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CELTIC-L  May 1999

CELTIC-L May 1999

Subject:

Re: Fw: Tripartite deity

From:

Jacquelyn Kestner <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Jacquelyn Kestner <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 20 May 1999 19:50:16 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (364 lines)

Now, for the rest of what a started a day ago.....
----- Original Message -----
From: Gil Hardwick <[log in to unmask]>

> >it is actually Catholic. Yet, this brings up a point I find, shall we
say,
>
> Presbyterian Scotland is actually Catholic? Well, all my Presbyterian
> forebears married Catholics too, there being no fundamental disagreement
> on liturgy, merely on Church administration and the freedom to think for
> themselves on these matters.

Perhaps your family did intermingle the Catholic branch and the Presbyterian
branch....however, in many Island communities, such an intermingling is not
acceptable. They very much see fundamental disagreements in the liturgies of
the two branches. In fact, this perception fosters much of the disagreement
in Northern Ireland.
>
> Now, let's dig deeper, shall we. If you are prepared to accept the idea
> that people nominally adhering to one layer of spirituality also adhere
> to a deeper layer of spirituality, surely will adhere to a deeper layer
> again.

Ah, no. We can't assume people have an infinite overlayering of belief
systems, simply because it suits our pet project. In order to make such a
suposition, we must have behavioral, acecdotal, and quanitative data to make
such an assumption.


> After we get to the Big Turtle, it is turtles all the way down, yes?

No. That is an assumption based on your world view, which would be
inappropriately ascribed to a group not sharing said world view.


> It is the same among Presbyterian/Catholic Celts in Western Australia;
> the pagan is not very far below the surface at all. I can introduce you
> to dedicated Church goers who will freely admit and openly discuss the
> same thing. I can introduce you to many more who no longer pretend with
> the Church-going veneer, and do so knowing that they are no longer going
> to be ostracised or persecuted for it.

And I can introduce you to folks who used to say they were pagans, wicca or
satan worshipers, who now no longer pretend with the coven-going veneer and
chose to be Christian---even in a society that degengrates traditional
views. However, that does not negate the fact they truly espoused pagan
views before.


>
> You might care to explain to us, what the remaining 83% of your Scots and
86% of your English and Welsh believe. Your church-goers hardly represent
> a majority, even in your "Celtic lands".

Very little of Scotland is Celtic language speaking---again, in those areas
the figures go to as high as 97%.


> >On the face of it, this can have validity. However, you then turn around
>and say that somone who idenitifies themself as a Christian must meet
>adherency guidelines. You have stated we should respect what you believe,
> Nothing of the sort. It is you people over there insisting that Celts
> are Christians, while I have replied by asking how do you know that.

Because as much as 90% are nominal Christians.


> Have you been to check with them?

I interviewd quite extensively, so yes, I did.


I have no argument with people who
> profess to be Christians; I have stated clearly in fact that I don't
> care what people want to believe, it is their business.
>
> My response to you people is that there are not so many Christians out
> here as you want to believe. I suggest again that you check with them
yourselves, instead of challenging me with all these issues which arise
> from nothing more than your own imaginations.

Oddly, enough, most of the scholars out there have the same imagination I
do. Funny,  that.



> >while saying we should dismiss these populations because, though they
>believe themselves to be Christian, you have determined they do not meet
> >a certain criteria.
>
> Again, nothing of the sort. I have nowhere argued that there are no
> Christian Celts. The thread has been about Celtic belief, to which
> Sharon et al replied that Celts are Christian because the people living
> in "the Celtic lands" are Christian, the remainder apparently dismissed
> as unrepresentative of Celtic belief because they no longer live there.


No, you wrote that Christianity had no relevance to Celtic belief.

> I responded further by pointing out that the vast majority of Celts now
> live in the New World and Australia, to which McEwan replied in turn that
> they are not Celts, but assimilated Anglos.
>
> I just don't care for such unmitigated clap-trap, and suggest again that
> you all simply travel and see for yourselves.

I did travel, and interview, and study.




> >Perhaps we would do well to study adherency in areas populated by the
> >offspring of the Diaspora. In the US adherency--meaning the folks who
> >actually show up for church-is 42%, while in your own Australia
48%---based
> >on the 1994 World Church Census.......And, by the way, I don't recall
ever
>
> Actually show up in Church when, on what pretext?

On an average Sunday. The census was delayed in churches sponsoring "events"
in order to ensure that only the "average" Sunday attendance was taken.


Occasionally at weddings and funerals, perhaps at Christmas and less often
at Easter?

