- ISBN10: 1601451105
- ISBN13: 9781601451101
- 396 pages
- Booklocker.com, Inc.
Anti-Christ: A Satirical End of Days
by Matthew Moses
Reviewed by Inferus
- Posted 6 years ago
- Viewed 962 times, 1 comment
- Average user rating: (4.3/5)
Satire at its best
I recently read the above novel written by Matthew Moses. It was a great read filled with a brand of humor that audiences will either love or hate depending on the tolerant nature of their religious beliefs. I’ll do my best to give an overview of the story, the controversial aspects of it which may offend certain people, as well as the symoblism used throughout this work.
The story revolves around Matthew Ford, a failed philosophy student who begins a feud with Jesus which escalates into the Apocalypse.
Matthew Ford feels cut off from the society around him. He stares at people from afar. He walks through a crowd rather than with them. People speak of him rather than to him. He is alone, bitter, yet unable to do anything to guide his own destiny and bring himself happiness. One night he is embarrassed by a failed internet date and returns home, one sad night in a series of many.
Once home, Matthew finds himself kept awake by a bothersome ghost intent on attracting his attention despite the fact that the big final is tomorrow. In an act of displaced rage, Matthew heaves the ghost out of the house evicting it from its place of eternal residence.
The following day, after a horrible morning and a near car wreck, Matthew takes his final and proceeds to the parking lot to return home when he is accosted by two Cherubim, Mel and Ezekiel, the eternal innocents of the Christ. They tell him of an important meeting he has with their boss. Unnerved by the pair, Matthew finds himself kidnapped when he attempts to get away and spirited into the atmosphere, through space, and into a black hole on his way to Heaven.
What Matthew finds in Heaven is far from golden fields and Eden. It is a grim, Orwellian world where all are bored, watching Prime Time television for their sole glimmer of entertainment, Jesus is a neo-con fascist dictator, and the angels are a fringe element of brutal thugs constantly dreaming of undermining Jesus' regime.
Once at the spire, the heart of Heaven, Matthew is ushered into the presence of the Almighty where he is made part of a photo-op for the struggling Messiah. With the current problems of the Church and in Jesus' faltering authority, it has been decided to make an example of Matthew for the whole of Existence. In evicting the ghost, Matthew has broken one of Creation's laws. Only an agent of the Church may evict, i.e. exorcise, any known entity from a property. Because Matthew is not an agent of the Almighty, he is told that his eviction of the prior night is non-binding and he must accept the ghost back. Stubborn, not simply because he has finally had enough of being pushed around, but also because he sees this as one more burden added to an already crushing life, Matthew refuses the order and even demands to speak with God. To his surprise, Matthew discovers the once great Creator is now a vegetable in a wheelchair.
In an act of disdain and the beginning of his maturation, Matthew tells Jesus no shaming “The Christ” in front of the whole of Heaven. Matthew is cautioned there will be repercussions but fails to heed the warning. Upon his return to Earth, Matthew discovers that Jesus' threat is not an idle one. It begins with a poor case of acne. Then Matthew's professor is given a vision to fail his student. In a fit of rage, Matthew strikes back against Jesus in the only way he can: he desecrates a nativity scene. The feud between the two escalates until Matthew frames a priest for a string of robberies only to reveal a deep criminal streak in the Church and threaten its earthly foundations.
It is into these uncertain times that Satan appears to offer Matthew the opportunity to truly hit Jesus while he is down. Fearing what the Messiah will do in response to his latest act, Matthew finds himself seduced into aiding the Devil and becomes a new age pop guru that guides the world away from religion to a new philosophy. An important piece of his new agenda is the obese who Matthew encourages to accept the ultimate diet: fasting. In so doing he creates not only a deep undermining separation between the fat and thin, but also stokes a growing, underlying rage through the stress of withdrawal.
Matthew's philosophy proves disruptive to America. The fat are fomenting food riots across the country and his speeches are increasingly calling for not merely a change of government but its outright overthrow. Beginning to feel doubts about what he is doing, Matthew hesitates in continuing on with the plan between him and Satan. It is then that Matthew finds himself the subject of an assassination attempt by the Vatican in order to stop the rise of the Antichrist. In a harrowing escape attempt, Matthew is murdered. Only then is it revealed that Satan was behind the murder plot before the Devil casts Matthew into Purgatory and seizes Matthewâ€™s body for his own.
As Matthew tries to find a way out of Purgatory, Satan brings to fruition a rebellion that topples the American government and pushes the world closer and closer to World War III. The Vatican is invaded via the Patriot Act while Pakistan and India destroy one another in a nuclear war and China goes to war with Taiwan.
