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Poll in the Guardian: Is it OK for prime ministers to 'do God' in public?
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At an Easter reception in Downing Street, David Cameron ventured where even Tony Blair feared to tread, quoting from the Gospel of Luke, speaking of 'we Christians', and welcoming the Christian 'fightback'. 'The values of the Bible, the values of Christianity, are the values that we need', he said. In your view, is it acceptable for a modern prime minister to espouse Christian values so openly?

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April 4th, 2012, 1:07 pm
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An excellent rebuttal from the BHA to Cameron's idiotic comments: David Cameron encourages Evangelical Christians to 'fight back’ against secular Britain

Am I the only one who thinks Cameron is being far more aggressive and militant than secularists and atheists?

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April 5th, 2012, 10:20 am
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I get the impression that he's quietly worried about the rise of Islam and this is his counter to it, he wouldn't have the balls to address it direct.

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April 5th, 2012, 2:30 pm
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Alan H wrote:
Poll in the Guardian: Is it OK for prime ministers to 'do God' in public?
Quote:
At an Easter reception in Downing Street, David Cameron ventured where even Tony Blair feared to tread, quoting from the Gospel of Luke, speaking of 'we Christians', and welcoming the Christian 'fightback'. 'The values of the Bible, the values of Christianity, are the values that we need', he said. In your view, is it acceptable for a modern prime minister to espouse Christian values so openly?


Easter is a mixmatch of Pagan and Christian faith ... irony


April 24th, 2012, 7:56 pm
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Skyfrog wrote:
To be fair to Cameron, I think there is a difference between being a hardcore evangelical Christian right-wing nutcase and being a "vaguely practising Church of England Christian". The latter are not necessarily so unpalatable, in my view.


:)

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Topol; Fiddler on the Roof.

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May 1st, 2012, 5:37 pm
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George McFly wrote:

Easter is a mixmatch of Pagan and Christian faith ... irony


I am afraid the evidence is against you on this one.

Easter bunnies notwithstanding, Easter is a Christian feast ultimately deriving from the Jewish Passover.

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May 1st, 2012, 5:40 pm
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Compassionist wrote:
She accuses secularists of being intolerant when the Quran and the Bible are much more intolerant.


The Bible cannot be intolerant. The Bible is an inanimate object and so cannot carry a moral burden; it is neither tolerant nor intolerant. Moral burdens cannot be borne by animals or inanimate objects; only by people who are old enough and capable enough to understand the difference between right and wrong. People can be either tolerant or intolerant, but not a book.

There are parts of the Bible that can be interpreted as recommending intolerance, but it is those who make such an interpretation who are at fault; the Bible does not interpret itself.

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May 1st, 2012, 5:48 pm
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Cathy wrote:
George McFly wrote:

Easter is a mixmatch of Pagan and Christian faith ... irony


I am afraid the evidence is against you on this one.

Easter bunnies notwithstanding, Easter is a Christian feast ultimately deriving from the Jewish Passover.

Except that the name "Easter" derives from a Germanic goddess of fertility (from which we also derive the word oestrogen) and was celebrated around the Spring equinox long before Jewish custom gained sway. Doesn't Stonehenge demonstrate this? And I don't think that was built by the Jewish people. :D


May 1st, 2012, 6:22 pm
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Nick wrote:
Cathy wrote:
George McFly wrote:

Easter is a mixmatch of Pagan and Christian faith ... irony


I am afraid the evidence is against you on this one.

Easter bunnies notwithstanding, Easter is a Christian feast ultimately deriving from the Jewish Passover.

Except that the name "Easter" derives from a Germanic goddess of fertility (from which we also derive the word oestrogen) and was celebrated around the Spring equinox long before Jewish custom gained sway. Doesn't Stonehenge demonstrate this? And I don't think that was built by the Jewish people. :D


Well, where do I start on that one? :D Sadly, I suspect the answer will have to wait. I have to take d to the station to catch her train back to uni, and then Mass calls.

After that I will return and attempt to unravel the Gordian knot that is your above comment. In the meantime, I invite you to consider whether the name 'Monday' actually denotes everyone worshipping the moon one day every week, and if not, why not. Bfn.

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May 1st, 2012, 6:34 pm
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Cathy wrote:
Compassionist wrote:
She accuses secularists of being intolerant when the Quran and the Bible are much more intolerant.


