Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives and I decline

The Rapture is one of the smugger, harder to swallow elements of Christian eschatology (long word = "all about the end of the world"). You can derive it from the Bible by selective interpretation of one small section of the epistles, yet Jesus himself was strangely silent on the precise mechanism of the last days, leading me to suspect that (like many other subjects that drive Christians into a tizzy but the man himself kept quiet about) it's not that important. I've never been able to get that excited about how the world ends. It will happen, one day, with or without me, and the net effect will be the same.

Summarised, the most popular interpretation of the Rapture is that one frabjous day Jesus will snatch the select, all the really good Christians, up into Heaven to live with him for evermore. Workers in the fields, drivers of cars, people on the toilet or in the shower – all just vanish. But in terms of the overall world population, this is going to be a distinct minority. Many more will be left behind for one last chance at redemption. After a certain period, up to another 1000 years, Jesus steps in, wraps up the world for good, and the really final Final Judgement takes place.

That is, apart from those who were passengers on a plane whose pilot has suddenly been raptured. Or patients being operated on by a surgeon. Or fellow drivers on the same road as a car whose driver has just vanished. They will be meeting their maker much sooner by the more traditional route of dying. This is just one of the many problems I have with the whole Rapture notion.

Others include:
  • It's complicated. I like my theology simple. Complex theology should derive from a few basic truths. This is already a highly complex initial starting condition.
  • Salvation is a sure and certain hope. This is hope + fingers crossed, eh?
  • Jerry Falwell was for it, Corrie ten Boom against
But assuming that it does happen, the folks at You've Been Left Behind at least have their hearts in the right place. They can't do anything about the wave of instant fatalities that the Rapture will cause. They can however give you one last chance to witness to your loved ones who haven't made it in on the first batch.
"Our purpose is to get one last message to the lost, at a time, when they might just be willing to hear it for the first and last time."
The service lets you store up to 250Mb of documents that will be delivered to up to 62 email addresses six days after the Rapture. Messages will presumably range from "see, it’s all true, please give your heart to Jesus now!" to "na na na na na, I made it, you didn’t!"

And the really clever thing is, it's automated! Given that the sysops are presumably among the elect, it has to be. The Rapture is deemed to have occurred "when 3 of our 5 team members scattered around the U.S fail to log in over a 3 day period. Another 3 days are given to fail safe any false triggering of the system." (Hence the Rapture will not be cunningly disguised as an outbreak of man flu.)

You can get in and edit your stored documents at any time – and also, I would hope, delete them altogether. Because it would be so embarrassing for the Rapture to happen, and your friends to get your message, and for you to still be around ...

As a result of writing this post, I will now have this going round in my head for the rest of the day.


  1. Love this song!

    I have no idea what'll happen when the trumpet sounds. Baffled ignorance seems to be my default response to most theological issues these days, and I'm quite happy for that to remain the case until I get to have a bit of a chinwag with Solomon.

  2. There has been a lot of discussion about whether any rapture would be pre-millenium (1000yr reign of Christ before final end) or post millenium. I liked RT Kendall's view - he's a pan-milleniallist - he believes it will all pan out in the end!


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