Your money got left behind

Every so often I really want to shake some Christians and say, “Please! You’re making us look bad!”

I’m not sure whether this is a scam or just really…sad. You’ve Been Left Behind asks you for the email addresses of your unsaved loved ones. For a fee of $40 a year, they’ll let you write these folks a letter and upload some files to send them, then hold these items in readiness.

Then, when all the Good People get Raptured, the computer will automatically send them your final email urging them to repent of all their sins, believe in Jesus, and be saved.

(By this point in the telling, my Patient Husband was in stitches.)

My first response was to laugh out loud. You’ve got to be kidding! The Holy Spirit was unable to melt their hardened hearts, but my email is going to do the trick?

Second thought: The sudden vanishing of a billion people wouldn’t be a huge clue that maybe something is up?

My Patient Husband said, “How’s the computer going to know that everyone got raptured?” They have that figured out: if none of the founders logs in for three days, it sends a prompt; if none of them login for three more days, the computer then sends all the stored emails.


Firstly, I will state for the record that Roman Catholicism doesn’t believe in the Rapture, and neither did anyone else before about 1830. Therefore I feel free to mock this website with all my heart, as it’s a manifestation of the “Jesus is coming to town to kick your butt” mentality you find in neophyte first-phase Christian development.

Any Christian faithful enough to be qualified for Rapturing would be Christ-like enough not to want to leave others to suffer without hope (that’s 3rd and 4th phase development). I can’t imagine Jesus abandoning souls He loves, and the people most like Jesus would say, along with Therese of Lisieux, that they want to spend their Heaven doing good upon the Earth. In other words, the “true Christians” who are supposed to be saved by the rapture are the very people who won’t want to go.

Secondly, people are being urged to upload things like wills and Power Of Attorney documents in order to protect their families in the event of their loss. But if this is a scam, then you’re handing over documents giving control of your assets. Even if it’s not, do you really want them sitting on a server where anyone can hack in?

And thirdly, this scheme is foolproof. If it’s a scam and the rapture happens, you’ll never know your email wasn’t sent. If it’s a scam and no rapture happens, you’ll never know it was a scam.

Overall, I’d rather trust the Holy Spirit to influence the hearts and minds of those I love, not any email from me (no matter how persuasive.) But for those of you who think you can do a better job than God Almighty, they’re standing by waiting to take your forty bucks.


  1. whiskers

    May I just say, that you’ve made my entire week?

    With love in my heart and a song on my lips,

  2. Ivy

    It seems they missed the boat on what could be a decent business model. Time delayed e-mails for those of us who don’t use the security nightmare that is Outlook, isn’t such a bad thing. You could send yourself an e-mail, “take the cats to the vet next week” and have it delivered on October 1, 2009. Or “don’t forget to get the car inspected” to be delivered Jan 10, 2010.

    Time delayed e-mails to others might have a use too. “Don’t forget to call your grandmother today. It’s her birthday. (555) 121-2121. Love, mom” to be delivered July 1, with a CC to mom, who can send next year’s reminder. It would be a lot easier to tie it to a calendar than the rapture.

    Where they’re hosed is if the original biblical model holds. The messianic era comes right here, to this world, where the servers are sitting (may it be soon, in our days). Sure, they could just send out all the e-mails, but would it make sense?

  3. philangelus

    Yahoo used to have a Reminders feature that would do exactly what you say, Ivy, and it was free. Frankly, so does Wolferman’s catalog: you could have it tell you every year about someone’s birthday.

    In the Jewish model, the Messiah comes to rule this Earth, no huge cataclysm. In the Christian model, we’re going to get a new Heaven and a new Earth. These guys are working on the pre-tribulation evangelical model in which there’s an event during which God Hoovers up all the Christians and leaves all the bad people on earth to suffer for a while. That’s not in Revelation, but I’m not going to get into the history of that in the comment box. The link above does a good enough job of explaining.

    Glad you’re happy, Whiskers. Send some of that song my way. Today’s not looking so terrific.

  4. blueraindrop

    im surprised they don’t offer rapture insurance…. along the same lines of life insurance… i mean, since they figure they wont be here to use the money after that point anyway..