The Bible cannot be intolerant. The Bible is an inanimate object and so cannot carry a moral burden; it is neither tolerant nor intolerant. Moral burdens cannot be borne by animals or inanimate objects; only by people who are old enough and capable enough to understand the difference between right and wrong. People can be either tolerant or intolerant, but not a book.

There are parts of the Bible that can be interpreted as recommending intolerance, but it is those who make such an interpretation who are at fault; the Bible does not interpret itself.
Have to say you are right, Cathy, on the same basis that poisons, guns, atomic bombs etc are not evil - only those who employ them to kill other humans may be evil.

There was an old TV prog from across the Pond - Highway Patrol. There was always a moral at the end, in the way of such things in those days, and one was Broderick Crawford (how in heck did I remember that!), the lead actor, saying, "Remember, folks, it's not the car that kills but the person behind the wheel."

On the point of Easter, are you sure, do you have proof that it relates more to passover than the pagan spring celebrations that we still practice in analogue? Was it not convenient the JC defeated death at this time as well? Or was it all a cunning plan?

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May 1st, 2012, 6:59 pm
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Easter, or Eostre is a festival of renewal, of fertility and rebirth, probably celebrated for millennia before most organised religions tried to take it over. The concept suited the men who invented christianity and they took it over as they did others, including Christmas, in that case even managing to change the name.

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May 1st, 2012, 7:48 pm
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lewist wrote:
Easter, or Eostre is a festival of renewal, of fertility and rebirth, probably celebrated for millennia before most organised religions tried to take it over. The concept suited the men who invented christianity and they took it over as they did others, including Christmas, in that case even managing to change the name.


Right on. And, the concept of a risen Christ is borrowed from the many earlier religions (about 16, I believe) that had a virgin birth and resurrection.

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May 1st, 2012, 8:39 pm
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With regards to "Easter" If a guy was nailed to a tree (as stated in the "gospels" not a cross,) It would have been on a particular date, right? So why do the "Christians" tie the date of such a momentous occasion to the phases of the moon....Hmm.
Why doesn't the date for "Christmas" change every year? Is it because the 25th of December is near enough to the Winter solstice anyway?
If you can believe that somebody has to have a fixed birthday, then surely you must also believe that there must be a fixed date of death.

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May 1st, 2012, 8:41 pm
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Nick wrote:
Except that the name "Easter" derives from a Germanic goddess of fertility (from which we also derive the word oestrogen) and was celebrated around the Spring equinox long before Jewish custom gained sway. Doesn't Stonehenge demonstrate this? And I don't think that was built by the Jewish people. :D


Breakfast cereal derives from Ceres the Roman goddess of fertility, who was celebrated by the Romans particularly in early Spring. Does this mean that when we eat cornflakes we are being pagan?

Mars Bars are named after the Roman god of War. Are they pagan too?

Thursday is named after the Germanic god Thor the Thunderer, and Friday after Freya, also Goddess of fertility. Do our names for the days of the week denote that we are ourselves pagan?

August is named after Octavius Caesar, who was deified after his death by the Roman state. Does this mean that every summer we join in the Cult of the Divine Augustus?

If not, why not?

Stonehenge predates all of this lot by some considerable time - if I were not so tired I would look up its probable date. The best we can say about it is that it appears to line up with the summer and winter solstice, but more than that is always going to remain conjecture. We do not know what the people who built Stonehenge believed, and we probably never will.

We do know what the ancient Hebrews believed, because they wrote it down. Passover is a memorial and celebration of the Angel of Death passing over the Israelites and smiting the first born of Egypt. When Christ celebrated Passover with his disciples the day before he died, he changed its meaning to commemorate not only the Passover, but also his own death. Ever since then Christians have celebrated Pascha or Easter (both names are possible) on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring Equinox, unless this happens to also be Passover. Easter and Passover cannot be on the same day (don't ask me why).

The name Easter (or derivations thereof) denotes the Christian Feast. It has nothing whatever to do with any pagan goddess. The fact that a pagan goddess may or may not have been celebrated in the spring really has nothing to do with anything; pagans worshipped gods and goddesses all the time; it would not be possible to choose a time of year that would not coincide with something or other.

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May 1st, 2012, 9:01 pm
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Dave B wrote:
Have to say you are right, Cathy, on the same basis that poisons, guns, atomic bombs etc are not evil - only those who employ them to kill other humans may be evil.


Guns and poisons may possibly have valid purposes; killing animals to eat, killing vermin etc. I think there would be a good case for saying that the use of atomic bombs is intrinsically evil, but I am no expert on such matters. (Or indeed, anything!)

