November 14, 2001

"There's Hawkeye and Trapper John back in Korea. I never did like those
guys. They fancied themselves super-decent and super-tolerant, but
actually had no use for anyone who was not exactly like them. What they
were was super-pleased with themselves. In truth, they were the real
bigots, and phony at that. I always preferred Frank Burns, the stuffy,
unpopular doc, a sincere bigot." -
Walker Percy, The Thanatos Syndrome

"But when he invited me to serve Mass routinely, I refused. I told him
the truth: that since I no longer was sure what I bleieve, didn't think
much about religion, participation in Mass would seem to be deceitful.
He nodded cheerfully, as if he already knew.
'Don't worry,' he said, doing a few isometrics in the hall, pushing
and pulling with his hands. 'It is to be expected. It is only necessary
to wait and to be of good heart. It is not your fault.'
'How is that, Father? I ask him curiously.
'You have been deprived of faith. All of us have. It is part of the
'Deprived? How do you mean?'
'It is easy enough to demonstrate," he says, shrugging first one
shoulder high, then the other.
'Sure. Just consider. Even if the truths of religion could be proved to
you one, two, three, it wouldn't make much difference, would it? One
hundred percent of astronomers have discovered that the universe was
created from nothing. The explanation is obvious but it does not avail.
Who can handle it? It does not signify. It is boring to think of.
Ninety-seven percent of astronomers are still atheists. Do you blame
them? They are also boring. The only thing more boring would be if the
ninety-seven percent all converted, right? It follows that there must be
some other force at work, right?" -
Walker Percy, The Thanatos Syndrome

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