This is perhaps the most deeply disturbing book I have read in a long while. It almost gave me a sleepless night after I finished it quite late. As always Elton finishes on a low dark and cynical tone but this time it is particularly bleak and an especially dark look at the human character. As usual it is also well observed and as a reader you can see enough of the world about you for it to feel credible, maybe not to this extreme but something like it might just happen. There is not a Brave New World there is only a future of horrors.
"I mean wouldn't faith be more valuable if it was arrived at through question and doubt? What's the use of blind faith? Seriously, it's not difficult saying you have faith if the alternative is being burned alive. But does that mean that you really have faith? That man this evening, that Chris-lam. He had faith."
"Trafford he nearly got beaten to death. You want to get us both beaten to death? Is that it? That man was mad."
"Of course he was mad to do what he did. To risk dying for his faith. You wouldn't do that. I wouldn't do that. Faith to us is anything we are told to believe. If Confessor Bailey told us that a cherry alcopop represented the blood of Diana we'd worship it without a single thought. But that man tonight –"
"Who could have been killed -"
"That man had arrived at his faith despite what he has been told. His faith is personal. He'd thought about something and decided to act upon the conclusions he'd drawn. I'd like to do that."
"You say that evolutionary theory is a faith because you believe it." She wore a sly expression. "Why do you believe it?"
"Because it's beautiful, it's logical and it can be proved. It is the only, and I mean only, satisfactory explanation for the emergence of l life on Earth! Every shred of evidence thus far discovered on Earth fits it, while not one shred of evidence has been found to show that the universe was made in a week and man in a day. Man did not emerge in a day! Whatever it was that brought him about, be it God or some cosmic coincidence that can be called God, it did not happen in a day! I happened over millions and millions of years."
"So you say that the ideas of the monkey men can be proved?" the lawyer asked.
"Yes, if not absolutely then certainly beyond reasonable doubt."
"A ha!" Poledance cried triumphantly. "Then it cannot be a faith."
"A faith is something in which a man must believe. Something in which he must put his trust, his faith. If it can be proved then it's fact and a fact requires no faith to believe in it. Thus your ideas have no protection under the law."