Scaring people to God – what an effective way of spreading the gospel of love, hope, and peace. I'm Spider...
...and tonight we are taking apart the Mark IV classic that even some Christians find too extreme in its messaging to endorse or stand behind: the original and still the most notorious Christian horror flick that's even more offensive than Silent Scream - A Thief In the Night. This movie is so sick, so twisted, and so rife with end times propaganda it's hard to take seriously. Here's the problem: a lot of people – a lot of KIDS – did back in the day and some still wear the scars. We'll get into that more later but first...
Locke-ing the vote, another exorcism turned murder and more of that lovely evangelical hate for anyone who isn't cis-het and proud of it. It's Christians Behaving Badly Maddening Melee Edition
First up, our favorite tent preacher, Pastor Greg Locke, has been reported to the IRS for Johnson Amendment violations. This is the law that says churches/non-profits can't tell people who to vote for.
But no one can tell Greg Locke what to do, and he gave a sermon at his church that the only people that 'real Christians' can vote for are...wait for it...republicans. Here's a sample of said sermon:
… I’m to the place right now, if you vote Democrat, I don’t even want you around this church. You can get out. You can get out, you demon. You can get out, you baby-butchering election thief. You cannot be a Christian and vote Democrat in this nation. I don’t care how mad that makes you. You [can] get as pissed off as you want to. You cannot be a Christian and vote Democrat in this nation… They hate this nation!… You cannot be a Democrat and a Christian. You cannot. Somebody say “Amen.” The rest of you get out! Get out! Get out in the name of Jesus...
… Everyone wanna talk about the insurrection? Mmmm. Let me tell you something: You ain’t seen the insurrection yet. You keep on pushing our buttons, you low-down, sorry compromisers, you God-hating Communists, maybe you’ll find out what an insurrection is…
And this isn't a new opinion. I was told this in high school, by a man in the church I respected. It was dismaying. I didn't want to condemn people who were gay, or who had abortions. But I was young and I had little confidence and absolutely no self-esteem so I took his word for it.
Of course, there are Christians who vote democrat. Even 15% of Evangelical Christians voted for Biden this past election. But Locke doesn't want to hear that. He wants to command an army of republican
soldiers. And that last, about the insurrection? I'd pay attention to that.
Another deadly exorcism in California has taken the life of a three-year-old girl. It happened because the child's mother and the mother's father (who pastors the church that both attend) had a shared delusion. Here's the story:
On September 24, 2021, the mother called the San Jose police department said that her daughter died. Police found the girl, Arely Naomi Proctor, on the floor of Iglesia Evangelica Apostoles y Profetas church and she was later declared deceased at a hospital. The cause was officially “homicide with a cause of death of asphyxia due to suffocation due to mechanical asphyxia and smothering.”
The mother, Claudia Hernandez, said that they were at the church run by her father because they believed the girl was “possessed by a demon.”
Why did they think this? Because sometimes, the little girl would wake up and scream or cry.
Hernandez, her brother Rene Hernandez-Santos, and her father Rene Trigueros-Hernandez — apparently held the girl down and took turns trying to get her to vomit up the demon they believed was inside her. A quote from Hemant Mehta's article:
[Hernandez] stated she attempted to stick her finger down the victim’s throat and squeezed the victim’s neck to induce vomiting. The victim fell asleep several times while [Hernandez] pushed down on the victim’s throat with her hand. [Hernandez] described the victim sustaining bruising around her eyes, throat/neck, and chest.
Two hours after the child stopped moving, they finally called 911.
Days later, Claudia Hernandez set up a go-fund-me to pay for little Arely's funeral, and in January, she put up a video with pictures of her daughter. She never disclosed how the little girl died. She only said, “it is what it is.”
She and her brother and father were arrested days after that. They now face up to 25 years in prison.
When Jamilynn D'avola ran for the colorado springs school board, her website said “one of my top priorities would be to make sure children are assigned to different bathroom based on their biological sex,” a direct attack on trans kids. She also condemned comprehensive sex education, the “LGBTQ+ agenda,” Black Lives Matter, and “social justice.” Just a total moral monster on every level.
A caring student wrote a very heartfelt letter to her when she started on the school board, urging her to reconsider her positions on a number of things, for instance sex education. She says in her letter: “Some students do not receive this information at home and need to learn it at school so that they stay safe and healthy. I know this is a lot, Mrs. D’Avola, but please, at least consider the things I have said. The mental health of the district’s students is potentially on the line.”
Mrs. D'Avola could have just sent a form letter back to the student and ignored it. But she didn't. Instead, she wrote a condescending, proselytizing letter. When someone fully understands who they are in Christ, then they will know they are valued and will be able to overcome depression and thoughts of suicide. They will know that there are only two genders and that there is absolute truth that comes from the Word of God. ...We are not free to do whatever we feel like, we must uphold the values and truth of the Bible. I pray that God would reveal Himself to you so that you too can experience the love of the Father.
