because we haven’t written about the rapture in a while

My friend Patty alerted me to this service that, for $40 a year, will tell your friends and family when you’ve been taken to heaven in the Rapture. The idea is pretty simple. You pay the money, give them your email list, and provide them with what you’d like to have your letter say. Then, when the Rapture comes, and your body is sent flying happily through space, whatever message you’d left on file would be forwarded to those loved ones still on earth not already swallowed up by lakes of fire, or torn to bits by gnashing teeth.

It looks like a spoof, but apparently it’s not. In an interview with ABC News, the man behind the site, a 49-year-old supermarket shelf-stocker from Cape Cod, says that it was born from practical concern for his family… He wanted for them to know the passwords to his online stock-trading accounts. (Apparently people will still be checking email and trading stocks when the Rapture happens.) Here’s his quote:

“The idea started for me in 1999 when I was& trading equities online and trying to think, ‘How I can send my password to my wife if the Rapture happened at this moment?'”

When Patty told me about the site, she also told her friend Desmond, who contacted the company with a simple line of questioning… ‘If the company is run by good Christians, won’t they taken in the Rapture? And, if so, who’s going to send my email?’

Here’s the response from Mark Heard, the owner of the company:

Dear Desmond,
I have a team, of Christian couples, scattered around the U.S. One of each of them are required to log into the system everyday. They are scattered to protect us from having the team wiped out by attack, natural disaster, or epidemic. They are couples incase one is sick, injured, killed, and to assure their walk with God. If they (3 out of 4) fail to log in for 3 days the system figures the Rapture has taken place. There are then notices sent out to each of us daily, for 3 more days, warning us we must log in to prevent the sending of documents. If we do not the the system send out all of the stored data to all of the email addresses. There is one alternate team member to ready as a replacement for a lost teammate. Also one team member is located near enough to the server bank, with access, in case the net goes down, or malfunction.

It seems to me that it would be a hell of a lot easier to just hire one reliable agnostic, but what do I know… Other than that, it sounds like a good plan to me… I ‘m picturing men and women inside abandoned U.S. nuclear missile silos, strapped into seats, diligently waiting for their daily “If you haven’t Raptured, hit return” message… I particularly like that they’ve made contingency plans “in case of attack.”

Update: And apparently it’s nothing new. Looking through the archives, I notice that we posted something about a service called Rapture Letters over three years ago. (Hopefully, copycats don’t get left behind.)

An old friend of this site, Mr. Teddy Glass, left a comment in that thread that I thought you might enjoy:

I might get upset if, say, all the doctors were threatening to leave the planet, or all the college professors, but this is the evangelicals. It’s like having the worst student in class threatening not to work with you on a group assignment or something.

And I think that it’s good that they’re planning to send letters. A lot of us probably wouldn’t realize they were gone otherwise.

Teddy was mean… We had to Rapture him from the site.

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  1. Brackache
    Posted June 12, 2008 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    That’s why I never drive anywhere without my Satanist (reformed church of Satan) copilot. I hope that explains my confusing bumper sticker.

  2. Bob
    Posted June 12, 2008 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    I wrote this for you.

  3. Larry
    Posted June 12, 2008 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    That’s real nice Bob. I wrote this one for Teddy.

  4. Ol' E Cross
    Posted June 12, 2008 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    If all the Christians are raptured, who the hell will post to this blog?

  5. mark
    Posted June 12, 2008 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    I’ve written about the Rapture at more length elsewhere on the site, so I didn’t go into a lot of depth here. Maybe I should have. It’s not that I find the belief stupid. I just don’t find it useful or productive as it’s practiced by some. I think it’s great that some folks think they’ll be called up to heaven by God. I just don’t like it when it’s presented as a certainty, and therefor seen as justification not to work on the issues here on Earth. And I realize it may be a small minority of evangelical Christians who believe such a thing, but there are some that feel as though we shouldn’t try to make things better here on the planet, because doing so would delay the Rapture. That’s where I have a problem. I’m happy with anyone believing whatever they like as long as others don’t suffer as a result.