Oh, and not incidentally, there is a large body of theory that indicates we
return to our true belief system during such trying times as funerals.
However, this criticism still means you select the criteria for validation
of belief for someone else. Much as if I were to say, "You are not really a
pagan, because you do not visit the Hill of Many Stanes on the summer and
winter equinioxes. Since you do not met my definition of Celtic pagan,
obiviously you bare only a thin veneer of belief. You are a Christian in
reality, you simply cling to self indentification to a religion to which you
do not truly believe."



Tally the
> amount of time they actually attend or prepare for attendance at Church,
> and we find less than 0.01% of their time taken up in observation.

Again this is an instance of determining the value of someone elses faith.
Not all branches  of Christianity indicate their adherents need spend any ti
me in observation other than attending service. In fact, some branches,
maintain that only self-idenitification is required, and no attendence is
needed. Yet, you are able to asertain that the belief of these people in
somehow invalidated because they do not met a requirement you established.

> Much less pious, not even religious I dare suggest.

I am not able to make value judgments about the people I study. I can only
explore the area of their belief within the context of *their* belief. If
they believe they are Christian, I cannot overlay my view of Christianity on
their system, and must accept them on based on their worldview.

> >stating all the Christians in Wales, Scotland and Ireland were pious. I
> >wouldn't make such a statement because that very statement would mean I
> >placed a value judgment on the behaviour of very people I wish to learn
> >from. Piety varies region to region and doctrine to doctrine. Someone
>
> No, you didn't. Sharon did.

Actually you made a statement similiar to the one above indicating that
"Christians" were not pious.


> >deemed pious by a group in Ireland would be considered very un-pious in
the >Isles
> >were visual markers of piety are the norm. Someone from the Isles would

> Of course it does. Thank you. That flattens somewhat the argument about
religious systems being based on what is written in books. And given lack
> of imposed penalty for not attending Church people simply stop doing so.

You will notice I never indicated that religions developed in response to
written texts. I wrote that religions and religious belief develop in
response to cultural needs. However, I do not understand your comment about
there not being a penalty for attending church. 1) Many people most
certainly do attend church whether there is a penalty or not---my own church
has around 2500 people attend each Sunday. 2) Your original point was that
Christianity was "imposed" (apparantly through some nefarious plot) on poor
defenseless Celts---how then did this imposition work if there was no
penalty for failing to attend church?


> >I don't claim to be an expert on the Diaspora in other regions, but I
> >have taken the time to read documents from the Clearances.


> The Clearances represent the final collapse of Highland society, not an
isolated episode in themselves, since the bulk of the population had
> already emigrated and/or been killed off in the battles, and subsequently
> in serving the British in their wars. Do you want service figures too?

This simply isn't true. Yes, large numbers of Highlander, particularly, were
soldiers in foreign wars. However, mass emigration was a feature of the
Clearances.....Oh, and I have the figures on the number of men in various
Highland regiments. But, thank you for asking.


> >Also, keep in mind that by this point, the Highlands had birthed their
own

>
> Nothing happens in isolation. This is part of McEwan's delusion as well,
> to insist on a static, isolated Celtic society free to pursue its own
> culture, while all those who left were traitors bent on assimilating
> with the Anglos.

I see. Well, I live in an area of high emigration---in fact, Gaelic was a
spoken language in NC till the 1950s. All I can say is that Christianity is
the dominate (at least nominal) religion amongst immigrants from
traditionally Celtic regions.


> In fact it is characteristic of Celtic peoples to travel and intermix
widely. What was "birthed" in the Highlands was only in response to the
Reformation generally, as anywhere else.

I see, again. So there is no regional variation in the response to the
Reformation resulting from cultural variation. Wow. I didn't know that. So,
let me absolutely sure I understood. All of Europe is in fact Reform
Church.....or are the Anglican?


> >I'm afraid I'd have to see exactly where you got your statistics on that.
> >Scholars such as George Rawlyk (now deceased) and William McLoughlin have
> >indicated the worldwide Christian community is in the midst of a revival.
> >(Vivid examples of this being found in Latin America.)
>
> Christian, Christian, Christian, Christian . . .


Christianity was the topic under discussion. Though I must say, I didn't
know Mr. Rawlyk was a Christian. Um, exactly which religion do you want to
know about?


> Goodness me, go to South America and see what they are doing there for
> yourself! One of the best places on the planet to study syncretism of
> entrenched pagan, voodoo and milleniarian rapture merged with idolatry
> of the Catholic saints. I fear, Jacqueline, that you are relying far too
much on the highly selective written accounts of other people, and not
enough on your own fieldwork.

