Lemmings to the Sea

           Have you ever heard of lemmings? They are rodents that are small cuddly-looking hamster-like animals that live near the Artic Sea.

            It is often thought that lemmings have an inexplicable trait of walking off cliffs and falling into the sea for indiscernible reasons. This is actually a myth perpetuated by a 1958 Walt Disney film called “White Wilderness.” The filmmakers actually rounded up a large number of the rodents and drove them off a cliff into the sea for the benefit of the viewing audience. The movie was very successful and actually won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, although the entire event was staged.

            Ever since then, whenever speakers wanted an illustration of a mindless group that will follow others to their eventual destruction, they’ve always referenced the poor lemmings. Although the rodents actually do not make a habit of running off cliffs and purposely drowning themselves.

            In contrast, there are people who will mindlessly follow others to their own destruction. Humans are very guilty of this behavior and they’ve done it on more than one occasion. In addition, the larger the crowd is, the more people are satisfied to launch over the cliff following others to certain doom.

            The people who followed Jim Jones to Guyana and certain death come to mind. Jones had a vision of a commune, one in which everyone lived together in harmony and worked for the common good. What he really was interested in was controlling his followers. According to published accounts, 918 people followed Jones into death on November 18, 1978.

            Compare the “Heaven’s Gate” doomsday cult, about 38 people who committed suicide in order to reach the Hale-Bopp Comet that was to pass by earth. Sometime on March 19-20, 1997, the members all dressed in identical black clothing drank a mixture of phenobarbital mixed with arsenic and cyanide with pineapple, laid down on their bunks and died. Each of them had $5.75 in their pockets to pay an “Intergalactic toll.”

            These numbers are not close to the untold millions who are following the majority of people in religious error. They are convinced they are saved and they are doing the right thing. They are convinced they are following a right path, although the groups they are members of engage in conduct that is in direct conflict with the word of God. But, just like the people who followed Jim Jones and just like the Heaven’s Gate group, there are people in churches who are swallowing more poison than they realize.

            This is why churches of Christ are calling for everyone to go back to the Bible. Go back to the Bible to determine how to be saved. Go back to the Bible to find out how to worship God correctly. Remember there is only one way, and that is Jesus (John 14:6).

            No one living today needs be lost to the sins of the majority. Start reading the Bible and learn the way to salvation for yourself. Do it today!