Cognitive Dissonance And The Pre-Trib Rapture Theory!

Is the study of end-time prophesy confusing to you? It shouldn’t be! Do you shy away from personal Bible study in this area because of the confusion it causes you? There is a cure for this confused condition. It’s called sound doctrine!

The Pre-trib Rapture

by Paul Benson

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. -Paul an apostle of Christ

Recently John Little from devoted a portion of his weekly writing to the rapidly rising cognitive defect inflicting the populous. I also recognize this trend which is so apparent among the world in general; but is also, and quite concerning to me, clearly evident within the ranks of the Body of Christ in particular. And worsening as time progresses!

It seems like so very many have lost the power to think for themselves or engage in the vital (and sometimes lifesaving) practice of critical reasoning. It grows increasingly clear that a spirit of confusion has the masses (and much of the Church) in its grasp. I see this as a true sign that we are in the end-times.

Satan gains enormous control over mankind through fear, chaos, and confusion. Through the dramatic rise in these unsanctified fruits of satanic influence the people of the world (both secular and religious) are being prepped to come under the control of the tyrannical ‘beast system’ prophesied to rule in the final days of this age. This evil entity has been lingering in an adolescent stage for quite some time, but is rapidly maturing before our very eyes, and will soon ascend to its unholy throne.

A confused mind is much more easily controlled than a sound mind which can reason clearly. A major cause of confusion is when one is presented with (and then accepts) conflicting information. I wholeheartedly believe the spirit of confusion baptizing the religious world in this day and age is in a large way a by-product of conflicting and confusing doctrines.

One of the most divisive and confusion fostering doctrines of our day is the teaching of the Pre-tribulation Rapture of the Church. Let me explain to you why this teaching has become a major player in the promoting of confusion among the Body of Christ today.

Defining Cognitive Dissonance

There is actually a medical term for the suffering, and strain upon ones mind, experienced through the confusion of believing (or being presented with) conflicting information. It is called cognitive dissonance. I find the Wikipedia definition of this malady quite informative.

Cognitive Dissonance: Mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time.

In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress (discomfort) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values when performing an action that contradicts those beliefs, ideas, and values; or when confronted with new information that contradicts existing beliefs, ideas, and values.

Leon Festinger’s 1957 theory of cognitive dissonance focuses on how human beings strive for internal consistency. A person who experiences inconsistency tends to become psychologically uncomfortable, and so is motivated to try to reduce the cognitive dissonance occurring, and actively avoids situations and information likely to increase the psychological discomfort. Source: Wikipedia

According to this definition one can experience cognitive dissonance in either of two ways. Firstly, holding contradictory beliefs oneself; and secondly, being confronted with info that contradicts your well established beliefs. Both these sources of dissonance afflict the average pre-trib believing Christian on a regular basis whether they realize it or not. Let’s look at each of these in the context of one who holds to the pre-trib rapture teaching.

Holding Contradictory Beliefs

In embracing the pre-trib theory one finds himself awash in a sea of conflicting information. As I have shown in numerous articles the pre-trib theory is at odds with the Word of God on many levels. You cannot hold to that theory, and also to the belief that the Scriptures are inspired and absolutely true, without encountering contradictory notions on a frequent basis. Here are a few examples of what I am referring to.

And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 1Peter 5:4

Contrary to the pre-trib theory’s myth of a secret coming of Christ the Scriptures plainly teach  *only a literal visible appearing of Christ; with the Church being rewarded at that time. This is a consistent theme throughout the New Testament. But the pre-trib teaching has the Church receiving their crown much earlier at a secret non-appearing! One of the many apparent (and frequently encountered) conflicts between their doctrine and the Word of God. Their answer to this conflict of info?

TWO comings of Christ in the end-times! But the Second Coming is (and always has been) called the SECOND Coming because that’s just what it is. In 1 Cor. 15:21 Paul states in no uncertain terms the Church is gathered unto Christ at his Coming. If Jesus comes to Earth previously (to supposedly ‘save the Church’ from the tribulation), his return after the tribulation could only rightly be called  his THIRD Coming NOT the second as it has been referred to since the days of the early Church! This obvious conflict, as well as the one caused by the Scriptures plainly teaching the reward of the believer is given them at this Second Coming, are glaring red flags the pre-tribber must constantly brush aside as they cause dissonance (unrest or uneasiness) in his spirit.

*I have been asking for many years (35+) for someone to show clear evidence of a secret invisible coming of Christ in the Bible. But no one ever does. Why? There is no such thing taught in the Word of God!

