In spite of the timely arrival of Storm Rachel I was having a wonderful day. The fuse box for my electric shower got repaired, there were the makings in the fridge of a delicious chicken and sweetcorn soup, and I was meeting someone wonderful for Fika down on the Liffey. On my Twitter feed, to top it all off, @AstroSamantha shared a gorgeous picture of the Sinai Peninsula from the International Space Station.


Rarely does life seem this good. In my own little world things were going beautifully, I was happy, and Sam Cristoforetti’s extra-terrestrial photography of the setting of one of the greatest achievements of human literature – the Exodus Story – had me thinking of the wonder of space flight; one of the greatest achievements of human civilisation. Our little rock orbiting the sun is a true treasure in the heavens, and my little corner of it all was looking and smelling good. Then I watched Nigel Farage on Fox News with Sean Hannity – odious creatures the pair of them.


As a species we have come so far. We produce art and literature, music that can lift us to the celestial rings and bring us, sobbing to our knees. From the discovery of fire, to the innovation of the wheel, through the invention of the steam engine, we have taken ourselves up into space. Forget the Tower of Babel; we have become like gods. Marty McFly’s 2015 is pale in comparison to ours, and yet in our 2015 we have the narrow-mindedness and angry-villager mentality of characters like Farage and Hannity in positions of power – shaping politics and public opinion. It is difficult not to despair at the realisation that we have heavy-knuckled chimps thumping on the advanced technological command boards of our destiny.


More tribalistic fear-mongering; they condemn Sharia Law as though they have the slightest notion of what it is. I don’t really know what Sharia Law is, other than that it is some ill-defined and loosely codified agreement on Islamic ethics. In this regard it is not too different from Christian ethics, ecclesiastical canon law or Jewish Halakha. Deuteronomy 20:16-18 in the Torah contains the divine request for ethnic cleansing – an intrinsic component of Jewish and Christian scripture. Does this mean that Christianity and Judaism are religions of violence? No, it’s simply the nature of ancient texts. It’s exactly the same with Homer and the Qur’an. What makes these ancient texts sacred texts is that they form the reflective basis of a living community in the modern world – communities with very modern practices and ethics. I think that I’m banging my head against a wall though. Even when we invent time travel there will still be a troglodyte like Farage fiddling with the buttons.

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