At the next board meeting, the student's mother, Lacy Carroll stood to speak up for her daughter:
You have communicated that students should not be subjected to opinions that contradict their family’s values.
But which parents? I’m certainly not included in that. A board member’s email to my child referenced in the letter you received from the Freedom From Religion Foundation made it quite clear that this only applies to parents who already think like she does.
My family values science and mental health care, diversity and inclusion. She trampled on these values when she communicated with my child and promoted something entirely different.
Sou seem to think that your values are the only ones that can exist and that anything else is the absence of values.
I want to be clear that I am very intentionally teaching my kids to celebrate diversity and to make others feel safe. Those are our family values. According to you, I should have the right to do that without a school official going behind my back to undermine me. So help me understand: Do all parents have rights or just the ones you agree with? What is the real purpose of this discussion? I want you to really ask yourselves that.
Because I think if it’s were truly about parental rights, you would have more to say in defense of mine. Thank you.
Great speech, right? But of course, one of Mrs. D'avola's fellow conservative christians on the board, Ms. Liu had to get in one last dig after the other school board members had responded to other public comments:
… And Ms. Carroll? Your child contacted Ms. Jamilynn. Stop accusing her of pushing her agenda on your child. Your child contacted her. Please stop accusing her publicly of a misdoing.
So… the child urged a school board member to be a decent human being. The school board member responded by basically telling that child she’s too stupid to understand mental illness and gender identity and needed more Jesus in her life. And then her buddy decided to blame the child as well.
This is what happens when you vote in stupid-ass conservatives with a huge agenda and blinders on. You get this sort of crap.
You know the solution. Vote.
When Jesus gave his great commission he never said word one about using scare tactics and manipulation. The Gospel was supposed to speak for itself and through the bringer of the message. “Let your light so shine among men that they see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” is a far cry from “Reel ‘em in no matter what it takes. Threaten them with hell. Make them paranoid. Make them toss and turn at night and have nightmares until they give in.”
The psychological warfare that this movie engages in is disgusting, as is the constant paranoia that some of the characters perpetuate. They don’t seem remotely fazed about DEMONSTRATING what this messaging does to children and while it isn’t a kids’ movie, they pulled it out on me multiple times beginning at age 13. Some churches play this card even earlier.
To demonstrate my point, I’m going to read excerpts from some of the reviews of this movie that people have left on IMDB.com:
“I am 61 years old and still tormented by seeing this film in the dark basement of my middle school friend's church at their evening youth group meeting. It was nothing less than child abuse and cultist manipulation using fear of a young child to control. This movie is antithetical to Jesus' message. I choose Jesus' way of love and compassion not cultish mind games and fear. What would Jesus do? He would not show this film in a dark room of a church to a 13 year old or anyone else for that matter.”
“This film demonstrates Christianity’s need to rely on emotional manipulation and scare tactics to indoctrinate and maintain adherents to its fragile belief system. Anyone who thinks that showing this film to anyone, especially impressionable children, with the intent to instill fear for the purposes of conversion to Christianity or to intensify someone’s faith is morally corrupt and abusive. I’ve read too many stories of people who have been scarred by churches and parents who demand that this piece of poorly produced propaganda be used as a manipulation tool and those who do so are the real evil.”
“Perhaps because I was so young, innocent and BRAINWASHED when I saw it, this movie was the cause of many sleepless nights for me. I haven't seen it since I was in seventh grade at a Presbyterian school, so I am not sure what effect it would have on me now. However, I will say that it left an impression on me... and most of my friends. It did serve its purpose, at least until we were old enough and knowledgeable enough to analyze and create our own opinions.”
“I saw this film so long ago I can't recall how old I was--had to have been less than 8 years old but older than 4. After watching it with my parents, it haunted me for the longest time, particularly when connected with the song "Wish We'd All Been Ready". The intent was obviously to scare the viewer into salvation. Depending on your mindset while watching A Thief in the Night, you may or may not take any of it seriously. That is why as a child, lacking the experience, understanding, and ability to compartmentalize it was the most disturbing...for me anyway.”
“I was raised in a "very Christian" household since birth. I was saved before I saw this movie and the rest of the series and was forced to watch it in a youth group at my church. This movie was highly disturbing. I saw it when I was about 12 years old and literally had nightmares about it for years. I used to lay awake in bed and listen for the sounds of my mom's footsteps upstairs. If I didn't hear her footsteps, I would sneak upstairs to make sure she hadn't been raptured. I used to pray so hard every night for salvation because I was terrified of Jesus forgetting me. It took me years to shake the fear that this movie gave me.”
