Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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A Blessing in Disguise

To Covertly Convert
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This is one of the most popular bars in the area. The drinks selection is limited to just red wine, and portions are fairly limited. But when it's all being given away for free, and there are all the crackers you can eat, few complain.

The bartender is an older gentleman clothed in black. As he serves people, he mumbles something slightly too quietly to be heard. There are no charges, but a prominent tip jar which the bartender explains is 'for the manager'.

The queues are a bit lengthy, so people rarely stay for too long but always leave feeling altogether more cleansed.

hidden truths, Feb 09 2008


       My tasting room is run somewhat like this... I can't help but feel like i am doing somthing important but i lack for religious content for my mumblings. Is the intention important or does the symbolism and iconography function nevertheless? Many wineries are located in old churches.
WcW, Feb 09 2008

       Is this idea is for sneaking communion onto the godless heathens, or for holding a secret ceremony under the eyes of oppressive police? Either way, it's likely you'll get caught.
baconbrain, Feb 09 2008

       But that doesn't sound like a land flowing with beer and custard!   

       The key to blessing people is to overpromise and under-deliver (lie), then tell the people that the promise was actually all metaphorical, or that they've failed somehow and that they really need to smite everyone else or donate more money to get what they want. Also, it's important to discourage them from using logical reasoning to get what they want or they'll get it and then they won't need you anymore, so wean them onto altruism and thinking emotionally instead of objectively.   

       If you've properly blessed a group of people, then they should be fighting about the meaning of your promise for many millenia to come! Also, there should be at least 3 main explanations of what your promise actually was, and people should be fighting over that forever too.
quantum_flux, Feb 09 2008

       Maybe something more subtle; these ceremonies have significance because they tap into instinctual elements in the brain. Secular culture can also tap into these instinctual elements and thus replicate the positive aspects of the religious experience. This is one major branch of marketing psychology. I guess the question is what are we trying to disguise.
WcW, Feb 09 2008

dentworth, Feb 10 2008

       Bad, wrong, arrogant and enthnocentric. Forcing a religious ceremony on someone is poor taste.
sprogga, Feb 10 2008

       comment removed to avoid ugly scenes. love this ht.
dentworth, Feb 10 2008

       What about capitalizing on the stong infulence of religious symbolism for secular experiences? Nobody believes that a religions sacrement we are tricked into taking has any moral or ethical significance. It is Arrogant but not ethnocentric or forced: People are freely engaging in a cryptic ceremony that requires no intelectual commitment. [sp?]
WcW, Feb 10 2008

       [sp: strong, influence, religious, sacrament, arrogant, people, intellectual.] And I still don't get the argument - aren't there plenty of believers who think that rituals *do* have external significance even without buy-in from the participants? That's almost a definition of faith in a ritual - the belief that it does something in the real world. No?
jutta, Feb 10 2008

"Ah! I've always wanted to talk to one of you. Tell me, are you a fundamentalist ironist, or one of the moderates?"
"No! You're just saying that!"
"This is the punchline - or is it?"

pertinax, Feb 10 2008

       Sure but modern theology generally refutes the notion of non-consentual religion: If you don't believe in a ritual then it doesn't work for good or bad. Conversly the powerful symbolisms of religion can be understood and enjoyed by athiests and believers alike. Should we be ashamed of this?
WcW, Feb 10 2008

       Ideaology is the ology.   

       This was the first idea I've had in a while that genuinely made me laugh, not to mention one which ended up with the perfect name. It appears that either my tastes are off a bit, or I have just failed in the telling.   

       Thanks [dentworth], much appreciated. And nice work [pertinax], you really cracked me up.   

       [baconbrain], it's sneaking communion on the masses for certain.   

       [sprogga], I'm using the Christian religion because it's the one that I'm most familiar with and the only one that I know to have a service involving the giving of booze. If parallels exist, I certainly have no issue with clandestine temples and mosques. And a shotgun wedding is forcing a religious ceremony on someone. I'm not sure tempting them with free wine is in the same league.   

       Between [WcW] and [jutta] the point has been made using much better phrasing than I would. The 'bartender' is left believing that he has saved souls and done much good in the world. The patrons leave thinking that they've gotten free food and drink. And Christians get a relaxed environment in which to observe their faith. Everybody is happy.
hidden truths, Feb 10 2008

       IMHO a ritual will only have significance if you believe it does. To some, Christmas carols are a proclamation of the holy story; to others, they are pretty festive songs.   

       Can you complain if you have benefited through a fraud?   

       I suspect some people are taking this more seriously than it was intended. The idea was more "isn't it somewhat amusing that a bit of perspective and faith will change a bar into holy communion?" than "this is how we will convert all the heathens!"
hidden truths, Feb 10 2008

       //[baconbrain], it's sneaking communion on the masses for certain.// Thanks.   

       It's an interesting insight into what makes a ceremony a ceremony. Forced baptisms come to mind. I believe that a religious ceremony has no validity unless the participants believe.   

