Monday, May 21, 2012

The question for the BBC discussion program this morning was "Is there a difference between a religion and a cult", with representatives from both in attendance. Plus an Atheist or two. Though the latter didn't get much air-time. Needless to say, the question wasn't answered and not much light was shone on anything. I wasn't too surprised to learn that all cult representatives feel there's nothing wrong with their beliefs and activities. But I was surprised to learn there's a cult/religion called Jews for Jesus. Essentially, like Christians, these folk believe that Jesus was the prophesied Jewish messiah and so are a Christian sect. Understandably, they're not too popular with old-time Jews. Overall, I didn't find the discussion as funny as I'd hoped. Though it was certainly amusing to hear the representative of the Raelian sect/religion talk about UFOs, aliens and mankind's key role in the creation of the universe. Click here for a full description of this loopy creed.

I suspect I've cited this before but never mind. I came across a book on Galicia tonight at the house of some friends. It's entitled Spanish Galicia and, as it was written back in 1922, it gives the opportunity to contrast Galicia as it is now with Galicia as it was 90 years ago. Likewise literary styles. You can read it online or download it here. The author is Aubrey Bell, by the way.

And another book on the same shelf was "Call of the Camino", which was written rather more recently and which has garnered some pretty positive reviews on Amazon. The author is Robert Mullen, who's an American living (Why?) in Scotland. Having only flicked through it tonight, I can't express an opinion myself. But it looks good.

I'm very relaxed about - indeed, I enjoy - the ability of English to either absorb words from other languages or to coin a new noun or verb from a pre-existing word. Sometimes, though, I wonder whether they deserve to stay in use. So it is with the words remode and remoding. A British politician managed to get both of these in one sentence on Saturday - We're trying to reroute, remode, retime and reduce our travel, so I'm remoding at the moment. There's a prize for the first reader to translate this sentence accurately. You can hear the politician utter these words here. At 1m.10 secs into the video.

Finally . . . I found another large pile of bird droppings on the side of my car yesterday. And this morning I saw a large snail had somehow managed to slither its way to what was clearly an attractive meal opportunity. I found this impressive, as the snail can only have got to the car's bodywork by first climbing up the tyre. Which took some working out in a brain the size of the snail's. Nonetheless, I knocked it off, back into the road. But at least I didn't tread on it. On the grounds that it might be a member of the Raelian sect.


Dennis said...

You can opt out of a religion without a negative consequence. You can't opt out of a cult without a negative consequence, one that is often extreme, which goes towards a more perfect definition.

Colin said...

Quite. But a sect leader wouldn't accept this definition, of course.

Kate said...

It looks as though there may soon be a second book from Robert Mullen - he also writes a blog which can be found at

Colin said...

Thanks, Kate.