“From first frame to last, it remains repulsively gloomy, angry, and depressing. This, from a film about Christ's second coming -- a subject which should impart a message of hope, not of fear.”
“This isn't family-friendly evangelic filmmaking. This is punch you in the face and demand you get saved now mania.”
Here’s the thing about that last part: Word of Life used the same scare tactics on us. It was either “the rapture will happen and you’ll be left behind” or “You could drown in the lake or get into a car accident on the way home and Satan is just itching to claim the life of a young person because when you accept Christ when you’re young, it’s harder to sway you later. Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not part from it. Where you should go right now is to this altar. Give your life to Jesus and you'll be pulling one more trophy off the devil’s mantle. By the time I saw this movie, a lot of these thoughts had already been normalized in my head. I thought Duane had the right idea. I wanted to be like him. And I was. To an absolute fault. Today I look t how I thought then and I watch what happens in this movie and seeing it for what it is makes what’s coming up now beyond deserved. I don’t intend to mince words and I don’t intend to be polite. So with that, let’s get right into it…
This movie is filmed on location in Iowa. On location. That's lofty. Oh! And in color. Thanks, movie, I never would have guessed. Is this Hell? Nope. It's Iowa.
Matthew 13:35-37 (TLB)
“Keep a sharp lookout! For you do not know when I will come, at evening, at midnight, early dawn or late daybreak. Don’t let me find you sleeping. Watch for my return! This is my message to you and to everyone else.”
An alarm clock goes off
A girl (Patty) wakes up to news that a LOT of people have disappeared
“Literally thousands, perhaps millions...” a sentence or two later, it's clear that “millions who were living on this earth last night are not here this morning.” Thank you discount Walter Cronkite...
She goes looking for her husband and finds his electric razor dangling off the vanity and buzzing away… but no Jim.
The news reporter dares to use the term “the rapture” then quotes Mt. 24:36 (no man knows the day or hour)
Pretty much the rest of this movie now is a flashback. We’re about to see everything that leads up to the buzzing razor and emergency broadcast.
We're in a.... youth group meeting and Duane (the kid leading the group… he's really annoying and never shuts up about the rapture) reads this passage word-for-word:
Mt. 24:37-38 (TLB) “The world will be at ease—banquets and parties and weddings—just as it was in Noah’s time before the sudden coming of the Flood; people wouldn’t believe what was going to happen until the Flood actually arrived and took them all away. So shall my coming be. Two men will be working together in the fields, and one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be going about their household tasks; one will be taken, the other left. So be prepared, for you don’t know what day your Lord is coming.”
...then basically says it again in his own words. It'll happen suddenly, blah blah blah... nothing but foreshadowing of what they're going to show us later.
“Any minute, any second could be the last chance you have to give yourself to Jesus.”
“This is no joke; this is not a fairy tale.” Wrong on both counts, discount Ron Weasley.
I can't help realize here that the Christians are doing now exactly what the UNITE goons do later. Pushing the urgency, giving ultimatums, strong-arming people into accepting Christ. I honestly can't believe I ever identified with this, but I did. The imminent return was one of the sixteen fundamental flaws. We believed this and believed it could happen at any time. Funny how it fazed none of us that it had already been 2000 years...
Then we get what is oddly enough a cover of a Larry Norman song by the Discount Partridge Family... or “The Fish Market Combo.” I swear those girls standing there behind this guy looked like the wives of MANOS. I literally wondered the first time I saw it if it was made by Mormons and those were this dude's wives. But nope. It's just a very 1972 way to dress when you're in a hip Christian rock cover band and can't sing. They also reminded me of the Brady kids dressing up as the Silver Platters.
I Wish We'd All Been Ready
This, listener, is the future evangelical Christianity sees for this world. Think about these lyrice the next time you contemplate going back to church:
Life was filled with guns and war
And everyone got trampled on the floor
I wish we'd all been ready
Children died the days grew cold
A piece of bread could buy a bag of gold
I wish we'd all been ready
There's no time to change your mind
The son has come and you've been left behind
A man and wife asleep in bed
She hears a noise and turns her head
I wish we'd all been ready
Two men walking up a hill
One disappears and one's left standing still
I wish we'd all been ready
There's no time to change your mind
The son has come and you've been left behind
These people are fucking obsessed with this message. But I do think that all this time later it just seems amplified here. They pushed the rapture on us like crazy.
Damn they're spending a lot of time on this song. I guess they paid for the rights so they're gonna get what they can out of it...
Three minutes and forty seconds. Of a 68 minute movie. My math isn't great but I think that's in the ballpark of 4% of this movie being spent listening to people butcher an already awful song with nothing but their shrill, pitchy voices, a poly moog, and a beginner's drum kit.
