Rev Dr Sam Wells, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields

Happy Ash Wednesday everybody!

You’re all going to die. But don’t worry, you’ll all come back to life again and live forever. So make sure you have plenty of hobbies planned.

Oh, yeah, I better make a perfunctory mention of Ukraine. Lots of them are going to die, but only for a while.

5 thoughts on “Rev Dr Sam Wells, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields

  1. After five days of Christian hand-wringing, along comes Sam Wells to return us to the wild and wacky world of eschatology. With a straight, utterly orthodox face, he assures us that everything we do or even think in this life will go into creating the character we will be reborn with some time in the unimaginable future, and on the basis of which the IMF will eventually get round to weighing us in the balance. And yes, Sam also tells us that some of us will be found wanting, and duly punished for it.

    I doubt that many Ukrainians are worrying that much about the Four Last Things at the moment; nor, probably, is Putin, more’s the pity. But I guess it is good for the rest of us to be reminded from time to time just how batshit crazy, evidence-free, and at the same time deeply cruel and inhuman, the Christian religion is.


    1. Nail on the head, StephenJP.

      This was the profound fantasies and delusions of devout piety laid bare. Thing is, we’ve already heard enough lunatic pronouncements of a pious individual regularly broadcast the past week – and we certainly don’t need any of the TftD lot adding to that inglorious roster; but the likes of Wells just can’t help themselves, can they.


  2. Do people like Wells ever contemplate how ludicrous talk of living for eternity in heaven or hell sounds to an audience that understands the concept of time? In an alternative religious universe “Every gesture of our lives has genuinely eternal significance,” apparently.
    Let’s imagine every minor good deed you may do in your four score years (I think the bible needs updating given current age expectations) and work out how much it might be worth in the afterlife.
    As eternity is not divisible (unless mathematicians out there can tell us otherwise) lets use the age of the universe as a long term measure we can (sort of) grasp. If humans live on average for 80 years and the universe so far is 13.8 billion years old, then for each one minute long good or bad gesture you would get just over 4 years of life in heaven or hell. That seems a very good or bad deal that Wells’s IMF is offering don’t you think? And multiplying it by infinity makes it an even better or worse deal.
    As readers of this blog know, this is a completely futile thought experiment as believing that you might live for eternity is utter claptrap, and Wells, deep down, probably knows that. But what is a vicar meant to say? They spend years at theological college wrangling with the minutiae of religious life rather than reality and end up saying things like “The resurrection isn’t a get out of gaol card” on national radio. Still, it gave me a laugh during a bleak news bulletin.


    1. The concept of time and our understanding of causality is probably only local to our universe. Many cosmologists claim that time, as we understand it, only came into existence at the Big Bang. Whether it goes on forever is them ultimately determined by whether this universe exists in its present form forever.

      So I wonder what they mean by “eternity”?


      1. As a physicist, you would understand the arguments far better than the rest of us, Rev Dr Peter; but as I understand it, as one approaches the Big Bang (or the Big Crunch), all the equations just zoom off to infinity. So at that point time doesn’t actually start (or stop), but becomes meaningless as a concept.

        The Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli’s most recent book ‘The Order of Time” ( argues that time, as we think we understand it, doesn’t really exist. Whether one agrees or not, it’s a beautifully written book and well worth reading.


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