Some kind of world record

I’m currently reading No God But God by Reza Aslan. I think I have found some competition for the BHA pollsters in the contest to find the world’s sloppiest thinkers.

Here’s the offending section from the book’s Prologue:

It is a shame that this word, myth, which originally signified nothing more than stories of the supernatural, has come to be regarded as synonymous with falsehood, when in fact myths are always true. By their very nature, myths inhere both legitimacy and credibility. Whatever truths they convey have little to do with historical fact. To ask whether Moses actually parted the Red Sea, or whether Jesus truly raised Lazarus from the dead, or whether the word of God indeed poured through the lips of Muhammad, is to ask totally irrelevant questions. The only question that matters with regard to a religion and its mythology is “What do these stories mean”?

[…] After all, religion is, by definition, interpretation; and by definition, all interpretations are valid. However, some interpretations are more reasonable than others.

Okay, so let’s be charitable here. I think what he’s trying to argue is that myths express truths about the human condition, which sounds plausible, but actually is pretty vacuous. But look at what he actually claims:

1. Myths are always true – Right. No they are not. Myths have propositional content. It is this content that makes them false. Also, if Aslan is correct, it seems that one is forced to conclude that stories of the supernatural are always true. Which is daft. (Presumably he must think that there is more to the definition of the word myth than it signifies a story of the supernatural. Otherwise, we can all invent myths which must be true.)

2. Whatever truths they convey – Ah, nice slide away from the original assertion here. Myths now convey truths, which of course is entirely different to the claim that they are true.

3. To ask whether Moses, etcis to ask totally irrelevant questions – Sorry, but that’s ridiculous. These are entirely relevant questions to ask given that millions of people believe those propositions to be literally true. And, in any case, there’s a hint of self-contradiction here. The only way to determine whether or not the propositional content of myth is relevant is to ask whether it is true. Because if it were true, then clearly it would be relevant. Actually, there might be something interesting here. If Aslan thinks that the propositional content of myth might be factually true, then presumably he has to conclude that it is relevant to ask whether it is true. So, for example, if God did indeed pour through the lips of Muhammad then the question of whether this is true is vital. It makes all the difference. He presumably then must have concluded that the propositional content of religious myth is false? If so, he has asked himself questions which by his own terms are irrelevant…

4. The only question that matters with regard to a religion and its mythology is “What do these stories mean”? – That’s so clearly rubbish that I can’t be bothered to argue against it. (I seem to be losing patience here.)

5. After all, religion is, by definition, interpretation; and by definition, all interpretations are valid – No, no, no. You can’t mean that. Religion might involve interpretation, be built on top of interpretation, but it can’t be interpretation. There is something rhetorically interesting going on here, though. If Aslan had written: All religions make use of interpretation, and all interpretation is valid, then it would have left open the possibility that religion is invalid – whatever this means – because there would be more to religion than interpretation. But by equating religion to interpretation he closes this gap. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help since religion clearly isn’t interpretation by definition, and the claim that all interpretations are valid is empty.

6. However, some interpretations are more reasonable than others – Beautifully done. So we have unreasonable, but valid interpretations; and reasonable, valid interpretations. Excellent.

Okay, that’s enough of this.

The question I’m always left with after reading this kind of stuff is why it isn’t picked up at the proof reading, or editing, stage?

I’m not wrong about this, am I? It is woeful, isn’t it?

Leave a comment ?

40 Comments.

  1. It is indeed woeful.

    But to play devil’s advocate (or should that be Allah’s); being a non-believer your interpretation is too dependent on a ratiocentric truth based narrative, whereas a more nuanced approach – one which welcomes mystery rather than treating it as an obstacle to facts grounded in some presupposed naturalistic framework – is more likely to uncover subtle yet more satisfyingly informative truths 🙂

  2. It’s stupid. Wouldn’t it be more worthwhile to take a text that we can learn something from and to analyze it? It’s easy to find a woeful text and to laugh at it. One then feels superior, but it seems to me that one learns from looking at an admirable text and talking about it.

  3. Analysis of laudable texts may well be a more edifying experience, but learning how to be critical in a systematic and logical fashion can be just as useful.
    This sort of thing needs to be exposed for its vacuous inanity by people who have this faculty, otherwise it will survive in the absence of thoughtful criticism.

