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BBC Radio 4:Bishop Richard Harries - 06/10/2017

Good morning. This week I managed to get to the British Museum to see a major new exhibition on the Scythians. They were a nomadic people who from about 900 years before Christ dominated a vast land mass from the edge of China to the Black Sea, over much of what we think of today as Siberia. One of the exhibits was the head of a warrior, with the head of a woman beside him. I noticed particularly that he had a good set of strong teeth. Heads like that in museums always make me feel a little uneasy and set me questioning. I looked at him and said to myself, Yes, you bled as I bleed, you too hoped and feared and loved; you were made in the image of God, for you too God has a purpose. I am half sorry your old body isn’t still lying in its grave in undisturbed dignity. Their cultural world was of course so different from ours. They were brilliant horsemen, but we have planes. They had cleverly made bows, but we have nuclear missiles. They had no written language, we can code and make sophisticated apps. But I am always struck by the continuities with the past, as much as the differences. One of the major ways in which we differ from other animal species is our desire to fashion beautiful things. They were no different from us in this, making wonderful gold belt buckles and jewellery, and even attractive bridles for their horses. Its mysterious this human love of beauty and desire to make beautiful things, which seems to be part of every human culture. Then, like every pre-modern society they told stories to account for our existence in the world, for we humans are also meaning seeking animals. If we stopped searching for the meaning of it all, or trying to give meaning to our life, we would lose something essentially human about us. And connected with this, they had burial rites. As important figures were buried with their horses, they clearly believed in another life beyond this one. Again, not so different from us,– a recent survey from the polling organisation Comres revealed that 20% of those who are not religious nevertheless believe in life after death. There is I think no place for any sense of superiority about the past or earlier cultures. They too loved beauty, tried to puzzle out what existence was all about and trusted there was some spiritual dimension to life not limited to this world. So as I looked at those heads I was once again brought up short by the mystery of the human person, the sacred mystery of the human person. What a terrible thing is when we lose that sense. And how enchanted the day before us becomes when it is strong.来自:VOA英语网 文章地址: http://www.tingvoa.com/17/10/BBC-Radio-4-Bishop-Richard-Harries-06-10-2017.html