||"dawnbreak in the west"|
Saturday, August 04, 2012
I did see this comment at the end of Auster's thread:
And if we posit that you were not literally saying that I am in danger of damnation, how would we characterize your statements about me? At the very least, you were saying that, having “defiantly” rejected your urgent call for me to recant, I am a person who is unrepentantly harboring a grave form of moral darkness in himself and who is using this blog to spread that grave moral darkness to other people, and who therefore deserves to be rejected by all moral people. This is what you expect me to see as your expression of “great affection” for me.
My first reaction - since I know he's Christian - was "now he knows what it's like".
The evangelicals I ran across down South tended toward arrogance. I believed in tenets they did not share. So they affected the kindest and most sorrowful airs as they regrettably informed me, that for not sharing their beliefs - not for anything I did to them, mind - that, nothing personal, but I was destined for HELL.
Because that's how their God sifts "the wheat from the chaff". One must become a biologist, and an astrophysicist, and an ancient historian and come to the correct conclusions on pain of the Fire. Either that or one must reject all of that and deliberately embrace a lie, I guess to prove loyalty. I was never sure which. (I've basically chosen the former path.)
That was what the evangelicals expected me to see as their expression of love for me.
Yeah, it's not big of me to think such thoughts, I know.
The mortal judgement upon Lord Voldemort
In Christianity: men sin, repent, sin again, repent again, die and then assemble before the Throne. Lawrence Auster considers whether a man can corrupt himself, to become so polluted that he "loses the image of God".
Not everyone appreciates this notion. To put it mildly! Some readers even think that Auster has sinned in bringing it up. That means that unless Auster repents of bringing it up, he himself is damned.
(I have mine own thoughts on humanity's Creation; but I won't bring them up here.)
Note that Auster's comment is undeniable - if we are talking about the End. That "Throne Judgement" I mentioned has no right of appeal. When God sentences, say, Saul Alinsky this sentence is eternal. Alinsky, I think I am safe in saying, is damned by Christian standards; he is in a place where, by definition, God does not intervene. So the question isn't whether one can pollute himself in life such that he is damned at death.
The theological question here is if God can run a Last Judgement on one's case in absentia. Can one sin to the extent that God says - okay, that's enough; leaving aside to what degree his "free will" pushes out my "omniscience", on balance I can already see where this monster is going, and I am pulling his file now.
First, I should point out that even Auster hasn't gone this far:
Yes, that would seem to be related to the discussion. But of course, “losing one’s soul” does not mean literally and absolutely that one has lost one’s soul; it means one has cut oneself off from one’s soul in an immediate or long-term sense, not that one has destroyed one’s soul in an ultimate and metaphysical sense. At least, I assume that.
But that's where Auster's headed. So, despite that it is not Auster's thought, I'll call it "Austerism" here to save space. The Copts object to being called "Monophysites" and Nestorius always denied being a "Nestorian"; but what they believed headed that way, so that's how their preliminary arguments had to be confronted.
I'll note as another aside that "Austerism" contradicts John Calvin. In Calvinism, those who are not in God's elect never had the image of God. These were unleashed upon the world to test the righteous. Without free-will there really isn't a meaningful Judgement at the end; all that stuff in John's Revelation (and the Qur'an) is a pageant. Anyway I am fine with dissing Calvin, and most of Auster[ism]'s detractors seem to be Catholic in any case.
Austerism's (hypothetical!) theological point holds at least a mathematical merit. It relies upon free will, and free will admits the mathematical fact that God is not omniscient. However, says "Austerism", God still retains enough knowledge to predict the future between finite possible outcomes - one would not hope to beat Him at chess. "Austerism" is talking about one whom, in life, God has foreseen that the Devil has checkmated.
Harry Potter readers will recall the scene in which Dumbledore meets Lord Voldemort post-Horcrux; the author, at this point, knows that Voldemort is damned. That means that God knows it. As a result Dumbledore knows it.
Another commenter has noted that, in this case, there may be condemned prisoners professing Christianity whom the clergy should not visit. The clergy asserts that God gives them power over Satan. It is, by Auster[ism]'s detractors, assumed that Voldemort is only ruled by Satan, that he is not an actual demon. If God knows that Voldemort is a witch or a demon or Jennifer's Body, that is a necessary step for God's agents on Earth to claim this Divine knowledge and, also, to know Voldemort. A cleric visiting Voldemort could not hope to save him; he could only risk his own soul.
That is a lot of power for a Christian to concede to our lords on Earth, I admit.
I'm less certain that this is too much power. So far I am siding with "Austerism" and, so, with Auster's right to bring it up.
Upload #60: a country for women
I'm pretty sure Taslima Nasreen won't approve of all the stuff I post here - but if she can riff on McCarthy's books, I can riff on her blog. But anyway. Update!
