Atheist offers to send letters post-Rapture
By KATHERINE BOYLE, RELIGION NEWS SERVICE (USA TODAY)
Added: Tue, 08 May 2007 23:00:00 UTC
Thanks to Adam Wander for the link.
Neither snow, nor rain, nor fire and brimstone will keep Joshua Witter from the swift completion of his appointed rounds come the end of the world.
Witter, a 24-year-old self-described atheist living in Orlando, is the creator of the Post-Rapture Post, which bills itself as "the postal service of the saved."
For as little as $4.99, Witter offers to deliver your letters to friends and loved ones left behind after the Rapture, when some Christians believe they will be whisked up to heaven while everyone else — the "Left Behind" of the popular book series — suffers a series of tribulations.
As Witter sees it, it will fall to the unsaved to serve as the postmen of the Apocalypse.
"Do you want to take the chance that your loved ones will have to suffer through your ascension into Heaven without knowing how you really feel in your heart?" the site asks. "Sign up for the Post-Rapture Post today to guarantee that, while you are gone, you will remain in the thoughts of those left behind."
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"Holy crap, a plan B.," wrote one of the site's visitors, known only as Fred B. from Oregon. "This is my kind of religion."
Others weren't so charitable. "I am shocked at your website," penned a woman identified as Kim F. "It is not even remotely funny. ... All who are a part of this, surely, God will judge to damnation."
As an atheist, one of the things Witter doesn't believe in is any sort of damnation. Or the Rapture. Or God, for that matter. Even if there is a Rapture, he said, it's best to prepare because Witter is pretty sure he'll be one of the many left behind.
"The Bible says that only those that repent of their sins and accept Jesus as the True Son of God will be saved," the site reads. "We do neither. Some of our personal sins include: drunkenness, heresy, sacrilege/blasphemy, gluttony, laciviousness, and sloth. There is no way we are going to disappear into Heaven any time soon."
Witter guarantees that should the Rapture arrive, he would deliver all letters entrusted to him.
He created the website in 2004 after graduating from Syracuse University. "My friends think it's hilarious," he said. "We all like it."
But he also thinks it is logical.
"If you are a good person after the Rapture, (you'll ascend)," Witter said. "If you have a son you want to behave so that he might also see Jesus," you send him a letter.
Social bookmarking sites and the blogosphere have generated interest in the Post-Rapture Post. Witter said he received about 2,000 e-mails after fark.com posted a link to the site.
So far, just 11 people have purchased letters from Witter's site, all of whom chose the least expensive, Class I message for $4.99.
Letters that are delivered on fancy resume paper are available for $9.99, but medieval-style parchment costs $799.99.
"I wish someone would order the expensive one," Witter said.
The merchandise on the site is more popular.
Witter said he has sold about 300 T-shirts, Rapture survival guides and coffee mugs. He is not sure how much money he's made, but says it's enough to at least break even.
It also has earned him a few nasty letters.
"I get about 80% hate mail," Witter acknowledged. The other 20% fall roughly into two categories: people who appreciate the satire, and fellow atheists — offering their services as postal workers after the Rapture.
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