Christians who believe they might one day be physically swept up to heaven in the Rapture will be able to send e-mails to loved ones left behind on Earth nearly one week after the apocalyptic event takes place, thanks to a new website.
YouveBeenLeftBehind.com lets subscribers send an e-mail message to up to 62 people exactly six days after they've disappeared from the face of the Earth, Wired Magazine's Threat Level reports.
The website, run by Mark Heard along with four other Christians, dispatches the e-mails when at least three staff members fail to log in for six consecutive days. Its main purpose is to give Christians one final shot at evangelism.
"You've Been Left Behind gives you one last opportunity to reach your lost family and friends for Christ," states the website.
The site is predicated on one interpretation of Christian theology that puts the day of Rapture as the beginning of The End Times or Armageddon. Believers, according to this viewpoint, would be physically lifted up to heaven while those who have not accepted Christ would be left behind to suffer seven years of Tribulation under a global government headed by the Antichrist.
In addition to the e-mail function, users of YouveBeenLeftBehind.com can also store personal and financial documents on the site. Up to 150 megabytes of information would be sent to up to 12 people after the presumed rapture.
"In the encrypted portion of your account you can give them access to your banking, brokerage, hidden valuables, and powers of attorneys," explains the site.
"There won't be any bodies, so probate court will take seven years to clear your assets to your next of kin. Seven years, of course, is all the time that will be left. So, basically the Government of the Antichrist gets your stuff, unless you make it available in another way."
The services offered by the site cost $40 a year. Heard told Threat Level that he already has paying subscribers.
Some Christians have praised the idea.
"I do believe in the rapture. As far as the website goes I think it's a great idea, because if you believe in the rapture (like me), you know that the time remaining on earth is short and is going to be the worst days the world has known. However, those left behind still will have the opportunity for salvation which is the message I would want to get across," wrote one Christian identified as "skinthemboys" on a forum site for Washington Redskins football fans.
But the site also has plenty of critics that include both Christian and non-Christian bloggers. Some call the site "ridiculous" and "disgusting."
"In a world where only 16% of 16 to 29-year-old non-Christians express favorable view of Christians (Barna, 2007) , and only 3% of 16 to 29-year-old nonChristians express favorable views of evangelicals... we Christians should try to avoid doing stupid stuff like this," vents Jonathan McKee, president of The Source for Youth Ministry, on his blog.
Heard told Threat Level that he has politely responded to some of the site's critics and has turned their negative comments into "constructive criticism" for improvements to the site.