Doomsdays throughout time
September 23rd, 2011
06:00 AM ET

Novel explores ‘The Leftovers’ after the Rapture

By Todd Leopold, CNN

(CNN) - Stories of the Rapture usually come accompanied with the operatic drama of bright lights, doomy thunder and the echoing hoofbeats of the Four Horsemen as the world awaits the inevitable apocalypse.

Author Tom Perrotta prefers a little quiet.

In his new novel “The Leftovers” (St. Martin’s), the bestselling author of “Little Children” and “Election” follows a group left behind after something called the “Sudden Departure,” a Rapture-like event in which millions of people suddenly vanished like smoke.

Kevin Garvey is the mayor of Mapleton; his family was left physically intact but psychologically frayed. Nora Durst, on the other hand, lost her husband and children and still hasn’t recovered.

Some characters retreat into cult-like groups. One group, the Guilty Remnant, haunts the living and awaits the end; another, the Holy Wayners, is led by a charismatic hugger who loses his bearings.

Author Tom Perrotta.

Then there’s a local preacher, Matt Jamison, who insists that what happened couldn’t be the Rapture because it claimed flawed humans of all faiths and ethnicities. “I should’ve been first in line,” he insists, while compiling dossiers of the departed’s faults.

Listen to a clip of the audiobook, courtesy Macmillan Audio:

Perrotta talked to CNN about the book, his own faith and putting himself in others’ shoes. Here’s an edited transcript of the interview.

You grew up a Catholic. Are you religious?

I’m not religious but am extremely interested in religion. I went through a brief phase of being intensely religious as a kid, but by the time I was maybe 13 or 14, religion no longer played a big part in my life.

One of the things I’ve been fascinated by the more I’ve delved into evangelical culture is how consuming a religious commitment is. I grew up where it was one part of life – it didn’t pervade your entire existence.

Your last couple of books have had religious themes. Why are you so interested in the subject?

I approached [my previous book] “The Abstinence Teacher” through a political lens. I was really interested in the American culture war, which five or six years ago was a kind of consuming part of the political landscape.

I remember that feeling around George W. Bush’s reelection was the sense that the election was going to hinge on people’s views about gay marriage in Ohio.

And here I was living in Massachusetts, gay marriage was legal, people I knew had no problem, the sky hadn’t fallen – and I remember this as a constant question people were posing: Who are these devout Christians? And I thought it was one of the jobs of the novelist is to know who their fellow citizens are.

So I approached it from there and tried to immerse myself in the Bible and Christian culture and follow this one character’s journey from the inside.

Did that lead to “The Leftovers?”

In the course of a lot of reading I kept bumping up against this end times Rapture scenario. And this is not something Catholics buy into. I think I didn’t even hear about it until college. I was reading a book about fundamentalist religion in Texas when I first heard of the Rapture. It was such an amazing image, and such a poetic image, that it stuck with me all these years.

Another point was, I was very taken with the specificity of the scenario. The Rapture would happen, I would presumably be left behind and there would be a seven-year period of tribulation for Jesus’ second coming and the millennium.

And I kept thinking, “Seven years is a long time.” Especially in this culture.

So one of my thoughts was maybe three or four years in, some people would have forgotten. And other people would be, rightly, just focused on the past and on remembering and making sense of this big thing that happened. And I felt that, in this little joke I made to myself – seven years later, nobody would remember – was some truth about these human impulses. One is to remember and make sense, and the other is to forget and move on.

So that’s really what this book is about. It’s not a theological argument with apocalyptic theology. It’s a book about how we remember, how we forget, how we move on. It’s also about the way that trauma inspires intensely religious reactions.

Why is it so hard for us to let go, to enjoy life? Is it our deep-seated religious guilt that prompts these evangelical movements?

I don’t know. I think most of us set ourselves on a path, and we don’t like to get knocked off. I think that’s why the story of St. Paul is such a great one – that you have to get hit by lightning to change. I think a lot of us feel that we have a life that we like, and adding anything that intrudes on that is a problem.

I still have this vivid memory of 9/11 – I was writing a story for this magazine in New York. I was working closely with this editor and I got the news and I e-mailed, “Are you OK?” He e-mailed back, “Fine here. Where’s that rewrite?” It was like, I’m going to pretend this didn’t happen.

Do you have a sympathy for people who think we’re in the end times?

I’m sympathetic with the need for clarity – who we are, what we’re doing, where we’re going to go, what death means. What I’m not so sympathetic with is that sense that some of us are going to get rewarded and lots of other people are going to get punished.

To the extent that somebody takes pleasure in that, that’s a problem for me, in the same way someone might welcome a war in the Middle East because that signals some movement toward the end times.

Seems kind of selfish...

And I’m no expert on Christianity, but one of the interesting things about Jesus is how he constantly works against anyone’s assumption of moral superiority. So Christians who assert moral superiority and certitude about their own election will always seem to be in some sense setting themselves up for a fall, because Jesus was always uncomfortable with people who did that.

Did writing this change any of your thoughts about the Rapture?

