I Don’t Believe It Was a Dream

19 Apr

Atheists on Twitter are planning a Coup de Hell (#CoupDeHell). I wish I’d thought of calling it that, and I wish I could say it was a new idea. It dates back at least to Thomas Huxley, Darwin’s self-proclaimed bulldog, who, according to this, related the events of a supposed dream:

[Huxley] had recently had a dream, he claimed, in which he woke up after death to find himself sitting in a vast and luxurious subterranean hall attended by waiters whose braided coats did not hide their forked tails. He gave a smart tug to the nearest tail, whereupon the waiter turned round and asked politely, “Yes, sir, what can I do for you?” Huxley ordered a drink and, since the room seemed somewhat warm, suggested that perhaps the drink might be iced. “Certainly”, said the waiter, and shortly returned with the order. Sipping his drink luxuriously, Huxley made a query of the waiter: “I suppose I am not wrong about where I have come to?” “No, Professor, this is hell”, he was answered. “But surely there has been a good deal of change?” he asked. “This doesn’t at all agree with what we used to be told of the place.” “Why, no, sir,” the waiter replied, “Hell isn’t what it used to be. A great many of you scientific gents have been coming here recently, and they have turned the whole place upside down.”

If Huxley’s account of hell is as true as any other, then the Coup de Hell likely has been underway for centuries.

Being an atheist, I don’t believe hell is real (except for Hell, MI and Hell, Norway). I also don’t believe that Huxley actually had that dream. I think it was a rhetorical flourish to amuse his friends. It makes too much narrative sense to have been a real dream.

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Posted by on April 19, 2012 in atheism


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