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Michael's blog

Good news from an atheist!

Good news from an atheist? Strangely, yes.

Anyone familiar with the works of a Richard Dawkins or a Christopher Hitchens will find this a surprise. The writings of these well-known atheists are combative, even vitriolic. They are scathing about organised religion.

Alain de Botton is different. I recently read his ‘Religion for Atheists’ and the tone is surprisingly respectful, thoughtful and inquisitive. He appreciates what religions offer.

Jesus, Muhammad, and confession

Several weeks ago, I wrote in this blog about ultimate loyalties.

On Tuesday, I had reason to revisit this topic; I was told a provocative story, a parable:

Question - ‘What would happen if Mohammed and Jesus came back to earth today?’

Answer - ‘They would first embrace one other and then spit on their followers!’

Behind this arresting parable is a recognition that Jesus and Mohammed followed similar paths and that their teachings aligned on many important issues.

Life, Animated

Recently, I went to see the remarkable movie, ‘Life, Animated.’

It recounts the story of Owen Suskind. At age 3, he stopped talking. His father, Ron, said, ‘He was kidnapped and disappeared from us.’ He was diagnosed with autism.

The movie relates how Owen, supported by his family, found his way back into the world.

He did so via Disney movies.

The ultimate

I highly recommend the book ‘Shantung Compound’ by Langdon Gilkey. Although written in 1966 and perhaps a little dated, it deals with the ultimate.

It is an account of the 2,000 civilians interned by the Japanese in China during WW2 at a place called Weihsien. (Eric Liddell, the Scottish runner featured in the movie Chariots of Fire, died at Weihsien.)

It’s not a story of brutality but, as the sub-title says, ‘of men and women under pressure.’ Deprived of their liberty, they were forced to live with others, not of their choosing, in a confined space.


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