The reason it has so much power to me is that it’s such an amazing metaphor for the way life is. As we get older people start disappearing from our lives. That, to me, was the leap that made the book possible. We are all left behind. We’re not left behind in the way the end times scenario envisions, but we’re all living with the absences of all kinds of people – not just people we loved, but people who sat next to us in school or worked across the hall. But we keep going, because that’s what we have to do.

What’s your vision of God? Do you have one?

I don’t, though it’s hard for me to believe in a God who’s personally interested in the fates of every one of us, because the fates of so many innocents are so terrible. I know there are theologians who will explain that away to me, but it never sticks.

But you do believe in God?

I consider myself agnostic because I’m never quite comfortable with a story that says we’re some accidental combination of gases and all this emerged. I guess I haven’t heard the story yet that makes complete sense to me, from scientists or religious people.

Have you gotten any personal e-mails or letters about "The Leftovers?"

I’ve just started to get a few people who say they’re praying for me. I think there are going to be some people who are going to see the cover, see the name, see the Rapture and assume that this is, in effect, Christian fiction.

Religion feels like it clearly came out of a world – it was a tribal world, it was a local world. If you think about a world in which there was fire or calamity or flood, that’s our everyday world. And that was part of it. It’s always end times in a global, media-connected world.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Books • Christianity • End times

soundoff (481 Responses)
  1. Brandon

    God thru his grace or furthermore his glory and goodness
    allows us to participate in his divine nature which is thus part of
    his great and special promises that he has given to us.This in it's
    self is his call to humanity.The best thing is that if we want to
    participate in this we must put away all manner of moral filth and
    evil and receive with meekness his en grafted word which is able to
    save our souls.Once we therefore accept this call we are to put
    on faith which produces perseverance, goodness, love,
    self control, Godliness, mutual affection,and knowledge.Once these
    things are kept in excess we therefore obtain the knowledge of God.
    If these things are not kept you become blind and nearsighted and
    therefore forget that you have been cleansed from your past sins.

    September 27, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
  2. Lynda

    First off this is a novel, just like the rest of them. Just a way for this guy to make some bucks...Remember the silliness that Tom Cruise belongs too? It was started and written by a science FICTION writer..and so a cult was born.

    And here is some real fiction for you "About this blog
    The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives"


    September 27, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  3. 11:11

    What about aliens? Is your mind so closed to the infinite possibilities to deny the possibility that there just may be something larger than yourself that you simply can not explain. You couldn't go faster than light until just a few days ago. Now even that "reality" is in question. Atheism claims reason yet is closed to possibility. Don't limit your mind to rigid thinking.

    September 27, 2011 at 8:23 am |
  4. riareader

    Did anyone here actually read this book? Because I did and it was great. It was not about religion (other than the characters who felt the need to invent one after the Sudden Departure). He treated it almost like a natural disaster or 9/11/01. What a fantastic writer this man is. I'm well on my way to reading all his books. He may be my new favorite author!!

    September 26, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
  5. Bob

    This book sounds very interesting and entertaining to read. But I don't understand why its in this cagagory. Its a "fantasy' bood, like any other fiction. I thought this blog was about "belief' and religious thought. This guy says he does not beleive. Nothing he wrote about is hased on any biblical assumptions, or theological discussions. I hope noone believes that any of his story is "biblically" based, but it looks like a great movie.

    September 26, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  6. debbie

    Rob.....the truth is a beautiful thing to hear, again and again! Thank you for speaking God's truth to us!! God's truth, and His truth only, will set us free!!! Amen!!! Religion is not a relationship!

    September 26, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • daoud

      his truth is a lie.

      September 26, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  7. humtake

    I love post-apocalyptic stories. This one sounds like it could be good. And the more controversy, the better it is! Come on people, this is not nearly enough amount of arguing between the religious and non-religious folk. You can at least up the name calling ratio. Do something. The comments are pretty boring...

    September 26, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  8. morgan

    It should still be intriguing to people that the book of Daniel accurately predicted the kingdoms that would follow the Babylonian empire. He had the symbols of those kingdoms and the order in which they would occur hundreds of years before anyone had even envisioned those kingdoms or empires.

    How could a mere human do that? Even a die hard atheist should wonder how that could be.

    It shocked the blazes out of me when I read that.

    The description of the iron kingdom (Rome) breaking up into many smaller kingdoms (the feet of iron and clay) is shockingly accurate. All of the territory of former Rome has never united no matter what the human efforts were.

    Food for thought.

    September 26, 2011 at 1:56 am |
    • Free

      Has it ever occurred to you that Daniel may have been written after all of those events? There's a very, very good case for it being a 2nd century book writing about events that supposedly took place in the 6th century.

