9. 19 October 1985


Dear Nancy,

All very interesting and lively. Just two points about my comments as quoted. You can't choose among testaments, you accept the package (at least that's what I meant to say, not 'passage'!). Today's Times offers an instant illustration – both Elijah and Elisha obliged with an occasional raising from the dead, just like Jesus. It was presumably an old Jewish custom, though they do seem rather to have lost the knack of it since. Just think how useful it would have been in the Six Day War, for example. That brings me, with a rather deft turn, to the next point, namely the complaint that you don't address yourself to my difficulties. What I mean by 'my' difficulties arethose I'm pointing out; for example that the raising of the dead by Elijah and Elisha are obviously just typical Jewish fiction and myth, or whatever is the latest polite name for lies and nonsense. The atheist's main difficulty is the utter fantasy of postulating something or other doing something or other to the universe (matter, energy, space, time) from somewhere or other outside it: moving it about, meddling with it, loving it, sending a son into it, having said son tortured and killed in it, getting him back again as good as new, and so forth. Those are a small selection from among the zillion difficulties generated by this zany hypothesis. The main difficulty is that anyone in their senses should believe a word of it, not even (least of all) the word there allegedly was in the beginning.

Love as ever, E.