Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon

Every so often you stumble upon a book that makes you wish you were illiterate. In Hal Lindsey's The 1980's: Countdown to Armageddon he boldly proclaims, "The decade of the 1980s could very well be the last decade of history as we know it."

I bought this book (originally published in 1981) at a Goodwill a few years back for the purpose of framing select pages. It always elicits a chuckle by those walking down the hallway of my apartment. While it may be funny to think that a man could write such a ridiculous book it is discouraging to think that this man still has a reputation to speak of. In a just society, this man would have been laughed off the face of the earth.

As a public service I present the most hilarious of Hal Lindsey's claims for why the 1980s may, "be the last decade of history as we know it."

Mr. Lindsey personally met with a super-secret group of computer nerds whose prediction of world demise had mirrored that of Daniel, chapter 11, verses 40-45. (p. 6)

Jim Jones was a false messiah as foretold in the Bible. (p. 21)

Governments all over the world are being overthrown. (p. 23)

By the year 2000 there will not be enough food on earth to keep people alive. (p. 26)

The alignment of the planets will cause weather pattern shifts. (p. 28)

Three Rabbis in 1980 all had the same dream of a messiah coming. (p. 48)

UFOs are real and, "demons will stage a human spacecraft landing on earth." (p. 33)

Communism in the U.S.S.R. will overtake American dominace on the world stage. (p. 81)

The U.S. itself will be "taken over by communists." (p.132)

The U.S. could be "destroyed by a surprise Soviet nuclear attack." (p.132)

The U.S. could "become a dependent of the 10-nation European confederacy." (p. 132)

Needless to say, everything that Mr. Lindsey predicted came true and everyone in the United States that was a true-believing Christian was raptured into the heavens after the great 1980's Soviet attack upon U.S. soil (in which demon-aliens were involved. Don't forget the demon-aliens and their human spacecraft).


Anonymous said...

Hal Lindsey is one of those amazing people who can manage to be completely wrong at every step of the way, yet still has people buying his books. I remember in college in '98 having folk from the CCC (Campus Crusade for Christ) telling me I should read Hal Lindsey. By '98, Lindsey had been wrong for nearly thirty years. And still people are reading him, and if not him, Hal Lindsey novelized (Left Behind). The Paleo-Future dies hard for some folk, I guess.

Dr. Stockton said...

I remember seeing adds on local TV in the mid-70s for Hal Lindsey.

They were usually followed or preceded by adds for films touring the high school circuit that would show you REAL footage of bigfoot.

No. Seriously.

This guy gave me the hives from day one, and when I saw him & Robertson together on TV, I knew it was bad news.

Sweet Jesus, what is WRONG with these people!?

Will S. said...

Ooh ooh! I've got this on LP and it is amazing.

Matt Novak said...

Wow! LP? Please tell me he's reading it!

A.R.Yngve said...

Someone should've told the guy who wrote the back cover blurb on Lindsey's book: it's spelled "FORETELLS", not "FORTELLS".

Please, God, if you exist -- smite Hal Lindsey now. For the children.

jayKayEss said...

My friend Scooter owns the LP version of that book(!) and posted a few clips on our blog:

Anonymous said...


Illicit = illegal

Matt Novak said...

Thank you lupus, I changed it. You'll have to excuse the fact that I am 94 percent illiterate.

Anonymous said...

Sweet Jesus, what is WRONG with these people!? -- Tony

As someone who had his head seriously messed up in the Seventies by The Gospel According to Hal Lindsay, let me explain who to thank for "these people":

1) John Nelson Darby, a Victorian-era preacher who in 1835 either invented or popularized the "Secret Rapture" End-of-the-World choreography. This was part of his overarching system of Biblical interpretation, "Pre-Millenial Dispensationalism" (PMD, or "Protestants of Mass Destruction"). Darby apparently tried to reconcile everything in the Bible from a foundation of extreme literalism, and this was the result.

2) A somewhat shady character-turned-preacher named Scofield, who around a century ago brought out an annotated study Bible with most or all the Prophetic interpretations based on Darby's "Secret Rapture". For some reason, this became THE study Bible for a lot of American Protestants, the sub-type we now call "Fundamentalists" or "Evangelicals".

3) World War One, which caused a major shift in Protestant Christian Eschatology (end-of-the-world studies) from "Post-Mil" to Darbyite "Pre-Mil" as part of its general traumatizing of the world.

You see, before WW1, Protestant Christian EotW was "Post-Mil"; the idea was that Christian civilization would inexorably spread over, improve, and Christianize the world. Then The End would come, and Christians would present the returning Christ with a Christianized world, as perfect as mortal man could make it. "The Victorians believed history ended well, because it ended with the Victorians." -- G.K.Chesterton

Then came The Great War, which killed optimism across the board; the Bright Future had just gotten Dark and Scary. Instead of the Social Gospel improving the world in a Christian version of the Jewish idea of Tikkun Olam, a lot of Christians gave up, retreating into their churches and awaiting a Divine Airlift out. From the Victorian Social Gospel without much personal salvation, to a Fundie Gospel of Personal Salvation and ONLY Personal Salvation.

4) Let age several decades.

ericpaddon said...

I'm an evangelical Christian who was part of the audience Lindsey targeted back then, and unfortunately I saw signs of his influence in a lot of things in my Church culture. What Lindsey did was take the fact that in his "Late Great Planet Earth" he made one prediction about Iran one day not being a big chum of the US (as Iran was at the time) and run with that to proclaim himself some big expert on the future. Never mind the fact that he based everything on a totally wrong-headed view of interpreting scripture and Biblical prophecy, not to mention falling into the trap that has plagued so many Christians in that they think prophecies about the end of the Age can be understand at our present-state of knowledge. Christians are well-advised to remember that the last words Christ said before He ascended into Heaven was that "It is not for you to know the times and dates" of these things, and that being aware of how Christ can return at any minute is merely a call for the faithful to treat every day as if it could be our last and that we're prepared to face judgment when we might least expect it.

I think it's safe to say that as a result of his ridiculous 80s book, Lindsey casts far less of a shadow in evangelical circles as he might have had back then. For which this evangelical is most grateful.