TART Remarks

Examining the generally accepted influence of religion on everyday life

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The influence of religion, the consumer product of theology, continues to embrown our world. I think that the supreme challenge facing theology in the 21st century is to create awe and wonderment in the here and now – the kind of awe and wonderment that binds together; not the awe and wonderment that delivers eternal life in a “hereafter” to a select few subscribing infallibly to a particular and specific creed.

Said Albert Camus, “If there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life.”

Novelist Douglas Adams writes in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.”

Carl Sagan, whom once remarked on humankind, “… star stuff contemplating star stuff…”, is quoted in A tribute to Carl Sagan, by Dan Lewandowski and John Stear, “We live on a hunk of rock and metal that circles a humdrum star that is one of 400 billion other stars that make up the Milky Way Galaxy which is one of billions of other galaxies which make up a universe which may be one of a very large number, perhaps an infinite number, of other universes. That is a perspective on human life and our culture that is well worth pondering.”

What arrant arrogance drives us to believe that the stars rise and set for us, that the Universe exists for us, that we are somehow immortal, created in the image of some ideogenous cosmic manipulator?!

Awe and wonderment is necessary. But awe and wonderment must be rescued from those perceived Gods of the holy books.

“For Nietzsche”, says Nicholas Rosenbaum Professor of Law at the University of Colorado, Pierre Schlag, “the death of God meant not only that the Judeo-Christian God was dead, but that the entire metaphysics implicated in his reign died as well. Hence, once God died, so did all the other God-substitutes (reason, law, morality) that might have been or might yet be enshrined in his metaphysical place. We are living this cultural predicament.”

The “TART” in the title of this journal stands for Theological Antiretroviral Therapy and is evocative of Richard Dawkins‘ statement that religion is a virus of the mind.

Antiretroviral drugs inhibit the reproduction of retroviruses. Antiretroviral agents are virustatic agents which block steps in the replication of the virus. The drugs are not curative; however continued use of drugs, particularly in multi-drug regimens, significantly slows disease progression.

“Tart” obviously also infers harshness – indicative of the nature of the journal.

In the Afrikaans language, “tart” means to defy, to challenge, to provoke… considering the nature of public religious comment, such as Godsdiens Aktueel in Beeld, and nowadays also in Die Burger, and having first hand experience of the quality, or lack thereof, of Internet forum religious banter and argument, and hearing and viewing religious statements and acts on news bulletins and actuality programs, nothing less than defiance and provocation is called for.

Although we can hardly hope for a society in which formal organized religion is rejected, we can at least stop behaving as if religion is worthy of our collective respect. (With acknowledgement to A.N. Wilson, Against Religion.)

In the words of George Bernard Shaw: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

Drewan Baird
Please. Please just think about it.

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Written by Nathan Bond

April 26, 2007 at 7:17 pm

Posted in About Tart Remarks