The State of Cannibalism Today
Note 1: Good Friday. 4/2/99
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization's air war over Kosovo has entered its tenth day. Everyone seems to be surprised by what is going on there. News reports say things like: "no one in NATO was prepared for the ferocity of the Serbian attack against the Kosovars"; "no one believed that Milosevic was capable of expelling 1.8 million ethnic Albanian Muslims into neighboring countries which cannot feed them on the Western anniversary of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection." How stupid are Europeans anyway? What I think is that when a European Christian walks in front of a mirror there is no reflected image on it, not because Christians are vampires, which they are, but because there isn't enough substance to them to be reflected on any polished surface whatsoever. Does anyone remember that Milosevic butchered 8,000 ethnic Bosnian Muslims 3 years ago? Blew them away into open ditches he had dug out with bulldozers? Does that ring any bells?
My favorite Euroism is the one that says: "He who does not remember the past is condemned to repeat it." Apparently, and in spite of, all the memorials that have been dedicated to the six million Jews Hitler murdered in Europe fifty-five years ago, all the movies and books and speeches that have been made to commemorate that colossal human misery, in spite of it all, here we are once again seeing it happen to Muslims instead of Jews on no less a scale of horror than at any previous time in European history. And people are surprised by that no less. I'm not surprised at all. I expect it to happen again and again and again. Why? It's what Europeans do. Europeans have been doing it for thousands of years--two thousand years anyway under the guidance of their ideological master-race theory of Christian hegemony-- worldwide Christian dominance of the other, as a theoretical practice, can lead to nothing else except genocide. Christians are surprised when it happens yet again because they have never recognized that it is because of their belief system that it has ever happened at all. When Christians look in the mirror, the only thing they see reflected there is the false consciousness of the ideology that tells them they are the chosen people of the only one true God and that He demands the extermination of anyone who refuses to accept the subordinate position Christian power (political and economic) forces the other to assume. Bend to the will of the Almighty or suffer eternal death. What else can that mean? How else can that command be played out?
Would some historical perspective be useful? In 1389, the Serbian Eastern Orthodox Christians were defeated by the expanding Turkish Muslim army in Kosovo. The Ottoman empire controlled Kosovo until 1912, when the Serbs managed to regain political control of the area, but were either unwilling, or unable, to expel the Islamic people, mostly ethnic Albanians, who had come to populate the country during the 523 years of Turkish occupation. In a very real sense, Kosovo was nothing more than a Turkish colony established by the Ottoman empire in Eastern Europe. One can ask the question: how did Europeans learn to operate a successful colony in a hostile environment? They learned the art by watching the Turks. How did the Turks learn the art? By watching the Romans practice it in both Eastern and Western Europe. How did the Romans learn the art? One could say that the Romans learned it from the Christians but in reality that would be giving more credit than is due to the race of cannibals who emigrated to Rome in the first century of the first millennium.
What the Christians did for the Romans in their efforts to subdue the barbarian tribes of Europe was to supply them with the essential intolerance that justifies and condones the (Mass) murder of anyone who disagrees with your religious point of view. At the center of that Christian ideology is a profound contempt for nature and every living creature therein, especially contempt for anyone who does not accept the cannibalistic ritual of the Mass and refuses to worship the one true God who demands it. When Rome converted to Christianity and accepted the faith of the cult of death, which is all anyone can call it, the fate of the Kosovars was sealed, the fate of the Jews was sealed, the fate of native Americans was sealed, and so on and so forth.
While there is certainly reason enough to doubt the perspective of a "victim" of Christian genocide, or of a person who has ancestral connections to people who did not survive the various forms of forced conversion that were practiced in the Americas by them, and if I tell you I have no battle-ax, or tomahawk, to grind, then you really are as gullible I as generally assume, it is nevertheless true and verifiable that Christians really have done in the past what I say they have done. The history of the ideology has stood as long as Christianity has existed. A useful place to look for elements of the concepts I'm referring to is in a work written just prior to the exodus of Europeans to the New World, one which has enjoyed some considerable attention over the years, and one which supplied a crucial terminology to the discourse I have been pursuing in these various notes. I refer to Saint Thomas More's Utopia. In his lengthy description of the culture of the Utopians, More inscribed these words about the practice of colonization that the people of the perfect nation employed when it became necessary to ease overpopulation in their kingdom (he is discussing what happens on the rare occasions when the people living outside of Utopia do not cooperate with the colonizers who have come to appropriate their "idle" land):
"But if the natives refuse to conform themselves to their laws, [the Utopians] drive them out of those bounds which they mark out for themselves, and use force if they resist. For they account it a very just cause of war, for a nation to hinder others from possessing a part of that soil of which they make no use, but which is suffered to lie idle and uncultivated; since every man has by the law of nature a right to such a waste portion of the earth as is necessary for his subsistence."
