Why are we surprised when Buddhists are violent?

Dan Arnold & Alicia Turner, New York Times, 5 March 2018

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The Nya Thar Lyaung reclining Buddha is an important religious site in the Bago region of Myanmar. Credit, Frank Bienewald/LightRocket, via Getty Images

While history suggests it is naïve to be surprised that Buddhists are as capable of inhuman cruelty as anyone else, such astonishment is nevertheless widespread — a fact that partly reflects the distinctive history of modern Buddhism. By ‘modern Buddhism,’ we mean not simply Buddhism as it happens to exist in the contemporary world but rather the distinctive new form of Buddhism that emerged in the 19th and 20th centuries. In this period, Buddhist religious leaders, often living under colonial rule in the historically Buddhist countries of Asia, together with Western enthusiasts who eagerly sought their teachings, collectively produced a newly ecumenical form of Buddhism — one that often indifferently drew from the various Buddhist traditions of countries like China, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Japan and Thailand.

This modern form of Buddhism is distinguished by a novel emphasis on meditation and by a corresponding disregard for rituals, relics, rebirth all the other peculiarly ‘religious’ dimensions of history’s many Buddhist traditions. The widespread embrace of modern Buddhism is reflected in familiar statements insisting that Buddhism is not a religion at all but rather (take your pick) a ‘way of life,’ a ‘philosophy’ or (reflecting recent enthusiasm for all things cognitive-scientific) a ‘mind science.’

Buddhism, in such a view, is not exemplified by practices like Japanese funerary rites, Thai amulet-worship or Tibetan oracular rituals but by the blandly nonreligious mindfulness meditation now becoming more ubiquitous even than yoga. To the extent that such deracinated expressions of Buddhist ideas are accepted as defining what Buddhism is, it can indeed be surprising to learn that the world’s Buddhists have, both in past and present, engaged in violence and destruction.

There is, however, no shortage of historical examples of violence in Buddhist societies. Sri Lanka’s long and tragic civil war (1983-2009), for example, involved a great deal of specifically Buddhist nationalism on the part of a Sinhalese majority resentful of the presence of Tamil Hindus in what the former took to be the last bastion of true Buddhism (the ‘island of dharma’). Political violence in modern Thailand, too, has often been inflected by Buddhist involvement, and there is a growing body of scholarly literature on the martial complicity of Buddhist institutions in World War II-era Japanese nationalism. Even the history of the Dalai Lama’s own sect of Tibetan Buddhism includes events like the razing of rival monasteries, and recent decades have seen a controversy centering on a wrathful protector deity believed by some of the Dalai Lama’s fellow religionists to heap destruction on the false teachers of rival sects.

Read the full article in the New York Times.

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Related

  1. Is the Buddha really a Warmonger?….
  2. Hardline Buddhist Clergyman Released After Serving Time For Inciting Unrest
  3. Sri Lanka declares state of emergency after Buddhist-Muslim clash
  4. Sri Lanka declares state of emergency after Buddhist-Muslim clash
  5. Moral quandary in Myanmar studies: Looking at the Rohingya crisis as an outsider
  6. State of emergency declared in Sri Lanka after Buddhist-Muslim clash
  7. Sri Lanka lifts nationwide state of emergency
  8. 3Novices:Ultra-nationalist Myanmar Buddhist monk freed from prison
  9. Buddhist nationalism burns as Pope visits Myanmar
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A brief history of Stephen Hawking: A legacy of paradox

A brief history of Stephen Hawking:
A legacy of paradox
Stuart Clark, New Scientist, 14 March 2018

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Stephen William Hawking. 1942 – 2018. – Cosmologist, space traveller and hero.

‘I think most physicists would agree that Hawking’s greatest contribution is the prediction that black holes emit radiation,’ says Sean Carroll, a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology. ‘While we still don’t have experimental confirmation that Hawking’s prediction is true, nearly every expert believes he was right.’

Experiments to test Hawking’s prediction are so difficult because the more massive a black hole is, the lower its temperature. For a large black hole – the kind astronomers can study with a telescope – the temperature of the radiation is too insignificant to measure. As Hawking himself often noted, it was for this reason that he was never awarded a Nobel Prize. Still, the prediction was enough to secure him a prime place in the annals of science, and the quantum particles that stream from the black hole’s edge would forever be known as Hawking radiation.