      September 26, 2011 at 8:26 am |
    • Rob

      The only sensible thing that Author Tom Perrotta said in this whole story was: "I’m no expert on Christianity" ... he is also no expert on the Bible, God, what Jesus was talking about; nor, what the apostles taught; so, anyone buying this book will indeed be just as lost as he. Let’s break it down a bit for the umpteenth time, so that people WILL BE an EXPERT on Christianity:

      1. Christianity IS NOT, and had NEVER BEEN, a religion. Catholicism, Protestantism, Hinduism, Islam, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, New Age, etc., etc., THOSE are religions; and you don't need ANY religion to get into Heaven; but you DO you need JESUS; and Jesus Himself being God (said in John 3:1-7), You MUST BE (not should be) “born again.” That isn’t a choice, it is a “mandate” by God Himself, if you want to do two things according to Jesus; (1) to be able to “correctly understand” the Scriptures (the Holy Bible); and (2) It you want to “enter” into (God’s) Heaven. So, for all those that go around mocking being “born again,” let me be a light to many today; without it, you “will remain” ignorant of the Biblical Truth of God; and, because of that particular ignorance, you “will perish” (you will end up in Hell); not because God sent you there, God had never sent one person to Hades; but because they all “chose” “that path” for themselves, by their own self-righteousness. God wants you to make a different choice; and He has even told everyone “what” that choice MUST BE. So, regardless of what ANY RELIGION might say, that they have the "only key" that will get you into to Heaven, they DON'T; there aren't "many" ways, "other" ways, "other" gods, or even "other" heavens; there is only ONE GOD, ONE WAY, and ONE HEAVEN ... God's Heaven; and He has already made the decision on how to get there ... and religion is not on the list; only a "changed heart" is; and you will only get that "changed heart" by coming to the end of your own foolish and sinful ways, and accepting God's way; it isn't "rocket science" people. Heaven is NOT for the "goody-goody" religious (in themselves) people; Heaven will be populated by people who finally came to grips with the fact that they aren't worthy of either God or Heaven, period; thus, they have made the decision to "turn away from" all of the evil things they have lived with in their lives (aka: Repented), and instead have decided to do things God's way, and not man's way (via religion). Heaven will not be populated by “good people” (although, “then” they will be); Heaven will be populated by “Forgiven by God” people.

      2. Contrary to what Author Tom Perrotta said in this story, Jesus absolutely did say to walk in "moral superiority" to all others around you; Jesus said, "Do not be conformed to “this” world (don't be like them); but instead be “transformed” (be changed, be different from them)." Jesus also said, "He (or she) that is a "friend" of the world is an "enemy" of God." This whole world is fallen, sinful, and totally rebellious towards God, and towards Jesus in particular; and if you don't believe that, you have never watched TV, listened to a radio; gone online and read many of the blogs (like some herein), observed what is going on in our society, business, government, schools, etc.; and you also probably just arrived from a galaxy far, far away.

      3. Finally, as for the Rapture. It isn't a new thing; it isn't a Mary McDonald thing; it isn't an evangelical thing; it is a Catholic thing; nor a Protestant thing, and it most certainly isn't a “newly found” Biblical thing. The first Rapture of a human being took place in the very first book of the Bible, in Genesis. That was to be a "type and shadow" of things to come. Paul and John the apostles both wrote about it prior to 100 A.D., so it isn't a “new” made up thing; the Rapture, which will only be for “those people” (and “all of you” still have a chance today, to be one of “those people”) that “choose” (aren’t forced) to do things God’s way, by becoming “born again,” and will be made ready to leave this planet very soon; thus avoiding the absolute “Living Hell” that is about to break out across this entire planet, via the UN-New World Order (a one-world government), and the UN-New Age (a one-world GAIA religion). The Rapture is not a theory, not a possibility; nor a religious belief; it is an absolute promise to mankind made by God Himself; and it (the Rapture), like ALL TRUTH, has been clearly “written of” many times, in both the original Hebrew and Greek texts of the Holy Bible for millennia; but every time a new (non-born again Christian) author comes around, he or she somehow just found this "great, and somehow hidden (from no one) secret." Many so-called Christians will end up in Hell; why? Because they refused to become “born again” … by contrast, not one “truly born again” Christian will. Choose this day, “whom” you will serve.

      September 26, 2011 at 9:54 am |
    • concerned

      @Rob – very well said. Just another note to add...true Christians take no "pleasure" in the end times. We all have loved ones that have not been born again that will have to suffer through the tribulation or will go to hell if they die first. That brings me no pleasure at all...just broken-heartedness. Time is running out. Please, please listen to Jesus speaking to your heart and answer his call.

      September 26, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • Mark


      Bravo!! Perfect. The best thing I've read on here in a long time.

      September 26, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Free

      If you consider Jesus any way divine, and you worship him as a god, then how exactly is this not a form of religious belief?

      September 26, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • Free

      We all know that the verses used to base the Rapture upon are part of the Bible, but can you make a case for the Rapture being understood as it is in modern times before Increase and Cotton Mather began the concept in the 17th-century?

