Friday, June 6, 2008

Post-Rapture Email?

You've Been Left Behind is a site that allows people to leave messages for loved ones to be sent after "The Rapture". Terrific. Now, after the Rapture happens, you can STILL contact the Reasonable people and harass them about Jesus.

Presumably, the Rapture will happen (AND IT'S GONNA HAPPEN SOOOOON!!!! - Random Evangelical) and all true believers in Christ will vanish leaving only the people who haven't accepted Jesus as their personal savior. So they'll be Left Behind for the Tribulation....

Does any of this sound remotely believable? I mean, people give Scientology so much crap when you have a perfectly absurd religious belief right in front of you. That's the part that a lot of people don't really recognize when they see the Left Behind book series or this ridiculous website: People ACTUALLY believe this will happen. They REALLY do... Let that sink in for a moment....

Now, here's a few facts:

The popularization of the term is associated with teaching of John Nelson Darby, prominent among the Plymouth Brethren, and the rise of premillennialism and dispensationalism in English-speaking churches at the end of the 19th century. In 1908, the doctrine of the rapture was further popularized by an evangelist named William Eugene Blackstone, whose book, Jesus Is Coming, sold more than one million copies. The first known appearance of the theological use of the word "rapture" in print occurs with the Scofield Reference Bible of 1909.[12]

In 1957, Dr. John Walvoord, a theologian at Dallas Theological Seminary, authored a book, "The Rapture Question," that gave theological support to the Pre-Tribulation rapture; this book eventually sold over 65,000 copies. In 1958, J. Dwight Pentecost authored another book supporting the Pre-Tribulation rapture, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology, that sold 215,000 copies.

Interesting note on the Scofield Reference Bible: It was written by a man arrested for fraud. Yeah. Then he published his own interpretation of the bible with his own "sermon" written in the margins and as footnotes. People reading it mistakenly took his notes to be part of the Bible, thus the incredible acceptance of this 'end-times' scary story. Sounds really similar to how the Mormon religion started, too. But that's another post.

Today we see a more modern approach to the Rapture; Money. The biggest selling and most often confused-for-fact book/books are the Left Behind series. The nicest thing to be said about these books is that the authors really know how to sell them. The unfortunate part is that they are not only advocating the belief in the Rapture, but blatantly defining it. The books play out more like a "this is what IS going to happen" and not "this is total bullshit".

What I don't understand is how people can believe this stuff. Okay, okay, you believe in God. You believe in Jesus. You even adhere to a specific doctrine of the faith such as the doctrines of Catholicism or Protestantism. But at the very least, those particular sects are OLD. They can be traced back throughout history and you might even be able to learn the early beginnings of such religions, but they at LEAST have the cloud of history, the haze of "olden days" to hide behind. No one really KNOWS who wrote most of the stuff involved. But with Mormonism, Evangelism, Scientology, etc. You know EXACTLY who wrote these things! How can you claim divinity in someone that you can REALLY investigate, let alone the fact that two of the 'creators' of these religions were arrested for fraud and the other was a science fiction writer who said "The way to make a million dollars is to start a religion."?

ANYWAY, lets go back to the website at hand. Here's what they have to say about Why they started this:

We all have family and friends who have failed to receive the Good News of the Gospel.
The unsaved will be 'left behind' on earth to go through the "tribulation period" after the "Rapture". You remember how, for a short time, after (9/11/01) people were open to spiritual things and answers. (We are still singing "God Bless America" at baseballs' seventh inning stretch.) Imagine how taken back they will be by the millions of missing Christians and devastation at the rapture. They will know it was true and that they have blown it. There will be a small window of time where they might be reached for the Kingdom of God. We have made it possible for you to send them a letter of love and a plea to receive Christ one last time. You can also send information based on scripture as to what will happen next. Each fulfilled prophecy will cause your letter and plea to be remembered and a decision to be made.

"WHY" is one last chance to bring them to Christ and snatch them from the flames!

Okay, let's respond:

  1. I can't believe the reference to 9/11. That boggles my mind and has no reason for being on the website.
  2. If they are 'taken aback' by the missing, won't they then have proof of the rapture? And if so, then accepting Jesus wouldn't be based on faith, but self-preservation. I'm an Atheist (Surprise!!) and if all the 'true' Christians disappeared one day, after I enjoyed a country free of puritanical insanity for a bit, I would pray to the then proven Jesus and be 'saved'. Does that make me a Christian? No. If Allah or L. Ron's King of Aliens made themselves 'proven', I would do the same thing. It has nothing to do with faith, it has everything to do with what I as a human being can discern as truth.
  3. 'They'll have blown it'? Is that really a sound statement? Because it sounds petty and vengeful to me.
  4. Please keep your 'snatching' away from me. I'm just fine. Oh, and if you DO disappear, you're going in my SPAM folder anyway.


Mike said...

i'll post my long statement later. I wanted to correct you on one thing! Buddha was a real person, he was the founder of Buddhism! Buddha! Buddha is not technically a god, although he was considered "god-like"! Buddhist technically do not believe in a God... it's more of a philosophy then a religion based on a belief in a God(s)! They believe and follow in some or all of the teachings of Buddah: Buddhism.

It's really LIFE study versus HEAVEN study! Not really anything supernatural! Well bending spoons, joking!

Not trying to call you out... just don't want you to misinterpreted!

Ray said...

Mike, I have no idea what you are talking about. As you can clearly see, I never wrote Buddha in that post... It's ALWAYS said the alien thing... It's not like I read your comment and changed it... that would be crazy...

Mike said...

Hahhahaahha, nice one! you actually made me go back. Nice one indeed!

Paul said...

I think belief in the rapture is popular because it means one can get into heaven without actually, you know, dying. That's why the rapture is always imminent. It has to happen during your lifetime, or else you're going to have to, you know...

Ray said...

Interesting and very good point, Paul. Take a look at the religious section of your local bookstore and notice the new increase in the "2012" apocolypse writings. These are all the same as the 2000 books, they must have just changed the date. The Rapture is always interesting to me because its SO conflicting to the details. Even if you are a believer, it's hard to reconcile the fact that Jesus said he would return in the lifetime of some of his disciples. That just doesn't allow for the rapture. But we see it all time and time again. People preaching imminent doom to who ever listens. The Brimstone stays the same, just the date changes. Thanks for reading!

Pat said...

Um.......question for the creators of that website. If the people running that website are all going to heaven when the rapture happens, who will send the letters.

They'll buy a nihilist and have him press the send button as they all ascend to heaven?