Two interesting and seemingly unrelated topics today. Following the hyperlinks above will take you to “explanations” of one of the strangest things ever to have happened on 9 February. Have a look and then come back.
Looking back with 20/20 hindsight, it is easy to imagine that there is a perfectly rational explanation for this phenomenon. Like present day crop circles it can be explained, though no-one is very sure how. Shame no-one thought to take a picture of the footprints. Of course, no dice – photography was in its infancy – then again, perhaps the snow melted too quickly.
But, what about the opposite view? Maybe the devil did decided to go walkabout in Devon in February. Why not? If you believe in God – then you should believe in the Devil as well. Religion essentially being a matter of faith it's too easy to dismiss our ancestors as a bunch of bumbling nincompoops. Perhaps their faith was simply tempered by their lack of exposure to the modern world and therefore more “pure”.
Fact is: there are a lot of things that science just can't explain. Scientists would add the proviso, “yet” - but; nevertheless, things that we don't know about and can't explain still have the power to inspire, amuse, interest and, sometimes, frighten us. It's part of being human.
I'm doing a poor job of paraphrasing that scion of concise thinking and precise speech, Donald Rumsfeld:
Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know.
This so reminds me of that classic (now, how shall I describe this? Remember in Forest Gump when Forest is in the White House receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor? LBJ asks him where he got shot and Forest replies, “In the butt – tocks”) clenching moment in Groundhog Day where the character played by Bill Murray is fairly well along his own road to Damascus (in pursuit of the character played by Andie McDowell) and he turns his oft-repeated and lackadaisical report about the appearance of Punxsutawney Phil (the groundhog) into a sermon about winter and wasted opportunities (including a reference to Chekov) - - hey, is this sentence getting a bit too long and convoluted for you? - come on – stick with me - - and the cameraman, played by a dorky-looking bald-headed guy ( the actor, Chris Elliot, who makes a complete fool of himself chasing a girl called Nancy Taylor (played by Marita Gerahety ((ain't the internet wonderful!)) later in the film; turns to Bill and says, “Man, you moved me - you really moved me!”
So, it could; therefore, and, actually probably ought to be, described as “A Forest Gump kind of butt-clenching Groundhog Day moment”. See how easy that was! Way to go Don baby!
This covers the Devil's footprints in Devon pretty well – thanks Mr Secretary for your insight.
Before I go I must just reprint one of the most thoughtful and coherent analysis of the current conflab regarding the Danish cartoons of The Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him).
Local Norwich Muslim lad writes in the Eastern Daily Press:
Let's Forgive the Ignorant
How do we separate religion from myth? Religion is founded on faith. So Islam believes that prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him) was imageless.
The reason for this belief is to avoid idol worship of him. We also believe in the virgin Mary's immaculate conception, in the prophet Isaiah, Jesus and in Moses.
They all came to preach religion through revelation. God spoke to them and they were to guide the human race to the right path. Islam, Christianity and Judaism all belong to the biblical group and believe that God is one.
Of course, no amount of taunting or ridiculing of God can cause any harm. Can a mountain be destroyed by a fly? In all times, nations and their people have committed crimes and cruelty to religions and they will continue to do so. They can be pitied. If flames of hatred spread because of some childish publicity then those insignificant people will win.
All the prophets have gone through worse and suffered and tried to bring faith and peace to the human race. A few pictures and writings will not affect them and their preachings at all. So let's pray and forgive those who have committed sin because they are ignorant.
They should be punished but in a civilized way. Bloodshed, destruction and anger are not the religious way.
Right on, bro!