       Still, if someone were to trick me into this, even though I don't believe in transubstantiation, I'd take a chunk out of them.
baconbrain, Feb 10 2008

       Too evil to bun, too funny to bone.
wagster, Feb 10 2008

       What if none of the participants believe that this is anything more than cultural experience? It seems like we are trapped between nhialism and "faith" with no real substantial material in between. Many people refuse to listen to critisizm of religion because they percieve that they will be forced to live in a world without color or feeling. I need a word, not humaism, to describe a third way.
WcW, Feb 10 2008

       We were recently asked to be godparents to my nephew. Me and the wife had to stand in front of a catholic priest and agree to guide this child through a system of beliefs that we hold be to false and possibly damaging (not all christianity - but a certain brand of Irish catholicism). That was hard.   

       Funnily enough, his parents didn't see the problem as they come from a background where everyone is a christian on a Sunday, a sort of christian / agnostic / whatever-its-not-important. Having been brought up in an enviroment where christianity is a 24/7 system of belief and then rejected it, I found it difficult to just go through the ritual as if it was just "something you do".   

       They're lovely people. If they weren't, I would have refused.
wagster, Feb 10 2008

       I looked at my babies at birth (and still do today) and know they were blessed already. this life is such an incredibly magical event.
po, Feb 10 2008

       If you are having excessive guilt, it's because you happen to have an over-inflated rego, there is a meal that can reduce the swelling in your rego, it's a placebo called crackers and communion wine.... but don't get addicted to this or your rego will get even bigger.
quantum_flux, Feb 10 2008

       //They're lovely people. If they weren't, I would have refused.// I would have refused too, to be honest. My in-laws and wife wanted to have my daughter christened (she herself having expressed no preference at the time), and I didn't go. I figured it would do no harm, but it's hyprocritical to go along with it.   

       On the other hand, I also despise my mother-in-law, so it was pretty much a win-win situation.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 10 2008

       How would you react if some nefarious group were to involve you, unbeknownst, in a satanic worship ceremony? Or perhaps something worse, like a peadophillic affirmation ritual – hell, I don’t know, just something really really distasteful.   

       Or maybe just – and be honest now – an Islamic ceremony, somehow without your knowledge.   

       You would object, violently, should you find out. It doesn’t matter if you think Christianity to be harmless – that’s all just perspective. If a priest / rabbi / grand dragon poombah were to trick me into participating in some religious ceremony without my knowledge, and I were to find out, he’d be up for a new set of front teeth, quicksmart.
Custardguts, Feb 10 2008

       //How would you react...// Who, me? Personally, it wouldn't bother me in the least. If I found out that, say, my parents had signed me up as a satanist when I was two days old, why would it bother me? I think it would only bother me if I believed in that stuff in the first place. My daughter is the same - it doesn't mean anything to her, and it doesn't bother her any more than having been taken to see Santa Claus.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 10 2008

       Obviously being forced into any ritual is objectionable and an injustice especially when established by the government. The Pledge is a great american example.
WcW, Feb 11 2008

       \\Or maybe just – and be honest now – an Islamic ceremony, somehow without your knowledge.\\ Well lordy, if someone was trying to make me into a Moslem, ah would have to go git mah gun. If somebody wants to make themselves feel better by giving me things, I wouldn't have too much of a problem with it. And the other two arguments are straw men and you know it.   

       Surely part of having faith is believing not just in the strength of your own religious ceremonies, but that those of others don't? And with atheists, that extends to all the ceremonies.   

       And how many children of atheists do you think observe Christmas, Easter, Lent, Shrove Tuesday or Advent without understanding that they are taking part in a Christian ritual?
hidden truths, Feb 11 2008

       I'm pretty certain that if someone offered me wine and crackers I wouldn't worry about them being a practicing Muslim fishing for converts.
RayfordSteele, Feb 11 2008

       //And the other two arguments are straw men and you know it.//   

       I was just going to a logical extreme. Hence the "hell, I don’t know, just something really really distasteful." bit. And don't get all uptight about my islamic reference - I was just pointint out that we seem to find christianity harmless and benign, but many would feel different about other religions, especially islam, in light of recent events and attitudes.   

       Look, this sort of thing might not bother you - bully for you. It bothers me. No one has any right to involve me in religous rituals without my knowledge and consent.
Custardguts, Feb 11 2008

       /No one has any right to involve me in religous rituals without my knowledge and consent// Well, I sort of agree. But, to be honest, it really only matters if you consider the ritual to have some significance.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 11 2008

       //pagan ritual// My Ancient History tutor once explained to me that pagan (i.e. classical, pre-Christian) religion made a lot more sense if you bore in mind that practice played a far larger role in it than theory. In other words, pagans tended *not* to start with a theoretical system, and then invent rituals to buttress it, but rather to start with traditional practices and then fit them loosely into a system of narratives, almost as an afterthought.   

       That's one reason why a degree of syncretism with Christianity occurred so easily; there wasn't really any conflict between "Bugger, it's cold, let's put some lights on and have a party, like last year" and "Let's celebrate God's re-connection with us in the birth of a child".   