Now we get the rest of the credits in silence like someone died. You know... like the silent clock on 24... and after all that doom and gloom... it's a carnival! Or a fair. Or something. There are rides and a midway and... it felt to me like this dude was pulling people (particularly attractive women) off the midway to proselytize them in a tent somewhere past the 4H pavilion. Now we get Patty, Diane, and Jenny (the youngest of the three) having a conversation about this while strolling around the fair so... damn... DID they just pull kids off the midway (five attractive girls for every boy, mind you) and start preaching and singing at them? I mean... it's not like I didn't do similar. There was that whole peer care thing...
What do you think about what he said?
The guy who was preaching.
Oh I thought it was a bunch of bull.
Oh some people get all strung out over things that don't even matter. I mean I'm a Christian.
Well not like *he* was a Christian. I mean I go to church about every week, I try to follow the 10 Commandments, I read my Bible once in a while, and I try and help people if they need it.
[laughing] You're practically a missionary.
Well what else is there?
I don't know.
Jenny wants to go back and get indoctrinated a little more. The other two are gonna ride the tilt a whirl again.
Jerry and Diane meet and are instantly horny for each-other
Jenny is getting adequately indoctrinated....
The way this woman in this scene presents the Gospel is sickening. Here are just a few of her pearls of wisdom:
Salvation is free - “it doesn't cost anything but your life.” Oh, is that all?
You're letting God take over your life. There's no way you can lose. Ahem...
She teaches us what “true Christianity” is and coincidentally hits all of Patty's bullet points as a list of what it's not.
A perfect god can't have a relationship with a bunch of dirty sinners (who are made in his image and likeness)
So God became a person so he could slum it with the rest of us.
And, not for nothing, but she has that incredibly vacant evangelical nothing-going-on-upstairs-that-ain't-got-to-do-with-Jesus air about her. Breathy and hopped up on Xanax. I'd love to learn she was actually high when she did this scene.
“Whoever said love is fair?”
Patty and Jim and Diane and Jerry are flying in a helicopter while poor Jenny is getting saved. It amazes me how much like a Chick Tract this whole thing is. Jenny seems flabbergasted by what she's hearing about Jesus and, in a way, I get it. WOL's way of presenting it vs. the Catholic church was way different. But the basic bullet points of the Gospel are things that have made the rounds enough to not be THIS much of an epiphany with this kid. She's told all this stuff and within minutes, she's buying it hook, line, and sinker and praying a rather eloquent sinner's prayer that she seems to be conveying off the cuff... and all of it sounds really familiar.
And of course this all has to be real because she can “feel him” now.
Then for absolutely no reason, we watch the helicopter ascend (rapture reference? Nah... well... I mean...), and a quick jump cut to an innocent grasshopper on a window that Patty pointlessly murders with a newspaper.
Apparently they're someplace called Bortell's Bar Rockin' B Guest Ranch. They make sure to linger on the sign for a good half hour to be sure you know. This is where they... live? Work? Live and work? Who even knows...
“We met some really nice guys”
“I met Christ!”
And Duane from the “Teen Center” at the fair is just suddenly reclining under a tree and Jenny seems to know exactly where to find him because now comes the discipleship part of the new convert narrative... and boy is he painting a rosy picture of what it's going to be like for Jenny. He starts by asking if anyone has given her a hard time yet about becoming a Christian and basically says, “well don't worry, they will.”
Pretty soon you're gonna run into difficulty – and not just people – Satan isn't happy about your decision to give your life to Christ
Satan is coming for you, Jenny… caught a real Dawn of the Dead vibe off of this “They’re coming to get you, barbara…”
but you have all the power in heaven to overcome Satan.
Too bad God doesn’t give a shit…
Now for a choppy transition to a much too long scene where everybody is... waterskiing. Well, the BOYS are water skiing. The girls are having a picnic. Gotta keep the women in their place. Nearly every scene involving women in this movie revolve around food or something domestic. Can’t have them showing off their waterskiing skills...
I guess the point of this scene is that this is the dirty heathens' last happy day on earth. Duane is, for reasons unknown, invited to this and he seems to know Jim and Jerry (and the rest of the main cast who seem to be the only ones who really want to listen to him). And also for reasons unknown we don't see Duane being overly preachy at this point. Why not something like, “You say you like water skiing. I serve a savior who doesn't NEED water skis... I face planted in the ater because I didn’t have enough faith to stay on my feet. But Jesus will keep you on your feet, even in adverse circumstances if you let him…” I was waiting for it, but… nope.
So the girls are talking
Diane seems to think that Jenny and Duane are a thing. By all accounts they both seem to be asexual. They're too in love with Jesus to worry about things like petty human romance.
