“Come On Up, and I Will Show Thee”

George D. Chryssides

in Controversial New Religions

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780195156829
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199784806 | DOI:
 “Come On Up, and I Will Show Thee”

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This essay examines the worldview of the Heaven’s Gate in terms of the concept of postmodernity. After the mass suicide of 1997, the group provoked controversy as an example of a “suicide cult” equivalent to the People’s Temple, the Branch Davidians, and the Solar Temple. However, a closer look at the radical physicalistic interpretation of the Book of Revelation presented by Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles shows that the actions undertaken make sense in light of the group’s worldview. The group’s idiosyncratic use of science fiction and Christianity also parallels the construction of meaning in a postmodern society.

Keywords: Heaven’s Gate; mass suicide; postmodernity; Book of Revelation; Christianity; science fiction

Chapter.  7961 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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