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Re: Was Sherlock Holmes an atheist?

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  • Balaji Narasimhan
    Sumal ji, As a Holmesian, spiritualist and astrologer, I find Holmes line from ILLU interesting: The wages of sin, Watson--the wages of sin! Sooner or later
    Message 1 of 10 , Sep 28, 2015
      Sumal ji,

      As a Holmesian, spiritualist and astrologer, I find Holmes' line from ILLU interesting: The wages of sin, Watson--the wages of sin! Sooner or later it will always come. God knows, there was sin enough.

      ***
      Balaji Narasimhan
      Author & Editor
      Twitter: @sherlockbalaji
      http://www.balaji.ind.in/
    • Tim Symonds
      I don t see any evidence that Holmes believed in a personal deity, certainly his life-style shows no evidence of it. The fact he used expressions such as God
      Message 2 of 10 , Sep 28, 2015

        I don't see any evidence that Holmes believed in a personal deity, certainly his life-style shows no evidence of it. The fact he used expressions such as 'God knows' wouldn't indicate anything because a lot of non-believers use the vernacular speech of their day, especially expressions of surprise.

         

         

         

        From: SherlockHolmesSocietyofIndia@... [mailto:SherlockHolmesSocietyofIndia@...]
        Sent: 28 September 2015 10:54
        To: sherlockholmessocietyofindia@...
        Subject: SHSI Re: Was Sherlock Holmes an atheist?

         

         


        Sumal ji,

        As a Holmesian, spiritualist and astrologer, I find Holmes' line from ILLU interesting: The wages of sin, Watson--the wages of sin! Sooner or later it will always come. God knows, there was sin enough.

        ***
        Balaji Narasimhan
        Author & Editor
        Twitter: @sherlockbalaji
        http://www.balaji.ind.in/

      • Binand Sethumadhavan
        Maybe an idiotic question, but what is ILLU? On Mon, 28 Sep 2015 at 15:26 Balaji Narasimhan sherlockbalaji@yahoo.com [SherlockHolmesSocietyofIndia]
        Message 3 of 10 , Sep 28, 2015
          Maybe an idiotic question, but what is ILLU?

          On Mon, 28 Sep 2015 at 15:26 Balaji Narasimhan sherlockbalaji@... [SherlockHolmesSocietyofIndia] <SherlockHolmesSocietyofIndia@...> wrote:

          Sumal ji,

          As a Holmesian, spiritualist and astrologer, I find Holmes' line from ILLU interesting: The wages of sin, Watson--the wages of sin! Sooner or later it will always come. God knows, there was sin enough.

          ***
          Balaji Narasimhan
          Author & Editor
          Twitter: @sherlockbalaji
          http://www.balaji.ind.in/




          ------------------------------------
          Posted by: Balaji Narasimhan <sherlockbalaji@...>
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        • Philip K Jones
          My dear sir: ILLU is the Christ (J Finley Christ) code for The Adventure of the Illustrious Client. My article, titled The Untold Tales -- Identified,
          Message 4 of 10 , Sep 28, 2015
            My dear sir:



            "ILLU" is the "Christ (J Finley Christ) code" for "The Adventure of the Illustrious Client." My article, titled "The Untold Tales -- Identified," which was published in a recent edition of the SHSI Newsletter, included the codes for all sixty Canonical tales as well as compatible codes for the Apocrypha and the Untold Tales I have identified. If you cannot find it, send me an E-Mail, with your own E-Mail address and I will send you a copy.



            Sincerely:





            Philip K. Jones

            An Ill-dressed Vagabond

            pkenj@...







            From: SherlockHolmesSocietyofIndia@... [mailto:SherlockHolmesSocietyofIndia@...]
            Sent: Monday, September 28, 2015 7:22 AM
            To: SherlockHolmesSocietyofIndia@...
            Subject: Re: SHSI Re: Was Sherlock Holmes an atheist?





            Maybe an idiotic question, but what is ILLU?

