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Nicholas Cage in Left Behind.

Former Christians report condition dubbed “rapture anxiety”

As if people don’t have enough to worry about in today’s culture, a growing number of former Christians and others are struggling with what mental health professionals have called “rapture anxiety,” a condition that stems from hearing teachings on the rapture while growing up in church.

“This is a real thing. It’s a chronic problem,” Darren Slade, president and CEO of the Global Center for Religious Research, told CNN.” “This is a new area of study, but in general, our research has revealed that religious trauma leads to an increase of anxiety, depression, paranoia and even some OCD-like behaviors: ‘I need to say this prayer of salvation so many times,’ ‘I need to confess my sins so often.'”

Some people struggling with “rapture anxiety” detailed their experiences on social media. One person shared that church leaders tricked them into watching “violent rapture-themed films.” Another person recalled crying themself to sleep as a child because of fear surrounding the rapture.

READ: Have people been misled about the rapture

The doctrine of the rapture, which supporters say is present throughout the New Testament, teaches that Christ will rapture or lift up the church before the tribulation period. Films such as the “Left Behind” series brought mainstream attention to the rapture. The belief in a pre-tribulation rapture is primarily followed in affluent western Christian cultures, particularly the United States. In most countries where Christians are regularly persecuted and even murdered, the belief in a rapture to save one from harm or death belies the reality on the ground.

Christian author Todd Hampson, who also is cohost of the popular Prophecy and Pros podcast, noted that a lack of a proper understanding of the rapture is why so many who grew up in church struggle with rapture anxiety.

“I think if it’s taken out of context or taught to young kids without the full context of what Jesus promised, what our hope is as believers … it can be a little scary,” he said. “I don’t know if I’d call it trauma. That’s probably a pretty extreme word. I haven’t heard it put that way before.”

–Alan Gofort | Metro Voice

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