INFORMATION

This website uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some of these cookies are essential to make our site work and others help us to improve by giving us some insight into how the site is being used. For further information, see our Privacy Policy. Continuing to use this website is acceptance of these cookies.

Easter - again!

For topics that are more about faith, religion and religious organisations than anything else.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Easter - again!

#1 Post by Dave B » February 24th, 2016, 4:27 pm

Just had my copy of the village magazine delivered. Glancing through it (75% adverts, when I was editor we allowed no more than 50% - grump, grump...) including one for one of the local godbothering houses.

The local vicar, "Call me Andrew", is nice if a bit patronising and used to have a middle 4 page spread for the Eater celebrations - no longer possible in this commercial world with all those adverts. So he gets a single page now, quoted below:
Wonder if you have read about the HERD effect?
It's all to do with social influence shaping consumer behaviour which really means it's about how we make choices. Some say there are four different choice styles out there: Considered, Guesswork, Copying Experts, Copying Peers

You can see how this works in all our decisions and attitudes our buying choices and our beliefs. Next time you make a purchase how do you decide?
Taking time to think it through — could be time consuming
Tossing a coin and going with that — quick but likely to be random
Experts know best - reading "Which" magazine or online reviews
Doing the same as someone else you know - personal recommendation

But it's also true about our beliefs and this could be disastrous! Easter is just around the corner, what does Easter really mean? Have you taken time to think it through — key words are cross & resurrection
Tossing a coin and going with that — choccy egg or bunny rabbit
Experts know best — see wikipedia or check out church
Doing the same as someone else you know — avoid Easter Jesus, go secular

Strange how most people seem to do Easter with the bunnies and the chocolate even though in most of the world Easter is about something quite different. To put it into just one paragraph:
Easter is about a man, Jesus, who was God. It's about his sacrificial death on the cross. It's about his triumphant resurrection. Because of Jesus, those who were dead may live, those in bondage find freedom, those tethered to despair find hope.
Happy Easter!
Of course, the option he missed after, "Doing the same as someone else you know — avoid Easter Jesus, go secular", is "Doing the same as someone else you know — flock to the church."
Um, surely religion, with its reliance on its members sticking to dogma doctrine is a prime example of herding, are his congregation not his flock? OK, "flock" here is used in a pastoral sense, so do as daddy says, eh?

So, getting out of the herd, let alone the box, to think for oneself is not an option. What a surprise!

Now, question is do I right Call me Andrew a nice, polite, considered letter pointing out the missing option and enlightening him as to the virtues of Humanism?
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Easter - again!

#2 Post by Nick » February 24th, 2016, 8:05 pm

Yes. If you can use humour, and keep things friendly. Let us know how it goes. :popcorn:

User avatar
Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: Easter - again!

#3 Post by Dave B » February 24th, 2016, 8:29 pm

Will compose, carefully, tomorrow. Just had another day of wifi problems and knackered!
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

User avatar
Alan C.
Posts: 10356
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 3:35 pm

Re: Easter - again!

#4 Post by Alan C. » February 25th, 2016, 9:03 pm

Ask Andrew, if Easter is about the death and resurrection of 'Jesus' Why is it not on a fixed weekend? Rather than based on the phases of the Moon? is it because the Spring equinox can vary year on year by about a month?

Surely if the guy was crucified it happened on a specific date and they should stick with that.
They manage to do it with the 'birth' on 25th Dec (cos it's always near enough to the Winter solstice) Which only varies by a few days year on year.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 24067
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Easter - again!

#5 Post by Alan H » February 25th, 2016, 10:57 pm

Alan C. wrote:Ask Andrew, if Easter is about the death and resurrection of 'Jesus' Why is it not on a fixed weekend? Rather than based on the phases of the Moon? is it because the Spring equinox can vary year on year by about a month?

Surely if the guy was crucified it happened on a specific date and they should stick with that.
They manage to do it with the 'birth' on 25th Dec (cos it's always near enough to the Winter solstice) Which only varies by a few days year on year.
A very good point, Alan.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: Easter - again!

#6 Post by Dave B » February 26th, 2016, 7:34 am

Alan H wrote:
Alan C. wrote:Ask Andrew, if Easter is about the death and resurrection of 'Jesus' Why is it not on a fixed weekend? Rather than based on the phases of the Moon? is it because the Spring equinox can vary year on year by about a month?

