Several times I've heard a story about airline policies designed to prevent flight crews made up entirely of Christians due to fear of losing planes in the event of Rapture. I never believed the story, and Snopes says that it's a urban legend, as I expected. However, it also claims that most Christians (in America? the world?) don't believe in the Rapture at all.

While many of those of the Christian faith may be unfamiliar with concept of the faithful suddenly disappearing from the face of the Earth, this belief permeates a number of fundamentalist branches of Christianity. Known as "The Rapture," it refers to a time when Jesus will return to claim the faithful, drawing Christians (both the still living and the already dead) up into the clouds to meet Him. It is said this event will be followed by seven years of famine, plagues, pestilence, and three world wars before the Savior returns, a time often referred to as "The Tribulation." ...

Those who believe in the Rapture hold as a tenet of faith the sudden celestial appearance of Christ at some future unknowable date, immediately Airplane followed by the irresistible summoning heavenward of all who follow His teachings. The faithful will be pulled towards the Christ the way iron filings are pulled towards a magnet, rendering the Earth depopulated of the godly and leaving the godless (or at least the Christ-rejecting) to battle their way through the horrors of this world's final seven years.

The Rapture interpretation of 1 Thessalonians is not shared by the majority of Christians and appears to date to 1909, when the Scofield Reference Bible (King James Version) was published. Prior to that time, this parsing of 1 Thessalonians' "caught up in the air" passage was unknown, although in the 18th century theologian J.N. Darby popularized the idea that there would be a "secret rapture" seven years before the Christ really returned, and the non-Christians who didn't disappear into the air would be left to face the anti-Christ.

I've never encountered the claim that the majority of Christians don't believe in the Rapture. Is that true?



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