Alfie – “Childhoods End”? Cosmic, man!

14 Dec

In view of recent postings by my esteemed colleagues here at Sumpnado and in other places alluding to Religion and its place in Mankind’s collective woes, I think the time has come for me to stick my head up over the parapet on that subject.

 And before I get going please remember that this is just my OPINION and I am entitled to express it just as you are entitled to express yours!

My religious upbringing was, I think, typical for a Middle Class family in the UK in the 1950s and 60s – that is, my parents sent me to Sunday school every week while not attending themselves except for family weddings , baptism and funerals.

 Then, in my teens I attended the church to which my Boys Brigade Company was affiliated – largely because you gained points for your squad the following Friday by so doing. Despite finding it incredibly boring I did pick up a lot of stuff that’s been very handy in quizzes without it influencing me unduly.

 And spiritually speaking I just drifted along after that until one day my omnivorous reading habits led me to Robert Graves and “The Greek Myths”. This was not what I was expecting (which was a slightly grown-up storybook) but rather the drawing of a solid historical line from the weather-based superstitions of pre-literate Hunter/Gatherer Tribes right through to “modern” Mediterranean civilisations.

 When I finished the book I could see quite clearly that if you have sufficient reliable background material at your disposal, the fact is that all the current “Mediterranean” religions have the SAME beginnings – they all have their roots in the unreasoning fears of primitive tribes!

 The differences between them, which have caused an awful lot of War and hatred over the last 2000 years seem to me to boil down to variations to the rules that ancient Kings found were necessary to keep their ignorant European or Middle-Eastern subjects in line and suitably terrified of punishments awaiting them in this world or the next!

 And, certainly in the last 1000 to 1500 years the problem has been that the semi-educated Priesthoods have told the uneducated masses under their control:

“Only OUR version of the ‘Truth’ is right! Death to those who believe otherwise!”

 Obviously once everyone adopts that way of thinking the first one to moderate it slightly gets swarmed under and exterminated by the still-fanatical others and THAT, if you look at it honestly, is where we still are today.

 My reasoning, however, was that as they obviously can’t all be RIGHT it seems more logical to assume that rather than ONE group being right they are all, in fact, WRONG. Doesn’t that make more sense somehow? It certainly does to me.

 Having said that and thereby offended ALL religions equally, I do acknowledge that we humans seem to have a deep need to believe in something above and beyond our understanding and you cannot discredit the existing set up without providing something to take its place.

 It all seems to stem from our inability to accept that no part of us might continue after our death – and I struggle with THAT concept myself. I simply cannot envisage the world without ME in it!

So, without inventing a new “Sky God” with his own man-made, bloodthirsty, spiteful and contradictory rules I console myself with my own HOPE that somewhere “out there” is an entity comprising the non-material essence of every once-living being in the universe.

 I call it “The Cosmic Overmind”, a term I have stolen unashamedly from Arthur C. Clarke’s novel “Childhood’s End” – although in ACC’s version races evolved and joined en-masse rather than one death at a time.

 It doesn’t need worship; it doesn’t need rules, a priesthood or monetary contributions so it’s a good deal for everyone – except the current priesthoods who will all have to go and get proper jobs to survive if it catches on!

 I like it and as there’s only one way we will find out if it’s any more or less valid than some of the other daft ideas out there I’m happy to wait and see what happens in due time.



2 Responses to “Alfie – “Childhoods End”? Cosmic, man!”

  1. Vincent December 15, 2010 at 2:37 pm #

    From Vincent… (my PIC didn’t come up, ’cause I wasn’t LOGGED IN as same!)

    I recall I DUMPED the Boys Brigade, Church AND Sunday school when I was NINE!

    I told my Mum and Dad that I had worked out Father Christmas and God simply did not exist and that Church, etc., were just wasting my TIME (pretty good for NINE, eh?)

    So Mum and Dad, being reasonable souls, said okay (but on condition I keep the Santa bit to myself, as my brother was four years younger than me – they said I’d STILL get a Christmas “stocking” – which seemed fair to me!)

    But I recall a teacher (but not his name – handsome sort of chap – any ideas?) in “Talking Point” asking us to write about our beliefs – and I put down “I’m too intelligent to believe in such nonsense.”

    When he read it, I thought I was gonna get CANED – but after the steam had ceased coming from his ears, he said – “But I believe in it!”

    Now I thought I was in BIG trouble – but surprisingly, he turned the whole thing into a reasonable DISCUSSION on the subject, and we got on fine after that.

    Do you REMEMBER this episode? And/or the name of the teacher???

  2. Alfie December 15, 2010 at 8:00 pm #

    OK! The negatives first! I don’t recall the incident and had at first no recollection of the appearance of the teacher in question.

    However, as soon as I read down to the words “Talking Point” the name that popped unheralded into my mind was….

    Mr Knight (or possibly Knights).

    And as soon as I thought of the name a mental picture appeared of a rather “leonine” sort of head with wavy hair possibly tending towards dark ginger. I also seem to recall that he used to do the Duke of Edinburgh Award stuff.

    Ring any bells?

    Well done on having the courage to dare to defy what the rest of us placidly accepted at so young an age.


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