Quote of the day

"In the long run it is far more dangerous to adhere to illusion than to face what the actual fact is."

David Bohm, theoretical physicist

18 comments:

  1. That goes both ways.

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    1. How do you figure that?

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  2. comments from ANON x 2
    but how do we know whose who?

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  3. If only we had a way to distinguish between facts and illusions... (sarcasm)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

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  4. Hi - I come from a scientific family so I get the whole evidence base & scientific model. So in most, things I agree that it is dangerous to adhere to an illusion.

    But,I think for some things it is essential to have denial. Yes, for example, it is dangerous to be in denial about being in major debt and carry on taking out loans you cannot afford.

    But denial also has a useful purpose. The best example of this is dying. If we had no denial at all, on the fact that we all die, life would be incredibly painful and extremely difficult to live. An ever present 100% awareness that we are going to die would make ordinary life impossible and put us into a permanent state of intense pain.

    There is a survival reason as to why we are capable of denial and for some scenarios, it is essential. The above example is perhaps an example of partial denial as we all know, we are going to die.

    But, with the Christadelphians, I remember providing statistics in some detail during an evening lecture showing that the UK Christadelphian population has been declining for decades and that extinction is on the horizon. The universal response I got was a blanket 100% denial so that the facts were not even up for discussion! I had comments like "you are wrong but I don't want to talk about it".

    Their denial only seals the doom of the UK Christadelphians. That's fine with me, but not so good for those who want a meeting to go to!

    I am happy, in my partial, denial of death!

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  5. Mad Max,
    I think you are correct in being able to show that the Cd community is shrinking.
    What to me is even more interesting is the growing diversity between the beliefs and practices of individual ecclesias.
    There was a plea in a recent Cd mag for ecclesias in the Central Fellowship to send in news of their ecclesia, as many do not do so.
    I think a reason for that is this growing diversity.
    All ecclesias are of course autonomous in the running of their own ecclesia, without a central over-riding control. But is seems that they are now so diverse in many aspects, that anyone coming to this blog wanting to know who the Christadelphians are, cannot now be given a conclusive picture of a solid body of people all believing and running their ecclesias in the same way as all the others, as I think it could have been, for example, in the 1950`s. They are becoming different each one to the other, not a cohesive whole.
    From, an ecclesia which allows unbaptised visitors to break bread (and this in England), to an ecclesia who won`t let a sister break bread who refuses to wear a hat, and all the inbetween beliefs and practices of a wide range of others. And that`s just in the UK. Go to Africa and you will find even more diversity to contemplate.
    So it`s not surprising that a dying out, or a growing diversity which will cause a dying out, seems to be hastening to that end.
    What do other ex-Cd`s, and member Cd`s, think?

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  6. Interesting stuff Mancott - I have not been a member of the Christos since 2002, so it could be argued that I am out of date. But a relative of mine is still an active member and she gets the Christadelphian magazine which is so thin nowdays!

    My personal observations (if not current) of the autonomy of Christadelphian meetings. One liberal meeting that I knew very well and spoke at often, had it's autonomy challenged by the Christadelphian Office and as a result, the so called autonomous decision was reversed.

    But the biggest resistance to change comes from self-censorship (conditioning is such a powerful thing) with the meeting. For example, the
    Summer School - yes, that, Summer School - decided against having a woman do the Sunday exhortation because of what others would say outside Summer School.

    I can think of another extremely liberal meeting, that became more and more liberal but then reverted back to the middle. Due mostly, to self-
    censorship and worrying what other Christos think.

    While I agree that Christos are becoming more diverse and less cohesive, self-censorship and fear is, on average, keeping things more the same than different.

    But, this only pushes greater numbers to go to Kenilworth and other, liberal meetings with a fair few leaving altogether.

    It is so refreshing to have a reasoned and sane conversation!

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    1. I certainly agree about the self-censorship thing. I saw it for myself. There was a lot of worry about 'offending' others. Unfortunately all this meant was that the status quo was maintained even though many people wanted change. I think the problem is that the community, in the UK at least, is so small that it can't afford to fragment (as Mancott alluded to).

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    2. I agree with Antonina that the Cd community in the UK can`t afford to fragment, because it is so small, and is gradually becoming smaller as ecclesias close, due to the ageing membership. However, I believe it is fragmenting. Let me try to explain why I think this is so. Imagine a map of the UK. It is dotted with highlighted towns in which there are ecclesias. Some are coloured green, the majority. Some are red, some yellow, and some are blue. The green ecclesias are those who are happy to meet with each other and agree, more or less, with each others beliefs and practices. The red are those who won`t tolerate certain speakers from certain ecclesias. The yellow are those who have certain speaker members who won`t speak at certain other ecclesias. The blue are the few ecclesias who won`t meet with each other at any price, and even won`t pass the bread or wine to anyone visiting from an ecclesia they don`t approve of. They all call themselves Christadelphians.
      This is a growing fragmentation of the whole. This couldn`t have been said of the community in the 1950`s, and the situation today in the UK is not the same as the clear split between the Amended and Unamended communities elsewhere.

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    3. I forgot to add, that also on the map you would notice, from north to south and from east to west, hundreds of small bright lights. These represent the locations of enlightened ex-Christadelphians.

