Standing On Ceremony

 

shutterstock_168595868As a happy break from writing about crime (gloomy) and marriage (even more gloomy) I’ve lately been writing a paper on liturgical theology, which is intended as a chapter for a forthcoming book designed to foster ecumenical dialogue between Roman Catholics and Latter-Day-Saints. It’s proving to be an enjoyable project, which has turned my thoughts to the role of formal ceremony in American life more generally.

Many of you know that I was raised Mormon and am now Catholic, and as a Catholic I developed a deep love of traditional liturgy. Since I developed that taste primarily in my Catholic life, my initial impulse was to think that Mormons are fairly lacking in any kind of formal liturgy. On further reflection though, that’s not as true as it might seem. Of course, the obvious place to find formal Mormon liturgy is in their temple ceremonies. But even in more ordinary settings, Mormons do have a high appreciation of formality and ceremony, along with a very definite sense of decorum. We both (that is, Catholics and Mormons) run against the grain of so much of our mainstream culture, where people are largely ashamed of anything that seems too formal, too ceremonial, or too “scripted”.

To my mind, the loss of ceremony is something of a tragedy. Ceremony and custom are critical to helping us make sense of moments and experiences in life that are naturally difficult for us to process. Weddings and funerals are two events that should absolutely be steeped in ceremony, because these are the moments in life when we struggle to connect our private experiences to something greater than our subjective emotions. Ceremony helps teach us what these occasions really mean and how we can get perspective on them. Sadly, many or most modern weddings have degenerated into glorified beauty pageants, while funerals often don’t happen at all.

Of course it’s hard to generate meaningful ceremony among people who don’t really believe in anything. The struggle for transcendence is part of what distinguishes silly and clownish attempts at ceremony from customs that are genuinely beautiful and rich. Tradition is also a vital component of liturgy (and its cultural counterpart, ceremony), and once traditions have broken down, it’s hard to recover them in an authentic way. Sadly, this breakdown probably contributes further to the contempt that progressives have for the earnestly religious, because liturgical action always looks bizarre and contrived to those who have no entry-point for understanding it.

Are there places in mainstream American life where we could help people to recover that sense of decorum? How do we persuade people that this kind of tradition is worth taking seriously?

There are 91 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    Majestyk: To be frank, who would be a Christian if not for miracles? Is that not the central tenet of the faith?

    Hm. I had not thought of that. I’ll let a Christian answer it.

    Judaism is not dependent on the fact of miracles – but on the reasons for, and the passions involved within, the relationship between man and G-d.

    • #61
  2. CandE Inactive
    CandE
    @CandE

    iWe:

    Majestyk: To be frank, who would be a Christian if not for miracles? Is that not the central tenet of the faith?

    Hm. I had not thought of that. I’ll let a Christian answer it.

    [snip]

    The recognition of a miracles (Christ’s resurrection being the foremost) are central to Christianity.  As to the relationship between rituals and miracles as events that change the physical observable world (a la “rain dance”), Christians would probably vary on their response.  It seems to me that the focus of most Christian ritual, including prayer, is to bring individuals and groups into harmony with God and each other.  To a skeptical outside observer, the result can look just like those emotional and social benefits that were mentioned earlier, even though participants and believers consider it a divine or miraculous experience.

    -E

    • #62
  3. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    iWe:

    Majestyk: To be frank, who would be a Christian if not for miracles? Is that not the central tenet of the faith?

    Hm. I had not thought of that. I’ll let a Christian answer it.

    Judaism is not dependent on the fact of miracles – but on the reasons for, and the passions involved within, the relationship between man and G-d.

    As E said.  I already knew that, I was merely asking a rhetorical question of sorts.

    • #63
  4. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Majestyk:…To be frank, who would be a Christian if not for miracles? Is that not the central tenet of the faith?

    That the events mentioned in the Nicene Creed really took place in history is central to Christianity – or at least Nicene Christianity. Whether they had to take place by means utterly impossible in nature (rather than just extremely improbable) is another question.

