Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Our need to live in an ordered world, a world whose origin, destiny and rules we can understand, is not a temporary, historically relative whim; it is an enduring part of our constitution as human beings, and the entire history of religion – an eternal aspect of our culture – is there to demonstrate this. In claiming that this need arises from a feeling of weakness, Nietzsche was in perfect agreement with Christian tradition, and probably with religious tradition as a whole. The crucial conviction we find in religious experience, a conviction that recurs repeatedly in various sacred books, may be summed up in one word: alibi – ‘elsewhere’.

Throughout its history, religion has told us that we are ‘elsewhere’. This implies that we are in exile, and that we have a home where we belong. To be elsewhere is our permanent condition on earth.

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