Alright, so it seems this week we’re tuning into the angel discussions once again. Nathan, one of the warriors, insists to Tal that Hogan is being lured into a trap, that he’s on the verge of losing his family thanks to his “dangerous” affection toward Krueger. So apparently I was spot on when I said “hey wait a minute, this doesn’t seem right…”a few posts ago.
Of course, Peretti can’t say this outright without throwing in a bunch of confusing dogwhistles.
“It’s all because of the dross in his own soul, which the Spirit of God has yet to convict him of.”
What does that sentence even mean? Dross is apparently the scum that forms on the top of molten metal; he couldn’t just say “impurities”? What does the “Spirit of God” mean? I thought God was primarily a spirit? Why does it matter that he’s not been convicted? Are we talking Pearly Gates Final Judgement thing here, or some karma system where he has to be punished by God before he can be redeemed, or does he have to Confess, or what?
“We can do nothing but wait and let all things take their course.”
Of course. Why are you even in this book?
(Also, an aside: one man cannot be decimated. Well, I guess if he lost 10% of his body, but it’s not a synonym for “devastated”)
“Captain,” Guilo said, “what if Hogan falls?”
Tal leaned back against the dank metal wall and said, “We can’t be concerned with the question of ‘if.’ The question we must deal with is ‘when.’ [...] Only their clear defeat will coax the Strongman out of hiding.”
“You– You would sacrifice these men?” Nathan asked.
“Only for a season.”
Lets talk about worship.
There are two schools of thought as to why we should worship the creator god Yaweh. One says that he deserves our worship for being infinitely patient and kind and loving and Good; he is the source of all bounty and decency and goodness in our lives and the least we can do is be grateful and thank him with our devotion and worship.
The other says that he is vengeful and wrathful and vain and demands our worship because he’s petty and cruel like that, and as mere humans, the only hope we have to escape eternal torment is to offer lip service and allegiance to our terrible overlord.
(Technically there’s a school of thought that says the above two are not opposed to each other. I can’t follow their train of thought at all.)
If the angels are manipulating humans, using them and discarding them at will, pulling their strings like puppetmasters… what makes them better than the demons? Because they serve God? But what kind of God do they serve, and is he actually any better than the Adversary? He so far hasn’t made a personal appearance, but his angels seem more concerned with doing things properly and military strategy than, say, doing random acts of kindness for strangers while they’re in town.
Marshall trades free advertising for accounting services. In my town, a 20-word classified ad (the cheapest form of advertising, but the only one with a price online) is $97. According to google, hourly rates for an accountant range from $75-275. He’s given the accountant a huge packet of papers to go over — several hours work at least. This guy must really like Marshall.
Meanwhile, he and Bernice go over more real estate findings: people’s taxes mysteriously never reached the county, leading them to get evicted and new, brainwashed replacements moved into their former homes. I’d protest the unlikelihood of all this going unnoticed but… well…. turn on the news sometime and look at what banks are doing to people’s homes. It’s fairly realistic. Omni owns the property of all their members:
“If they all want to meld into one Universal Mind, they have to do away with individuality, and that means no private ownership.”
Which is odd, given how much the narration goes on and on about how nice Brummel’s office was. What, is that now communal property?
“But you know what really scares me? So far, everything we see here is legal.”
“Somehow, some way, these people’s property taxes were never paid. It’s dirty, Hogan, just plain dirty.”
“Everything we see here is legal.”
Anyway, Marshall finally realizes the bad guys “have” his daughter.
“But what kind of real power could they wield except economic and political? I don’t buy all this cosmic, spiritual stuff; it’s nothing but a mind trip.”
“That’s easy for you to say, you’re not religious.”
See, the problem isn’t that they’re spreading lies and false religion, but that they’re spreading real magical power that just happens to be the wrong kind.
We close chapter 21 with morbid Shakespeare:
“Die all, die merrily.”