Pascal Derrien

3 years ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility ~10 ·

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The Melting Pot & The Mosaic

The Melting Pot & The Mosaic 

I have to give credit for the title of this article to somebody else. Father J. is his name. Yeah a priest :-). I know that would sound pretty odd to most of those who know the atheist in me. It's pretty well known in my inner circle that I have no faith and that I had no religious education whatsoever. I was not even baptised or christened as they say in this part of the world. On top of that I am highly sceptical and very critical about anything called religion(s) as much as their institutions. So how come I came across that individual you may ask?

Not even half way thru the ceremony, Father J. asked a question that was about to resonate with many but made me smile in particular. What is the difference between a melting pot and a mosaic he said. Being known for passionately advocating the right to be different, often branded as an integration flag bearer and a resolute anti-hater, family faces turned or bended over from the crowd to check up on me with a bemused smile.

We are a kind of melting pot family when I think about it really. 3/4 of the family was born in Ireland, 100% of us speak two languages at home, 50% of us are French-Irish , 3 out of 4 are Catholic, 2 are keen sportsmen,  2 have never played Hurling, one is nearly vegetarian but all of us are living under the same roof. A melting pot is a bit like an Irish stew, its a throw-in of various ingredients dish but to make it a delicious meal you got to have the right recipe. The right combination of culinary constituents is not easy to obtain. A mosaic of actions need to take place call it grouping, blending or amalgamation its all about the mixture.     

So here we are at the confirmation ceremony of my eldest. Being atheist the sponsorship aspect of the celebration has been deferred to a family member on the Irish side. I normally don't go to church as you can imagine and I rather have nothing to do with  religious affairs but I have to consider the fact that this maybe different for my son.

Its an important milestone to him and in the spirit of respect I am doing what from a dad he would expect. That said being on the opposite end of the spectrum beliefs I hope that I also provide some balance and opportunity for reset. He often asks me questions on why I have no faith and I do my best to answer with my own words avoiding cynicism or touches of antagonism.

Many people have written eloquently about the topic of difference and human condition being a complex equation and delicate equilibrium, I am not one of them, but what I know is that tolerance and respect requires efforts and understanding. In political terms people would probably refer to it as partnership, association or even alliances in some cases. In the end the wording is actually not that important I guess the actions are far more exigent.

Its not about compromising its about understanding, you can view it from so many different angles that you may end up only seeing the tangles but I dare say it's far more simple but for that you got to be humble and get out from your own temple.

Its not about excessive power or who is the best raconteur, forget about those who say you got to plant the biggest protest tent, how about you and I just try intent....... 


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Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #36

thanks Neil Smith yeah true observations and thanks for sharing that story. Some are telling me I am a ''mystical'' runner because I look for this thing call the runner high now I was told cycling is a new religion too. Amen :-)

Neil Smith

3 years ago #35

Firstly Pascal, I'm not sure that being irreligious is the same as having no faith. Lots of people just put their faith in something other than a deity. I regularly put my faith in people and a good friend of mine puts her faith in some "airy fairy hippy stuff". Neither of us seems overly worried about a lack of a God. Despite my lack of religion I used to share a twice weekly gym session with the local catholic priest in my home village. He was a demon bench presser but I'm sure that when I was spotting him on a new PB his faith was probably equally shared out between his God, himself and his spotter. No matter what though we should genuinely care for our kids above all. Nice piece. I like the comment it has stirred up.

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #34

That's a fair observation if nothing else the spirit of the article has landed well with the commentators :-)

Claire L Cardwell

3 years ago #33

What's notable is that nowhere in the feed are there any statements about each other's belief no politely termed 'you must be nuts/blind' to believe .... No where has anyone used their beliefs to try and sway the creed of another. We all respect each other's views. What counts is the way we treat other humans, animals and our environment. I have met a lot of committed aetheists who actually described themselves as 'aetheist (I prefer that spelling!) Buddhists... They are actually Buddhists at heart... they see all of us as equals, with a right to our own opinion and their motto for life is 'Just Be..."

Claire L Cardwell

3 years ago #32

Wow Pascal Derrien ! I've just read through the latest in the comments section - the atheist vs. the christian debate is quite something! It deserves a post or five of it's own!

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #31

ah thanks very nice words not for me to say I do what I can not always what I want :-)

🐝 Fatima G. Williams

3 years ago #30

All I know is you are one amazing father and stand up for goodness and ensure kindness is spread. That makes you an amazing father & friend Pal Derrien.

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #29

thanks Jeremy Keefer :-)

Harvey Lloyd

3 years ago #28

I define a good father as one who realizes the life they have lived is not the mosaic their off-spring will experience. Specifically, seeking a new journey through these new humans to the world. There are no perfect fathers only those who share the journey as their children explore. Absolutes is an old word, and one that under today's conditions, would be considered intolerant. Unfortunately these absolutes have become clubs that many Christians use to beat folks over the head. I feel for these folks as they carry a big torch of bitterness that the fuel eventually runs out. No, absolutes are nothing more than what you do when no one is looking and you wont get caught. I have 6 grandchildren and the exploration of their belief system development has been very rewarding. Your journey with your son will be one that is crazy and exciting as you explore together the belief systems you each subscribe.