Some have suggested that they should more appropriately be called Bekenstein-Hawking radiation, but Bekenstein himself rejects this. ‘The entropy of a black hole is called Bekenstein-Hawking entropy, which I think is fine. I wrote it down first, Hawking found the numerical value of the constant, so together we found the formula as it is today. The radiation was really Hawking’s work. I had no idea how a black hole could radiate. Hawking brought that out very clearly. So that should be called Hawking radiation.’

The Bekenstein-Hawking entropy equation is the one Hawking asked to have engraved on his tombstone. It represents the ultimate mash-up of physical disciplines because it contains Newton’s constant, which clearly relates to gravity; Planck’s constant, which betrays quantum mechanics at play; the speed of light, the talisman of Einstein’s relativity; and the Boltzmann constant, the herald of thermodynamics.

The presence of these diverse constants hinted at a theory of everything, in which all physics is unified. Furthermore, it strongly corroborated Hawking’s original hunch that understanding black holes would be key in unlocking that deeper theory.

Hawking’s breakthrough may have solved the entropy problem, but it raised an even more difficult problem in its wake. If black holes can radiate, they will eventually evaporate and disappear. So what happens to all the information that fell in? Does it vanish too? If so, it will violate a central tenet of quantum mechanics. On the other hand, if it escapes from the black hole, it will violate Einstein’s theory of relativity. With the discovery of black hole radiation, Hawking had pit the ultimate laws of physics against one another. The black hole information loss paradox had been born.

Hawking staked his position in another ground-breaking and even more contentious paper entitled Breakdown of predictability in gravitational collapse, published in Physical Review D in 1976. He argued that when a black hole radiates away its mass, it does take all of its information with it – despite the fact that quantum mechanics expressly forbids information loss. Soon other physicists would pick sides, for or against this idea, in a debate that continues to this day. Indeed, many feel that information loss is the most pressing obstacle in understanding quantum gravity.

‘Hawking’s 1976 argument that black holes lose information is a towering achievement, perhaps one of the most consequential discoveries on the theoretical side of physics since the subject was invented,’ says Raphael Bousso of the University of California, Berkeley.

Read the full article in the New Scientist.

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What Steve Bannon really wants

The Muslim Times

Whatdoes Donald Trump want for America? His supporters don’t know. His party doesn’t know. Even he doesn’t know.

If there is a political vision underlying Trumpism, however, the person to ask is not Trump. It’s his éminence grise, Stephen K. Bannon, the chief strategist of the Trump administration.

Bannon transcended his working-class Virginia roots with a stint in the Navy and a degree from Harvard Business School, followed by a career as a Goldman Sachs financier. He moved to Los Angeles to invest in media and entertainment for Goldman, before starting his own investment bank specializing in media. Through a combination of luck (a fallen-through deal left him with a stake in a hit show called Seinfeld) and a knack for voicing outrage, Bannon remade himself as a minor luminary within the far edge of right-wing politics, writing and directing a slew of increasingly conservative…

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These are the alarming parallels between the views of Steve Bannon and those held by Islamist jihadis

Views which do not fit the ideas of Bannon and his entourage are considered by them from the devil and seen as an attack on the liberty of religion, though it are they who want to muzzle those who have an other opinion than they, and are aiming at restrictions in freedom of thought, freedom of religion, and many other liberties our forefathers fought for.

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To remember

  • enemy for Bannon = secularism = responsible for progressively diluting pure Christian ideals with all sorts of modern + postmodern ideologies
  • White House = Steve Bannon’s >Bannon world view > world is in the midst of an epic battle between good + evil,
  • force of pure good = Christian civilisation > Christian society = greatest civilisation known to man

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Preceding

Christian fundamentalists feeding Into the Toxic Partisanship and driving countries into the Dark Ages… #1

Christian fundamentalists feeding Into the Toxic Partisanship and driving countries into the Dark Ages… #2

The Muslim Times

The enemy for Bannon is secularism. This, he believes, is responsible for progressively diluting pure Christian ideals with all sorts of modern and postmodern ideologies

At the time of Trump’s unexpected election victory, there was much speculation over who would really run the US Government, given the incoming President’s notorious lack of patience and attention to detail. Now that question has been answered: this White House is Steve Bannon’s.

The one element that unites every executive order and every speech the President has given since assuming office is theBannon world view. So if we are to understand the trajectory of this new American administration, we need to invest some time in trying to understand Bannon, his outlook, and where he plans to take us next.

