Monday, July 20, 2009

I'm Not Really Sure What to Call This

rapture, christianity, bible, prophecy,
Delusion? Cognitive Dissonance? I really don't know.

Surrender asked the denizens of the Rapture Ready Message Boards:

I was wondering how long you've been actively waiting for the rapture? I'm so interested in the responses of "old-timers".
Was there a time when you really "felt" like it was soon (i.e. months or a couple years away)?
Did you feel like crying - were you hugely disappointed - as the time went on and the rapture didn't take place?
What do you feel has been the most motivating, encouraging thing that has helped you through the waiting?

This caught my attention because my suspicion was that most people who are actively looking forward to being transported to heaven (naked!) haven't been doing it long. I mean, how long can you possible keep up a now! no, now! wait for it . . . now! mentality?

Apparently, an extremely long time.

christiangrl777: Around 10 to 15 years, I'm 22 and I was taught about the Rapture pretty much my whole life after I was old enough to understand it, but I don't remember the exact time I first heard about it. oh, c'mon now, you haven't been actively waiting to die since you were 7. well, hopefully not. death cults- now for children! yikes.

Brinkley: I began my anticipation in the late seventies when I came to know about it and really got my intetest peaked around 1980 by listening to J. R. Church.Until then, the term I always heard was, "the end of the world." That was always spooky to me and I.....yes I......was a scoffer. I said people have being saying that for a long time, but can't you see things are getting better all the time. Then I got educated, thanks to the Holy Spirit, J. R. and others. so, 30 years or so? how do you keep that up for 30 freakin' years? eventually, wouldn't the obvious occur to you? oh, look, people have been saying it would be any day now for about 20 years, maybe they're wrong about this whole end of days thing. you'd think anyway.

OED40 apparently didn't learn much from Brinkley: My anticipation began just this year when I became saved. I've been anxiously waiting and I know time is drawing much closer! which is what Brinkley has known for 30 years.

Damaris: I've been waiting since about 1975 I guess. i was born in 1975, mind you. i'm not young. I remember the book "88 Reasons Why the Lord Will Come in 1988". and that didn't teach you anything? My sister's pastor was all exited about it. I was skeptical. I use to watch more carefully each year around Rosh Hashanah, and I was mildly disappointed. I don't know that I really believe it will happen until it does. ummmm? Please don't take that wrong, I would compare it to my wedding day or the day my first child was born, even though you know it will happen you have been waiting so long that it seems unreal. I will tell you that all the signs everyone was pointing to in the 70's and 80's seem trivial compared to today. God's time is perfect so I have never been disappointed to the point of tears. I guess the main reason I'm not disappointed is my church has a strong soul-winning programme hmmmm . . . a brit, perhaps? and we see people saved every week. So until God saves the last person, He will wait. We just don't know when the last one will be saved. What a great reason to win the lost! just accept jesus as your lord and savior so i can die, already! actually, that explains a lot.

JesusFreak78 has the same sort of eternal hopefulness common to dogs: I have been waiting since I first learned about it around 9 years ago (don't remember exactly when). It makes me excited every time I'm thinking of it could happen at any moment. my dog is like that. every single time we go for a walk is a joyous occasion worthy of dance and song. seriously. 5 times a day. for last 10.5 years. that's not a quality i expect in humans.
What makes me get through the waiting is I know God is faithful in His word/promise and it will happen at His perfect timing. It doesn't stop me from being impatient hoping it would happen today.

skywatcher: I grew up Lutheran, and--believe me---they taught me nothing about the rapture (I knew Christ would return for us some day, but the book of Revelation was not taught at all, so I didn't even expect the tribulation! )

In 1976 (long story ) the Lord led me --in steps--out of the Lutheran Church into a non-denominational, pentecostal congregation, where I learned to seek ALL that our Lord wants us to understand! I've been watching and waiting ever since -------(Hey, they don't call me "skywatcher" for nuthin'! )

I have to admit being a little disdappointed in 1988 (yes, I thought many of those arguments in that little book, 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988, by Edgar C Whisenant, made a lot of sense) There was one particular day when my daughter and I focused on our Lord all day, expecting to be raptured at any time......(SIGH!) and this taught you nothing? Well, Lord, we know You ARE coming for us soon, so we will keep watching, praying, praising and serving You until that glorious day! Maranatha! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

btw, I know some former fundys stop by here occasionally, so why 1988? i totally got the whole millenium thing, because the number 2,000 is big and round*, but why 1988?

