Between my first session with a professional driving instructor – who was fine by the way, once it was over, and didn’t have to self-medicate three doses of Valium for the nerves at all – and then a session with trying to stick a pill down a very resistant mouth-hole of a small cat, the day has been very routine and drab and all that.
Up at seven, at school at nine, then two hours of lectures followed by two hours of frees, and then three more hours of class work. Thus is the exciting life of the Hero of this blog. In between I navigate between the twin desires of mating and self-respect among my peers. Well, maybe that should teach me to jam with some of the girls, and have the hall monitors come and say ‘Really, Colin?’ to me in that tone.
As a, I suppose, suitable punishment I had to sit through a philosophy lecture about religion, and they had invited some bloke in that kept going on and on about the value of religion in philosophy. I kept wanting to ask him if all beliefs are supposed to be treated equal, and if plainly false and contradictory beliefs should not in fact be exposed? But he just prattled on, and then left without fielding any questions.
There used to be a time when the brightest men (women didn’t count back then) argued bitterly about whether angels could dance on the head of a pin. In Summa Theologica from 1270 Thomas of Aquinas spends a lot of time dealing with questions like this, and Thomas of Aquinas is arguably one of the brightest people who have ever worn the monk’s habit.
The worth of religion is in the literal interpretations of their texts, and when the texts are abstracted to some metaphorical meaning it simply says that the literal texts are inaccurate. It’s like building a house on rotten ground. If the literal is false and untrue and contradictory, then the abstract metaphorical interpretations based on that literal text must be flawed as well.
If you say “the earth is not really flat, but it is an allegorical explanation of the limitation of vision” you aren’t saying that “the earth is round”. You are still trying to prove that the Earth is flat in an allegorical sense that is supposed to trump mathematics and geometry and direct observation as being more true than the truth.
All beliefs are not equal, and shouldn’t be treated as equal. One can have respect for the people who hold false beliefs, but there should be no attempt to silence one-self from stating the obvious, that the belief is false. That is not intolerance; it is just stating a fact. And I’m sorry I didn’t say this to the teacher, but like in most cases like this he just assumed that we’d all agree and that there was no need to discuss it.
Then I came home, and had to medicate the cat because Mark was elbow-deep in cooking food, and the mundane of life asserted itself once more away from the high-brow thinking of religion and truth and honesty.