What I’ve been reading and browsing

Ethan Pollock, Without the Banya We Would Perish: A History of the Russian Bathhouse. The title says it all, noting that without the banya I for one would not perish.

George Weigel, The Irony of Modern Catholic History: How the Church Rediscovered Itself & Challenged the Modern World to Reform.  Always fascinating to see there is a whole ‘nother world of politics you hardly know (or care) about.

Eric D. Weitz, A World Divided: The Global Struggle for Human Rights in the Age of Nation-States, is indeed a history of human rights in theory but most of all in practice.

Katrina Forrester, In the Shadow of Justice: Postwar Liberalism and the Remaking of Political Philosophy covers how liberalism took egalitarian and Rawlsian turns in the 20th century.  The author makes this seem more natural than I would take it to be.

David Bentley Hart, That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell & Universal Salvation, argues that from a Christian point of view all will be saved and none damned to eternal torment.  Not my framework, but I am not going to push back against what I take to be a Pareto improvement.

I am an admirer of Yancey Strickler, of Kickstarter fame, he has a new book coming out This Could Be Our Future: A Manifesto for a More Generous World.


Who has the best bathhouse: the Turks, the Japanese, or the Russians? Too bad communal bathing never took off in North America. Too Puritan for that. Even the Nordic countries had their saunas.

Haven't been to Turkey or Russia, but Japanese bathhouses are one of the best parts of living there. Are they often in the mountains in those other two countries? The best onsen have rotemburos where you sit outside with the snow falling down and you get to look out on gorgeous views.

literally laughed out loud at Tyler’s tag lines here, very good

"That all shall be saved" has been a main doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter-day Saints all along. Congratulations to Mr. Hart and his believing readers in taking a huge step towards comprehending the fullness of the Restored Gospel.

But when is someone going to take a huge step towards comprehending the fullness of Reformed Egyptian?

Can somebody give me a brief and simple explanation why anybody needs to go to church if this is the case? From a theological standpoint I'm asking. (serious question, so to all the atheists or haters out there, please don't comment unless it's a serious reply! Please!!)

If it from a Christian perspective, how does he wave away direct quotes from Jesus/God himself th that strongly imply that Hell?

"And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell"

The same way, lamestream Christians wave away direct quotes from Jesus making clear there is only one god, the real god, God, not three gods.

Yet, it is writtern: " I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me."

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him."

“‘I and the Father are one.’ Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ ‘We are not stoning you for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.’”

"Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’"

"‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’

etc., etc.

That's easy. Sinful people suffer the torments of hell but not forever. If you believe in this theology you want to be a good boy or girl because 1. You believe in this theology and 2. You don't want to suffer infernal torments even for a finite time, which could of course be really long.

God is Dead.


I am the second coming of Christ.

+1 good one
can you or any of the smith college church ladies spot the circular reasoning in this +1funny! senate hearing narrative!

donald? smith college church ladies?
do we need a little hint!
malcom& david went to harvard !
help the ladies out!

Pretty good answer, Asher. There's a big difference between accepting Jesus and His salvation today and waiting a million million years to do so, all the while enduring beyond imaginable trials as you Heavenly Father repeatedly tries to teach you of His goodness. The lesson is that you can't be good on your own terms, you can only accept the good that was placed in you by our good God who created you.

Have to like the new title reflecting the reality behind these posts.

It is not that simple. It is written: "The Lord our God, the Lord is one."

Zackly, who wrote that?

That is one (of many) simple conceits and motives for exceptionalism and eternal war in Judaism and Islam.

They also believe a man cannot be "saved," nor enjoy his 72 virgins, if he is not circumcised or eats a bacon cheeseburger; and homosexuals are to be killed.

Moses has written: The lord our god is one. Deuteronomy 6:4

But Moses didn't exist. I suspect that Jesus did exist, though I doubt that we know much about the man or what he said.

If Moses didn't exist, how could he have written the Pentateuch?

There is no reason to believe that.

In 2016, Brazil's leader, President Captain Bolsonaro, was officially baptized in the Jordan River: https://www.google.com/search?q=jordao+bolsonaro&client=tablet-android-samsung&prmd=niv&sxsrf=ACYBGNQCcE_yfg3_3iZfS6GAkVFE1j_H8Q:1567941482168&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi0zMqYjcHkAhWhB9QKHe3-DSMQ_AUoAnoECCsQAg&cshid=1567941531586&biw=800&bih=1280#imgrc=1rv9Bjoh4k7y0M



What are you going to do?

It makes sense. Cultural maxism's goal is to destroy society.

The Beatles were Cultural Lennonists.

Exactly. Brazilian writer Luís Veríssimo pointed out that Lenin made a revolution With A Little Help of his Friends.

