Higher Eradication


They devoted the city to the LORD and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys. (Joshua 6:21)

If there’s one thing God likes, it’s annihilation. There’s just nothing that says deity quite like the screams of slaughter and the smell of a burning city. I mean, anybody can be nice, but it takes a supreme being with balls to obliterate every last sign of life from the neighborhood. Apparently truculence is next to godliness.

The whole total destruction thing started way back when God came in second in the People’s Choice Awards. As long as he was numero uno in human affection he seemed a decent sort of bloke, sending rain at the proper times, blessing livestock, establishing justice, ensuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense, promoting the general welfare, and securing the blessings of liberty to everybody and their posterity. For the most part, he was an easy god to like, and he seemed comfortable in his role as the perennial favorite among his human creations.

But that may have led him to ease up on the divine propaganda. Humans, notoriously fickle and self-centered, quickly shifted their affections elsewhere. That really ticked God off; he wasn’t used to second place in anything—well, except for Jesus, who was okay with being the second person of the Godhead, but, of course, he wasn’t elected for that position until much later, and even then it was more of a power-sharing agreement than a clear hierarchy which mitigated many of the intra-deity turf issues. Now a peeved god is never a pretty sight, especially when his honor is impinged upon (or would that be “when upon his honor is impinged”?), and our God went particularly psycho over the deal. Considering his options, he opted for rampant death and destruction as the most effective communication tools. They also functioned for him as a periodic and reliable catharsis, the toxic ruinations of wrath restoring his self-image as the top dog.

Once he’d scared the hell out of his chosen people, God directed most of his violent tendencies toward the other nations. But rather than do all the flame-throwing himself, he many times delegated the job to the Israelites, instructing them to destroy everything that breathes. This was quite fun for the Israelites who enjoyed carnage as well as anybody. It was not, however, all that great for the ones getting erased, but I suppose that’s a minor detail in the grand scheme of things. Slash and burn became established foreign policy, simplifying geo-political relations and providing lots of opportunities for wiener roasts.

There is something frankly refreshing about total annihilation. It’s clear; it’s final; it’s so emotionally satisfying. Genocide has gotten a bad rap in our modern, culturally obsessed society. We think we need to affirm everybody’s right to exist as though everybody actually has a right to exist. How lame is that? We all know that the world would be a better place if certain groups were plucked and tossed into the ash heap of history. Personally, I wish we could get rid of fat people who wear Speedos, but that’s probably my own issue.


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