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by Asa Butcher
2008-10-18 09:18:25
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Cooks in Iran have tried to assemble the world's largest ostrich sandwich at a food festival in Tehran, as part of a bid to promote healthy eating.

It does make sense, since an ostrich often buries its head in the sand...wich.

* * * * * * *

The last remaining survivor of the Titanic plans to sell mementoes from the ship to pay her nursing home fees.

First up is a chunk of ice from the actual iceberg...

* * * * * * *

Internet giant Google was given the royal seal of approval when the Queen had a fit of the giggles during a tour of its London headquarters.

Headline: Google Giggles

* * * * * * *

Belgian Luc Costermans has broken the world blind road speed record, on an airstrip in France.

He probably drives better than some visually unimpaired motorists.

* * * * * * *

A man has been jailed for life for stabbing his wife to death over a posting she made on the social networking site Facebook. Wayne Forrester told police he was devastated that his wife Emma had changed her online profile to "single" days after he had moved out.

Status update?

* * * * * * *

People caught having sex in public should only be arrested as a last resort, according to draft UK guidelines. Police should instead turn a blind eye to consenting adults in parks and public toilets, a senior officer said.

In unrelated news, George Michael is said to be heading back to live in the UK.

* * * * * * *

More than 2,100 bombs from World War II have been found on the outskirts of Köthen during a routine building site review, police in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt.

You can just imagine the colour draining from the excavator driver's face.

* * * * * * *

According to the British Association of Dermatologists, people have been going to see doctors with a mysterious rash on their ears or cheeks. Doctors believe the rashes to be “mobile phone dermatitis,” a skin allergy caused by too much mobile phone use.

Cell therapy will be needed.

* * * * * * *

A Naive Gizmo, I Give Amazon and Go Vain Maize...

Forget the anagrams, there's only one way to use the letters OVIMAGAZINE!

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Emanuel Paparella2008-10-18 11:33:42
On sex in public: oh well, it's natural act, the ancient cynics defecated in the street...But in New York they set the modern record; they had sex in St. Patrick's Cathedral. A Hollywod writer is now writing a manuscript titled "Sex in the Cathedral."

Sand2008-10-18 11:56:49
By a priest and a choir boy?

Sand2008-10-18 12:40:57
Who knows? Perhaps even Socrates defecated in the streets. I doubt that modern technology penetrated the ethereal speculations of the ancient philosophers and in all probability outdoor facilities were no more available then than in contemporary New York City.

In any case, anyone who quickly associates sexual activity with defecation is obviously rather disturbed and probably not particularly considerate of his sexual partner.

Emanuel Paparella2008-10-18 13:20:15
Ah, the voices are visiting again... but there is a silver lining in what you say: you seem not to be a naturalist equating Man to animal any longer considering all natural acts void of ethical meaning. That is encouraging. You may be on your way to some sort of intellectual sanity. Pick up, if you can, the story of Eloise and Abelard but do not consign it to the bonfire after reading it; if you reflect on it you'll find a message there and it has nothing to do with grinding an ax and juvenile bashing and caricaturizing and foul-mouthing which in the mouth of an old man is even more bizarre.

Sand2008-10-18 13:33:12
It seems you are yearning for me to buried alongside a nun. If I spot a zoftig nun I will consider your advice but at the moment I am happily married to a Finnish woman and hope to remain so. Evidently anything to do with normal digestive processes or sex implies something foul. Your upbringing has, sadly, it seems, to have been rather strict.

AP2008-10-18 18:16:34
Quite sad story you chose, Mr. P., if there is a message there, it can be:
1. That teachers should not get involved with students, as they can end up castrated
2. That castration (or is it cowardness and fear?) disturbs hormone balances and can make one deny what he felt before
3. That religion can castrate you more than castration itself
4. Or just, like Pope wrote:
"How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd ...". A praise of virginity.

The association of the sex in public news with defecation actually is weird!
Are you sure that the "Sex in the Cathedral" writer was not inpired by Vargas Llosa instead?

AP2008-10-18 18:19:26

AP2008-10-18 18:20:57
I'm sure that for your profoundly Christian mind both are equivalently dirty things.

AP2008-10-18 18:37:03
But you don't have to be so obvious.

AP2008-10-18 19:51:22
Throw the dice of cowardice
Throw yourself from the ness of cowardness
And find Abelard down there.
Kick him for me.

Emanuel Paparella2008-10-18 20:20:40
It figured that those would be the messages you'd gather. It appears that the visiting voices are paying visits to more than one person. Indeed, birds of a feather...

AP2008-10-18 21:48:58
They stick around all the time. I'll put the cards on the table: my own domestic voices are
a) Peter Pan and, occasionally, Immanuel Kant (because I like his first name)
b) Roger & Jessica (Rabbit)
c) Picasso's Gilot midwife
d) Turner (the author of The Significance of the Frontier in American History, not the painter...)
e) The ghost of the waiter of cafe Paradis

What are yours?
It's becoming a group therapy case then. More than one person, each visited by several voices. We could found a damn unexpensive choir. I don't know, make them productive somehow.

