Hell's teeth now Christopher Brookmyre is at it, attempting to disprove the existence of God and all things spiritual in his latest novel. Or at least that's how the Scotsman and the Beeb reported it. So maybe I'm maligning the man. But why would a writer of fiction assume that he was going to make any converts?
What is it with these people? Can it be that they overvalue the real scientific world in which corruption and bigotry sit side by side with the 'scientific method'. My late dad was a distinguished biochemist, so I write with the benefit of his experience. Scientists are as prone to all the faults and foibles of humanity as the rest of us. The best of them are open and imaginative. The worst are blinkered and self seeking. We are all of us looking for ways of describing, of coping with the world. And for sure, all things come to sadness in the end. But many people, perhaps a majority (and it is often, though not invariably, women) have an inkling that there is much more to life than meets the eye. Sometimes it can be an experience such a bereavement, which should be embittering, but isn't. Sometimes it comes as a side effect of a lifetime's observation of how people interact. But most of all, I think, I object so strongly to the assumption that spirituality is a sticking plaster which we poor blinkered souls use to protect ourselves from the more unpleasant aspects of life. And again I say hubris. Overweening pride that subsumes any sense of humility in its own certainty.
The person in my life who was perhaps the most 'spiritual' was the most generous person I have ever had the good fortune to know. Her faith was simple and uncomplicated, but she herself was not. She never proseletysed, and didn't even attend church very often, but simply lived her own beliefs. She had overcome more of what life had to throw at her than most, yet had no bitterness. She was perceptive and full of the wisdom of her years . She was a truly 'good' person, with a warmth that defied the world's sournesses, and to categorise her as among the deluded is to wilfully misunderstand the limitless potential of the human spirit.