An Indeterminate Number of Wise Men

Added on 16 November 2009

There’s so much grim news about; impossible to read a newspaper or stick on News At 10, without someone telling you just how many different reasons there are for you to be miserable that day. But you just know that there are lots of hidden good news stories that the media don’t pick up, because it doesn’t suit their Keep-Everyone-Miserable-As-Sin agenda.


Consider this one that most media organisations let fall by the wayside in the international news cycle. At some point in the last year the Vatican signed up to the Oslo Convention on Cluster Munitions. That’s good news, isn’t it? The Catholic Church signed a treaty stating categorically that they will never use cluster munitions. That’s an important step in the right direction for any church.


So, if you’re thinking of going along to a church this week, and you’re not sure which brand to choose, consider this: is it likely that the Methodists or the CofE or the United Reform or the dear old Church of Scotland have promised not to bomb their congregation? Probably not. But go along to the chapel and you have the word of the Vatican that they won’t drop a CBU-97 sensor-fused weapon on you.


So, why is it that the Vatican signs up to a treaty that generally churches aren’t going to feel the need to sign? Well, so they can sit back and pontificate…



I was walking home from school the other day with Two of Two. We were discussing Christmas, as you do at this time of year, more or less non-stop, when you have children. They were working up a multiple choice quiz in school and he was looking for questions about Christmas. I suggested that he did a trick one about how many Wise Men the Bible said there were, and when he looked at me with that look, I told him that the Bible doesn’t actually specify the number of Wise Men, and that the number of gifts they left has dictated the perception of how many wise men there were. ‘So, there could have been any number?’ he said. ‘Yes,’ I said. ‘Like, there could have been 75,000?’ he asked.


I had to stop him there. I pointed out that there haven’t been 75,000 wise men in the whole history of the entire planet, never mind at that one isolated moment in a small town in the Middle East 2,000 years ago.


Still, it’s an interesting thought. 75,000 men crowded into a small stable. And if there had been that many, it would have given proceedings a bit more validity. So there were three wise guys who thought that this little fella was the son of God? You can get three people to think anything on the planet. You’ll find three people who think Scotland are going to win the World Cup in 2014, or three people who think the CIA killed John Lennon, or three people who think cheese is the work of Satan.


75,000 would have been much more of a ringing endorsement.


Still, for three (or so) guys who had about five lines in one book of the Bible, they’ve done all right for themselves down through history. Rarely can so much have been written, sung and said about three (or so) men who were so vaguely described in the first place. Time does not diminish their fame, and now this Christmas they’ve received their first ever sponsorship deal. They will be known as the Dominos Pizza Three Wise Men; rather than the traditional gold, frankincense and myrrh, Baby Jesus will be receiving Hawaii, Pepperoni and Four Cheese.


This has  been Douglas Lindsay, brought to you in association with Domino’s Pizza. If it ain’t pizza in the box, it ain’t pizza.