Run for your life!

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It is said that Alfred Hitchcock, the great cinematic specialist in the art of frightening people, was once driving through Switzerland when he suddenly pointed out of the car window and said, ‘That is the most frightening sight I have ever seen.’ It was a priest in conversation with a little boy, his hand on the boy’s shoulder. Hitchcock leaned out of the car window and shouted, ‘Run, little boy! Run for your life!’

Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, p357

These days I barely even think on religion but yesterday I was skimming Dawkins’s wonderfully readable book, The God Delusion, when I found this quote and laughed out loud. It has nothing to do with physical abuse and all to do with psychological abuse. And the saddest thing about it is that it is true in its parody — the main shackles that bound us, the main horrors that prey on us, are the ones within.

There is in every village a torch — the teacher: and an extinguisher — the clergyman.

Victor Hugo

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