    And, to answer your question, OEC, in the event of Rapture, this site will be given to Mr. Schutzman. (In the event of nuclear war, it will be given to Doug Skinner. And, in the event of mass hysteria, it will be given to my friend Caleb. I can’t remember who gets it if we’re revisited by the black plague.)

  6. And Today Could be the Day
    Posted June 12, 2008 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Glad you all have heard about the rapture. When all the true believers disappear they’ll leave behind their Bibles. Get a copy. You may not be on anyone’s email list. The book of Revelation will help you through the following seven years. Don’t take the mark of the beast. As long as you are still alive you will have the opportunity to repent and be saved. Better yet, believe today and avoid the entire 7 year tribulation period. 1/3 of all the people on earth will be destroyed before the rapture. You may not survive until the rapture can change your unbelief. God is real and He will do what He has said He will.

  7. Brackache
    Posted June 12, 2008 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    ATCbtD: do you think belief or faith is something that a person can make themselves have, or is it a gift from God and not of ourselves, like the scriptures say?

    Just innocently trying to start a predestination vs. freewill argument here, for everyone’s edification/annoyance.

  8. And Today Could Be the Day
    Posted June 12, 2008 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    I think God wants everybody to be saved, but He won’t force anyone against their will. If someone read my previous post and had a fleeting thought, “What if it is true?” then that would be a prompting of the Holy Spirit. But a person can harden their heart and refuse the gift.

    I’m not a 5-point Calvinist. I don’t believe a loving God would predestine some to be saved and some to be damned. Everyone in this world operates with no foreknowledge of the future. We choose and we are not aware of any restriction of our free will. However, God knows the future, and knows who will respond and accept the gift of eternal life.

    The best explanation I’ve heard is that the gates of heaven have a sign above them, “For whosoever believes” and as you walk through them and turn and look behind, it says, “Chosen by God”. And I believe that God is righteous and unable to refuse anyone who trusts in Him, repents, and accepts the sacrifice of Jesus as payment for their sins. The ground is level at the foot of the cross.

  9. Brackache
    Posted June 12, 2008 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Most of your points sound reasonable, except that scripture’s pretty clear that God predestined (or elected, or chose, or whatever) a remnant of humanity to be vessels of his mercy and everyone else to be vessels of his wrath. It’s hard for us to comprehend how he could do that and still be loving. The reason it’s hard for us is because we are neither loving, nor do we know what it’s like to have God’s authority as omnipotent, omniscient creator. So basically, we don’t know what the hell we’re talking about when it comes to accusing God of misdeed in seeing his creation through to its planned conclusion (since we’re lacking a common frame of referance or understanding). It’s pretty obvious to me though, that he’s not a dick, seeing as how he’s willing to punish his son for my demented desires and actions instead of me, and his son went along with it willingly. I trust a guy like that to have complete authority over his own creations, don’t you?

    I will concede that we have the appearance of free will, since our will is involved. But just because our will is involved doesn’t mean our will is independant of God’s, because nothing is. According to Roman’s, even those who think they’re rebelling against God by doing evil, have already been condemned to do that evil and be enslaved to it by God in his wrath. It’s like spiritual Judo, and of course it’s not the end of the story, thanks to Jesus.

    Just some thoughts that probably will have to be elaborated on at some point for clarity.

  10. Andy C
    Posted June 12, 2008 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Are people paid to google “rapture” all day and night?

    “Hey Bill someone blogged about the rapture. Get some of the minions posting ASAP.”

  11. And Today Could Be the Day
    Posted June 12, 2008 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    The wages of sin is death. We have all sinned and we all deserve to be damned. That God allows some to live in heaven is only because of His great love and mercy. God is good – all the time. If someone hates religion and everything associated with it, then being forced to live for eternity with all those evangelical, holy rollers would be hell for them. God understands and doesn’t force that on anyone. And by the way, many of those obnoxious church people will be left behind at the rapture as well.

  12. Posted June 12, 2008 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Andy C, that was too funny!

  13. Ol' E Cross
    Posted June 12, 2008 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Funny, ain’t it, that so many of the folk who use the rapture as an excuse to neglect the environment still have perfectly manicured lawns?

