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The National Geographic, Christians, God,
and the "Doomsday Mentality"


“The Hale-Bopp Comet and the
Heaven’s Gate Tragedy”

  One of four examples of “Doomsday Mentality” published by the National Geographic online on the occasion of Harold Camping’s prediction that Jesus Christ’s Second Coming would take place May 21, 2011.

Are COMETS Doomsday omens?

The Mature Christian’s View of 
These Celestial Phenomena


Photograph of the Hale-Bopp coment over Stonehenge, illustration for the article on The national Geographic, Christians, God, the Doomsday Mentality, the Hale-Bopp Coment, and the Heaven's Gate Tragedy.

The Hale-Bopp comet over  Stone-henge, England, in1997. The comet was discovered on July 23, 1995, by Alan Hale, in New Mexico, and Thomas Bopp, in Stanfield, Arizona, in separate observations, and was named Hale-Bopp in honor of them. It was likely observed in ancient Egypt during the reign of Pharoah Pepi II in about the year 2215 b. C.  Its orbit is now estimated to be “roughly 2,433” years-long “and it would next return to the inner Solar System around the year 4385” a. d.


  Following is the text accompanying the photograph in “Photo News,” 
National Geographic online, under the title of "Hale-Boppalypse."  Published May 20, 2011.

“COMMENTARY” after the text.

“Pictured over Stonehenge, the extremely bright comet Hale-Bopp, which was discovered in 1995, and sparked tragedy when it last buzzed Earth in 1997.

Thirty-nine people, part of a religious group called Heaven's Gate, committed suicide in California when the comet was at its closest. The group believed that a UFO riding the comet's wake would rescue them from a doomed Earth.

The followers thought that Lucifer controlled the Earth and that humans ‘were about to perish in apocalyptic flames,’ according to the book  Apocalypses.” Published by National Geographic on May 20, 2011, as one of 4 examples of “Doomsday Mentality.”

A late evening photograph of the Hale-Bopp comet as it passed beaches and the sea toward the sunset, with some stars visible in the dark blue sky.


What a lamentable tragedy that of the thirty-nine Heaven’s Gate people who committed suicide! A mental-ego-spiritual fiasco of mutual self-deceit that culminated in the mutual pact to take their own lives. Perpetrated by Bonnie Nettles (1927-1985) and Marshall Applewhite (1931-1997). And attributable principally to their belief that they could “transform themselves into immortal extraterrestrial beings by rejecting their human nature,” and then ascend to Heaven.

Mixing that belief with UFOs and comets, plus teachings and prophecies of the Bible wrongly interpreted and applied, Nettles and Applewhite identified themselves as the two witnesses of Revelation 11, concluding they “had been given higher-level minds than other people,” and “wrote a pamphlet that described Jesus’ reincarnation as a Texan, a thinly veiled reference to Applewhite.”'s_Gate_(religious_group)  

All around the globe, people who do not identify themselves with Jesus and Christianity point in horror and indignation to such actions and tragedies, saying, or at least thinking: That is another reason why I am not a believer in Jesus and Christianity! Look what kind of delusional, irrational fanatics it fosters!”

Those who know about the horrendous post-Nicene “Trinitarian Cleansings” begun by Constantine the Great in 325 CE, the “Icon Wars” of the early Middle Ages, the “Christian crusades” of the later Middle Ages, the “Pope’s Wars,” “Christian persecutions of heretics,” including the barbaric tortures and murders committed across eight centuries and half the Earth by the Roman Catholic Church “Holy Inquisition,” are even much more horrified.

So am I, dear reader, let me tell you emphatically, yet I still identify myself as “Christian.” Why? One of several weighty reasons is that I know full well that “Christian” and “Holy” should not be the adjectives in that list above. NO! Absolutely not! Because authentic, true Christians NEVER, NEVER participated in those blatantly Satanic activities! Only apostate “Christians” who had no right to that name. This is the GREAT TRUTH all who are not Christian need to keep in mind when they consider the name “Jesus Christ” and “Christianity” as an option among the religions of the world.

From India to Nigeria, Bangladesh to the Netherlands, the Philippines, China, Tasmania, the USA, and Indonesia, all the world needs to understand that a knowledgeable Christian of mature understanding would never on your life fall into such terrific self-deception and megalomania as that of Heaven’s Gate! Would never put together such a concoction of false doctrines and false, outlandish

expectations, absolutely lethal for the soul-spirit, as well as potentially for the physical body. For he would know that none of those elements, events, or personal perceptions, such as that of two people being the “two witnesses,” have any basis whatsoever in the Bible. The Bible is not a book on comets and UFOs, as it is not a book on astrology, the alignments of stars, planets, the moon, and Earth, etcetera.

Do the editors and writers of National Geographic also know that for a fact? Could they explain why it is so? Not unless they have extensive knowledge and mature understanding of relevant Bible teachings. What they do know how to do so astutely is imply that all Christians have a Doomsday Mentality,” and cast reproach on Christianity as a seedbed for such thinking, using their worldwide propaganda machinery to publish “Photo News,” such as the series on “Doomsday Mentality.”

