Back to the Rapture


It has been awhile since I commented on the rapture. (See here for links to earlier postings.) As some of you know, the Rapture is supposedly what occurs before the second coming of Jesus when the true believers are all suddenly spirited into heaven so that they can watch the seven year battle of Armageddon below from the safety of their comfortable La-Z-Boys in the sky. At first glance, this inordinate bloodlust while having other people fight your battles for you looks a bit chickenhawkish, but we’ll let that pass for the moment.

What impresses me about the true believers in the rapture movement is their attention to detail. You would think that once they had wrapped their minds around the idea that one day, millions of people would be simultaneously taken up, leaving even their clothes behind (so you don’t even have to worry about your mother’s admonition to always wear clean underwear in the case of this particular emergency), all other things would pale into significance.

But no. They worry what your loved ones might think when you don’t show up at dinner time and they don’t know what happened to you. People who are raptured would not have the time to make phone calls because they are lifted up and it appears that once you are raptured, you end up somewhere where you cannot contact the people left behind. Of course, the people left behind would have enough other things on their mind to think about you for awhile, what with planes, trains, and automobiles crashing all over the place because their operators had disappeared. Presumably a full-scale world wide emergency would have been declared and everyone would be riveted to the news as the slaughter begins. They may even guess that you have been raptured. But the rapturists don’t want to leave things to chance. So how can you contact your loved ones to tell them after the fact where you’ve won the ultimate lottery?

There’s a solution and that is you pre-arrange to send them an email. The letter that goes to whoever you designate says, in part:

Dear Friend; This message has been sent to you by a friend or a relative who has recently disappeared along with millions and millions of people around the world. The reason they chose to send you this letter is because they cared about you and would like you to know the truth about where they went. This may come as a shock to you, but the one who sent you this has been taken up to heaven…I am sure that there will be a lot of speculation as to what happened to all these people. The theories of some scientists and world leaders will have so much credibility that most of the world will believe them. It will sound like the truth! But, there is only one truth. And, that truth is that Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, came back to earth and took with Him to Heaven all who believed in Him and made Him their Lord.



The website explains how this post-rapture email will be sent. It says

We have written a computer program to do just that. It will send an Electronic Message (e-mail) to whomever you want after the rapture has taken place, and you and I have been taken to heaven.

How is this accomplished, you might ask. It’s a dead man switch that will automatically send the emails when it is not reset.
If you wish to do something now that will help your unbelieving friends and family after the rapture, you need to add those persons email address to our database. Their names will be stored indefinitely and a letter will be sent out to each of them on the first Friday after the rapture. Then they will receive another letter every Friday [sic] after that.

I see some flaws in the system. A dead man switch is something that has to be manually operated in order to work. This is the way some machinery (like my electric lawn mower) works. If you let go due to an accident or something, it stops immediately.

But who does the actual resetting with the email trigger? If it done by each subscriber, then what with work, shopping, laundry, and one thing and another, it is easy to see how one might forget to do it and have the email sent out by mistake. You would look pretty foolish if you returned to work the next day just after telling all your co-workers that you had been raptured.

If the resetting is done by some designated responsible rapture person or group, what happens if they are raptured and the emails go out, but you are not raptured? Being selected for rapture is not at all a sure thing, I imagine. Again, you’d be red faced but since the rapture actually had occurred, you’d probably have other things to worry about, such as avoiding being slaughtered by the avenging angels.

I also don’t like the fact that the emails go out weekly, starting the first Friday after the rapture. If the rapture occurs on the massive scale predicted say on a weekend, then people would probably figure out pretty quickly what was going on, so by the time Friday rolls around, the explanatory email would be pretty redundant. And having it come every Friday after that would get pretty annoying to the recipients, however much they might have liked you, as if you were gloating “Nyah! Nyah! I’ve been raptured and you haven’t!” over the people left behind. It would not surprise me if they put your email address on the “reject” list of their spam filter.

So I don’t plan to sign up for this service. Also, frankly, I don’t rate my chances of being raptured very highly. But if you think you might like to subscribe, go here. The service is free. Operators are standing by.

