Saturday, November 20, 2004

There Are No Christians in Foxholes

When an indiviudal human life becomes endangered, the human mind becomes irrational. It plunges into any wild and crazy idea that will give it the comfort it needs to move forward.

Take sports players for example. Their entire livelihoods depend on how well they perform. As such, they will resort to numerous rituals and self-inflicted psychological conditioning to make themselves as lucky as possible. Michael Jordan wore his North Carolina shorts beneath his Bulls uniform. Wade Boggs only ate chicken on game days. Jim Ohms put pennies in his jock strap after every victory. There are several rituals and superstitions that enter into every sport.

And this is only what people who play sports for a living do. People who take risks for profit on Wall Street or at the tables in Las Vegas are always looking for a little extra edge to help them beat the odds.

Now, what about soldiers. In combat situations, these people are fighting for their lives. One wrong step or movement could be the difference between waking up tomorrow morning or watching the last drops of your blood empty out of your body as you pass on into oblivion. If anyone should be prone to superstition, its these individuals. So is anyone ever truly shocked that these people will rub a plastic cross with the hopes that rubbing it in just the right way will negate any military skill that the opposing force has and will allow them to make it back to their families and loved ones in one emotional and physical piece, more or less?

Magic is a way to impose order on chaos and control that which is beyond control. This desperate "Christian magic" is no different than a baseball player who listens to the same song before going out to pitch. As such, it really can't be taken any more seriously than your standard superstition.

Its a good thing we aren't fighting an army of black cats armed with four-leaf clovers and horseshoes.

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