Saturday, February 23, 2008

Excellent banter

I have been reading (for a very long time, it seems) Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy. I am stuck in the third installment - The Amber Spyglass (not because I feel intellectually challenged by it, nor because I'm not entertained by it, but solely because of a lack of time).

As I was looking up some information on the 'Net about the books and the author, I came across this interview between Pullman and a Canadian film-critic, Peter Chattaway. It is an excellent and honest interview between two people with fundamentally opposing views on religion.

The core of the discussion appears halfway through the exchange, where Pullman tells Chattaway that the biggest sin of them all is to attribute all the good deeds and virtues to a religious belief, and vice to everything else.

This is an issue that bothers me most concerning the religious doctrine - it appears that religion, or faith, has the monopoly over a fundamental goodness and that those that do not belong to or are not affiliated to a certain belief system possess evil. Belonging to a church or a sect does not beget virtue. At the same time, not having any religious and/or spiritual affiliation does not beget virtue either. Goodness and evil should not be under control of a belief system, but should be embedded in one's consciousness.

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