       So, this idea works quite well in a harmlessly pagan sort of way.
pertinax, Feb 11 2008

       \\It bothers me. No one has any right to involve me in religous rituals without my knowledge and consent.\\ Out of curiosity, why does it bother you? Presumably you don't follow the religion, and as such you believe that the rite is ineffectual. What's to be offensive?   

       And, without trying to be argumentative, I wasn't getting uptight about the Islam reference. It just seemed to me as though you were picking that religion in particular to try and draw out some intolerance from me.   

       \\I looked at my babies at birth (and still do today) and know they were blessed already.\\ That's convenient [po], because there would be house rules against giving wine to babies.
hidden truths, Feb 11 2008

       //house rules against giving wine to babies// whose house?
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 11 2008

       His house.
hidden truths, Feb 11 2008

       I'm not sure [P]o is a he, [hidden]
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 11 2008

       I was talking about His (note the capital letter) house, not [po]'s.
hidden truths, Feb 11 2008

       //His house.//   

       Is that the one with many rooms?
Jinbish, Feb 12 2008

       //too wicked//   

       Not humble enough to offer a sacrifice!
Jinbish, Feb 12 2008

       I have read your thoughts and must let you know that I know God lives and his son Jesus Christ came to the earth and died for us. I know this to be true and I was once like you. Anyone that lacks wisdom can pray to God in the name of Jesus Christ and ask if this is not true. You do have a Heavenly Father and he wants you to seek him out and get to know him. He will show you the meaning of life and bring you true joy. I know this to be true.
starvedison, Feb 12 2008

       Before he gets a chance to remove/delete it, can we put a freeze on [starve]'s anno up there? Just to like, keep it for posterity.   

       Maybe [Jutta] can put in the help file as being exactly what we don't want to read on this site.
Custardguts, Feb 12 2008

       Annotations don't get 'frozen' - contributors are free to edit or delete them as they wish. And who are you to say 'we' don't want to read what someone has to say on this site? I may not agree with [starvedison] but that's no reason to disallow his contribution.
hippo, Feb 12 2008

       I wasn't sure if he was having a laugh and would be upset if we took him seriously, or being serious and would be upset if we thought he was taking the piss. I'm 60% sure he's winding us up as even the most evangelical Christians I know don't start sentences with "I have read your thoughts...".
wagster, Feb 12 2008

       Ha ha ha, nice one [wags].
theleopard, Feb 12 2008

       // I have read your thoughts and must let you know that I know God lives and his son Jesus Christ came to the earth and died for us. I know this to be true and I was once like you. Anyone that lacks wisdom can pray to God in the name of Jesus Christ and ask if this is not true. You do have a Heavenly Father and he wants you to seek him out and get to know him. He will show you the meaning of life and bring you true joy. I know this to be true. - starvedison, Feb 12 2008//   

       Just to save that, and to highlight this bit:   

       // Anyone that lacks wisdom can pray to God //
baconbrain, Feb 12 2008

       Sorry [Hippo], I should have qualified that. Make it .."exactly what I don't want to read on this site".
Custardguts, Feb 12 2008

       Custardguts. Why did you assume that I would remove or delete my annotation? Just curious.
starvedison, Feb 15 2008

       Well, if I were you, I'd be embarrassed by it. Each to their own, I suppose.
Custardguts, Feb 15 2008

       Wow..... That's a shame. I assumed creative people were more open minded.
starvedison, Feb 15 2008

       I think creative people tend to be more *single*-minded than open-minded. After all, creativity implies that you're doing something that no-one else has done, and you have to quite sure of yourself to do that.   

       I suppose there's a relevant difference between openness to other people's opinions (which probably correlates *inversely* with creativity) and openness to other stuff (daydreams, abstract patterns, the promptings of God), which may correlate more positively with creativity.   

       People on this site are very aware of ('open to', if you like) such abstractions as ambiguity and logical coherence. They are not very open to being told, without supporting evidence, that they lack wisdom, which they don't*, or that you were once like them, which you weren't.   

       On the other hand, all sorts of views are tolerated here, even Christianity sometimes, if you abide by the 'house rules' regarding courtesy and cogency.   

       Yours in Christ,   

       *I reserve the right to make exceptions to this general statement.
pertinax, Feb 15 2008

       As I read the annotations I noticed that I once felt the same way about religion as they did. Hence "I was once like you." When I wrote "Anyone that lacks wisdom" I was mearly quoting a scripture. I hope this clarifies my comments.
starvedison, Feb 15 2008

       's all good. Have a smile and a coke and chill out. We might jump up and down on you for a comment like that, but we're for the most part easy going enough that we'll have forgotten all about this as soon as it drops off the recent list.   

       'ave a good night....
Custardguts, Feb 15 2008

       U 2. Best regards,
starvedison, Feb 15 2008

       REM. Many thanks,
theleopard, Feb 15 2008


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