      September 26, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • cosmicsnoop

      Rob: No offense, but save your fingers the typing. I, and many like me, do not believe anything you just wrote and I can refute everything you say, but I won't waste my time because you will not change your mind and I will not change mine, so don't waste your time in the future. The reality of the situation is so much more different than you think, it would blow your mind. There is no hell and I figured that out logically at age 12 so forgive me if I question the intelligence of adults who continue to believe in something so ridiculous and illogical. Try reading the 3 book series "Conversations with God". That is how things are. Actually, it's even stranger than that, but you will have to go slow or your neurons will pop with the truth.

      September 26, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
  9. martinipaul

    Without the intervention of God no intelligent, rational man should be a Christian. Christians should admit that our faith makes us 'goofy'. We should admit that we have no rational, logical, scientific proof of our God or our faith and that we shall never convince an atheist based on faith alone. Faith is a personal statement of truth and they will never, and should never, accept it as fact. Why, because faith is irrational. Did not Jesus say that unless we become as little children we will not enter the kingdom? And that is what we are to atheists. Children. But we should be cheerful children. Happy in the knowledge that we are no longer held in bondage to either logic, sin,or death! So, like PeeWee said: if you hear the word atheist, scream real LOUD!

    September 25, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • Johhh

      I don't get it. Children are not faith based. Children explore the world and learn about it based on experience. They defy their parents, they set their own likes and dislikes; they do not eat spinach because they have faith in their parents demands. If Jesus said be as little children, it is more likely he was speaking of their non-judgementality, their complete openess to all experience and all persons untiul proven otherwise. A child does not abide by dogma and the word of old farts unless forced to do so, by old farts; as is Christianity.

      September 25, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
    • It Could Happen

      "Without the intervention of God no intelligent, rational man should be a Christian."

      Fine - then let "God" handle it. There is no need for you to be preaching and evangelizing nor converting anyone.

      September 25, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
    • *frank*

      Children like puppies and ice cream. Children hate church and the flu.
      Maybe they're onto something.

      September 25, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    • tallulah13

      So what you're saying is that you are abdicating your responsibility to be an adult. According to your own admission, there is no proof of god. You just want a supernatural daddy to take care of things. Even if he's not real, you believe because that's what makes you happy.

      Wow. That's messed up.

      September 26, 2011 at 12:55 am |
    • John

      People ... I'm not sure what this martinipaul person is saying here ... but this is a perfect example of what is religion, and not Christianity ... this is true non-Christian “religious goofiness" ... Christians are to be "Bold as Lions." They didn't accept their beheadings and deaths in the Roman Coliseum for their Godly "goofiness" ... it was for their Godly "faith in Him, and in the promised Truth of His Word."

      PS: Faith is NOT religion; true faith is the placement of your "whole being and trust" in someone, or something; and true Godly faith is the placement of your "whole being and trust" in Jesus, and in Him alone; as the “only One” that can save you; but, Jesus will force no one to make that choice; that is, and always has been, an individual, independent choice.

      September 26, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • Free

      "Faith is NOT religion; true faith is the placement of your "whole being and trust" in someone, or something;"
      Don't all religions place their "whole faith and trust" in something like Jesus or God too? You guys keep insisting that Christianity isn't a religion, but none of you really make a very convincing argument for this being the case. Any way you spin it, Christianity still walks, talks and quacks like a religion.

      September 26, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Brandon

      Many people have their own definition of faith but the bible give us the clear meaning of what faith is . Which is Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. By this definition it is clear what faith is. Now here is how we obtain faith. It can only be obtained by putting oneself in a position which faith is possible to obtain. Well here is an example. By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. Now we see here that Abraham put himself in a predicament where faith was possible to obtain. Now what where the things he did. Well first he forsaked himself by leaving his possessions behind. The bible says in Luke 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. My friends this is one step of faith that we as creations of god can take and this is to no longer put are desires, possessions, or ways above Jesus but to put our trust and life in his hands. if we are to fail to do so we become Idol worshipers which intern makes us God and everything we put over him God, by doing so we become blinded to the truth or his word which intern gives us the need for redemption. So now we see how faith is obtained. My friends here is something to think about. Is your place in life where you want it.
      Do you try to gain joy, peace, love, and even life from those very possessions which are in your life as well . If so my friend this self ambition is what creates the lack of these things which are joy, peace, love, and life. The question is why? Here's why the bible says that out of self ambition comes evil practices and disorder. think of what self ambition has done. I tell you what it is done it has crucified the lord Jesus Christ. You say how here's how if self ambition brings forth evil practices and evil practices bring forth disorder then what does this filthy chain of events bring it brings sin. my friend this very sin is what crucified Jesus but wait this sin was every one of ours. That being said if you believe in the Lord Jesus you shall be saved from eternal damnation and be brought into the gift of salvation which is spending time with Jesus for eternity and beyond. You say what do this grant me it grants eternal love, joy, peace, and most of all everlasting life here and forever. You see what faith brings it brings those things we seek for.

      September 26, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • Free

      And the folks who invested in Enron had faith in that too, so what's your point?

