Religion in Society

Why The Rapture is Indeed Madness

| by John W Loftus

Below is a video where sincere believers describe what they think will happen in the future (piece continues after video):

This is absolutely and without a doubt ludicrous for so many reasons I cannot go into them all, nor with much detail here. I'll mention seven reasons why this is madness plain and simple.

1) There is no way to interpret the Bible as having a secret rapture. Bob Price more than adequately demolishes such a view in his book The Paperback Apocalypse. Many other Christians agree. All extant Jewish literature plainly shows they thought of but two eras; one before the Messiah and the other one after the Messiah. There is no room in their expectations for a rapture before the end of times. There is no room for thinking that the Church was a Great Parentheses either, where God's timetable is on hold in a waiting pattern. Such an interpretation is simply the result of the fact that the end of the world and the restoration of Israel did not happen as they had expected in the day of Jesus.

2) Believers who argue this way are complete ignoramuses. They live in a proverbial cave, America if you will, or in some parts of it where there isn't much pain and suffering, or crime, or natural disasters. Are they not deaf to the screams of most people around the globe? Are they not oblivious to the fact that 25,000 children die every single day? Or are their minds just oblivious to the number of wars and world conflicts today, even genocide, which is taking place right now in Dafar, or the witch hunts is Africa at the hands of evangelicals themselves? It's nonsense to think there is a future tribulation. If tribulation involves intense worldwide suffering and pain then it's already here. It's always been here.

3) If they think for one moment that with all of their doomsday preaching that no one on earth after the rapture will believe it happened as a result of prophecy, then they are kidding themselves. I know their predictions. Many many others, if not most people who live in a Christian culture, have heard these predictions too. Hal Lindsey's book, The Late Great Planet Earth, was a NY Times bestseller in the 70's, my generation. And he warned us of that day, although he was dead wrong to suggest it would take place by 1988 (one generation after the rebuilding of the state of Israel). There is no way I would ever believe the lie that if the rapture occurred it was not because of the prophecy. That would be convincing evidence for me and I would tell others.

4) These believers are escapists, plain and simple. If the world they live in is not to their liking (drugs, sex and rock-n-Roll, Oh My!) they hope to escape it and be with Jesus, ASAP. That's escapist theology, certainly not something that looks forward to world improvement. In fact, they have a very hard time mentally with social improvement, for it means Jesus may not come as soon as they hope. It may even lead them to quietism in the face of the world's ills, since if Jesus is coming there is nothing to be done but wait for him to come.

5) As such, these dispensationalist literal millenarian Christians are actually provoking world conflict by supporting Israel no matter what the Jews do. In this area they do get involved. They support Israel. This is a major area of conflict between Muslims and the western world. And while it's true America should help Israel for humanitarian reasons, we cannot support them in everything simply because Christian doomsayers think they are part of God's end-time plan.

6) It's obvious even to a growing number of evangelicals that the Biblical pre-scientific era was a time when most all people though the earth was a circular disk on a flat earth. The whole notion that "every eye will see him" return entails an ancient view of a flat earth which no thinking person can accept. No THINKING person! Most all Jews, Christians, Muslims, and early Roman Catholics thought of Jerusalem as the key city on earth too. This we know from looking at the Biblical evidence and other writings. Why bother with the Crusades if this wasn't true? But the earth is a sphere. There is no city that is more important than others. Even if there is a God there is no place where he reigns from nor does he need to.

7) These dipensationalists believe Jesus will reign on earth from Jerusalem and that the temple will be re-established where animal sacrifices would be re-instituted from the temple in Jerusalem. But even on Christian grounds there is absolutely no reason for there to be any need for animal sacrifices (see Hebrews).

Such tomfoolery. Let's have done with it shall we? It's another mark of the mind of the believer to think in terms of the end of the earth as we know it. So far every prediction has been wrong.

So let me make a prediction. I'll predict these kind of doomsday predictions will always be wrong. Always. So far my prediction has the weight of evidence for it. ;-)

First posted 12/19/09