  4. Interesting, i sent you a comparative review of this book about 12 months ago and you said “we don’t want to know, that book’s too old”, and here you are a year later talking about it yourself – though hardly fairly. Certainly, Aslan looks a bit foolish when you pick a passage out of a 50,000 word or more something text and shine a logocentric analytical torch on it (i’m not sure what one of those is, but I bet you’ve got one). However, your haughty derision overlooks the fact that Aslan has some very interesting and insightful things to say about Islam. So he’s not versed in the semantics of Russellian analytical philosophy. Who cares?

  5. Interesting, i sent you a comparative review of this book about 12 months ago and you said “we don’t want to know, that book’s too old”, and here you are a year later talking about it yourself – though hardly fairly.

    So are you suggesting that if you send a book to TPM for review, and somebody at TPM decides its too old for review, then I shouldn’t really talk about it?

    And spare me the Russellian, logocentric nonsense. The sloppy thinking in that passage should be obvious to an A-level student.

  6. Not at all, I merely said it was ‘interesting’ that a book on a topical subject like the relationship between Islam and the West, that’s less than two years old, and which you’re reading yourself today, should be thought of as ‘too old’ to be reviewed. But all that’s neither here nor there.

    I’ll have to decline your offer of sparing you the “Russellian logocentric” nonsense. I’m not sure if you’ve taught a first year University philosophy course or not, but I think you’ll find that the logical competence you find so wanting in Aslan is not quite so prevalent amongst our undergraduates let alone college students ) as you seem to think.

    You’ve been around philosophy long enough to know that you can pick on the work of any philosopher from Plato to Popper and find evidence of logical fallacies, equivocations and sloppy thinking without too much trouble. Why do you expect non-philosophical works to live up philosophical standards?

  7. I hardly think it’s high-minded philosophical fastidiousness to bring execrable thinking to our attention. Whether you’re a philosopher, a bus driver, a journalist or a tree surgeon: forming a conclusion from a faulty premiss – or talking bollocks, is inexcusable.

  8. Reza you waffler, for you, opportunism knocks. Jeremy, pray do not exercise yourself, take deep breaths. Tariq Ramadan is a much more interesting figure. Is he a bridge builder or a sapper?

  9. but I think you’ll find that the logical competence you find so wanting in Aslan is not quite so prevalent amongst our undergraduates let alone college students

    Which is precisely why I said “should be” and not “would be”.

    But I’m sorry I just don’t buy the argument that it is posible to pick up the work of any philosopher to find sloppy thinking as bad as this. I certainly hope there is nothing like this in anything I’ve written (though, of course, there will doubtless be examples of bad thinking).

    My objection is to the level of badness, not the badness per se.

  10. Fazzle, The level of badness and falseness (all myths are true!) seemed so apparent to me that I believed that thoughtful criticism, to use your words, was unnecessary, at least in a blog dedicated to philosophy. However, seeing some of the other replies, I see that there is a debate going on that I did not expect. You’re right.

  11. The thing is Amos, this is a well-reviewed book. It was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award.

    Aslan can write, but he’s very irritating in the Prologue. For instance: “…there is no higher calling than to defend ones’ faith…and thus to help shape the story of that faith, a story which, in this case, began fourteen centuries ago, at the end of the sixth century C.E., in the sacred city of Mecca, the land that gave birth to Muhammad ibn Abdallah ibn Abd al-Mattalib; the Prophet and Messenger of God. May peace and blessings be upon him.”

  12. Amos, never underestimate the persuasive power and influence of fatuous ideas. That the use of bad logic and reasoning is not detected (or considered unimportant) by many people is exasperating and exhausting.

  13. “Take up a daily paper and you will probably find a leader exposing the corruption, negligence, or mismanagement of some State department. Cast your eye down the next column, and it is not unlikely that you will read proposals for an extension of State supervision… Yesterday came a charge of gross carelessness against the Colonial Office. Today Admiralty bunglings are burlesqued. Tomorrow brings the question “Should there not be more coal mine inspectors ?”
    Now there is a complaint that the Board of Health is useless; and now an outcry for more railway regulation.

    Thus, while every day chronicles a failure, there every day reappears the belief that it needs but an act of Parliament and a staff of officers to effect any end desired.
    Nowhere is the perennial faith of mankind better seen.
    [ nice sentence that, jt]
    “Ever since society has existed Disappointment has been preaching, Put not your trust in legislation”, and yet the trust in legislation is scarcely diminished.” Herbert Spencer

    Forgive me but I just thought that while we were goring oxes I would gore one of my own. The question after all is faith is it not? And after all which is worse, a faith in miracles, or a faith that runs counter to obvious, historical, everyday evidence. An evidence ignored, a faith insatiable and boundless.

