As you read Mr. Birkin’s responses to our questions, please keep in mind that his answers are intended solely for the purpose of our readers. Please do not use his replies or take any quotes from them for any other purpose or post them on any other boards or websites. That was his only caveat when he agreed to participate, that our answers be kept “in house”. I know you all will honor his request!
I was struck by the passage from one of JMB’s notebooks which you quote on page 26 of the paperback version of your book, which relates Barrie’s truer feelings about the death of his future brother-in-law; it is, to my mind a clear eyed (if not profoundly cynical) view of God’s love, totally devoid of any of JMB’s famed sentimentality. When all is said and done, what were JMB’s religious beliefs? How did they change in the course of his life?
AB: I asked Nico this very question, and he said he didn’t think Barrie had any orthodox religious beliefs whatsoever (whereas he – Nico – was a regular church-goer, albeit a doubting one). On the other hand I don’t think Barrie was an atheist in the strict sense... probably an agnostic like so many of us. On his deathbed, Napoleon came close to articulating my own beliefs, and perhaps Barrie’s too.
As a child I felt the need to believe in God, and I believed. But as soon as I began to know, to reason, my faith became jarred and uncertain. Perhaps one day I shall regain blind faith - please God I may! I certainly don't resist faith, I demand nothing better. I imagine that it must give a great and true happiness. The absence of religious faith has never influenced me in any way whatever – and yet I have never doubted God. For if my reason does not suffice to understand Him, yet my inner feeling accepts him. And my nerves are in sympathy with that feeling. Wanting to be an atheist does not necessarily make us one.”
Author of J.M. BARRIE AND THE LOST BOYS
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Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!
Wow! What a ride!
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