            On Mon, 28 Sep 2015 at 15:26 Balaji Narasimhan sherlockbalaji@... [SherlockHolmesSocietyofIndia] <SherlockHolmesSocietyofIndia@...> wrote:


            Sumal ji,

            As a Holmesian, spiritualist and astrologer, I find Holmes' line from ILLU interesting: The wages of sin, Watson--the wages of sin! Sooner or later it will always come. God knows, there was sin enough.

            ***
            Balaji Narasimhan
            Author & Editor
            Twitter: @sherlockbalaji
            http://www.balaji.ind.in/




            ------------------------------------
            Posted by: Balaji Narasimhan <sherlockbalaji@...>
            ------------------------------------


            ------------------------------------

            Yahoo Groups Links







            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • sumalsn
            Dear Balaji saab and Tim Symonds sir, I shall quote from the Gloria Scott , Trevor was the only man I knew, and that only through the accident of his bull
            Message 5 of 10 , Sep 28, 2015
              Dear Balaji saab and Tim Symonds sir,
              I shall quote from the Gloria Scott ," Trevor was the only man I knew, and that only through the accident of his bull terrier freezing on to my ankle one morning as I went down to chapel".
              Why would a man who is a social recluse in college go to a chapel? I suppose only if he is a believer.
              I would say this indicates that the young  Sherlock Holmes was a believer in college who might have become an agnostic or atheist much later. His belief would be largely due to his upbringing.
              Sumalsn
            • sumalsn
              Dear Holmesians, As a further addition to the debate, I would like to bring out Sherlock Holmes has a fairly good knowledge of the Bible as he has demonstrated
              Message 6 of 10 , Sep 29, 2015
                Dear Holmesians,
                As a further addition to the debate, I would like to bring out Sherlock Holmes has a fairly good knowledge of the Bible as he has demonstrated  in the Crooked Man, when he identifies the epithet "David" as a term of reproach, a reference to the story of Uriah and Bathsheba. Dr Watson missed it though!
                Sumal S
                 
              • Jay Ganguly
                Agree with Sumalji. I would say Sherlock Holmes most likely believed in a higher power, but probably spurned any ritualistic behaviour which didn t make much
                Message 7 of 10 , Sep 30, 2015
                  Agree with Sumalji. I would say Sherlock Holmes most likely believed in a higher power, but probably spurned any ritualistic behaviour which didn't make much sense to him. I don't think he'd be one to go to church every Sunday, but I don't think he's a complete atheist either. I can easily imagine him reading through literature on several religions. (NAVA: “There is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as in religion,” said he, leaning with his back against the shutters. “It can be built up as an exact science by the reasoner.”) Maybe he wrote a monograph! Also - unless he was interested in religion, why would he visit the Lama in Tibet? And he does keep a Bible at home.

                  I don't think he's an atheist, though. As Sumalji has pointed out, he did go to the chapel when he was younger and definitely knew his biblical tales (eidetic memory, I suspect - and he'd have deleted it if he thought it was completely useless). Maybe he went to churches/chapels/monasteries for the peace and quiet rather than to worship. 

                  I've noticed that he tends to invoke God when he's undergoing a powerful emotion - and humans tend to fall back upon their natural reaction, which is more often than not inculcated during childhood, when emotions are running high. Some examples:
                  HOUN: “That we should have heard his screams—my God, those screams!—and yet have been unable to save him!”
                  FRAN: “Good heavens, Watson, what has become of any brains that God has given me? Quick, man, quick!”
                  And my favourite: 3GAR: “You’re not hurt, Watson? For God’s sake, say that you are not hurt!”

                  Then, he believes in God's blessings/benevolence:
                  FIVE: “That hurts my pride, Watson,” he said at last. “It is a petty feeling, no doubt, but it hurts my pride. It becomes a personal matter with me now, and, if God sends me health, I shall set my hand upon this gang. That he should come to me for help, and that I should send him away to his death—!” He sprang from his chair and paced about the room in uncontrollable agitation, with a flush upon his sallow cheeks and a nervous clasping and unclasping of his long thin hands.
                  EMPT: “Halfway down I slipped, but by the blessing of God I landed, torn and bleeding, upon the path.”
                  LAST: “But it’s God’s own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.”

