Showing posts from December, 2012

Reading the Sky

Christmas Day 2004:   Reading the Sky       As Morag was leaving to go back to England about ten days ago, she told me she had left me a present on my desk in the bedroom.   ‘Just so you’ll have something to open on Christmas morning,’ she said.   When I got back from seeing her off to the airport, I noticed the beautifully wrapped package and I noticed it every day thereafter, but I didn’t open it.   What’s more, I didn’t even pick it up, prod it, or shake it.   I waited, as instructed, until this morning.   How different, I’ve been thinking, from years gone by when I would have eagerly ransacked the house to find out what Santa had brought me!   Now – probably because I’ve got just about everything I need – the urgent desire to satisfy my curiosity seems well and truly under control.   And, of course, there’s also the fact that as one gets older Christmas doesn’t seem such a rare event as it used to be.   When I was a child Christmas night seemed like a terrible anticli

How to Write an Anti-God Book

  There is undoubtedly a great deal of money to be made by writing a book against religion. Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion has been among the best sellers for well over a year; yesterday (12 th April) it was the 27 th best-selling book on Amazon, which, when you think about it, is an amazing achievement. Ahead of it are the usual cookery books and popular novels, but to have a philosophical work so highly placed on the Amazon lists demonstrates that there is a real hunger among the British and Irish reading public for serious works about religion, particularly iconoclastic ones. God is not Great , by Christopher Hitchens, Against all Gods , by A.C. Grayling, and Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell are selling well too; so well, in fact, that I thought that today I would give you a few tips so that you can get your snout in the trough and make a little money yourself.             However, there is one major problem. We Unitarians have a lot in common with those who vent

Hanukkah – Festival of Rededication

My dad was considered to be something of a sceptic, a cynic even. A man of few words himself, he was always suspicious of anyone – particularly politicians – whose verbal skills seemed able to justify even the most disreputable of actions. ‘Whatever they say, they are just out to make money,’ was one of his recurring sentiments, and he even saw fiddling and chicanery in what seemed to us the most unlikely places. For example, he thought that cricket matches were ‘fixed’. Now, one can easily imagine a boxing match being fixed, or a formula one car race, or the Tour de France, but cricket? How on earth could they do it? Why on earth would they do it? My dad’s answer was simple. Cricket test matches are scheduled to last for five days, but they can be over earlier if each side has had its allotted two innings. So, to gain maximum revenue from spectators, steps are taken to ensure that the game lasts as long as possible. We used to laugh at this particular opinion, but twenty year