Obama: not the antichrist. No, seriously.

So say the authors of Left Behind.  Glad we've got that cleared up.

On a vaguely related note, why is Christian popular fiction so awful?  I've read a fair sample of the big names--Frank Peretti and of course, a few of the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Left Behind novels.

I don't think they're bad because of the religious aspects; though I'm not myself a believer, I have a healthy respect for other peoples' faith.  Besides, if I can suspend disbelief for Dark Knight, I think I can manage a few demons and angels.

The problem is, the writing is dreadful.  The Left Behind series reads like it was written by a fourteen year old B student with a HUGE crush on Jesus Christ.  To call the characters cardboard cutouts would be an insult to paper dolls, which are vastly more realistic than anything created by Messrs Lehaye and Jenkins.  The dialogue reads like it's been triple-starched.  And the plot belongs in a churchyard.

Peretti is probably the most readable of the major Christian fiction writers, yet it still puts me inexorably in mind of Mark Twain's evisceration of James Fenimore Cooper.

There's no reason this should be so; religious faith is one of the great human dramas.  Nor is it that they are pitched to a general audience; there are a lot of great mass-market storytellers.  So why haven't better writers emerged in this genre?