Surely if the guy was crucified it happened on a specific date and they should stick with that.
They manage to do it with the 'birth' on 25th Dec (cos it's always near enough to the Winter solstice) Which only varies by a few days year on year.
A very good point, Alan.
And almost certainly one that any half educated vicar is well versed in countering according to his/her strongly held beliefs/doctrine/dogma. I am sure that they know that the choice of dates bears no relationship to reality but accept the "convenience" out of habit. I am also sure they recognise, in whatever rational part of their brain still functioning, that those dates were cynically chosen to compete with pagan beliefs.

Since the pagan rites for Eostre would have varied with the actual solstice date the variability in the date of the Christian rites look like the last nod to the ancient beliefs.

Even the Romans "absorbed" local beliefs into their own as a method of "converting" their victims.

Afterthought: in any event my intention was not to re-raise an old and thorny argument but to illuminate the irony of a flock leader belittling the secular by suggesting they suffer a "problem" which mass religion actually relies on to exist.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

User avatar
Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: Easter - again!

#7 Post by Dave B » February 26th, 2016, 8:28 am

Draft letter, just composed:

"Dear Vicar,
I read your item on Easter with interest.

As a humanist your choice of the term "herd" to describe those who have trouble accepting the concept of Jesus, and thus all aspects of religion, as being members of a herd. This implies that they subsume their own ideas and needs to follow either an instinct for mutual safety and/or a common rule by a herd leader.

All humans share that instinct for group safety (excepting, possibly, those suffering some mental/psycho-social conditions plus hermits, anchorites etc.) Not all humans accept a supreme authority . . .

I would like to defend the secular in that most are people capable of deciding a view of the world for themselves. I would venture to suggest that modern Humanism, for example, has most of the values of Christianity without appeal to the supernatural. The major difference between us is the perception of the origin of what might be called the moral and ethical basis of human behaviour. One could say that members of both sides of the divide have been guilty of breaches of this.

Thus, the "secular" often come to individual perceptions of the Universe due to their understanding of observable phenomena. They may also come to common agreement by concensus (until evidence indicates otherwise that is). Those with a religious belief appear to voluntarily (now fire and damnation are rarely preached as encouragement) constrain their perception within the bounds of imposed doctrine, perhaps even dogma. This joins them to all others of the same belief.

Which, then, exhibits the greater "herding" behaviour?"

Comments and corrections welcomed
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 24067
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Easter - again!

#8 Post by Alan H » February 26th, 2016, 10:16 am

Dave

Your first sentence doesn't make sense:
As a humanist your choice of the term "herd" to describe those who have trouble accepting the concept of Jesus, and thus all aspects of religion, as being members of a herd.
But can you use the words sheep and flock in there? :innocence:

I'm not sure what your second para adds - perhaps drop the bit about mental, etc conditions?
modern Humanism, for example, has most of the values of Christianity
I'd suggest adding modern to Christianity as well to distance it from the inquisition, etc!

You've out "secular" in quotes, but you haven't previously and I'm not sure it needs to be here.
Thus, the "secular" often come to individual perceptions of the Universe due to their understanding of observable phenomena.
Perhaps mention understanding based on science and reason?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: Easter - again!

#9 Post by Dave B » February 26th, 2016, 10:23 am

Thanks, Alan.

Too early am for that really :yawn:
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

User avatar
Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: Easter - again!

#10 Post by Dave B » February 26th, 2016, 10:44 am

Draft 2:
"Dear Vicar,
I read you item on Easter with interest.
As a humanist your choice of the term "herd", to describe those who have do not wish to accept certain aspects of religion, seems a tad incongruous. The term "herd" here seems to imply those who subsume their own ideas and needs to follow either an instinct for mutual safety, groupthink, and/or rule by a common leader.

All humans share that instinct for group safety. Not all humans accept a supreme authority . . .

I would like to defend the secular in that most are people capable of deciding a view of the world for themselves. I would venture to suggest that modern Humanism, for example, has most of the values of Christianity without appeal to the supernatural. The major difference between us is the perception of the origin of what might be called the moral and ethical basis of human behaviour. One could say that members of both sides of the divide have been guilty of breaches of this.

The secular mostly derive their individual perceptions of the Universe due to their understanding of observable phenomena; on science and reason (until testable evidence indicates otherwise that is). They may also come to common agreement by concensus but dissenters are mostly given a fair hearing. Those with a religious belief appear to voluntarily (now fire and damnation are rarely preached as encouragement, but education in the formative years often inculcates lifelong beliefs) constrain their perception within the bounds of imposed doctrine, perhaps even dogma. This joins them to all others of the same belief.

