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PostSalisbury Cathedral; Armstrong's "A Short History of Myth" (John Heelan, UK, 12/27/17 3:11 pm)
Nigel Jones (27 December) mentioned Salisbury Cathedral. My father--a life-long artilleryman--used to recount that when stationed on Salisbury Plain, he and his gun team would use the spire of the Cathedral as a sighting aid! Luckily they never fired any shells at it!
As an agnostic and despite my Roman Catholic schooling and subsequent indoctrination for two or three decades, I enjoyed Nigel Jones's comments on Man's attempts to fill in the "God-shaped hole" we apparently need. Nigel might like to consult A Short History of Myth by the ex-nun Karen Armstrong (2006). Its discussions and definitions ranging from Neanderthal to modern times indicates such a need for Man and his antecedents to rationalise the irrational and inexplicable. Armstrong's book on monotheistic and other religions highlights the differences between mythology and the various religions that it has subsequently spawned.
JE comments: Another inspiring spire for artillerymen: the British in WWI believed that the side which finished off the "Leaning Virgin of Albert" (Belgium) would lose the war. I'm sure Nigel Jones can give a better rendition of this narrative.