Are you religious?

You seem very calm about your MND – is that because you draw comfort from religion?


I’m a scientist. It’s the 21st Century. I feel absolutely no need for supernatural explanations of any aspect of the Universe – least of all my MND.

Don’t get me wrong, I have many friends (particularly in the USA) who are religious. I get it. I totally understand why if you’re religious it may help you to cope.

However, given the way that my brain works, I am really glad I am not in the least bit religious; it would be terribly distracting to me at the moment. I’d be in total turmoil, constantly trying to work out: What does it all mean?!? Is it a test? Is it a punishment? Should I be praying more, trying to negotiate some sort of deal with the self-same omnipotence who in her infinite wisdom gave me MND in the first place?

In contrast, I am completely at peace with the statistics of the situation. What I have is unusual even by MND standards. Maybe the odds are close to 1 in 10,000,000. Unlucky? No, not really. It’s just that I happen to be that statistical outlier. If it weren’t me, it would be you. Or someone else. But out of every 10,000,000 one of us has to be special and get what I’ve got. Otherwise, one-in-ten-million wouldn’t be the odds. Things just happen.

With that said, let me be perfectly clear. I may not have religion, but I draw immense strength and comfort from my exceptionally deep Faith. In three things.

Firstly, I have total faith in Science. Not that it is right – I know it’s not. But that it will keep improving. And, unlike dogma, will steadily be less and less wrong. And that if anything can improve my life with MND, it can.

Secondly, I have huge faith in Humanity. Not that everyone is kind – I know they’re not. But that despite the vile cruelty and repellent inhumanity of some, our species as a whole is quite magical and extraordinary and indomitable. And despite our supreme stupidity sometimes, together we’ll work things out. It’s what we do.

And thirdly, I have an unshakeable faith in the power of Love. Not that being touchy-feely to everyone will solve anything – I know it won’t. But that when all else fails, when there is no more hope, when no sane animal would carry on, then – despite everything – irrational, stubborn, absurd, self-sacrificing, blind, unstoppable, gloriously-all-conquering love of one puny human-being can reveal itself to be one of the most formidable forces in the Universe.