  5. Cricket

    Yahoo still has the reminders feature. You can set two reminders per calendar event.

  6. Ivy

    Oooh. I have to go look at Yahoo now. Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. whiskers09092006

    A link to some of the songs I love, just for you my dear!

  8. Ivy

    Yes Jane, but you said the plan was foolproof, and I assert that, if, say, next Tuesday the messiah came, that would put a nasty monkey wrench in the whole deal. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Actually, one other monkey wrench. If the rapture came, wouldn’t the servers be destroyed?

  9. philangelus

    Those who believe in the Rapture assert that Jesus will not come before the Rapture has happened and there has been a sufficiency of butt-kicking. Therefore they don’t think the Messiah *could* come next Tuesday.

    The website also asserts that the Internet is too important for the upcoming ruling powers of evil to allow it to be destroyed. To which I would reply, probably the Internet would survive, but since their system will only send out emails six days after the Rapture has taken place, that’s plenty of time for the Evil Forces of Evil Everywhere to go take down their system. Thus preventing the salvation of untold numbers of souls.

  10. Ivy

    Which is why it would be a monkey wrench if the whole deal went the other way. Incidentally, isn’t the Rapture supposed to be some time of serious nastiness? I keep thinking it might be related to the whole business where Jesus says that if you’re outside your home when it happens, there won’t be time to go inside to get your coat and all that. So who is going to be checking their e-mail?

  11. philangelus

    There’s supposed to be seven years of horrible cataclysm and Oh Noes Teh Ebil!!!1! after the Rapture, yeah. After which, Jesus is supposed to return.

    Most people check their email at least once in seven years, so I think they’re safe on that part.

    (BTW, it’s odd that Jesus would go to great lengths and several paragraphs to point out that NO ONE knows the day or the hour that he’ll return, that it will be a surprise, and that even the Son Of God doesn’t know…but Rapturing a billion or so people off the face of the Earth isn’t going to be a massive tip-off?)

  12. philangelus

    Oh, and Whiskers, thanks for the music link! I went through it a few times. Like a jazz/violin/Aimee Mann fusion.

  13. Ivy

    Most people check their e-mail at least once in seven years, sure, but while trying to survive a huge cataclysm?

    “Ahhh! There’s a demon breaking in the window! Run for your life!”
    “In a minute, honey. I’m on Twitter.”

  14. philangelus

    They’ll be reading the news to see if the seas boiled and turned to blood yet.

  15. Lane in PA

    I saved this funny little news clipping from the Creative Loafing magazine (Atlanta) News of the Weird column, dated 1993. It claims that in January of ’93, “Israel’s national telephone company initiated a fax service that transmits messages to God via the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. And in May, the Roman Catholic Church will unveil a high-tech confessional at a trade show in Vincenza, Italy. And in December a sect of Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, NY, began selling its members special beepers so they would know instantly when the Messiah arrives on Earth.”

    I am amused by the “high-tech confessional” and its possibilities:

    “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.”


    (The Roman Catholic Church goes to trade shows?!? Religion-related trade shows?)

    I want that “special beeper.” What kind of batteries would it take?

  16. whiskers

    Your welcome! The violinist is a dear friend of mine, and once I saw her do “dueling banjos” with her violin and Darryl Conlon on the Mandolin. I stopped breathing for a while…

  17. Amy Deardon

    This is a riot! I get tired of these very fundamentalist interpretations of scripture, as if these are the ONLY interpretations of some allegorical images. When Jesus came the first time, no one recognized he’d fulfilled prophecy until he explained it after the fact to the two travelers on the road to Emmaus. Even with Revelation and Daniel we can’t guess every end-time event. As far as the rapture, I don’t subscribe to the pretrib, Left Behind idea — but if it DOES happen, hopefully I won’t be disappointed.

  18. philangelus

    God would never disappoint, Amy. ๐Ÿ™‚

    But yeah, it was Ivy who asked me in email one time, “Were the disciples really stupid?” because they just don’t get what’s obvious to everyone reading the story, with our perfect hindsight. In 100,000 years, maybe we’ll look at one another in Paradise and say, “Were we really stupid?”