ClosetLady: Waiting almost 50 years! . . . If I die right now, which means I miss a living rapture, I still get snatched from the grave BEFORE YOU! Ha! dead, not dead, it's all good. How cool is that? If I die right now and miss a living rapture, that means there is at least ONE MORE soul coming into the Kingdom, and how cool is THAT? If I live another 50 years (which would miraculous in and of itself) and the rapture doesn't happen, I am still to be about the Father's business. Someone said....don't be so heavenly-minded that you are no earthly good... actually, that's not bad advice for fundys. One thing is to remember is we are not to live in a spirit of fear. If we concentrate on the way the world is weirding out on us, we get fearful; that's not God's plan for blood-bought Christians. The weird, wild and wacky world is how we know our snatching away is closer than ever before. Look up! i think of weird, wild and wacky world as a thing to enjoy, but whatever.

Trance: I always thought it would have been Yassar Arafat or Kofi Annon. Still not ruling out Kofi, however.... nothing like a little xenophobia with your death culting. Kofi Annan, btw, was Secretary General of the UN. Ooooh, scary! Who doesn't have nightmares of Boutros Boutros-Ghali?

KaiafromBergen probably got pretty close to Jerusalem Syndrome: Since 1985 when I was at the Western Wall - trying to figure out what prayer to write down and put into a crack in the wall . . . all of the sudden the chorus of a song came to my mind, and that's what I wrote down, and have prayed for ever since:O Lord Jesus, how long, how long Ere we shout the glad song, Christ returneth! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Amen. Hallelujah! Amen.

Seated has an unusually precise answer: 36 years, five months, 16 days (Jan 28, 1973)

Jesusrules proves that experience teaches nothing: Im hoping it is by the end of the year. I too have a feeling it is a little while off, but not too far. I have a feeling God is going to step in at the last minute.

OldFella is the sort of person cult leaders drool over:

Around the 54 year mark for me. I remember we always used to have bible studies at home and with friends, prophecy was always not too far below the surface at these occasions.
I remember getting excited around the 6 day war and then again on the 7/7/77 and then again on the 8/8/88. Also there were predictitions of the planets aligning in the 80's. Basically after every event that I thought significant I would think of the next one.
But thinking about it now, that was just a 'condition' of watching and waiting. I still think He is coming every day and am not dissappointed if He doesn't because that means there is someone else He is waiting for.
I always thought my father and mother would be alive but I was wrong, I thought my wife would be alive, but I was wrong.
So now I am content to wait on His timing and to be in His will in the meantime.

All of this is interesting study in some sort of psychological phenomenon I don't know a name for. It seems to be the same sort of thing that causes people to believe, no matter what the evidence to the contrary, that their significant other will really change this time. Despite the fact that 30 years worth of evidence to the contrary says that they won't.

*I totally calmed somebody down by pointing out that the year 2,000 was over 3,000 years ago by the Jewish calendar.


  1. Doesn't it say somewhere in the bible that they're NOT supposed to be waiting and watching? What's up with that?

    Also, does this mean that they can eat whatever they want, smoke and run up their credit card bills because they don't have to worry about their future? Just curious.

  2. Why should they consider all the times that he didn't come? Remember they are conditioned into thinking God works in mysterious ways. They think God is waiting for some set number of souls before he whisks them away. Yet in America more people are falling from the faith than are going into it. WTF??? This is counter to what they believe and yet it doesn't phase them. The largest growing segments of religion in the world are Islam and Roman Catholics, which fundies think are both of the devil. So what the fuck is God waiting for. According to their own theology he is letting more souls slip away than he could save, by waiting.