Comments

  1. arvin says

    Even as I was copying the link into the comment box I had a strong feeling that you would have already read it! Looking forward to your posts on the speech.

  2. spooner says

    Prof. Singham, I think you are a little confused as to the meaning of the rapture and this, uh, interesting rapture email.

    Getting “raptured” is not a lottery; chance or luck have nothing to do with it. You are not selected, really. When you say you are a Christian, and more importantly, when you believe in Jesus as Savior, you’re set, according to the predominant belief. If you are saved at the time, you will be raptured. And you will know if you are saved since you made the decision yourself.

    Most rapturists are not Calvinisits, meaning they don’t believe in predestination. So, again, there is not waiting to see if you get raptured or not.

    I would guess the email itself is sent out weekly in case of major disasters bringing down networks and such. If such a thing happened, I imagine phone and internet networks would take a big hit and messages could get lost. This way, they are sure to make it eventually.

    And Christians believe, logically enough, those that remain will explain the rapture some other way. The email is supposed to explain the truth, not thumb your nose at people left behind.

    Lastly, those raptured aren’t watching angels destroy the earth. I think the idea is people will destroy themselves with some help from the Antichrist. The raptured are simply spared the pain of enduring Armageddon on earth because of their faith.

    I would also expect you to be better informed and less flippant, Prof. Singham. These are serious beliefs to some very nice people, many of whom are family.

  3. Barry says

    I hate to be the party pooper, but just because some people hold certain beliefs near & dear, and those people happen to be family, doesn’t change the nature of beliefs at hand.

  4. says

    Spooner,

    Yes, I was being flip. But think about it for a minute. The people who believe in the rapture are comfortable with believing that a vast number of people (whom I too would consider “very nice people, many of whom are family”) will suffer a gruesome and violent death and even eternal hellfire, irrespective of what kind of people they are, simply because they do not believe in some particular doctrine.

    Do you seriously expect people to be respectful of beliefs that are totally disrepectful to them? For example, if someone said to me that his religion required him to believe that people who believed that the Earth was older than 10,000 years were children of the devil and should be tortured and killed, should I be respectful of those beliefs and not say anything, lest his feelings be hurt?

  5. says

    Aaron,
    How was the movie? I just ordered a copy to give to my mom for “Giftmas.” While she believes in God she is pretty low-key about it and not worried about my soul, so it shouldn’t offend.

    Regarding the rapture and respect of beliefs, I think it is easier to be respectful of those who are respectful of us. I find it very frustrating when I encounter individuals who tell me I am going to hell and they aren’t, not because they are following a higher moral path, but merely because they have signed the appropriate contract with JC. This is particularly irksome when I see some of them cheat or treat people with less respect than would their saviour.

    Conversely I just returned from a trip to Bangkok and Bali with my mother during which we interacted quite amiably with Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists, etc. I recall one particularly conversation during which my mother and KiKi (a Hindu) were discussing life after the latest terrorist attack in Bali, and the attitude one takes in pressing onward. Although their religions may apply different dogmas, their faith in self and God was totally in sync.

    I recall thinking how refreshing it was to find people focusing on the commonalities rather than the differences in their spiritual approaches.

  6. says

    I enjoyed it. It was very entertaining from a cynical atheist perspective but I’m not sure any fundamentalist christians could stomach it.

    Much of the content was similar to a previous blog entry of mine, but there were some things new to me too.

  7. says

    That was a hilarious entry. There was a time when I was younger where I believed in the Rapture. There was a big yellow flyer stuck to my car that “educated and warned” people of the Rapture, and that we should watch its Coming. They also talked about some sort of branding and the number 666 or some other evil number. It intrigued me for a little bit, but I grew to be an Agnostic to all religions. (I believe religion is an expression of Self and a system for community, and that there is no such thing as one religion for all humans and there is no such thing as a ‘wrong religion’) Anyways, I got off topic, but great post. I enjoy reading your entries.

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