    Gödel’s Ghost, a Lutheran, argues that miracles describe the physically improbable – really improbable – not the physically impossible. Typically, his arguments are received with skepticism by his co-religionists and atheists alike. But even if his arguments are unreasonable, they’re not unfaithful. If, for example, the Virgin Birth was achieved via the fusion of two of Mary’s eggs and a surge of testosterone to turn the fetus from girl (as all fetuses start out) to boy, I would consider it no less a miracle. I’d agree such an event is vanishingly improbable – which is GG’s point.

    I believe physics is God’s handiwork, too, after all. Nature itself is miraculous, in ways still beyond our understanding. Most of the miracles I have personally witnessed have had obvious scientific explanations; nonetheless, they opened my soul with wonder.

    Yes, being Christian means I believe that certain rather peculiar miraculous events really did happen. How they happened?…. Phphphhht. Many Christians insist that they could have only been miracles if they also violated the laws of nature. I do not so insist: I am indifferent.

    • #64
  5. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    I realized I was a Christian when I had to face the fact that for whatever reason, I believed those Nicene events really happened. I realized I could no longer lie to myself. It would be dishonest of me to claim that my lack of a reasonable explanation for how they happened meant I didn’t believe that they happened. I did, and apparently couldn’t talk myself out of it.

    Now, should I hate myself for believing something I couldn’t explain, or not-hate myself? I’ve hated myself over many stupid things, but decided there was no point in letting this be one of them. And allowing myself to accept I had these beliefs has greatly enriched my life.

    • #65
  6. CandE Inactive
    CandE
    @CandE

    Majestyk:

    iWe:

    Majestyk: To be frank, who would be a Christian if not for miracles? Is that not the central tenet of the faith?

    Hm. I had not thought of that. I’ll let a Christian answer it.

    Judaism is not dependent on the fact of miracles – but on the reasons for, and the passions involved within, the relationship between man and G-d.

    As E said. I already knew that, I was merely asking a rhetorical question of sorts.

    What is the root question or point that you’re getting at?  I mean, the topic of miracles has been discussed elsewhere and it doesn’t have much bearing on Christian ritual.

    -E

    • #66
  7. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    CandE:

    What is the root question or point that you’re getting at? I mean, the topic of miracles has been discussed elsewhere and it doesn’t have much bearing on Christian ritual.

    -E

    I think it’s central.  The reason why the rituals are done is precisely to invoke God’s intervention.  If you look at the Words of Institution, it is an echo of Jesus’ words at the last supper and are uttered in order to give the sacrament of Communion efficacy.

    A miracle is invoked via that ritual every time because it is tied into the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.

    The rituals are so scripted and repeated so frequently that they’re practically tattooed onto the surface of my brain. :/

    Interestingly, one of the things that so alarmed Martin Luther when he visited Rome was his realization that the priests performing the ceremony were speaking in Latin and were saying of the Sacrament “Bread and wine you are, bread and wine you shall remain” to people taking Communion who knew no better.

    • #67
  8. CandE Inactive
    CandE
    @CandE

    So, here is what I understand from your comments:

    1. The reason why the rituals are done is precisely to invoke God’s intervention
    2. Religious ceremonies don’t seem to have outward effects upon the world, just personal, internal, emotional, ephemeral effects and non-supernatural social benefits that secular interactions could otherwise provide.
    3. Therefore, what’s the point?  There is no unique good from religious ritual

    Is that basically what you’re saying?

    -E

    • #68
  9. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    That’s a close approximation, yes.

    • #69
  10. Rachel Lu Contributor
    Rachel Lu
    @RachelLu

    CandE:Rachel, can you help me understand liturgy better? You’re probably very aware that we Mormons don’t use much of the traditional Christian vocabulary, but you are familiar enough with our traditions to see where it might apply. While temple ceremonies would definitely qualify as liturgy in the traditional sense, what about sacrament services? While we refrain from many of the adornments of Catholicism and Anglicanism, it’s almost standard that a white shirt and tie are expected to conduct services or administer the sacrament. The sacrament prayers are scripted. All ward services proceed according to narrow guidelines – about the only variation are on the particular selection of hymn, topic, speakers, and intermediate musical number. It may not be traditional, but that seems liturgical, at least by how I understand the word.

