Suddenly it wasn't only a personal thing to me. I could picture hundreds and hundreds of boys living on the wrong sides of cities, boys with black eyes who jumped at their own shadows. Hundreds of boys who maybe watched sunsets and looked at stars and ached for something better. I could see boys going down under street lights because they were mean and tough and hated the world, and it was too late to tell them that there was still good in it, and they wouldn't believe you if you did.
Amidst all the attention given to the sciences as to how they can lead to the cure of all diseases and daily problems of mankind, I believe that the biggest breakthrough will be the realization that the arts, which are considered "useless," will be recognized as the whole reason why we ever try to live longer or live more prosperously. The arts are the science of enjoying life.
Where we get into problems, typically, is when our personal religious faith, or the community of faith that we participate in, tips into a sort of fundamentalist extremism, in which it's not enough for us to believe what we believe, but we start feeling obligated to, you know, hit you over the head because you don't believe the same thing. Or to treat you as somebody who's less than I am.
In Gilead, the narrator's friend's son describes himself not as an atheist but in "state of categorical unbelief. " He says, "I don't even believe God doesn't exist, if you see what I mean. " I pointed this passage out to Mom and said it closely matched my own views-I just didn't think about religion.
Iceland sets a world-record. The United Nations asked people from all over the world a series of questions. Iceland stuck out on one thing. When we were asked what do we believe, 90% said, 'ourselves'. I think I'm in that group. If I get into trouble, there's no God or Allah to sort me out. I have to do it myself.
If time is treated in modern physics as a dimension on a par with the dimensions of space, why should we a priori exclude the possibility that we are pulled as well as pushed along its axis? The future has, after all, as much or as little reality as the past, and there is nothing logically inconceivable in introducing, as a working hypothesis, an element of finality, supplementary to the element of causality, into our equations. It betrays a great lack of imagination to believe that the concept of "purpose" must necessarily be associated with some anthropomorphic deity.