    I bet several are thinking the date of the rapture now is 12/21/2012. The more times they are wrong the stronger they will believe, as sad as that sounds. Remember the Bible says no one will know the day of Jesus' return and that it will come like a thief in the night. So being wrong just proves the Bible is right. Weird doublethink, eh?

  3. What I'm interested in knowing is where these Christians learned their "Rapture Theology"? A book that was wrong about the end of the world 20 years ago, and what? Left Behind?

    A destructive affect this type of behavior can have is that these people may not care about the health and status of the rest of the world, because God's going to come and wipe it out soon anyway.

  4. BarnStormer: Look up "Scofield Reference Bible". It turns out that the Bible is actually an odd sort of "Find The Hidden Picture" book, and that'll help you decode it.

  5. Thanks, Michael.

    This also helped explain where the idea of "dispensationalism" came from, which I have encountered plenty of times (and never understood the biblical parallels).

    I get the feeling that I'll find a Bible Decoder Ring in cereal boxes someday...

  6. LOL that was a funny read... hard to believe that some have been waiting for as long as I've been alive... Love the Happy beachball BTW, I'm a happy face freak, doesn't that sound strange for me ;)

  7. Scary that people like this are wandering around, buying real estate, DRIVING ON OUR ROADS, and quite possibly working 3 or 4 cubicles down where you work. Even the glazed look in the eye isn't an automatic giveaway nowadays. The economy or too much TiVoing can do that...

  8. The Rapture was invented by a guy named John Nelson Darby. It isn't in the Bible.

    Yes, I did already get banned from RR, years ago, for daring to say so. ;)

  9. It's just maddening to think of the boatloads of money that must have been made off of these gullible people over the years -- royalties on 88 Reasons and Left Buttock and so forth must be just the tip of the iceberg -- and I wasn't clever or crooked enough to get a single penny of it. Well, maybe there's still time to dash off a quickie book on why it will finally happen on 9/9/2009.

    Religion -- helping con men find the easy prey since 4,004 BC!

  10. As a Rapturist for many years we followed the teachings of C.I. Scofield (Scofield Study Bible) and Clarence Larkin (Dispensational Truth)

    I think Rapturists live in a constant state of disappointment, yet...........if you are disappointed enough times, maybe, just maybe, it will come true.

    Dispensationalism and Rapturism are modern doctrines when compared to the antiquity of many Christian doctrines.

    Rapturism would be harmless except for the fact we have government leaders that are rapturists and their beliefs affect their policy decisions.

    They profess a great love for Israel which I do not understand because according to their theology God kills all the Jews in the Tribulation. "Hey we love you but our god is gonna kill you!"


  11. "c'mon now, you haven't been actively waiting to die since you were 7. well, hopefully not. death cults- now for children! yikes."

    yes, actually. i was pretty much obsessed with death as a child and sincerely believed in the rapture, or, if not that, in heaven, and was willing and eager to die because of it. (at least, mentally i was. instinctually i was still scared shitless)

    isn't it wonderful what they teach kids these days? ;)

  12. Its actually not that surprising that people maintain their beliefs despite numerous disappointments. The thing you need to remember is that people who maintain beliefs about the rapture have a huge amount invested in the concept. If they walked away they would immediately have to reckon with the narcissistic injury that comes with knowing one was so wrong about something so important to themselves for so long. Then they would have to go through the crisis of faith and loss of meaning that would be the natural result of losing one of the central tenets of one's faith. While they were going through that they would lose important parts of their primary social support groups because they would suddenly have an outsider status. Lurking in the background would be the fear that their doubt damned them to hell. Further back behind that, perhaps outside of conscious awareness, there would be an important loss of self-worth related to no longer being special/saved/better-than-others-because-of-esoteric-knowledge.

    When something like this becomes part of your identity, a little bit of cognitive gymnastics is a hell of a lot more desirable than losing your friends, church, sense of self, and world view.


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