Monday, 23 May 2016

What Do We Really Believe?

When Gratillonius realizes that he must fight Budic - in a snow-bound wood (see image) - he reflects that his own death would solve problems for Dahut, for Ysans and even for himself because it would enable him to:

"...just sleep forever."
-Dahut, Chapter XVI, section 1, p. 350.

Almost immediately, he realizes that he had forgotten the postmortem pilgrimage of his soul towards Mithras. I think that this is authentic. How real to them are most people's beliefs about a hereafter? Personally, I find the continuation of my consciousness after my physical death so implausible that I will be astonished if I find out that it is happening.

A Catholic curate in Ireland said that his parishioners simultaneously believed what ancient pagans, their own Church and secularists have said about death:

all of the dead are in an underworld from which they resent and want to harm the living;
the dead are in Heaven, Hell or Purgatory;
the dead no longer exist.

I have always valued consistency and I challenge people when they seem to believe both that there is a hereafter of whatever sort and that the dead no longer exist. People do unreflectingly says things like, "Oh, that's religious belief. It's different..."

It is late. I will have to postpone reading about Gratillonius' and Budic's combat in the Wood until tomorrow. We thank the Gods for the Andersons.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    And I find your skepticism about the reality of an afterlife to be itself a puzzle! Both classical philosophy, exemplified by Plato and Aristotle, and belief in divine revelation as seen in Judaism/Christianty, teaches such things.

    And it seems inconsistent of a skeptic like you to thank the Gods for the Andersons writing THE KING OF YS! (Smiles)


  2. Sean,
    It is inconsistent. But I am thankful even though I am skeptical that there is a particular being or beings to address my thanks to.
    I will read and maybe post over breakfast but must then do something else for a while!

    1. Kaor, Paul!

      Of course we should be thankful that masters of literature, such as Poul Anderson, have so greatly enriched our lives and given us so much pleasure. A thankfulness I should address to God.