I've wanted a 4 > 33 > 48 project for years. But I could never get it to gel; it kept becoming a preface to a general 48 project, which itself could not get off the ground. I ended up cannibalising it for the "Relationship between Sura 4" project.
The breakthrough is that I now have, I think, a witness to 4 and 33 together without 48: in John of Damascus. This has implications beyond that set of suras. So: "The Scriptures of the Women".
This is the bridge between Zahniser's work and the sura 4 project - because it's about the style of sura 4. I put it up at the very top of the Madrassa. Whilst I was at it, I tweaked the sura 4 project but ever so slightly. Mainly I changed it from Jaghbub to the Unicode version - when I'd first written it, I'd submitted it for publication, and that was back when Unicode wasn't as prevalent as it is now. I also could not resist squeezing in an endnote to "Women".
I've been cleaning up the "TSM" project as well, and I figured it was worth adding a link to "House of War" in the "Monks" project.
Same as it ever was. Well, for the past year, anyway.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
I'd like to explore how Muslims approach the fantasy genre. Since I like fantasy and I study religious literature, and stuff.
Earlier I have explored on this blog Jewish attitudes toward the fantasy genre. (Why, you ask? Etc etc "mixed" etc "philosemite" etc.) A couple years back, the Jewish Review of Books kicked off its first issue by noting that Jews wrestle with the fantasy novel... but that they don't, really, accept Fantasy. So, The Magicians is parody and The Princess Bride is crude Marty-Stu wish fulfilment. There is no Jewish Narnia explored for its own sake as an example for Jews.
Back to the Islamic topic, there's been some noise raised about Alif; and we could go earlier than that, to the graphic novel "Habibi" and earlier still to The Satanic Verses. For those who speak Arabic - Naghib Mahfouz and Abdel Megid have, I am told, written several works in the "imaginative" genre.
... see what I did there?
It seems that where North European Christianity is the religion of Fantasy, and Ashkenazi Judaism is the religion of Science Fiction; Islam is the religion of Magical Realism. (The Spaniards and their diaspora, also, tend toward the Magical Realism. I do not consider this a refutation.)
As I understand Magical Realism, this is a form of fiction in which the fantastic overlaps with the modern world - much like horror - except that the author implies that the fantastic elements are not real. The protagonist who experiences these ... visions ... is, thereby, a fool. He is mad, or near enough to it. His visions amount to a critique of the real world in which he lives.
So, why do Muslims do Magical Realism? I'll say that this is because Islam itself is Magical Realist - was founded as such, anyway, despite the doctrine of the Qur'an's "uncreatedness" (which obviously as an infidel I do not believe).
The Qur'an time and again recasts various episodes against how they "actually" happened in the earlier Scriptures. This was not because the Qur'an in any given sura was trying to correct these Scriptures; this was because that sura was admonishing the society against which that sura was revealed.
So we see in sura 46: that 'Ad turned from the laws of Noah and so was punished, itself, by a twister. From the other suras we know that 'Ad was brought low for its sins and arrogance. Sura 46 recast this story to make its own point - against turning away from Islam. It is likely that the suras before 46 had their own points to make. Behind them all was the tale of 'Ad itself - perhaps not even a tale of God's vengeance in itself, but an epic about some random natural disaster. The same could be said of how the suras have handled the camel of the Thamud. Or even of how sura 28 handles the story of Moses.
And then there's the example of the Prophet himself, seeing visions no-one else saw - the Companions just trusted him that he'd seen the visions. This was Salman Rushdie's point: that the Prophet was himself something of a Magical Realist.
(Editor's note : I have re-read my earlier articles linked here - I was shocked at their quality, so I have gone back and fixed them. I can now vouch for "The Princess Bride"'s critique. The link to "The Magicians" goes to an article not entirely germane to the topic - it's more about "The Last Ringbearer", which is the Soviet critique of Tolkien, not Jewish. But maybe you'll like that anyway.)
Well, he's hitting the right notes . . .
Let's recap where he's been. He's visited Britain - where he attacked how they're running the Olympics. Israel - to support Israel (with the pro forma "Jerusalem" spiel) and to attack Palestinian culture. And Poland - to support Walesa, except that Walesa jumped to support Romney first.
Could a trip to South Africa to demand protection for the Boers be next?
... yeah, I know. Crazy talk.
Monday, July 30, 2012
Channelling Don Colacho
The problem with autocracy is that power corrupts the autocrat. The problem with democracy is that power corrupts the people.
Sunday, July 29, 2012
It's the shooter's fault - no, wait, it's the Olympics
Last I saw, the reviews on RottenTomatoes were in the high 80s. That's good - but not "stellar". That's the result of reviewer groupthink, like what inflated "Prometheus"'s reviews.
USA Today're also blaming the Olympics in that link.
