Where science and tech meet creativity.

One of my colleagues sent me a link to what is by far one of the most disturbing websites I think I have ever seen (and I had a friend who used to work very hard to try and creep me out). It’s safe for work, but your reaction may or may not be. The web site is You’ve Been Left Behind. It is a for-fee “service” that stores up to 250 MB of files and then offers to send out those files to up to 62 email addresses 6 days after Rapture. This website bothers me on so many different levels that I am having trouble expressing myself.

It all starts with the premise that those subscribing are saved and going to heaven and that the 62 people they are leaving email for are not, and are destined to go to hell. It is a good business model – take the money of the good saved Christinas…. But this requires one to judge, and to know the true heart of others. Um, even if you are a Christian, isn’t judging a sin and doesn’t the Bible say only God can see a person’s soul?

This is only a minor criticism among many. Next we have the way it works: The software behind this site is set to automatically fire if it isn’t logged into for 3 straight days by 3 of the 5 staff around the world. We are about to move into a period of high solar activity. This means there is a fairly good chance our Sun, in its inconstant glory, may decide to send a Coronal Mass Ejection our way and eat many telecommunications systems and large chunks of the power grid. It is highly conceivable to me that the server farm could get isolated from the 5 globally distributed folks for 6 days, at which point emails of “We’re sorry you weren’t saved,” will be sent out globally (and wait in queues while internet gets restored). I honestly think this is far more likely to be triggered by natural disaster than by rapture, and that is just an emotional disaster waiting to happen.

But, can you really imagine the internet surviving any sort of event that would cause this stuff to be triggered? Really? The flood of emails from 9/11 took down more than a few servers. If something takes down the Internet for 6 days (or Rapture occurs) do you think the intended emails will really reach their intended targets?

So, let’s ignore the whole “You have to judge” thing, and ignore the whole, the internet survives thing, and even ignore the fact that this is more likely to get triggered by a solar flare than by rapture, and move on to look at that whole 62 people thing. This company is claiming to be a Christian firm. Why limit the number of people? The way they couch it, “We all have family and friends who have failed to receive the Good News of the Gospel.” This line alone is no big deal, but to me it reads like “we don’t mean for it to happen, but we all end up with sinners in our life.” If you actually read the Bible, its most revered new testament figures are people who spend their time surrounded by non-believers. If someone is a truly evangelical Christian, they are going to always be surrounded by non-believers, and 62 just isn’t going to cut it. Why limit the number of people that can be reached?

To my cynical heart this looks and smells like a scam. “Just $40.” If you honestly believe that the one true path to salvation is through Jesus alone, I see you seeing this as being a bargain. But then again… Isn’t it also an excellent way to dupe overly compassionate people out of their money? Why isn’t this a non-profit free service that accepts donations? Why isn’t there resource sharing such that everyone has a free e-Bible and free access to whatever propaganda best fits the doctrine of the site? People are being asked to go in on their own, and somewhat encouraged to leave private details like family records. How will that help?

This just smells wrong.

If you’ve lived a good Christian life and the folks around you who you care enough to email notice “Wow, that person got physically transcended into heaven,” don’t you think the seeds of “They acted like a good Christian, maybe I should try that too” should grow naturally? No website, no fees, no family records required?

I’m frustrated by this for more reasons, but if I go on, I will be incoherent and I already know this post is going to get flamed.