TPD pp 199-203

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.”

Wait, what?

“Somehow, some way, these people’s property taxes were never paid. It’s dirty, Hogan, just plain dirty.”

[…]

“Everything we see here is legal.”

Um. No?

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.”

Indeed.

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8 Responses to TPD pp 199-203

  1. Firedrake says:

    Um… if they were aiming for a group mind, it wouldn’t matter which sack of flesh was associated with the rights to any particular bit of property, because that sack would be equally accessible to all the minds. So, er….?

    • yamikuronue says:

      So why does that particular sack get a nice office? Shouldn’t the nice stuff be in communal areas? Marshall theorizes that they deed over their houses because private ownership isn’t important, but yet, this one person has private ownership of quite a lot of nice things in his office. It doesn’t seem consistent.

      • jewelfox says:

        You’re meant to think that, and to see how hypocritical they are. The lesson is that anyone who preaches universal peace and understanding is really a petty tyrant who wants to control everyone.

        It’s like Slacktivist wrote in his Left Behind deconstruction: “Jesus said to beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing, therefore all sheep must be shot on sight.”

        • Skyknight says:

          Which leaves the question of what they think is self-contradictory about the idea of universal peace and understanding. Even if they think the alleged champions of such are only would-be social dominators, it doesn’t really help explain WHY it’s impossible to honestly champion such precepts, even were God/Jesus/Gabriel/etc. doing the championing.

          • jewelfox says:

            Well, as I understand it it’s supposed to be impossible because those precepts are hopelessly naive. You can’t have universal peace and understanding, for instance, in a world with murderers, thieves, and gay people in it. People who violate God’s law need to be punished, not welcomed. And when Turbojesus comes back, he’s going to do exactly that, and it’s going to be gory and brutal and awesome.

            Basically, they think good is dumb because they are evil.

  2. Jarred H says:

    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”?

    Because “refining out the dross from precious metals” is a common analogy used to describe the sanctification process, both in the Bible and in fundamentalist circles.

    What does the “Spirit of God” mean?

    In this context, it means the Holy Spirit, the member of the Trinity (yeah, don’t ask me to explain that theology) that was sent to believers after Jesus’s ascension into heaven. His job is to comfort believers and convict (see my next explanation) believer and non-believers alike.

    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?

    “Convict” in this context is somewhat specialized, though dictionary.com does touch on it with an additional definition of “to impress with a sense of guilt.” The idea here is that the Holy Spirit convinces/convicts someone that what they are doing is wrong and that they need to hand their lives over to Jesus and become a better person and all that jazz.

    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?

    Welcome to Authoritarianism 101.

    But what kind of God do they serve, and is he actually any better than the Adversary?

    This is where you missed Reason #3 for why people should worship God: Because he created us and we are therefore his property. He can do whatever he wants to us, because as our creator, it’s his self-given right. And if we’re good little property, we’ll line up for whatever he dishes out and say, “Thank you, God! May I please have another?”

  3. Skyknight says:

    The combination of 1 and 2 would most likely be supralapsarianism. The idea there is that God INTENDED that there would be BOTH denizens of Heaven and Hell, even before Satanel was created. Reason? He wants BOTH his love and kindness on the one hand, and his wrath, justice, and steadfastness on the other, to be fully known. Otherwise, SOME portion of him isn’t being glorified, since you can’t glorify what you don’t know about. And that’s not acceptable for some reason. For obvious reasons, you can’t visit BOTH aspects on the same person, so pre-destination of perdition is necessary for some.

  4. I grew up believing that it was a good and loving and kind god that used us for his purposes. Because we were his army. The idea that god will win out in the end is about the whole of the world – if a few Good Christian Soldiers are destroyed in the process, that’s okay, because god will ultimately triumph, so the deaths won’t be in vain. So it’s all good.

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