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #27

thanks Harvey Lloyd interestingly enough the junior version of me mentioned absolutes to me recently. Not necessarily in those terms but he mentioned all the volunteer work and other stuff I had done over the years, he was probably trying to say something about moral compasses being stronger than superficial allegiance, there is more than the optics :-) Thanks for the praise but I don't know if I am a good father its work in progress :-)

Harvey Lloyd

3 years ago #26

My family has similar characteristics of broad views. Even though we are all christian. I am not sure melting pot would express our family as well as mosaic. Mosaics have clear irregular lines of boundaries. Atheism is always considered the opposite of Christianity. I don't think this is true. Religion at its individual level is the absolutes you hold dear and act out within family and community. We all have these absolutes. Absolutes being those lines of script that we don't venture past in our relationships. The irony is that through the absolutes we visualize a better future or service to others. Faith. A few decades ago agnostics who were come what may folks of the primordial soup found some leaders against Christianity. As choice is the main concept here atheism is something that holds a spot on the spectrum of choices. But it, like all things has changed. Atheism, Christianity and politics have all been polarized to group think categories. My angst within all of it is those who profit from the rhetoric and leadership. How one chooses to live their life, a code if you will, is their personal choice. This code that helps us in those situations where we are deeply emotionally engaged is the life line of success. Atheist, write your own or Christianity and follow someone else's. The amazing part i discovered is that from atheist views on morals and success tend to match what the Bible knew 2000 years ago. I commend you on your openness to your your son seeking that code of absolutes that will assist him in his future. Although Christian, i am saddened that so many will find the code of life after disaster instead reviewing it during their youth. You are promoting self actualization of a belief system that stimulates great conversations. You are a good father:)

Ken Boddie

3 years ago #25

yup 👍 A mere 6 decades ago ..... plus some. A tiny spark twinkle in the big bang theory.

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #24

By all accounts those traumatic events seem very recent Ken Boddie :-)

Ken Boddie

3 years ago #23

I’m with you, Pascal. Never did understand this blind acceptance that some religious people have. Last time I was in church they tried to drown me. Haven’t been back since. 🤔

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #22

thanks Franci\ud83d\udc1dEugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador a organizations they are sharp and ruthless indeed and we only have access to the tip of the iceberg.

Nice piece Pascal Derrien. I came from a family of mixed denominations. While I was in college, I would attend various church services with my friends, which even then I didn't care for organized religion. While I was a commercial insurance underwriter, churches were one of the classes the company would consider insuring. I learned a lot about churches and how they're operated and maintained during that time. IMO, organized religion is more about big business than a place where people can seek comfort.

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #20

thanks Jim Murray a small contribution to the world on my part both in terms of action and narrative :-)

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #19

cheers Randall Burns I know a family unit is really functioning at micro level so I wonder what we lose when we try to scale that up ?

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #18

many thanks Debasish Majumder always nice to hear :-)

Debasish Majumder

3 years ago #17

absolutely stunning buzz Pascal Derrien! enjoyed read and shared. thank you very much for the buzz.

Randall Burns

3 years ago #16

Great, heartfelt piece Pascal Derrien, I agree with the discussion that has followed and there is traits of both "Mosaic" and "Melting Pot", and I believe they make us richer, collectively, regardless of our own personal beliefs we must embrace this, (as you've done with this article). You finished it off brilliantly with; "In the end the wording is actually not that important I guess the actions are far more exigent. Its not about compromising its about understanding, you can view it from so many different angles that you may end up only seeing the tangles but I dare say it's far more simple but for that you got to be humble and get out from your own temple. Its not about excessive power or who is the best raconteur, forget about those who say you got to plant the biggest protest tent, how about you and I just try intent....... " Well done!

Jim Murray

3 years ago #15

Nice piece Pascal Derrien. I think you have pretty much summed up the world as we know it today in your conclusion. People do not, by and large, care to look at all aspects of an issue, only opinions that agree with their own ideas or preconceptions. As a result you don't have so much an imbalance as you do a wide chasm in between people of differing beliefs. You are right on your side. They are right on theirs. And seldom if ever the twain shall meet. But that meeting is so important. Because that meeting can heal the fractured world. And the wider the chasm becomes, the more we need bridges to join us so we can find common ground.

Claire L Cardwell

3 years ago #14

The Scientology guys are the worst bunch of controlling assholes out there! It's definitely a cult rather than a religious sect - although there's not much to distinguish either from each other... On my last trip home my brother said to me with intense pride "Clarissa (she's my niece) has decided that there is no God and she came to this conclusion all by herself". I realised that I (apart from my late Grandmother Frances) was the only one in my immediate family who didn't just have 'faith' or a misguided belief in God, I actually know that he/she exists (or the Universal Source, Allah, Jehovah, The Great Mother - what ever floats your boat). I looked at her and said "That's great Clarissa, at least you've made up your mind!" It turns out that Clarissa's RE Teacher was anything but a Christian (in word but not in deed) and had put everyone off. I said that there was a special place in Hell for such assholes and left it at that. In my experience some of the most amazing, upstanding, generous and kind people I've met have been committed atheists and most of the "Christians" have been a bunch of narrow minded bigots.

