What if the rapture really did happen already?

"The Rapture Happened" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“The Rapture Happened” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

I didn’t expect it, but it surely happened. When we left the ministry and the church, BOOM!, we lost pretty much all our friends. I completely understand it. Most people just felt awkward around us.

Most people just don’t know what to do with me. Am I a believer? Am I an atheist? Or a compromising agnostic? What am I? I don’t seem to be embraced by believers. I don’t seem to be embraced by atheists.

I know! I’m the one who left. But, again, I didn’t expect the huge loss of friends. Poof! They’re gone. Starting over. Finding new ones.

Oh, we have a few friends from those days, but they are on journeys similar to mine.

I know I talk about my online community The Lasting Supper a lot. It’s because I believe in it. It’s helping so many people with issues such as this one… the loss of friends, starting over, making new ones, living a life during and after deconstruction. I’ve made life-long friends there, and I’m confident you will too. Come join us. I will make you feel welcomed!

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26 Responses

  1. Ducatihero says:

    If the rapture already happened then l’m in trouble! 😮

    Coming from an atheist / angonstic family, I encountered difficulty within that family that I hadn’t before by going to church.

    I’ve found that whatever choice I have made in either going to church or leaving church, I lose fair weather friends when they don’t approve of my choices and have greater depth with friends who stick around.

    I guess what I’ve learned is it’s better to care more for what my needs are than others approval when the two are opposed.

    The other thing I guess I have learned is to be someone who can be a friend and not be the kind of arsehole who drops a perfectly good friendship just because I don’t like someone else’s life choices! :-/

  2. David Waters says:

    I see it as shedding unhealthy relationships. Bravo to Ducatihero’s comment. Well stated!

  3. Tom Wilson says:

    Yes and know, The truth of the matter fellow “christians” were never real friends to me they only acted like they were when the wanted something from me otherwise they ignored me anyway. There were extremely few exceptions. It was the people who new they were messed up and those outside the Church who had always shown me the greatest friendship.

    However, I kind of hope there is a rapture ( I know there won’t be) so that all the religious will go away and leave the rest of us in peace! Personally, I’ll throw a big party to celebrate it. Actually since I left the church and the “rapture” of my Christian “friends” happened as a result I experienced more peace and joy than in the 30 years I was in the church.

  4. Caryn LeMur says:

    David: May I offer that when we think of ‘belief’ as a continuum, you would indeed be hard to pin down.

    However, if we think of belief as three overlapping circles (believer, agnostic, atheist), then more combinations become possible.

    Concerning the concept of ‘eternal damnation’ (that is, hell), I actually live in the agnostic/atheist overlap.

    Concerning having a personal relationship with Jesus (that is, an encounter), I actually live in the believers circle.

    Many of us are very complex. That is why I love TLS, where complexity is allowed, and listened to with mutual respect.

  5. Complex is right. And when together, diverse. 🙂

  6. Bernardo says:

    And that is the rub, everyone has their own interpretation of the word of god. Four different books, at least five auxiliary books/epistles, competing rabbis, and competing stories just in the original set followed by translations and embellishments followed by countless interpretations, hidden codes and raptures. IMHO, god needs to have another visit to a mountain top to get the mess cleaned up.

    Of course, there are the other religions that have the same god but different authentic words. Very strange that your god could create such confusion don’t you think? The whole cacophony smells of politics and greed.

  7. Caryn LeMur says:

    Bernardo: In some ways, I agree with you.

    When I try to determine why the Gospel of Peter or the Gospel of Thomas was rejected from the Canon (and some pseudographical books accepted), I scratch my head….

    I think the need for government stability (and Christian acceptance) during the Roman Empire played a role in determining the Canon at that time. So, yes, ‘politics’ (and perhaps survival) played a role.

    And ‘greed’? Sadly, our human need for Uber-men is very deep… and when we find one, we give money to them, and not to the poor. We worship them, and not God. And… we feed their greed. If mankind has not greatly improved in 2,000 years… well… then I assume that greedy leaders played some role in influencing the Canon.

    Let’s add in the drive for ‘purity’, as well. Martin Luther proposed that the Canon NOT include the Books of Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation.

    Thus, I don’t think ‘god created such confusion’… rather, we humans were dealt the cards of the early church writings, and have played at the table of life with them every since.