Here is another verse that presents the very same conflict:

…Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation (apokalupsis) of Jesus Christ; 1Peter 1:13

This verse encourages the believer to hope to the end for the reward he will receive at the REVELATION of Christ (which takes place AFTER the tribulation). If a previous ‘rapture’ had delivered the Christians unto their eternal glory their need to ‘hope’ would be a thing of the past, and the grace being hoped for (a reference to the Resurrection I believe) would have already been distributed seven years earlier! Also how could Jesus be bringing something ‘to us’ at his Revelation if we were ‘returning with him’ as the pre-trib theory falsely claims? Do you see the obvious conflicts here created by the pre-trib doctrine?

It’s no wonder so many people are confused about prophesy!

This one verse in itself debunks the notion of a rapture previous to the Second Coming! And this verse is just one of many that makes no sense to the pre-trib believer in light of their doctrine. The myriad of verses in the Bible (such as these two we just looked at) that are at conflict with pre-trib theory create a dissonance (unrest or uneasiness) in the mind of those who hold to that doctrine, and must be constantly dealt with in one manner or another to quench that unrest.

For many who teach the pre-trib doctrine the answer is to wrest those verses into saying something else; they are assigned a new meaning that no longer creates any conflict. The mental uneasiness caused by their beliefs being at odds with what the Bible actually says forces this shameful treatment of Scripture. This explains the unbelievable lengths I have seen people go to in order to fabricate outrageous *new interpretations for verses that contradict their bogus theory.

*[A classic example of this shameful treatment of Scripture is the wacky interpretation many try to impose upon 2Thessalonians 2:1-3.

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 2Thessalonians 2:1-3

As this passage clearly states our gathering unto Christ will not take place until AFTER the coming falling away and the appearance of the man of sin the pre-trib crowd has much problem with it; and tremendous effort goes into obfuscating the proper rendering here and replacing it with alternative ones. Amazingly many are claiming the falling away (apostasy) here is a reference not to apostasy but to the catching away! ‘See! They say. The catching away must come first!’

BUT… How could you make ANY sense out of a passage that now reads ‘The coming of our Lord and our gathering together unto him can not take place until after the rapture happens!’ that’s like saying ‘Your birthday can’t come until after your birthday’. More confusion! But I guess for some any wacky rendering of a passage is better than an interpretation that clearly contradicts your teaching.]

Sadly, for multitudes of others (so weary of being inundated with all the confusion this teaching creates) their answer is to totally forego the personal study of prophesy (It’s just TOO confusing for me!).

I hear this all the time!

So they put their trust in whatever their favorite preacher or prophet tells them; and resort to just memorizing the ‘proof texts’ given them to substantiate their beliefs. Unfortunately these ‘proof texts’ are Scriptures pulled out of their context; and in their rightful context do not actually present the proof claimed. The key of knowledge (the flow of truth from God’s Word) has been stolen from them, and they are locked into that deceived condition.

The confusion, brought about by conflicts between what they believe and what the Word tells them, causes them too much mental stress (dissonance) to honestly examine their beliefs in the light of God’s Word. So they wont and don’t! They stubbornly hold fast to that doctrine, and reject without hesitation anything or anyone that disagrees. Confusion has now accomplished Satan’s desired goal of blinding them to the truth.

But in reality examining our beliefs in a critical fashion to see if they align with God’s Word is quite a healthy practice. Comparing our beliefs to the Scriptures, and seeking (and submitting to) the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, does NOT cause confusion; it dispels it! When conflict arises between our beliefs and the things we read in the Bible, and that conflict stirs up mental confusion, we need to recognize that as an indicator we need to CHANGE our beliefs (rather than giving place to the temptation to draw back from personal study and earnest prayer over these matters)!

Being Confronted With Information That Contradicts Your Beliefs

In the second paragraph of Wiki’s definition above is some info I also found very enlightening. It speaks of how ‘human beings strive for internal consistency’. (We don’t appreciate any troubling of our thoughts!) And also how those troubled by confusion are motivated to reduce that cognitive (mental) dissonance (unrest), and they will: ‘actively avoid situations and information likely to increase their discomfort‘.

This explains to me why it is so very hard to get most pre-tribbers to honestly examine evidence that clearly shows the incorrectness of that doctrine; or to even question that doctrine’s validity in any fashion. It causes them great mental stress to acknowledge any conflict their beliefs have with the truth. So they refuse to!

That dissonance triggers a defense mechanism that shuts them off from listening to or examining ANYTHING speaking contrary to their beliefs; even if it is right from the Word of God! But what is to them a (most likely subconscious) reaction of self-defense is in actuality an unhealthy practice that lends to an unteachable spirit, and it keeps one a prisoner of deception.

That is a satanic bondage that prevents them from examining their beliefs for any defect, and moving into a more perfect understanding of God’s truth.