While it is probably true the Slobodan Milosevic has his own means for justifying what he has been doing in Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo for the past ten years, and does not need any help from Thomas More to make his case for genocide against the other, he also surely does not have to reach beyond this brief passage from Utopia to find everything he needs to account for his behavior. His argument goes like this, if you cannot make it for yourself: those filthy Islamic Kosovar dogs are too uncivilized and barbaric to take proper care of our Christian shrines and monastaries. Their very presence dishonors the heritage of our Christian land. Too much of our sacred Christian ground is left idle (because the Kosovars do not worship Christ) and they have no right to hinder our desire, not to live in Kosovo, because only 10% of our population has ever been there in 600 years, but to drive the unholy infidels out of our sacred ground because they defile the hope we have of someday achieving a perfect kingdom of God (Utopia-Eden) on the land they only waste. That the Kosovars do not conform to Serbian law goes without argument because they remain Islamic and do not accept Christian ideology. For that alone they deserve death, dismemberment (as a people), and expulsion. This is all being done in the name of revenge against the Turks.
The point in bringing up More's Utopia is to suggest that this ideology is not recent, this passage was composed in 1516; it is clearly a Christian conceptualization of the best way to treat the Other, More was actually martyred for his Roman Catholic faith by Henry VIII in 1535 (canonized in 1935); and is a literary-philosophical work that created a useful transition between the purely religious perception of Eden and the socio-political conceptualization of the same thing by renaming it Utopia. The seeds of the connection between building a perfect world through acts of colonization, in fact, appear as early as the second century of the first millennium in Tertullian's discussion of the Roman practice in his Treatise on the Soul.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans is currently investigating reports of a miracle that has recently occurred in the parish of the Ascension of Our Lord Church in La Place, Louisiana. I don't want to belittle the possibility of miracles but it has been something like the miracle of the month club around here over the last several years. Every time you turn around there is another miracle being investigated by the Archdiocese. If God ran the universe through miracles, instead of natural law, at the rate they are occurring around here, we would be living in a place unrecognizably changed from week to week. I don't accept the notion of miracle anyway, so as far as I am concerned personally no miracle occurred in La Place.
The circumstances of the current incident are that a church custodian found a communion wafer on the floor after Mass and gave it to the priest. Under such conditions, because the wafer is consecrated, the priest can eat it himself or dissolve the wafer in a container holding holy water. The priest chose the latter course. After several days the priest, who is characterized as charismatic with a deep devotion to the Holy Spirit and the Eucharist (New Orleans Times-Picayune 4/1/99), discovered that the wafer had been transformed into a substance that resembles the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. A parishioner, who has seen the jar of holy water containing the substance, has said: "There is no doubt in my mind that it was definitely Jesus' flesh and blood." The Archdiocese has hired a microbiologist to analyze the substance and all of southeastern Louisiana is anxiously awaiting the results of the investigation.
There are several things that trouble me about this situation. Given the fact that there are several billion human beings living on the earth today, and assuming that the substances turns out to be human flesh, how can the microbiologist confirm that it belongs to Jesus Christ and not to some other person? There is, of course, no answer to this question. Unless someone has another sample of Jesus' flesh hidden away somewhere, and who is to say that a monastary in Kosovo doesn't have a considerable supply of it, there is no way to confirm that its is Jesus' flesh because DNA matches, which is what I assume a microbiologist would be doing, require two samples of the same body before a match can be made and declared. Even if it is human flesh, and not rabbit or kangaroo, how can anyone know for certain how it came to be in the jar. Unless the jar was securely held away from tampering by agents of one side or the other (forces of good--forces of evil--or just a couple of smart Catholic kids playing a joke on a priest), there is no way to tell who might have put it in the jar.
