Thanos and the Church: KevinH
Thanos is the biggest, most powerful, and consequential villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The mere mention of his name brings about feelings of great fear, anger, and dismay in the MCU, to the point that some cannot even stand to say his name. Individually, Iron Man, Captain America, and all the other Marvel superheroes are no match to his might and strength. Even collectively, the odds of all these Avenger superheroes using their combined powers to defeat Thanos at one point are given a 1 in 14,000,605 chance. He is one big, bad dude.
Yet, there is something different about Thanos compared to most other comic book or movie villains. He’s not a sadistic, narcissistic maniac who’s out to cruelly steal from, torture, and kill others solely for his own gain and pleasure. Rather, he is cerebral, honest, and out to deploy mercy across the universe.
You see, Thanos believes there is an overpopulation problem. He concludes there is much poverty, suffering, and despair spread throughout the universe because there are too many living beings, and if only the population of the universe could be reduced, it would bring about great abundance, prosperity, and happiness. In order to achieve “balance” and bring about this well-being, Thanos deduces that half of the living beings in the universe need to be wiped out. Believing himself to be the only one who has the both the power and will to mercifully bring about this balance, he sets out to do just that.
Thanos has good intentions, but he fails to recognize just how wrong and evil his means are to achieve his desired good ends. He is unable to comprehend that his acts causing pain, suffering, and death are evil that cannot be justified no matter what the intentions are behind them. Thanos has no God or Bible to show him how he should act and guide him in harnessing his good intentions.
Now, we do have a God and Bible that tell us much about how we should conduct ourselves and give us tons of wisdom and guidance as we go about our lives. Certainly, not nearly everybody in our society accepts God or the Bible as God’s Word, but even at that, many still gleen morals and insights from them. For those of us who are Christians, God is our King and Salvation and the Bible is the heart from where we derive our beliefs and practices.
When we look at the state of our society right now, we see a real problem with the “practice” part right now. While we would not expect those who reject the “belief” part of God and the Bible to then adhere to the “practice” part of it, we still hope to persuade unbelievers to practice the moral commands of the Bible, where they currently are not, for the good of society. For those of us who are Christians, we are without excuse when we add to the problems in society by ignoring the “practice” part.
We have good intentions to protect life in the womb, to maintain adherence to a nuclear family as God designed for the benefit of society, to protect freedoms, to bring about justice, to establish righteousness, etc., etc. Having those good intentions can be recognized and appreciated and it’s certainly much better than starting with bad intentions. However, what we have apparently lost sight of is that in our manner of implementing those good intentions and “persuading” society to follow the moral commands of the Bible, we are ironically, ourselves, violating many biblical moral commands ourselves along the way.
In order to protect life in the womb, preserve the nuclear family, protect freedoms, bring justice, establish righteousness, etc., we have taken up battle against those who we see as being against these things. But rather than taking on “battle” in a manner that aligns with the precepts and virtues of God, we have adopted manners that are in opposition to them. Bearing false witness, slandering, quick to make judgments and condemnations based on incomplete and/or partisan information, condoning if not even committing undue violence, espousing questionable if not outright false information as truth, creating unhealthy and unwarranted division, inequitably calling out the wrongs of some while protecting the wrongs of others, ignoring or dismissing the pain, suffering, and circumstances of others if they do not neatly fit into our preferred political narrative, justifying all kinds of unrighteous behavior, etc., etc…….. all done starting with desires for righteousness but devolving into the polar opposite. In order to achieve righteousness, we have embraced unrighteousness. And that just makes no sense.
Like Thanos, we have good intentions, but our means to achieve our perceived good ends have caused us to embrace sin and evil that cannot be justified no matter our intentions. I submit that a significant number of Christians and considerable segments of the Church are rather distracted right now from the mission of the Church because they have allowed themselves to be led by politics and their own corrupted thinking and rationalizations, and not by God and His Word. Just take a quick perusal of the Beatitudes or the Fruits of the Spirit and compare them with the common behavior we see these days by Christians and the Church in the news headlines or on social media or in personal conversation when the topics involve anything political or cultural. The disparity is striking. We are all guilty of such at times, as we are all fallen, but it is hard to look at today’s landscape and argue that it has not become a prevalent malady in the American Church.
Thanos had no God or Bible to guide him……. we do. Maybe it’s time we start acting like we do rather than just giving lip service to them as justification for the crooked means we employ.