Driving down to Barcelona and passing through Avignon where there was the compulsory cursory glance of the Palais des Papes and there he was, the “son of God”, hanging up there on his big cross. It had me thinking about Terry Eagleton’s ‘Culture and the Death of God’ and it had me thinking about his contention that “societies become secular not when they dispense with religion altogether, but when they are no longer especially agitated by it” .
Certainly not agitated by the “big man” and certainly not about to turn my back on my cultural heritage, but it still might be appropriate to chew the cud on “ego”, Mr Eagleton, and “society” and how we are all coping with not being especially agitated by the various God squads in our vicinities.
Well, it would appear that Mr Eagleton has got the philosophical tools and the historical perspective to place himself firmly on the side of the not “especially agitated”, which is where “ego” would also like to seem himself. However, forever the empiricist, “ego” just could not help being agitated by the Muslim section of the God squad distributing their drivel at the bottom of Kilburn High Street a couple of weeks ago, while using Moses, Abraham, Jesus, and Mohammad as their particular marketing ploy. A sort of déjà vu and the mind rolled back to those crazy Calvinists who used to cruise the streets of dear old Glasgow town.
Of course, back then we just let them get on with it and at the end of the day we, or at least most of us, got on with our lives in the real world. Therefore, it can only be hoped that Mr Eagleton’s got it right and we can still cope with these very real mad men of marketing. Otherwise, it is back to the drawing board and another little scenario.
That is the one from Dostoyevsky’s ‘The Grand Inquisitor’ where Jesus gets a wee visit from the Grand Inquisitor who, before burning him at the stake, visits his cell and tells him, in no uncertain terms, that not only is he not needed, but that he is also an obstacle to the Church’s mission. Yes, indeed, prophets and king size models of prophets, are nice to listen to and nice to look at, but just beware of the religious headcases who follow in their footsteps.