    I am not a believer in burning bushes or people rising bodily up to Heaven, where presumably the oxygen is rather thin. I am a believer in that a teaspoon of skepticism can do some good.

    There is, simply put, two kinds of faith, justified and unjustified, and both are to be located in humanity at large.
    I suppose I rail against the notion that the unjustified faith is solely the province of the religious, while the irreligious bask in the sun of rationalism and reason

    Apologies to Jeremy if I seem to imply positions not necessarily his but taken large faith does have the face of Janus, which I doubt very many of us escape.

  14. By the way, if myths are always true, how can myths contradict each other, which they do? Each culture has its own creation myth. Even if one of them is true (which I find extremely improbable), how can all of them be true?

  15. By the way, if myths are always true, how can myths contradict each other, which they do? Each culture has its own creation myth. Even if one of them is true (which I find extremely improbable), how can all of them be true?

    I think what Aslan is trying to say is that a myth, by definition doesn’t try to make truth claims and as such cannot be deemed to be untrue. Therefore, to think it does is merely a superficial reading. Instead, a myth is a device for stirring one’s interpretive machinery into action in order to uncover the truths that lie within.

    I could be wrong but it looks like he’s trying to equate ‘myths and truth’ with as ‘zen koans and logic’. A superficial reading of a zen koan will lead the practitioner to try to solve it with logic and he will ultimately fail, even if his solution is logically satisfying. The koan can only be solved through insight.

    If that’s the case he really is stretching it. The difference is that there was never a zen koan which used to be logical but became ridiculous with the passage of time and the advance of human intellect, thereby necessitating a more ‘nuanced interpretation.’ The best he could be said to be doing here is making an argument for not dropping the clearly false truth claims of a religious tradition on the basis that despite their obvious falsity, they still have some truth to offer – if only you know how to interpret them.

  16. I think religion writers have their own lingo, which is mushy and horrifying to the philosophical eye, but can probably be translated into something that makes sense. He’s saying, I take it, that we shouldn’t dismiss religious stories because they don’t correspond to historical fact, because that’s not their point. They are meaningful in a different way. You find this sort of talk in liberal religious writers of every faith. I think they don’t want to give up the word “true” because of all the associated prestige and dignity. If they just used words like “meaningful” they would risk being ostracized by the traditional religious crowd. it all gets very unclear. Maybe special sympathy is to due to a muslim writer: clarity about “true” and “untrue” can be hazardous to your health if you’re an interpreter of Islam.

  17. I wasn’t sure where you were going with your point johnt (don’t worry I got it eventually). “I suppose I rail against the notion that the unjustified faith is solely the province of the religious, while the irreligious bask in the sun of rationalism and reason.” It just so happens that religious myth is the subject of Aslan’s bad thinking, nowhere has it been suggested that it is the cause. If you’re speaking generally and not referring to Jeremy’s post, then of course there are atheists who think and argue illogically, although your chances of meeting one are considerably less due to the enormous growth that takes place in the cerebrum of any person when commiting an act of apostasy. Of course.

    On the issue of varieties of assent, “And after all which is worse, a faith in miracles, or a faith that runs counter to obvious, historical, everyday evidence. An evidence ignored, a faith insatiable and boundless.” -you seem to be suggesting that we’re limited to a choice between the two; a faith in the supernatural or faith in incompetent government?? Frankly it’s hard to know what you mean some times. You jump from one point to the next like an epileptic grasshopper. (Incidentally, I found that your post was easier to apprehend when I started at the end and read the paragraphs in reverse order. That’s quite an idiosyncratic writing style you’re cultivating john.)

    I happen to believe in the use of empirical reason, however as any reasonable person will attest, there is always room for doubt . Just don’t confuse doubt with interpretation.

  18. that the unjustified faith is solely the province of the religious, while the irreligious bask in the sun of rationalism and reason

    If you read my article “There is something wrong with humanism”, which you’ll find on the Butterflies and Wheels web site, you’ll find that I also argue against this kind of viewpoint.

    But… in this instance, I strongly suspect that Aslam’s bad thinking is motivated by the desire to put religion in a strong light.

  19. But… in this instance, I strongly suspect that Aslam’s bad thinking is motivated by the desire to put religion in a strong light.

    He’s doing what most moderates do; deliberately smudging the lines between truth and falsity to protect their central claims from scrutiny.