Having studied radical Islamists for more than a decade, as I started to look into Bannon’s perspective and philosophies I started to…

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Review: What happened at the cross?

We never hear such thing as people having an “idea that God killed Jesus”, but with trinitarians such ideas are possible, the same as they think God gave Himself on the cross for the sins of the people.

Naturally when a church creates all sorts of false teachings, starting with making Jesus in their god, they continually have to create new false teachings, like Jesus having a mother than God would have to have a mother a.o..

It is curious to see how different protestant groups handle with the atonement and do not see that Jesus did not do his own will (what he would have done if he is God) but did the will of God, and as such gave himself as a ransom for all.

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To remember

Jesus is the most fully realized revelation of God that we’ve got, and what we can see of God in the life of Jesus is the perfect example of self-limitation and humility. (p238)

  • many Christians naively believe that the Payment Model (or penal substitution theory) = commonest view in Western world =  only one => ‘atonement wars’
  • Tony Jones, associated with the ‘emergent’ stream of Christianity, his book sets out all the major (plus a few minor) theories of the atonement and tries to reach a balanced assessment of each one.
  • God’s with us, expressed in the cross, => ours with him. = what the atonement is really all about.
  • Trinitarians must believe God is by nature self-limiting, choosing to use his sovereign freedom to unite himself to humanity in the person of Jesus, and especially in the sufferings of Calvary.
  • Some believe that the frequent emphasis on a bloodthirsty God, marked by punishment and sending folk to hell, is one reason for the decline of Christianity in some of its historic bastions.
  • rivalries developed, leading to violence. Sacrifice developed as a safety-valve: violence was perpetrated on an innocent victim, making everyone feel better, at least for a while. Meanwhile, the person sacrificed was perceived as almost divine, because their death had had such a powerful violence-quenching effect on the society
  • Nowhere does the OT law explicitly condemn child sacrifice (the closest it comes is Lev 18:21), though the practice was common among Israel’s neighbours.
    But Israel did not practise it (Jephthah’s killing of his daughter is a rare exception).
    Animal sacrifice, by contrast, soon became an integral part of Israel’s worship, and it was the blood that made it valid
    (Lev 17:10-16). Two kinds of blood sacrifices were seen as appeasing God: the guilt offering and the sin offering (the kind offered at Yom Kippur). These continued through the desert years, and continued when the Israelites were settled in the land, becoming more elaborate, in spite of the prophets’ condemnation (e.g. Hos 6:6). Their practice continued into the time of Jesus.
  • So God took something that humans were already doing — being violent and shedding blood — and made it sacred. He
    went along with them where they were at, but did not see it as the ideal, and he took human sacrifice out of the picture.
    The sacrificial system controls violence, giving it boundaries.
  • occasional verse talks of God’s anger at particular sins or human behavior that God considers an abomination, > overarching message of scripture is clear = God created us, God loves us, + God wants the best for us. => Bible = rife with stories of God going out of his way to set people on the right path — despite our failures, despite our sins.
  • A lot of us have grown increasingly uncomfortable with the regnant interpretation of Jesus’ death as primarily the propitiation of a wrathful God. 1. we don’t experience God as uber-wrathful toward us. 2. it simply doesn’t make sense that God would game the whole system so that he has to kill his own son just to vitiate this wrath. It just doesn’t smell right. (p26)
  • Calvin + others upped the ante from Anselm => not just that Jesus made our payment for us, = he pays a penalty on our behalf — a penalty that we cannot pay. In theological jargon, this is how it goes from substitution to penal substitution, the “penal” connoting the penalty. This change happened during the Reformation, and it remains popular today. (p113)

  • supposed to learn about love from God => idea God predestined us to sin = results in our eternal damnation + requires God’s Son to die on the cross, teaches very little about love. (p132)

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Additional reading

  1. Atonement And Fellowship 6/8
  2. Atonement And Fellowship 7/8
  3. In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
  4. Omniscient God opposite a not knowing Jesus
  5. Redemption #2 Biblical solution
  6. Redemption #4 The Passover Lamb