                  He swears by God:
                  THOR: “With the help of the god of justice I will give you a case which will make England ring.”
                  3GAR: His face set like flint as he glared at our prisoner, who was sitting up with a dazed face. “By the Lord, it is as well for you. If you had killed Watson, you would not have got out of this room alive. Now, sir, what have you to say for yourself?”

                  And, when he's contemplative...BOSC: “God help us!” said Holmes after a long silence. “Why does fate play such tricks with poor, helpless worms? I never hear of such a case as this that I do not think of Baxter’s words, and say, ‘There, but for the grace of God, goes Sherlock Holmes.’ ”

                  My personal hypothesis is that he was brought up with Christian values - perhaps a bit on the liberal side. (Being the genius he is, I can imagine how he'd have driven the local priest wild with his questions!) Later in life, when he could exercise his own choice, he probably chose to simply do away with the ritualistic side of it or the aspects which he didn't agree with or couldn't see the point of - but that does not mean that he gave up believing in God (or a higher power). One doesn't need to regularly visit a Church/Temple/Mosque to believe in God. As Mycroft says, his brother has the mind of a scientist or a philosopher. Both classes tend to think logically, to reason things out - and may, to "normal" people, appear strangely fluid and contradictory at times. Does Holmes appear spiritual, religious, agnostic, secular and several other things at different points of time? Yes, probably. I think he believed when he had a reason to believe.
                   
                  Cheers,
                  Jay

                  Jayantika Ganguly
                  General Secretary and Editor, Sherlock Holmes Society of India
                  Member, Sherlock Holmes Society of London
                  Member, Ceska spolecnost Sherlocka Holmese
                  Author, "The Holmes Sutra", MX Publishing, 2014 
                  Author, "The Adventure of the Defenestrated Princess", The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories (Part I: 1881 - 1889), MX Publishing, 2015




                  On Wednesday, September 30, 2015 12:06 PM, sumalsn <no_reply@...> wrote:


                   
                  Dear Holmesians,
                  As a further addition to the debate, I would like to bring out Sherlock Holmes has a fairly good knowledge of the Bible as he has demonstrated  in the Crooked Man, when he identifies the epithet "David" as a term of reproach, a reference to the story of Uriah and Bathsheba. Dr Watson missed it though!
                  Sumal S
                   


                • Prof. Venugopal bhaskaran nair
                  Actually the question raises withoutr recognising the age when Holmes was living. He was the representative of the great Victorian age, which is considered
                  Message 8 of 10 , Sep 30, 2015
                    Actually  the question raises  withoutr recognising the age when Holmes  was living. He was the representative of the great Victorian age, which is considered to be the greatest in  the European history. It was  an age of elightenment, science, growth and human development.  So naturally  political, social cultural change was there. Naturally Holmes was a supporter of all these development.He was a scientist who wanted to question the existing  beliefs.And no doubt, he questioned the existence of God and religion. As aman of the age, he questioned religious beliefs, principles and even morals.

                    On 29 September 2015 at 09:49, sumalsn <no_reply@...> wrote:
                     

                    Dear Balaji saab and Tim Symonds sir,

                    I shall quote from the Gloria Scott ," Trevor was the only man I knew, and that only through the accident of his bull terrier freezing on to my ankle one morning as I went down to chapel".
                    Why would a man who is a social recluse in college go to a chapel? I suppose only if he is a believer.
                    I would say this indicates that the young  Sherlock Holmes was a believer in college who might have become an agnostic or atheist much later. His belief would be largely due to his upbringing.
                    Sumalsn


                  • Nishanth Surendran
                    I think he was neither a believer nor an atheist. He was more of a seeker of the truth behind it. On 30 Sep 2015 11:26 pm, Prof. Venugopal bhaskaran nair
                    Message 9 of 10 , Sep 30, 2015

                      I think he was neither a believer nor an atheist. He was more of a seeker of the truth behind it.

