Friday, April 10, 2009


Where do I stand in the religion debate? It's easier to say where I don't stand.

Not in the Church of Atheism led by fundamentalist preacher Dawkins and fellow missionaries. Nor in the Church of Self-Idolatry frequented by insecure over and under achievers. Nor in the patchouli-scented New Age Temple of Anything Goes. Nor with the EveryWordWrittenHereIsTrue scripture-shouting Bible-thumpers. Nor with the spiritual-but-not-religious consumers and purveyors of magical recipes for getting everything you want. Nor with the guitar-strumming popsterising church huggy-muggers. Nor with the unbending Orthodoxydon't-ists. Nor with the mockers and takers of the Name in vain. Nor with the counters of angels on pinheads or eggheads. I could go on. But where do I stand?

If you've seen my God Interviews you've guessed that I'm a believer. But what does this mean, believer? Do I worship a balding cartoon character wearing a white t-shirt stamped "God"? Do I use humour to avoid the whole tricky issue? Maybe. I know that I believe in God and I know that this belief is not wishful thinking. I don't know why I know this. For me, 'Bible' and 'God' are not synonymous. Maybe 'religion' and 'God' are not synonymous either. I don't know whether the God I believe in features in the Bible or the Koran or the Torah or any other sacred book but none of them can either strengthen or weaken my belief. The faith I have seems not to depend on any of those traditions, including the fringe ones, which claim to have the last word on Divinity.

To celebrate this weekend, here is something I see as wholly holy inspiration. I had never heard of Donald Pass and luckily found him via a Google search for 'resurrection'.

Donald Bass at work

I am very impressed by his work and have no doubt he did experience what he relates here and in this video. You can see Blake and El Greco as influences but I think it may be that they shared similar mystical experiences rather than artistic styles. More paintings by Pass are here.

Donald Pass "Gabriel" watercolourpainting


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