Lent Talks, Radio 4
Belief, Radio 3
God on My Mind, Radio 4
A happy Easter to all boffins
Sunday 04 April 2010
There was a sad subtext to the last of the Lent Talks, given by Rev Dr Giles Fraser, a tutor in military ethics. Speaking on the nature of sacrifice, he may have been hoping he'd be able to back up his message with the news that he was doing his bit for the national cause by obtaining a commission as army chaplain.
Unfortunately, his asthma kept him out, he reported, and he was reduced to speculating about what he might have faced. The nub of his talk was that going to church somehow rehearses us for doing the right thing in difficult circumstances. I'd have appreciated a bit more detail about that – any detail, in fact. Still, it was supposed to be an uplifting chat, not a science lecture.
The most sense spoken in Holy Week came from Emma Restall Orr, top druid, talking to Joan Bakewell in Belief. As well as all the pagan animist stuff, her vision of the world depends on building strong local relationships – only then can we build outwards. But then she also believes that science "hasn't brought us to a great place", and I'd be fascinated to see where we'd be without it.
There was some refreshing technical detail in God on My Mind. Highlights were the woman who had two epiphanies shopping in Bromley – which you'll know, if you've been to Bromley, is quite some achievement – and the one who saw angels in Africa. Her sister, who saw them too, was cured of multiple sclerosis and became healer to the Bishop of Salford, which you must admit was a result.
The science bit was that boffins in Canada have induced "sense-experiences", which the brain can interpret as divinely inspired, by poking about in the amygdala. So it's all down to synapses. Now can we all just admit to one another that the God thing is just brain chemistry and get on with the rest of our short lives? That's my thought for Holy Week.
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