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« Some brief thoughts on Cornerstone, evangelical theology, and the "great Western heresy" | Main | Cornerstone Festival diary, day 1 »

July 12, 2009



That's an interesting point, about knowing religion only through books. Many people, religious or not, seem to think of a religion as being nothing but a set of clearly defined beliefs, which they can pick up by reading a book or the Wikipedia page. The better route is to get to know people in all their complexity and to see how their religion or irreligion gets expressed or worked out throughout their life. Then you get a sense of why people might believe or identify themselves with what on the surface might seem a bizarre set of ideas.


Read the Spinrad article. Very interesting - particularly the part about Vonnegut's envy of Sturgeon and Disch's envy of PKD, or the imagined PKD he carried around in his head, anyways. Spinrad's praise for Sturgeon and PKD was impressive, and I agree with his analysis of them and why they were great. I really wish Sturgeon was as well known as Vonnegut or even PKD. As Spinrad wrote: "But in the real world, in terms of empathy, psychological depth, conceptual brilliance, loving wisdom, and the ability to touch the human intellect, consciousness, and spirit, Theodore Sturgeon was a greater writer still."

And his suggestion that if Disch knew how people appreciated his work he wouldn't have killed himself is also very interesting. I recall Connie Willis praising one of Disch's short stories, and one of his poems appears in Garrison Keillor's compilation "Good Poems." So he had his fans.

matthew davis

I meant to reply to this awhile ago and forgot. Disch was raised Catholic, until he rejected it in hid mid-teens. It coloured his attitudes to many things, but is usually implicit. I think the best explanation of how Catholicism continues to affect attitudes of Catholic atheists in later life was in Robert Hughes's autobiography. Quite a few of the essays in Disch's "On SF" touch on faith and religion so you might find those interesting. Inflamatory is probably the best word for Disch's novel "The Priest" which does have its sf moments besides the horror and satire.

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