“This is not a problem for the born again. There are no other subjects, really; nothing else — besides being born again — is even marginally important. Every moment of your life is a search-and-rescue mission: Everyone you meet needs to be converted and anyone you don’t convert is going to hell, and you will be partially at fault for their scorched corpse. Life would become unspeakably important, and every conversation you’d have for the rest of your life (or until the Rapture — whichever comes first) would really, really, really matter. If you ask me, that’s pretty glamorous. And Left Behind pushes that paradigm relentlessly. Another of its primary characters — airline pilot Rayford Steele — becomes born again after he loses his wife and twelve-year-old son. However, his skeptical college-aged daughter Chloe doesn’t make God’s cut, so much of the text revolves around his attempts to convert Chloe to “The Way.” And the main psychological hurdle Steele must overcome is the fact that he’s not an obtrusive jackass, which Left Behind says we all need to become. “Here I am, worried about offending people,” Rayford thinks to himself at the beginning of chapter 19. “I’m liable to ‘not offend’ my own daughter right into hell.” The stakes are too high to concern oneself with manners.
This is ultimately what I like about the Born-Again Lifestyle: Even though I see fundamentalist Christians as wild-eyed maniacs, I respect their verve. They are probably the only people openly fighting against America’s insipid Oprah Culture — the pervasive belief system that insists everyone’s perspective is valid and that no one can be judged. As far as I can tell, most people I know are like me; most of the people I know are bad people (or they’re good people, but they consciously choose to do bad things). We deserve to be judged.
I realize that liberals and libertarians and Michael Stipe are always quick to quote the Bible when you say something like that, and they’ll tell you, “Judge not, lest you be judged.” And that’s a solid retort for just about anything, really. But the thing with born agains is that they want to be judged. They can’t f@%king wait. That’s why they’re cool.”
Chuck Klosterman, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto (New York: Scribner, 2003), pp. 235-236.