Sunday, 13 April 2014


Publick perception bewilders me. For example:

Adam: "I figured you for an atheist."
Me (slightly amused): "Why?"
Adam: "Because you're very clever."

I am not "clever." I narrated this incident to my mother and she rolled her eyes. Adam, as you might expect, is an atheist. He is four years younger than me (with younger people I am always careful to state this quite clearly) and we had a discussion over lunch about the existence of the Soul relative to "brute beasts that have no understanding." We chose this subject because he had studied Zoology at St Andrew's. His contention was that the Soul does not exist or, if it does, that it is a unifying principle that pervades over all organic matter. Mine was that my problem with the idea of the evolution of Man is that the Soul, understood as a rational, calculating and empathic principle (the "breath of God" in us), is essentially what distinguishes us from the beasts of the field (even dogs) and that, consequently, there had to have been a first man, namely Adam. I don't think that, as a Christian, you can really set a very high store by evolution by natural selection given that it is implausible from both sides. A Darwinian cannot contend that the last "mulier erecta" gave birth to the first "homo sapiens;" evolution simply doesn't work like that; likewise, a Christian cannot say that the last homo erectus did not have a Soul whereas the first homo sapiens did, if we understand the presence of a Soul is the principle that separates Men from beasts. In terms of beasts, I am in two minds. My late dog Lucy, for example, seemed to be very wise and understanding. At times, I felt as Sam did about Bill in The Lord of the Rings; I expected her to speak with words. She never did. But I do not believe that that negated her understanding or her capacity to love. All my conservative instincts dictate that there was a gulf that separated us. As I watched her sleep or wade through a shallow river my mind would go back the Days of Creation and forth to the End and I wondered whether we would ever meet again and perhaps be on "equal terms." I believe that we shall. After all, it cannot be denied that dogs have been ennobled by their ancestral attachment to Men.

There was a young South African woman in the class. Africaans is her first language. She described herself as "Christian," though she was clearly of the wishy-washy apostate type; someone who had embraced the world, someone who if given the choice between fire and denying Christ would choose the latter. Her lack of taste was seen most clearly in her love of Starbucks. Conversations with her always lead to awkward silences (on her part). She once asked: "what are your thoughts on the Oscar Pistorius trial?" So I said: "I couldn't really care less." I thought better of breaking the awkward silence by articulating my opinion of the so-called "paralympics," (my post on the subject was hardly popular). Same-sex marriage was another hot topic. She complained that people were so judgemental and that her gay brother had been teased at school and that "it doesn't matter who you fall in love with" (that is verbatim). At this, I had to make my disposition known because in the presence of other faiths I cannot tell you how much it angers me when Christians deliberately misrepresent the Faith, so I said: "That is not what the Christian faith teaches," and proceeded to clarify the Christian teaching on Marriage for the benefit of the others. Nobody said anything. The girl did eventually say that she was glad she had met me, and even tried to hug me. To my explanation that hugging a person whom you've just met is an intolerable intrusion she simply said, "oh." Nice there any lower form of life?

One of the core values of this new job is "Diversity." I expect you all know that I am by no means enthusiastic about diversity, multiculturalism and such rot. For one thing, I don't recognise anybody's "right" to hold erroneous religious beliefs. Something is either true or false and you can't say that there is any practical or ethical reason for believing falsehood aside from the traditions of your fathers. If you believe something which is a palpable lie then you're stupid and, from my perspective, your "right" even to breathe is diminished. My father has often said that I am very intolerant. I don't deny it. I wonder what the future holds for people like me in this diverse, multicultural, pluralistic world? Am I a relic of times past? The answer is, of course, nobody cares! They, the real people, are out there; I am in here, in my room, wrapped in a filthy dressing gown. Therefore I don't really think that the ideals of "diversity" extend towards people like me.

On the subject of being clever, I asked my mother what she thought and she said: "well, you're clever in some respects but in others you're very stupid." It's hard not to agree with that, eh!

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