Thursday, March 08, 2007
Set in my ways?
I mentioned that yesterday had involved lots of miles. This was because Hugger Steward and I went to check out a possible "insurance option" for university, in case he doesn't get the grades he needs for Cambridge. I wasn't really keen on this possibility, as I'd assumed it would be very urban and rather dull, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Lovely campus, trees and greenery everywhere plus a huge lake for good measure...but it was the course that got me really excited. HS is planning (with positively no ministerial intent) to read Theology and the faculty's presentation was just excellent. Leaving aside the fact that I'm overcome with longing for the module offered on religion and literature (and was charmed by the woman who offers it), the mini-lecture we were given was both entertaining and challenging and then (the really good bit) we got to pretend to be students! We were organised into small groups, with offspring rescued from their parents (poor HS had struggled all day with a mother who was obviously enjoying herself far too much, so this was a great blessing) and given 15 minutes to devise our own religion, with assorted quotes as to the possible purpose of any religion to inspire or irritate us. My group was deeply schismatic, as we were completely unable to reach concensus on this question of purpose...but one of the student groups produced an excellent framework for a religion based on clouds. The holy people were those who could interpret different cloud formations.To live indoors or to carry an umbrella was a sin as it separated you from the cloudy deities. Rain and other precipitation was, obviously, a gift from the gods, while a clear blue sky was the cataclysm that would have them all on their knees...
Well, we liked it anyway.
But what really struck me was how totally impossible I found it to set aside the framework that I carry habitually. For me, religion had to answer ultimate questions of purpose and destiny...the eventual offering of our group, a kind of ritual jettisoning of any and everything that might be important, just didn't cut the mustard for me! Drat it...I even wanted to talk about God!
Just as well, then, that it's HS who gets the chance to explore further. His mother is clearly too set in her ways.
Still, I'd love to know what would be the essential ingredients for any of you, were you given the brief of inventing a religion (aside from little things like the promise of eternal life, that is)