  8. Ducatihero says:

    Bernardo,

    Yes I get what you are saying the old “ask 7 different rabbis the same question and you will get 7 different answers”. In one sense I do agree with you that God created confusion. The tower of Babel used by Derridar as an epitome of such on which he based his deconstruction theory. So man, built a tower thinking he could get closer to God by doing so, and the destruction of the tower being an act of judgement by God where at the same time he threw mankind into confusion by creating different languages thereby preventing the building of another tower.

    It’s a moot point to say “your god”. Either God exists or he doesn’t. If he exists then he is God of everyone if he doesn’t then no-one has him as their God or “god”. His existence or not cannot be objectively and indefatigably proven either way.

    Caryn,

    Yes, it is interesting to ponder as to why some books were rejected form the canon of Scripture. As I recall, in the book of Thomas on account of Jesus is of him changing clay birds into real ones. I’ve been led to understand that this was perceived as inconsistent with the rest of his ministry that therefore rejected. What also bout the gospel of Mary? It’s rejection has led some to believe that there was misogyny involved.

    It’s interesting that you mention Luther’s rejection of certain books on the basis of “purity”. My understanding is the Songs of Solomon was rejected by some because of the sexual references and by others as perceiving it as being a metaphor for Christ and the church. Though how a lover taking delight in his beloved’s breasts could be about Christ and the church is somewhat absurd!

    So could this be bout “greedy leaders” determining what is in the canon? Possibly. However we work with what we have. Of course if we give to leaders who tell us what we want to hear rather than the poor then that is about our greed for hearing what we want to hear. So, not to different to the building of the tower of Babel then with mankind dong things his way.

    Hmmm, maybe there is a good reason why there is confusion around and so much that is a mystery? If “god” needs to “visit to a mountain top to get the mess cleaned up”, how would you envisage him doing so Bernardo? And how would any action stop the absurd proclivity of humanity that Caryn talks of to defer to the kind of con men that are worshiped in preference to the needs of the poor being satisfied?

  9. What if, Bernardo, we didn’t take the books of the Bible as literarily historical documents, but as a special genre of storytelling attempts to articulate a mystery? Like myth. Not in the sense of just telling untrue fables, but in the sense of using words to articulate a vast unknown’s intersection with the world?

    I agree this “story” has been largely coopted by power, authority, and greed. But for me this doesn’t negate the unexplained mystery or nullify the attempt to articulate it.

  10. Ducatihero says:

    “I agree this “story” has been largely coopted by power, authority and greed.

    Sounds not dissimilar to what Jesus said of those that enjoyed their status, being greeted in the marketplace etc. but neglected to care for the poor and most vulnerable with the widows and orphans.

  11. Bernardo says:

    But then you further subject these NT books to modern rigorous historic testing, there is not much left other than the inventions, ramblings and hallucinations of the authors!!

    ex.

    Matthew 6:1-4

    1 “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. ”

    http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb093.html , http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb397.html , http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb398.html and Professor Ludemann’ conclusions in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 145-147. (“In no way did Jesus speak these words.”)

  12. But Bernardo you’re still clinging to a historical approach to the texts.

  13. Bernardo says:

    And what approach should we take? Believing five non-witnesses? And clinging,? Give me a break!! I rely on using well-established approaches for determining the authenticity of any historical event.

    Once again:

    Rigorous conclusions rely on the number of independent attestations, the time of the publications, the content as it relates to the subject and time period, the local social interactions of the time period, and any related archeological evidence. Professors JD Crossan and G. Ludemann’s studies are top notch in this regard.

  14. No B. I don’t think you’re understanding me because you keep harping back to the historical unreliability of the texts. I’m not willing to argue over that because I don’t believe they are historical nor were ever meant to be.

  15. Caryn LeMur says:

    Bernardo: It is ok to have faith in Crossan and Ludemann’s theories. Good grief, I have faith in Jesus and in those ancient writings.

    Let’s look at ‘the time of publication’ offered by Crossan, and the assumptions it is built upon.

    I offer that Crossan’s ‘strata’ approach is too simplified. Crossan used 30 year strata (AD 30 to AD 60, for the first strata). The first strata would then have the highest weight for being accurate.

    Concerning 30 year strata, I am now almost 60 years old. I can remember some sayings perfectly from 40 years ago. Why not use a 40 year strata?

    Again, and concerning 30 year Crossan-style strata, I have met 70 year olds that were in various wars in their 20’s – – and those events are still etched perfectly in their mind. Why not use 50 year strata?

