Rapture in 2011!…?

“The thing about apocalyptic cults is that they portray the apocalypse in such a way that everything works out all right if they’ve got all the chips at crunch time.”

Question from M:

After hearing your most recent podcast, I was inspired to inquire further about the Rapture that has been announced for May 21, 2011. I contacted the EBible Fellowship about their decree and asked the following:

“I was just wondering, if you are indeed certain that the world is coming to an end soon, would you have a problem with signing a contract that all your belongings be turned over someone else on that day. Surely, you won’t need any money or a home or furniture, or anything else for that matter, once you are raptured up to heaven. A few good beneficiaries that I would like to suggest for your possesions to be given to are: The Center for Inquiry, The James Randi Education Foundation, The Public Braodcasting Station or The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.

God’s Law is absolute, and as such it would be an admission of lack of faith to have any doubts about this apocolyptic proclamation. Please do not insult God’s intellegence by hedging your bet. To keep ones earthly belongings in the off-chance that God may be wrong is the height of arrogance. The only possitive course of action would be to accept the end as a fact, and leave all possible resourses to those who chose to ignore God’s word in hope that they will then be better able to find the truth that is God in the time they will have left after the rapture and before the entire world ends. To deny the deniers an opportunity to repent and see the light would be, at best, unchristian.

Thank you for your concern on this highly important matter.”

I have been told for meny decades that God is the source of morality and that Christians are thus moral, so I don’t see any reason why they should object to my proposal. The only thing left to do now is sit back and wait for those bank accounts, property titles and other such stuff to get signed over. They wouldn’t be lying about the whole Rapture thing, surely.


Answer by SmartLX:
The thing about apocalyptic cults is that they portray the apocalypse in such a way that everything works out all right if they’ve got all the chips at crunch time.

Particularly in Christian eschatology (endtime mythology), the end of the world isn’t a quick process; there’s the Tribulation to get through, where the world goes almost literally to Hell before Jesus shows up (again). That’s what the Left Behind books are all about, and there are over a dozen of those so there’s a fair bit of chronological space to squeeze them all in. While it’s happening, the righteous will do what they can to help those who need or deserve it, but for that they need money.

Point is, there’s always a reason why they aren’t giving away their own resources other than that the world isn’t really ending. Whether the reason they give is a real reason or not, just keep in mind that doomsday cultists, whatever they may be, are not necessarily stupid. They have probably thought of the obvious questions people are going to ask them, especially questions which challenge their right to their own stuff.

5 thoughts on “Rapture in 2011!…?”

  1. The problem with the group you are discussing is that they are going out on “a limb” and putting a date to what Christians have known would happen someday. Nowhere in the bible does it say May 21, 2011. Christians, however, are not a doomsday cult. Christianity is the oldest and longest surviving religion with more proof to its existence than any other religion, belief, or cult. You can’t take one group of Christians and apply their beliefs with the rest of the Christian world. Over the last 2 thousand years, Christianity has been broken off into several different groups. Which, interestingly, the Bible said it would happen. The Bible says at the end there will only be a small percentage of Christians who still follow the Bible 100% without putting their own little twists or add-ons to it. The new “fad” the last decade has been to take the bible, put it into a computer program, and come up with some kind of numerical code, and that’s what this group has done. They have come up with a number system of their own that doesn’t even have biblical validity. You are asking the wrong questions…instead of wondering about the end of the world and how it will play out, and how crazy all of them may seem to you, you should be asking a much more important question. How much of the world’s knowledge do you hold? How many hairs are on a Tibetan Yak? How many grains of sand are there on the Hawaiian beaches? Do you think it’s possible that you might hold even 99% of knowledge about everything of this world and beyond? You have to agree that there is at least 1% that you have no clue about. And what if in that 1% is where the knowledge of God is. Can you beyond a shadow of a doubt say “there is no God”? Do you hold 100% of information to know that? Of course you might “think” that, but do you “know?” If you could be wrong about the hairs on that Tibetan Yak, could you be wrong about God? And what happens to you if you are?

