The name Mennonite comes from Menno Simons. Menno (1496–1561) was a religious man with doubts about some religious practices in his days. From being a Catholic priest he hecame an Anabaptist, then rejected the murderous violence between Anabaptists and Catholics.  3

I first heard about Menno Simons in elementary school. The story went something like this:  4

Soldiers of Charles V, King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor, who ruled over the Low Countries, had got wind that Menno Simons was in the walled city of Coevorden. But Menno did manage to escape. Riding up front of a stage coach he went to one of the city's gates where a Spanish guard asked him if Menno Simons was inside. Menno replied, "Look for yourself." Not finding him there, the guard let the coach pass.  5

Menno's response has become known as a Mennonite Lie. Literally true, but, then, not quite the truth-and-nothing-but.  6

Browsing the Internet about this subject, I stumbled on an item dated 6.4.2015. Don't know whether 6.4 stands for April 6 or June 4. Never mind. It was a blog post on a site named "TheMennonite." The title "Half-truths are lies." Quoting:

      "'You will not die, only your eyes will be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil,' said the ancient serpent. But the real consequence of this half-truth to Adam and Eve was the estrangement from the presence of God."  

Some other lines in that post:

      "The coming of Jesus Christ had God's purpose of saving us from sin and the evil embodied by those who had been deceived."

      "The complete and absolute truth is that Jesus Christ and his message has not changed."

Have not changed, I suppose.  

I will not cast doubt on the writer's sincerity, but I think he came closer to the truth when he wrote "Satan has a Ph.D. in confusion and deception" but then, then he finished his sentence with "; and the Church has another in selective misinterpretation."  9

The messianic literature is piled high and deep with this sort of stuff. What I just quoted is to me just another piece of evidence that religious tolerance in Western society is barely skin-deep. Even among Christian denominations, one of the other.  10

Now, come to think of it, shouldn't Menno Simons be posthumously awarded an Honorary PhD in deception?  11

* * *

There is reason to believe that Jesus was a historical figure. There is also reason to believe that the gospels by Mattheus, Marc, Luke, and John are mostly fiction. But fiction or not, they strongly influence how Westerners and non-Western Christians behave. Or wish to be perceived as behaving. Or interpret to justify their behavior. Or whatever.  12

Or interpret to justify behavior.... Excuses, excuses.  13

Take Matthew 5:37, for example. "All you need to say is simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one." Wrote a commentator: "There is no reason to consider that solemn oaths in a court of justice, or on other proper occasions, are wrong, provided they are taken with due reverence." Like swearing on the Bible.  14

"Do you swear that the evidence you shall give shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?" On the very Bible in which Matthew 5:37 is preceeded by: "Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.' But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black." Go, figure.  15

But I am just an old fogey who may well be rambling too much. Be argumentative too much.  16

* * *

My wife Elisabeth watches television a lot. The main reason for that used to be tinnitis. Quiet makes this wistling sound unbearable. And now that she is just about immobile and of poor hearing, televion keeps her attuned to listening. During our get-togethers such as at mealtimes, teatime, enjoying a glass of wine together; during those times I get to watch television as well. Frankly, I prefer the Internet.  17

But when I do watch television, what strikes me most are advertisers' lines such as "A vow to quality and price," "Confidence in motion," "Two times scent power," promises all that neither affirm nor deny. Empty promises. Empty promises designed to sell. Neither yes nor no promises. Just unadulterated, noncommittal verbal emptiness.  18

Empty promises designed to sell, to somehow spark desires while bypassing homo sapiens's wits. Here is another one: "We pay both taxes." What does it mean by "pay"? Ultimately it is the buyer who'll be charged for the provincial and federal sales taxes. The claim is true, simply not true enough. It conveniently overlooks that those taxes are included in the advertised purchase price.  19

Etcetera, and so forth.  20

* * *

In my previous story I wrote a few lines about my first job in Canada, here. The person who eventually hired me was at first in doubt about my credentials, which were diplomas from a Dutch correspondence school. Although it is a reputable technical school, it is not a university.  21

Our interview continued on the next day and then I saw on his desk a course calendar of McGill University in Montreal. I got a chance to browse through it while he was called away from the office. Then, upon his return I showed him the courses offered by McGill's Department of Chemistry alongside a list of those I had taken in The Netherlands. "See, inorganic chemistry, I took that; organic chemistry, I took that; on and on, ending with a clincher of sorts, that I had colloid chemistry under my belt as well, which wasn't even in McGill's calendar. Nicely overlooked was the level of the courses I had taken.  22

I got the job. A narrow escape from being destitute for I was down to only a few dollars.  23

Saved by a Mennonite lie.  24

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