Jesus Left Behind

A certain stream of Christianity focuses a lot of attention on people being left behind by Jesus, in a concocted event that actually bears no resemblance to anything one finds in the New Testament. And so David Hayward’s cartoon “The Real Left Behind” shows the more pressing issue: that Christians and Christianity are prone to march on and leave Jesus and his teachings behind.

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  • henry

    surely you’ve read

    40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

    i don’t read the left behind series, but you do have to recognize the idea of rapture wasn’t concocted out of thin air.

    • Steven Carr

      Of course, James has read that.. After all, he is a scholar and has read the New Testament.

      … Why do you think it is relevant to James thesis that Jesus never spoke about people being left behind? It is obviously not a teaching of the real historical Jesus, because Jesus never spoke about people being left behind. Didn’t you read James posting? He was very clear that no trace of any concept of rapture can be found in the words of Jesus.

      So there is no point proof-texting verses which on a superficial reading. might appear to cast doubt on that.:-)

    • Mary

      Btw, Jesus promised to return within his disciples lifetimes so the whole idea of the Rapture has been disproven anyway.

      • Steven Carr

        So why should we return to the original teachings of Jesus – that he would return within his disciples lifetimes, now that that has been disproven?

        • Claude

          Of course that is one of the amazing things about the Christian phenom; both Jesus the inspiration and Paul the architect insisted that the day of judgment was imminent, and yet…here we are 2000 years later, with over 2 billion Christians more or less confessing: “He will come again in glory, to judge the living and the dead.”

    • James F. McGrath

      Thank you for your comment, Henry! It was not entirely concocted out of thin air – the rapture idea certainly makes use of New Testament texts. But given that the analogy in the passage you mention, in what immediately follows the bit you quoted, is to the flood coming and taking people away, isn’t a more natural reading that this has people being surprised by judgment rather than carried off for salvation from it?

      • Steven Carr

        ‘Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.’

        What is the natural reading of that? Obviously, when it says one will be taken and the other left, it means one will be surprised by judgement and the other will not be surprised, and will already have known what day Jesus was coming.

  • Steven Carr

    What teachings did the historical Jesus, the apocalyptic prophet, give?
    That the Queen of Sheba would rise from her grave to condemn that generation?
    That a group of fishermen and tax-collectors would judge the 12 tribes of Israel after they were reformed following the apocalypse?

    You can’t have a Bart Ehrman apocalyptic preacher Jesus as the real historical Jesus, and then pretend that the teachings of Jesus are relevant – when no apocalypse happened,

  • Herro

    I know that you ignore Steven Carr because he’s seems often not to be very interested in interacting with the author (sorry Steven), but I think his point in these comments here is valid. What exactly is so bad with “leaving behind” a failed apocalypical prophet that believed in demons and hell?

    This “Jesus”-latry seems to me like irrational worship of the founder of the religion.

    • James F. McGrath

      The issue the cartoon is addressing is that the people carrying the flag claim to be with Jesus and repsenting him and perpetuating his teaching, and many are duped by them precisely because the name of Jesus carries weight with them. And so pointing out that the self-proclaimed representatives of Jesus have departed from him and his teachings helps to undermine their use of Jesus’ name to deceive people into hopping onto whatever bandwagon they tell people to.