A fireman responds to a 999 call. The local heath has been set ablaze again, wiping out acres of heather and killing thousands of animals. It’s the 5th time this month alone, and the fireman responds yet again to save the heath.
He is sick of it. He is sick of seeing the damage, he is sick of the deaths, and he is sick knowing that if nothing is done there will be no heath for his future children to see. So he does something about it.
The fireman begins to look into the fires: when they start, how they start, why they spread, and so on. He discovers that the two biggest causes are campfires and smokers, and so he starts a campaign urging people not to have campfires or smoke in the heath. He buys signs that he puts up around the heath, distributes fliers and advertises on Facebook.
Soon there is a small number that join him. They see the danger and seek to spread the word further. Soon, however, he starts receiving comments of Facebook:
You’re just fire obsessed.
I like smoking in the heather, who are you to tell me what to do?!
I light campfires, but I’m responsible. You should be talking to them, not me.
You should let people do what they want, but there should be safety devices readily available.
This went on and on. The more he urged, the more the people protested. Despite his best efforts, heath fires seemed to be on the rise, and more heath than ever was damaged. And so he and the team had a meeting, and it was decided that the next best thing to prevention was damage control, and so they installed fire safety devices across the heath, and taught people how to use it incase the worse happened.
But far from decreasing the number of fires, it increased them. People felt a false sense of security, and so lit more campfires in the heath than ever, and more people smoked in the heath. And the more people did it, the more it seemed normal, and so the more others came to do the same.
The fireman and his team urged people to stop. They urged that the safety equipment was for emergencies and not intended for regular use. The urged that the only way to be safe was not to make fires on the heath, but few listened:
You’re so out of touch with how people use the heath.
It doesn’t matter now we have modern safety equipment.
Stop telling us what to do.
Eventually, other firecrews joined in the conversation, but bizarrely some of the other crew were encouraging people to make fires in the heath:
Who are we to tell people how to use the heath.
It doesn’t matter as long as no-one gets hurt.
As long as they are being safe they’ll be fine.
Meanwhile, fires still start, the heath gets damaged, and the innocent animals are killed. Little by little, more firecrews declare the heath safe for fires, and more and more people shun the fireman for his out-dated views. They say,
He’s just obsessed with fire.
I heard it again this week:
Why are Christians so obsessed with sex?
Perhaps we are just trying to prevent fires and save lives!