Which, then, the secular or the religious, exhibits the greater "herding" behaviour?
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

User avatar
Tetenterre
Posts: 3244
Joined: March 13th, 2011, 11:36 am

Re: Easter - again!

#11 Post by Tetenterre » February 26th, 2016, 11:31 am

...consensus...

I agree with Alan - the use of the very Xian "flock" might add to it.

How about something like:

The term "herd" here seems to imply those who subsume their own ideas and needs and instead exhibit flocking behaviour (or "flock together" if that's not tautologous?) for mutual safety, groupthink, and/or rule by a common leader.
Steve

Quantum Theory: The branch of science with which people who know absolutely sod all about quantum theory can explain anything.

User avatar
Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: Easter - again!

#12 Post by Dave B » February 26th, 2016, 6:17 pm

I thought that I had used "flock", too obvious to miss in this context. Perhaps it got oost in a previous rewrite. Def going into next draft!

Spent afternoon with an author writing a book on the history of the village. Her friend is the vicar's neighbour and says he is not a good one.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

User avatar
Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: Easter - again!

#13 Post by Dave B » February 26th, 2016, 9:57 pm

Re--drafted last line:
"Perhaps, as your flock gathers on Easter Sunday, you might ponder on who most exhibits the "herding" behaviour?"
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 24067
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Easter - again!

#14 Post by Alan H » February 26th, 2016, 10:06 pm

Dave B wrote:Re--drafted last line:
"Perhaps, as your flock gathers on Easter Sunday, you might ponder on who most exhibits the "herding" behaviour?"
Oooh! I like that!
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: Easter - again!

#15 Post by Dave B » February 27th, 2016, 10:48 am

Alan H wrote:
Dave B wrote:Re--drafted last line:
"Perhaps, as your flock gathers on Easter Sunday, you might ponder on who most exhibits the "herding" behaviour?"
Oooh! I like that!
Actually now reads, "As your flock gathers on Easter Sunday, to share a common doctrine, you might ponder on who most exhibits the "herding" behaviour?"

Or is that too much?
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

User avatar
Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: Easter - again!

#16 Post by Dave B » February 29th, 2016, 7:03 pm

Letter delivered, let you know of any response.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

User avatar
Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: Easter - again!

#17 Post by Dave B » March 2nd, 2016, 6:23 pm

Perhaps i gained an impression of the vicar due to the context of our meetings, both funerals.

Here is his reply;

Good afternoon David,

I must thank you for your response to the article "Going with the Herd" in Hardwicke Matters.

It is always good to hear from someone who has different views, although as I read your words I found that I actually agree with most of what you say, even the paragraph  before your signature!

The thrust of my article was to recognise what choice styles we all use generally in life and particularly
with regard to the Easter event and by implication "faith beliefs".

I hope people will "think through" what they do and believe rather than following herd instinct.As you say,  "What if..." is welcomed. As I said, "Have you taken time to think it through".

Some of my closest friends are atheists and I respect their point of view wholeheartedly.I recently conducted a funeral at Longney for a good friend whose wife had died, they are/were both on the agnostic - atheist spectrum and closer to atheist than agnostic. It was a very creative farewell event and in every way reflected her own 
lifestyle and beliefs.

Your observation about those who follow a religion being "obliged to be obedient to doctrines, even dogmas set out by higher authority" is historically undeniably true.

However the Church of England with its historic formularies and creeds has congregation members who range from those fully committed to those creeds, through enquirers of various kinds, through to fringe attenders who are 
on a journey of discovery themselves (which may result in overt Christian belief or may lead them elsewhere).

Unlike some faith groups I for one apply no arm twisting or manipulation. I try to share what I believe and not to compel or threaten in any way. "Admitted ignorance where the evidence is insufficient for full understanding is welcomed".

As my flock gathers to share Easter I will indeed ponder on whether we are just a part of some herding behaviour - I hope that most will be attending because they are celebrating a faith they have thought through or are questioning the widespread human spiritual experience they somehow share.

Once again thanks for your comments, I was pleased to receive and enjoyed reading them.

Fr Andrew

P.S. Incidentally I loved your implicit resonance between "flock" and "herding".
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I need to read it a couple of times, but it seems he is not so ironclad as he seemed. I will still be pushing humanism i
of course...
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 24067
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Easter - again!

#18 Post by Alan H » March 2nd, 2016, 8:42 pm

Glad he indentified the flock/herding!
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Post Reply