SIR – There seems to be a strange phenomenon, especially in the fields of religion and politics, where people feel the need to state openly that they subscribe to none of the options on offer. What is even more peculiar is that, having done so, they invariably sacrifice their individuality by declaring themselves to be ‘ists’ and ultimately becoming an ‘ism’ with others who profess similar leanings. Presumably this is based on some primeval pack animal instinct.
Having read some 84 cms of Archon on Humanism, a sort of non-religious religion, and comments from other readers, we have a glaring example where non-believers establish their own organisation with its own clergy (celebrants), ceremonial formats (mass substitute) and, of all things, pastoral care for which they have a director.
Even the noble Archon was finally to abdicate her/his responsibility by signing off with an unqualified ‘All Of Us’, the make-up of which is denied to (all of) us. In the field of politics, all the so called ‘Independents’ immediately went into a post-election huddle and talked of an ‘Alliance’ which seemed to contradict what they campaigned as?
In my own case I’m quite happy to admit that I don’t smoke, I watch no TV soaps, and have never set foot inside a betting shop – nor do I need an ‘ism’ to back up my position.
Personal convictions are private.
Evangelical messages that restrict themselves to ‘Come and join us!’ are acceptable, but we only have to look at the Middle East to be told that anything more confrontational can only lead to trouble?