Does this closed-minded behavior describe anyone you know?

Is that someone YOU? I hope not.

Self-defense is normally considered a reasonable plea in a court of law. It is a commonly used strategy. But when it comes to our responsibility before the Lord to embrace the truth of his Word, to teach that truth, and to live by it, such a defense is not going to hold much water. God has a term he uses to describe it when we, for one reason or another, turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to truths which are right before our very face but we just don’t want to accept them. He calls this behavior Willful Ignorance!

And such ignorance is NOT an excuse in God’s sight, it is a SIN!

SIDE NOTE: This same dichotomy we are examining here would hold true to anyone holding fast to any false teaching. The same troubling of the mind by any conflict of information would cause the same closing off of that mind to any further input that is not in agreement. This exemplifies the grave danger of false teaching. Once it gets a firm grip on your mind it is very hard to get free of it. You are caught up in a trap that has you vigorously defending the very poison that is polluting your mind and alienating you from the truth that would set you free if you would just open up and receive it. The insidious nature of false teaching will actually have you warring against yourself!

Do YOU suffer from this condition known as Cognitive Dissonance? If being challenged in your beliefs, or being confronted with info that contradicts your beliefs, causes you anger, stress, or confusion (rather than being seen by you as an opportunity to possibly find further enlightenment) you are most likely in the grips of religious deception. Refusing to examine our beliefs (or possibly change them!) because of the discomfort it causes us is strong indication of not just a cognitive defect, but more importantly a spiritual one. If this describes you or I then we have a serious problem!

The solution to that problem can only be found in dealing with the cause of that problem. We need to get in sync with the truth of God’s Word!

We must be open to listen when others point out conflicts between our beliefs and God’s Word. We must recognize the need to ELIMINATE any conflicts with God’s Word from our belief system (rather than ignore them or make excuse for them). This can only be accomplished by the diligent study of the Bible, and the personal decision to give the Word of God preeminence over ANY opinions or teachings whether they be ours or those of someone we trust and respect.

Any other choice will leave you stewing in the bondage of religious deceptions like the divisive and confusion fostering doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture of the Church!

May the Holy Spirit guide into all truth those who truly love the truth;

Paul Benson

Additional Resources:

For a greater understanding of the conflict between the pre-trib theory and the Scriptures please consider this article:

The Word of God versus The Pre-Trib Rapture!


I welcome your input!

If you have comment or criticism please use the section below. Overly long comments may be edited for length.

Thank you for visiting my site.

Author: Paul Benson

My Website is at My blog 'Let's Get It Right!' is at

3 thoughts on “Cognitive Dissonance And The Pre-Trib Rapture Theory!”

    1. Hi Catrina;
      ANY theory concerning eschatology (pre-trib, mid-trib, or pre-wrath) that presents the notion of 2 Comings of Christ in the last days (ie. Christ returning in wrath at his Second Coming preceded by an earlier ‘rescue of the Church’ Coming) is contrary to the Scriptures. There is NOT ONE place the Bible presents such a 2nd and then a 3rd Coming scenario. It is a modern invention of man that was not taught by Christ nor his Apostles.

      When Jesus appears in the clouds at his Second Coming we will see the resurrection of the Just/catching-away of the Church to meet him in the air, AND the wrath of God poured out upon the world that has rejected Christ, both in the SAME Coming! For confirmation of this claim please see the articles I have written and the videos also concerning this topic.
      Paul Benson


  1. A very good read Paul. I have been pondering these things in depth lately. It seems like this dissonance thing is taking over for intelligence.
    It is easier to get ones opinion from church, than to develop the truth for oneself, or school, or TV, or Google etc. Everything is now grey area instead of black and white. I think deception also plays into this. It is easier to go along to get along. Everybody likes to say “Oh I’m a good person, and say it with conviction long before they ever look in the mirror. A hint of humility or self examination might give a little conviction to the contrary. They might try a little harder, and stop tooting their own horn if they just get a little bit honest.
    I’ve known God was always there since I was very young, after getting my real attention, I realized he would not pull me back up after going over the edge I lived on edge much longer. I did not like that person in that mirror at all. I was so ashamed and had to accept that is what it took to humble me so that I could be useful to him. I had to accept that I was acceptable to him, but I loathed myself entirely. God don’t make no junk. I was thinking today that I would like to take this person, and stand them in front of a mirror, and see how long they could look themselves in the eyes, and continue to spout the junk that was coming out of their own mouth. When I looked in the mirror, I realized it was my own standards that I had tramped and trampled on, how could I ever stand up to Holy standards. That is where the Blood made me acceptable, nothing else would do.

    GODSPEED and journey mercies.

    Mrs. Manglz and I received a new grandchild last night


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