Undershaft declares that the Salvation Army's motto ("Blood and Fire") could as easily serve as his own. How so? How might his use of the motto differ from the Army's? Also consider the ways in...

Undershaft declares that the Salvation Army's motto ("Blood and Fire") could as easily serve as his own. How so? How might his use of the motto differ from the Army's? Also consider the ways in which Undershaft considers the Army's work as in harmony with his interests.

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teachsuccess | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Hello! Undershaft is a wealthy arms industrialist. He is unapologetic about his work and his wealth. He tells Lomax that the Salvation Army's motto of "Blood and Fire" might well be his own. How so? Both Undershaft and the Salvation Army believe that blood and fire are necessary elements and catalysts for salvation.

How might his use of this motto differ from the Army's? The Army believes in the shed blood of Christ as a necessary sacrifice for the salvation of the world. As for fire, this might refer to the baptism of fire—the crucifixion of Jesus Christ—as a requirement for the salvation of mankind. In New Testament theology, this could also refer to the final destruction of evil through fire. Now, Undershaft's definition of blood and fire is slightly different. He thinks of the weapons he builds as necessary tools to annihilate evil: his weapons will bring about bloodshed through the use of fire, of ammunition, of bombs and of cannons. In this way, the world will be saved, and mankind will survive to live a "rich, strong, and safe life."

UNDERSHAFT. My morality--my religion--must have a place for cannons and torpedoes in it.

UNDERSHAFT. For me there is only one true morality; but it might not fit you, as you do not manufacture aerial battleships. There is only one true morality for every man; but every man has not the same true morality.

UNDERSHAFT. Only that there are two things necessary to Salvation...Money and gunpowder.

CUSINS. Excuse me: is there any place in your religion for honor, justice, truth, love, mercy and so forth?

UNDERSHAFT. Yes: they are the graces and luxuries of a rich, strong, and safe life.

CUSINS. Suppose one is forced to choose between them and money or gunpowder?

UNDERSHAFT. Choose money and gunpowder; for without enough of both you cannot afford the others.

CUSINS. That is your religion?

UNDERSHAFT. Yes.

Consider the ways in which Undershaft considers the Army's work as in harmony with his interests.

As mentioned above, Undershaft believes that his work is in harmony with the Army's as both are focused on salvation. He believes that his weapons do their part to preserve peace so that mankind can freely contemplate the salvation of their souls. He sees this as working hand in hand with religionists.

UNDERSHAFT. Yes, money and gunpowder; freedom and power; command of life and command of death.

Although Undershaft holds a certain contempt for the Salvation Army's preoccupation with poverty and suffering, he likes to think that the Army produces what he calls "sober" and "honest" workmen, who are "indifferent to their own interests"; he sees this as a "safeguard against revolution," against trade unionism or socialism. He sees this as a benefit to his business interests; so much the better if Salvation Army adherents work for him: they will never question his leadership, nor trouble him with unnecessary requirements in exchange for their workplace loyalty.

Thanks for the question!

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