Anthony Burgess on God.

INTERVIEWER: You do believe in God then, Mr. Burgess?
ANTHONY BURGESS: I don’t know whether I believe in God or not. It seems to me that God is a very useful fiction, when Voltaire said ” If God does not exist, it would be necessary to invent him. ” I think he was propounding a very profound truth.We cannot get through the day without using, at least as a hypothesis, the notion of God, the notion of Creator, the notion of Sustainer. But I find it more and more difficult to accept the God of the churches, whether it happens to be the Catholic church or Islam, which is of course at the moment, a very, very, potent religious body because it’s tied up with oil. I think that the hypothesis of God is a good one, but in the sense that God has any relationship to me, the concept has no real meaning. I just merely accept God as a kind of intellectual hypothesis which I find useful, no more. I’m not a practicing Christian, I don’t go to church, I don’t believe there’s a heaven; I believe that after this life we’re finished with, but during this life the hypothesis of God is a very useful one.


4 thoughts on “Anthony Burgess on God.

  1. A great wriiter, Anthony Burgess, despite a tendency towards pomposity. If he’d kept his verbosity a little more in check he may have become the greatest English writer of the 20th century.

    1. Yeah. I agree with you on that. Despite how much I’ve wanted to read A Clockwork Orange, I can’t get past the first few pages, ’cause I can’t understand a damn thing he says. But, yeah, I take nothing from his greatness as a writer.

      1. I´m pretty sure Graham Greene said almost exactly the same. Greene lived in Antibes, not far from Burgess and the latter once went round for tea, or whatever. Burgess, who thought the meeting had gone well, was insulted to discover later that Greene had said he hadn´t understand a word of what Burgess said. Perhaps another of your readers will come up with a more accurate version of the story.

      2. Oh, I didn’t know that. I watched the Stanley Kubrick movie version and that was clear enough for me. Enjoyed it actually. Don’t know about Burgess’ other books, haven’t been bothered enough to try them. I think he has great vision and his verbosity alone shouldn’t preclude me from trying out his other works… I’ll investigate this further.

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