by V.S. Stinger
4 November 2004
[From Instauration, October 1998]
Let's assume that poetry is "memorable speech", as Wordsworth would have it. If you like, add, "of high seriousness," to satisfy priestly pedant Matthew Arnold.
How much "memorable speech" -- of high or low seriousness -- can you remember from all the movies you have seen? I can remember one memorable line.
In a vintage British film called Stairway to Heaven, David Niven played a bomber pilot in WWII. Bailing out over the Channel without a parachute, he somehow survived. During our hero's treatment for amnesia, a psychiatrist asks him, "Do you believe in God?" Niven answers, "God? I don't know. I haven't thought about it. Do you believe?" "I don't know either," answers the shaman. "I've thought about it too much."
I remember this riposte during a discussion I have recently with a Chosenite about the Holocaust.
My discussant was a non-believing Jew. (There must be other kinds; I hear about them and see pictures, but is seeing the same as believing anymore?) Although we were mutually polite, I'm sure he'd have throttled me cheerfully, if circumstances had permitted.
According to my Jewish interlocutor, the strongest "proof" of the gas chambers is eyewitness testimony. I was there, "survivors" say; I saw it happen. But isn't the "evidence" for Christianity just as compelling, just as reliable as the "evidence" for gas chambers? Weren't there first-hand accounts of an empty tomb? Wasn't Jesus actually seen after His resurrection? Didn't innocent Egyptians die from the plagues sent by Yahweh, just as Jews (and Gypsies, nuns and priests) died from typhus in the camps?
Didn't Jesus walk on water? What did the Jews do compared to that? A burning bush or two? A lamp which burns for eight days instead of one?
But isn't the Christian documentation more masterful than these myths? Didn't St. Paul write all those inspired letters, without ever having seen Jesus? And didn't Michelangelo and Rembrandt document it all?
If Jews won't believe the eyewitness accounts of Jesus instantly changing water into wine, why should anybody believe the eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust? If the Jews can believe their Bible, which took thousands of years just to get written, and hundreds of years more just to get collected into a single book, why can't they believe the eyewitness accounts of Christians which were recorded as early as A.D. 70?
Christians believe in the Jesus fairy tale, say the Jews, because it gives purpose to their otherwise meaningless lives. If so, why do Jews like Alan Dershobizowitz argue that life has become meaningless for many non-religious Jews? Why do they argue that Judaism is the glue that holds Jews together, without which the Chosen will perform a disappearing act as a people, be assimilated into the inferior gene pool of those racist Gentiles? But why can't white Gentiles make the same argument?
So who could believe that Jesus was taken directly into heaven, when Jews were taken directly into hell? So what if Jews did not believe, either in Yahweh or Jesus? (How could Jesus go directly into Heaven, just like those heaven-bound heroes of Hebrew mythology, Jeremiah and Elijah?)
Who could believe in the Blesses Virgin Mary? Isn't it better to believe in a whore named Rahab who helped Joshua to rehabilitate Jericho? Or Solomon with his 300 wives? Or Peeping-Tom King David who sent Uriah to his death so that he could bathe himself in Bathsheba?
In sum, if Jews can't believe in the divinely inspired eyewitness accounts of the life of Jesus the Messiah, why should anybody believe their fallible eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust? Are Christians less interested in "truth" than Jews?
Memory is tricky, expecially historical memory. Deconstructionists like the Jewish Jacques Derrida claim that you can't trust language with the truth. So he derides language as fiction. Contemporary power structures "create" history, claims the French sodomite, Michel Foucault. Where does this leave the gas chambers and the Holocaust?
On the whole, the Christian fairy tale is more credible than the gassy accounts of self-serving Jews. The crucified "King of the Jews" was not interested in politics, not interested in swiping Swiss swag or pilfering Pilate's Roman gold. Can AIPAC and pistol-packing modern Jews say as much?
The eyewitness accounts of the life of Jesus are just as reliable as the eyewitness accounts of the "survivors" of the Holocaust. Do the Jewish eyewitnesses to the Holocaust claim to be divinely inspired, as well as infallible? Did any of the hot Gospelers from Galilee survive to grab a share of Swiss gold?
If the Jews won't accept the eyewitness accounts of the life and death of Jesus, why should anybody believe their eyewitness accounts of the massacre of six million Jews and at least that many "others"? (How come the "others" don't clamor to testify like the Jews? How come there were no Gypsies, nuns, priests, or Jehovah's Witnesses, on Schindler's hitman hit parade?)
My Chosenite conversationalist stalked away shaking his head, clenching his fists and muttering to himself. Was it because he hadn't thought enough about "eyewitness accounts" or was it because he had thought too much about them?