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Further related

  1. 15/01/2018: Atonement 10
  2. Facets Of Redemption
  3. Mimesis and atonement
  4. A better way to view the atonement of Christ: Christus Victor
  5. Athanasius as Interpreter of the Trinity: Why the Nicene Creed and Penal Substitution Are Incompatible, Part 2 | New Humanity Institute
  6. Thinking Outloud: Atonement
  7. Triune Atonement in Westminster
  8. How to Understand the Once for All Sacrifice of Jesus Christ
  9. What the crucifiers didn’t understand
  10. Penal Substitutionary Atonement Exemplified In Film
  11. Irenaeus and the Problem of (Greater) New Testament Wrath
  12. Penal Substitutionary Atonement – a myopic narrative.
  13. Review: Tom Wright on the Crucifixion

Dave's Deliberations

This book’s title may mislead you. It is really an examination of the main theories of the atonement; the idea that God killed Jesus on the cross is just one aspect of the Payment Model of the atonement. The book is:

Did God Kill Jesus?: Searching for love in history’s most famous execution by Tony Jones (HarperOne, 2015).   

dgkjlargeThe ‘atonement wars’ are raging right now, in spite of the fact that many Christians naively believe that the Payment Model (or penal substitution theory) that they have been taught—and which remains the commonest view in the Western world—is the only one there is. Jones’s book sets out all the major (plus a few minor) theories of the atonement and tries to reach a balanced assessment of each one.

The major ones he designates the Payment, Victory, Magnet, Divinity and Mirror models. He assesses each against the answers it offers to…

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8 Reasons Christian Holidays Should Not Be Observed

Those who tried to reform the church in the 16th and 17th century did an effort to go back to the biblical Truth and to the early followers of Jesus.

For centuries there had always been true followers of Christ, who did not believe in a triune god and did not want to partake in the heathen festivals of their region.

The pastors who came from the Roman Catholic church, like Luther and Calvin, did an effort to bring the focus back onto the Word of God, but never managed to go so far with their Reformation that their followers would come to agree to only keep to the days given by God. Today we can only notice that lots of their hopes and teachings are gone away, and that we can see again protestant churches with statues or graven images and traditional rites and festivals.

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To remember

The writers who try  to promote Presbyterian perspectives, as summarized in the Westminster Standards bring a summary of Reasons Against Holy Days, one of the five points of dispute written by David Calderwood and the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland in 1618 when King James forced the Kirk to adopt the Five Articles of Perth.

 

1. “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work” (Ex. 20:9).

six days of work = a command or as permission

some feel they have a moral right to have the day off from their employer + wrongly think the employer would be infringing on their Christian liberty if forced to work on one of these holidays

2.  Only God can make a day holy

Man made holy days + ceremonies = > Assigning spiritual significance to something Scripture doesn’t = epitome of will worship (Col. 2:23), i.e. idolatry.

Human beings have no authority to sanctify a day,

we must worship God how He has told us He wants to be worshiped

Unbiblical ceremonies = lighting of candles, waving of palm branches, + certain decorations with intended religious significance = violate Regulative Principle of Worship + subvert headship of Christ over His Church.

Occasional days of public fasting or thanksgiving

lawful + necessary, upon special emergent occasions, to separate a day or days for public fasting or thanksgiving

3. No one but God has ever appointed a holy day

Purim

= days of civil mirth + gladness > not a religious holiday, rather = civil celebration

The Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah)

commemoration of rededication of the second Temple in Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt in the inter-Testamental period

> unduly instituted + ungroundedly

Pharisees added many festivals without divine warrant > feasts of the Tekuphas (equinoxes) and the Feast of Xylophoria, <= Feast of Dedication = Pharisaical tradition.

Jesus’ presence in Jerusalem during the Feast of Dedication

4. Annual holy days were part of the Ceremonial Law and abrogated with it

observation of days served to the people of God for a typical use and a rudiment of religion.

To substitute other days in place of the Jewish, a Christian Pascha [Easter] and Pentecost for the Jewish, is but to substitute rudiments + elements to the Jewish, and not to chase away, but to change the Jewish holy days…

Jews had no anniversary days

observation of anniversary days = pedagogical, rudimentary + elementary, + consequently ceremonial

5. Jesus Christ has not instituted any other holy day but the Lord’s Day

no Christian holy days other than the Lord’s Day, the Christian Sabbath

Holy days in the Early Church

conflicting accounts in the Early Church about where Pascha, or Easter, comes from.

