Archive for September, 2010

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Reflections on the Great North Run

September 22, 2010

My first Great North Run was in 1991. For complicated reasons, I ran it under false pretences while underage with literally 4 days notice and no training at all. This left me unable to walk properly for several days afterwards. Since then, I have run quite a few of them (all, I hasten to add, under my own name) and I completed the 30th Great North Run on Sunday (and my n’th, where ‘n’ is probably around 13ish). My time was 1:58:18 which is better than I might have hoped, given my threadbare training schedule, but still just over twice the course record. I lost a few vital seconds at the start telling Dec (or possibly Ant) that he should be running it.

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Book Review: The Case For God

September 2, 2010

The Case For God” by Karen Armstrong is an interesting history of religious faith, but it suffers from the fundamental problem that the God for whom she is making the case is not a God that would be recognised by the vast majority of people who would claim to believe in him. That said, it has at least given me fresh insight into why things are the way they are and forced me to think a little more deeply about the issue. At the risk of being thrown out of the atheist club for heresy, I’m prepared to countenance the notion that a case can be made for religion.

Rather than try to address the entire book, I’m going to focus on one central idea which Armstrong seems keen to get across which is that for the truly religious, God exists outside the realm of rational thought and language. There are no words with which one can adequately describe God, the best one can do allude to a transcendent state of being (or as the Greeks would call it, ekstatis) and suggest that this means that God is somehow present. In the early days of religion, such states would be brought about in people through rituals and activities such as fasting.
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