By Joseph H
I don’t know how many have read this old novel written many seasons ago. Other than its length, it is such an interesting read. In some place, we have the chaplain ask
Had the almighty God in all his infinite wisdom, really been afraid that men six thousand years ago would succeed in building a tower to heaven?
Or the comment by Dunbar
Didn’t it seem improbable that the answers to the riddles of creation would be supplied by people too ignorant to understand the mechanics of rainfall?
And then the Chaplain’s reflection about presiding at funerals. The author writes, and I think many of us who have attended funerals would agree
The chaplain felt most deceitful presiding at funerals and it would not have astonished him to learn that the apparition in the tree that day was a manifestation of the almighty’s censure for the blasphemy and pride inherent in his function. To simulate gravity, feign grief and pretend supernatural intelligence of the hereafter in so fearsome and arcane a circumstance as death seemed the most criminal of offences.
I am loving this book!
Today is no braining Tuesday, so I bring you this interview of de Waal
Why are so many people wedded to the idea that humans are special?
We’re raised with those ideas. It’s an old Christian idea that humans have souls and animals don’t. I sometimes think it’s because our religions arose in a desert environment in which there were no primates, so you have people who lived with camels, goats, snakes, and scorpions. Of course, you then conclude that we are totally different from the rest of the animal kingdom because we don’t have primates with whom to compare ourselves. When the first great apes arrived in Western Europe—to the zoos in London and Paris—people were absolutely flabbergasted. Queen Victoria even expressed her disgust at seeing these animals. Why would an ape be disgusting unless you feel a threat from it? You would never call a giraffe disgusting, but she was disgusted by chimpanzees and orangutans because people had no concept that there could be animals so similar to us in every possible way. We come from a religion that’s not used to that kind of comparison.