Thursday, 9 July 2020

Nonsensical Sense

Updated: May 23, 2015 1:02 pm

India that is Bharat

IS SATIRICUS a scholar of Christianity? Of course not. He is a journalist. He is not required to be a scholar. In fact he is required not to be a scholar. So it goes without saying that if he knows little about Christianity, he knows less about pre-Christianity, especially about the pre-Christian Moses. But it seems there are Americans who are as knowledgeable about Moses as Satiricus is ignorant about him. They live in Texas. For the other day Satiricus read in the papers that a new batch of school textbooks published there teach that Moses was the primary influence on the US constitution, because he showed the benefits of having rules.

Ah, now Satiricus remembers. The famous Books of Moses, of course. Maybe US presidents Jefferson and Madison had Moses in mind when they insisted that the US constitution cannot be a Christian document—but could be a pre-Christian one. But is the present president in agreement with these former presidents on this point? Satiricus does not know. He only knows that this president makes it a point to advertise his Christianity on the steps of a Christian church.

What further complicates matters for this Hindu ignoramus is that there are Americans who not only dismiss the Christian Bible as a book of fabrications but also say the Books of Moses are not books by Moses. Look, for instance, at what a faithless fellow by name Charles Smith writes in his book titled Bible in the Balance: “The so-called Books of Moses were not written by Moses.” On what base basis does he make this dastardly denial? In wretched response churlish Charlie points out that “Their language did not exist in Moses’s age.” So what? Maybe his publisher hired an editor who vetted, even re-wrote, those books. But this latter-day doubting Thomas does not stop there. He pointedly points out that the said Books refer to persons of a later date, and cussedly quotes Genesis 36:31-32 to prove his point. To cap it all, he callously concluded with a joke: “A ‘Life’ by Washington naming Lincoln cannot be by Washington.” Finally and foully, churlish Charlie chortles—“For 42 proofs that Moses did not write these 5 books, see The Bible by Remsburg.

So what does Satiricus think of this Moses mess? He wonders…. If the Books of Moses are a myth, was Moses also the same? If the New Testament has been newly found to be a book of fabrications, was the Old Testament an old edition of similar fabrications? Satiricus the simpleton is stumped. He simply does not know what’s what and what’s not. And to further compound Satiricus’s ignorance of Christianity and his additional ignorance of pre-Christianity, there are yet other Americans who argue—Okay, let’s say there was a Moses; let’s also say he wrote those books; how many people can seriously say he influenced the US Constitution? The astonishing answer is—many. That is, many morons. About them one Kurt Eichenwald recently wrote in Newsweek:

“America has reached a stage where real estate brokers, dental hygienists, restaurant franchise-owners, college-dropouts-turned-radio-talk-show-hosts, journalists, politicians and assorted other flibbertigibbets believe they know more about history, the natural sciences and other forms of scholarship than do those who spent decades earning advanced degrees, conducting original research, and consulting with fellow experts on those topics.” Then comes his classic conclusion: “Saying Moses played a role in the writing of the constitution because he showed the benefits of having rules is about on par with saying that the caveman who invented the wheel helped design the first automobile.”

Phew ! Strong stuff ! What caught journalist Satiricus’s eye was that this rich rant in picturesque prose has included journalists who don’t know history but think they do. But isn’t that the whole point about journalism? Look at all those esteemed Indian columns devoted to a dazzling display of scholarly ignorance by experts from all over the (American) world. Be it a professed professor from some university or even a Nobel laureate from New York, look at how impressive their ignorance with which they dismiss anything and everything as “nonsense”. When they engage in that favourite western pastime, aren’t their wise words like leaves, where, as a poet wrote, they most abound, much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found? And that is as it should be. For there is simply no sense in writing a column that makes sense. If and when that becomes a requirement of column-writing, Satiricus would be out of business.

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