November 27, 2005

God & a General

Watched the DVD "Gods And Generals", a film which consists mostly of interminable battle scenes punctuated by Robert Duval as General Lee uttering profundities from behind a fake mane-like beard. Apparently the idea was to do a Civil War movie in real time. After viewing this film I have 50% less desire to see an actual Civil War re-enactment.

The best part of it revolves around the story of General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. Jackson was a devout Christian and in the special features part of the disc a biographer gives surprising emphasis to his spirituality (though perhaps not so surprising given how religion was the guiding force in his life). The documentary mentions reasons why he became a Presbyterian rather than a Catholic. One was that Jackson was an informal man who had a natural dislike of hierarchy and thus responded to the more "democratic" Presbyterian church. The other reason was the doctrine of predestination. He found this a very comforting doctrine since he was surrounded by death from a very young age and it seemed everyone he grew close to died. Instructed that everyone's death has been preordained from the beginning of the world, he felt fearless on the battlefield.

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