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Intellectually we know throughout the ages, man has rained death upon all other men, regardless of gender or age. The only criterion was: did the opponent have any bounty that could be looted? And intellectually we all know that man also reigned through the use of the death machine. But last night on the History channel was a program on the Dark Ages, which showcased 600 years of what they called “Degenerate, Godless, Inhuman Behavior” that somehow managed to startle me with the degree to which death was delivered.

It is one thing to know man murdered his way through history; it is another when you see it happening. I realize that was part of the effect, to shock us, but nothing they showed was untrue. However, I do believe the sub-title of the program was quite misleading (”Degenerate, Godless, Inhuman Behavior”), as the Christians (advocates of Godliness) were just as guilty of ruling through the use of death in order to achieve their goals, as were the so-called heathens.

As I was watching the program though I was struck by the similarity to what is happening in Iraq with those dark ages. How shocking it is to think that we are still struggling with finding our humanity. And I wonder, what is it to be human? Are humans designed to be the bringers of death? Are we built for peace or built for murder without concern for the welfare of others?

Each period of extreme killing ended when the killers realized it was more profitable to live in peace than by looting. It boiled down to a matter of economics. How much can you steal when you’ve killed off all the breadwinners? And perhaps that is how to handle Iraq. Show both sides how the death machine negatively affects their potential for rising out of poverty toward wealth.