Universal Salvation: The Church Fathers (Basil is one), who lived hundreds of years after the death of Christ, argued over questions (in particular, the nature of Christ) that seem secondary to what drew (and continues to draw) so many to the faith, namely, grace. St. Paul may not have known Christ (except in his visions), but he did know those who did. For Paul, grace required faith in Christ (and, for Gentiles, abstinence from Law observance). This meant that sinners could experience salvation if they came to Christ. Now, what Paul meant by faith in Christ is an open question, but it's clear from Paul's Letters that not everyone would be saved. Universal Salvation derives from the later belief (supported by Origen) that souls predated the material universe and, hence, all of us have a preexistence (a soul) devoted to God. It's only when given physical bodies that some fell away from God. But having preexisting souls meant that everyone, even sinners, would eventually experience grace, only that the sinners may need a little extra time to return to their roots and devotion to God.

what we have been watching lately
is these 4 fellas deconstruct& eviscerate
postmodern smith college bullshit, here


is that the affordable University of Texas tower in the background?

2. This book title on Catholicism. Reading this title brought to mind Russ Robert's podcast with Chris Arnade. These books stick in my craw a bit, almost poverty porn, "God, I thank you that I am not like other people".

The Catholic Church had a system. They would keep people poor and stupid, except for the few smart kids who they would pluck out of their little town or farm, educate them in the ways of the world and church, who would then maintain everything for another generation. Another benefit; you wouldn't want anyone with some intelligence outside of your control, living under the thumb of the Catholic hierarchy and enforcement methods. (Antifa is the continuation of a long tradition of threat to keep people in line).

There is a problem however. If the Church didn't manage to keep ahead of any changes or discontent, and manage to change it into their advantage, they would face a catastrophe. But their structures guaranteed that they would lose touch; too far away, too insular. Their interests were contrary to the interests of the people they ruled over, they were predators watching over their prey. And when a change came along that they couldn't control by fear, the whole thing was gone in a generation. It was a system that could not coexist because it required everything.

I saw this happen in Quebec. A remarkable thing to experience.

Arnade describes how he grew up in a small town, went to school, got a Phd in Physics, then worked as a quant on Wall Street. A close friend did something similar two generations ago; he grew up in a small mining town, he and his brother got an education, he in physics, became a professor of meteorology, his brother a lawyer then in the foreign service for the Canadian government. A bit different.

Generations where the smartest leave and collect somewhere surrounded by people like them. They become insular, arrogantly ignorant of the broader citizenry. They have their fingers on the levers of power and are not too different from the priests with tastes in young flesh.

They better sharpen up, they may very well lose everything, very quickly. The Catholic church in Quebec went from a pillar of society to an object of hatred and disdain in 20 years.

The issue with Romanism is that actually a form osf Paganism. Its so-called "saints" are pooorly-disguised replacements for the Greek-Roman Gods.

tldr; Antifa are secret Catholics and physics makes you a pedo like priests.

Yancey Strickler is only partially correct. Many people in the west do embrace the cult of the individual, which is odd since we know that our social nature was, and still is, an adaptation the led to humans becoming, along with our domesticated animals, the most abundant large species on earth. In fact, our large brain, particularly it's newer additions, was either the cause or product of our social nature. Banishment from the group was likely a death sentence for most of human history.

Anyway, from the Amazon book description:

"Western society is trapped by three assumptions: 1) That the point of life is to maximize your self-interest and wealth, 2) That we're individuals trapped in an adversarial world, and 3) That this is natural and inevitable. These ideas separate us, keep us powerless, and limit our imagination for the future. It's time we replace them with something new."

I think many single and childless urban dwellers do believe those three tenets. However, I think many people outside the dense urban core embrace family and community values and not the cult of the individual. There is something about committing to another person - getting married - in order to start a family, experiencing a miscarriage perhaps, getting pregnant, anticipating the child, being present for the birth, caring for an infant, raising the child, dealing with illness, sacrificing sleep and personal time, sending children off to school, volunteering in school, picking up and caring for other people's children, being a coach, participating in scouts, and all the subsequent events and milestones in this long process that really never quite ends until death.

After experiencing all that, the people that reject that life to chase after individual goals seem selfish, narcissistic, misguided, and ultimately sad and incomplete.

In the long run, the cult of the individual is an evolutionary loser.

Joel Kotkin on "The Politics of Persuasion" :


Oh, those terrible urban dwellers who don't vote Republican. I really love how desperate the far-right is to disguise its policies as something different than maximizing the self-interest and wealth of rich campaign donors. I somewhat doubt the hard right chose Trump because he is a family(ies) man.

Wow! Your interpreter has a very narrow focus. Are you talking about me or Joel Kotkin?

Mr. Kotkin, his article, and myself are all multidimensional, but you see what you want to see.

So be it.

We are being bled dry by Republicans and their tax cuts for the rich.

I share your concern regarding tax cuts for the rich. That said, both parties do it, which doesn't excuse either party.

The Republicans have never been a friend to the middle to lower economic classes, so they campaigned on traditional values. Now the Democrats have abandoned those same people, traditionally their constituents. Thomas Frank described that pretty well in "Listen Liberal". I think we are seeking a new equilibrium, if we can find one. I am not optimistic.

"That said, both parties do it, which doesn't excuse either party."

Republicans do it more. We just can't afford those tax cuts. We are already trillions in the hole.

You might be correct, but the lower middle class really needed some help. Increasing the standard deduction helps. Of course, a strong and growing job market with wage growth at the bottom is even better.

But it requires radical reforms. Common Americans de- serve a bigger slice of the pie.

"Politics of Procreation"

Man, it is so easy for autocorrect to get past my mental filters.

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