“Scholars have described the theology of Heaven's Gate as a mixture of Christian millenarianism, New Age, and Ufology, and as such it has been characterized as a UFO religion.”'s_Gate_(religious_group)  

“Millenarianism.” Derived from “Millennium,” which is a popular name for the “thousand years” of Revelation 20:1-10. For the mature Christian, there is no such thing as a generic “Christian millenarianism.There certainly is a correct interpretation and application of the “thousand years” of Revelation 20, however, who, if anyone, teaches it is highly disputed. This text and subject are studied exhaustively in Chapter Ten of the Commentary “Revelation: Its Ongoing Relevancy and Fulfillment,

and in some articles in the category of Additional Prophecies on this site and the Spanish edition of the Commentary.

“New Age.”  “Theologically, the New Age typically adopts a belief in a holistic form of divinity that imbues all of the universe, including human beings themselves. There is thus a strong emphasis on the spiritual authority of the self. This is accompanied by a common belief in a wide variety of semi-divine non-human entities, such as angels and masters, with whom humans can communicate, particularly through the form of channeling.” From a lengthy article in

A photograph of many New Age and Rainbow enthusiasts holding hands and forming circles on a field before a white teepee.

“Ufology.” The study of unidentified flying objects (UFOs).

Esteemed editors and writers of National Geographic, do you pretend to discredit all Christians, including those who are really true to Christ but do not say or do wild things that would attract the attention of the media, by referring to really weird sects, such as Heaven’s Gate, out there on the most distant periphery of Christianity?

That title “Hale-Boppalyse” is very ingenious.

There seems to be a subliminal intention, or maybe not so subliminal, to link the Hale-Bopp comet and the suicide of thirty-nine people in California with the Bible book of Revelation, which some call the “Apocalypse”, a transliteration of the original Greek..

“Boppalyse;” Apocalypse. Who could miss it?

But, if you had much correct knowledge of the Apocalypse, that is, the book of “Revelation, perhaps you would not be so bold as to imply, or forge, a connection bereft of reason and respect for truth.

While it surely is so that countless religious sects –some of them rare indeed in their makeup, faith, and practice; others, very fanatical, even violent- have arisen throughout the centuries of the Christian Age, or Common Era, the Author of the Bible is certainly not to be blamed, for he is not the author of their errors.

Nor are authentic, mature Christians to be blamed, for they do not incorporate into their faith and practice extremely pernicious elements such as esoteric postulations, existential philosophies, youth-driven semi-religious spiritual beliefs, movements tied to aberrant lifestyles, and practices or traditions of religions founded on teachings other than Bible ones, etcetera.

I would not be surprised if you yourselves did not know even one of these authentic, mature Christians whose only creed is the New Testament (Do you know what that is?), which they follow faithfully, without fanaticism or sensationalism. If that is the case, then, what a shame! Oh, you would probably find them quite “boring,” “not newsworthy!” Nevertheless, they are exemplary citizens of the countries of the world, productive in all that is truly good and beneficial on this planet. Bible scholars who are not duped by merchandising, media-mongering, charismatic false prophets, apostles, and teachers.

And what a great injustice is committed by those who pass evil judgments on all Christians because of extremist sects or crazy-talking, self-appointed “prophets and prophetesses” who “speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord.” Jeremiah 23:16 (Good to read the whole chapter and Ezequiel 13, a similar one.). These are the ones who say:

‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons, and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then the Lord “will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Matthew 7:22-23

But you there at National Geographic, what do you know about such Bible texts and scores like them? Do you know the one which says: “Judge correctly?” Mature Christians “judge correctly.” John 7:21. Fairly, objectively, wisely.

Ironically, “Christians” out there on the far away, fuzzy periphery of Christendom, like those of Heaven’s Gate, seem to have never read those many Bible texts warning against “false prophets” and the condemnation awaiting them if they do not repent, so apparently oblivious are they to their existence. Matthew 24:24; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 4:1

Ladies and gentlemen of National Geographic, tragedies such as that of the Heaven’s Gate cult never occur within the heart of the church faithful to Christ, for the simple reason that those who make up its consecrated membership have sealed a very strong pact with themselves not to deliberately harm or kill their own physical body, holding it in high honor as the earthly dwelling place of the spiritual being that occupies it, that is, the soul-spirit. In which you may not believe, but, nevertheless, you also ARE souls-spirits! 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; 1 Thessalonians 5:23.

For whether you believe it or not, understand it or not, “in him,” that is, in “The God who made the world and everything in it,” and who “is the Lord of heaven and earth, and does not live in temples built by human hands… we live and move and have our being,” just as some of the Greek poets said: “We are his offspring.” Acts 17:22-28.

Is that not too marvelous for words? That we are the “offspring” of such a God? That is what “some of your own poets” said, the apostle Paul reminded the Greeks listening to him in Athens. If you there at National Geographic would believe that about yourselves and all the rest of us would also really believe it, and all of us act on it, our world would be an incredibly better place! That is, precisely, the great challenge before us.

Text and Document Composition by the author Homer Dewayne Shappley. All rights reserved. The only restrictions on the use of this document are the sale of it in any format and proper identification of its origin.


Following is another document on this site highlighting the lack of objectivity by "National Geographic" editors and writers and the notable propensity of some to lump all "Christians" in the same category with the most unlearned, irrational, infantile, and morally compromised, ridiculing them.

The celestial alignment of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn lined up with the sun and the moon on May 5, 2000. National Geographic reacts with an article on the “Doomsday mentality of Christians.


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