    -E

    The sacrament is the one element of a normal Mormon church service that is pretty obviously liturgical. It’s kind of sui generis, dropped in at the beginning without much buildup (just one hymn, usually) and no follow-up. For Catholics, Holy Communion is the centerpiece of the whole Mass. Everything else builds to it, and afterwards you have what you might see as a bit of “cool-down”, but it’s definitely the primary reference-point.

    It’s sort of significant though that so much of Mormon worship revolves around more lecture-based instruction as opposed to more tradition-dictated liturgical action. The “schedule” is set, but it’s (mostly) just a template into which free-form prayers and talks are dropped. Very little in a Catholic Mass is extemporaneous, apart from homily, which represents only a tiny portion of the Mass (in an hour-long Mass, maybe seven or eight minutes on average?). The rest is set prayers (some fixed every week, others rotating), readings from Scripture, and songs.

    • #70
  11. CandE Inactive
    CandE
    @CandE

    Thanks, Rachel.  In case it wasn’t obvious, I’ve never been to a Mass, so I didn’t know a lot of that.  I’m surprised that the homily is so short.  This also sheds some light on why some Catholics here on Ricochet focus so much on the Communion.

    -E

    • #71
  12. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    The development of ritual is interesting. For instance, the Catholic Mass started from one simple command. We believe that at the Last Supper, Jesus said, “Do this as a remembrance of me.” The apostles and early church took that as a command. Not only were they to remember Jesus at the breaking of the bread, but it was also issued as an imperative – the apostles were ordered to do this. They were ordered to remember Jesus, and breaking the bread and drinking the cup was how they were supposed to do it.

    The early church started having these meals regularly. Later, since the community were all gathered together anyway, they took the time to read letters out loud to everyone, usually from the community’s founder – their original apostle.

    What started as a simple meal, where the community read scripture and important letters – i.e., an ordinary community meal – became the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The highly formal rituals started as common, familiar, everyday routines. That’s how most rituals start.

    • #72
  13. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    Parallel story: the lavabo.

    These days, the Catholic Mass has a ritual called the lavabo, which basically means the “washing.” Just before the Communion Prayer starts, the altar servers approach the altar with a cruet of water and a dish, along with a small towel draped over his forearm, like a waiter. The priest says a formal prayer, then he places his hands above the dish; the altar servers pour water over his fingers, the the priest says another ritual prayer while he dries his fingers with the towel.

    These days, it’s a ritual that symbolizes “purity” and the priest’s desire to be pure before touching the Eucharist.

    The ritual’s origins are much more practical, and more earthy.

    You see, in the old days, people didn’t have cash. They didn’t come to mass with envelopes to be dropped onto a collection basket. Instead, when the people brought their “gifts” to church, they brought what they had … produce, vegetables, and often, livestock. When the bread and wine were brought up to the altar, that was a natural time for people to bring up all their gifts. So, just before the Communion Prayer was when the priest would accept the bread and wine … and the vegetables and livestock.

    He washed his hands after the collection … not to symbolize inner purity … but because his hands were dirty.

    Someone came along later to dramatize that routine business into a ritual, drenched in symbolism.

    • #73
  14. CandE Inactive
    CandE
    @CandE

    Majestyk:That’s a close approximation, yes.

    Thanks.

    Here are my difficulties with this argument.  First, you ask for an “outward effect” (which meaning we have to guess at), but that would seem to exclude the stated outcomes of most christian rituals. You mentioned the Words of Institution, which proclaims that those who participate will be forgiven of their sins.  That doesn’t sound like an outward effect to me.  Same goes for the other 6 sacraments, with the possible exception of Anointing of the Sick.  If anything, their focus seems to be entirely on “personal, internal, emotional, ephemeral effects”.  This is stacking the deck.

    It’s also worrisome that “personal, internal, emotional, ephemeral effects” are dismissed without apparent rationale.  There appear to be 2 assumptions at work: that the effects aren’t real, and that they wouldn’t have an impact beyond the individual directly affected.  Both assumptions are poor.  The first supposes something unknowable; only an individual can determine if they are really forgiven of sins.  The second is demonstrably false; we know from economic theory and observation that individuals impact the market all the time.  If the effects of ritual change the way an individual behaves, then it will impact others.

