[ by Charles Cameron ]
Glenn Beck has a new documentary coming out tonight on Mahdism and the Antichrist.
He calls it “the documentary that you will not see on mainstream television” and to get to see it, you have to be a subscriber to Beck’s Insider Extreme channel on the web. But then that fits with Beck’s emphasis right now — he doesn’t mind crying shame on the media for not carrying the documentary, but he doesn’t want unbelievers to see it either — he told his radio audience today:
Make sure you see it tonight at nine o’clock. And if I may recommend that you watch it with some friends. Invite some friends over, some like-minded people, don’t try to get any converts in. Pull up the nets, man, pull up the nets.
So okay — it won’t be on “mainstream television” but it will be seen in a million “like-minded” homes, and it will influence them, it will influence their perspective on Islam, and on the Middle East.
Here’s a description of what they can expect, drawn from Joel Rosenberg‘s blog today. Joel is the author of the apocalyptic thriller The Twelfth Imam, has seen the rough cut and will be appearing on the video, along with those he lists here:
Tonight on his website, Glenn Beck will premiere his new documentary film, “Rumors of War — Part Two.” As with Part One, I was interviewed for the film…
The documentary examines current events and trends in the Middle East and the Islamic world from various vantage points — Biblical End Times theology, Jewish End Times theology, and Islamic End Times theology. It discusses the latest threats from the Radical Islamic world to Israel, the West and our allies. It features a wide range of Jewish, Muslim and evangelical Christian authors and commentators in a balanced yet provocative and fascinating way. Among them:
- Dore Gold, former Israeli ambassador to the U.N.
- Reza Kahlili, former CIA agent inside Iran and author of A Time To Betray
- Tim LaHaye, author of the Left Behind novel series
- Brigitte Gabriel, author of They Must Be Stopped: Why We Must Defeat Radical Islam and How We Can Do It
- Joel Richardson, author of The Islamic Antichrist
- Dr. Zudi Jasser, president of American Islamic Forum for Democracy
The thing is, Beck doesn’t know a whole lot about these things, and his advisers get things wrong — sometimes flat out wrong, sometimes just out of proportion — too.
I aim to review Beck’s documentary along with its predecessor, and the books of Joel Richardson and Joel Rosenberg, and also take a look at some other books and articles that cover the same materials with greater scholarship and less religious special interest — notably the works of David Cook, J-P Filiu and Timothy Furnish — clear up some of this issues in which definitive corrections are in order, suggest areas where the preponderance of evidence and informed commentary leans away from Beck’s position, and raise again those urgent questions which remain.
Because from where I sit, Glenn Beck has hit on one of our blind spots — and is giving us a dangerously distorted mirror in which to view it.
Here’s Beck talking about the upcoming documentary this morning on his radio show:
Tonight, you don’t want to miss, on Insider Extreme, something that we have been trying to tell the story for quite some time, and I have told it to you many times before, the story of the Twelfth Imam, well this is not the full story of the Twelfth Imam, this is what people Middle East believe about the Twelfth Imam, or the Mahdi as the… Sunnis? Sunnis are in Egypt, Shias are in, ah, is it Shias in Iran or is it the other way around? I think it’s S.. Shias are in Iran. One believes in the Twelfth Imam, the others believe in the Mahdi, same guy, it is the… the… you would know it as the Antichrist. It is the, it has every earmarking of the Antichrist, every single one, I mean, he makes a peace for seven years with Egypt, he viol… — I mean with Israel, he violates it, he marks people with a number, he beheads people if they don’t submit, I mean it’s all there. It’s all there. And Ahmadinejad says that he is alive and well and orchestrating the things in the Middle East.
Did you get that? He’s not sure: “is it Shias in Iran or is it the other way around?”
If Beck has been working on this documentary for a year now, let’s hope he does in fact know the difference between Sunni and Shi’a, and that he’s using the popular gag technique of pretending not to know, so his audience — who haven’t all been working on a documentary and may well not know — can feel all the more strongly “he’s one of us”. And besides, Sunni, Shia, it’s all the same, Mahdi, Twelfth Imam, no difference at all, right?
So that’s the level of required accuracy that’s tolerated here. Which side was it wanted to keep slavery? I forget now, I think it may have been the South. Belfast — now is that Catholic, or Protestant?
And one last quick note from the same post on Joel Rosenberg’s blog:
As far as I can tell, Glenn Beck is leaving the Fox News Channel in part because Fox is opposed to him devoting so much time on his program to End Times issues, Bible prophecy, Iran’s eschatology, and the linkage of these things to left wing efforts to sow seeds of revolution and chaos. It’s too bad, really.
That’s an interesting data point.
There will be plenty to talk about, anyway:
the new documentary, Joel Rosenberg’s thriller, which I enjoyed, Joel Richardson, with whom I correspond and whom I like, the new Mahdist video in Iran which is causing quite a stir, and may or may not be an “official” Iranian production, the vexed question — vexed in all three Abrahamic faiths — of whether you can hasten the coming of the Awaited One and if so, how, and the implications of all this both in the United States and in the Middle East, the Iranian nuclear program…
The Glenn Beck, Mahdism & Antichrist blog series, coming up.