On March 26, 1997, the cult known as Heavens gate believed that they were going to be picked up by the alien mothership that was trailing the Halle-Bopp Comet. Using the internet, they spread their ideas far and wide, inviting the serious and committed to join them on their quest for ultimate truth. Then as the comet passed, they committed group suicide. Living and dying for their idea of truth.
This is not the first instance of a sub-culture (or in this case a cult) tying their lives to the ideas of the truth. Let’s look at the Jonestown Massacre. The Peoples Temple comprised of 913 souls… Many of them were children. They died following one mans idea of truth. Every year hundreds of people die for what they believe is the truth. Buddhist monks ignite themselves on fire for their beliefs. Political prisoners are executed for their beliefs that differ from their country. Even mortal danger can be included here. I had a friend in college who was at Tieneman Square in Beijing during the riots there. His belief in something so strong, that he was willing to risk life and (possibly worse), social isolation led him to participate in activities not in accordance with the plans of Chairman Mao Tse Dung.
The apostles of the Christian faith were all (save one) killed for their beliefs. St. Peter the apostle was made to witness his wife and children executed before his eyes. As he saw his wife crucified before him, he called out to her: “Remember the cross!” And even he, unwilling to find himself worthy to die in the same manner as his Lord did, offered to be crucified upside-down.
Such was Peters belief in the truth. His truth. This great man was born into his culture, was married, had a fine job and a good life. What prompted him to so drastically change his entire viewpoint. What was it that upset his world so much that he (after spending only three years with Jesus Christ) would renounce his old lifestyle and embrace this new one… Even to the point of death?
When the son of man appears will he find faith on the earth? I often wonder about this. Do we as Peter did, so adamantly believe in the Truth that we are willing to attach our lives to it? To face persecution? Ridicule? Martyrdom? In the book of the Revelations of St. John, we see in chapter twelve and verse eleven that “they” meaning “we” overcame by three things. The blood of the lamb, the words of our testimony, and that we laid down our lives. The word “witness” means in the Greek language: Martyr. This translation gives a whole new meaning to the scripture found in the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter one, verse eight… We will be his witnesses in Jerusalam, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (emphasis mine).
Where is this truth that I am speaking of? Not in government, not in educational institutions, not in church, but in the hearts of men. To those indoctrinated by the facts about God I may seem cold and blasphemous to group together St. Peter with the likes of Jim Jones. But to those infused with the truths of God, you will see that I am only speaking of the similarities of willpower when involved in your moral code. For most people, acceptance of a particular doctrine is largely attributed to birthplace, family, upbringing, music and the culture around you. This is not to say that they (or even you) cannot rise above these traits and believe in something higher than the beliefs around them. As a point, it is the person who decides what is best for them. Whether to accept and live in this doctrine, or to rise above and take a vantage point above their doctrine, and find a way to confront the issues that so bother them. They are the proverbial square peg in the round hole.
In the book of Galatians, chapter five and verse thirteen, it is stated that we were all called to freedom but not to use our freedom to indulge in the sinful nature… However we should serve one another in love. When we do see ourselves as free, it is then that we are able to break the idioms that so hold us down to our past, and grasp the new and higher path. The path of truth as written in the Word of God.
What is that path? Where can we find our ultimate truth? What brings our true being into that place where we “see” ourselves and break the chains that held us in the past. In the next chapter we will discuss the three steps that you must have to find the truth of God in your life.
Copyright 2003 by pauly hart