    What is troubling about this is that you seem to be seeking something that rituals are not offering (“outward” or “cosmic” effects), while ignoring what they do offer, to claim that they are not worthwhile.

    -E

    • #74
  15. CandE Inactive
    CandE
    @CandE

    I also think you undercut your argument by using unserious comparisons.  People go to concerts for different reasons (and with different expectations) than to an Easter service.  Same with book clubs and choirs.  Instead of elucidating your point, these comparisons indicate your bias towards dismissing religion as hokey superstition and silly nonsense.

    -E

    • #75
  16. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    CandE:

    What is troubling about this is that you seem to be seeking something that rituals are not offering (“outward” or “cosmic” effects), while ignoring what they do offer, to claim that they are not worthwhile.

    -E

    Catholics believe in transsubstantiation.  This is one such example of the things that I would be looking for as far as outward or cosmic effects.

    To respond to the rest of your post I have to ask: do you not think these effects are entirely replaceable?  What is so unique about religious ceremony that only it can produce the effects listed?  Speaking economically, I would call those effects “fungible” in some sense, in that they are a commodity which people can replicate through a variety of means, some of which are explicitly religious, others not so.

    Christopher Hitchens would frequently ask something along the lines of “Can you name a moral act done, or a moral word uttered that a religious person could do or say which could not be equally done in good conscience by a non-religious person?”

    The answer in my opinion is that there is really none – the result being that the religion itself doesn’t add anything novel.  What I think religion can do is intensify a person’s preexisting nature.

    • #76
  17. CandE Inactive
    CandE
    @CandE

    Majestyk:

    CandE:

    What is troubling about this is that you seem to be seeking something that rituals are not offering (“outward” or “cosmic” effects), while ignoring what they do offer, to claim that they are not worthwhile.

    -E

    Catholics believe in transsubstantiation. This is one such example of the things that I would be looking for as far as outward or cosmic effects.

    Since I don’t believe in transsubstantiation, I’ll let the Catholics do the heavy lifting on defending it.  However, I’m not sure I agree that it qualifies as an outward or cosmic effect.  From the link:

    “The Catholic Church teaches that the substance or reality of the bread is changed into that of the body of Christ and the substance of the wine into that of his blood,[3] while all that is accessible to the senses (the outward appearances – species[4][5][6] in Latin) remains unchanged.”

    -E

    • #77
  18. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    Majestyk: Christopher Hitchens would frequently ask something along the lines of “Can you name a moral act done, or a moral word uttered that a religious person could do or say which could not be equally done in good conscience by a non-religious person?”

    The answer in my opinion is that there is really none – the result being that the religion itself doesn’t add anything novel.

    Yes, but that really goes to prove that morality isn’t a case of living by some weird set of rules. Morality is a normal set of rules. It’s how human beings are supposed to treat each other.

    But religion is much more than just morality. It’s also worship, and living with a belief in Jesus as God (for Christians). Religion is a way of conducting one’s life with others and with God, and while that includes morality, it’s much more.

    • #78
  19. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    CandE:I also think you undercut your argument by using unserious comparisons. People go to concerts for different reasons (and with different expectations) than to an Easter service. Same with book clubs and choirs. Instead of elucidating your point, these comparisons indicate your bias towards dismissing religion as hokey superstition and silly nonsense.

    -E

    Well E, having moved to BR I can look around and see things.  This is the heart of the Bible belt.  I see as many churches here as anyplace I’ve ever been in my life.  There are all kinds of churches; big, small, rich, poor, grand and ghetto.

    I also see those buildings sit by-and-large empty, six and a half days a week.  There are some exceptions, like the Catholic schools, but mostly I think about the people who contributed the money to construct those buildings that sit empty 90% of the time.  I see awful poverty simultaneously.

    It makes me sad.  In many cases these are people who could ill afford to give away a dime, but do so out of a sense of obligation and in many cases out of a desire to do good.

    Despite this, I’ve never denied the social benefits of religion for some people.  I would just prefer if the admission were made that churches are social clubs; social clubs that do a lot of study on one particular book, The Bible.

