Ania theania at freeuk.com
Wed Mar 20 16:03:48 EST 2002

A sudden revelation! It might not make sense once written down, though.
Philip wrote:
> Just a brief comment inserted into the debate.
> It seems to me that Pullman has quite correctly identified a lot that is
> with organised religion in general, and some Christian churches in
> I loved his caricature in Lyra's world of a Church in which Calvin had
> Pope!
> But he then goes on to blame God for this.  Most explicitly when one of
> witches (possibly the one whom John Parry had rebuffed?) was musing on the
> of those out to kill God, and concluded that the cause was just on the
basis of
> the oppression that the Church had committed.
> Now I don't see how it could be morally satisfying for either a Christian
or an
> Atheist to blame God for the sins of the Church (much less the God of
> worlds for the sins of the Church in one of them).  A Christian should
> better, and an Atheist shouldn't have that option.
Ok. I see your point. But that presupposes the existence of god/God as the
original creator-entity. I personally do not believe in god at all, but I am
willing to suspend disbelief in order to enjoy a work of fiction, or a damn
good argument.
Anyway, the whole thing makes more sense to my sceptical, godless self if
the traditional view were reversed. (here comes my own take on this) God did
not make us; we, or our distant ancestors, made god/s. God is an entity
which arose out of the collective imagination/ despair/ power of belief/
whatever. It - the entity - became flesh, or more accurately, spirit. It can
be as evil and twisted as its creators (that's us, folks!), or as
compassionate. It can be blamed for the evil it wrought, or that was wrought
in its name. It could cease to exist if no-one believed in it any more (I
owe Gaiman for that last insight).
Also, I think that Pullman, being an erudite man, is probably aware of the
old dilemma: how can god be both all-good and all-powerful? the two
possibilities cancel one another out. If god is all good, and evil exists,
and he can do nothing to prevent it, he cannot be all-powerful. If he's
all-powerful, yet allows evil to continue existing, he cannot be all-good.
And then, the other old saying: power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts
I realize that people who believe must have some satisfactory answer to
these dilemmas. I do not. I am afraid that 'it says so in the scriptures',
whatever they may be, is not enough for me.

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