Having said all this, bringing up all the reasons a situation like this cannot deliver anything even remotely conclusive of this or that immutable religious truth, my own personal feeling in this matter is that the worse thing that could possibly happen is that someone actually can find a way to prove unquestionably that the material in the jar really is the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. It is easy enough to assume my reason for saying such a thing is that I hope against hope that Christian doctrines really are ideological false consciousness, that there is no truth in anything Christians believe, and that the Eucharist is just another aspect of Christianity's ridiculous mythic structure. If the substance is the transformed element of the Eucharist and has become the actual flesh and blood of the Savior, then certainly the claims Christianity has been making all these years really are true.
That outcome would be catastrophic. I say that for two reasons: on the one hand, it would mean that Christians really are cannibals, that anyone who has participated in the act of communion has committed an act of cannibalism, and, on the other hand, it would give instant credibility, and even divine justification, to every act of genocide Christians have committed against the Other, including, and not limited to, the ethnic cleansing now taking place against the Kosovars. The way I look at the problem is simple: if people want to believe in a religious fantasy which tells them that eating a little bread and drinking a little wine in a sacramental context symbolically represents the idea that their sins have been forgiven and they are destined for eternal life in a heavenly paradise because the elements of the sacrament are the flesh and blood of a divine/human Savior, then I see no real immediate harm in that fantasy as such. I do question the wisdom of exposing small children to concepts of behavior that involve the acceptance of an idea, eating human flesh and drinking human blood, that has always been considered one of the most horrific practices human beings can perform when it occurs outside the confines of a religious ritual. Secular cannibalism, so to speak, is repugnant, disgusting, and has been universally condemned for as long as anyone knows. Expecting small children to make a fine distinction between a religious fantasy based on symbolic actions, and the execution of one of the most universally condemned crimes against humanity that has ever been, seems a dangerous course to follow if your objective is to raise reasonably well-adjusted, psychologically healthy individuals. Teaching anyone, not just children, that cannibalism is necessary when performed as a ritual act, but absolutely forbidden when it is not, seems to create a double-standard of too fine a distinction between absolutes of good and evil for any reasonable person to assimilate or sustain.
Again, and strictly for my own part, the only thing worse than trying to maintain a rational perspective in the face of the idea that you must commit a ritual act of cannibalism in order to be saved from your sins, is the possibility that the symbolic act isn't symbolic at all, but is in fact the real consumption of the real flesh and blood of another human being. Another parishioner of the church in La Place has said that: "It is a beautiful, blessed thing. Maybe the reasons it happened are yet to come." I find that possibility repulsive. As long as it has been since I participated in Christian communion, maybe as long ago as 35 years, the thought that I actually ate a substance that became human flesh and blood makes me ill. Well, and of course, admitting that only marks me out as a consummately evil person because everyone always already knows that the holiest objects of Christianity, when brought into contact with the Satanic forces concealed in a human agent, especially a willing agent of the devil, only makes that person sick, even violently ill. All I accomplish by admitting that is to prove, as if any proof were necessary, that I am an evil person. Ultimately, I would rather be considered evil by a Christian than be a cannibal by the commission of the act of taking communion. Being considered evil by a Christian, say one named Slobodan Milosevic, can't be anything but a step in the right direction.
A final thought, and one I certainly hope no one ever takes too seriously, is that the Turkish army took Kosovo from the Serbian Christians in 1389. Six hundred and ten years later, the Serbian army has managed to drive the descendants of the original colonizers out of Kosovo. That exact and precise situation exists in the New World today. The land that European Christians appropriated from native Americans beginning in 1492 will be ours once again. If you believe such a thing as that cannot happen, that native Americans cannot retake what is rightfully ours from the descendants of the original colonizers, you obviously are not paying much attention to recent history. It took the Serbs 610 years to accomplish their goal. Native Americans have only entered the 507th year of our struggle against the invaders. We have nothing but time. We have been using it well.
Word has come back from the official investigation of the substance in the jar of holy water. A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of New Orleans announced that the material in the jar was definitely not human flesh. One of the scientists, or technicians, who examined samples of the wafer said it was a common form of mold or fungus that is likely to grow in water sealed in a jar. That's certainly disappointing. How many chances are there, after all, that natural processes can be overturned by the miraculous. God moves in mysterious ways, or not.
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