LULU by John Linton Roberson (c) 2012.
I Didn't Write That!
10 September 2006
 
Martin Amis on Religion

A fascinating(and long) essay by Martin Amis on Islamism and the destructiveness it shares with all religions. (The thrust of this essay is that it, and all other religions, are something we'd be better off without) My favorite bits were at the end and both are, actually, quotes from others that summarize my entire opinion of all religions. One is a couple of quotes from Philip Larkin, the other from Joseph Conrad.

In Philip Larkin's 'Aubade' (1977), the poet, on waking, contemplates 'unresting death, a whole day nearer now':

This is a special way of being afraid

No trick dispels. Religion used to try,

That vast moth-eaten musical brocade

Created to pretend we never die...

Much earlier, in 'Church Going' (1954), examining his habit of visiting country churches and the feelings they arouse in him (chiefly bafflement and boredom), he was able to frame a more expansive response:

It pleases me to stand in silence here;

A serious house on serious earth it is,

In whose blent air all our compulsions meet,

Are recognised, and robed as destinies.

And that much never can be obsolete,

Since someone will forever be surprising

A hunger in himself to be more serious,

And gravitating with it to this ground,

Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in,

If only that so many dead lie round.


People of independent mind should now start to claim the spiritual high ground, too. We should be with Joseph Conrad:

'The world of the living contains enough marvels and mysteries as it is - marvels and mysteries acting upon our emotions and intelligence in ways so inexplicable that it would almost justify the conception of life as an enchanted state. No, I am too firm in my consciousness of the marvellous to be ever fascinated by the mere supernatural, which (take it any way you like) is but a manufactured article, the fabrication of minds insensitive to the intimate delicacies of our relation to the dead and to the living, in their countless multitudes; a desecration of our tenderest memories; an outrage on our dignity.

'Whatever my native modesty may be it will never condescend to seek help for my imagination within those vain imaginings common to all ages and that in themselves are enough to fill all lovers of mankind with unutterable sadness.' ('Author's Note' to The Shadow-Line, 1920.)


I would also point out this additional thought, to those still adhering to their beliefs in the world beyond. Consider all the harm that has been done in the name of religion(and, as Montesquieu pointed out, no kingdom has ever been as bloody as that of Christ--something I am quite sure Jesus would have despised, and I think the poor guy probably would have said nothing had he known how badly he would be misunderstood and misused). Consider every death, torture, war, censorship, and stalling of scientific progress--everything that has ever been done because someone claimed they were sure what God wanted. (which of course was usually simply what that person wanted, dressed up in God rags)

Consider then, doubled upon the horror of the acts themselves, the magnificent evil of this: Suppose it was all in the cause of imaginary foolishness. Suppose we have done all these things to our fellow man for something that never existed.

I have a dear friend I've known since childhood who, whenever we speak, attempts to convert me to Christianity. She is quite beautiful and intelligent, but also, sadly, quite insane. (That isn't my opinion, it's a clinically diagnosed fact.) When she speaks of religion it is always a sign that her medication is failing, and that she is going to have one of her "turns" very soon. There was a time she could be conversed with, and wrote poetry, and that was given up for God. But her god is no comfort to her. Much like in the film Through A Glass Darkly, "God" is only her way of making sense of the chaos that is her diseased mind. The idea causes her more torment than anything, by making her give everything up for it. But this, the one thing that cannot be seen or pushed aside, the one thing that has harmed her more than anything else, the thing that has destroyed her life, is the exact thing that is the worst problem.

The waste. Just think of the waste of time, lives and progress. Enough, we should all scream at once; let us have our lives and what would have been done with them without this hallucination. Religion is the enemy of humanity, an embodiment of our worst impulses disguised as our best.

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