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Controversial New Religions$
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James R. Lewis and Jesper Aagaard Petersen

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195156829

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2006

DOI: 10.1093/019515682X.001.0001

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“Come On Up, and I Will Show Thee”

“Come On Up, and I Will Show Thee”

Heaven's Gate as a Postmodern Group

(p.353) 16 “Come On Up, and I Will Show Thee”
Controversial New Religions

George D. Chryssides

Oxford University Press

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

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