Life for ordinary mortals becomes very dangerous when Gods die.
Throughout history there have been civilisations where rulers have been thought of as Gods.
Their deaths required the death of numerous of their officials, servants and slaves. Either sacrificially killed or interred alive with the departed.
The best known recent example was at the end of WW2. Their Fuehrer forced the German people to fight on in a glorious Götterdämmerung, that prophesied war of the Gods that brings about the end of the world.
While that, and most previous similar occurrences, have affected a relatively small part of the planetary population, things could well be different in the modern, much smaller world.
There are obvious dangers from small fanatical groups which claim a religion as their motivation but have lost touch with the God they profess to glorify.
Then there are potentially disastrous situations involving whole nations.
The current danger is from North Korea.
News reports in the past three days highlight this danger.
Firstly, on the 22nd of July, a report that North Korea has called for a cancellation of joint naval exercises by South Korea and the United States, labelling them a threat to global peace.
Secondly, on 23rd July, an escalation of their stance was reported. “North Korea has threatened a “physical response” to planned joint US-South Korean military exercises due to begin on Sunday.”
Next, on the 24th, came a report that, “North Korea has threatened to use a ‘powerful nuclear deterrence’ in response to a joint military exercise involving South Korea and the United States.“
Just six hours later came intelligence reports that a “Bronze Kim Jong-il sparks rumours of despot’s end“
The possible death of the Korean “God”, the “Dear Leader”, could spark a Korean version of Götterdämmerung in which wild attacks on perceived enemies could be made regardless of the destruction that could be caused by any retaliation.
Then again it may be that a new leader feels he has to consolidate his power with shows of strength against those same perceived enemies, relying on sensible and humane behaviour from those attacked.
The North Koreans have recently sunk a South Korean naval vessel. If this is any indication of their recklessness, I fear the world is closer to a nuclear conflict than it has been for decades. And it may be just a day or two away.
I hope I am wrong.