James’s Blog: In Which an Atheist Shows a Perfect Understanding of What it Means to Follow Jesus.

“They walked on in silence. A shower of hail bounced off Granny’s pointy hat and Oats’s wide brim.

Then Granny said, ‘It’s no good you trying to make me believe in Om, though.’

‘Om forbid that I should try, Mistress Weatherwax. I haven’t even given you a pamphlet, have I?’

‘No, but you’re trying to make me think, “Oo, what a nice young man, his god must be something special if nice young men like him helps old ladies like me,” aren’t you?’


“Really? Well, it’s not working. People you can believe in, sometimes, but not gods. And I’ll tell you this, Mister Oats…’

He sighed. ‘Yes?’

She turned to face him, suddenly alive. ‘It’d be as well for you if I didn’t believe,’ she said, prodding him with a sharp finger. ‘This Om…anyone seen him?’

‘It is said three thousand people witnessed his manifestation at the Great Temple when he made the Covenant with the prophet Brutha and saved him from death by torture on the iron turtle-‘

‘But I bet that now they’re arguing about what they actually saw, eh?’

‘Well, indeed, yes, there are many opinions-‘

‘Right. Right. That’s people for you. Now if I’d seen him, really there, really alive, it’d be in me like a fever. If I thought there was some god who really did care two hoots about people, who watched ’em like a father and cared for ’em like a mother…well, you wouldn’t catch me sayin’ things like “There are two sides to every question,” and “We must respect other people’s beliefs.” You wouldn’t find me just being gen’rally nice in the hope that it’d all turn out right in the end, not if that flame was burning in me like an unforgivin’ sword. And I did say burnin’, Mister Oats, ‘cos that’s what it’d be. You say that you people don’t burn folk and sacrifice people any more, but that’s what true faith would mean, y’see? Sacrificin’ your own life, one day at a time, to the flame, declarin’ the truth of it, workin’ for it, breathin’ the soul of it. That’s religion. Anything else is just…is just bein’ nice. And a way of keeping in touch with the neighbours.’

She relaxed slightly, and went on in a quieter voice: ‘Anyway, that’s what I’d be, if I really believed. And I don’t think that’s fashionable right now, ‘cos it seems that if you sees evil now you have to wring your hands and say, ‘Oh deary me, we must debate this.” That’s my two penn’orth, Mister Oats. You be happy to let things lie. Don’t chase faith, ‘cos you’ll never catch it.’ She added, almost as an aside, ‘But, perhaps, you can live faithfully.’”

Carpe Jugulum, Terry Pratchett.

One thought on “James’s Blog: In Which an Atheist Shows a Perfect Understanding of What it Means to Follow Jesus.

  • November 10, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    some frighteningly incisive commentary there! not just about the Christian faith either – it seems that belief in a certain order, taken without the understanding that perhaps there may be other perspectives out there, seems to inevitably turn into this kind of burning thing. And when one encounters it – it hurts!

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