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Sacrificial Bargaining

By Roy D. Follendore III

Copyright (c) 2005 by RDFollendoreIII

June 8, 2005

Some people seem to have the strange idea that a bargain can be made entirely without the participation of anyone else. Oh yeah...I say... What a perfectly strange idea that would be if it were possible. I thought about this idea before I  rejected it.  Then I think about this again...

OK, I will bite.  I want an example I say to myself. How about this: Could it really be possible to wake up and decide that I might want to trade my beat up Chevy in for someone else's brand spanking new BMW without their permission? Maybe I should just push my old wreck off of some cliff and watch it explode. Better yet, perhaps I should use it for target practice. Then again I could just sacrifice it to the streets, allowing it a solitary death at someone else's hands by leaving the keys in it and walk away. At that moment my sacrifice will have been made.  Then according to this new sacrificial bargaining theory all I have to do then is wait for my brand new BMW to arrive. The trouble is that even if one sided sacrificial bargaining worked, it probably wouldn't work like that.

Perhaps I could just skip the car and do the same thing with money. By sacrificing a dollar I should be able to acquire a twenty. For a twenty maybe a fifty. By sacrificing my humble home I could bargain up for a mansion by the sea shore. Maybe sacrifice might be made pleasurable by combining it with sex. I could sacrifice my next orgasm for twenty; er...well maybe just two, or three. 

And what about freedom? Wouldn't it be great to sacrifice freedom for world peace or maybe my life for another? That is what is so cool about the notion of sacrificial bargaining. It is really such an easy thing to do and it has so many different potential opportunities. If everything worked one could easily make a personal career out of self sacrifice.

Come to think about it, the more religious actually do tend to make their lives operate in terms of sacrificial bargains.

"God, if you would only do this, I will (or will not) do that." 

"Thanks God, now give me a high five."

And there I go; plan that sacrifice out in advance and I get what I want from God.

Then again there is the after the fact sacrifice. "God, thank you for that, please accept this."  The trouble is that God seems to communicate either by meeting or ignoring my bargains. I suppose that is the wonderful thing about the notion of doing a deal with and entity as all powerful as God. God seems so flexible when it comes to bargaining sacrifices. I seem to be able to make just about any bargain as long as it is sacrificial and God never seems to complain. Apparently all I need to make a sacrificial bargain work is a self justifiable philosophy.

Maybe some people have problems with the existence of God precisely because of that but I don't. For me, and for that matter for most other people on this planet, the ease and flexibility in our ability to make a sacrificial bargain represents a confirmation of God's existence. God is just such a good guy, and one might say such an easy mark. Sure he is I say to myself, if he actually exists. 

Perhaps this is the underlying reason why there seems to be so many people so willing to participate in sacrificing themselves in the name of their particular brand of God. There must be brands of God because some people seem to absolutely need to believe that God does not bargain. Others absolutely know for certain that God does.  Still others say that he only bargains in some circumstance but not other. I think maybe that is why we need so many Gods. One might even suppose that this is where the original contradictions about the existence of a single God really originates.  Predictions of what a single God is or is not willing to accept in terms of a sacrificial trade is tantamount to predicting the potential abandonment by the creator.  Come to think of it, that is what is truly behind the whole sacrificial bargaining with God.  We are all simply afraid of being abandoned.  Abandonment of our sacrifice to God, even if most of the time we personally assume that God does not exist, and even if it is one sided, means that we are the losers. It means that we are on the losing side of the universe. That is why it is so very important to me that God accepts my sacrifice while he chooses not to accept yours. And that is why we wrap our Patriotism tightly up in the name of God. That is precisely the reason why it is not so surprising that there is that great a leap from God to patriotism. 

Patriots, tend to particularly be those God bargaining folks who like to make speeches that refer to the sacrifices that our troops make in war for our country.  Of course once again it has become popular to describe the "sacrifice" of our soldiers in Iraq in terms of some kind of a one sided bargain with God.    There are two types...

The first type goes something like, "I would like to trade that right leg for freedom, God."  "or...Oh yes, God, please see that my brain is not blown totally out by a IED tomorrow morning while we are hauling water for that bastard Sergeant of mine."  OK well...uh maybe it doesn't work exactly like that. But the second type, the sacrificial bargain is more like this: "God please make the loss of my leg mean something." "God, please make my child's death mean something." "I promise I will have faith that you will God."

All of this is of course is more about human nature than about God. The thing about it is this...

Our politicians know that this is why we Americans are so willing to go to war and why we are so hesitant to come to terms with the fact that our cause can be so incredibly wrong and so corrupted. We make ourselves believe that sacrificial bargaining with God is some sort of conservative thinking.   Of course it really isn't. It's just delusional bargaining. 

 

 

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Copyright (c) 2001-2007 RDFollendoreIII All Rights Reserved