With the headline “I create gods all the time and now I think one might actually exist” the Daily Mail distorts the content of its interview with Terry Pratchett.
There is a rumour going around that I have found God. I think this is unlikely because I have enough difficulty finding my keys, and there is empirical evidence that they exist.
But it is true that in an interview I gave recently I did describe a sudden, distinct feeling I had one hectic day that everything I was doing was right and things were happening as they should.
It seemed like the memory of a voice and it came wrapped in its own brief little bubble of tranquillity. I’m not used to this.
Experiencing a feeling of transcendence is REALLY not the same as a belief in god. Pratchett himself is aware of this.
For a moment, the world had felt at peace. Where did it come from?
I don’t think I’ve found God, but I may have seen where gods come from
Most non-believers have experienced transcendence. Feeling awe at the wonders of the universe doesn’t necessarily equate with belief in a divine being. Pratchett’s a fantasy writer. He earns his living by dabbling in myth and metaphor. Throughout the Diskworld series, he plays with the ideas of gods and religion. He treats them as any other component of his imaginary universe.
Pratchett has some sort of brain disease (possibly Alzheimer’s but he has had an alternative diagnosis.) A voice in his head sounds more like a neurological symptom than a religious conversion. If the voice manifested as an instruction to wash his hair in chip fat and stand on a window ledge hollering, the Daily Mail would hardly present this as proof of a divinity.
The whole tenor of the Daily Mail presentation is to suggest that Terry Pratchett has had some sort of religious conversion, in the face of his own words. This is pretty absurd, and would hardly matter to anyone but himself, even if it were true.
The sleb-obsessed press, such as the Daily Mail, treats us as if we are under the spell of any remotely-famous people. Pratchett is a well-known non-believer. So the Daily Mail credits his beliefs or lack of them as somehow influencing the rest of the population. However, if Dawkins were to become a Russian Orthodox priest, it wouldn’t matter to the average non-believer. If the Archbishop of Canterbury were to become a Jain, millions of Anglicans wouldn’t suddenly follow him.