Jenny is asked if she believes all that Christian stuff and she is oddly honest. “I really don't know enough about it...” sweetheart, you do. All right? You do. And you should forget everything you know about it right now. All this girl really knows about the rapture is that “it's just something Christians believe in.” And the blank expression on her face when she says it tells me everything I need to know about how committed the end times nutters are about EDUCATING people about this religion they militaristically spread. Accidental messaging galore in this one for anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear.
Diane wants to give Patty a little advice about sex which, of course makes Jenny, the evangelical avatar, really uncomfortable.
Jenny gets up to leave because “I really don't want to hear any of that talk.” Diane tells her not to worry. She and Patty will talk “when the children have been put to bed.” I love that line.
It’s so typical of a new convert. Jenny has been a Christian for a couple days and already she's sitting there thinking she's better than these dirty sinners. I was like that too and it only got worse over time.
I find it interesting that the most level-headed, most realistic-thinking people in this movie (Diane and Jerry) are also the ones painted as being most evil. I mean... I don't think either of them are particularly likable but they're perfect for each-other and in a universe where all of this is bunk, they are thinking about it the right way.
Diane and Patty are talking about their boyfriends. Jim works at a zoo and is studying to be a vet and Jerry is pre-med working as an EMT or “ambulance attendant” as she calls him. “We’ve got us a couple doctors…” …to take care of us. More veiled misogyny but it was kinda typical in 1972. Gender roles in America hadn’t changed much by then, not that they’re all great shakes now…
Diane talks a little about Jerry’s job and how most days he sits around waiting for a call that may or may not come in.
“No one knows when it's going to happen...” (bad segue from EMT to Jesus)
Next scene… more of Duane and his rhetoric. Duane is fucking obsessed with end times hysteria. And he has that same vacant evangelical visage they all have.
God is holding back the full force of evil in the world but when the rapture happens the spirit of God will depart from the earth and evil will reign. It’ll be “a whole new ballgame without any rules.”
Things are gonna suck after the rapture when the devil is unleashed is the Cliff’s Notes version of the message.
Sinners are waiting for the end of life and doom, Christians are waiting to be with the one who gives us life... and we'll meet him when we're dead. Or raptured. Same difference. They just skip a step.
Then they talk about the mark of the beast (a super-evil credit card permanently set on your forehead or right hand)
Jerry isn't exactly a believer.
Diane and Jerry mock the shit out of all this. He pretends he’s the antichrist and Diane tells him that’s good because she’s always been a sucker for beasts.
Now we get the oddest preacher ever. He's like the atheistic preacher. Well… more humanist. There's way too much logic here. Oh, and this is the church that Patty attends “most Sundays.” I have to wonder if it was supposed to be something like a UU church. Whatever it is, it’s very progressive and definitely “liberal” so of course it's baaaad.
The bible is allegory, man's relation to man, the bible is myth
“To insist that the bible is anything more than the poetic expression of those greater principles by which man lives with man is to box oneself in with a wealth of opinion and counter opinion which really doesn't matter because it doesn't affect the way we are. What matters is what we can know about man's relation to man. Create the universe in six days in you like but don't force me to accept that myth as fact and make our relationship depend on it...”
The one moment of truth in this whole thing and it’s made out to be evil and subversive. Because of course it is.
Believe in a real adam
Believe in a real Eve
Believe in a real serpent
Jump cut and here's that serpent now. And he's out of his cage. And Jim is about to get a big surprise....
The snake bites him and even though he's all alone in the reptile room at the zoo, he's in an ambulance instantly. And Jerry is one of the EMTs that responds. This must be a small town.
Patty pins the doctor down to whether or not Jim is going to die...
He needs a blood transfusion from someone who has been bitten by cobras so his body can fight off the venom… I’m not clear on whether or not that’s how it works but OK. Turns out, there’s a guy out there with Jim’s blood type but time is running out.
Jim is holding on by a thread – they are airlifting the donor to the hospital...
Jenny starts praying...
Everyone is praying for the donor to get there in time. Jenny concedes in her prayer that God is going to do what he wants... ok, then WHY FUCKING PRAY???
The way this movie tries to build tension is very ham-handed but also very 70s TV medical drama at this point, too. Huge “Emergency!” feel to this part. We’re airlifting the donor to Rampart! Alert Dr. Early!
The donor is lagging, but now the preacher is here. That'll help. This is the pastor of Jenny’s church, not Patty’s. This guy is way more evangelical.
Now someone who actually matters is gonna pray. Pastor Ballmer is on the scene and he's there praying, open Bible and all.
The donor gets there, Jim gets a transfusion and stabilizes.