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May 1st, 2012, 9:06 pm
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Alan C. wrote:
With regards to "Easter" If a guy was nailed to a tree (as stated in the "gospels" not a cross,) It would have been on a particular date, right? So why do the "Christians" tie the date of such a momentous occasion to the phases of the moon....Hmm.
Why doesn't the date for "Christmas" change every year? Is it because the 25th of December is near enough to the Winter solstice anyway?
If you can believe that somebody has to have a fixed birthday, then surely you must also believe that there must be a fixed date of death.


Tree or cross; either term is fine, although the Romans called it crucifixion (or whatever that is in Latin).

Passover relates to the phases of the moon. Certainly there was a fixed date, but Easter is associated with Passover, and the date of Passover itself changes.

Christmas is what is called a fixed Feast, Easter and any Feasts associated with it (Pentecost etc) are moveable Feasts.

Christmas itself is a date chosen to fulfill Scripture. Sorry about quoting from the Bible to humanists, but for information only, you understand, St John the Baptist says of the Lord, 'He must increase, and I must decrease.' The Church in its wisdom decided to take this one to its poetic conclusion, and celebrates the birth of Christ at the winter solstice, and the birth of John the Baptist at the summer solstice, exactly six months before. This means that the days themselves all testify to the fulfillment of Scripture; after the birth of Christ he increases as the days increase, after the birth of John he decreases as the days decrease. Rather lovely, that one.

Really, they had to choose a day because they simply did not know what day was the actual birthday for either. And the day was chosen to illustrate the fulfillment of Scripture. Knicking Saturnalia off the Romans at the same time (and why not?) was just serendipity. :)

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May 1st, 2012, 9:15 pm
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Sel wrote:
lewist wrote:
Easter, or Eostre is a festival of renewal, of fertility and rebirth, probably celebrated for millennia before most organised religions tried to take it over. The concept suited the men who invented christianity and they took it over as they did others, including Christmas, in that case even managing to change the name.


Right on. And, the concept of a risen Christ is borrowed from the many earlier religions (about 16, I believe) that had a virgin birth and resurrection.


So, it would appear that the pattern here is that people are happy to be sceptical about Christianity, but willing to believe all sorts of misinformation about 'earlier religions', as long as it feeds the scepticism, but without feeling the need to apply the same degree of scepticism to the claims made about those other religions?

It is enough for a humanist to hear that there were 16 earlier religions, all of which feature a virgin birth and resurrection, for this to be true. And yet when I only want to believe in one such, somehow that is incredible?

Fine. Good. What fun. :)

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May 1st, 2012, 9:25 pm
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So, it would appear that the pattern here is that people are happy to be sceptical about Christianity, but willing to believe all sorts of misinformation about 'earlier religions', as long as it feeds the scepticism, but without feeling the need to apply the same degree of scepticism to the claims made about those other religions?
Not sure if that is the picture in my mind, Cathy. Rather than scepticism, which requires a subjective viewpoint, one might consider objectivity.

We have no concrete proof that Jesus existed, let alone "rose from the dead" at whatever time of year. Please enlighten me if the Bible states that it was within a part of the year that included Passover - I just do not know.

I cannot supply sources at the moment but the historical and archaeological evidence exists, IIRC, that our ancestors had certain rituals (as did many peoples all over the temperate Northern Hemisphere at least down into Egypt) designed to encourage new growth in the spring. Some pretty nasty rituals which, luckily, now only appear in analogue form.

There seems to be evidence that all major religions co-opted fragments of minor ones in order to give them an "in" with those they wish to convert. Christianity is as liable to this sort of action as any other, it's good politics for those who want to be top dogs.

Just a quick shufti:

Quote:
The name “Easter” has its roots in ancient polytheistic religions (paganism). On this, all scholars agree. This name is never used in the original Scriptures, nor is it ever associated biblically with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For these reasons, we prefer to use the term “Resurrection Sunday” rather than “Easter” when referring to the annual Christian remembrance of Christ's resurrection.
http://christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-t020.html

At the moment I can't find any academic papers on the subject and am not happy to quote anything that does not have a solid provenance - the above is an exception.

