Polemics & Exchanges

Luck and the Mass Man

Why was Christ put to death?  Because Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, had told the Sanhedrin, “Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people.”  Literally, Caiaphas was inviting the Pharisees to reason through—logizesthe is the Greek word—to calculate, or to assess, the benefit of a rational decision.  But how could they assess it if they did not have all the facts, if they, by his own admission, knew next to nothing compared with what they needed to know in order to assess it?  One never has all the facts.  How in hell could they have all the facts if St. Peter’s in Rome had not been built, Sienkiewicz had not written the best-selling Quo Vadis, and the Gideon Bible had not made it into the night table of every motel room west of Detroit?

You are not thinking rationally.  If Caiaphas were a Hollywood villain, a good hour into the film with the police closing in on him, he could not get a more vivid line.  Is the gambler ever that villain?  Does he ever labor under the delusion that he knows something, and that thinking rationally on the basis of what one knows is the solution to the Pharisee’s dilemma?  No, like John, who tells the story in the Gospel, if the gambler knows anything at all, it is that when approached rationally the dilemma has no solution.

These men of little...

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