March 31, 2013

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"

"And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."

2 Corinthians 6:14-16, one reason why Puritans did not celebrate Easter. Another reason was that the celebration (as opposed to the event commemorated by the celebration) doesn't appear in the Bible.
Some Christian groups continue to reject the celebration of Easter due to perceived pagan roots and historical connections to the practices and permissions of the "Roman" Catholic Church. Other "Nonconformist" Christian groups that do still celebrate the event prefer to call it "Resurrection Sunday" or "Resurrection Day", for the same reasons as well as a rejection of secular or commercial aspects of the holiday in the 20th and 21st centuries....

Members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), as part of their historic testimony against times and seasons, do not celebrate or observe Easter or any other Church holidays, believing instead that "every day is the Lord's day," and that elevation of one day above others suggests that it is acceptable to do un-Christian acts on other days....
Today is Easter, a day that is celebrated for religious reasons and, alternatively, in a completely secular fashion. It is also a day that some people do not celebrate, and the reasons for noncelebration can also be religious — even among Christians — as well as secular.

Opposition to a celebration can be based on a problem with that particular celebration — as the Puritans objected to Easter because it's not in the Bible — or on a more general objection to holidays — the belief that all of our days deserve equal celebration. That idea too can be religious. As the Quakers say "every day is the Lord's day." And that idea can be secular: the recognition of the beauty and promise in every day.

Happy Easter/Happy Day to everyone, believer and infidel, yokemates and yolkmates.

41 comments:

Phil 3:14 said...

He is Risen!

Rusty said...

Same to you, Althouse, and to Hobbs and your children.

Amexpat said...

Devout Christians should celebrate Easter religiously. The secular holiday should be on the vernal equinox - the coming of spring is something to celebrate.

phx said...

Christ has risen.

Sorun said...

Jeez Louise, everyone has their own spin and twist. All it takes to start a new religion is a charismatic old man with different opinion.

Darrell said...

There isn't a holy day with a clearer provenance. This is the centerpiece of the entire Faith. Christians denying it are beclowning themselves.

Sorun said...

What if the laws of physics were as variable as Christian practices?

Sorun said...

Jesus looks like a Mexican in today's Google Doodle.

edutcher said...

Puritans and the Lefties have a lot in common.

And Happy Easter to those joyous yokemates and yolkmates, Ann and Meade.

PS Infidel?

Are we going all jihad on the Moslems?

Ann Althouse said...

"There isn't a holy day with a clearer provenance. This is the centerpiece of the entire Faith. Christians denying it are beclowning themselves."

All the fighting within what looks to outsiders like a single religion!

The Quakers were persecuted for thinking the most amazingly inoffensive thing: that all days are equally God's days.

Can you think of any MORE ways to repel people from religion?

Michael said...


Can you think of any MORE ways to repel people from religion?

Yes. Offer a squishy spiritualism with no orthodoxy, a sort of Progressive movement with suggestions for evading inconvenient responsibility.

phx said...

Personally I don't recommend Xians get into religious arguments on Christmas or Easter.

Shouting Thomas said...

The Quakers were persecuted for thinking the most amazingly inoffensive thing: that all days are equally God's days.

The Quakers were, and still are, godawful dull, sledge-hammer literal minded dopes. People want to persecute them primarily for their awful personalities. It's hard not to dislike them.

Living in the Hudson Valley, which is still deep in the communal dream of the Oneida Colony, the Woodstock Colony, and all the other weird Utopian religious colonies ...

I have to keep things in perspective. It looks like these people are communists, and in fact they act and legislate as if they are communists. They are, in fact, religious nuts who hope that people will choose communism freely, rather than be forced into it at the point of a gun.

Solzhenitsyn wrote about such religious communists at some length in Cancer Ward.

edutcher said...

Shouting Thomas said...

The Quakers were persecuted for thinking the most amazingly inoffensive thing: that all days are equally God's days.

The Quakers were, and still are, godawful dull, sledge-hammer literal minded dopes. People want to persecute them primarily for their awful personalities. It's hard not to dislike them.

Living in the Hudson Valley, which is still deep in the communal dream of the Oneida Colony, the Woodstock Colony, and all the other weird Utopian religious colonies ...


Those aren't Quakers, dude.

You want Quakers, you come to the Philadelphia Main Line.

traditionalguy said...

It seems odd that the churches fill up on Easter Morning, but not on other Sunday mornings. But it is good to see agnostics have a day for the reenactment of the faith of their fathers.

Richard Dolan said...

"what if the laws of physics were as variable as Christian practice?"

Well, that would be like applying quantum mechanics in a macro world, or relativistic physics in a quantum wold, or any known physics at Big Bang -1 second, or ....

Big Mike said...

If we didn't celebrate Easter, where would I get Cadbury eggs?

LarsPorsena said...

A Quaker family lives two houses down from me. A sour, dour, joyless, humorless folk. Obama stickers on all of their cars.

Ann Althouse said...

"If we didn't celebrate Easter, where would I get Cadbury eggs?"

This reminds me of my standard answer that I used when my kids were very young and asked "Is there really a Santa Claus?"

Answer: Then who comes down the chimney?

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

The metaphor of a "re-birth, a resurrection" should resonate for everyone.

And to you fellow atheists, don't let any busy-body Christians assume a moral high-ground that is not theirs.

Remind them that we are those who became kind and compassionate and law-abiding, by reasoning it out to be a preferred way of being, and then freely choosing it without need of belief in an eternal reward.

Hey, maybe WE have the moral high-ground. :)

Happy Easter everyone!

Inga said...

The Quakers who love fun became Unitarians. :)

Inga said...

