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Bonanza Raises Ultimate Issues

Lake Tahoe with Ponderosa Pine and rocks, photo credit: Pixabay: Tim Fagan

First, I would like to start out my article with a side note. If you are sensitive to it, you notice in our society how much the Lord’s name is used as an expletive. This nation went through a very difficult 2020. Rather than using the Lord’s name as an expletive, let us use His name to call upon Him for mercy and forgiveness. That is what President Zachary Taylor did during the cholera pandemic in 1849.1 Let us respect the creator of the universe. Now for my article.

Some time ago I watched a YouTube video titled:  “10 Things You Missed in the ‘Bonanza’ Final Episode.”2 Bonanza was a show that I watched growing up.  I am old enough to remember when Bonanza originally aired.

Life Has an End

The last season of Bonanza just was not what the show had been earlier. Pernell Roberts, who played Adam, had left years earlier. Then before the start of the last season, Dan Blocker, who played Hoss, passed away after surgery. The final season was canceled halfway through.3

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This is an example of how things do not stay the same, they move on—and often in a sad way. Not only was the show canceled, not only did the character of Hoss die; but the real life Dan Blocker died at the age of 43.4 With the death of Pernell Roberts in 2010, all of the original starring cast members of Bonanza were gone.5

Growing up, during this time that Bonanza was ending its run, I had 16 aunts and uncles, including aunts and uncles by marriage. With the loss of one of my aunts in 2020, I have only three left. My father has been gone for twelve years. And of course, all of my grandparents have been long gone.

I know many reading this can relate.

So how do we deal with all of this? Solomon addressed this, stating:

Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties. After all, everyone dies—so the living should take this to heart. Ecclesiastes 7-2 NLT.

So we need to think about what is eternal and what really matters. What will be important to us when we are 80 years old looking back on our lives—if we live that long?

Killing’s Natural?

On this last episode of Bonanza, an army tracker, Corporal Tanner, who had been convicted of murder, escaped from prison and came upon Little Joe while Joe was camping out for the night. While conversing, the escaped criminal stated:

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“Killing’s natural to all animals. Man’s just the smartest animal. That’s all.”

Little Joe responded:  “Come on. You don’t believe that. An animal doesn’t kill for pleasure. He kills for food.”6

This raises ultimate issues. If a person believes Darwinian evolution is true, then they believe Corporal Tanner was right—we are “just the smartest animal, that’s all.” If you believe Corporal Tanner was right, then what basis do you have for believing his actions were wrong? Animals do not hold court and convict other animals of murder. Lions will kill cubs when they take over a pride.7 But they are just animals! A lion that does this is just being a lion.

Do animals even contemplate ultimate issues?

Do they converse about when they were growing up and how things have changed—asking themselves what in life is really important, and what should we believe in, and how should we live our lives accordingly?

By contrast, the biblical view is that we are created in God’s image.

After the flood, God told Noah and his sons:

If anyone takes a human life, that person’s life will also be taken by human hands.  For God made human beings in His own image. Genesis 9:6 NLT.

So from a biblical view, it does make sense that we think about these higher-level matters, separating us from the animals.  And we do have a basis for holding people accountable and believing that what Corporal Tanner did was wrong.

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Footnotes:

  1. https://prayamericagreatagain.com/cholera-pandemic-president-zachary-taylor-proclaims-a-national-day-of-fasting-humiliation-and-prayer-august-3-1849/
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9D4Z_akuWzs – 10 Things You Missed in the “Bonanza” Final Episode – YouTube
  3. https://www.tvobscurities.com/2009/01/bonanzas-sudden-cancellation/ – Bonanza’s Sudden Cancellation.
  4. https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/28798/first-time-tv-show-addressed-death-character
  5. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0731490/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm
  6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdTHfKJz8EU
  7. https://africageographic.com/stories/understanding-lion-infanticide/

Written by Terry Read

Graduate of University of Missouri-Rolla (now Missouri University of Science and Technology) – B.S. Engineering Management, 1986; Licensed professional engineer in the State of Texas – 1994 to Present; Volunteer data entry person at the San Antonio Pregnancy Care Center – 1992 to 2007;
Member of Kirby Baptist Church – 2006 to Present; Member San Antonio Bible Based Science Association – 2010 to Present; A director of San Antonio Bible Based Science Association – 2015 to Present; Co-host of Believing the Bible – 2016 to Present; Author of the book - Why Should I Believe? Why Should You Believe? - A Wake-Up Call to the Church!; Married to the former Elizabeth Cecilia – 1992 to Present;
Father of Joshua Read

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