Friday, 9 January 2009

Important Anniversaries in 2009

Now, this year marks two important anniversaries: on February 12th we have the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin (indeed, 2009 also marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of his 'On The Origin of Species' (actually, that's not its full title, but it's long enough to be getting on with)); while on July 10th, John Calvin would be celebrating his 500th birthday, were he but still around, and (perhaps more significantly) were he the type to celebrate, which seems not entirely likely.

We know that WhyNotSmile never passes up an opportunity to get with the times, so both of these anniversaries will be duly noted, and appropriate action will be taken throughout the year.

The first thing I will do (not necessarily first as in I will do this before the second thing, or first as in most important, just first as in the first thing I'm mentioning here) is to read 'On The Origin Of Species'. I have had it sitting on my bookshelf for some years now, right next to 'The Blind Watchmaker' (by our friend Richard Dawkins, written during one his more reflective periods and therefore Quite Good); I've never managed to read more than the first few pages. Much like many similar things, 'The Origin' promises more than it delivers, and in fact, compared to how interesting you think it's going to be, it's actually deathly dull. But I shall read it, dammit, and I'll tell you how it goes.

The second thing I will do is to listen to John Calvin's 'The Institutes of the Christian Religion' in audiobook form, as offered (as a daily download) by Princeton Theological Seminary - not that this is going well; I'm already 3 days behind and it's only 9th January. And of course WhyNotSmile loves nothing more than being completely out of her depth in theological debate; so far we're only on the preface, from which I have surmised that Calvin does not like:
1. The Pope
2. Priests
3. Catholicism in general
although I admit that that might be a misreading on my part and that there is likely something deeper going on.

Thankfully Virtual Methodist is always on hand to offer a more... um... less intellectually taxing version of events, and has come upon a rather splendid series entitled 'The Theology of Calvin and Hobbes', so if it comes to it I'll just read that, regurgitate it and pretend I got it from 'The Institutes'.

Further updates will be published as we go.

1 comment:

Virtual Methodist said...

"les intellectually taxing" - not sure whether that is a compliment, insult, or a simple statement of fact!
ps "On the Origin..." is almost as dull as the institutes, and fundamentally wrong in places as Darwin didn't understand how heredity worked, and dawkins "Blind Watchmaker..." was, in many ways, the shape of things to come... arguing against the design proof of the existence of God, and setting in train the reaction that produced the whole "intelligent design" approach to cosmology and evolution which is really creationism by another name and time-frame (Although Dawkins could never resist a poke at religion, as with his concluding "Meme" chapter in the revised edition of the selfish gene).