any advanced high school computer geek and learned how to write the story without these errors. But apparently they didn’t bother to do this research and just made stuff up. What else are they just “making up”? (Yes, I know the book is fiction, but it is based on the doctrine of the rapture, which is a real doctrine in evangelical Protestant churches.)

I’ve written several novels, including a pretty good adult novel (fiction) about a Catholic officer who volunteers to rescue a pregnant Protestant missionary from a terrorist organization in the Ivory Coast. While I was writing that novel, I corresponded with a real missionary who lived in the Ivory Coast and asked her all kinds of questions about the country, including what kinds of vegetation grow there, the layout of the city, the political situation, etc. The story in my novel is fiction, but setting in my novel is fact–I did my research. And I’m just an amateur writer, not a professional author with access to one of the biggest publishing houses and their staff of editors in the U.S…

I have a hard time respecting authors who don’t take the time to do a little research and get things right. To me, it smacks of arrogance and a lack of care for the readers.

JMO–you did ask, after all.

I think you’re right. Readers know when they are being lied to, even if the book is “only” fiction. Since the story is made up it doesn’t excuse the writer from doing a little legwork and getting basics correct that people familiar with the subject or setting would know is wrong.

I read interviews with authors that feel it’s their responsibility to “tell the truth” in their fiction. To them it means doing that little extra research and keeping things consistent throughout (even when it’s stuff they completely make up) or not relying on contrived plot devices or deus ex machina type of rescures or endings.


I can empathise with your husband. I only read the first 50 pages, perhaps, and put the book down forever because I simply couldnt get into it. BTW, I hope you get published. Your book sounds great :thumbsup:

Oh that sounds good, cheers :wink:

So if the books use such rhetorics as “Whore of Babylon” and portray the Pope (albeit a fictitious Pope) as a “false prophet,” would it be fair to call the books prejudist? We’ve heard these expressions being used against Catholicism so many times and it does seem that writing a book thats filled with them only perpetuates the prejudice and misunderstandings about the Church. I was hoping that the books were not at all like this and that it was just my friends blowing thinsg out of proportion, but it does seem that the books are responsible for exacerbating their paranoia about the Catholic church and the end times. “End times fever” is a good expression, thats certainly what it seems to be. Peace be with you too :slight_smile:

Thank you everyone for your comments and feedback :smiley: You’ve been very helpful and given me alot to think about.

The books make zero sense to well formed catholics because they are the outcome of a very recent perversion of protestant theology. IIRC, there are some Catholic Answers articles about it you can search for. Use “Left Behind” and Dispensationalism as search words.

I personally know several people (all fundamentalists and evangelicals)
the ) who treat those books as second only to the Bible and believe everything in them. Those books are their “book of mormon”, so to say and occupy the same prominence on their bookshelves as their KJV.


LaHaye himself has a long history of anti-catholic opinions and activities.

I noticed these books have spawned a pair of substandard video games. Noticeably in those games the head of the ‘one world religion’ and his in game appearance certainly suggest some active on going er problems in how they view Catholicism. Not that this is surprising. They are apparently also awful games from the reviews I saw of them. Again not suprising as when the message is more important than the quality of the story telling that what’s you tend to get.

I remember reading these several years ago because a girlfriend of mine had read them and urged me to read them too. I really think that it shows just how literally some protestants take the Bible! Anyway, I think that the two authors have really turned Bible prophecy and the Book of Revelations into something of an industry. They come out with new books every so often (I don’t recall how frequently offhand), and people eat it up. The problem is that some people think that all this is going to happen in our lifetimes, but Jesus said that “But of that day and hour no one knows…but the Father only”. Matt. 24:36
The point is that some people might do what some early Christians did and neglect things in their lives and then when nothing happens they lose their faith because it was all based on bad eschatology. So when others ask me about these books I try to discourage them from reading them, or if they feel they must, not to take them to seriously and to read books that will help them grow in faith, hope, and charity. that way they won’t have to be to terribly concerned about the “end times”.:smiley:

I feel the same way about “The Shack.” A poor work of fiction, and a bunch of hooey dressed up as theology. Yet some people go on and on as though it was actually inspired by God himself, or “herself,” as God presents the Trinity as a black woman, an Asian sprite/fairy as the Holy Spirit, and the traditional bearded carpenter as Jesus.

I found many errors and inconsistencies yet I know Catholics who think this book was just so wonderful and it “changed” their lives!!!


The problem with The Shack is that the author (Young is his last name, I think) believes in Universalism, which posits ultimately EVERYBODY goes to heaven. :rolleyes:

Everything in these books is way easy. It’s almost like a Choose your own adventure book.

I read them all. For those that have no clue about End Times, you can read them as a very loose guide. But it is the author’s interpretation though…

I read the entire original series-did you know that there are three “prequels” and a final, one-volume book on the Millennial Kingdom? The first prequel could not be understood without at least having read some of the originals, and the Millennial K book is so heretical and speculative (ex: all unsaved people die on their hundredth birthday), most die-hard evangelicals reject, or at least question it.

The first two or three of the original series hold one’s interest,to an extent, and stand up as fair science fiction. Also, the first book says that some Catholics have been raptured, including the present pope (at time of publication? John Paul II). I guess he was so respected, the authors didn’t dare go there!!!)

In short, for entertainment only-no theological insights here!

One last note-since the authors made so much money on the series, it would be interesting if they opened their investment portfolios…if they provide for anyone past their grandchildren, they have doubts about their revelations themselves

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