SomeoneHasToSayIt,

You remind me of my son in law, an atheist (and a conservative) who claims that religious folks need to belong to a religion in order to reign in their undesirable tendencies and that atheists are better people because they rely only on their own goodness.

mrs. e said...

Yes. Offer a squishy spiritualism with no orthodoxy, a sort of Progressive movement with suggestions for evading inconvenient responsibility.

You know, I don't concern myself much with other' spiritual practices - I like to focus on my own. Thanks for sharing, though.

chickelit said...

phx said...Christ has risen.

Has risen what? The correct verb is intransitive:

Christ is risen.

Ask Yahoo if you don't believe.

Roger J. said...

for those who may not subscribe to the Christian faith, or may be agnostic may I suggest this: listen to Handel's Hallelujah Chorus, and then listen to the aria that immediately follows: "I know that my redeemer livith" Handel makes this simple statement of faith transcendent--especially following the Hallelujah Chorus.

A joyous Easter to all

Palladian said...

The Quakers were, and still are, godawful dull, sledge-hammer literal minded dopes...

I didn't know you were a Quaker, Shouting Thomas!

Roger J. said...

pardon please: "liveth" rather than my terrible misspelling.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Remind them that we are those who became kind and compassionate and law-abiding, by reasoning it out to be a preferred way of being, and then freely choosing it without need of belief in an eternal reward."

Interesting. Explain this reasoning process, including the existence of a moral high ground based on reason alone.

Freeman Hunt said...

Happy Easter to all!

Ignorance is Bliss said...

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Remind them that we are those who became kind and compassionate and law-abiding...

Speak for yourself!

YoungHegelian said...

The Reformers who rebelled against the celebration of holidays used their pagan origins as a cudgel, but that was never their main concern.

Their two main concerns were "sola scriptura" in place of tradition, and "instant" justification by God's Will alone.

The whole Catholic idea of the liturgical year --- "sacred times & sacred spaces" --- is non-biblical, but it is the core of the tradition, and thus of the high Church communities that celebrate it. If one rejects tradition as the work of God's Providential hand, then one rejects the liturgical year.

If one believes, as do the high Churches, that one works out one's salvation over a period of time in co-operation with God's grace, and that, one's election is not certain and can be lost, then a sacramental community becomes necessary to help each soul to preserver in the long, hard road to salvation. If one believes, as do e.g. the Calvinists, that God has chosen His elect before all time, and that that unalterable fact is simply revealed by a gracious vision to the then much relieved believer, then there is no need for a sacramental community of perseverance. God's Will has chosen, and no earthly power can undo it.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Inga said...

SomeoneHasToSayIt,

You remind me of my son in law, an atheist (and a conservative) who claims that religious folks need to belong to a religion in order to reign in their undesirable tendencies and that atheists are better people because they rely only on their own goodness.


You really should read my post more carefully before jumping all over it. I never made the claim you claim. I clearly refereed to that sub-group of busy-body Christians (you know who they are. You've seen them) that look down on atheists, and wonder how we can possibly be moral.

I suggested, with a wink, that maybe WE were the moral ones. Nothing about anyone being "better", either. That's YOUR projection, and you may want to meditate some on it.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Freeman Hunt said...
Interesting. Explain this reasoning process, including the existence of a moral high ground based on reason alone.


If you think that Christians would still be Christians absent a "promise" of everlasting life for their individual and precious "souls", you should think on it a bit more.

And I give Christianity due credit. That dogmatic "promise" was a brilliant addition to religious canon. Goes right to very heart of what a human spirit most desperately wants: - to not one day come to an end.

Freeman Hunt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freeman Hunt said...

"If you think that Christians would still be Christians absent a "promise" of everlasting life for their individual and precious "souls", you should think on it a bit more."

I didn't make any claims about their motivations. I was just wondering how one goes about finding a moral high ground based on reason alone. What would make one ground higher than any other if materialism were true?

Amexpat said...

I was just wondering how one goes about finding a moral high ground based on reason alone.

Virtue is its own reward. I doubt that most who arrive at that insight have done so through reason. Either they are naturally virtuous or they have been taught that, by their upbringing (religious or secular) or life experience.

Freeman Hunt said...

Under strict materialism, what is virtue?

Amexpat said...

Under strict materialism, what is virtue?

Don't know how a strict materialist would define virtue, but there are core traits that one finds in the major religions and codes of ethics: honesty, sense of justice, empathy and concern for others, patience, modesty, temperance, etc. General speaking, being virtuous makes life more rewarding.

I don't believe in heaven, but if there is one, the highest section would be for those who did not believe in heaven, but lived a moral/virtuous life anyway.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Don't know how a strict materialist would define virtue, but there are core traits that one finds in the major religions and codes of ethics: honesty, sense of justice, empathy and concern for others, patience, modesty, temperance, etc."

Yes, I would agree that you find virtues across belief systems and even in materialists themselves. But my question is where one might find that distinction in strict materialism? What makes for moral distinctions under materialism?

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

I was just wondering how one goes about finding a moral high ground based on reason alone.

It was quite simple for me.

Since I don't want to post 24/7 guards to watch my possessions, I agree to not take yours if you agree to not take mine. We can both get some sleep then.

Since I don't want to never be able to trust what someone says, nor do I want no one to ever not trust me, I agree to not lie if you agree to not lie. We can both then pass information, make binding contracts, etc.

I don't want to worry that you might just haul off an hit me, so I agree to not haul off and hit you, if you agree to not haul off and hit me.


It goes like that. Not so complicated, really. Sounds quite a reasonable way to organize communal living.

Freeman Hunt said...

I can see clear to convincing the other man to hold to those things under pure materialism. Why one should feel so bound oneself is a bit murkier.