Wednesday, 9 November 2011

More than fat talking dogs and meerkats!

I hate those annoying insurance adverts. The fat Churchill dog, the fatter Go Compare man, those talking Meerkats – they drive me up the wall, but even I have to admit that they are effective. Sadly, the product they are selling is lodged in our national consciousness.
Recent surveys show that more 11-16 year olds believe Churchill to be a fat talking dog who says ‘Oh Yes!’ than the leader of the wartime coalition who says ‘We will fight them on the beaches!’ Families have even been buying meerkats in specialist pet shops, but asking for refunds when they discover that they can’t actually be taught to speak like a parrot! Arrrrrrgh!

Tonight we are using another insurance slogan ‘Morethan’ to launch our Intro course. Morethan thankfully conjurs no images of operatic insurance salesmen or talking animals, but it does enable us to ask the honest question ‘Is there more than this to life?’
Thom Yorke, the influential singer songwriter of Radiohead featured in a recent Guardian interview. Asked about his ambitions, he said, ‘Ambitions for what? I thought that when I got to where I wanted to be everything would be different. I’d be somewhere else, it would all be white fluff with clouds. But then I got there and I’m still here…….I’m just filling the hole, that’s all anyone does…..the hole is still here’

We could dismiss Yorke’s comments as the angst of a successful man who should wake up and realise how good he’s got it. Perhaps your life has been the opposite, the things you’ve done not led to big breaks , but hardship? Whether we’re doing well and on top of life, or struggling with real issues, there is a nagging emptiness which shouts out the ‘morethan’ question.

Richard Dawkins and the new breed of strident atheists would have us ignore the ache. Cover it up, or fill it with some substitute. The recent bus advertising campaign from the British Humanist Society trumpeted, ‘There probably is no God, so stop worrying and enjoy your life!’
Is that the solution, ignore it and hope the question goes away? Or is there a more honest approach in actually asking the morethan question? Was Philosopher Blaise Pascal right all those years ago when he asserted that there is a ‘God shaped hole in each of us’?

Rather than ignoring the inner ache, or keep on running through the stitch, would it not be better for us to slow down and examine for once what the problem really is? Rather than feeding the need, pouring money, success, achievement, sex, food, into the gaping wound – why don’t we look for a new way, search for some truth which may ultimately satisfy?
Is there morethan this? In the words of the fat talking dog, ‘Oh Yes!’

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