Six Modern Authors and Problems of Belief by Patrick Grant

By Patrick Grant

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Over and against God he sees the world: not simply the creatures, but the realm of hard objects, the extended reality of the new materialists, which men so readily idolise and in which they can become disastrously engrossed. The dramatic exploitations of pleasure and pain, the insistence on not relinquishing the image of the cross, the appeals to astonishment and horror, are passionate assertions of a traditional spirituality stressing the theocentric in face of a modem materialist self-sufficiency already well set to ignore it.

Mr Tench said. ' The little man seemed to evade the question, but then as if some BELIEF IN MYSTICISM: ALDOUS HUXLEY 37 explanation were required: 'I was just looking,' he said. ' 'To Vera Cruz,' Mr Tench said. ' 36 The suspense comes from us not kowing the stranger's identity while picking up the ominous signs. The priest cannot quite disguise himself, or the fact that he is fugitive. But he is vulnerable because so open to inadvertent self-betrayal: 'my God a pretty one' might possibly sound devotional, but to take it that way is off the markthe response of a man wearied by vigilance, at once too finely-tuned, yet dulled in his perception of normality.

Yet the world of images is also the world of suffering humanity - the realm of faith and the cross which Fr Benet had insisted must be recalled in a civilisation increasingly bent, with the advent of scientific materialism, on the reification of objects and people alike. The cross, after all, signifies compassion for suffering, and although Huxley lamented the negative historical results of the Christian worship of a slaughtered God, in a way he did not refuse the cross himself. In some sense throughout his later career, the intellectual and mystic who held the cross in special abhorrence had also to be the suffering participant, willing to carry it.

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