      September 26, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
    • Rob

      Cosmicsnoop said:

      Rob: No offense, but save your fingers the typing. “I,” and many like “me,” do not believe anything you just wrote and “I” can refute everything you say, but “I” won't “waste my time” because you will not change your mind and “I” will not change mine; so, “don't waste your time in the future.” The “reality” of the situation is “so much more different” than you think; it would “blow” your mind. “There is no hell” and “I” figured that out “logically at age 12,” so forgive me if “I” question the intelligence of adults who continue to believe in something so ridiculous and illogical. Try reading the 3 book series "Conversations with God". “That is how things are.” Actually, it's even “stranger than that,” but you will have to go slow or your neurons will “pop with the truth.” September 26, 2011 at 8:54 pm | |

      Rob responded:

      No offense taken at all (love the name by the way). Strangely, the last time I read in the Bible about a very specific personage that had some “I” problems, I found it in Isaiah 14:12-17; it goes like this; 12 “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! 13 “But you said in your heart, “I” will ascend to Heaven; “I” will raise my throne above the stars of God, and “I” will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. 14 “I” will ascend above the heights of the clouds; “I” will make myself like the Most High.’ 15 “Nevertheless, you will be thrust down to Sheol (into Hell), to the recesses (into the deepest part) of the pit. 16 “Those” who see “you” will gaze at you, “they” will ponder over you, saying, “Is this the man (the personage) who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, 17 who made the world like a wilderness (a dark and desolate place), and overthrew its cities, who did not allow “his prisoners” to “go home?” (“those” people are all the billions of people over time, that “chose” to follow Satan’s truths, rather than to follow God’s Truth; so they weren’t able to “go home” … the “home” that God had always planned for “them” [Heaven] … so Cosmicsnoop; guess where “those people” will all go to? Nope, not to Kansas … they will “all” go to the very place you don’t believe in, the very real Sheol-Hell).

      See Cosmicsnoop, there is the difference between “those” that know the “Real Truth,” and “those” that only think they do. When you have the Real Truth, you don’t have to argue about it; after all, it isn’t “my truth” I’m imparting, it’s “God’s Truth;” and in the end, you won’t answer to me, since I’m just as flawed as the next person; no Cosmicsnoop, you and the “many like you” that you claim “do not believe anything I just wrote, and that you and the “many like you” can [supposedly] refute everything I say”… will answer to the God I just told you and the many herein about.

      And, if you remain in that same state Cosmicsnoop, at a specified date in time, which can be found in the 1 Book I have (the Bible), in Revelation 20:11-15; “you” and the “many like you” will have an opportunity can tell Him (God) all about the your 3 book series called "Conversations with God;" then, when you find Him (God) totally “not amused” with (as you so eloquently put it) your “age 12 logic” (which already leads to some credibility issues); then He (God) will turn to you and say something like, “That is very good Comicsnoop, I certainly do hope that “you” and the “many like you” truly enjoyed that 3 book series; but Comicsnoop, they were never about a conversation with Me; see, I already had a 1 Book series, which actually covered not 3, but rather 66 books; and those weren’t conversations “with” Me, those were given “by” Me; and they were given by My Holy Spirit, and “dictated into the minds” of “the holy men I chose” to be my voice to all humanity; in there was all the Truth you needed; and I further punctuated that 66 Book series, by sending My Precious Son Jesus, so that you might get to know everything about Me, and to understand what I really wanted from every human being I ever created; but instead, “you chose” to spend your time reading a “man made-up” 3 books series, about conversations I never had with the author of that 3 book series; the same author “you chose” to place your “entire trust” in; Comicsnoop, you should have spent your time and energies more wisely in life; and if you weren’t going to listen to My Holy Spirit’s version of the Real Truth, whom I (God) claim is “The Author” of all authors; you should have at least heeded the warnings I sent through people I chose to blog My Truth; see My bloggers fingers “never tire of typing” for Me; they do it out of love for Me; because they could have just as easily spent their time reading that same 3 book series you did; but, I (God) set them apart for My purpose, and they all accepted the challenge; but now; you have NO TRUTH to stand in for your defense, you have NO TRUE KNOWLEDGE about My Son Jesus; and your 3 book series “author” has already been dealt with, for misleading the many souls I not only created Comicsnoop, but that were also very precious to Me; I (God) wanted “all of them” to be able to “come home;” so, My Judgment for “you” and the “many like you” that lived and died claiming that you “didn’t believe anything” that my servants wrote on My behalf, and that “you” and the “many like you” could refute everything they tried to tell you;” now, by your own choices and decision, I (God) have no choice but to have “you” and the “many like you” escorted off, and also away, from My Premises, My Heaven, My Home, My Son, My Sight, and My eternal happiness that I so wanted for you.” Oh and one more thing Comicsnoop, it says here in My (Jesus’) Book of Life, written along the edge of “your” page, that you stated at the “logical age of 12,” (quote): “There is no hell, and “I” figured that out logically at age 12, so forgive me if “I” question the intelligence of adults who continue to believe in something so ridiculous and illogical (end quote).” I see; well Comicsnoop, you were wrong about My Son, wrong about My 1 Book, wrong about My Truth, and wrong about what My servants blogged to try and help you; and, because of all of your “chosen wrongs,” now you get to live in “that place” that “you chose” not to believe in … so good-bye Comicsnoop, I truly wish that “you” and the “many like you” had made different choices in life; you could have had “actual conversations” with Me; not in a 3 book series, but for real, every day, through My Son Jesus; but, you chose to believe in charlatans instead.”