So Jim is gonna be ok.
Oh... nevermind, he's in Church. And not Patty's church… Jenny’s. Patty has smartly stayed home.
Jim looks dazed as he walks in. “I really don't know what's happening” (and he looks it)
Jenny assures him: “You've come to the right place to find out.”
Jim is going through what a lot of people go through. I've said it before: major life crises usually have one of two effects on people: they either repel people from religion, or drag them into it like an ecclesiastical tractor beam.
Every church in this town is obsessed with the end times and the antichrist, including Pastor Ballmer's.
Now we set up the image of the antichrist – but we only hear about him in this movie. There is a lot of setup for the next three movies here. Sequels were pre-planned.
Ballmer suggests that the antichrist could be alive and holding a position in government. He then starts going off about people who believe the rapture took place because a loved one wasn't where they expected… amazing how they admit to the hysteria this shit produces and they do it with a real, “yeah, and…?” kind of attitude.
“I'm reminded of a neighbor I had back in Nebraska who got up one night in the middle of the night, took off his pajama tops and went downstairs for some ice tea. In the meantime his wife had awakened out of her sleep and discovered her husband was gone, turned on the light, found his pajama tops, and was immediately convinced that the rapture had taken place and that she had been left behind. Well from our studies in the past few weeks, we can conclude that we're living now in the end times, the days in which we live are seeing many prophecies being fulfilled that we have never seen fulfilled before. And surely this serves to remind us that the time is short at best, and if we would be followers of Jesus Christ, we must join His band now.”
…and of course Jenny's little sister Susan comes home and can't find her family so she freaks because she thinks the rapture has taken place. Again, they depict the psychological damage this messaging does to children and they don’t seem to care.
[cut to Susan coming home] Mom, I'm home. Sandy had to go to her aunt's so I came home early. Mom? [goes in the kitchen and finds a pot on the stove boiling and burning] Mom? Mom? Mom? [screams]
[rushes in from the back] What's the matter? [Jenny rushes in too]
I thought you were gone.
Jenny, Jenny's mom:
Gone, gone where?
I thought you were gone.
I thought you were gone.
I thought you were gone.
Gone where? It's alright honey, it's alright.
Yep. Child abuse.
So now Patty and Jim are married and now we get this very lengthy montage of what is probably their first year together. Remember, he's gone at the beginning of the movie...
Look how in love they are! And now they're gonna be separated for all eternity because he's going to accept Jesus and she isn't. Oh, and we get to watch this while listening to Larry Norman on the poly moog. Again. Grim foreshadowing at it's finest. “A man and wife asleep in bed...”
That preacher is at their house again.
It's all beyond me, I've been raised in the church, taught to do the best I can, to believe in God and hope for the best, what else is there? I mean I'm good. I don't lie, I don't cheat. I'm as good as the next person, maybe better.
God made us for Himself, that He might enjoy us, and that we might enjoy Him, and also that we might enjoy each other. But we, well actually you, broke that relationship when you didn't choose Christ.
I never made that choice.
Have you ever chosen FOR Him?
Ugh… OK let’s get something straight here: there is a qualitative difference between actively rejecting something and having a passive unawareness of it. And yet the message here is that you can suffer eternal torment over your passive unawareness of the Gospel. What kind of “righteous judge” would pass that kind of sentence on someone?
Well, maybe not, but my minister says we don't have to get all hung up on that theology stuff. God is love, and He's not going to destroy us because we can't help doing wrong, is He?
It's true that God IS love, and that God is holy, but God will also punish sin.
…and there’s a qualitative difference between punishing sin and punishing a person for “sinning.” If sin is the culprit why must the person serve the sentence?
I think I understand, but where does love fit in? How could a God who loved me cause me to go through what I did?
The answer he gets is nothing short of nefarious and not at all indicative of what a loving parent would do…
Well Jim you have to understand there are times when God uses circumstances in our lives, to bring us into a closer relationship with Himself. Look at it this way, what chance did you have of making it after your accident?
Not too much.
None at all. There was no way your body could produce the antibodies that were needed to fight that poison.
Someone else had been through it. HIS blood had the cure.
Exactly, HIS blood had the cure. And all you had to do was receive it. When you received his blood, that saved your life.
“His blood had the cure” - It all makes sense now.
Now for the sales pitch.... “The lord is offering you eternal life... you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. All you have to do is ask.”
Little Susan is all paranoid about the rapture. Every time Jenny leaves the room she kinda freaks. Now she's being asked to go borrow a stick of butter from their next door neighbor. “You be sure to be here when I get back.” OMG this poor child... Jenny assures Susan that now that she's said the magic words, “Don't worry, if I'm gone, you will be too.”