Two excuses in one article? Feh. There's a better explanation as to why the movie isn't doing so well. That would be word of mouth. The movie just isn't that good.
Cheap dates, cont'd
Romney says he is going to move the embassy to Jerusalem. h/t, Steevy at the AoS ONT.
I have heard this song for decades from Republican and, in the case of Clinton, Democratic candidates. They're all going to move the embassy to Jerusalem and then, when the time comes... Well, of course, their requests for embassies was not Israeli in and of it is as it were the United States government would never have if the president, our president, had not and as far as I know that's the way it will always be. Is that clear?
No; this is hopeychange, it's a lie. Romney is not going to move the embassy. He knows it. The Democrats know it. Even the Arabs know it. The Israelis sure as Moses know it; and American Jews, whom Pelosi has observed "are smart people", have got to know it too.
The people who don't know it? American Conservatives.
The fundamental creepiness of Van Jones - and Obama
I've been desultorily poking at Van Jones, former 9/11 troofer and former Obama czar, here and there on this blog for the past three years. Here in 2009 I nudged him for the "green economy". But I just remembered that it's worse than that. See, Van Jones didn't use the title "The Green Economy" for his book.
It was The Green COLLAR Economy (my emphasis).
What this was, was a reference to blue collar, white collar; to the poor, the rich - under capitalism. The casual viewer would look at this and say, well isn't that nice; he's bringing us all together and also making this world a nicer place!
But in reality, the construction worker didn't chose the blue collar; he wore denim because he had to do manual labour. And the office drone didn't really choose the white collar either; she wore cotton because she had to do time in an office. The green collar is artificial. It's a uniform. And it's the uniform of the Party, the Party of Van Jones.
Obama played the same theme when he blasted the Red State and the Blue State in his 2004 speech. It would be rude to point out that these were colour-coded in accordance with political parties, one of which parties Obama chose to deliver this fatuous speech. Which means that Obama didn't believe in his own humbug.
Van Jones and Barack Obama wanted, and want, the same: they want a green-collar force under their command, and the green-collars will choose the winners and losers.
Joe Biden: tanned, rested and ready
Whenever I see a web ad with "Obama - Biden", it's always of the current President and some hulking black woman.
The WUWT press release is here. It seems that most of the "global warming" measurements were done near cities, and so have measured only "city warming".
A lot of highschool students and undergrads in the sciences go through that particular Kobayashi Maru. The teacher tells one of these kids to go run these experiments and the school gives him/her shit equipment to do it - and those who don't do it right, then they get an F and are forced to become sociology majors.
The guys who did get it right in Kovar's class, are those who just kept the data that was "good" and threw out the rest.
We've been training students to become data cheats.
And then they got PhD's. And then they got into climatology.
Your college professor hates this blog
I notice a trend in web ads lately. "Language teachers hate him!"; "Your insurance company does not want you to know".
You're supposed to think - oh my, I'm being naughty by clicking this link, I'm thinking for myself, aaaand I'm saving money!
In fact, you're being bamboozled. Every. Single. Time.
I think about this whenever I read someone say that "establishment Republicans fear Sarah Palin".
So OpenOffice is at version 3.4. I had been under the 2.x versions. I'd always had trouble porting docs from OpenOffice to Word - I always had to save as RTF to get them across. Yes there was a .doc option in OpenOffice but honestly, it sucks, and in any case when Microsoft upgraded to "docx" I ended up SOL.
The new version is nicer, because it supports the reading of docx - but strangely, I still have to write them as .doc or .rtf.
I use Jaghbub which is TrueType. When I tried to install this, I found out (or rediscovered - it had been some years) that Linux doesn't natively support TrueType fonts. This got the job done.
PS. Tools > AutoCorrect > Localized Options, for quotation marks.
Newsbusters: CNN Plays 'Stupid Girls' Before Story About Sarah Palin Visiting Chick-Fil-A. Okay, it's CNN - if you're still watching that isvestiya, more fool you. But I expect better from the Right and - well, just read on.
NB updated that story with this comment from Jazz Shaw - "such sexism and misogyny from America's self-described most trusted name in news".
Let's dispense with the accusation on its face. There's no misogyny about those songs which target a specific subset of girls as "stupid". Pink herself is female and does not think of herself as stupid. (Shirley Manson, one could argue, has an emo streak - but they played Pink's song, not Garbage's.) CNN's playing of Pink's song is wrong because it is a slander against Palin - not because it attacks all women.
I get what Shaw is doing: "make your enemy live by his own group of rules". But this is going to backfire. Obama will be thrilled that the Right blogosphere agrees, that when a member of group X is targeted, that it's targeting all of X. He's glad that the Right agrees that Palin's a racist for objecting to Obama's policies.
I thanked NB for "reminding me why I never give hits to HotAir" but, really, I don't want to patronise NB either, if they're just going to pass that crap along.
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