And why aren’t we questioning the vicar’s daughter on how her faith influences her politics?
There is a tendency among the devoutly religious to venerate what to them seems “natural” – or God-given. But the story of religion is one of retreat in the face of science’s relentless advance.
There is a sense that, in recent years, novelists have formed part of a rearguard action in response to Richard Dawkins’s New Atheist consensus. Philip Maughan talks to Marilynne Robinson, Francis Spufford and Rowan Williams about God in literature.
To his surprise, Jonny Yaxley, a former landscaper, found he enjoyed the craftsmanship involved in preparing a perfect grave. And he liked learning about the lives of the deceased.
We are in a future that is mostly just like the present. This isn’t the world of The Jetsons: Peter and his wife Bea shop in Tesco, have a cat called Joshua, drive a regular old car and read the Daily Express.
The poppy hijabs have become a politically correct way of airing a suspicion that all Muslims are “basically terrorist sympathisers”. The wearing – or not wearing – of a patriotic hijab becomes a shrouded loyalty test.
Robinson’s trilogy set in small-town Christian America is more than great fiction – it is a political and ethical project.
John Gray should attack his ideas, not his character.
Less than a century ago Iraq’s ancient Jewish community made up a third of Baghdad’s population but is now estimated at no more than seven individuals.
Everyone seems to know that the moderate Muslim exists, but nobody seems to really agree on what he or she looks like, how he or she acts, behaves, what she believes in, how he or she practises.
His atheism is its own kind of narrow religion.
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