Nope. I really can’t tell.

Please note: there is no way on God’s green earth that linking to this site is in any way an endorsement.

One of my friends told me about this site, and I spent a lot of time clicking through it.

It’s called “You’ve Been Left Behind,” youvebeenleftbehind.com, and here’s the thing: I can’t tell if it’s legitimate or not.

So here’s what they say they’ll do: they’ll give you some encrypted storage space and some non-encrypted space and up to 62 email addresses you can store. You upload documents or chose from their sample ones (which I haven’t been able to see), and they’ll hold onto them for you. For just $40 for the first year (and the re-subscription price will ‘go down as more people subscribe’), this website will store your documents, and then, send them to the specified emails after you have been raptured.

That’s right. So you can tell your friends how to get saved before it’s really really too late. So you can tell your enemies haha i told you so. So you can email the Pope and see if the Catholics really did get Left Behind like Tim LaHaye always claims they will.

How will they do this? If their team of five couples of Christians doesn’t log in for three consecutive days, it’ll apparently trip some sort of fail-safe and send emails three days later (assuming no one resets the system, or the antichrist doesn’t destroy the internet).

On the one hand, it sounds wacky enough to be something people would do. On the other, the language doesn’t smack quite enough of LaHaye jargon. And yes, I’m being pretty cynical about that particular brand of ‘theology’, mainly because I think it’s, well, not. I’m all for theological diversity (heck, I chair the team), but Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins are not theologians. Nor are the folks who run this website, and refer to Christ as the “third person of the Trinity.”

You can log in and pay through PayPal.

But I didn’t. My friends and I tried entering information from a dummy account, but the site was smart enough to know the account was outdated. That lends a shred of credence to it. Well, at least to the fact that they actually are taking people’s money.

But I really want to know. Are these people for real? Because it also sounds like a really devious way to swindle fearful folks out of $40/year. Bad (or non-existent) theology aside, I’m not sure that anyone deserves that.

On the other hand, Rapture-oriented theory (which, I must stress, has no basis in either the Bible or Christian theological history) is one that preys on people’s deepest fears: fears about death and pain and being the slightest bit wrong about the nature of the Divine. This just adds one more layer of fear– fear about your loved ones. And so it attempts to take advantage of people’s fears to make a buck. LaHaye’s been doing that (somehow!) for years.

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8 Responses

  1. I heard it on “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me.” It was the true story on their bluff the listener segment.

    If NPR says it’s real….

  2. @HP,

    Oh, goodness. i was kind of hoping it was a scam.

    Yikes.

  3. I do believe it, the site, is real, and I think that it was an interesting way to make money, and also to support what they believe as Christians. If they have the system actually set up, and they do the work to update everything and keep it running, if people want to pay for the service, it’s on their heads.

    The doctrine of the Rapture is not as you describe, quite the opposite. It is rooted in scripture, and is a doctrine of hope and faith. It isn’t possible to increase a believer’s fear, or perhaps sadness is a better descriptive, about their unbelieving loved ones…the tribulation isn’t anywhere near the anguish awaiting the unbeliever in the afterlife; whether it be physical torment, or separation from God.

    Just because one disagrees with another person’s theology, doesn’t change the fact that it is indeed theology. If you’d like to get a different perspective on some of this, the site: http://www.RaptureReady.com is a popular one.

    Grace and Peace,
    Kliska
    TheChristianScribbler.com

  4. @Kliska,

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

    Regardless of my disagreement with Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins’ positions, the fact remains that what they present is a series of fictional novels, not theology. I have read the books and a lot of the accompanying literature, because as a pastor I get many questions about religious ideas in popular culture.

    The theory of the rapture is also hard to describe as theology because it does not purport to say anything about God, but about predicted events in past, present, and future ‘dispensations.’ Surely, the assumptions about God which under gird these predictions are theological claims, and ones with which I strenuously disagree, but the claims themselves are particular interpretations of cherry-picked scriptural passages and twentieth century thoughts by Scofield and others, and say more about how we understand the world than about who God is in it.

    Hope that clarifies what I mean in saying I do not consider the Left Behind books particularly and rapture timelines more generally to be theological.

    Thanks again for commenting! I appreciate comments, even (and especially) when the views differ from my own, because that is how we grow!

    Blessings,
    Becca

  5. I completely agree with you that the Left Behind books, which I have read, are indeed fictional accounts. To the authors of those fiction books, however, they truly believe they are basing them on scripture. Now, they may be right, or wrong, but it is a position built upon scripture and theology. (And, no, I don’t agree with all of their timeline, or details, but they were a good read in general.)

    Who hasn’t been guilty of cherry-picking? ;) …I know for a fact that I have, and even if my position is right, we need to watch the over use of “proof texts” and put everything in context. Now, of course from my perspective (I do believe in the doctrine of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, based upon specific scripture and the teachings of scripture as a whole), I believe the theology to be sound. Meaning, I do think that each perspective is affected by theology, and their theories will affect each perspectives’ take on God; especially God’s relationship with the Church.

    I also recognize that those that don’t share my POV, but are indeed fellow believers, are approaching the same issue theologically even if I disagree with their conclusions. I guess my idea is that we have to be careful downplaying another theory even if we don’t agree with it.

    Anywho, I think your original post is amusing (not your post, but the website featured), because those individuals found a way to make some money and promote something they believe in…entrepreneurism meets faith…it’s always a fascinating concept…at least to me :)

    Grace and Peace

  6. Entrepreneurism meets faith…maybe. Maybe they are sincere. But my reaction (and I’ve heard about this before) is cynical — I think they’re taking advantage of people’s sincere beliefs about the Rapture.

  7. @kmcdade,

    That, unfortunately, is my reaction, too. It really does seem to be taking advantage, but I just can’t tell.

    Blessings,
    Becca

  8. “Are these people for real? Because it also sounds like a really devious way to swindle fearful folks out of $40/year. Bad (or non-existent) theology aside, I’m not sure that anyone deserves that.”

    Anyone foolish enough to believe such nonsense deserves whatever they get. Free will is free will; the adult kool-aid drinkers at Waco did so of their own volition, without a gun held to their heads, and earned the consequences of their actions. As with all religion that preaches “behave this way, follow these steps, do these things … and you will be rewarded” at the exception of an individual’s willingness to think and determine and act independently for him or herself.

    But that’s the catch of free will — we all have every responsibility to think and evaluate and act, accepting the consequences of our actions. If I choose to drive a car down the highway at 80 miles an hour without a seatbelt, that’s my prerogative. If I crash the car and die after getting thrown through the windshield, I earn the consequences of my choice.

    I really am far more libertarian than I ever imagined. That’s rather a shock to the system, since I’ve been working for an organization obsessed with public good in a rather socialist way for the last … half of my life.

    Anyway, sorry my test ID couldn’t prove the definitive steps for you; turns out that paypal-based modules don’t require a testing phase. (It’s sold as a “benefit” to those who are too inexpert or lazy to manage their own financial coding systems on their. Or whose projects are too small (i.e. not intended as a large-scale business enterprise) to warrant the work.) I have another testing meeting next week; I’ll see if anyone on the team has any hacker tips for discerning the probability for or against a scam.

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