Some reported that Philip + John kept the 14th day of the month (ed. = 14 Nisan), and others that Peter kept the first Lord’s Day after the 14th day of the month, which turned into a long lasting controversy.

6. Specific dates

If God wanted religious festivities for events of Christ’s life = would have recorded exact days of the year that those events took place

7. Even things indifferent, when they are abused and polluted with superstition, ought to be abolished.

Things indifferent, when abused + polluted with superstition, ought to be abolished

 

8. That which has lawfully been abolished cannot be received and put in practice again

After the attainments of the Protestant Reformation, wherein the Reformed Church cast off the superstitious, idolatrous, and arbitrary rituals and holidays of the Papal Antichrist, how can we justify slipping back into a lukewarm position?

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Preceding

Followers, protestors and reformers

Trying to Get Rid of Holy Days for a Long Time

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Further reading

  1. Holy Day
  2. High Holy Days 1
  3. High Holy Days 2
  4. The High Holy Days
  5. Just a holy day – not a holiday
  6. What is a holy day of obligation? When are they?
  7. Why Are There Holy Days of Obligation?

Purely Presbyterian

8 reasons christian holidays should not be observedReformed churches have historically been opposed to observing man made holy days such as Christmas and Easter. Even the Reformed churches on the continent, which left some holy day observance to Christian liberty in some of their confessions, did so because of either compromise with the stubborn people for the sake of further Reformation, or because the civil magistrates forced them to (c.f. John Calvin and Holy Days). Gisbertus Voetius, a delegate to the Synod of Dordt, relates that the Dutch Church had been trying to get rid of holy days for a long time, but the allowance of holy days by the synod was “imposed from the outside, burdensome to the churches, in and of itself in an absolute sense unwelcome; to which Synods were summoned, compelled, and coerced to receive, bring in, and admit, as in the manner of a transaction, in order to prevent…

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Trying to Get Rid of Holy Days for a Long Time

For real Christians it is clear that lovers of God should keep their hands of the many pagan feasts, like Christmas and Easter, which entered the Roman Catholic Church and several protestant churches.

Luckily we may come to see some changes in some protestant churches willing to debate the reason why to keep only to God given holy days.

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To remember

Reformed churches historically opposed to observing man made holy days such as Christmas and Easter.

on the continent left some holy day observance to Christian liberty in some of their confessions < compromise with stubborn people for sake of further Reformation, or because civil magistrates forced them to.

Gisbertus Voetius, (delegate to the Synod of Dordt), relates Dutch Church had been trying to get rid of holy days for a long time, but allowance of holy days by the synod was “imposed from the outside, burdensome to the churches,

In Why are Ecclesiastical Feast Days in our Church Order? Rev. Dr. R. D. Anderson gives

Article 65 – Ecclesiastical feast days
On Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Ascension Day, and at Pentecost the consistory shall call the congregation together for church services. The sacred events which the congregation commemorates in particular on these days shall therein be proclaimed
Already in 1573 we see the topic coming to the floor of the Particular Synod of North Holland, that year held in Enkhuizen.
Also decided in respect of feast days, that in common no feast days are to be held other than Easter (Sunday) and the day thereafter, Pentecost (Sunday) and the day thereafter, Christmas, and similarly New Year’s day and Ascension day.
The churches in South Holland were somewhat stricter. A year later their Synod gathered in Dordrecht
making the following pronouncement:
Respecting the feast days which are in addition to the Sunday: it has been decided to rest content only with the Sunday. Nevertheless, the normal material relating to the birth of Christ shall be handled on the Sunday before Christmas day together with an admonition to the people not to observe Christmas day. If Christmas day falls on a Sunday, the same material shall be preached on that day. It is also permitted to preach on the resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Easter Sunday and Pentecost Sunday, the which is left to the freedom of the ministers.
That seems clear enough. Behind the scenes, however, there was a political battle going on between the Roman Catholic forces and the Protestants. The celebration of these extra days came right in the middle of all that. It was the sort of thing that got people fired up. The Reformed churches needed to be careful to steer a righteous course between all manner of Roman Catholic superstitions which had become associated with these days and an over zealous extremism which could easily lead to political riots. We see that reflected in the decision of the Particular Synod of South Holland held in Rotterdam a year later:

