Tuesday, February 14, 2012

King save the God

They're colorful creatures. Kept in a domestic cage, fed periodically on spiritual tidbits (cereal wafers and cheap wine, with holy water when the weather's hot), they're most often trouble-free, and their upkeep can even be fun when you show them off in front of friends on Special Occasions. But, believers are faced with an alarming question: Might these splendid specimens be an endangered species in modern Britain?

[I make an effort to refrain from all superficial ironical remarks concerning the mating habits of the red variety, and the dangers of allowing children to play with them. As for the violet variety, thankfully, it has always been sexually vigorous.]

Strident Richard Dawkins has just thrown a spanner in the works by his organization of a most serious survey on British religiosity [access]. You can be sure that, in the future, we'll be hearing a lot about these marvelous findings.

I've never met up with Dawkins, but he has become my unchallenged scientific and literary hero of all times. What would I need to do in order to persuade him to organize similar simple (?) surveys in lands that I love such as Australia and France?

In the case of Australia, I'm aware that Dawkins might need some time to get over this fabulous face-to-face encounter with a local elected lad, Steve Fielding, a "Strine craishonist": laughing-stock of the wide world beyond Down Under, and a symbol of self-sufficient idiocy in the face of intelligence.

Do fellow-Australians still in fact support today, by their votes, this embarrassingly empty-headed nincompoop named Fielding?

I'm impressed by this fabulous photo of dark clouds over Southwark Cathedral on Australia Day 2012 (Reuters/Finbarr O'Reilly):

Nothing suggests that any of my ancestors might have ever been lost in spiritual bewilderment before the image of this southern London religious edifice. The Pickering people were all from thereabouts, originally, and particularly pious in various ways. But I'm not convinced that any of their long-departed souls might be disturbed today by Dawkins. On the contrary, I often tend to rediscover the fabulous reality of our genealogical and biological ancestors through Richard's instigation to marvel in the apparent mysteries of our fleeting window on the Magic of Reality [access].

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