Infinite Loops, Nintendo, and Human Depravity

I wonder if I'm being influenced by moving to Tornado Alley.  In writing my draft of response to the doctrinal questions of the UMC (you'll see them eventually), I'm struck by a repeated theme in my answers: loops

Some examples of concepts I'm tinkering with:

  • Humanity is not fallen, but swirling in circles without a firm foundation.
  • Humanity succumbs to cycles of violence which are not easily broken.
  • In the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, the other three marks circle like a funnel above the bible, constantly evaluating the bible in light of those three but never from the same place (or even elevation).
  • Cycles of steps in Sanctification and seeking Christian perfection (Wesleyan theology)
In programming terms, an infinite loop is one where a computer program gets a code or request that it cannot fulfill and its response evokes the code again. This infinite loop of request and response usually freeze the computer and causes it to crash and BSoD.

I wonder if this is the human condition (often called depravity): we are stuck in an infinite loop, swirling without stopping, succumbing to cycles of violence and unable to escape without the grace of God.  This not only breaks these cycles but gives us a firm foundation to reorient our lives around.

One theological problem is that infinite loops are usually done by programmer error, which would mean that God as Programmer made an error in the human makeup or intentionally put us in this situation, neither of which is theologically acceptable to this blogger.

One possible response is found in an area near and dear to my heart: Nintendo video games.  These games (or cartridges...the ones you blew into, remember?) are written as an infinite loop that will run until the power is turned off.  Their consoles are so simple they don't have an operating system: thus, each individual cartridge is based on an assumed infinite loop to keep it running and to give the game's code inside the ability to work.

Perhaps then God as Nintendo Programmer writes us on an infinite loop, but it is the subprograms that we write on our own cartridges that cause us to foul up and lose our way.  We write our own shallow reflections of infinite loops which cause us to get stuck in cycles and break the code within. But there is hope: our words and actions alone will not break the cartridge or ensure an upgrade, only God can do that.  By realizing our life is reliant on God alone, all other cycles can cease and we can work on building up our own programs into life-affirming ones that continue even when the reset button is pushed.

....And all it takes is the breath of God blowing into our cartridges that gives us life!  Hahahahahaha...whew...ok, I need to end this analogy.

I think this may be the world's first blog post on Nintendo and human depravity.  Maybe that is too nerdy for Saturday morning and I should go back to writing my doctrinal answers.  But for those of you that enjoy nerdy analogies (I've written them before)...what do you think?

(Graphic from Stevie Nova)

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Disclaimer: all original content reflects the personal opinions of Rev. Jeremy Smith, not the doctrinal positions or statements of the United Methodist Church local and global.
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