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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Devoutly Believed

A cautionary lesson of the Civil War is the spectacle of belief.  Both sides in this conflict were comprised in part of deeply religious, God-fearing souls.  And both sides felt sure that God was on their side.  This arises from a need for certain validation, for justification of the atrocities of war.  Faith in God also provides sustenance and strength undergirding the courage required and the deprivations encountered.  It arises from the experience of mortality on the battlefield, the knowledge that all are called to ultimate commitment offering up their lives to become repulsive blackened corpses in an instant for the sake of glorious eternal verities.  Something as momentous as war requires divine co-conspirators.  As in the assassination of a beloved public figure, we find it hard to believe that it is the work only of one deranged individual.  We know that it must arise from a vast conspiracy.  War is something like this.  We simply know a conspiracy of heaven and hell must mirror mortal combat.  Our enemy becomes an opposition of evil, thus any atrocities against them become easier and divinely justified bringing us shinning glory.  Suffering to be endured must be redeemed by divine purposes.  Thus we find that God validates not only our ends, but also all our means.  The feeling that God is on our side becomes sorely needed, devoutly believed, and well-nigh universal.

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