Tuesday, March 28, 2023

The Insatiable Maw


The regularity with which school children are slaughtered in our country brings to mind an episode of the original Star Trek  called “A Taste of Armegeddon.” On planet Eminiar VII a war is being conducted with planet Vendikar through a computer simulation program. But the designated casualties are required to turn up for their own very real executions. 

We send young people to school with hope, with love, with dreams for their future. But we can give them no reassurance that they are not reporting for execution.

In the NGC 321 star cluster, where this episode is set, the leaders of two warring planets have decided that war is an inevitable product of human nature. They view the computerized system they have devised as a way to limit the impact, minimize the destruction. To the viewer the meaning of the allegory is clear: instead of looking at war and doing everything in their power to prevent it, these people have built an entire culture around incorporating and tolerating it. The leaders have convinced themselves that there is no other way. 

Once they make this decision, then all deaths are acceptable deaths. All loss is an expected side effect of the day-to-day functioning of the state. 

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.” Matthew 6:24

In the Book of Matthew the verse ends: you cannot serve God and mammon. (money/material wealth)

Last night, in my horror and rage at the killing of three children and three adults at the Covenant School in Nashville, I emended the Gospel text to read: you cannot serve God and guns. If you aren’t religious, I think it’s equally true to say you cannot serve Good and guns.

Whether God or Good, both encourage self-reflection, care for others, personal growth, acting in thoughtfulness and love. 

Guns are not that kind of god. They are idols that evoke fear and wield terrible power. They require an army of sycophants to stir up fear and keep their supremacy alive. They must be pacified with sacrifices. 

Research into long-dead cultures has shown that for many their demise is linked with the worship of exactly this kind of god: the god who requires blood sacrifice. When the culture comes to believe that its continued existence depends on feeding the insatiable maw of the awful deity…

…that’s the end.

What was the god the leaders on Eminiar VII worshiped? Order. It was what they used to fuel ongoing and meaningless death. Order must not be sacrificed, so, people must.

Today I look at anyone who would protect AR-15s instead of children - - or any human being - -  and see that they have chosen their god. 

Will it take visitors from another planet to break their stranglehold on our nation?

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