📰 Metaphysics as a Guide to Soccer | the Point Magazine
Full Title: Metaphysics as a Guide to Soccer | the Point Magazine
In her late work Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals, Iris Murdoch tells a story that she claims is Tibetan in origin:
A mother asks her son, a merchant setting off for the city, to bring her back a religious relic. He forgets her request until he is nearly home again. He picks up a dog’s tooth by the roadside and tells the old lady it is a relic of a saint. She places it in her chapel where it is venerated. It begins miraculously to glow with light.
Murdoch, somewhat cryptically, remarks that the story “may be seen as a version of the Ontological Proof.” Part of what she’s getting at, I think, is that true religious faith excludes all doubt concerning the reality of its object. As she puts it, “God cannot be thought of except as real.”
In her telling of the Tibetan story, Murdoch focuses most of her attention on the purity of the old lady’s veneration of the dog’s tooth. What she doesn’t really consider is the most obvious explanation for why the old lady never doubts that this small piece of bone is truly the relic of a saint. There’s the purity of her faith, to be sure, but there’s also the fact that—like my unfortunate attachment to one of the perennial underdogs of the English soccer—it was given to her by someone she loved.