      (PS: Comicsnoop and all those like you; it doesn’t have to end like this; the “ending” is your choice). God

      September 27, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Wraith

      Rob, you just wrote a novel on a message board answering Comicsnoop using the source material he, I, and those like us have an issue with–the Bible. *Comicsnoop* doesn't view the Bible as a credible source. *I* do not view the Bible as a credible source. *Those like us* do not view the Bible as a credible source. It's like asking someone to define the word, "cold," and you give them the answer, "Well, it's cold." That doesn't work. You *believe* in your god, we do not *believe* in your god. It is as simple as that.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  10. JJ

    The obsession with 'rapture' symbolism and chronology worries me. There are probably some loonies warped and gullible enough to try to help make such end-of-the-world scenarios actually happen.

    September 25, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • popeye1128

      More of a certainty than a probability. It is very scary. I believe much of what goes on in the Middle East is being influenced by those that want to make prophecies come true.

      September 25, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • Freddy

      How do you know it's a certainty? Gut feeling?

      September 25, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • popeye1128

      Freddy, just what I believe like things other people believe that I think are goofy. Kind of hard to prove what people who are in power positions true intentions are.
      We could really go off the rails here and start talking about the Free Masons, Skull and Bones, etc.

      September 25, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • Brandon

      @free: You are my point. By choosing not to open up your mine but having preconceptions you blind yourself not only to the truth which is the word of God but also the the truth in it self. My friend the clear example of faith is what your blind to. You clearly suppose that faith is religious and this is where your blindness occurs. Faith is in its most simple form but you perceive it to be something its not. Well why is this? Here's why every time you use your thoughts, ways, mind, or feelings they become a veil to your eyes. Essentially this is what is causing your blindness and preconception. Now if you open up your thoughts and humble yourself you won't be in the way. The point is this Jesus calls everyone on this planet to discipleship. What is this? It is just what Abraham did which is to forsake yourself and which intern humbles oneself and obey or follow him as though he where your leader. In doing so the pride that is in you now will be released slowly overtime you will obtain eternal life now and forever which intern opens your eyes to the whole world around you. This is what discipleship or following Jesus is not a religion but is obedience to a call. Which intern becomes faith.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  11. popeye1128

    If it all ends it will be by our own hands or a natural disaster. I could predict a meteor will destroy us within the next 1000 years and stand a decent chance of being correct.

    September 25, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  12. Scrollman

    I've always had a what if mentality when it comes to religion. So much so that I wrote a novel, The Fallujah Scrolls, which depicts the events that follow when indisputable proof emerges that Christianity is a conglomeration of false doctrines, and misguided dogma. This is all tied together with the political / military invasion of Iraq. Judging from the readership of this blog, I'm willing to send 10 e-book copies to people who request it. Send your request to scrolls2010@hotmail.com.

    September 25, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • Thia

      Is this your book? http://www.amazon.com/Fallujah-Scrolls-Eloi/dp/1432755277

      September 25, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  13. BL

    Actually. I wish they would just disappear, but no such luck. It's all sheer fantasy and nonsense, like Harry Potter, except less entertaining.

    September 25, 2011 at 9:39 am |
  14. El Flaco

    Scholars have identified the Antichrist as Nero, who was emperor of Rome when Revelation was being written. 666 is apparently some sort of numerological or astrological reference to Nero. So I guess the End Time have come and gone. Those who are going to Heaven were transported there almost 2000 years ago. We are the leftovers.

    September 25, 2011 at 8:26 am |
    • John Richardson

      Indeed, it is a first century book about first century people and inst-itutions and had nor real relevance then and none at all today.

      September 25, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • Shalom

      Flaco, you better take another run at the Nero identification. The numerology tie is based on Nero's name being (mis) transliterated a couple of times to make the numbers work. The Internet is your friend, but also your worst enemy if you take the first answer you find that fits what you want to believe about any subject. That is what is wrong with our culture. Most want to do "what is right in their own eyes," and don't want to do the hard work of accurate research from PRIMARY sources (NOT secondary or tertiary, or worse) and then thinking through ALL the facts. Since you seem to have an interest in Latin (fitting Nero's name to a number), why don't you take a look at the phrase "a priori," and see if that won't get you thinking about how you arrived at the conclusion you posted?

      September 26, 2011 at 8:18 am |
    • Rob

      Not so my friend: Nero wasn't the Roman Emperor when John the apostle was given the Revelation of Jesus Christ, by God the Father, on the Island of Patmos, between 90 to 95 AD; it was in fact, the Christian hating Emperor Domitian; and that was some 30 years “after” Nero (who had both the apostles Peter and Paul put to death, around 63 to 65 AD).