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May 1st, 2012, 9:50 pm
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Cathy
Christmas itself is a date chosen to fulfill Scripture.
And There lies the problem, religious folk try to change the facts so that they fit with "scripture" or "prophesy"
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So, it would appear that the pattern here is that people are happy to be sceptical about Christianity, but willing to believe all sorts of misinformation about 'earlier religions', as long as it feeds the scepticism,
I think you're missing the point, I for one am sceptical about all "religions" What folk are pointing out is that all "religions" are merely a continuation of earlier beliefs with a bit of embellishment.

Cross posting with Dave.

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May 1st, 2012, 9:52 pm
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Dave B wrote:
Not sure if that is the picture in my mind, Cathy. Rather than scepticism, which requires a subjective viewpoint, one might consider objectivity.


Indeed so. Starting from a premise and then finding everything that one can to support that premise, and discounting everything else as myth, is not objectivity.

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We have no concrete proof that Jesus existed, let alone "rose from the dead" at whatever time of year.


See my comment above. We also have no 'concrete' proof that Julius Caesar existed, or was stabbed in the Senate. Nor Tiberius. Nor Cleopatra. Nor Homer. Nor Socrates. You get the idea. But who starts from the premise that these did not exist, and anything testifying to them must be a fake? That is simply not how historians approach evidence from ancient times.

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Please enlighten me if the Bible states that it was within a part of the year that included Passover - I just do not know.


Yes, the Last Supper was a Passover celebration. That happened on the Thursday, that night the Lord was arrested and tried and the next day he died. The two are very closely connected, both in time and in symbolism. Christ is the Passover Lamb, given for us; the Lamb of God. I won't carry on with that kind of language, because it might sound like proselytising but you get the idea; Easter is parallel to, and reflective of, Passover.

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I cannot supply sources at the moment but the historical and archaeological evidence exists, IIRC, that our ancestors had certain rituals (as did many peoples all over the temperate Northern Hemisphere at least down into Egypt) designed to encourage new growth in the spring. Some pretty nasty rituals which, luckily, now only appear in analogue form.


Of course our ancestors had rituals relating to Spring. Why wouldn't they? I have them myself; every Spring I celebrate the beginning of new life by having to get my lawn mower out and cut the grass. If I had to rely on growing my own food or else starve, I would certainly want to placate any gods relating to food production that I possibly could.

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There seems to be evidence that all major religions co-opted fragments of minor ones in order to give them an "in" with those they wish to convert. Christianity is as liable to this sort of action as any other, it's good politics for those who want to be top dogs.


That is not evidence. That is assumption. The two are not the same.

Evidence is finding a church built on an ancient Celtic site, such as within a henge (as at Earl's Barton), or beside a sacred spring (as at Cowley, Uxbridge), and that certainly occurs. But it is important not to mistake assumptions about the frequency of such occurences with evidence that this was inevitably the case with all churches, and with all Christian feasts.

What is true of any human interaction is that you have to begin at a point of common interest. When attempting to convert pagan Anglo Saxons, for example, you would probably not emphasise the Lord's suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, because they were a warrior people, with a great tradition of kinship, loyalty and gift giving, and an equally great tradition of not being afraid to die. So with Anglo Saxons you would emphasise kinship, loyalty, gift giving and not being afraid to die.

It is a bit like the old joke, where someone asks the way to Dublin and is told, 'Oh, I wouldn't start from here, if I were you.'

You have to start where people are. If the people are pagan, and have particular pagan beliefs, then that is where you start.

Quote:
Just a quick shufti:

Quote:
The name “Easter” has its roots in ancient polytheistic religions (paganism). On this, all scholars agree. This name is never used in the original Scriptures, nor is it ever associated biblically with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For these reasons, we prefer to use the term “Resurrection Sunday” rather than “Easter” when referring to the annual Christian remembrance of Christ's resurrection.
http://christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-t020.html

At the moment I can't find any academic papers on the subject and am not happy to quote anything that does not have a solid provenance - the above is an exception.


Easter is not the universal term for - erm - Easter. A very large proportion of the world calls it something like Pascha, which relates to Passover. Easter is the Germanic term only. And as I said above, talking about breakfast cereal does not mean we are referencing the goddess Ceres; it means that we have a word for breakfast cereal, which has a particular derivation which is now pretty well forgotten.

I have never heard anyone call it 'Resurrection Sunday'. That sounds a bit too evangelical for my liking, but each to his own. In apostolic terms (ie Anglican, Orthodox and Roman Catholic) EVERY Sunday is Resurrection Sunday, in that every Sunday commemorates the Resurrection of the Lord.

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May 1st, 2012, 10:34 pm
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