According to The Christian Century, The Da Vinci Code and the Left Behind series share more than wild marketplace success in spite of dull cardboard characters, poor-to-barely-adequate prose, and a general preposterousness. Both also “trade on a fundamentally gnostic premise: that most of the church has been duped and that the real Christian belief is a secret that will now be divulged to the privileged reader.”
Which is interesting, and I hadn’t thought of it before, even though I have read The Da Vinci Code and attempted to read Left Behind, unsuccessfully, so I decided to just let slacktivist read it for me. But I think Christian Century is right. And, to me, the interesting thing is that everybody knows The Da Vinci Code is somewhat heretical, and it’s intended to be that way.
But the Left Behind series is read by people who don’t seem to realize it’s heretical — they believe the authors’ claim that everything in it is scripturally sound, and seem to take it for granted that premillenial dispensationalist eschatology is part of their own theology.
Oh, and I just wanted to mention here, Hal Lindsey — whose Late, Great Planet Earth was THE number one "non-fiction" best-seller of the 1970s — predicted that the tribulation would begin in 1982, that the world would be destroyed by 1988 and Jesus would return, and that the USSR would feature prominently in the narrative of the end times. He was wrong about every single thing — and yet there are still people out there who take him seriously, including the Left Behind guys. Lindsey’s own website claims to be “politically incorrect — prophetically correct.” So clearly these people are using a strange, new definition of the word “correct” that I wasn’t previously aware of. Which would certainly explain the religious right’s continued support for Bush. You know, in the same universe where "correct" means "absolutely wrong about everything from beginning to end," "great president" means "worst president in the history of the United States."