    In his interpretation, both the moderate apologist and the naïve literalist can have every bit of their scriptural cake and eat it, because what matters is what you choose to do with the story. You can evaluate it as true and therefore not a myth, or evaluate it as myth and therefore true – albeit in some other meaningful sense, but nonetheless beyond question. Either way, the story stands and the foundations of the tradition and one’s personal belief remain in tact.

    What he doesn’t acknowledge is that since, in a religious context, the normal categories of truth and falsity don’t apply, there is no criteria by which one’s cherry-picking needs to agree with one’s coreligionists or even with oneself. This allows the likes of otherwise intelligent people like John Polkinghorne to sustain a broad amorphous cosmological conception of God (which is nothing like the biblical God) on the one hand, and a literal belief in the virgin birth and resurrection on the other. Beliefs which he insists are coherent.

    I might have some faith in the sincerity of religious moderates if they were to speak out against those who believe scriptural claims to be simplistically true with the same intellectual effort and combative enthusiasm they reserve for those of us who dismiss them as simplistically false.

  20. Egregiousness aside, I think Aslan intends to say something somewhat different from what he writes. I have not read either the book or the Prologue, so I don’t have any sense of the context that surrounds this passage, but I think he is taking more of a practical approach to these myths than a literal one. Perhaps the context affirms this.

    Regardless of what “little [myths have] to do with historical fact,” people equate myths with truth. Look at the examples he cites: Moses parting the Red Sea, Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, and Muhammad’s prophecies. Indeed, billions of people of different faiths believe these events occurred, and, more importantly, believe in the supernatural, spiritual being(s) that facilitated them. Most Muslims, for example, consider Mohammad’s revelations as fact. Not scientific fact, mind you, but a fact of life.

    Therefore, instead of words such as “is,” phrases like, “are held by many to be” would be more exact. (“Myths are always true” versus the cumbersome, yet accurate, “many consider myths to be true”)

    Aslan finally says, “The only question that matters with regard to a religion and its mythology is ‘What do these stories mean’?” Perhaps a better question would be, “What (and how much) do these stories mean to those who believe in them?”

  21. I’ve been thinking some more about what your wrote John. I don’t think after all that you were proposing a dichotomy of faith: religious authority vs. secular authority being the usual juxtaposition, but instead highlighting another example of unjustified faith – and not just another criticism of the religious. Nevertheless, you often come at these blogs from such an oblique angle that I find it takes more time to get what you’re driving at.

    I think you want to demonstrate that unjustified faith (in rulers and government) is just as prevalent within secular society as it is among the religious. I would point out that there is also justified faith here, that problems are fixed and improvements are defined. There is now as much cynicism towards governmental bureacracy and over-regulation, as there is disbelief in superstitions and creation myths, so I don’t think Herbert Spencer’s analysis of the good will of the electorate is as accurate as it once was – although the hubris of the elected may be another matter – it seems that he wants to throw out the baby with the bath water.

    These beliefs are attributed to a substance of a quite different nature; only one deals explicitly, tangibly, with things that have occurred, that exist in the real world. As to your question – to compare a persistent yet eroded belief in the good society: in law, justice, education, health, and industry, despite the repeated failings of our elected representatives, with an erroneous belief in a supernatural agency, and the appendant myths and fairytales, and ask which is worse? For me it’s the one that runs counter to obvious, historical, everday evidence: religion.

  22. I’m not sure what to say. I’ve got contrasting feelings. I actually enjoyed reading the post. It gave me a good laugh; a digestive one after a barbecue. And I agree on the fact that what the author says in the prologue is full of contraddictions and – above all – that this problem should be solved in the editing phase. Bad literature is bad literature. But I also feel that there is a measure in things, and also that the constext plays it’s part. I mean: Jeremy tryed to kill a fastidious but innocuous bee with a fragmentation bomb.
    I understand that the book in question is supposed to have a divulgative nature. Jeremy – I am assuming – picked up the worst passages in the book; and they are all from the prologue, which might have been written in the end and in a hurry. The passages he picked up are de-contestualized: we should look at the way the author writes in the rest of the book, at his style. If the rest of the book is written in a logical and accademic way, I would probably agree with Jeremy; but I’m not sure that is the case, even if I have not read the book. If the opposite: well…there are different styles of writing and different audiences: to somebody that doesn’t bother to much about the rigorous meaning of words (and probably this includes the majority of people – I’m not espressing anything negative here) the passages from the prologue that Jeremy quoted would be innocuos and widely understood. Plus, the delicateness of the subject (considering what’s happening in the world) can easily justify less rigorous but more pragmatical choises – as somebody has already pointed out.
    I think the point here is that Jeremy speaks a different english variety than the one spoken by the people targeted by this book; and that Jeremy is really complaining about the fact that divulgative language shoud resemble more the philosophycal one, at least as far as precise definitions of words and logic are concerned: this is serious stuff, but I don’t think justifies the level of derison found in the post. Context is not everything but it should always be taken in consideration. This said, I think the post was a succes, considering the debate that followed.