                      On 30 Sep 2015 11:26 pm, "'Prof. Venugopal bhaskaran nair' prof.venugopal.snc@... [SherlockHolmesSocietyofIndia]" <SherlockHolmesSocietyofIndia@...> wrote:
                       

                      Actually  the question raises  withoutr recognising the age when Holmes  was living. He was the representative of the great Victorian age, which is considered to be the greatest in  the European history. It was  an age of elightenment, science, growth and human development.  So naturally  political, social cultural change was there. Naturally Holmes was a supporter of all these development.He was a scientist who wanted to question the existing  beliefs.And no doubt, he questioned the existence of God and religion. As aman of the age, he questioned religious beliefs, principles and even morals.

                      On 29 September 2015 at 09:49, sumalsn <no_reply@yahoogroups.co.in> wrote:
                       

                      Dear Balaji saab and Tim Symonds sir,

                      I shall quote from the Gloria Scott ," Trevor was the only man I knew, and that only through the accident of his bull terrier freezing on to my ankle one morning as I went down to chapel".
                      Why would a man who is a social recluse in college go to a chapel? I suppose only if he is a believer.
                      I would say this indicates that the young  Sherlock Holmes was a believer in college who might have become an agnostic or atheist much later. His belief would be largely due to his upbringing.
                      Sumalsn


                    • Tim Symonds
                      A recent post brought up the discussion of a SHSI specialist bookshop located in, say, Delhi (and perhaps expanding elsewhere). I had an email from Steve
                      Message 10 of 10 , Apr 28, 2016

                         

                        A recent post brought up the discussion of a SHSI specialist bookshop located in, say, Delhi (and perhaps expanding elsewhere). I had an email from Steve Emecz, the MX Publisher, to say he licences two publishers in India and he's certain they would be very happy about any such endeavour.  The aim would, I presume, to make the shop a centre for people to drop in and chat, i.e. a café would be a valuable part of any such operation, and possibly access to a suitable room to show the occasional old film. I'm no expert on small businesses but I'd assume the creation of the physical aspect - shop/location/stock etc needs to be accompanied by a decent 5-year plan which a bank would consider practical.  It would be good to publicise the shop's existence among the parts of Indian society who would be likely readers, including students, but I'd assume a large floating population of internationals would be in Delhi's hotels at any given time and would appreciate such escapist reading.

                         

                        Cheers!

                         

                        Tim

                         

                        Ps. my own next Sherlock Holmes novel (my fifth) is progressing. It's set in Peking in the last years of the tottering Qing Dynasty. Britain needs the Celestial Empire to hang on for a couple more years but there is rumour of a plot to assassinate a ruler and cause a civil war which could end the Dynasty. Who is the target of the plot - the formidable but reactionary Empress Dowager, or the young progressive Emperor?  Even Holmes is in two minds at the start while Watson doesn't think there's a plot at all.

                         

                         

                         

                        From: SherlockHolmesSocietyofIndia@... [mailto:SherlockHolmesSocietyofIndia@...] On Behalf Of sumalsn
                        Sent: 29 September 2015 05:19
                        To: SherlockHolmesSocietyofIndia@...
                        Subject: Re:: RE: SHSI Re: Was Sherlock Holmes an atheist?

                         

                         

                        Dear Balaji saab and Tim Symonds sir,

                        I shall quote from the Gloria Scott ," Trevor was the only man I knew, and that only through the accident of his bull terrier freezing on to my ankle one morning as I went down to chapel".

                        Why would a man who is a social recluse in college go to a chapel? I suppose only if he is a believer.

                        I would say this indicates that the young  Sherlock Holmes was a believer in college who might have become an agnostic or atheist much later. His belief would be largely due to his upbringing.

                        Sumalsn

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