Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Graham Greene on love and hate

I'm an acknowledged bookworm. Last week, I went to a booksigning for Anderson Cooper's new book. I was #219 in line to get my book signed, so I had a little time on my hands before my group of 25 was called for our turn, always a dangerous thing for me in a bookstore. Wandering around the store, I picked up a Graham Greene novel that sounded intriguing. Cooper was surprisingly personable, exchanging a few words with nearly everyone in line. He asked about the other book I was carrying and expressed his own enjoyment of Graham Greene's novels.

The reason I love Greene is that he delves unhesitatingly into the doubts and surety, joys and pain of faith and life. Here's a sample from this week's read:

"I have never understood why people who can swallow the enormous improbability of a personal God boggle at a personal Devil. I have known so intimately the way that demon works in my imagination. No statement that Sarah ever made was proof against his cunning doubts, though he would usually wait till she had gone to utter them. He would prompt our quarrels long before they occurred: he was not Sarah's enemy so much as the enemy of love, and isn't that what the devil is supposed to be? I can imagine that if there existed a God who loved, the devil would be driven to destroy even the weakest, the most faulty imitation of that love. Wouldn't he be afraid that the habit of love might grow, and wouldn't he try to trap us all into being traitors, into helping him extinguish love? If there is a God who uses us and makes his saints out of such material as we are, the devil too may have his ambitions; he may dream of training even such a person as myself, even poor Parkis, into being his saints, ready with borrowed fanatacism to destroy love wherever we find it."

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