What % of people actually believe the rapture is about to happen?

in America?
on the entire planet?
or would it even = 1%?

basically I am wondering if some cult consisting of 17 people came up with this nonsense and the media just ran with it.

Well, the Left Behind series sold 65 million copies. And from word-of-mouth it’s the sort of series that an unbeliever wouldn’t want to read being both bad writing and basically Christian sado-porn about the slaughter and torment of unbelievers.

No - Camping has a large following and they spent big bucks getting the word out. Give “The Media” a pass on this one.

Camping isn’t the only one predicting imminent Rapture, he’s just the one who picked the 21st as the date.

On the entire planet?

No. We’re aware of it only as a nutty American thing, with little spill over outside the USA. Like Creationism - seen as idiotic, not a serious issue for discussion in most other countries. Any discussion elsewhere is largely driven by American-based sources.

The concept of The Rapture and The Second Coming are fundaments of Christianity believed by all who consider themselves proper Christians everywhere on the entire planet. Since Christianity is the world’s largest religion that’s alot of people. May 21sl, 10:00 PM was all Camping’s idea.

The notion that the world will end on a specific date in not unique to America or to Christianity. It’s widely believed by all peoples (although only by, I would guess, a small minority of people).

About to happen? Very few.

That the rapture will happen eventually, like even 10,000 years from now? A lot.

Not even all evangelicals believe in the rapture in the first place.

2nd coming, maybe. But the Rapture? Definitely not.

The rapture is a relatively recent, fundamentalist Christian belief system. It is certainly not part of traditional Catholic teaching.

Like some other things, the Bible isn’t clear about the sequence of events at the end of the world. Most Christians accept 3 things. The world will end, nobody knows when, and many of us will die first. Christians believe that if you accept Christ as your savior, you will go to heaven whether of not you die before the end of the world. The main thing a Christian needs to know about the end times is that it could come any time and you must welcome it being ready to let go of the world.

Back to the question. Only some people are Christian. Only some Christians believe there will be a rapture. Only some of those believing in the rapture, believe it will be soon. My WAG is that only a fairly small fraction of the population feel there will be a rapture soon. I am going to concentrate on keeping myself right with God and let him decide whether I will die or the rapture will come, if any, first. Either could happen before I hit the ‘‘Post Quick Reply Button’’.

http://www.volunteertv.com/national/headlines/Doomsday_Church_a_profitable_non-profit_122303069.html The Camping Church is worth about 65 mill. It should be interesting to see if donations drop now. I would not be surprised if it went along as usual.

The Rapture was invented in the 1800s, though concepts of the Apocalypse pre-date Christ. Mainline churches don’t buy into these things in a big way. According to the Guardian, in Vietnam “thousands of the Hmong ethnic hill tribe gathered together on the Thai border in anticipation of the event.” That said, I agree with Michael of Lucan: like the Rapture itself, this is an American phenomenon.

Ironically, it was invented by Reverend Darby in the mid 1800s partly to avoid the problem of date setting. Earlier one Reverend William Miller had decided that the 2nd coming would occur on October 22, 1844: that debacle became known as The Great Disappointment and destroyed his sect. Darby sketched a compelling account with the chosen flying to heaven and the remainder suffering 7 years of tribulation. But he was wise enough not to set a date: constant vigilance keeps the flock properly primed.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/apocalypse/explanation/amprophesy.html

I stand corrected. End-times apocalypse myths are not unique to Christianity or the Western world. “The Rapture” only happens to be one manifestation.

I’m guessing whatever it was yesterday, it’s fewer today.

All we can say to the Unraptured is, “Come on, don’t get depressed about it. It’s not the end of the world.”

Oh, wait a minute . . .

They gave rise to, among others, the Seventh Day Adventists.

We need a Bad Geographer around here to call out geographical illiteracy in the media. Vietnam does not border on Thailand. The sentence as it reads is impossible. They could get to the Thai border if they cut through Laotian territory, but then they wouldn’t be in Vietnam any more.

LOL! That was excellent! :smiley:

Yup. The wiki gives details about the varying responses to the Great Disappointment:

That’s right, 61 delegates split 4 ways. More generally Slate magazine has an article about what happens to Doomsday cults after the big day comes and goes. There was a classic study of cognitive dissonance from the 1950s that focused on one flying saucer cult. But apparently those findings weren’t replicated in by other researchers studying other doomsdayers.

So the phrase-of-the-day isn’t “Cognitive dissonance”, it’s “Epistemic closure”. That doesn’t match perfectly with wiki’s take on the Great Disappointment. AFAIK, the varying responses to Great Disappointments have been documented, but we haven’t advanced to the point where we can say what proportions of believers will do one thing or another.

Nice catch Johanna. FTR, here’s the full quote from the Manchester Guardian: "Advertising popped up across America and the globe from Iraq to Lebanon to Israel to Jordan, the Philippines to Vietnam, where thousands of the Hmong ethnic hill tribe gathered together on the Thai border in anticipation of the event. " The BBC says they gathered near the border of Laos, which is geographically possible.

Correct. According to [del]that crazy person[/del] Harold Camping, the end of the world was scheduled for Oct. 21, 5 months after the Day of Judgment.

I don’t know what percentage of Americans distinguish between the 2nd coming and rapture but here’s a survey from last year that shows 41% of Americans believe the 2nd coming will happen by 2050. Scroll down to see a table with the results broken out by religious affiliation, education and region.