BBC Radio Leicester Thought for the Day

©John Denney 6 September 2006




At this week’s Festival of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Professor Hood of Bristol University gave a lecture in which he said that our human minds are hard-wired for belief in the supernatural.  Most of us think that inanimate objects have minds.  I certainly have been known to shout at my computer when it switched itself off half way through a long piece of work.  And when Basil Fawlty’s Austin 1100 broke down, and Basil gave it a final warning, and then thrashed it with a branch, most of us knew exactly how he felt.


Professor Hood asked people whether they would exchange the wedding ring they’d worn for many years for an unscratched, perfect and identical copy, or even a better one, and nobody would.  Their ring had a meaning beyond the lump of gold it was fashioned from.  In another experiment, he offered people £20 to wear a cardigan for a day, and many accepted – until they discovered it had belonged to Fred West, the serial murderer.  Then nobody would wear it, because they thought the very fibres of the garment carried his taint of evil.  I guess most of us would refuse to wear that cardigan, even though, logically, there’s no reason we shouldn’t.


So there’s more to the human condition than logic.  We’re not robots!  The supernatural is normal.  For Christians, the God who created the very forces of nature rises above the everyday rules.  Supernatural things are not to be feared.  Do not be terrified by them, for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God[1].

[1] Deuteronomy 7:21