Monday, April 19, 2010
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Sunday, April 11, 2010
"Nowadays, I’m as sure as I can be that there is nothing there. I think that matter is quite extraordinary and wonderful and mysterious enough, without adding something called spirit to it; in fact, any talk about the spiritual makes me feel a little uneasy. When I hear such utterances as ‘I’m spiritual but not religious’, or ‘So-and-so is a deeply spiritual person’, or even phrases of a thoroughly respectable Platonic kind such as ‘The eternal reality of a supreme goodness’, I pull back almost physically. I feel not so much puzzlement as vertigo, as if I’m leaning out over a void. There is just nothing there.
Consequently, the immense and complicated structures of Christian theology seem to me like the epicycles of Ptolemaic astronomy – preposterously elaborated methods of explaining away a mistake. When it was realised that the planets went around the sun, not the Earth, the glorious simplicity of the idea blew away the epicycles like so many cobwebs: everything worked perfectly without them.
And as soon as you realise that God doesn’t exist, the same sort of thing happens to all those doctrines such as atonement, the immaculate conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, original sin, the Trinity, justification by faith, redemption and so on. Cobwebs, dusty bits of rag, frail scraps of faded cloth: they hide nothing, they decorate nothing and now they mean nothing."
Friday, April 09, 2010
I was unaware that the Thai New Year celebrations occurred in April and that, irrespective of nationality and other allegiances, many of the locals would vigorously indulge in marking the event by drinking heavily. On the evening in question I was becoming reacquainted with White Russians and was in fact supping on one when the clock struck 12 midnight. The party was by this point spilling into some strange uncontrolled place and the only person in the room with either Asian ancestry or Thai Nationality was already comatose and horizontal. The line to be taken with the official celebrations therefore seemed to me to be beyond pursuit. It was a New Year of some sort, I imagined many good Thai people (mostly in Thailand) raising their glasses to whatever new number it now was but I myself remained puzzled, after all we were in a cramped and overpriced pub in Broughton Street, Edinburgh.