God Wills It!

I wrote this blog with the intention of posting it, but Sharon felt it was too 'pointed'; so instead of publishing it here, I amended it, went for broke and put it on my personal Facebook page, where I feel I have a little more licence to be 'in-your-face'. However, I have decided it's not such a bad thing if the content gets a broader viewing audience. Just bear in mind that it is intentionally forthright and maybe written for the sensitivities of a slightly different audience...

Dear FB friends,

You may not be aware that in various other places, I write blogs. This one, I feel moved to share here. If it upsets you, please feel free to respond or 'unfriend' me as you feel moved. I've harangued many of you individually about it, and this blog is not aimed at anyone in particular; but in the light of the expressions of compassion towards Cecil et al, (of which I greatly approve) I do feel that it's time to stand up and be counted on an issue that is only slightly tangential. Please read it and think VERY carefully about what is being said. If you can't be bothered to make your way through it all, then I would ask you to simply unfriend me. If my thoughts are not of value to you, clearly I'm not really a friend at all. I am trying to influence you in writing as I would if we were face-to-face. That's what friends do isn't it?


The first time I ever saw the Ridley Scott movie 'Kingdom of Heaven' I hated it. Then some years later I saw the directors cut and recognised the value of conveying the directors vision in a finished product. I thought it was excellent. If you haven't seen the movie, it's about 12th century Crusaders and the interminable battle for control of Jerusalem. It's a minor epic. However, what I find most memorable (and most amusing) are the many scenes wherein the Crusaders, seeking to validate any course of action, respond in enthusiastic and echoing chorus when one of their number shouts out "God wills it!" With these three simple words, justification for all acts, no matter how awful and un-Christian is proven. After all, if 'God wills it', who can dare to argue?

It would be easy to argue that this almost entirely fictionalised account of events during the Crusades may be taking great licence with its subject matter; but there's something about the Crusader's dubiously motivated cries of 'God wills it' that, to me at least, rings totally true. I believe that in spirit, if not in actual substance, it's something people still do today. It is my experience that we humans will use the flimsiest of licences to not only provide us with a pretext and rationale for our actions, but also an exoneration from the consequences. We have this easy ability to cast ourselves as victims of circumstance or something beyond our control.

What's my evidence you may wonder? Well, I believe that thinking individuals should easily be able to come up with numerous examples of this phenomenon all by themselves (provided they are not personally cast of this "God wills it!" type), if they are prepared to observe their fellow beings rationally and objectively. But to give you a hint, let's take my favourite bete noir, the carnivorous nature of the preferred diet of the majority of the population.

Faced with the opportunity of observing the specifics of the precise manner in which animals find their way onto our dinner plates, the