Through the help of two coyotes, men that smuggle Mexicans into Heaven, Matthew finds his way back to Paradise narrowly escaping an angelic border patrol that drives the group into the lands of Buddha. It is there that Matthew learns of the truth behind the two thousand year cease fire between Heaven and Hell. Heaven is collapsing, that collapse what effectively we call the expanding universe. In an effort to stop the collapse, Satan created universal law in order to bind the chaos for the eventual rebuilding of Heaven. Instead, Life appeared and God refused to allow their death for such an endeavor. Increasingly bitter and upset at God's refusal to allow him to save Existence and finish his work, Satan is cast out of Heaven along with Jesus, one of his followers. In order to regain favor with God, Jesus attempts to enlighten man making good on his probation. To the shock of all, Jesus is crucified leading to God having a stroke. With the Creator incapacitated, Jesus hurries back to Heaven and enacts a coup stealing the authority of Existence. With his power base still wobbly, Satan offers a truce between Heaven and Hell that has held for twin millennia. It is only now, with the threat to all of Existence, that Satan's deeper motives have become clear.
Events find themselves driven towards that final battle at Mount Megiddo between man, the undead, angels, and demons for the fate of all Existence.
The controversy surrounding the novel comes from the humorous take on Christianity. Jesus is perceived as a megalomaniacal, totalitarian leader who has usurped power in Heaven and is brainwashing humanity to serve as his pawns against the angelic opposition, those who believe God should be restored to power. One joke has Islam being created by Gabriel, one of the angelic faction leaders, in order to wipe out Christianity and discredit Jesus in order to bring about a successful coup in Heaven.
Christianity is revealed to be this large corporate entity run from the Spire, the central point of Heaven. There, in the boardroom, Jesus, his apostles, and the Pope via teleconference develop new policies in order to drive up membership and challenge their competitors in the religious markets including Islam, Buddhism, and the Christian franchises (protestants/cults).
Paradise is a drab, banal, Orwellian world of steel and glass where everyone lounges around constantly being subconsciously indoctrinated. With nothing to do, the majority of Heaven has become addicted to Prime Time television for their regular fix of “life”.
God is a vegetable in a wheelchair. Paralyzed and left mute by a stroke after seeing Jesus’ crucifixion, the Almighty can only communicate via an electronic device similar to Stephen Hawking’s.
Other topics covered by the book are corruption in politics, the parasitic self-help movement, the rise of Russia, and Church abuses. The latter has proven inflammatory with the novel revealing that the Catholic Church runs a pornographic website as well as deals in organized crime
The story itself is very symbolic in points dealing with religion.
Christianity is criticized for being a cult of personality around Jesus, its very precepts being similar to those of authoritarian figures such as Hitler, Stalin, and others. It focuses on an all powerful, unquestionable, god-like figure who rules over all.
Likewise, the very tenets of Christianity call for no thought, only faith. Give, invest yourself totally. Forget your individual will. Become a part of the mass. Forget personality, originality, uniqueness. Be silent and let Jesus speak for you. Become part of the herd, the flock, and be led by your shepherd.
Thus the boring lifestyle of those that reside in Heaven. They can do nothing, are not allowed to live. All man’s needs are met, no reason for complaint allowed. It is a blissful retirement for those that furthered the Church in its work and growth on Earth. Yet these “retirees’” lives are bland perfection. Without needs or challenges the mortal is lost on the immortal plain. Their yearning for their former flawed lives is shown in their fascination with Prime Time television. It shows the counterproductive lifestyle of Heaven, how man is greatest in his attempt at perfection but is lost when he attains it. In becoming an ideal he loses what he is.
God himself is written as this helpless, mute figure at the whim of Existence. He serves as the perfect symbol of religion, a mystery that everyone projects their own views on to explain the unknowable. He is also shown to be quite human having created the Universe by accident.
The fall of Heaven into Existence is another symbolic facet of the novel. God, giving in to rage, loses control of his reason and shatters a part of Paradise. From that broken, flawed part of Paradise the Universe comes to be. It is the beginning of mortality over immortality.
Finally there is Satan, a figure that dares to challenge absolute evil. His intentions are not to destroy Existence but to save Paradise. He sees the threat of mortality to immortality and only assumes the mantle of destroyer in order to become a sort of savior. He is the ideal of corruption, that the ends may distort the means. In truth, Satan is a mockery of the Jesus character: he fell in order that Creation may continue.
This was a fun novel. It went places I didn’t think anyone had the courage to. If one is able to read this book with the mindset that it is merely a fun diversion rather than a biblical tome then it is a great piece of entertainment. Don’t take it seriously. Have fun with it and its alterations on long established principles such as religion, God, Jesus, and Creation. The book isn’t bashing. It’s trying to tell a story.
This book is not meant to be a literary triumph. Far from. There may be some deep message buried in there but above all it is meant to make you laugh with its wild ride. This novel is a hilarious distraction from the very real and dangerous world we find ourselves in. You can’t help but to smile and chuckle as you read it. With the way things are today, who could ask for anything more?
- Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > General
- Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
- Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Comic
- Subjects > Entertainment > Humor > Parodies
- Subjects > Entertainment > Humor > Satire, General
- Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Metaphysical
- Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Fiction > Visionary Fiction