ATLAS SHRUGGED and LEFT BEHIND- same story, different religion?

The title says it all.


I haven’t read Left Behind, so I couldn’t say.

Going from the Wikipedia entry (though it’s not terribly helpful), I wouldn’t imagine that the two are particularly similar.

From a purely story-based view, one is about a fight to keep the world from being destroyed, while as the other appears to be a “Finding enlightenment under hardship”-type novel. And from a message standpoint, one is arguing for a particular standpoint, while as the other is principally arguing against a standpoint (communism) while nominally proposing the better alternative (if idealised.)

Not knowing more though, I couldn’t say why you think the comparison would be valid.

I’ve only read a couple Left Behind books (found them a tad offensive, doncha know), but it doesn’t seem to me like they’re really ideological – they really just add a fictional storyline to the book of Revelations.

If you mean that both are embarassments to their respective philosophies, then yes, I suppose they are similar in that regard.

Let’s see, a world where industrialists and inventors disappear vs. a world where Christian fundamentalists disappear…
Somehow, the former option is of much greater concern than the latter so, no, they’re not the same.

LEFT BEHIND of course isn’t the best example of “Rapture fiction”, but it is, alas, the most well known. (The best are James BeauSeigneur’s CHRIST CLONE TRILOGY and Brian Caldwell’s WE ALL FALL DOWN.) That is why I picked LB for my OP.

Let me elaborate- is ATLAS SHRUGGED a moralistic but atheistic version of Rapturism? John Galt is a Christ-figure, powering the world but withdrawing his power and the power of others devoted to his values from a world that doesn’t appreciate it. He develops a Heavenly harbor for the Atlas class. He risks being captured by the world which then tortures him to try to break him, but instead is broken against him (a play off the “Christus Victor” view of the Passion). So he makes his final withdrawal of the remnant who are holding things together. This results in the final collapse of the parasitic social order, which is beaten enough to be unable to resist to return of the Atlas class which will rebuild and rule.

While I do not at all believe Ayn was aware of Rapturist doctrine, which was a pretty obscure belief when she was writing in the 1940s-50s, how much of ATLAS SHRUGGED was a response/alternate vision/parody of Christian doctrine, especially Apocalyptic?

Equating Galt with Christ (as opposed to some other wacky choice like, say, Atlas) is pointless. Even Prometheus is ahead of JC in the allegorical line of succession. If Galt was a Christ-like figure, he’d be encouraging the productive citizens to martyr themselves to the needs of their less-productive brethren.

I wasn’t equating Galt with Christ. I was saying that to Ayn, Galt was sort of a counter-Christ, her ideal man, her Word made flesh. Of course, Prometheus is part of the allegorical line- the book says so. One of the “Who is John Galt?” stories is that he was Prometheus, who broke his chains, killed the vulture, took his fire back from humanity & returned to Olympus.

I would agree that this is a fairly accurate summary of Atlas Shrugged, but is that an accurate description of “Rapture Doctrine”?

If so, still all that would mean is that the two have a similar layout in terms of character. You could just as well say that the King Arthur mythology is the same, just as well as the anime The Hakkenden. I would bet that I could find similar themes in Native American or aboriginal writings.

“A noble being comes with a great message/to protect mankind. But he is defeated and the world becomes cold–but perhaps he will appear again to save us.”

A Scripture passage often used by Rapturists in support of The Rapture occuring before the AntiChrist rises to power is this- II Thessalonians 2:6-8 (NKJV):

[6] And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. [7] For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only *He who now restrains [will do so] until He is taken out of the way. [8] And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.

The idea being that the presence of Christians (or the Holy Spirit within Christians) is what keeps the AntiChrist from taking over. Once they are raptured, there is nothing holding back either his reign of evil or God’s wrath on human

I don’t hold to this, btw. I do think IF there is a future AntiChrist, that Christians will endure his reign, and that God can pour His judgements out quite surgically, to spare His people, as He did when the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt. Just discussing the parallel with ATLAS.

I have hoped btw that someone around Christian reconstructionist circles would write an ATLAS-style novel about a voluntary withdrawal of Christians from society to create their own enclaves. Alas, a Franklin Sanders did write something called HEILAND which was closer to THE TURNER DIARIES.

Ah, well I can see how that might be related.

AS is, though, based on the experience of Communism. So while one could perfectly well write a novel about the loss of religion and how that causes mass evil/lawlessness, I don’t think anyone but rather dogmatic Christians would buy it. While as a Randist can point to the USSR, China, North Korea, or any number of failed states, who are the Christians going to point to? Several modern nations are predominantly atheist and seem to be doing just fine. Nor does Hindiusm, Buddhism, nor Shamanism seem to bring about any particularly different state in man from Christians nor atheists.

As for what both sides are arguing for, I would say that Rand and Rapturists could be considered as being somewhat more equal, since proposing any idealised state that we should strive is in a sense impractical. Or at least who agrees with that vision will depend on the viewer (and/or their indoctrination.)

Sorry, your “Galt is a Christ-like figure” must have thrown me.

Actually, the Atlas Shrugged version was that he broke his chains and withdrew his fire until such time as men withdrew their vultures. The “kill the vulture” element is absent, since a better analogy would be that he chose to absent himself and let the vulture starve. In any event, sure there are vague similarities between Rand and Rapture. There are also vague similarities between Rand and Martin Luther King, and Rapturism and the Holocaust. You could choose to apply a latter-day interpretation of Rand with a Rapturist spin, but it’s little more than a minor intellectual exercise, rather like a neo-Marxist interpretation of Moby Dick. There’s no indication it’s what the original author had in mind.

I think it’s funny that the truncated title, when it appears on the main forums page, and on my browser, says ‘ATLAS SHRUGGED and LEFT’.

Heck, if the titles had been reversed, at first glace the thread might look like someone complaining that he’d “LEFT BEHIND [an] ATLAS”.

I know I hate it when I misplace my reference texts.