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September 21, 2010

Why Are Religious Claims a Target for the Extraordinary Claims Campaign?
Some comments on Supernatural Claims, Evidence, and the Burden of Proof

The Claims:

The rapture is an event in the doctrine of some forms of Christianity, in which believing Christians are to be raised into the air to meet Christ at the time of his Second Coming. Many hold that this will occur prior to the “tribulations” which will beset those remaining on Earth.

The Evidence:

The primary passage used to support this idea is 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, in which Paul cites “the word of the Lord” about the return of Jesus to gather his saints:

“…and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.”

Over the past few centuries, believers in the rapture have made predictions regarding the date of the event. Needless to say, every individual and religious group who made a prediction (referred to as “date-setting”) has been thoroughly embarrassed and discredited, as the predicted date of fulfillment came and went. Some have offered excuses and subsequently “corrected” their target dates.

The sole evidential support for the theory of the rapture rests with biblical texts. The claim therefore stands or falls with the evidential support for a divinely-inspired bible, which is non-existent.


There is no evidence to support the frightening belief in the coming rapture.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. james permalink
    May 29, 2011 12:31 PM

    id just like to say on an angry note…. no you cannot predict the future but i can, without doubt, say that the rapture will never ever happen…. and if you believe it will i see no reason why you cannot shake your head, get over it an say “phew that was bad, what the hell was i thinking…. it must have been a bad dream”. the whole notion is ludicrous, why would the person that apparently created the earth (but forgot to mention that he created the universe and trillions of other planets even more complex then our own, not to mention dinosaurs and then completely obliterating them!) suddenly decide to destroy it all like in a human film he once watched. the biggest miracle that has ever happened is this complete coincidence of human consciousness and our ability to perceive the world around us. plus i cannot believe the argument against evolution is that animals cannot evolve from fish to land mammals over billions of years yet believe that a bearded man with no prove of existence made everything in less then a week for his own amusement! common guys get flipping real.

  2. Bodski permalink
    January 11, 2011 9:37 AM

    Erik (and all)

    I also agree with yochi, it is rather impossible to prove a future event, which rather renders this discussion meaningless. There will be those who believe and those who don’t and whilst the unbelievers can point to gaps in the credibility of various religious texts, this is no proof that rapture will not happen.

    Clearly, the purpose of this site is to request proof (extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof), however, I think that it impossible for believers to do so.

    Like you, I have also thought that a page on evolution would be helpful. Doubtless the proof offered there would be considerably different than the ‘proofs’ offered to support the extraordinary claims currently listed on this site. That in itself may be quite revealing.


    Bod. ~O

  3. RedStar permalink
    December 19, 2010 9:18 PM

    The self-righteous religious have got to have something to look forward to, I suppose!

    Self-righteous religious? Nice stereotyping/name calling… Are you bitter?
    There should be a section here for Evolution. As I’d like to actually provide some evidence for a real claim rather then debunk ridiculous claims.

    I believe in Evolution to a degree. We all have to adapt to changes in climate, life, etc. As far as crawling out of the sea or evolving from monkeys… LMAO! Give me a freaking break! Then why aren’t we still?

  4. Kate permalink
    December 18, 2010 11:49 PM

    The self-righteous religious have got to have something to look forward to, I suppose!

  5. greame permalink
    December 14, 2010 9:27 PM

    “You also forgot one extraordinary claim: Evolutionism”

    Wow. I’m flabbergasted. Actually Erik, I agree with you there (Never thought I’d say that…). There should be a section here for Evolution. As I’d like to actually provide some evidence for a real claim rather then debunk ridiculous claims.

  6. December 9, 2010 9:50 PM

    I’ll read that, RandomCapitalizations. In my experience, claims of post hoc prophecy hasn’t held up, and I don’t expect this to, either. I hope you don’t only reference wikipedia and secular sources in your attempts to learn about this.


  7. RandomCapitalizations permalink
    December 9, 2010 2:29 PM

    Wow, thanks Erik. That’s a real smack-down of a counter argument.

    Like I said, I don’t have a problem with intelligent people of faith, people who know it’s a question of faith.

    People who think they have proof of their god will often point to why their holy text is perfect. It’s the same with the Qu’ran, the vedas, the Book of Mormon, the granths, the Torah … I’m not surprised you’re no different.

    Also, with regards to my facts being wrong, read, for example:

    I know this won’t change your mind. I just hope you keep your mind open and I will try to do the same.

  8. December 8, 2010 6:58 PM

    Sorry to inform you, but you have your facts wrong.

  9. RandomCapitalizations permalink
    December 8, 2010 3:06 PM

    By the same logic as these posters, one cannot disprove that Ragnarök isn’t nigh.

    The bible isn’t some infallible document with rock solid prophesies that have come to pass. It is a collection of disparate writings that were assembled together, likely sparked by the First Council of Nicaea, and most of which was written, according to biblical scholars, after the events described. It’s like saying a historical romance, which has real places, names and events, “prophesied” the events therein.

    I don’t have a problem with religion and people of faith, but it’s faith. It’s not science, and there’s no proof.

  10. December 8, 2010 9:48 AM

    Agree with Yochi.

    Seriously? Obviously it’s not in the realm of “observable science” because it hasn’t happened. Moreover, it’ll be a one-time thing, so it can’t be duplicated for experiments.

    The “only” evidence that exists in favor is…The Entire Blessed Bible. Give me a break, these “extraordinary claims” certainly don’t seem to be getting much of anything by way of rebuttal, are they?

    So in other words, you’re cataloging a lot of claims, but you haven’t refuted any of them, so disbelief is irrational until further, deeper study is done into them. Some will need much more effort than others.

    You also forgot one extraordinary claim: Evolutionism.

  11. yochi permalink
    December 3, 2010 6:27 PM

    How in the world can you ask someone to prove a future event? The divine texts even say “no man knows the day or the hour”. Anyone who claims to be able to predict the date is a fool.

    I suppose one could point out previous Biblical predictions that came to pass, but that alone wouldn’t make this prediction true.

  12. RedStarRipsaw permalink
    November 19, 2010 4:27 PM

    Yes the Evidence will come!

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