Yes, I’m a Doubting Thomas if you were to ask me if I believed in God,
Jesus Christ, the Pope, Heaven/Hell, fate / destiny, faith healers,
fairies, astrology, and that storks bring babies into this world.
I don’t wish to sound patronising when I say this, but if other people
believe in the existence and power of God, then I’m happy for them to
carry on doing so. Everyone’s entitled to his/her opinions/beliefs.
As I mentioned in my comments to LOM a few days ago, I don’t think
that our lives are mapped out for us in advance by some supernatural
force or being. I think that we all have a series of choices in life,
which we might take or leave.
A whole host of circumstances led to my meeting my wife, Mrs C, who
happened to be the daughter of long-standing friends of my parents.
Her dad and mine went to school and to university together, and
shared a lot of literary and musical interests. Her mum helped out
my mum for a couple of weeks, when my mum took ill with mumps, and
my future mother-in-law bathed me when I was a baby … how bizarre
When I was a lad of 14, we spent some time over Christmas in 1963
with Mrs C’s family, and then in later life, in the early 1970s,
there were a few more family meetings, during which time Mrs C
and I fell in love.
It was our choice that we decided that we should continue the
relationship, but I think it did help that our parents were very
pleased when it blossomed. It was fortuitous also that neither of
us was in another relationship at the time, and that we were able
to get married and live together about a year later.
Was our relationship pre-destined? I don’t think so.
And what about career choices? Are these pre-determined in some way?
Well, I decided just before going into the 6th form at school that
I would aim for university medical school entrance … encouraged by
my parents and following on my older brother’s example (who was in
his 5th year at Med School at this time). Getting into a Med School
was very difficult for me, owing to some poor O and A level results
(and I suspect a poor headmaster’s report also) .. I was put on a
“waiting list” for Med School entry at Leeds University the
following year, pending my getting better A Level results second
time round. I also had a bash at the Oxford University entrance exams,
which with hindsight was over-ambitious … I got to interview for a
place there after the exams, but I was one of 6 good candidates for
one place at Pembroke College, and didn’t get it. The following
summer, I achieved high A level grades and was offered a place at
both Edinburgh and Leeds Universities. I chose the latter.
My life might have turned out differently if I’d accepted the
Edinburgh place … different teachers, different friends and possibly
a different career choice, if I’d chosen a hospital speciality, or
if I’d gone in for dentistry or pharmacy instead. So these were my
choices, which I don’t think were decided in any way by fate/destiny.
I've been thinking that I might have some choice as regards my
after-life, if I were to convert to Christianity not long before
I die … so I could have a chance of going to Heaven rather than
going to Hell.
Some of you might be thinking: "Well, he's hedging his bets, the
cheeky bugger! He hasn't a hope in Hell!"
No doubt God or St Peter will decide my fate.