    (And yes, I guess the answer is, ‘Tasty and stupid.’)

  19. Ivy

    Lane, I love the pager idea. The Jewish understanding is, when the messiah is anointed, the blast of a shofar (ram’s horn) will sound from Heaven. You kind of don’t need any more notification than that.

    Could you picture it? “TAAAAAAOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!” *beep*

  20. philangelus

    God: Gabriel, it’s time.
    Gabriel: I’ll get the shofar.
    God: No, just dial this number.
    Gabriel: ???
    God: It’ll page all the devout Jews who are awaiting the dawn of the Messianic era.
    Gabriel: You have GOT to be kidding me.
    God: Do I look like I’m kidding?
    Gabriel: I dunno. You have an excellent deadpan.

    “Hello, and good morning. This is an automated call from the Messianic Alert System. Be advised that due to storms of sinfulness, the age of the Messiah has been delayed by two centuries. Please rearrange your schedule accordingly, and have a nice day. Shalom.”

    Lane, I’m laughing at the high tech confessional. Some priests can read hearts, but now you just put on the electrodes and the confessional extracts all your sins, generates a penance report, and issues you a receipt.

  21. Ivy

    It’s not even the hindsight stuff.

    “Oh no. We have to feed thousands of people and we’re low on bread!”
    “Don’t worry. I can fix that.” (Makes a ton of bread out of air.)

    “Oh no. We have to feed thousands of people and we’re low on bread!”
    “Don’t worry. I can fix that.” (Makes a ton of bread out of air.)

    “Oh no. We’re almost out of bread.”

    This is basic pattern matching, not prophecy.

    User: I’m getting a ‘communication error’ on trying the search.
    Tech: It means the modem isn’t turned on.

    Any user smarter than a doughnut, on seeing another communication error a few days later, will reach over and turn on the modem.

  22. philangelus

    The thing is, it makes sense about the modem. But pulling bread out of thin air doesn’t make sense. And you can imagine that if Jesus fed hungry people three times, there probably were hungry people around him a hundred times and he didn’t feed them. Right? If he did it every day, that would be one thing. But we’re left to assume that on some days he said, “Well, everyone, it’s coming on dusk, so we’re going to call it a night. See you tomorrow!”

    That’s the only way it makes sense. The disciples didn’t come to expect a steady diet of the impossible and the miraculous. And I don’t think God wanted us to be users, but more like collaborators (on a tiny scale.)

    If we buy the “not as smart as a doughnut” theory, then it makes the transformation after Pentecost all the more marvelous. ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Ivy

    Jesus took them to task for that, himself. When they started worrying the third time, he pointed to the other two incidents and pretty much hit them with the clue by four.

    I think the post-Pentecost transformation is supposed to be see as that kind of marvelous.

  24. Cricket

    Hey, I resent the “not as smart as a doughnut” remark! One of my ancestors was there. (My maiden name is Thomas. Yep, my family is on record as having made one of the most famous mistakes on record. I have a proud tradition to live up to.)

  25. Ivy

    Could you picture all the fun a hacker could have with these? First, to send the left behind e-mails and let people know what their families really think of them, and second, to truly freak out a bunch of Jews.

    “It’s the Messianic Age. The Messiah has been anointed! Hallelujah!”
    “No, dude. It’s just a spam message.”
    “Darn. I hate when it does that.”

  26. Cricket

    Grrrr, hit Send too soon.

    Dad used to tell me it was my ancestral duty to doubt if I didn’t have proof.

  27. philangelus

    Cricket, happy Feast Day! Today’s the feast of another Thomas (Aquinas.)

    By the same token, it’s your ancestral duty to believe if proof is put before you, no? ๐Ÿ˜€

    Ivy, I’m laughing at the hacking.

  28. Ivy

    Cricket, see As a surname, Thomas is Welch. The disciple had the given name “Thomas”, not the family name. I found an Estonian reference to the last name Leibak recently (only a slight spelling difference). I think they founded a form of lace work.