  14. Brackache
    Posted June 12, 2008 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    ATCbtD: That’s a nice story about God not forcing stuff on people. If Hallmark wrote bibles, that’s what they’d say. It might also say that I as a sculptor allow my clay to sculpt itself because if I tried to sculpt it, I’d be violating its free will and would be some tyrannical soul-rapist. And we’re not going to live in heaven forever dude. We’re going to live on the new earth in new bodies. Much of the rest of what you said is scriptural, however, and I agree in general.

    The funny thing is, I really don’t know that much about the topic at hand: the rapture. I probably aughtta look that up. What’s the verse that doctrine is based on — I know it’s in one of Paul’s letters somewhere.

  15. egpenet
    Posted June 12, 2008 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    OMG! What was that noise? I didn’t miss the rapture or something, did I?

    Oh … just a garbage truck hitting a pot hole. Whew!

    There’s still hope.

  16. Posted June 12, 2008 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    And Today Could Be The Day…I am very curious as to what you think heaven is. Could you please describe heaven, since you seem to be so down with God and know all of his plans? I better wait until I hear how sweet it is from your point of view, before I decide if I want to go there as you have suggested. Because it sounds as if you, an anonymous blog commenter, have all the answers about God and heaven that anyone could ever dream of having.

  17. Robert
    Posted June 12, 2008 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Stop trying to make yourselves feel better by pretending the rapture hasn’t already occured. You are all obviously in denial about being left behind.

  18. And Today Could Be the Day
    Posted June 12, 2008 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    If we’re voting, I think Robert’s comment is funnier.

  19. amused1
    Posted June 12, 2008 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, are we talking about pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, prewrath, or post-tribulation rapture?

  20. Brackache
    Posted June 12, 2008 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    ATCbtD: I don’t mean to dog you, by the way… just to start a fight about something other than the topic at hand and win it — for my own amusement and to possibly entertain/intrigue others as collateral damage.

  21. Origen and Tonic
    Posted June 13, 2008 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    It may be worth noting that all the rapture stuff is relatively recently en vogue in Christendom, coming into full swing in the U.S. of A. in the last hundred years.

    Previously, the bulk of the believing thought that Christ was currently ruling and would return to a victory parade after the majority of the world was following his teaching. This led folks to do all sorts of crazy things like try to abolish slavery to try to make the world more ready for the return. Like tidying up before a guest.

    A big “rapture” passage is Mathew 24:

    “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

    Note that the ones “taken away” in the days of Noah were the “wicked.” The gooduns are the ones left behind. So, according to Jesus, the wicked will be raptured to death and doom while the decent folk are left to enjoy, literally, heaven on earth.

    So, to OEC, according to the more traditional view, there will plenty of (i.e., all of them) Christians left on earth to comment on this blog. Mr. Schutzman, though, will most assuredly be raptured.

  22. Brackache
    Posted June 13, 2008 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Aha! 1Thess 4:13-18. I think that’s the one the rapture doctrine is primarily based on. Look it up yourselves, you’ve got Gutenberg and google. I can’t be expected to do everything, or much of anything.

  23. Origen and Tonic
    Posted June 13, 2008 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Thess. and like passages (gals going out to meet the groom) all depend on your perspective.

    When the Stanley Cup champs return you welcome them at the airport, line streets and parade them back to town. When a loved one returns you don’t sit on your ass watching TV when they arrive, you greet them at the door if not the end of the driveway.

    This is a homecoming. Not a drive by. The image is of us being so excited at the sight of him that we climb the clouds to welcome him back.

    At least, that’s another way to read it.

  24. Brackache
    Posted June 13, 2008 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to bring my dead Grandma out to the airport with me to greet the Red Wings. I’m so happy!

  25. Dirtgrain
    Posted June 13, 2008 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    Yah, Brachache, I can’t make myself believe in God. I’ve been trying for the last fifteen minutes, for experimental purposes. I got nothing.

  26. Brackache
    Posted June 14, 2008 at 2:10 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Dirtgrain. Point and match for us Calvenists.

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