Now it's starting to heat up
Uh oh... Jim is shaving... this is it…
Susan is heading to the neighbors’ house, Duane is mowing the lawn, Ballmer is changing the church sign, We pan across the sky and then... No more Duane. No more jenny. No more Ballmer. The lawnmower is idling on the belt... Jenny's mixer is mixing endlessly... Susan's doll is lying on the sidewalk and the butter is melting into the concrete... Ballmer is gone and the sign reads: THE END IS NEA with the A not completely affixed.
And here comes the news. Drivers disappearing from cars, planes crashing because their Christian pilots have been raptured....
The UN is going to address the situation at noon eastern
The UN forms the “UC.” I don’t think they ever tell you what that stands for, but they have a sinister acronym for the task force that’s been created to deal with the situation.
UNITE – United Nations Imperium of Total Emergency – it's a one-world government that just.... happens. Aight… it’s almost as if the plans had been set in place ahead of time. Hrrmm…
The Imperium is made up of 10 major world powers consisting of six committees within those countries of six members each. 10-6-6? Guys, you could’ve done better. The 10 I can only assume is the beast with seven heads and 10 horns. The 10 horns being the world powers in question. And then we get a montage of newspaper headlines:
Imperium calls for total support
Imperium initaites ID sign
The mark is a necessity – we all need to be “good citizens” and identify with UNITE. At first they're asking people to cooperate. It's voluntary right now.
And there it is... 666 in binary on the news reporter's right hand
And people start lining up to get their marks – and we are supposed to to feel bad for them because once they have the mark they belong to the devil.
So much for no “sin” being beyond God’s capacity to forgive. Even if you figure out your wrong, you won’t be forgiven for this one…
Signs everywhere that say citizens only
Patty can't buy groceries because she doesn't have the mark. She can't buy anything.
So now it looks like she's in line to get her mark but then gets distracted when she sees Diane and Jerry driving by. They stop and she leaves the line to go to them and this is just left dangling.
UNITE calls for the arrest and “prolonged inconvenience” of anyone who doesn't take the mark.
Now it's MANDATORY. Patty still doesn't have her mark and somehow they know.
There's a knock at the door
Patty is freaking out
Two UNITE agents come to the door but leave in their van when she doesn't answer. They’re surprisingly non-committal. She flees her home and goes to her church with the pastor who said the bible was allegory (Rev. Turner)
“you're still here... how many have I misled?? I can't eat, I can't sleep, all I can think about is all those faces...”
Now UNITE shows up and drags them both off. They throw them in a van and then into jaill.
While holding Patty in a cell, the UNITE guard tries to assure Patty that this isn't a satanic plot. “Does this look like a 666 to you?” To anyone who knows binary it does. Not sure how Patty knows....
This makes no sense. A scene ago she’s standing in line to get tagged and now she’s all, “Nope, not gonna do it. That’s a computer readout for 666.”
She's told that Rev. Turner has taken the mark. He hasn't – he's been shot and Jenny sees so she somehow uses her brute strength to free herself from the clutches of grandma the prison guard (not difficult) and flees on foot from the detention center.
She's hiding behind a no parking sign... that should be effective.
These people are really invested in apprehending this harmless girl. REALLY invested.
Now Patty keeps running into people who all have the mark.
Now we're gonna hide in a doorway. Also very effective.
She decides to try to find Diane. Mistake.
And... cue the Holy Grail music
Diane tells Patty to meet her at “the dam” and that Jerry will also be there. So she does the most logical thing and steals a UNITE van to get there. She doesn't do inconspicuous very well.
The goons spot her from a helicopter. She abandons the van and starts running on train tracks, decidedly not at a dam...
She manages to evade them for about 10 seconds but then they come back around. She's literally running around in this field like a chicken with her head cut off and we think she's cornered again, but... Now she's going to hide in this broken down shack...
You may find yourself hiding from the antichrist in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in a totalitarian world
And you may ask yourself “why are they so interested in me?”
And you may ask yourself... huh? Where have they gone?
oh come on, they lost her??? In a building???? Not bright at all, these two.
Now we're just going to walk on the tracks in plain view... and... they're back! They've got her this time!
But... but.... where ya goin' guys? They literally just fly off. AGAIN.
God is giving her sooooo many chances… lol
More walking and then all of a sudden... look! A dam! And not just A dam, THE dam. There are Diane and Jerry as promised. Patty is saved! And not by Jesus... she's running... running... more Larry Norman music... heat haze as she runs... and runs... and runs.... right into the hands of secret agents Diane and Jerry.
“There will be no place you can hide anywhere....” over and over and over... drill it into people's psyches...
Jerry has Patty decides to jump off the dam than go with Larry but the instant before he hits the water and meets certain death...
