Blast blasphemy

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7 Responses

  1. quedula says:

    Very good post to start the year Margaret. I enjoyed that.

  2. Ommadawn says:

    I thoroughly agree with Quedula, a fantastic way to see us into 2010.
    Now where did I put that big, slippery rod of judgement….

  3. Margaret says:

    The older I get, the less I feel inclined to be polite to idiots.

    It was interesting to see in the news this morning that a Somali had tried to murder Kurt Westergaard, of Danish cartoons fame. Maybe I’ll need a panic room soon.

  4. Penelope Else says:

    The whole issue of sensitivity-as-power is a worrying trend, and something I’m writing on at the moment, but what intrigues me the most in your article is the issue of the ‘doubters.’

    I’m trying to find an analogy which makes sense in my own life, and it’s proving difficult. The closest I can find is this: suspecting that the many photos around the house of your never-met-because-he-lives-overseas, fabulously war-heroic yet philanthropic father are actually of a total stranger, and your father was a sperm-donor who died young.

    If I were in that position and knew it to absolutely true, then to try to maintain the fiction would be an act of insanity. In this scenario, though, I can see that I would want to try to continue believing it because I have no proof either way – just a logic that says it’s unlikely.

    And, of course, in this scenario it would mean that death was just death and there was no afterlife (and no 10-foot cock and no virgins…), so maybe desperately to try to maintain the Daddy-fiction is preferable.

    All in all, I’m glad I’ve never believed. It’s not a great position, but at least I’ve had 48 years to come to terms with it.

  5. Margaret says:

    Penny, it’s interesting that you should write, “It’s not a great position” about your unbelief. I’m not sure I understand.

    Many of the people who choose humanist funerals for their relatives will say that they’re not religious, they don’t believe, yet make comments that suggest that they hanker after an afterlife. They don’t like the finality of death. I understand that this is something that many recognise as irrational, yet still can’t shake it off. I suppose that fear of death is a natural human feeling, and maybe the fear is one of the things that prompts us to try to avoid risking death in many situations. However, the notion of an afterlife is, to me, totally abhorrent. I’ve written about it elsewhere.

    • Penelope Else says:

      Ah, poorly worded, sorry! I simply mean that I’m the product of millions of years of evolution and have the survival instinct that results from it.

      It’s nature’s little joke to give us the intellect to see our own demise, to see that the houses we build will outlast us. Much as I’m not impressed with these people’s vision of an afterlife, I’m not exactly embracing the alternative.

      I’m not sure one can talk about rationality on this topic: the fact that we’re here at all – collectively and individually – is a little crazy. And to expect us to spend our lives hanging determinedly on to it, and yet to relinquish it with easy acceptance at the end…well….

      So, as I say, not a great position, but I’ve had 48 years to come to terms with it.

  6. Margaret says:

    Excellent comment by Philip Hensher: “None of us likes being insulted, but only a priest seeks to pass a law against it.”

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