      As for the Rapture; it will happen at an "unknown" time; and the strongest evidence in Scripture, is that it will happen 7 years (2,520 Jewish days) “before” the Second Coming of Jesus back to Earth; which is actually a date that “can” be known. In one passage in the Bible, it says that 3-1/2 years (1,260 Jewish days) "after" the Antichrist person stands in the “new” Jewish Third Temple in Jerusalem, and proclaims himself to be God, that Jesus will come back (so, that will be a known date after that happens). Jesus will come back to the very place he first left from at His Ascension; the Mount of Olives; which is straight across the Kidron Valley, across from the famous Eastern Gate that the Muslims “sealed off” in the hopes of keeping out the "returning" Jewish Messiah (time will tell how good an idea that was).

      Also, in Daniel 12:11, two more things can be known; (1) it is known that the False Prophet (who has already been anointed, and waiting), will erect a Statue (an Image) of the Antichrist personage (who has also already been anointed, and waiting), and the False Prophet will actually (by the very real Satanic power possessing both him and the Antichrist personage) make the Statue of the Antichrist come to life; have breath in him; and even to be able to speak (Revelation 13: 11-18). (2) In Daniel 12:11, it also says that from the time He (the False Prophet) abolishes the actual Jewish animal sacrifices, and sets up “that” Statue, that it will be 1,290 (Jewish) days until the end; thus, we can also deduce that 30 days “after” that Statue is erected, the Antichrist will show up there, next to his Statue. So, those 30 days, plus the 3-1/2 years (1,260 days) = 1,290 days; so there isn’t an extra 30 days; but, there is an extra 45 days in the very next verse (1,290 days plus 45 days =1,335 days); what happens in those 45 days? Jesus will destroy the Antichrist and False Prophet and cast them both immediately into Hell, and He will kill off all of their Armies at the final battle of the Armageddon campaign in northern Israel, in the Valley of Jezreel; He will blast away the Eastern Gate and enter through it; He will cleanse the Third Temple; He will setup His Earthly Millennial Kingdom and government; He will bring back the True and believing Jewish nation into compliance; He will judge ALL of the global nations (the “Goats”/the unbelievers, He will separate from the “Sheep”/the believers), and He will proceed to kill off all the “Goats”/the unbelievers and toss them into Hades (not Hell, that will happen at the Great White Throne judgment; then they will all be tossed into Hell; along with Satan, and all of his rebellious fallen angels and demons); then, His Millennial Kingdom will commence.

      Note: A Biblical Jewish month = 30 days; a Jewish year = 360 days; thus, 7 years = 7 x 360 = 2,520 days (Start to Finish)

      September 27, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  15. Reality

    From p. 5:

    What we do know: (from the field of astrophysics, nuclear physics and the history of religion)

    1. The Sun will burn out in 3-5 billion years so we have a time frame.

    2. Asteroids continue to circle us in the nearby asteroid belt.

    3. One wayward rock and it is all over in a blast of permanent winter.

    4. There are enough nuclear weapons to do the same job/winterizing.

    5. Most contemporary NT exegetes do not believe in the Second Coming so apparently there is no concern about JC coming back on an asteroid or cloud of raptors/rapture.

    6. All stars will eventually extinguish as there is a limit to the amount of hydrogen in the universe. When this happens (100 billion years?), the universe will go dark. If it does not collapse and recycle, the universe will end.

    Bottom line: our apocalypse will start between now and 3-5 billion CE. The universe apocalypse, 100 billion years?

    September 25, 2011 at 7:34 am |
    • .........

      spam alert repeat copy paste hit report abuse on all reality garbage posts

      September 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • Ben Alcobra

      Wrong. Don't forget that as the sun ages, it becomes hotter. There's only a billion or so years left before the increasing output of the sun makes the Earth uninhabitable. The planet itself won't be destroyed for 3 or 4 billion years as you point out; but life will be long gone by billions of years when that happens.

      September 25, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
    • Reality

      Bottom line: our apocalypse will start between NOW and 1-5 billion CE. The universe apocalypse, 100 billion years?

      September 26, 2011 at 12:44 am |
    • Mark

      How do you get out of bed in the morning? Sheesh!

      Bottom line is actually this...our bodies are mortal, fragile, temporary. Our spirit is eternal. I'm sure you're aware (because we know that all athiests are so much more knowledgeable about the Bible than Christians) that the Bible speaks a lot about eternity. Your soul and mine will live forever. No disappearance when we die my friend. We will live on.

      I know the story was actually about the Rapture so my comment may seem a little off the mark, but you just struck me as a "when we die, were dead and that's the end" kind of guy. Don't be fooled man. There's more to the story.

      September 26, 2011 at 8:27 am |
    • Reality

      Think about the logic (or lack thereof).