I see. Yes, well, umm. You did understand that my undergrad work was on
Latin American, particulary the Quiche?


> Sitting at home reading books on Christianity published apparently by
Christians themselves,

I live in NC. I studied and interviewed in Scotland. That's a few thousand
miles away from from home. As far as the books being published by
Christians----in truth, I did analyse first hand accounts of Christian
movements, so the people I interviewed were Christians, but I incorporated
many non-Christian works into the theoritical and methodology areas of my
research.

does not qualify you as a scholar of religious movements around the planet.

If you had stated I was not an expert on religious movements, I would agree.
Even after I complete the PhD program I do not believe I will be an
expert---there are simply too many wise and learned men and women in the
field for me to compare. However, by the very fact I study, I am a scholar.
By the fact I study religious movements, I am a scholar of religious
movements. The fact my dissertation and presentations have stood the test of
peer and external review indicate I am a scholar.

Especially since Pope John Paul II, the
> investment by the Churches in propagating their doctrine has increased
> exponentially, but none of it points to a particular increased belief
> among real people out here in the real world.

First, the Pope only represents part of the church---a part that had a major
revival in the 1970s in Scotland, by the way. The term "Church" cannot be
used to describe all branches of Christianity collectively---frankly, the
various groups are simply too divergent to do anything collectively. Second,
I can't address increase or decrease in belief, only the statistics of
nominal Christianity....which has declined.


> As they are further oppressed, they simply go underground once more. At
> other times, as the Churches become complacent again, lo and behold
> there they all appear once more, with their Adam's grandmothers and
> their wading webbed bog-trotting feet, wanting talaria to their heels.
>
> >The rate of publication of Christian materials has also increased---in
>fact, the industry supports entire chains of book stores, just like
>paganism/New Age.
>
> Don't give up, do they . . .




> >Now this I find interesting, particular when used by somone representing
> >himself as a scholar in the cultural implications of relgious movements.
>All religions, at every period in man's history change and adapt to the
>belief systems of their adherents. This is how religions develop. Any
> >faith that does not adapt, does not continue to meet the needs of the
>individuals comprising a community will fade or cease to exist---sort of
>like the religion of the Ancient Celts did when individuals found
>Christianity better suited their needs.
>
> Christianity again. Jacqueline, you appear to be obsessed with this idea
> of Christianity as a single, homogenous system which has displaced all
> others.

Perhaps you didn't understand Sharon's question---she asked about the
introduction of Christianity into Celtic regions.  Were you wanting to
discuss safardi, perhaps? Nor have I stated Christianity is a universal
belief system. However, you made the statement that Christianity had nothing
to do with Celtic belief-----when, in fact, Christianity has been the
dominant belief system of Celtic regions of several centuries now.

 It is simply not so. Ideas taught by Christ have been taken up
> widely around the entire planet, primarily because they are consistent
> with existing belief. The Chinese have known about Christ for at least
> as long as the Celts, perhaps earlier being closer to the trade routes
> from North Africa and the Middle East than Ireland or Scotland.

Uh, China isn't a pre-dominantely Christian country.


> But they do not displace existing belief, merely add to it. Yes?

I don't think most Chinese care what Christ taught.


> The problems have arisen through organisations based on quite different
> cultural assumptions, asserting that they are the true Christian faith,
> and imposing their own ideas on other societies and cultures. It is
> further problematic that they backed up with impositions with armed
> force; Far more than that in fact, with inquisition, imprisonment and
torture, genocidal massacres, crusades and unrelenting propaganda.

Now, exactly when were those beliefs imposed on the Celts via inquisition
and torture and massacres etc?


> Once again, I repeat, I have no argument with what Christ taught. Neither
> do I have any problem whatsoever with what anybody else at all on this
> planet might want to believe. I do have very large problems with the
> conduct of the Churches.

Then you need to acknowledge your bias, and not present your views as
historical arguement.


> I have very large problems indeed with the mindless tyranny of a rigid,
dogmatic, materialistic mindset passing itself off as representing the
teachings of Christ, where the result has not been loving compassion,
friendship and family stability, but even more social disruption and
> mayhem.

Again this is personal belief, and hardly a firm foundation for assuming
historical fact.I would recomend "In Search of the Sacred" by Clinton
Bennett. He addresses methods for avoiding the pit falls of personal bias
when studying other religions----oh, and many of his contributors weren't
Christian, so you won't be too offended.

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