Ever wonder what will happen to your pets after the Rapture?

Cross-posted from my blog.

My grandmother is a huge fan of the 'Left Behind' books. I find them to be generally distasteful, but interesting in concept. The question of what the rest of us would do if some significant portion of the population was 'gone' (abducted by aliens, turned into zombies, killed by a plague, wiped out in a war, etc.) is one of the most popular themes in science fiction. For good reason, since it allows us to explore interesting questions about our own nature. How would I respond to a crisis? Would I survive the zombie apocalypse? Pretty much every nerd I know has a Zombie Attack Plan and has assessed their home for the level of protection it would provide against the Horde. It's fun to think about, and honestly I think it makes us more prepared for any real crisis that comes our way.

The reason I found the 'Left Behind' concept so unpleasant was that it centered around an apocalyptic event that many people actually believe is going to happen. Some people have even set a date for it, as I griped about previously. To me, it seemed to trivialize their beliefs. To the people who held those beliefs, my grandmother included, it gave them a weird (to me) feeling of superiority. Like my friends and I, she was imagining what would happen to her if the events of the story actually took place...and she saw herself being raptured away and watching those events unfold from heaven. She was a bit difficult to live with for a few weeks after reading those books.

Even back in my days as a card-carrying Episcopalian the idea of the Rapture didn't make sense to me. It was too dramatic, too flashy...I didn't really believe in it. Now that I am a card-carrying atheist I definitely don't believe in it, and as such would be left behind if I were proven wrong and the Rapture were to occur. A few atheists are taking that fact and running with it. Since all of us heathen atheists aren't going anywhere, once the Rapture happens we'll feed your dog (*Edit* Link removed) while you're out. There's a child rescue service available as well, in case your baby is orphaned when you are taken up to heaven. That's right, affirmed atheists are offering their services to care for your beloved children and pets after you leave them behind to go chill with Jesus. I bet they'll even water your plants for you if you tip nicely.

If this were a joke service I would find it hilarious, but they're actually taking people's money. Setting aside how ridiculous it is that anyone is seriously using this service, the people offering it are absolutely sure that they will never have to fulfill their contracts. If the Rapture did occur, there would be no one to enforce them anyway. Doesn't that make the whole thing a scam? Aren't they just taking advantage of people here?

I'm not sure. If someone really believes the Rapture is coming and they are going to be among those brought into Heaven, this could be a legitimate worry for them. The Bible doesn't exactly paint a nice picture of Earth post-Rapture. How could anyone enjoy Heaven knowing their children and pets were left to face that world alone? Maybe the peace of mind the service provides is worth it to those individuals that literally expect to be raptured any day now.

I don't know if this is right or wrong, but I do know I don't really like it. It feels like something important is being compromised, though I haven't figured out why just yet. Maybe it's that someone who would pay an atheist to take care of their animals after they get raptured is probably a nice person who really loves their pets and happens to have some misguided beliefs. Maybe it's that the service strikes me as a mean joke, where the customers pay you to laugh at them. Maybe it's that my grandmother would probably do it, especially if you caught her in those few weeks after she read the Left Behind books. It doesn't sit well with me.

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Comment by Freddy on August 3, 2010 at 5:53pm
I really think it's fun to laugh at the entertainment that some of the religious provide us with. This is one of those things. But, I would really hope that this person is not accepting money from good intentioned people who love their pets. I wrote about it on my blog, if anyone cares. I pretty much make a goof of it. I like to focus my attention on those who spread evil throughout the world....like the Vatican and Catholic heirarchy. FREDDY
Comment by Little Name Atheist on August 3, 2010 at 11:11am
Thanks BacteriaWranger. Even if you'd been here a while, you might not have known the history because the site is so big.

I think the ethics stink. I didn't even post everything that the author of that site has done. It's not a big surprise that he'd think taking money from people who believe in the Rapture is clever. He thought it was clever to try to start trouble on Nexus (and other atheist sites) and then laugh about it other places. He's using the atheist/non-theist community to make money. I have no time for people like that.
Comment by BacteriaWrangler on August 3, 2010 at 10:57am
Wow Grundgetta, I had no idea of the history involved here. I will gladly remove the link, as you requested. I mostly posted this because I was curious how others felt about the ethics associated with the business model.
Comment by Jim DePaulo on August 3, 2010 at 9:41am
I couldn't run a business like that; not because I have any qualms about the morality of it, it's that I couldn't keep a straight face selling some rube the service.
Comment by Little Name Atheist on August 2, 2010 at 10:23pm
I'm sure you don't know this, but the guy who started that (Bart Centre, AKA Dromedary Hump, AKA who-knows-what-else) stole the idea from a much older site. As far as I know, he's never given any credit to these people.

He's a serial spammer and self-promoter who has been banned from several websites, including Atheist Nexus. Extensive commentary and discussion about him and what he does can be found in a discussion in Atheist News.

he pet website is basically just another way to sell his book.

Maybe if he had offered to support Atheist Nexus, or any of the other atheist/non-theist groups/websites who have given him free advertising, I might have a slightly different opinion of him. As far as I know, that hasn't happened

I'd like to request that you remove any links to his site. He's already made enough money off of Atheist Nexus.
Comment by Rich Lane on August 2, 2010 at 4:30pm
As long as those offering the service have every intention of fulfilling their contract if the impossible were to actually happen, I find nothing wrong with it. Every type of legit insurance is really a bet. If I'm selling you car insurance, I'm betting you won't have an accident. If I sell you life insurance, I'm betting you won't die before I've made enough off the money you give me in interest and investments to make a profit after paying off your beneficiaries.

It's just in this case the odds are more assuredly in the favor of the insurer than even in other types.



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