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The Spike or Victoria College Review 1942

IV — Religious Clubs


Religious Clubs

It is a pity that the modern world is no more able to discuss, or as Ramsey put it more precisely, "there is no discussable subject of the first order."

"I do not wish to maintain that there never has been anything to discuss, but only that there is no longer; that we have really settled everything by realising that there is nothing to know except science. And that we are most of us ignorant of most sciences so that while we can exchange information we cannot usefully discuss them as we are just learners."

We unhappy free thinkers cannot sit up and discuss abstractions till three o'clock at night so easily, not from lack of interest but from a notion of ignorance subconsciously undermining our enthusiasm.

But those who are religious have their foundations, their satisfactory assumptions. They can discuss and they like to discuss. And so, now in this time of crisis the freethinkers have given up public discussions almost entirely, because when all was told they were to them not essential—the religious clubs still function and from their biassed stand-point find matters for dispute.

One new religious club has arisen this year to scatter the bones of the disillusioned, the V.U.C. Catholic Students' Guild, a university section of a larger club of that name already existing. It has had fortnightly discussions on Communism and Religion, Evolution, Medieval Society, and suchlike subjects. I very much enjoyed a lecture by Maria Dronke entitled "An Approach to Poetry" that was organised by the club.

The S.C.M.'s main functions were a study circle on God and the World, and lectures on the Apostles Creed and Evolution and Christianity; also the Easter Congress and a tramp over Johnson's hill. The absence of some of the most energetic of its members restricted the club's activity, but did not, however, cause any lack of enthusiasm.

The S.C.M and, even more, the E.U., has—paradoxically—exhibited a definite tendency towards the terrestrial this year. The E.U. advertised its House Party "Enjoy our fellowship." Its secretary wrote rebukingly "We consider our fellowship useful rather than ornamental," when I had told him to think of his club as in relation to the universe (no more than a small ornament). The modern world sacred and secular, seems to consider community a way to grace, at least partly, agape's terrestrial projection. I doubt whether it could not be to a large extent agape's substitute, a superior narcotic, a distraction nobler but of the same order as the picture theatre. Fellowship prospers, more now than ever, in the same way as narcotics do.

However, the E.U. concentrated on more perennial facets of religion as well, discussed "Man and Sin" and other things at its weekly meetings, went to collective church services, and organised an annual May conference, a joint effort of all colleges with lectures from outside speakers, layman and clerical.