Thursday, 28 February 2008

The God Delusion

Following on from the previous literary post, over the summer I read Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion. It basically tries to dispel the existence of God from a scientific perspective.
I grew up in a culturally Christian family. Some of us went to church some of the time. From my teenage years I was at no point forced to continue to go. There was something that kept me there however. In the end it was just Mum and me who went, and I think Mum only went as long as she did because I wanted to go. I’ve always been considered the most religious in the family.
I’ve often wondered what kept me going to church. It was partly a personality thing. I was attracted to the ritual of it all, albeit a Protestant bent. But there was also a search element in it for me. I always felt there was something more that I was searching for. I dabbled in various aspects of the Christian faith, some very conservative. My faith was very important for me, even though I struggled with various aspects of it. I was very fortunate to be mostly involved with people who allowed, and even encouraged, intelligent questioning.
When I came out as gay, I guess I looked at many aspects of my life, not just my sexuality. So over time, I came to realise that I didn’t believe in God anymore. I don’t feel that I ‘lost’ my faith and I certainly have no bitterness or resentment for the time I spent in the church. For me it was a fertile context in which to explore some of the meaning issues of life. I realise it was the accident of birth that made me born into the family I was and hence started me off in the church, so maybe I would have done that searching anyway had I been born into a different context. It was also very supportive for me during my coming out process, for which I will always be grateful.
I can’t really explain how I went from a point of ‘belief’ to a point of ‘non-belief’. I don’t feel that I was duped for all those years. I don’t feel I was living a lie. I see them as important and valid years in making me the person I am today. Yet I feel quite sure in my belief that God does not exist. I still consider myself spiritual. For me that manifests itself in my connections with other people and the earth. I guess I’m an atheist in the true sense of the word. I don’t believe in a theistic being.
I think part of why I am so confident in my atheistic state is that I am more confident and trusting of myself and who I am.
I've just had a pleasant distraction, so lost my train of thought. I felt there was something more I was going to say but can't remember what, so will leave it at that.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

A literary tagging

I have been tagged again, this time by Yarravillepaul. This is a different sort of one. It is the Page 123 escapade.

The instructions were: “the mandate: pick up a book on the top of your book stack, turn to page 123, read the first five sentences, then post the next three sentences”.

So being a bit anal when it came to instructions, this was the result:

'You saw her come in. She and her brother have been to dinner.'
'You only think so.'

Doesn't give you much does it? This is from an E.M. Forster omnibus I took away to Adelaide with me to ensure I had enough to read during the cricket. It is from The Longest Journey.

I thought that was a bit boring, so to prove I was not THAT anal, I picked up another book, which I haven't yet started, but hope to soon. It is Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach:

Naturally, Florence talked about her plans for the Ennismore Quartet. The week before they had gone to their old college and played Beethoven's Razumovsky right through for her tutor, and he was obviously excited. He told them straight away they had a future, and must at all costs hang together and work extremely hard.

...hhhmmmm, it's got me intrigued....

I'm not really into tagging, but I do note that Miss L. over at Melange, has a post apropos of this, so she may like to participate.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

It's all in the anticipation.

This time last week I was at a party for a significant '0' birthday for my ex-wife. I was aware that as the time approached I was becoming quite anxious about going. Many of the people who were going to be there, I had not seen since we separated. Her family would also be there en masse. Many of her friends (and her family) are fairly conservative Christian folk, so I guess I was wary as to how I would be greeted. I need not have been however, as everyone was very welcoming. The hardest part was arriving, after that it was fine. I was quite moved when late in the afternoon my ex-wife commented on how well I was doing and that she thought I was quite brave in coming. Another couple who were there who have remained close friends of both of ours also commented on how brave I was. It was nice to have it acknowledged that it was not an easy thing to go to, even if it did turn out that the hardest part was just arriving.
It's good to be reminded that for some things, the anticipation is harder than the actual event.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Bigger than...?

Over the summer I watched the movie, Ben Hur. 
It got me thinking. What was the equivalent phrase to 'Bigger than Ben Hur' prior to 1959?
Any ideas?

Cricket, cricket, cricket and cricket!

..hhhhmmmm...... 7 January.....that was a long time ago!
No I haven't disappeared totally, just been on holiday and slowly getting back into routine.

My holiday was a sporting one. Son and I went to the Australian Open one day and watched many hours of it on TV. We also went to Adelaide to the 4th Test against India. I think I have mentioned that I can engage with tennis, however struggle with cricket. Son and I have a project to visit all the cricket grounds in Australia. So far we have been to Melbourne, Sydney, by fluke Darwin when we were there at the same time as an international game a few years ago, and now Adelaide. This year the timetable seems to be different in that the one day game series is starting in February, ie. after the school holidays. This meant that if we were to go to an interstate game, it had to be a test match. This was my first test match. It was four long and hot days! The Adelaide Oval, whilst a lovely one, is sorely lacking in shade for the unreserved areas. Even when the temperature was in the 20's, the sun was still hot, especially after 6 hours! We went through a tub of sunscreen and litres of water. The third day was the worst as it was the hottest and the most crowded. I was definitely over people by then!
I also struggled to find a coffee made the way I like it. Long macchiatos are the coffee of choice for me. After the second one I ordered came out as basically a latte, I decided to stick with the safe long black with milk on the side. After that I was happy.
I'm complaining too much here, for it was a good holiday, and son enjoyed it. Next time, I will try and organise it around a one day game however!