Sunday, 13 August 2017
Very Strange And Weird
"They are very, very strange and weird. I'm glad I was born among sensible and civil folk with normal customs and in the bosom of Holy Church."
-SM Stirling, Lord Of Mountains (New York, 2013), Chapter Eleven, p. 235.
Individual responses to a religious upbringing vary. A friend at University divided Catholics into intense, intelligent or indifferent. (He said "pious," not "intense," but I wanted three "i"s.) When I worked as a Careers Advisor, some pupils in a Catholic school told me that they wanted to leave the school as soon as possible because they wanted to get away from the religion whereas a pupil in a non-Catholic school told me that he wanted to attend Cardinal Newman College because it was Catholic. It was my job to help each of these pupils to do what he wanted despite the views of a teacher in the Catholic school.
There are two questions here. Are Catholic doctrines true? I do not believe so. Could changed social conditions bring it about that the population of a previously secular society came to be born "in the bosom of Holy Church"? Yes. SM Stirling shows us such conditions in his Emberverse series. Poul Anderson shows us the population of a colonized planet preserving "Orthochristianity" in A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows. Such social conditions are entirely independent of the truth or falsity of the beliefs in question. In fact, Stirling's Norman Arminger set out to reproduce feudalism, including its religion, for purposes of personal power, not of faith.