"...I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me..." [Deuteronomy 5:8-10]

Friday, August 17, 2007

Hubris & Unsinkable Rubber Ducks

Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks: by Christopher Brookmyre

Crikey. I have been away from Blogging for a while... After all, arguments about religion and belief are often largely pointless, especially when people don't actually read what they are arguing against.

Take this, from writer Catherine Czerkawska, commenting on Christopher Brookmyre's new book:-

Hell's teeth now Christopher Brookmyre is at it, attempting to disprove the existence of God and all things spiritual in his latest novel... What is it with these people? Can it be that they have no knowledge of the real scientific world in which corruption and bigotry sit side by side with the 'scientific method'...

Scientists are as prone to all the faults and foibles of humanity as the rest of us. We are all of us seeking for ways of describing, of coping with the world. And for sure, all things come to sadness in the end. But a lot of the time people (and it so often is women, although not invariably so) have an inkling that there is more to life than meets the eye...

But most of all, I think, I object strongly to the assumption that all spirituality is a sticking plaster which we poor blinkered souls use to protect ourselves from the more unpleasant aspects of life. And again I say hubris. Bloody overweening pride that subsumes any sense of humility in its own arrogant certainty. If you can't speak with a modicum of wisdom then better, perhaps, to say nothing at all.

Nowhere in Chris Brookmyre’s book does he attempt to "disprove the existence of God and all things spiritual". All he says is we can’t prove them. Do you believe in the tooth fairy, Allah, reincarnation or ouija boards?
Of course there is more to life than meets the eye. But isn’t it hubris to pretend that our own pet beliefs about "spiritual things" are true without evidence while rejecting other peoples? All Brookmyre asks, surely, is that we don’t open our minds so much that our brains fall out. And what shows "arrogant certainty" more than refusing to accept that evidence and reason might prove our beliefs to be wrong? At least Brookmyre has the wit and wisdom to accept that he can be "self-indulgent and whiny". Were that religious types did that occasionally...