She startles awake. Whew! It was just a dream!
Buzzing razor... no Jim...
oh no it wasn't
Now she gets to live the whole thing over again like groundhog day and… spoiler alert: this time she’s not gonna get away!
The movie ends with a quote from Matthew 24 (verses 36 and 42) partially misquoted from the KJV:
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. Take heed, watch and pray. For ye know not when the time is.
I'll call this the Mark IV Frankenstein translation.
The ticking clock ends things off (this is just like Dark Side of the Moon)
The End.... is NEAR!
Way to drive the urgency. This is good marketing if nothing else.
But it is so much else…
This movie is the definition of propaganda and subversion designed to terrify people of any age into accepting Christ. And, honestly, when is it ever a good idea to get into a relationship with anyone because you’re afraid of them? If the message of the Gospel is love, why the need for scare tactics? Because that’s all these people know. Deep down, they know they can’t get past people’s sense of logic with the ridiculousness of the Gospel message so they resort to fear.
The movie is also the definition of gaslighting. Our message is reality. Your intellect is the enemy. Things aren’t as they appear and you’ll be sorry if you reject this message. They plant the “what ifs” so deep that they give people nightmares.
I don’t think I ever had nightmares over this movie but I did have dreams about being left behind after the rapture for sure. It doesn’t matter what the source of the messaging is. Their persuasive messaging is so thin that they can’t approach it from the perspective of love. It’s not “God loves you so accept his gift so you can have an abundant life.” It’s “God expects you to follow him and if you choose not to, he will punish you. For ever, and ever, and ever.”
2 Tim 1:7 says that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. Where is the power in forced submission? Where is the love in eternal punishment for finite crimes? Where is the soundness of mind in messaging that scars people for life and gives them nightmares for years? The message of the Gospel is imploded in the messaging of A Thief in the Night and we have to understand that you cannot find love in a god that allows people to suffer endlessly for their passive unawareness of the Gospel. You cannot find peace in a message that torments you for years and makes you doubt whether or not God finds you good enough or smart enough or perceptive enough to recognize true teachings about him from false.
In the next movie, We find that certain bits of Patty’s dream are a little augmented. Rev. Turner is still around, trying to lend support to the people he led astray, but his attitude is way different. He arrogantly informs Patty that if he was preaching heresy it was HER JOB to call him out and find a church where the Gospel was preached. What a crock of shit. Why would God not simply shut the mouth of an apostate teacher like he shut the mouths of the lions to save Daniel?
If you reject the Gospel or adhere to apostate teaching, it’s YOUR FAULT that you’re suffering tribulation in a post-rapture world. More of that awesome evangelical passing of the buck.
I’m issuing a call to action if you know anyone who has dealt with emotional scarring from these movies to put them in front of this episode and also refer them to the series God Awful Movies did on ALL OF THEM starting with episode 12. They approach it from a much more scathing lampoon kind of angle and this movie and all of them in the series deserve the merciless mocking they get from Noah and crew. There is healing in understanding and there is healing in laughter. It won’t undo the damage, but it might alleviate some of the fear. I’m not delving any further into the series. I think we’ve given it enough attention. But I do think that as a collective community, atheists NEED TO pull back the curtain on these movies and break them down to what they essentially are: lies and subversion created to instill fear and take control of people mentally and emotionally.
And if you’re one of the ones who’s been scarred, please hear me right now: these movies don’t present the truth. The truth is that we have a responsibility as human beings to live the lives we want absent of harm to others and with deference to doing right, and living by rules that lead to happiness and sound-mindedness that others can emulate without fear of judgment.
Try to keep in mind that this kind of toxic doctrine is the product of largely one evil person with a money-making agenda. Do some googling on a guy named John Darby. This entire series is HIS brainchild more than anything else. And he started spewing his bile about it in the late 19th century. Before that, the concept of Rapture and tribulation weren’t even a thought in the minds of Christians. Most saw the book of Revelation as allegory and rightly so. You have no god to fear, no hell to fear, and no reason to take any of this seriously. Episode 14 of our show goes into much greater detail about this and I suggest listening to it next if you haven’t already. It will clear the fog from your brain about this even more.
But for now, let me just remind you once more that fear has no place in a loving relationship and the ones that are built on it are the constructs of people with ulterior motives and self-serving agendas. If the Gospel was true, if God loved you in any way, shape, or form, scare tactics would not be a necessary part of the equation in conveying that message or compelling you to love him back. See this movie more as a warning about why living your life in subservience to a narcissistic megalomaniac is a bad idea, because it is. Let go of the fear. Reclaim your right to think for yourself and don’t worry about silly notions like Hell and eternal punishment. It isn’t easy by any means but it’s a necessary element to getting and staying unbound.