Pride and Rapture
by: John Tyrrell
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In a couple of posts (The Rapture Scare, & Picking Up the Pieces After a Rapture Scare.) in her blog on Patheos, Captain Cassidy discusses her own experience as a teenager expecting to be raptured in mid-1980s.
After spending the evening until midnight in church waiting for the rapture which did not happen...
We knew we hadn’t been “left behind,” which left only one alternative:
Just like all the other days predicted for Rapture always had, this day had passed without a Rapture.
That to me is astonishing in a way. They had not looked outside to see what was going on. They did not check the news on radio or TV to see if something strange had happened. They did not phone other churches with the same beliefs see if perhaps other congregations had been raptured.
No - the thinking seems to be "We are such good Christians we couldn't possibly have been left behind, therefore the rapture prediction was wrong.
What it points to is that those who believe in the rapture also believe they personally are going to make the cut. They have no doubts that they are saved.
Captain Cassidy writes "I was young, trusting, and inexperienced" - but she was in that church waiting to be raptured surrounded by adults who did not have that excuse. They all combined their belief in the rapture with the idea they each had an express bus ticket to heaven.
And if we look at other raptures predicted with firm dates - such as Harold Camping's various failures - we see the gathering of those who believe in rapture, all believing they are the lucky chosen ones. The personal failure to be raptured does not raise the "left behind" flag, rather it raises the "failed prediction" flag. The possibility of being "left behind" is not considered - that apparently only applies to those who don't believe in rapture.
But it is not just those that believe in a firm predictable date. Consider those who expect the rapture soon - or in their lifetimes. I'd suggest they have a similar certainty if their selection. I recall a large RV I used to see in the parking lot of a grocery I frequented. Across the top of the windshield the owner had carefully lettered in reverse for legibility in a rear view mirror:
"WARNING: IN CASE OF RAPTURE THIS VEHICLE WILL BE DRIVERLESS"
In other words "The rapture is coming, and God has picked me. Me, me, ME!"
The whole thing just reeks of pride, and in Christianity, pride is considered a sin. It seems to me that the high certainty rapture believers have for their own rapture guarantees they won't be going anywhere should the day ever arrive.*
* I'm not suggesting it ever will. My own subjective probability of a Christian rapture any time prior to the heat death of the Universe is 0%
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