  2. Some One, I didn’t say Christianity as a whole is a doomsday cult. A cult, by definition, holds an interest or belief which is outside the mainstream, and Christianity is an established mainstream belief. (This does imply, however, that the only difference between a cult and a religion is popularity and longevity.) Christianity is rather a doomsday religion, as everything in it is ultimately about preparing for both the coming general apocalypse and our own personal deaths, or dooms.

    There’s no need to prove that Christianity exists, of course, not while there are two billion nominal Christians around. Its specific truth claims about the world and its supposed creator deity do require evidence, though, and you’ll have to be much more specific about your “proofs” before they become a valid argument in themselves.

    I did a piece on prophecies, in which I list the alternatives to the two usual choices that a prediction is either divine or lucky. The one about the division of Christianity fits neatly into alternative #1: High Probability of Success, because that’s what happens to every religion that lasts long enough. Schism is commonplace. Come back with a prophecy that doesn’t fit into any of the five categories in my other piece, and we’ll discuss it.

    Your Tibetan yak question has been popular on evangelical apologetic websites ever since Ray Comfort wrote it (Google it, it’s everywhere). It reveals a basic misunderstanding of the atheist position, because its purpose is to force atheists to admit that they don’t know that there isn’t a god. I admit this freely, but I’m still an atheist because an atheist merely doesn’t believe that there is a god.

    I could very well be wrong about God, but you and I could be wrong about Buddha, Vishnu, Zeus or any of these folks. The possibility that one is wrong about one specific god is no reason to worship it when the alternatives are practically unlimited, and especially when most of the alternatives are just as jealous as Yahweh. Throwing in with any specific god is like playing the lottery with one’s supposed soul.

    If the real god is one neither of us believes in, which is more likely than not if there’s a god at all, at least I’ll come to him free of baggage. You’ll have to explain a lifetime of devotion to a rival, and at that point obviously false, god of your own. I might even get some credit for fighting belief in false gods.

  3. Incidentally, your claim that Christianity is the oldest and longest surviving religion just sank in. What on earth gives you that idea, when Jews are mentioned in the Bible itself before the birth of Jesus? Leaving the Abrahamic religions aside, Hindu scriptures still revered today were written centuries before anything in the Old Testament.

  4. Stamping Out Harold Camping

    I don’t care a fig for date-setters, especially those who predict when Christ will return. The current champion is 89-year-old, headline-grabbing Harold Camping of Family Radio fame.
    Is Second Coming date-setter Harold Camping worthy of death? He already has a zero batting average after his September 1994 prediction fizzle and, according to the Bible, is a false prophet.
    Nevertheless that California shaman, who should be ashamed, claims he’s found out that Christ’s return will be on May 21, 2011 even though Matt. 24:36 says that no one knows the “day” or “hour” of it!
    A Google article (“Obama Fulfilling the Bible”) points out that “Deut. 18:20-22 in the Old Testament requires the death penalty for false prophets.”
    The same article reveals that “Christians are commanded to ask God to send severe judgment on persons who commit and support the worst forms of evil (see I Cor. 5 and note ‘taken away’).”
    Theologically radioactive Harold Camping and his ga-ga groupies (with their billboards featuring “May 21, 2011”) should worry about being “stamped out” if many persons decide to follow the I Cor. 5 command.
    The above article concludes: “False prophets in the OT were stoned to death. Today they are just stoned!”
    PS – For many years Camping was not known as a pretrib rapture teacher. But now, for $ome my$teriou$ rea$on, he seeks support from those who believe in and teach an imminent, pretrib rapture which supposedly will occur SEVERAL YEARS BEFORE the traditional SECOND COMING to earth! For a behind-the-scenes, documented look at the 181-year-old pretrib rapture belief (which was never a part of any official theology or organized church before 1830!), Google “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty,” “Pretrib Rapture Diehards” and “Pretrib Rapture – Hidden Facts.”

  5. Pingback: Ask the atheist.

Comments are closed.