He said: “If you want my advice, go with what’s closest to home. Faith is ethereal, the practice of faith is cultural. If you become a Zoroastrian or a follower of Cao Dai, a marvellous Vietnamese Christianity that believes Muhammad, Moses, Louis Pasteur, Shakespeare, Lenin and Victor Hugo are all saints, then you’re going to have to learn a lot of stuff . . . and get over a whole lot of other stuff before you get to the good stuff and it’ll have very little to do with your soul.
“Weren’t you baptised into the Church of Scotland? I’d stick with Protestantism. Actually, I think it rather suits you . . .
‘God has all the best cakes‘ by AA Gill in The Sunday Times, 18/12/16
Solid practical advice that Gill received from an Irish Jesuit friend, who had failed to dissuade him from taking up religion.
I’ve never understood how fully paid-up subscribers to materialist values and the spirit of evidence-based enquiry, can buy into one or other of the world’s myriad theist systems. Each with its own, manifestly man-made narrative. Each imposing its own, obviously man-made rules.
But Gill, or his Jesuit pal, gives a clue. If you’ve got that urge for communal faith, then let your culture put in the legwork and take the package closest to home – institutional inanities and all. Because the package isn’t the point.