As much as concerns feast days: The government shall be petitioned that they allow everyone to open his shop and to work 6 days in accordance with the 4th commandment of our Lord. And if the government desires to ordain any others besides the Sunday, the delegated ministers will petition parliament that they inform them in such a way that they may consider how much and how far one can permit in this matter, so that on the one hand people don’t fall into superstition as warned by Paul in Gal. 4, and on the other hand that people will not be led to fight too fiercely against the aforesaid government because of certain feast days.
Three years later a national synod was finally able to be held in Dordrecht. By this time it was slowly becoming clear that the political will to be rid of these extra feast days was weak.
On the 12th of July 1578 the government made a “declaration of religious freedom” in which the various Roman Catholic feast days were made compulsory for protestants. The synod in its response attempted to minimise the damage by steering the churches away from any special ways of celebrating these feast days, and keeping them as “normal” days.
1578 National Synod of Dort {Acta, Rutgers p.253 (art. 75, cap.4,23)}
It was indeed to be desired that the freedom from God to work 6 days be permitted in the church, and that only the Sunday be celebrated. Nevertheless since certain other feast days are maintained by authority of the government, namely, Christmas day and the day thereafter, likewise the day after Easter and the day after Pentecost and in some places new years day and ascension day; the ministers shall do their best to teach the congregation to transform unproductive and harmful idleness into a holy and profitable exercise by sermons especially dealing with the birth and resurrection of Christ, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and suchlike articles of the faith. The ministers of churches in those cities where yet more feast days are observed by authority of the government shall do likewise.
In the meantime all the churches shall work to make the use of all feast days except Christmas day (since Easter and Pentecost fall on Sunday) as normal as possible, and as soon as is fitting to abolish them.
By 1581 the goals of the churches had been reduced. It did not any longer seem possible to be rid of all the extra feast days.

 

Sadly, today, not only are many Reformed churches going back to observing Christmas and Easter, some are even beginning to observe Lent, Good FridayAdvent, etc. as well.

Exploring biblical worship from a Protestant Perspective “The Worship Blog” looks at

How little concern for the idea that what is done in the name of worship in so many churches has no warrant from the mouth of God! {About The Worship Blog}

Meg writes

The Scottish Presbyterians managed to remove observance of any pretended holy days other than the divinely prescribed Lord’s Day in their reformation. Indeed, the Reformed early on seemed ready to precede them in this; but due mostly it seems from desires of magistrates to preserve accustomed holidays, ie. days off for workers and servants, they retained various sets of days. This retained a set of other issues, and to ensure the riotous activities of the old days were not retained, the state churches prescribed that there be services and preaching at those times. {John Calvin and Holy Days}

In 1543–44 Calvin advised the church, that

“the observation of feast days was also to be rejected since it so easily led to superstition.”

“Calvin advised the ministers of Montbéliard to stand firm on these matters of principle but to yield wherever else their consciences would allow”. { Jill Raitt, The Colloquy of Montbéliard Religion and Politics in the Sixteenth Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 21.}

As an aside — The Reformed church of Montbéliard continued as best they could even when the rulers imposed Lutheran practices. Later, the oppressed Reformed churches of France, ruled by Roman Catholic magistrates which prohibited working on the pretended holy days,

“left unto the prudence of Consistories to Congregate the People, on such Holy-Days, either to hear the word Preached, or to join in common publick Prayers, as they shall find to be most expedient” (2nd Synod of Vitré, 1617).

American Presbyterians were opposed to the religious observation of Christmas and other ‘holy days.’  > Read more: https://www.naphtali.com/articles/chris-coldwell/the-religious-observance-of-christmas-and-holy-days-in-american-presbyterianism/

Read also: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/91380-Three-Books-on-quot-Christmas-quot-and-a-33-off-Black-Friday-Sale, Comment 25

The Worship Blog

Purely Presbyterian:

Reformed churches have historically been opposed to observing man made holy days such as Christmas and Easter. Even the Reformed churches on the continent, which left some holy day observance to Christian liberty in some of their confessions, did so because of either compromise with the stubborn people for the sake of further Reformation, or because the civil magistrates forced them to. Gisbertus Voetius, a delegate to the Synod of Dordt, relates that the Dutch Church had been trying to get rid of holy days for a long time, but the allowance of holy days by the synod was “imposed from the outside, burdensome to the churches, in and of itself in an absolute sense unwelcome; to which Synods were summoned, compelled, and coerced to receive, bring in, and admit, as in the manner of a transaction, in order to prevent worse disagreeable and bad situations

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