    “The time of publications” offered by Crossan was arbitrary. He simply picked 30 years. Why put your faith in his theory that 30 years should be the cut-off?

    What do you lean towards?

    Concerning ‘the content of the subject’: juxtaposition (placing too very dissimilar things/ side by side) is easy to recall.

    Here are some examples: “Love your enemies” is a juxtaposition. “Leave your gift at the altar and first be reconciled to your brother” was (at that time period) a juxtaposition. “Turn the other cheek” followed the phrase ‘do not resist an evil person’ — and considering the culture caused by the Roman Occupation, was another juxtaposition.

    Do you lean towards 30 year strata for non-juxtapositions? and perhaps 50 year strata for juxtapositions?

    Let’s remember that Crossan is simply proposing a theory – a framework – for determining the authenticity of Jesus’ statements.

    A theory that we should closely examine, and modify as needed.

  16. Tom Wilson says:

    I’d personally add Genesis to the books that should not be included, but of course its not port of the supposed “New Covenant.”

  17. Kathy says:

    Leaving a church –for me, a wake up call where I learned about all the “friends” I never really had.

  18. Bernardo says:

    Professor Crossan is only one of the many historic Jesus scholars. Tis interesting that his conclusions normally agree with those of the Jesus Seminarians and those of Professor Ludemann’s who used somewhat different methods to analyze the NT passages. Pick a passage, go to http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?title=Crossan_Inventory and your Edit/Find menu to see his conclusions per passage. From there go to http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html using the number of the Crossan inventory passage to get cross-referencing with the Jesus Seminarians’ results and those of many other historic Jesus scholars to include Professor Gerd Ludemann and Professor John Meier of Notre Dame.

    ex. Taking on the big one the supposed resurrection of Jesus.

    Crossan’s inventory number, 17, http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?title=017_Resurrection_of_Jesus cross-referenced at http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb017.html

    And for a thorough analyses of the “last” supper with input from many NT scholars, see http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb016.html

    . A new day in your life begins as you now have access to well-researched NT passages. And it is all free.

  19. Bernardo says:

    Caryn,

    If you don’t have a copy of Professor Crossan’s book, the Historic Jesus, part of it is published on Google Books, https://books.google.com/books?id=AsPHR4-7Wc8C&q=strata#v=snippet&q=strata&f=false. In the Prologue he explains his analytical methods of strata, attestations, etc. in great detail.

  20. Ducatihero says:

    Perhaps what we are experiencing is different approaches? I hear you Bernardo that you want to take an historical critical approach, common with records to determine the authenticity of recorded events. I hear you David I hear that you prefer “storytelling attempts to articulate a mystery… in the sense of using words to articulate a vast unknown’s intersection with the world”.

    When studying my masters in Biblical Interpretation I learned to consider different approaches based on genre rather than primarily considering propositional truth. So some books being narrative, some Law, poetry, wisdom, gospels, epistles apocalyptic etc. It opened up horizons to me to have my preconceptions about the bible challenged and to consider a myriad of ways of interpreting and understanding it.

  21. Bernardo says:

    After rigorous historic testing, there is not much left to the NT (and OT) other than the plagiarisms, inventions, ramblings and hallucinations of the authors!! Better to review and follow the first humans to articulate in writing the common sense ethics and morals of living a good life. A recommendation: Hammurabi’s Code and the Egyptian’s Book of the Dead, both available on line at no cost.

  22. “Better…” Bernardo. The bible has been a great inspiration for many generations for good. Again though, you aim a historical accuracy paradigm towards the bible I don’t think you’re going to have much left. I agree with that. But that paradigmatic approach to the bible is, in my opinion, unfair to the genre.

  23. Bernardo says:

    The bible has been a great inspiration for generations for good? Tough to tell that since one could visualize the adoption of the Code of Hammurabi by the generations and we would not have had the inquisitions, the NT driven anti-semitism which led to the genocidal conduct of the Crusaders and the Holocaust, the biblical approval of slavery, the divine right of Judaism to the “holy” land, the divine right of kings and queens and the absurdities of today’s Christian evangelicals and their empires and the insane believe in the papacy, dead bodies rising, angels, satan, hell, original sin and life after death.

  24. Ya if only things were black and white… either all evil or all good. Alas, the bible is both, just like you and me.

  25. Bernardo says:

    But without the bible, the black and white would be much clearer.

  26. Gary says:

    “But without the bible, the black and white would be much clearer.”

    This is one of the most nonsensical statements I have heard in a long time.