Posts Tagged ‘Belief in God’

Friedrich Nietzsche“[T]hat little hypocrites and half-crazed people dare to imagine that on their account the laws of nature are constantly broken–such an enhancement of every kind of selfishness to infinity, to impudence, cannot be branded with sufficient contempt. And yet Christianity owes it triumph to this pitiable flattery of personal vanity.”

–Friedrich Nietzsche, The Anti-Christ

Thomas Disch

“Chapter 3 was titled ‘Wash Your Own Brain’ and was about techniques you could use to start believing in God. Most of the techniques were based on methods of acting. . . .

“‘What our Puritan forebears failed to recognize,’ [Reverend] Van Dyke wrote,’ is the evangelical application of these insights. For if the way we become the kind of people we are is by pretending, then the way to become good, devout, and faithful Christians . . . is to pretend to be good, devout, and faithful. Study the role and rehearse it energetically. You must seem to love your neighbor no matter how much you hate his guts. . . . Eventually, saying makes it so.’

“He went on to relate the story of one of his parishioners, the actor Jackson Florentine . . . who had been unable to to believe in Jesus with a fervent and heartfelt belief until Reverend Van Dyke had made him pretend to believe in the Easter Bunny . . . The doubting actor prayed before a holographic picture of the Easter Bunny, wrote long confessional letters to him, and meditated on the various mysteries of his existence or nonexistence . . . until at last on Easter morning he found no less than one-hundred-forty-four brightly dyed Easter eggs hidden all over the grounds of his East Hampton estate. Having revived this ‘splinter of the Godhead,’ as Van Dyke termed it, it was a simple matter to take the next step and be washed in the Blood of the Lamb and dried with its soft white fleece.”

–from Thomas M. Disch‘s On Wings of Song

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(This, of course, has no bearing on Alcoholics Anonymous nor on its “fake it until you make it” method of developing belief in God. Any resemblance to “programs” living or dead is purely coincidental.)

PASCAL’S WAGER, n. A cunning stratagem based on the premise that God’s last name is “Ed,” his first name is “Special,” and He can’t tell the difference between lip service and belief.

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–from the revised and expanded edition of The American Heretic’s Dictionary, the best modern successor to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary