Soon: Chapter 1: …and World War III
It’s always a risky business to portray the causes of war. Jenkins has put himself into an awkward position, too—he portrays atheists as “incorrectly” attributing all wars to religion. Yet, he must make World War III about religion. It would be a very odd thing, indeed, for a world war to be “caused” by money or power or land, and then for atheists, the world’s most despised minority, to be able to rise up and convince the entire planet that religion must be outlawed.
In other words, it’s a bit weird for Jenkins to simultaneously say that atheists are wrong and overreacting and only looking at the worst of religion, and also that…they are entirely correct, in this world that he has created, that religion did indeed almost kill everyone.
[Paul’s] religious studies program was a virtual military history course, especially when it came to World War III. It had been sparked by the Muslim holy war against Jews and the West, which began with the American World Trade Center attacks in 2001. The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 led to an escalation of the Israel-versus-Palestine conflict, prompting devastating terrorist attacks in the nations that tried to quell it—in both North America and Europe—in 2008. Meanwhile, Catholics and Protestants continued to war in Northern Ireland, culminating in the destruction of major landmarks in London; the Balkans exploded with the mutual persecutions of the Catholics, Muslims, and Orthodox Serbs; Hindus and Muslims battled over Kashmir; and various Asian religious factions skirmished.
So, all religious “skirmishes” around the world are conflated into one gigantic conflict.
Also, the American World Trade Center? Um, isn’t it just The World Trade Center? Is Jenkins really that concerned that his readership, primarily American Christians, will be confused about which World Trade Center he means?
But the part that made me giggle, the first time I heard this, was this part…
…various Asian religious factions skirmished.
Not because there is anything inherently amusing in the skirmishes of Asian religious factions, but because I would challenge Jenkins to name even one “Asian religious faction.” I get the feeling that Jenkins quickly named off the “skirmishes” he knew off the top of his head (Iraq, Northern Ireland), then Wikipedia’d a few others (Balkans, Kashmir), then realized that the world is not made up of just Western Europe, the Middle East, and the United States of America (USA! USA! Woooo!). So he quickly included a few “Asian religious factions” to cover the globe.
Of course, there’s also the matter of Africa and South America, but I suppose it’s asking a bit much that Jenkins remember them, too.
Narrator: The South American group includes Brazil and Argentina.
Mike: And a few other countries not worth mentioning.
-MST3K, Santa Claus
Jenkins gets back to the Asian religious factions when he begins to detail a few bits of WWIII.
Ranold had been commander of the U.S. Pacific Army during the war. He was on his way back from Washington to his headquarters at Fort Shafter, north of Honolulu, when disaster struck.
Feel free to check me on this, because my military knowledge is not what it might be, but wouldn’t it have made more sense for Ranold to be in the Navy, if he was headquartered in Hawaii?
Conflict between Asian religious factions in the South China Sea resulted in the launching of two nuclear warheads. A colossal chunk of southern China, including Kowloon, was literally separated from the rest of the continent. Besides the devastation of the bombs themselves, which snuffed out tens of millions of lives, the violence to the topography caused a tsunami of such magnitude that it engulfed all of Hong Kong Island, swamped Taiwan with hundreds of feet of water, raced to the Philippine Sea and the East China Sea, obliterated Japan and Indonesia, swept into the Northwest Pacific Basin and the Japan Trench, finally reaching the North Pacific Current.
This is the Soon equivalent of travel porn, isn’t it?
Oh, and if you think there will be long-term worldwide repercussions to the setting off of two nuclear bombs, then think again. Radiation, cancer, pollution? Nah.
It was upon the whole of the Hawaiian Islands, swallowing the entire state before any evacuation could take place. Not one person in all of Hawaii survived. The great tidal wave eventually reached Southern California and Baja California, reaching farther inland than expected and killing thousands more who believed they had fled far enough. It changed the landscape and the history of millions of acres from the Pacific Rim to what was then known as North America. The global map would never look the same, and decades later the grief at the human toll still lingered.
Is it just me, or is Jenkins trying to make the deaths of thousands in California sound much worse than the deaths of tens of millions in China? There’s just something about the term “snuffed out” that lends a certain air of disrespect that the Californians don’t receive.
Paul and Jae have the following scintillating conversation about Hawaii:
“We all have painful areas, Jae.”
“Of course we do.” Jae steered the children toward their beds and tucked them in. “But, Paul, he did lose his entire army and the population of a whole state. Hawaii was a state then, you know.”
Paul bent to embrace Connor, who turned away, appearing upset by the tone of the conversation. “There were a lot of states then, Jae.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
They closed the kids’ door and stepped into the hall. “Just that it’s not like losing a whole region would be now.”
Paul seems awfully casual about the war that robbed him of his father. But hey, we need as much evidence as we can get that Paul Is An Ass, right?