Tuesday, 26 April 2016

A Christian And A Mithraist

Poul and Karen Anderson, The King Of Ys: Roma Mater (London, 1989), p. 23.

Maximus: You are pagan.
Gratillonius: Sir, I do not worship Jupiter, if that's what you mean.
Maximus: But Mithras. Which is forbidden. For your soul's good, understand. You'll burn forever after you die, unless you take the Faith.

Maximus goes on to describe unChristian belief as "obstinate," as if belief were a choice. We still have these problems with many Christians:

(i) belief in the damnation of unbelievers;

(ii) an inability to discuss belief with unbelievers except on the assumption that the belief is true which, of course, an unbeliever does not accept!

(i) Belief becomes the self-referential subject matter of belief: "I believe that it is necessary to believe..." And the motive can be entirely selfish: if you do not believe, then you are damned.

(ii) Three men, A, B and C, are surrounded by an impenetrable fog. A thinks that they are at point X on the map whereas B doubts this and C is convinced that, wherever else they may be, they are not at X. If there were a D, then he might think that they were at point Y; E might think that the map is inaccurate etc. But let's just stay with A, B and C. Instead of first settling the issue of their location, A merely says, "Because we are at X, we must proceed north from here." When he is reminded that he has not yet persuaded either B or C that they are at X, he looks at them without apparent comprehension and then merely repeats, "If we proceed south from X, then we fall into a pit..." Eventually, B and C must strike out on their own.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I've already in the other blog, where this piece originally appeared, that Maximus' method of arguing was the wrong one. The thing to do was to carefully draw out the Mithraist, asking him to explain his beliefs. And, then, Maximus should have been just as careful to explain why he believed in Christianity.