December 13, 2005
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.
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Excerpt: After I wrote about the rapture letters, I viewed the film The God Who Wasn't There (thanks to Aaron Shaffer...
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Tracked: January 30, 2006 08:49 AM