Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Contemporary Theology

I am reading A Conspiracy of Friends by Alexander McCall Smith. The books in this series of his contain gentle philosophical ramblings. Here is what he says at one point:

They realised that belief of whatever sort - whether it was the faith in History or State, as in the shattered halls of communism, or faith in a particular theology - at least made it possible to get through the day. And if one felt better  in the belief that one's life made sense in these terms, then what was wrong with that? Was it weakness to allow oneself the pleasure of thinking that one counted in some way? And did this engagement not result, on balance, in greater human happiness? No, said the atheists, it did not. And yet where, William wondered, were the great works of those who believed in nothing at all? We had to believe, he thought, whether it was in some power beyond us, or in love, or art, or beauty. The need to believe was always there, and it would find expression, even if it attached itself to something paltry and shallow such as celebrity culture. And for millions that was where their spiritual energy went - into a fascination with fashion and the lives of narcissistic entertainers. Viewed in this light, he considered, Hello! magazine was a religious tract, a work of theology.

(McCall Smith, Alexander 2012 A Conspiracy of Friends Abacus:London pg 22)

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