Monday, May 12, 2008


We're constantly discouraged from mentioning politics and religion in polite conversation. A recommendation I've blithely disregarded in my latest CiF spiel, although that might not be obvious from the opening paragraphs:

"Inayat Bunglawala's post here on Saturday exemplified all that I love about blogging. This wasn't just a newspaper article, to which we were invited to append our responses; it was a call for advice, a starting point, that only really came into its own as the commenters pitched in, spinning the virtual Frisbee between them, creating a glorious dialectic of literary adulation and execration.

Inayat's premise was simple: he hadn't read as much fiction as he would have liked; recent dalliances with the novel had been unsatisfactory; he went to the Cif massive for advice..."

Further solecisms here.


Dick Headley said...

It all comes down to certainty versus uncertainty. I'm not sure either. What was the question again?

patroclus said...

I'm in the 'European secular liberalism, of a tepidly slightly left-of-centre flavour' camp, I've decided.

Apropos of not much, my project reveals that Inayat Bungalawa is a regular fixture on the Guardian letters page: he's currently leading Keith Flett two-nil.

Rimshot said...

"...but I had enough neuroses already, already."

Now THAT's clever writing! :-)

As to 'what to believe', a large part of the misunderstanding is that most confuse "faith" with "religion". A good place to begin would be drawing a solid, wide line between the two.

After that, it really does come down to a simple matter of choice. What do you choose to believe as true (using whatever definition of 'true' works for you)?

"If Rock and Roll is about rebellion, then why do we all dress the same?"

patroclus said...

Bunglawala, sorry.

Billy said...

I've long wanted to invent my own religion, but doing so would mean there wouldn't be a community, which defeats the entire point of religion.

Annie said...

the angry CIF-ers like you. They really like you. I thought you'd get much more grief for that post.

Tim F said...

Dick: Probably.

Patroclus: Inayat is very much the acceptable face of orthodox Islam (look! no beard!) and is probably paid by the column inch of coverage he gets. And don't worry about the spelling - bet he was called Bungle at school.

Rimshot: I saw a very interesting interview with an atheist philosopher, who said he wished that there was a God, because it would mean that good and bad people really would get their just rewards. Just choosing to believe something doesn't make it so.

But that would be your religion's USP, Billy. Ultimate exclusivity. Like the man in the shack at the end of the second HHGTTG radio series, who worshipped his cat. (Or did his cat worship him? We're going to get into the whole dressing-gown debate, aren't we?)

They don't like me, Annie. They just appreciate the chance to talk bollocks about something other than Palestine or Obama.

Mapeel said...

German critic Hubertus Butin on Gerhard Richter (via the New Yorker):

"he's a professed atheist with a strong leaning toward Catholicism"

How about that?

Tim F said...

A man after my own heart, Mrs Peel, if not my soul.