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #13

thanks Claire L Cardwell for the kind words and your sharp observation, many churches or sects are pretty wealthy I am thing of the Scientology guys among a few

Claire L Cardwell

3 years ago #12

Religious intolerance and censorship has just been a way of brainwashing the masses and fleecing their pockets for the self-agrandisment of a few... It's no coincidence to me to learn that RC Church is one of the richest and most powerful organisations on earth... You definitely kissed the blarney stone Pascal Derrien ! Love this "Its not about compromising its about understanding, you can view it from so many different angles that you may end up only seeing the tangles but I dare say it's far more simple but for that you got to be humble and get out from your own temple."

÷I hope many bees get involved in this worthy discussion

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #10

thanks Ali , I think the subsequent discussions and view point will probably be of a better quality but happy to trigger some school of thoughts among the audience :-)

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #9

thanks Jerry Fletcher I think that's interesting you mention its up to the individual or group to make a move that's a rare view nowadays. I also agree on the definition of mosaic pieces :-)

Jerry Fletcher

3 years ago #8

Pascal, both mosaic and melting pot have resounding strengths and weaknesses. The mosaic allows each piece to stand separately but the melting pot allows one to become part of a greater whole contributing flavor while incorporating the strengths of other components. For some one is better than the other but i believe the decision to merge or stand alone should be left to the individual or tribe or group.

A challenging view by Pascal Derrien. Pascal writes "Many people have written eloquently about the topic of difference and human condition being a complex equation and delicate equilibrium, I am not one of them, but what I know is that tolerance and respect requires efforts and understanding". A view that is worthy of stirring hot discussions.

Renée 🐝 Cormier

3 years ago #6

Yes, absolutely!

CityVP Manjit

3 years ago #5

Whatever drives beliefs, this history produces fascinating stories and sometimes surprising roots and interesting vignettes into the human condition. For example small tidbits like why Jesus changed Simon's name to Peter and why that informs us of Matthew 7:24. Simon means sand, and Peter means rock. It described Peter in faith being a rock, but as a human being as sand - and that sand is revealed in his betrayal of Jesus (three times no less). Then there is the name Jesus did not change - which is the Saul and Paul bit, here we find clues such as this one and here we see Paul is a chameleon trying to be all things to all types of people. Personally to me that reminds me more of Machiavellian mindset than the words of reverence from someone whose words now form a substantial part of Christian doctrines or at least had an absolute means of shaping them. In that regard it is all a study book on human politics - whether it is called religion or not. That is something that fits my learning media approach - to seek to understand and discern, rather than argue and debate. It maybe difficult to observe this history because it contains so many negatively emotional and inhuman choices - but if we want to understand our flawed humanity, it is a guidebook.

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #4

I think the term mosaic implies combination and collaboration, melting pot is just something that seem to get stirred in all directions with no real compass and that's maybe why some get confused and finish their course in various ideological dead ends, you cannot legislate but maybe you attempt to educate ?

Renée 🐝 Cormier

3 years ago #3

In Canada we speak of our culture as being a cultural mosaic and the US culture as being a melting pot. No matter how long your family has lived here, you are never just Canadian. You are French Canadian, Portuguese Canadian, Pakistani Canadian, etc. I always find it a bit bizarre that people who immigrate the the US call themselves American (even my own brother). As a culture we try to tolerate and appreciate the differences in others. Some are better at it than others, to be honest. People are who they are. You cannot legislate things like open mindedness and intelligence. You can only make laws to regulate behaviour. Et vivere, reservate (live and let live), I say.

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #2

thanks CityVP \ud83d\udc1d Manjit for dropping and proposing an elaborate comment, History has indeed been littered with events ''in the name of'' whether its crusades, inquisition or califats.

CityVP Manjit

3 years ago #1

It is not religion that bothers me but that the basis of religion are patriarchal control freaks. It is the moment where some guy saw the opportunity to take control and seize power and organized religion away from the individual and into the cess pool of special interest. Now couple that with how many different directions we can take either philosophical and/or theological talk. Back in the days of the Nicaean Council, the politics of 3rd Century Christianity makes today's politics look quaint by comparison. Then through in Emperor Constantine who added his personal desire to wield power by accepting a faith that until then he was busy persecuting. The same thing happened with Saul, a horrible excuse for a human being, who turned into a saint of a human being renamed Paul. Paul then went on to write 3/4 of the Bible, and like Constantine probably added his opinion or interpretation. With Constantine Christians got Sunday worship (literally the Sun), and with Paul, a highly patriarchal conditioning of what used to be a very small sect cult - transformed into a global power. Now from here we can go in complete circles as to which version of a Christ is being put forward The attached video is great because it shows how complex and devilish all these thought constructs are and how it can end up creating such blood and mayhem - which are all products of thought and the by-product of control freaks. That is not something I have decided that I don't have time for, but in reality i find so interesting because it mirrors the human condition and the conflicts that arise from that conditioning. Best way to save a headache is to remove oneself from all these forms of power plays or at least point out this pitfalls and perils of organized religion.

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