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    4. Yes, there's quite a gulf between the different types and it's only really by convention that they all call themselves Christadelphians. In my experience the more broad-minded, tolerant ones were anxious to avoid division (even if it meant holding back with reform), whereas the traditionalists were stubbornly determined to keep going their own way and refused to contemplate change even when it was pointed out to them that their community was dwindling away. It used to frustrate me, but now I'm glad I don't need to worry about any of it!

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    5. With reference to Mad Max comment about lecturing (or attempting to anyway) on the impending extinction of the Christadelphians in the UK.
      A number of UK Christadelphian site reference the BBC religion site article on their denomination:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/subdivisions/christadelphians_1.shtml

      If you scroll through the reference, you will see that a figure of 20,000 (in the UK) is proposed, with appropriate warnings as to fact.
      The wikipedia page:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christadelphians#Adherents

      Quoting Christian source from 2004, has it at 18,000.
      After the "Big Conversation" in Dudley, October 2015, the "Christadelphian" magazine reported on the event and provided an approximate figure of 8000-8500. The report in the "Christadelphian" was not particularly comprehensive, however Belgian Christadelphian, Marcus Ampe, provided a better report on his site, which seems to contain material from the original source.

      https://christadelphians.wordpress.com/2015/11/03/the-big-conversation-christadelphians-in-the-united-kingdom/

      At the time of publication, I checked the numbers published in the back of the magazine for the past three years, and they broadly agree with the figures published, a net decline of 120 a year, and tiny amounts (<20 a year) of recruits from outside.and about 3 ecclesias a year closing.
      The graphic on Ampe's site has the extinction at 2085, but does point out that it could be sooner, due to demographic effects (around 75% of Christadelphians are over 50)
      It's also the case that as ecclesias diminish in numbers, so they move into rented by the hour places, and while there is nothing wrong this that, they then completely vanish from the community. My personal thought is that a toxic combination of age, family breakdowns and better information will have wiped them out by about 2050, and the last of Mancott's lights will be extinguished

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    6. But hopefully, not all the pinprick lights of the enlightened. Although, by 2050, mine will be for sure!

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    7. Antonina, I think you're right that everyone calling themselves Christadelphian is partly by convention. But it's also a simple result of the fact that no-one "owns" the name. So long as people think they are following the true Christadelphian tradition (whether conservative or liberal), who is really authorised to say "You're not a true Christadelphian"?

      I also think you're right about traditionalists being more hard-line and less willing to compromise than more liberal ones. At the same time, though, sometimes it just means that more liberal people group in more liberal ecclesias and then just don't talk with the conservatives about what they're changing. I got on with people from all stripes, but there were certainly things I would say at my home ecclesia that I would not say elsewhere...

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    8. Jon, very true. All of which must make it rather difficult for outsiders who are trying to figure out what on earth 'Christadelphians' believe.

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    9. I think this was the core problem affecting the UK Brexit vote. The question of "foreigners" and immigrants, swayed many who thought that they were English, and didn`t realise that the blood of the English (and Scots, Irish and Welsh), is made up of a mongrel kaleidoscope from different races. And so, Christadelphians are a similar group, with mixed (-up) thoughts and understanding about their beliefs.

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  7. I would not want to get involved in a “Brexit” debate here. However, as I live in the area that had the highest percentage of “leave” voters in the UK, and because of the industries I work in, I have a good insight into the reasoning of both sides, and the complex local issues that were a big influencer on peoples voting decisions, rather than just simple racism. I am aware that I too have quite recent Irish (Catholic) maternal ancestors.
    There is a massive difference between one’s genetic build up, which cannot be changed (and is in any case not relevant to much other than inherited conditions), and the choices that Christadelphians make as to what to believe and what to reject, which they do of course have the power to change.
    Christadelphians are, and as far as I can tell, always have been euroskeptics, and the “leave” vote does seem to have given them renewed energy in the area of bellicose presentation of the majority belief that Europe is ruled by the Roman Church, and that leaving is part of God’s plan for us.
    With regard to the thread, and my previous comment, 75% of Christadelphians are over 50. Look at the Brexit vote and you can see that 81% of the general population aged between 55 and 64 voted leave.
    https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/staggers/2016/06/how-did-different-demographic-groups-vote-eu-referendum
    However, the reverse was true of 18 to 24 year olds, 75% voting remain.
    So what we have is an elderly, diminishing, and generally well off Christadelphian population, gloating over a position young people do not want, and that causes concern for their future, and pushing a young earth creationist position. At the same time, the general decline in young people having a “Christian background knowledge”, better access to information, and better scientific knowledge. This makes the former recruiting the latter into the ranks an incredible uphill struggle.
    Reading through
    https://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/internet.php
    Can be useful due to the many similar challenges that the religions face.
    I wasn’t implying that Mancott’s lights are about to go out, although it could have been construed that way! Just that while there clearly are some twinkling lights, there must surely come a point when these people are no longer Christadelphians in the sense that we might think.
    Would an ecclesia of casually dressed men and betrousered, bare headed women, who shared speaking duties, sandwich making, washing up and flower arranging equally, who had joint services with the local protestants and Catholics, who taught evolutionary creationism in Sunday School, and no longer considered the Kingdom Age to be “imminent”, still be “Christadelphian”. I doubt it, and whilst they may be a bright light, they would no longer be on the Christadelphian map.

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  8. Joseph. Your last paragraph raises a thought. Wouldn`t it be a breath of fresh air to see signs springing up on meeting rooms - "Ex-Christadelphian Hall - All Denominations Welcome".

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