The recent group suicide of the Heaven’s Gate community is quite a fascinating and vivid example of the power of Faith in the Greater Glory of a Higher Calling. It doesn’t matter if you support how Heaven’s Gate chose to express their Faith – their action is a curious study of a group’s dynamic ability to move beyond the physical world and reach out to touch something greater than themselves.
As Goes Heaven’s Gate…
There’s no doubt that Heaven’s Gate Believed that what they were doing was Right, Holy, Important, Selfless and Heroic. Suicide isn’t illegal in the United States, and I don’t believe they felt they were killing themselves, either. They knew they had to “leave their containers” in order to fulfill the next step in the course of attaining their vision of Heaven.
Frankly, I prefer that sort of Heaven’s Gate dogma to other religious groups who go out and blow up innocent bystanders in suicide bombings, or those who advocate shootings in the dirt streets of the Middle East, or splinter religions that use cross burning in the dark of night in the middle of the Bible Belt as a means to a Divinely Inspirated end – all these acts are always performed (or excused) in the name of a Higher Calling.
In The Name of God
In fact, every war ever fought on this planet has been over dueling visions of one religion being “Righter” than others. The present political diplomacy of the “New World Order” is simply cellophane over the real issue throbbing and seething in the heart of nations: “My God is better than your God!” I ask, “Who’s God is it, anyway?” And why does it matter to anyone other than the individual pondering such a weighty question?
On some deep, and probably profound but unreachable, base level – every serious Christian must be in awe of Heaven’s Gate because they demonstrated their Faith in the ideal of Heaven and a Higher Being in a manner that cannot be revoked or recanted. Would we pass such an extreme test of our Faith if called upon to do so? This sort of proactive, provocative deed is frightening in its finality, yet awesome in the boldness of its inspired example of Faith to all other Religious sects.
To simply dismiss Heaven’s Gate as a “cult” and a pack of nuts led to their untimely death by a lunatic is to miss the point entirely. Heaven’s Gate is a Morality Play for each of us strong enough to discover its Life Lessons in the death of its members.
The Heaven’s Gate courage, belief, and guts to go for the glory of a greater afterlife must, in fact, be embraced by the traditional Judeo-Christian religions because, in the deed of Heaven’s Gate, walks a modern day testament to the very ideals of Devotion, Faith and Resurrection that many of us hold close to our hearts but may not have yet paused to comprehend. The cost of Faith cannot be cleaved from the cornerstone of Christendom and that is why Faith must be cherished above all other desires and possessions.
Some see Faith as a life preserver instead of a means to building higher levels of understanding. Only through Faith can we begin to expand our spirits throughout eternity. I’m fond of saying, “We are not our bodies” and Heaven’s Gate is one significant signpost that we may, indeed, have an evergreen life beyond these mortal bonds, but the price of immortality is not without consequence. Life is cheap. Everlasting life is not.
UFO or Angel?
Does it matter that Heaven’s Gate sought deliverance in the form of a UFO instead of an Angel of Mercy? Does it matter Heaven’s Gate believed Aliens would Save them instead of the second coming of Jesus Christ? The ideas are the same – only the vocabulary has changed – and who are we to judge which set of words or thoughts are more valid than another, especially in the case of Heaven’s Gate where no innocent people were harmed in their mass communion?
Now I don’t claim to be any sort of religious expert. I’m far from it. Take everything I say here with a pillar of salt. I was raised a “Godless Methodist” in Nebraska. The “Godless Methodist” tag was given to me by my first serious Catholic girlfriend’s mother. She told me that “The Methodists are the most Unreligious of all the Religions.” Precisely why she felt the need to brand me in that method is a curiosity that still makes me smile today simply because the poor woman really had no idea who I was or what I believed and she didn’t care. Had she bothered to ask me my beliefs, instead of branding me with hers, she might’ve been pleasantly surprised. Instead, she placed me in a Methodist box of her own creation, labeled me “Godless” and tucked me out of mind in her catechism of reason as an unknowing Sinner against her version of God.
Let me assure you now that I have no religious axe to grind. I believe in leaving people alone and letting them think, act and pray as they please. I have no position to protect. It doesn’t matter to me if you agree with me, disagree with me or if you have no opinion on the topic of this article.
What does matter, however, is the fact that I’m writing this in one moment in time, and you (for the moment at least) – are reading it in separate moment in time. Connecting those two disparate instants – the Known (when I wrote this) and the UnKnown (when you read it) – binds us as one in a singular and rich example of how two random acts can, in fact, be forever forged in the misty wisps of Time. The hope is that within that binding, we can discover each other’s vision, compassion and humanity of the human predicament we presently share.
Bitter Hearts & Small Minds
Only the bitter hearted and the small minded would cast pity or stones upon the idea of Heaven’s Gate – for lording one calling over another is a more shameful act against Faith than a hundred mass suicides could ever provoke.
What I plan to share with you here in this continued series called Chasing Divinity is my view of just how working towards the Divinity ideal can, and shall, play a major role in our lives whether we believe in a Higher Being or not.