Snake skeleton. Seems to be laughing, doesn't it?
When I was about ten years old, I had an epiphany. I was in a museum, that of Natural History in South Kensington, I suppose, and was looking at the skeleton of a snake.
It struck me how similar it was to my own skeleton. It was, to be sure, no more
than a skull and a long ribcage, but I realised that the snake and I were quite closely related. We were 'constructed' on the same basic principles - literally brothers under the skin (or scales, in our case).
Why a snake's skeleton, rather than, say, a gorilla's should move me in that manner, I really don't know. But there we are.
It was also, I believe, the start of my skepticism about religion as I knew it.
On the face of it, there is no obvious connection, but connections are sometimes
Later on, at the Big Boys' Catholic school, we were taught that snakes, along
with gorillas and cats and dogs and cods, would not be going to Heaven.
No, not even Major, my Granny's saintly old Moggie, who was my best pal.
Nor, for that matter, would Protestants, Hindus or Jews (Moslems simply didn't
exist for us). In fact, snakes, who had no chance at all of wriggling under the pearly gates, still had a better chance than Jews.
Jews had had their opportunity, and blown it years ago..
And those of us who persisted in doing newspaper delivery rounds on Sundays wouldn't be going either. We'd be consigned to the snake pit amid a seething and chaotic concatenation of Cobras and Calvinists and Cohens.
The notion that only humans merit eternal reward seemed to me then, and still
does, insufferable arrogance on our part.
Are we really to believe that God, over many millions of years, created untold billions of creatures, the vast majority never even set eyes upon by any puny human being, to live and die for no apparent reason?
If we humans (even the Jews) do have immortal souls that Pigs and Pythons and
Parrots lack, at what point were they inserted?
None of this idle speculation, is, of course, even remotely, an argument against
the existence of God.
But it does make one consider, if in fact He really does exist, what an odd sort of a chap he must be...
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