The Jews

As a statement of post-modern and super-terrestrial fact, the religion that the Jews have foisted upon the world seems to me to be as vast a curse as the influenza that we inherit from the Tatars or the democratic fallacies set afloat by the French Revolution. The one thing that can be said in favour of it is that it is not true, and yet we suffer from it almost as much as if it were true.

[..]A race of lawgivers? Bosh! Leviticus is as archaic as the Code of Manu, and the Decalogue is a fossil. A race of seers? Bosh again! The god they saw survives only as a bogey-money, a theory, an uneasy and vexatious ghost.

But a race of poets, my lords, a race of poets! It is a vision of beauty that has ever haunted them. And it has been their destiny to transmit that vision, enfeebled, perhaps, but still distinct, to other and lesser peoples, that life might be made softer for the sons of men, and the goodness of the lord god- whoever he may be- might not be forgotten.

H. L Mencken

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

29 thoughts on “The Jews

  1. melouisef says:

    The Jewish religion have a very strong cultural element. I suppose any religion has?


  2. archaeopteryx1 says:

    Mencken was a – pardon the phrase – devout atheist, and had many things to say about religion, much of which I often quote, but I contend that he was wrong in blaming this on the Jews. Had it been up to the Jews, Judaism would have been confined entirely to Israel. Christianity, on the other hand, would have died a rightful death had it not been for the Romans – first in crucifying Yeshua (if in fact he ever existed), secondly in giving early believers credence by persecuting them, and third, by reversing their position, embracing the legend, and spreading it to Europe and from there, it spread to the rest of the world.

    Christians will say that it was all part of their god’s plan – I say it was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.


  3. john zande says:

    Great quote, and true. The tale of nationhood and freedom is an important pantomime, a worthy story (if not unnecessarily violent), but in the Ketuvim there is marvellous poetry that is worthy of admiration.


  4. They’re an interesting lot, living in the Jewish Quarter we have quit a bit to do with them. They’re ostentatious about their religion in terms of dress, but otherwise they keep themselves to themselves. The only impact it has on anyone else is that we can’t work in their houses on Shabbat or strict religious holidays.

    I like that they don’t foist their views or religion on others. We had a discussion about not working in the block on Saturdays so we didn’t offend them, but they said, ‘it didn’t matter as you’re not jewish’. A far cry from some of the fundie Christian type comments.

    And I tend to agree with Arch too. These people do not proselytise and they make it difficult to convert to Judaism.


  5. ejwinner says:

    Should be noted – Mencken’s first major publication was the first major critical review of the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche published in America. (That’s easily discovered.)

    Much less known (and more difficult to research on the web) is that a major segment of the Zionist movement that developed in England in the late 1800s (the origins of the State of Israel) were a group of Jewish Nietzscheans.

    (I point that out not to say anything pro or con Zionism, Mencken, or Nietzsche. I’m just fascinated by how these inter-connetions get lost in history…..)

    (I have a ‘borderline christian friend – he doesn’t believe, but he doesn’t want not to believe – who admits that Mencken is the only author who can get him to laugh out loud. That never happened for me, but I always smile when I read Mencken.)

    (Readers should be warned that Mencken was very much a writer of his time and place; there is nothing ‘politically correct’ about him. He was a terrible misanthrope, misogynist, bigot, drunk, and cynic. He also understood the flaws of the American character better than any writer before or since.)


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