If it's so obvious. .

This is just one of those things that when you run across it you say to yourself, “I have to share this with someone.” Not knowing where else to put it, I decided to post it here.

I don’t read a lot, but when I do I tend to watch out for insightful quotes that I can keep for later. Currently I am reading “Going Postal” by Terry Pratchett. The genre is British humor/fantasy - similar to Douglas Adams or even Monty Python.

At this point in the story, the main character is trying to keep from getting his photo taken. As a last ditch effort, he claims it is against his religion. . .

“'And you believe that?” said [the reporter]. ‘Really?’
'Er, no. No. Of course not. Not as such. But. . . but you can’t treat religion as a sort of buffet, can you? I mean, you can’t say, ‘Yes please, I’ll have some of the Celestial Paradise and a helping of the Divine Plan but go easy on the kneeling . . . It’s table d’hote or nothing, otherwise. . . well, it could get silly.’"

Part of Terry Pratchett’s charm is the way he points out the absurd and ridiculous in humanity in general and religion specifically. What I don’t understand is, if it’s so obvious to a secular novelist who pokes fun at a variety of religions that “cafeteria-ism” is absurd, then why can’t sincere church-going people not see it?

Great quote!

Serious Pratchett fan here! :thumbsup: He is very clever, as you mention, in poking holes in hot air balloons. While there are a few plot twists or jokes that may be inappropriate, there are lines drawn in the sand as well-- the character Death has some of the most powerful moral lines in all the novels.

And, of course, the venerable and well-beloved wizards: :smiley:

*“And there’s the sign, Ridcully,” said the Dean. “You have read it, I assume. You know? The sign which says ‘Do not, under any circumstances, open this door’?”

“Of course I’ve read it,” said Ridcully. “Why d’yer think I want it opened?”

“Er … why?” said the Lecturer in Recent Runes.

“To see why they wanted it shut, of course.”*

As to why some people don’t see what’s right under their noses, I think that familiarity with something dulls the mind to the obvious. Oversimplification, I know. :stuck_out_tongue: Or maybe some people don’t want to realize that something’s wrong and they have to fix it.

I’m going to derail this thread now and talk about Pratchett.
Does anyone else think that he’s at his worst when he tries to make a Giant Point? I can’t read later Pratchett except for Rincewind and the wizards because most of the stuff written after, let’s pick Witches Abroad as an arbitrary point because Small Gods was where it started to stink, seems to be less about the parody and more about the satire. And satire is boring, because it’s more about the Giant Point than the humor.

((I also think I’m the only person who doesn’t appreciate “A Modest Proposal” for this reason.))

And to answer your question - because people are a lot of the time very stupid.

Calling people stupid was not very charitable. I’ve stopped reading science fiction for the most part, since it has headed off in an unGodly direction. Yes, the books from the early 1960s and before were better written and more interesting.

Cafeteria religion, so called, is only people observing what others are doing for the most part, and picking a Commandment here, a verse there, and leaving the rest. Actions do speak louder than words and when some people see their neighbors shacking up, having multiple divorces, and generally carrying on as if the Bible exists for an hour on Sunday only, and has no relevance to the rest of the week, what do you expect?

God bless,
Ed

Yeah, Small Gods was interesting but had a very different feel to it. After that I enjoyed his work much less. Moving Pictures hardly seemed like it was written by the same author.

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