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The tragedy at the heart of New Atheism | CatholicHerald.co.uk.

What this might all boil down to are opposing interpretations of experience. Some may feel that they are being protected by a benign Divine Providence and that even when they suffer this suffering can be turned somehow to good. Others may feel that life teaches them that there is no purpose to anything, only blind, pitiless indifference.

This strikes me as being the essential difference between comedy and tragedy. The characters in a tragedy frequently experience this Dawkins-like sense of desolation. Remember the Duchess of Malfi? “Look you, the stars shine still” – in other words, the heavens are indifferent to human suffering. Indeed, the characters in tragedy often call upon the heavens for justice, but answer comes there none.

And yet comedy is radically different. In comedy there is justice done at the end, each gets what they deserve. Some may find it hard to join the harmonious human community, such as Malvolio in Twelfth Night, who leaves the happy final scene of reconciliation with the words “I’ll be revenged on the whole pack of you.” But comedy depends on a firm belief in justice and truth and that these are possible on earth.