      “I believe the Bible is inspired.” “Why?” “Because it says so.” Would your
      anyone let that logic pass if it came from the followers of any other book
      or person? “I believe x is inspired because x says so.” Fill in the blanks:

      x=Pat Robertson
      x=the ayatolloah Sistani (sp?)
      x=David Koresh
      x=the Koran

      more “logic”?
      “I believe there is One God Jehovah because He is revealed in the infallible
      Bible. I believe the Bible is infallible because it is the Word of the One God Jehovah.”

      September 26, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • Mark


      I do see your point, and I agree a little. At first glance, a casual observer may be put off by the "arrogance" of the Bible and its claims that..."The Bible is true because the Bible says so". And, a large part of why I believe is (as you have said) simply faith. Faith that God is who He says He is. Faith that the Bible is true.

      But...bear with me. I like to think that even with my rational brain (with no faith at all) that the evidence would lead me to the same conclusion. We can squabble over what the evidence says, but never get anywhere. All I can say is that when I look at the "evidence" I can see no other alternative. You apparently arrive at a diffferent conclusion.

      September 26, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Reality


      Suggested readings if you are interested in stepping outside the bible:

      o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

      2. Historical Jesus Studies, http://www.jesusdatabase.org/index.php?t-itle=Main_Page
      – "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"

      3. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias

      4. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.

      5. Professor JD Crossan's books, Who in Jesus, The Historical Jesus, Excavating Jesus and In Search of Paul.

      6. Professor Gerd Ludemann's book, Jesus After 2000 Years

      7. The New Torah for Modern Minds
      From amazon.com

      "Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary (Hardcover) $58.00

      ~ David L. Lieber (Editor), Jules Harlow (Editor), United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (Corporate Author), The Rabbinical Assembly (Corporate Author)
      4.7 out of 5 stars (15 customer reviews)

      "The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) is the primary organization of synagogues practicing Conservative Judaism in North America. It closely works with the Rabbinical Assembly, the international body of Conservative rabbis, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies.[1]"

      September 26, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Eric

      Don't forget, the Cubs winning the World Series is another End of Days sign.

      September 26, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • ES

      Reality has it right. I do have to applaud Mark for saying he could see Reality's point about the circular reasoning inherent in saying the Bible is true because it says it is, though some of his comments elsewhere show less ability to understand other points of view. For my part, I will say some parts of the Bible can be entertaining to read, in the same way myths, novels of historical fiction or historians like Herodotus or Livy (who included rather improbable tales alongside real history) are, but the idea of it being the inerrant truth is rather absurd, given its internal contradictions and failure in many places to conform to physical reality.

      The novel the original article was about sounds interesting; maybe I'll put it on my long list of books I want to read. It certainly sounds better than that "Left Behind" series.

      September 27, 2011 at 5:15 am |
  16. Frank

    Rapture is a lot of nonsense. It is just a great way for the evangeligals to make a lot of money and the fools buy into it.

    No one gets out of here alive. What happens after that no one knows.

    September 25, 2011 at 7:18 am |
    • Mark

      You don't get off that easy Frank. The Bible TELLS you what happens next.

      And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. Hebrews 9:27

      Can't plead ignorance any more.

      September 26, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • Wraith

      Wait... You can't say anything about ignorance, Mark, when you believe something on nothing more than faith alone. 😉

      October 28, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  17. Johnny

    Imagine if there truly had been a Rapture back in May. The evangelicals would be gone and the rest of us could live our lives in peace.

    September 25, 2011 at 7:14 am |
    • Mark

      You are so deluded.

      1 Thessalonians 5:3
      For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

      Life after Christians are gone will be anything but peaceful my friend.

      September 26, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  18. augustghost

    Fairy tales and rubbish conceived to control the people

    September 25, 2011 at 7:05 am |
    • peter

      Fairy tales and rubbish...that's what your government is feeding you to control you...

      September 26, 2011 at 9:27 am |
  19. Bibletruth

    Wow, what stuff goes through peoples minds. Well, just remember that God (Jesus) is love.

    September 25, 2011 at 5:28 am |
  20. Bibletruth

    That Jesus is coming again, the 2nd advent, is 100% true. The "secret" rapture theology is 100% false.

    September 25, 2011 at 5:19 am |
    • John Richardson

      And you are 50% right.

      September 25, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • Freddy

      How do you know it's not 0%? Gut feeling?

      September 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • Rob

      Bibletruth says:

      That Jesus is coming again, the 2nd advent, is 100% true. The "secret" rapture theology is 100% false.

      Rob responded:

      I'm not sure what you've been reading; maybe it's from that heretical teachings of the S. C. Group (AK). If they are anyone's source for the Truth of the Bible; or, for any of the End Times prophecies; by all means, please ru-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n away fast! Moses wrote about it in Genesis; Paul the apostle wrote about it in Thessalonians; John the apostle wrote about it in Revelation; and, Jesus Himself warned us in Matthew; so, I fail to understand the big "secret" Bibletruth. I would assume that if the Holy Spirit told us "once" ... that would be more than enough, wouldn't you? God says that His Holy Spirit is the source of ALL Scripture and Prophecy in the Bible; was God being untrue with us?

      September 27, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.