Showdown With The Anti-Christ

It's new and frightening fiction, but as CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassmann reports, not from Stephen King.

For one thing, he doesn't sell this well.

"It's a series, and actually, there is one that builds on another that builds on another, and you can't wait for the next one," says reader Monica Hames.

"I won't go to sleep tonight until I finish, I guarantee you," says another reader, clutching Book 12, the final (or latest) chapter in the "Left Behind" series. So far, 52 million books have been sold in the last decade.

It's fantasy based on the Book of Revelations, about the end of the world and a showdown with the anti-Christ.

Its message is pure fire and brimstone.

"Jesus is coming, and we want you to get ready because we don't want you to be left behind," says co-author Tim LaHaye.

"By the fifth book in this series, mass retailers had a revelation of their own: Christian fiction wasn't just for evangelicals. Now the 'Left Behind' authors outsell even John Grisham."

Shaken by troubled times, more Americans are soul-searching, especially in their entertainment.

While recent interpretations of the Bible have found stunning commercial success, pleasing theologians is another thing.

Some critics complain "Left Behind" left out humility and context.

"Only God knows who is going to be in the presence of God, and I suspect there are going to be a lot of surprises," says Joseph Hough, president of the Union Theology Seminary.

But like Mel Gibson, co-authors LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins say their biblical interpretation is literal.

"We realize our message can be offensive and can be divisive because not everyone agrees that Jesus is the way to God. But we feel that it's our responsibility to tell what we believe," says Jenkins.

In their corner of the bookstore are millions of true-believers who see truth in fiction.
  • Jaime Holguin

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