    • #79
  20. CandE Inactive
    CandE
    @CandE

    Majestyk:To respond to the rest of your post I have to ask: do you not think these effects are entirely replaceable? What is so unique about religious ceremony that only it can produce the effects listed?

    I don’t think they are replaceable by secular sources, which is what I understand your contention to be. By their very nature, forgiveness of sin, the companionship of the Holy Ghost, etc. are religious and can only be provided by God.  Is it possible to have a non-religious, secular ceremony that will forgive sin?  That seems to me an ontological contradiction.

    -E

    • #80
  21. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    KC Mulville:

    But religion is much more than just morality. It’s also worship, and living with a belief in Jesus as God (for Christians). Religion is a way of conducting one’s life with others and with God, and while that includes morality, it’s much more.

    How does worship or ritual help you to be moral?

    I think that the moral aspect of religion is its most important aspect: they have attempted to codify underlying moral law.  I guess religion can help you to learn to be servile in that fashion, but I don’t think this is moral in and of itself.

    • #81
  22. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    CandE:

    Majestyk:To respond to the rest of your post I have to ask: do you not think these effects are entirely replaceable? What is so unique about religious ceremony that only it can produce the effects listed?

    I don’t think they are replaceable by secular sources, which is what I understand your contention to be. By their very nature, forgiveness of sin, the companionship of the Holy Ghost, etc. are religious and can only be provided by God. Is it possible to have a non-religious, secular ceremony that will forgive sin? That seems to me an ontological contradiction.

    -E

    I certainly agree with you there.

    You said something interesting before – that only an individual person can know that their sins have been forgiven them?  Being as there’s no way to test (I think we’d both agree) objectively whether a person’s sins have been forgiven would you concede that to an outside observer such as myself, this is indistinguishable from the possibility of observation bias?  Again, this isn’t to negate the positive benefits which accrue to individuals – however – this appears to me to be very similar to the sort of feeling sought after by hippy-dippy self-actualization, meditation and crystals types.

    Maybe the answer is that “humans like rituals” and we derive enjoyment from them.  The justification for the ritual may vary, but the end result is the same.

    • #82
  23. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    Majestyk:

    KC Mulville:

    How does worship or ritual help you to be moral?

    I think that the moral aspect of religion is its most important aspect.

    Well, you’re entitled to your opinion, but that’s not the way we think of it. Morality is important, of course, but it’s only one part of a larger whole.

    Catholics make a distinction between natural law and revelation. Morality is mostly a response to nature, and we call that natural law. You don’t kill your neighbor because he has as much right to live as you have, and everyone knows that. That’s part of obvious human life … human nature.

    But if you believe that Jesus Christ is divine, that’s an extra piece of information that isn’t obvious from everyday life. That information was revealed; it’s not obvious. Religion is also how we respond to “revelation.”

    If you don’t first believe in God’s “extra-natural” revelation, the aspects of religion that respond to revelation won’t make any sense to you. You’ll only accept the natural part of it. All of religion becomes just morality, and natural law.

    But the ritual, liturgical, and ceremonial side of religion (what this post is about) are mostly oriented to the revelation side … we’re responding to revelation, celebrating it, being grateful for it, and just plain wallowing in it.

    • #83
  24. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    Majestyk:Christopher Hitchens would frequently ask something along the lines of “Can you name a moral act done, or a moral word uttered that a religious person could do or say which could not be equally done in good conscience by a non-religious person?”

    This is not hard. Take the example of 3 men in a lifeboat – one is nearly dead. Do the others kill him to eat him and thus save their own lives in so doing? Judaism forbids it. Rational atheists would chop away.

    Same idea as the “train is coming! Pick to die: 1 old fat man or 300 children.”

    Religion gives us a moral code for use in extremis. I find that rational atheist moral codes always reduce, in time of need, to some variation on “might makes right.” When we need something, we justify it. Without a bedrock moral code,  morality vanishes when people are desperate.

    • #84
  25. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    iWe:

    This is not hard. Take the example of 3 men in a lifeboat – one is nearly dead. Do the others kill him to eat him and thus save their own lives in so doing? Judaism forbids it. Rational atheists would chop away.

