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.


Sean M. Brooks said...

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)


Paul Shackley said...

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!

Sean M. Brooks said...

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.