Saturday, 27 March 2010


I read the review for Philip Pullman's new book today, and obviously there's lots I could say about that as a Christian... but my first thought is that I want to read it and think about it, and I really love playing with ideas and that's what Pullman is doing. 

[The Christian bit: I don't think it is a clear cut case that this book is wrong, I think Christians should be very careful to be clear about what it is that they disagree with here. I don't think it is wrong to think through ideas and speculate and be interested in how knowledge is produced and how things come to be important to us. So for Pullman to write a novel about what it would be like if Jesus had a twin is not wrong in itself, and I don't think it is wrong to think about how the gospels were written and produced (most Christians I know have done that). It is worrying that Pullman has a lot of influence and may put people off thinking about Christianity for themselves because of this book though, and it would be wrong to claim that this was anything other than a novel. And it is worrying that Pullman thinks Christianity is wrong, because a lot of his atheism is based, I think, on criticisms of the Church, which I myself agree with and which do not disprove God's existence, or indeed the truth of the gospel. The corrupt nature of the Church just shows that people are capable of evil, and the Bible says that anyway. A lot of his criticism is also directed to the Catholic Church and the Papacy, and I have a lot a lot of problems with that and their reading of the Bible.]

What is pretty interesting here though is that Jesus did have brothers, who wrote about him and claimed he was the Messiah too. Even Pullman writes: "They [the gospels] are not like novels, or fairytales, or history or biography. Jesus is a strange figure: a man whose family thought he was more than a man."

A man whose family thought he was more than a man? I think it is my family who knows more than anyone my faults and flaws. Jesus' family claimed he was perfect, his disciples who knew him best died because they were sure they had seen him resurrected - People die for something they believe, but the disciples would have known if Jesus was dead, who dies for something they know is a lie?

I saw Shutter Island last night, and that is still on my mind too... ideas of morality, insanity, someone prepared to die for something they knew was a lie... hmm

and lots of people who didn't know what was true and what was not. Who decides what is true and what is not, who decides who is insane? 

I want to engage with ideas, and not just post images on tumblr.... but I don't want to be judgmental and trapped in my own mind either, and I love the visual and the light-hearted, and I want to meet people and understand them and know I can't understand them. I think my question is, how can we have a wide perspective, a deep perspective (because there is so much I could think through just within a Christian framework) and keep touch with the real world at the same time? And not sound like a pretentious loser while doing so? (yeah think I lost that one)...

1 comment:

Rob-S said...

Mm! I think there's a lot I agree with here. Good thinkings! Also, I think you'll like my latest photograph on my blog. It's really quite something!