What should the last man standing do?
Picture the last man (or woman – this is a gender-neutral article) who believes in a particular religion.
It could be any religion, well-known or not. I am not picking on any religion and in fact to set the scene I am widening the meaning of religion to take in anything that asks for adherance.
For example, it could be a young man in a city who is part of a gang.
And now picture this scenario: All the other gang members are bumped off in a showdown with a rival gang. In fact, all the members of both gangs are killed in that final bloody shootout – except for our guy.
So now the last, lone gang member is without a gang. There is not a gang to which he can attach himself. What does he do? What does he do with the gang paraphernalia that he has been wearing and the gang rituals and the way he speaks to show he is a member of the gang? Is it meaningless now?
Does he go on doing the things that the gang members did?
Probably he would feel a bit silly. Maybe he would look for the next nearest gang to attach to.
Widen This Picture
OK. you get the idea. There is something faintly ridiculous about this man showing adherence to something that no longer exists.
When the man is taken out of his surroundings and comes up against the hard edge of a different reality, we see how deep his sense of self runs.
There have been several films that explored this. Sometimes the character is sympathetic, has a relatively gentle epiphany and grows spiritually. Sometimes the character is a pain in the behind and gets his comeuppance in a messy showdown.
Back To Classic Religions
But I am interested in the man who is the last member of his religion. And here I mean religion in the classical sense of having a relationship with an immanent, transcendent God.
After all, there may be a God but who is to say that he/she/it is the Hindu God, or the Jewish God, or the Christian God, or the Muslim God, or some other un-named God.
So when all but the last adherent of a faith has died, what does the last man standing do? Does he say – ‘Forget this for a game of marbles; I’m going home’ or does he pray?
What should the last man standing do? I guess that is when we see how deep his faith runs.