    Same idea as the “train is coming! Pick to die: 1 old fat man or 300 children.”

    Religion gives us a moral code for use in extremis. I find that rational atheist moral codes always reduce, in time of need, to some variation on “might makes right.” When we need something, we justify it. Without a bedrock moral code, morality vanishes when people are desperate.

    Hard cases make bad law, don’t they?  Allow me to modify scenario one: the situation as has happened in situations like this frequently is not that sailors descend upon one another with bared fangs, but frequently, in extremis, will draw straws to see who perishes so that the others may live.

    I see nothing inherently immoral about that, and rational atheists aren’t exactly noted for this type of behavior.

    I should also note that the time frame matters greatly here, does it not?  If you’re lost at sea with three people for a month and one of your party finally succumbs to starvation and dehydration, is it evil to eat that person if the survival of the other members of the party is on the line?

    • #85
  26. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    I would rather die than kill someone who is not threatening another’s life. That is not instinctive. It is G-d’s Law.

    • #86
  27. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    iWe:I would rather die than kill someone who is not threatening another’s life. That is not instinctive. It is G-d’s Law.

    I have no doubt that you, I and other people who never would have done such a thing have ended up in such dire straits and were faced with really tough decisions.

    Such things have been seen throughout history, unfortunately.

    • #87
  28. CandE Inactive
    CandE
    @CandE

    Majestyk:You said something interesting before – that only an individual person can know that their sins have been forgiven them? Being as there’s no way to test (I think we’d both agree) objectively whether a person’s sins have been forgiven would you concede that to an outside observer such as myself, this is indistinguishable from the possibility of observation bias? Again, this isn’t to negate the positive benefits which accrue to individuals – however – this appears to me to be very similar to the sort of feeling sought after by hippy-dippy self-actualization, meditation and crystals types.

    Possibly, but I also don’t think that is grounds to dismiss it because scientific inquiry is not the only method for evaluating it.

    Even from a scientific perspective, one factor that makes me hesitate is that while forgiveness of sin (or some other spiritual effect) may not be observable, there are other secondary effects that may serve as proxies.

    For instance, the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance, all of which should result in observable behaviors.  I think it’s reasonable to expect Christian rituals to increase these attributes and associated behaviors in their congregants.  I apply the same standard to the hippy-dippy types, which is why I find them lacking.

    -E

    • #88
  29. CandE Inactive
    CandE
    @CandE

    Majestyk:

    CandE:[snip]

    Well E, having moved to BR I can look around and see things. This is the heart of the Bible belt. I see as many churches here as anyplace I’ve ever been in my life. There are all kinds of churches; big, small, rich, poor, grand and ghetto.

    I also see those buildings sit by-and-large empty, six and a half days a week. There are some exceptions, like the Catholic schools, but mostly I think about the people who contributed the money to construct those buildings that sit empty 90% of the time. I see awful poverty simultaneously.

    It makes me sad. In many cases these are people who could ill afford to give away a dime, but do so out of a sense of obligation and in many cases out of a desire to do good.

    I sympathize with your sadness.  I’m all for utilizing the church buildings more often, and churches get it wrong sometimes, although you might not see that as a big concession coming from a Mormon.

    Despite this, I’ve never denied the social benefits of religion for some people. I would just prefer if the admission were made that churches are social clubs; social clubs that do a lot of study on one particular book, The Bible.

    How about a compromise?  I’ll admit that churches are social clubs if you admit that churches are more than just social clubs.

    -E

    • #89
  30. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    CandE:

    I sympathize with your sadness. I’m all for utilizing the church buildings more often, and churches get it wrong sometimes, although you might not see that as a big concession coming from a Mormon.

    Despite this, I’ve never denied the social benefits of religion for some people. I would just prefer if the admission were made that churches are social clubs; social clubs that do a lot of study on one particular book, The Bible.

    How about a compromise? I’ll admit that churches are social clubs if you admit that churches are more than

    -E

    Well, thanks, although I’m not sure what being a Mormon has to do with that problem. :)

    OK – Churches are more than just an Elks or Eagles club.

    • #90
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.