  23. I really write bad English. Perhaps I should just give it up and accept that the English are superior by nature!

  24. Or that we have a tricky and difficult language? 🙂

  25. “The question I’m always left with after reading this kind of stuff is why it isn’t picked up at the proof reading, or editing, stage?

    I’m not wrong about this, am I? It is woeful, isn’t it?”

    Yes of course. (Well you knew I would say that.)

    It’s not picked up at the editing stage because for this kind of book, it’s what’s wanted, so there’s nothing to pick up.

    Really. This kind of dancing around, defining words any old way you feel like, spraying wild claims in all directions, is exactly what’s wanted. Look at Terry Eagleton in the LRB, saying God is the ground of all being, the condition of the possible, and whatever else popped into his head; look at Chris Hedges doing the same thing in a debate with Sam Harris; that’s what they do – they just say stuff, they don’t need to make it coherent or reasonable. On the contrary, often the goal seems to be to say the exact opposite of the truth. Humbler people are content to say things that are obviously not true, like ‘religion is interpretation by definition’.

    That kind of thing is what’s wanted. There’s a market for it, in short. It doesn’t get picked up at the editing stage for the same reason the horrors in Stephen King novels don’t get picked up at the editing stage.

  26. I agree with what Jeremy says, Ophelia. And I agree on the fact that it should be pointed out. But I don’t agree with the way he did it. If we are talking about academic material, I think a hard reaction would have a moral duty. But here we are not talking about academic stuff. I think it’s got to do with the same reason why Richard Dawkins and company are so highly criticised by theist people: it’s not atheism in itself the problem, but the way it is depicted. I just don’t think it is a good strategy for spreading ideas, considering the way this world spins. Then I might be wrong.

  27. I think just a little more attention ought to be paid to context here. As I understand it, Aslan is doing something extremely daring and admirable in this book…arguing that Islam is actually much more open and pluralistic and less sexist than usually thought. As I understand it, being an expositor of Islam is a very dangerous thing to do for a living…it can literally cost you your life.

    Sure, he may not be clear and precise about the meaning of “true,” but maybe he doesn’t want to be. He’s trying to be taken seriously by the west and by the Muslim world. What an extremely difficult task! So by all means, there are loads of awful, sloppy books and careless editors, but personally I’d cut this guy some slack.

  28. Atque — “divulgative”? That’s a new one on me. Do you mean something along the lines of “ordinary,” “general,” “popular,” “vernacular”?

  29. Jean, I understand your point, but isn’t that a way of patronizing him or being condescending? In other words, texts about Islam are exempted from normal standards of rigorous thought. What if Aslan were a member of some ultra-fundamentalist, racist, rightwing sect in Mississippi or of a Zionist, Orthodox Jewish sect that calls for annexing the whole Middle East in order to re-establish a mythical Kingdom of David (all myths being true), would you be so generous with his lack of logic?

  30. Amos,

    Yes, but now you’re changing the context–the situation, the goals of the writer–and I’m saying precisely that the actual context matters.

    It seems like this guy’s trying to be a peacemaker. So he’s nothing like the racist Christan or land-grabbing Jew you describe. He’s trying to help two groups of people get along–westerners and muslims. If that takes saying all myths are “true” maybe the unclarity isn’t so terrible.

    In fact, you can express that sentiment in sentences that make pretty good sense. Myths aren’t all factual, obviously, because Jesus can’t both be the son of God (Christianity) and not the son of God (Islam)…but they could all contain some sort of wisdom, or be profoundly meaningful to some group of people, or…etc. etc. Which isn’t what “true” means–I know, I know–but might be what he’s using it to mean.

    Yeah, it would be mushy stupid drivel if someone resorted to it in a debate with Richard Dawkins, or the like, but I think in this context I get it, and it serves a purpose.

    So much for holding forth on a book I haven’t read. Maybe I should–have been looking for a good book about Islam for a long time.

  31. I haven’t read that book but I remember a true story I read on “Reader’s digest” about killing of his own daughter with his son,by stabbing many times to make sure her death because the girl fall in love with a christian.They are muslim in Jordan and its shocking ,why they have to kill and reason out illogically that bec. ,the daughter put the father into shame ?

