Luke 18: 1-8

It is said that there are three traditional Chinese curses, each one of which brings more bad luck than the one before.  In ascending order of malevolence, they are:

  • May you live in interesting times
  • May you come to the attention of the powerful
  • May you obtain your heart’s desire

It seems to me no coincidence that may you obtain your heart’s desire is the worst of these three curses.  In the West, we would probably say: Be careful what you wish for – you just might get it! And it seems to me that both the curse and the caution recognise the truth that, when we indulge in wishful thinking, things have a tendency of rebounding upon us.  We get what we long for, only to discover it isn’t what we want at all. Continue reading “Luke 18: 1-8”

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Luke 17: 11-19

There’s an old joke, one I’m sure you’re familiar with, concerning a person trapped in a large shopping centre carpark, who circles around and around, desperately looking for an empty parking space.  Eventually, they become so frustrated by their lack of success, they begin to pray: “God,” the person says earnestly, “I know I’m not especially religious, and I know I’m not a particularly good person, but if you give me a parking space near the entrance to the shopping centre, I’ll go to church regularly and try and become a better human being.” And no sooner are these words out of their mouth than they spot an empty park space, not five feet away from the entrance.  And immediately the person says: “Never mind God, I’ve just found one.” Continue reading “Luke 17: 11-19”

“Reason, Faith, and Revolution” by Terry Eagleton: A Review

When Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchins, and other polemicists from the “new atheism” movement launched their full-scale assault on religious faith, they were met by a ferocious counter-attack from a most unlikely quarter.  Terry Eagleton is one of Britain’s leading intellectuals; as a Marxist, he is no friend of religion, a fact he makes clear right at the beginning of Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009).  Writes Eagleton:

Religion has wrought untold misery in human affairs.  For the most part, it has been a squalid tale of bigotry, superstition, wishful thinking, and oppressive ideology.  I therefore have a good deal of sympathy with its rationalist and humanist critics. (p.xi) Continue reading ““Reason, Faith, and Revolution” by Terry Eagleton: A Review”