Thursday, 24 February 2011

More Paula Kirby

More on the topic of Paula Kirby's visit to Oxford yesterday evening.  (I promise not to go on about it for ever!)  I had the pleasure of a short chat with her during the interval and we discussed why it was so interesting to keep talking about faith after we had lost that faith.  Maybe I will grow out of it in the end, but not yet, and Paula clearly hasn't either.

Paula's big question is one that fascinates me too.  What is it about people that makes them susceptible to belief in God?  Certainly it is not a question of intelligence.  We agreed that we both know people who are intellectual giants but who still maintain a faith in the supernatural.  Indeed what is it that makes it possible for an individual to hold both views in one lifetime, and to hold those views very strongly?

I asked her in the 'Question and Answer' session how she had taken the big step from ('just') losing faith to wanting to stand and talk about it in public.  I empathised with her reply that she likes to have an audience and indeed I enjoy that myself (as long as it is on a topic that I know well).  I love to have the opportunity to speak to a group of visitors at work and to evangelise about Fusion research.  I have not yet had the chance to evangelise atheism.

But on further questioning how the opportunity to become such a well known public figure arose, I was interested that it was at least partly through her contributions to  Richard Dawkins wrote to her saying that he enjoyed her writing, and opportunities gradually opened up after that.  You could see the obvious delight on her face as she explained "Just imagine! I'm getting fan mail from my favorite author!"

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