Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — While driving past a church the other day and seeing a sign out front, I wondered if simply adding the letters “t” and “h” to the end of some words, somehow makes them more pious?! Words such as ‘do, make and come’ usually turn into “doth, maketh” and “cometh.” when appearing in religious text such as scriptural passages and church signs. Why? What is the origin of this practice? It’s not used in normal conversation – at least, not nowadays.
To the best of my knowledge, the Old and New Testaments were written in Aramaic, Hebrew and/or Greek. (Oral history and symbols were probably also used in the process, but let’s not complicate the matter.)
The point is, since the Bible was written in those languages, it was, obviously, translated into English so that we could understand it. So how does a word that translates into the English word “make” become “maketh?” I don’t get it. Nor do I need an e-mail in the form of an eight-page dissertation explaining to me the history of the dead languages and how it relates to this particular situation. I’m simply saying I don’t understand it, I didn’t say I wanted to. I’ll stay stupid, if you don’t mind.
Doth I maketh my point? Whateverth!
Another thing: I get a lot of those “FW, FW, FW” e-mails – as most of us do – about the on-going debate regarding the addition of – or removal of — God’s name on, or from, government buildings blah, blah, blah.
The e-mails come across as though they originated from someone who is a religion-slinging barker attempting to garner cheap applause with his/her holier-than-thou stance. Using guilt and shame, the letter tries to build its case with emotional blackmail by pointing out that if you love Jesus you will agree and pass this on to 40 or 50 more people, lest you suffer the consequences – so goes the insinuation – of reserving yourself a room in the afterlife with a bunk-mate named Hitler or even worse, Geraldo Rivera.
Let me state emphatically that what I’m about to say is not for bragging purposes but to make a point. I read the Bible at least twice a week. That’s not going to guarantee me a “Get out of hell!” card or a coupon for a half-priced halo. But one cannot do that for almost 20 years without garnering some kind of spiritual insight.
The truth is, sure, I would like to see God’s name incorporated on and in our government buildings, but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. I’m very comfortable with where I am with God. I don’t need reminders, I am constantly aware of His presence.
Personally, I’d like to see God’s name etched in people’s hearts, more so than on the cornerstone of a building. I’d like to see God engrained in humankind’s daily lives, not on the door of some federal edifice. I’d like to see society stamp the Ten Commandments into their conscience, not on a sign in front of any structure the government owns. An inanimate object has no soul, people do.
Personal insight tells me that these petitions (e-mails) lack a root system in the first place. Someone, apparently, thinks that the mere act of showcasing the Creator’s divine plan is actually living it. It’s not. It’s not even close. Do you think a bank robber is going to stop and read “Thou shalt not steal” in the middle of a heist and change his mind?
If they (e-mail authors) want something just for ‘show,’ then they should go ‘show’ the world that they care about humanity. They should make as grand a gesture to ‘show’ the good deeds they put up, as they do of the signs they put up. Otherwise, let’s get on with life and render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s ... and unto God the things that are God’s.
That’s the way it looketh from the Valley.Tom Valley is 7-Day Grumpest living in Medina. Pray for him at: Tvalley@rochester.rr.com