Prelude

Gravityisahat and Cancer without god. Chris Newell’s web ramblings.

This site is about me and saying and showing whatever I like.

…but there are currently three me’s.

The personal one (www.gravityisahat – this one), the professional one (www.chrisnewell.eu) and the poetry one (www.fleeting.eu). Links to the other two are above.

…there is really another one – the poorly one – that one features a lot and may give you a clue to the other domain I own – cancerwithoutgod.com

I started out wanting to keep the three me’s separate. I was worried in case the personal, poetic and professional me’s ended up prejudicing each other. Now I don’t care.

In 2014 I was diagnosed with cancer. As a consequence my online professional presence paused. This personal blog became an opportunity to randomly rant on my interests and obsessions and this helped me feel better. It still does. Be warned this is neither a reassuring-sentiment – I-won-my-battle-with-cancer-so-can-you blog, nor am I setting out to be funny in adversity (I am not funny so don’t expect it). The reason for writing this is it gives me pleasure – nothing else.

My cancer.

I am very lucky – not to say smug. I am loved. I am not in pain. I have the NHS and thus I have excellent doctors and nurses to look after me. I have a comfortable life. Not so luckily I have cancer plus a rare additional disorder caused by the cancer. It can be treated but not cured. From this position I believe I am able to write a blog with the inflammatory title “cancer without god”. Had some of these things not been so, I am not sure I would be doing this. In other words my situation is very specific and is not intended to serve as a model or a recipe for anybody else.  Should readers miss this  point, they are bound to get very cross with me for presumptuously setting forth a treatise on ‘living with cancer without god’ that has some sort of general application beyond me, my specific circumstances and my cancer. I am not.

Why without God?

Since being a teenager I have felt strongly anti-religious. God struck me as a kind of bully who asserted themselves over the less strong without any justification. Much like some of the teachers I encountered at primary school who would pull your ears (I had very big ones) just because they fancied it. This same group of ‘ear pullers’ always seemed to be the leading lights at the local church, Sunday school and scouts. Accordingly from four and half years old I had a strong sense of an underlying hypocrisy amidst the pews. This was reinforced by the emerging knowledge I had of my mothers childhood in the care of Catholic nuns – sadly you can guess the rest of the story. As I became older my distaste for religion became a consistent, but by no means particularly significant constant in my life. I was much more interested in opera than God. However in good times and bad times my conviction grew stronger that religion was a pretty bad thing. Happily this did not infect my relationship with religious people. I have always enjoyed the company of people with strong convictions and there is nothing I like better than to engage in one of those cyclic debates on the existence of god which get nobody anywhere but are really good exercise for the jaw. I think I can say with some pride that, so far at least, it is religious ideas that make me cross and not the people who hold such ideas. In the present international climate this view is under pressure and to be frank my fear is that I may turn into an anti-religious bigot like a certain Dawkins. Let me know if I do. For those that want to engage in scholarly debate on the existence of God I say, good luck and enjoy, but this is probably not the place so to do. This is a place where I am free to blurt out my prejudices and my unjustifiable ‘leaps of faith’ – yes ‘faith’ – I have used the ‘f’ word – whoops! This will be to a tiny audience consisting mainly of those kind friends and family I harangue into communicating using this blog. Through this blog they can keep up with my news and contribute comments –  we can interact. This artificial mode of communication and enforced partial retirement from public life has come about because my immune system is shot, I feel pretty tired, occasionally ill and certainly too grumpy to be arsed to have visitors – so I write, rather than see or speak.

Should the general public stumble on any of this, then I hope to discover at least some like-minded people who are prepared to declare a degree of militant atheism without flying off the handle or hating those who hold opposing views. People prepared to be honest about being ill with cancer, keen to avoid all the clichéd rejoinders – brave, inspirational, battle, victim etc and find writing stuff on “being ill with cancer and having scant regard for gods or religion” a fun thing to do. So please join in.

I expect to get a certain amount of abuse but to save us all time and effort – If you feel impelled to be abusive please provide me with abuse at a publishable standard and I will willingly re-post it. Writing a whole load of the sort of obscene bigotry,death threats etc, that haunts most atheist bloggers will simply mean you get banned from commenting, besides you will need to register to post. Strangely enough those popular condemnations to “burn in the fires of hell” also have little impact on atheist – So there bigots!

Along with me and my cancer I am interested in that most absurd side of the vocal arts, opera, as well as computer voices, telephones and ventriloquism.

‘Gravity is a hat’ is a schoolboy answer to a test question; what is gravity? It was also the name of our family rock band. Oh Dear!!