Would You Be Jesus?
At least that’s the idea. When the people who run our government lie and steal and generally desecrate the principles upon which our country is built, warriors and their families must feel persistently nauseous knowing that their loss of limb, love, and possibly life was made in service of venal hypocrites.
But they ship off to fight and die, nonetheless, authoring acts of great heroism in distant lands while we sit on our couches and watch basketball games.
Being a martyr would be so much easier if you knew in advance that your sacrifice would truly make a difference. History, however, teaches us that it almost never does. The human race goes on fighting and maiming and hating, and the oceans of spilled blood do nothing but fertilize larger fields of hate. This is why so many people are awestruck by the transcendent goodness of God and Jesus Christ giving, respectively, his only son and his life, so that we wretched sinners might live eternally. The faithful understand, if only intuitively, that we’re not worthy of such a monumental sacrifice. We disobey the ten commandments constantly; we dishonor the teachings of our divine leaders; we make a mockery of their supreme grace.
If this were not so, what Jesus Christ allegedly did for humanity wouldn’t really be such a big deal. Who among us wouldn’t gladly give his life if she knew she could save every other soul on Earth? (We certainly would). Soldiers fall on grenades to save their platoon. Secret Service agents accept bullets intended for Presidents. Surely most of us would sacrifice our essentially irrelevant existence if we knew the return on investment warranted such an act. The problem is, we understand in our hearts that no matter what sacrifices noble heroes make for the rest of humanity, humanity will go on wasting their precious gift.
Giving for the greater good is difficult when you suspect no such thing actually exists.