THINKING OUTSIDE THE BUCKS

Money is the root of all evil.

Some people–especially the biblically grounded–say the above admonition dates back to the apostle Paul’s first letter to the Kardashians….specifically, Timothy (Kardashian). But said name (“Tim” for short) was changed to “Kim” early on because Tim wasn’t Tiny for long (plus, “Tim” was obviously an inappropriate name for someone of her gender). Or maybe “Kimothy” was misspelled “Timothy” on the birth certificate, and the error went unnoticed until the day they had to furnish proof she wasn’t an illegal alien. Whatever.

But if we can’t believe the bible, what then? For the record, my sources have uncovered this more likely origin for MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL, first recorded by The Andrews Sisters and sung on the 1940s Blue (radio) Network (other researchers put their money on the Green Network, but that’s a source of a different color):

I must admit the song isn’t nitpickingly accurate. The correct admonition is The love of money is the root of all evil. This does put a whole different spin on the sin, the point being that you can screw who you will for wealth, and, so long as you don’t love it–so long as you can say, “Up yours!”, your affairs are strictly money business.

And so we come to the point in the proceedings where, having run out of my own pearls of profundity to pad the post, I turn to what others have to say (and sing) on the subject:

Business is the art of extracting money from another man’s pocket without resorting to violence. –Max Amsterdam

It’s money. I remember it from when I was single. –Billy Crystal

A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money. –Everett Dirksen, former U.S. Senator

It may be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, but it’s easy for him to get on the church board of trustees. –Evan Esar

Women prefer men who have something tender about them — especially the legal kind. –Kay Ingram

A fool and his money are soon elected. –Will Rogers

Cocaine is God’s way of saying you’re making too much money. –Robin Williams

And with that, the buck stops here.

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SCOFFER, BUT WISER

I tend to be drawn more to the wisdom of those who question everything than to “accepted” wisdom, since no one knows everything — no one I know and trust, that is. But what of God, who (I was taught) does know everything. As an American, how could I not trust God? The proclamation IN GOD WE TRUST is all-inclusively bannered on our country’s legal tender –which, if you stop to think, seems an odd bearer for it, given the admonishment that money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10).

Be that as it may, the thing about God is like the thing about truth — exactly whose God, whose truth are we talking about? To paraphrase the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, you’re entitled to your own God, your own truth — but not your own facts. If you take the discrepant God of divergent religions for a fact, how can a fact divided against itself stand?  Aren’t we left with the logic that no deity conceived by humans has a basis in fact? But you knew that …. right?

I don’t believe in any religion’s God (which isn’t the same as not believing in a Creator), but if I did, why would I want to take the life of, or coerce, a man of a different faith — both of our faiths are, after all, only fallible beliefs. Better to take the measure of human folly, as observed and recorded by those who have questioned everything:

The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunk man is happier than a sober one.  –George Bernard Shaw

If absolute power corrupts absolutely, where does that leave God?  –George Deacon

I don’t pray because I don’t want to bore God.  –Orson Welles

When I was a kid, I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realized that the Lord doesn’t work that way, so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me.  —Emo Phillips

Religion, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable.  –Ambrose Bierce (THE DEVIL’S DICTIONARY)

Many a long dispute among divines may be thus abridged: It is so. It is not so. It is so. It is not so.  –Ben Franklin 

Well, you could become a Southern Baptist. I mean, instead of having to obey the Pope, you could just obey your husband.  –Arianna Huffington

The only thing that stops God from sending a second flood is that the first one was useless.  –Nicolas Chamfort

When I told the people of Northern Ireland that I was an atheist, a woman in the audience stood up and said, “Yes, but is it the God of the Catholics or the God of the Protestants in whom you don’t believe?”  –Quentin Crisp

I too much respect the idea of God to make it responsible for such an absurd world.  –Georges Duhamel

Amen.