  32. blog.talkingphilosophy.com » Another world record - pingback on June 19, 2007 at 7:36 am
  33. fazzle, As I have been posting on a goodly number of sites on subjects serious for some years now and have never been accused of obscurity, convolution, epilepsy, or obliqueness , may I suggest the possibility that the problem rests with the reader, you, and not the poster, me.

    Your attempt to correct me on Jeremy’s post falls short. You say the he does not attribute religion as the cause of Aslam’s errors. Neither did I, but if you read Jeremy’s post in total you may spot the barest hint of what i take to be his feelings on the subject. Bad thinking of course can have many parents, I daresay as you have shown.

    The point I make in general, which happily you seemed to have stumbled on, however fleetingly, is that unjustified faith is not the property of only the religious. Why it took you so long is a matter for your reflection, not mine.

    With some degree of license you might say that the world is divided into two camps, those who have faith in the supernatural and those who have faith in our new god, government. Please hold on to the first five words of this paragraph as you seem prone to a congenital confusion and i can’t do this twice.

    So it is the problem, as sometimes it is, of faith that I raise, not the faith one may have of one’s favorite sports club or faith in one’s mother-in-law, but the faith of these two occasionally warring factions. You might say, and again in general, that my grasshopperish post was, if not a plea, a reminder that a little modesty is called for all around.

    As the lengthy Spencer quote leads right into my comments your inability to connect the two is both puzzling and disappointing. Maybe next time you should try reading it upside down. Not so oddly Jeremy seemed to have little difficulty comprehending it, make of that what you will.

    Sorry old chum but your repeated comments on the arcane nature of my posts wore thin. I only hope it wasn’t motivated by pretentiousness.

  34. Ops…Sorry Doug! I can’t possibly check all the words I use in a dictionary. Or perhaps I should. Anyway, “divulgative” means vulgarized, something not written for an academic audience but for a general one. The “vulgus” in Latin is the common people. One learns from one’s own mistakes: thanks for pointing it at me.

  35. Oh dear, does that mean I’m not going on the Christmas card list after all?
    I was hopeful that my second post might have remidied the critical errors of the first. After all, I had questioned unjustly and inanely both the substance and the style of your writing, which evidently puts me in a minority of one among bloggers. It was hastily composed (I do have a boss to satisfy, so as much as I’d like to I can’t sit and cogitate on one of your posts for 30 minutes – although some of you geniuses probably only need 30 seconds) and unjustified criticism, although your reception of it suggests that its good humoured tone has been interpreted in favour of a darker and more caustic one.

    You should spare me not a moment’s thought John T. Or you can bask in the knowledge that I’m a fallible fool. O! The irony and hypocrisy of commiting sloppy thinking on a blog condemning sloppy thinking….eurghh! Such is the crimson shade of my humiliation that I’ll be forced to wear sunglasses for the next six months – although they will come in handy the next time I’m dazzled by one of your posts.

    Cordially yours, old chum…

  36. No problema, Atque. Me enseñaste una palabra nueva (si puedo tutearte).

  37. johnt — You handle the rapier beautifully.

    fazzle — Snappy comeback.

  38. fazzle, If i didn’t put you on my Christmas card list, [ aka Xmas] it’s only because I thought you not interested in holidays founded in superstition and myth.

    And if you suffer the crimson shade of humiliation you will need sunglasses only if you live in front of a mirror.

    I am willing to second guess myself on my response, I may even find myself teetering on the verge of remorse. Let me smoke a pack of cigarettes and rest on this.

    As Scarlett O’Hara said when Rhett Butler ran away with Hattie McDaniels,” Tomorrow is another day, and it can’t be worse than this one”.

  39. Since, Jesus,Mother Mary,Gautam Buddha,Muhammad who really exists on earth and because of there examples in life and faith the Christianity,Muslim,Buddhism is founded. From this examples Aslan maybe is trying to say this is the fact myth.
    On the other hand,Greek,Norse,Roman, and Celtic Mythologies are which refers to the stories of god’s and goddes who never exist on earth but just be regarded as stories of supernatural.From this examples I dont agree then that all myths are facts.

  40. Phil – in the magazine, we can only review 20 books a year and we like them to be very recently published ones. One point of being a magazine is that it is as contemporary as possible. An older book may be very worth while, but in a magazine one filter is what’s new. The blog is much more free and easy: we can discuss anything. So we weren’t being haughty in turning down the review.

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