the peel of the banana is always longer than the banana itself

"From about half past ten in the evening until about half past twelve, FIRE - God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, not of the philosophers and scholars. Certitude, certitude. Heartfelt joy, peace. God of Jesus Christ. My God and thy God. Thy God shall be my God."
These are the words that Blaise Pascal had sewn into the lining of his coat, following a religious vision in 1654. He continually transferred this piece of parchment to whatever he was wearing throughout the remainder of his life, so that he would never forget the certainty of his epiphany.

Bertrand Russell, if I'm not mistaken, describes in Why I'm Not a Christian having a similar religious experience as a young man. However, he wrote it off as lucid dreaming (perhaps he was a bit heavy on the absinth? Who knows), and went on to become probably the most profiled atheist of the twentieth century. His take on the whole thing is this:
There is a story of a man who got the experience from laughing gas; whenever he was under its influence, he knew the secret of the universe, but when he came to, he had forgotten it. At last, with immense effort, he wrote down the secret before the vision had faded. When completely recovered, he rushed to see what he had written. It was "A smell of petroleum prevails throughout."
I've been thinking about these two quotes all day, for some reason. Maybe it's because Russell actually won the Nobel Prize in literature (which I mentioned in a previous post) for the work cited above: A History of Western Philosophy. This not to put down christianity, but to say that we should question even our most strongly held beliefs every day.


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