Repeat after me: “Three plus two equals six.” Again: “Three plus two equals six.” Now, repeat it another 200,000 times.
Even though there’s a lot of text I’ve left out, next, repeat: And on the third day, “God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth vegetation,’ . . . and the earth brought forth vegetation, and God saw that it was good.” And on the fourth day “God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night.” This one, being on its face as well as by the surfeit of solid evidence, utterly absurd and completely inaccurate that only genuine fools — of which, by the last survey, a goodly number of Americans are, including three of the Republican presidential candidates also admitted to being — would permit themselves to be so easily duped must be repeated at least a trillion times.
And a question: How many have ever seen a story on television or in a movie theater that claimed to be “inspired by actual events”?
What the heck does that mean?
By only a guess, as I’ve conducted no scientific survey on the mater, that most all of us would reply that it can mean just about anything the story tellers want it to mean. By dint of definition, that means that the story might be a total fiction; except, of course, for that miniscule “actual event” component.
The facts clearly demonstrate most of the Old Testament is pretty much made-up nonsense or tales intended to somehow justify behaviors that today would be roundly condemned for their evil savagery of others. Those parts that are strictly a relating of historical data are as likely a fiction “inspired by actual events” as are the others that only a fool would attempt to claim are the unvarnished truth.
The Book of Matthew was composed approximately 20 or so years after the death of Jesus of Nazareth. Luke was written about a decade later, Matthew perhaps five or so years after Luke, and John was tardy another two and a half to three decades following Matthew.
The first three gospels — Matthew, Mark and Luke — are known as the synoptic gospels, and are the kernels of what theologians refer to as the “synoptic problem.” That being, there is extraordinary evidence of considerable plagiarism: Among all the gospels, only Matthew is generally regarded as one of the twelve apostles of Jesus, the only one of the four authors with credibility as a potential witness to anything, leaving Mark and Luke to copy from Matthew most of that which is in their respective narratives. As to John, well, as do most true scholars, you know John . . . not an especially reliable source; a lot of made-up stuff from whole cloth.
Don’t believe me?
Ask your priest, or minister. Or, better yet, go in with all the biases you want and do some research of your own.
But how is any of this relevant today?
Yesterday, March 23d, was the day the Department of Defense acknowledged the death of the 4,000th American military to have perished in a war that was promulgated on the boldest and most absurd fictions, and that was facilitated by a Congress and an American populace that permitted themselves to be so easily duped by repetitions of the silliest nonsense, and that, to a large extent, advocates of a political party, Republicans, that still do.
I pretend to an enhanced appreciation of history, which is to say, I dabble in it, as opposed to seriously intense scholarly study. Nonetheless, what I knew of history led me to leap from the sofa the first moment I heard the proposition that Saddam Hussein was in league with Osama bin Laden, and that he permitted the international terrorist to set up and run training camps within the geography he controlled. Hussein, as has been true of all brutally ruthless dictators, did not suffer paranoia. Paranoia is the unreasonable fear that someone is out to get you. Brutal dictators, having reached their level of ascendancy via the most brutal of ends, know they truly are riding the back of a tiger: that there do in fact exist any number of unknown others out to get them, and who will, if given the first opportunity. Saddam had plenty of well reasoned fear that another might scheme to get him. Thus, all possible pretenders to the position Saddam held were dispatched with the most extreme prejudice. No way would Saddam have ever willingly allowed someone like bin Laden within the confines of Iraq!
But the choir sang the chorus George Bush and Vice-president Cheney and all the little neocon cowards led. Only a few were brave enough to call for a halt, to ask serious questions and demand serious answers. In the stead was the crescendo “I believe! I believe! Praise the President, I believe!”
Four thousand American military dead, more than 90,000 physically and/or mentally mutilated, trillionS that could have and should have gone to a beneficial use now up in smoke, at least a hundred thousand Iraqis dead, perhaps a million physically and/or emotionally scarred, a few million more dispossessed of their homes, worse unemployment than they knew prior to being “liberated,” and potable water and electric power and education and medical care having been turned into precious scarcities, and all on the religious requirement that evidence be eschewed while the absurd be believed!