A Xmas message to Prof Muller

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4 Responses

  1. Margaret Nelson says:

    I've had a reply to my letter from Marilyn Watsham, Deputy Principal (designate):

    Thank you for your letter passed to me by the Principal.

    The College community is a mixture of students and staff some with a faith background and others of no faith.

    We have a multi-faith Chaplaincy which again works with the college community.

    In addition to Christian events through the year we hold a Festival of Festivals in college which embraces those of other faiths and those of no faith

    The date for this academic year is Tuesday 13 March 2007 at 4.00pm. You are most warmly invited to participate in this event. I will ask our new Chaplaincy Co-ordinator Reverend David McLeod to make contact with you.

    With all good wishes for 2007.

    Mrs Watsham doesn't seem to be aware that we've been invited to the college's "Festival of Festivals" before, and didn't get involved as, unlike the religions, we don't do festivals or have anything that's equivalent to a festival.

    As for the rest; I don't think that the point I made in my letter has been answered. I'll be replying. Watch this space.

    PS: I am reliably informed that Prof. Muller is an atheist, so why is he choosing to ignore this?

  2. Michael Imison says:

    Michael Imison
    Actually I can’t see any important reason why Humanists shouldn’t “do festivals”. Getting together to celebrate is, I would say, something humans have enjoyed doing from earliest times, a characteristic that the churches, when they came along, were able to exploit. Humanists should surely claim the right to celebrate back for Humanity. Perhaps we should start with Darwin Day and have a big birthday party with food and wine (as well as a cake with candles). We might even stage the long promised Humanist entertainment. What do people think?

  3. Margaret Nelson says:

    There was some discussion about humanism and festivals on the BHA website a while ago. One contributor wrote, "The festivalisation of humanism feels alien to me, and I suspect to others, which is why the regular attempts to get Winterval or, urgh, Humanitas going fall on stony ground." So far, Suffolk Humanists have shown no interest in marking Darwin Day, or any other day, with specifically Humanist festivities – I’ve asked. I don't think we're all miseries – it's just not our sort of thing, as the person who wrote the above comment suggested.

    The festivals we do have have been connected with natural occurrences, like the solstices and equinoxes – they're things we can share with anyone and everyone, regardless of their beliefs. Anniversaries, like Darwin Day, aren't quite the same as festivals, are they?

    'Festival' • noun 1 a day or period of celebration, typically for religious reasons. 2 an organized series of concerts, films, etc. (OED) The second definition is far more attractive to me.

    In the context of the 'Festival of Festivals', I don't think we can simply dream up something in order to participate, and even if we did, it wouldn't let the college off the hook as far as the secularisation of its 'Celebration of Community' is concerned.

    Darwin Day is 12 February (a Monday), which doesn't give us much time to organise anything. Are you offering? There are some suggestions about how to celebrate Darwin Day at the bottom of the page on the Darwin Day website.

  4. Margaret Nelson says:

    Not a festival, but since there was a resounding silence at the suggestion we should mark Darwin Day, I've organised something. If no one wants to bother, that'll be OK. Just let me know. See the events diary.

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