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Friday, 10 July 2015

RR: ex cathedra


Ever considered your moral development?

That uncertain journey which takes in the helplessness of babydom, childhood superstition, adolescent agony, adolescent cynicism, problems of sharing (love affairs, partnership), unwonted influences of earning a living, parenthood, a growing realisation of responsibility, fear of illness and death - all those slow-moving but inevitable rivulets.

Until - perhaps - an imperfect form of adulthood may encourage us finally to reflect, to conclude and to come up with some rules, some of which we follow, some we guiltily ignore, some we modify.

Along this route we may have decided to depend on ourselves or, ultimately, on other intangible forces. Or simply to hold our thoughts at bay; refusing to think, preferring instead simply to experience. There is no right or wrong in any of this. Even interaction with others is not an obligation; the hermit harms no one.

Recently, in the car, I heard the last few minutes of Haydn's Missa Cellensis. Paid full whack for it at our embattled CD shop (thus practicing the adult option of charity) and heard it last night. Masses set such phrases as Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) and Credo (I Believe) to music and often reflect the emotions of those who have chosen to depend on the supernatural. Which I, a non-proselytising atheist, vicariously share. I suppose. Look, I never said the rules we formulate and the dependencies we espouse aren't inconsistent.

The Missa Cellensis is a wonderful affirmative piece of music which, ahem!, improves on Bach. But it cannot be regarded as pure (ie, abstract) music – it is born out of Christianity and requires that knowledge to get the best out of it. OK, so my atheism is fuzzy but then I’m not preaching.

4 comments:

Sir Hugh said...

I liked the construction of this piece with the interweaving of your thoughts on moral development and the specific example - nicely balanced.

Moral development: immediately sprang to my mind the memory of Father smoking Cuban (communist) cigars.

Blonde Two said...

Fuzzy atheism is perhaps preferable to fuzzy religion which is probably my stance. Both better for dinner party conversation than either extreme atheism or extreme religion.

Roderick Robinson said...

Sir Hugh: At best Father's attitude towards Havana cigars might be described as pragmatic, at worst hypocritical.

Blonde Two: The extremes you cite are, I suppose, synomyms for "brook no argument". At which point the presence or absence of such people at your dinner party would seem to depend on the quality of wine they've brought.

I accept the concept "fuzzy religion" but would require a single-sentence explanation as to how this differs from superstition.

Blonde Two said...

I can't offer such an explanation as both are equally important to me. When I need them, they are there; otherwise they sit in my rucksack.