That’s my favorite Arthur Sullivan Easter hymn…
Our family always celebrated Easter twice, at least when Greek Easter fell on a different date, which is usually the case.On traditional Easter, until my sister and I were well into high school, my parents hid two dozen colored eggs that we had decorated the day before all over the house for us to hunt for Easter morning. If there had been a pandemic then, my mother would have still hidden the eggs, because she knew even she, with her incredible talent for making BS credible, would not have been able to convince us that the Easter Bunny was “social distancing.”
How my parents loved family celebrations of holidays! I miss them so much, and days like this just makes not having them in our lives harder.
1. Can’t do this. I had been recommending the usually reliable website Ars Technica to my friends for updates on the virus so that they wouldn’t be battered hither and yon like skiffs made of paper on the ocean of hype and disinformation. I also relied on it myself. The site promised daily updates at 3 pm every day, along with a useful set of information, also updated as needed. Then, on April 6, the updates just stopped; no explanation, and nothing since. Unethical. If you promise a service for those in need of it, you can’t just stop it without warning or explanation. It doesn’t matter what the reason is. You have created reliance and dependency. If you can’t be sure that you will carry through on your commitment, then don’t make it.
I headed a small professional theater for 20 years at great personal sacrifice on that principle.
2. Welcome to my world...Since so many were forthcoming in their reactions to my quarrel with one ex-commenter, here’s another one. Unsolicited, I received a book about two weeks ago from an Ethics Alarms follower. It was by L.Ron Hubbard, the science fiction writer and founder of Scientology, and the topic was ethics. I was and am grateful, for all ideas about ethics are interesting to me, and most come in handy eventually. A few days ago, I received a long, handwritten letter from the same source, who told me that he was no longer following the blog. He then excoriated my for insulting him by posting, so soon after receiving the book, this post, which in item #3 I made some uncomplimentary comments about Ron’s “church” (it’s a cult and probably a criminal enterprise), its current leader, and his whacked-out message to the flock about the pandemic, which he called “planetary bullbait.”
My critic thought it was mean and rude of me to respond to his kind gift by deriding his faith and his friend, the Church’s Chairman of the Board, David Miscavige.
I immediately wrote back in part,
I just received your letter of April 6.I apologize for the misunderstanding, with great regret. I regarded your kind gift of the book as neither proselytizing nor indicative of any beliefs or positions on your part. I am, as you should know, relentlessly multi-disciplinary and get inspiration from all sources, all philosophers, all authors and all works, popular and obscure. I don’t care about messengers, only about messages.Thus it is the purest coincidence that I happened to write the piece you refer to so shortly after I received the book (which I am reading and enjoying, by the way—and expect to write about on EA). In fact, after more than a decade, that was the first time I have ever written about Scientology at all, which surprised me. I have quite a bit of discretion in post topics, and had I made the connection, which I probably should have, I assure you I would not have criticized the Church message about the virus outbreak, though as an ethicist, a business consultant, a leadership expert and a writer, I think it was irresponsible and unprofessional in the extreme.
I have led and managed many organizations, and I am irresponsible and unprofessional myself on occasion. I also expect to be called on it when I am.
I am very sorry this was taken as an insult to you or your faith…Again, I apologize. And I remain very grateful for the book.
4. Mark Tapscott and Easter. I have great respect for conservative writer and pundit Mark Tapscott, but his recent blog post is intellectually dishonest. He has an Easter entry on his blog titled “He Is Risen! Eight Reasons To Believe.” Let me preface my complaint by saying that Easter is an important cultural as well as religious holiday that conveys hope and optimism to believers and non-believers. I also have no insight into what really happened that we celebrate today; as my late Methodist minister father-in-law often said in his Easter and Christmas sermons, something happened, and it was momentous enough to change the world. I was eager, being a fan, to read Tapscott’s eight reasons.
His argument, however, is a tautology, an intellectual trick that is used to deceive and is designed to gull those who are not very skilled in critical thinking. All of his reasons are based on New Testament text. If one believes that the New Testament text is true and accurate, then you don’t need any more reasons. His is a self-ratifying argument.
Historians and archeologists as well as many religious scholars agree that the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John that make up the first four books of the New Testament were probably written between AD 66 and 110. Moreover, they don’t even agree with each other on many details. By the standards we judge all other historical accounts and evidence, these texts are dubious at best.
There is one reason to believe, and that is faith. That’s fine. I respect that. However, to claim to have “eight reasons” when they are all still based entirely on that single reason is an unscrupulous advocate’s trick, if a well-intentioned one.
I will be reading Mr. Tapscott’s opinion pieces more skeptically in the future.