Tuesday, 2 May 2017


Sincere prayers have am ambiguous status. On the one hand, most of us value and respond to sincerity. On the other hand, many of us doubt the existence of the being to whom a prayer is addressed. An unknown sea traveller addresses Mary, the mother of God, at the end of Poul Anderson's "Star of the Sea." Mathilda addresses St Dismas in Chapter Eleven of SM Stirling's The Sunrise Lands. In both cases, the sincerity of the appeal is admirable. However, I do not buy the continued existence either of Mary or of an originally unnamed crucifixion victim.

In earlier ages, it was important to get the name of a god, or a demon, right. Another view is that a single deity hears and responds to all prayers however formulated. My view is that an unknown recipient of all prayers is at least possible and that prayers formulate and express intentions and aspirations.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    The interesting thing to me about that shrine to St. Dismas that we see in Chapter 11 of THE SUNRISE LANDS is that it was set up by Count Conrad of Odell, one of the toughest and most able of Norman Arminger's original followers. If I'm recalling correctly, by the time of SUNRISE even a hardened atheist and cynic like Conrad was finding it hard to disbelieve in God.

    I think what you meant by the reference to Our Lady is that you don't believe she was both preserved free of Original Sin and that her body was assumed into heaven at her death? I understand that, with regret, while I would argue that if God is real, then that would not be impossible for Him to do.

    And I have wondered if Stirling wrote in that incident about St. Dismas as a kind of oblique allusion to how he was one of Nicholas van Rijn's favorite saints!


    1. Sean,
      I have trouble with immortal souls let alone Immaculate Conception and Assumption!

    2. Kaor, Paul!

      I do understand, at least about immortal souls. But the latter would be examples of "mysteries" of the kind I discussed and quoted about in another place.