AP2008-10-18 23:10:36
- Who are you talking to?
- To me.
- No! To me.
- A cappuccino for the table 14.
- Palomita, un douceur de bébé!
- Is it something you eat?
- Does it exist on the border?
- Don't eat my epistemology syntesis!
- No foam, please.
- Not for you, my Veronica Lake.
- Tell me about Kensington Gardens.
- Find the easter eggs.
- Is that a critique of Judgement?
- No, just a little bit of pixie dust!
- I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way.
- Bien sûr.

Now guess who is who.

AP2008-10-18 23:16:16
- Just please don't eat the h in my epistemology synthesis!

AP2008-10-18 23:28:39
- Pardonne-moi pour la repetition. Claude, un douceur de bébé!
- H's to eat? I just know the Holy Host.
- With a little bit of pixie Vatican Vacuum dust!

Emanuel Paparella2008-10-19 06:01:02

In my last weekly column of the series "Deconstructing Europe" at "The Global Spiral" titled Heroic Materialism in European culture (see link above)I begin with this insightful observation by Dr. Cesari: "In the June 9, 2004 report in the European Policy Center in Brussels Dr. Jocelyne Cesari, a senior research fellow at the CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) in both Paris and Harvard University has this intriguing quote: “Europe is the only part of the world which has a general hostility toward religion. Europeans tend to explain every sign of backwardness in terms of religion…The European tendency to equate Muslim religion with fanaticism—already present in Voltaire’s “Mahomet, of Fanaticism (1745), still lives on.” She goes on to trace this tendency to the Enlightenment era, which leads one to wonder if the Enlightenment needs to still enlighten itself." The rambling rather inchoherent voices of Voltaire redivivus we have been hearing lately in their own way confirm Cesari's insight. Didn't Voltaire die cursing Dante? So much for cool rationalism.

AP2008-10-19 19:22:35
Man, are you on the same substance as McCain?

1. First of all, and just to start by going directly to the point: Yes, the Enlightenment was in fact the cause of all our past, present and future misfortunes, including The Rights of Man, The Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence of the United States!!

2. Second, I see Muslims integrated in all European societies.

3. Third, what is not tolerated is that your beliefs, whichever they are, interfere with acquired civil freedoms.

4. I start to have doubts that you actually read Voltaire, but yes, you can touch his books - in spite of considering him the Anti-Christ!! Voltaire is known for having said that Muslim religion was more tolerant on several aspects than the Catholics of his time. What he critized was Fanaticism and Superstition in every religion, the power, corruption and benefits of religious representatives, and their relations with the bourgeoisie. He criticized a certain faith blindness which dominated tought and worries and rational abilities. I don't know about you but, personally, I can clearly see what he meant.

5. Besides eating Voltaire's liver, why don't you eat Spinoza's one once and for all? And so your dislikes for Nietzche, Wittgenstein and Einstein all get explained at once, as they were influenced by him. You could go ahead and eat the liver of Jorge Luis Borges, Somerset Maugham and many ecologists who were influenced by his ideas too. Maybe you prefer to grill them?

AP2008-10-19 19:47:41
ps - Muslims, besides having occupied certain areas of Europe for more than 7 centuries, left incredible legacies in architecture, philosophy, poetry, maths or music. I'm sure that many europeans recognize this.
Today, even artists... do you know how many Muslim artists there are living and working in the Netherlands, Germany, the UK or Finland? And Iraqi ones?

Pantheism is bad for your teeth and dangerous for your stomach, ain't it, Mr. P.? Pantheists eat children for breakfast, just like commies used to.

Emanuel Paparella2008-10-19 21:06:40
Is that what the voices have been saying that I said lately? Take it with a big grain of salt; they are slanderers and bashers and caracaturizers.

Ask the voices next time they visit if they know that Voltaire said of Jesus Christ, "Curse the wretch. In 20 years, Christianity will be no more. My single hand will destroy the edifice it took 12 apostles to rear." Needless to say, Voltaire and his cohorts of "enlightened" people looking down their nose at religion and faith have been less than successful in their nefarious agenda...; hence Blake's "mock on, mock on..."

AP2008-10-19 23:04:27
Mr. P., hadn't you been way too fast jumping on your horse of activism and throwing Voltaire and Spinoza out the window (they always come inside again through the back door), you would have recognized that Voltaire and some other figures played a useful role at the time, but more than that they played a useful role in History, including the one of your own country, that you can nowadays call your own thanks to the enlightened ideas and philosophies of some brains.

Voltaire was not a democrat and, nevertheless, he defended free trials, freedom of religion, gender equality and freedom of speech - food for thought! If you can't understand his cynicism and irony nor the historical and political context of his revolt or you just pretend that you don't because that serves your propaganda interests and your stepping on the shoulders of the giant-octopus Church, I'm not sure - but I would tend to choose the second hypothesis. Voltaire said that no one would care about the Bible in some years... and he was not so wrong, as you don't see many people who carry the Bible around under their arms and praise the Lord actually ACTING very Catholic, do you?
He didn't look down his nose at religion and faith, but at religious institutions and their corrupted interests, their representatives and interests - see the difference???

ps - you still didn't tell me who are your voices.

AP2008-10-19 23:16:16
Come on, you can put the cards on the table too and be honest: who are your voices and what do they tell you?

AP2008-10-19 23:30:04
ps - For as much as you would like to "Deconstruct Europe", I'm afraid it is there and exists. LOL

Actually, Blake's "mock on" may have had more to do with childish resentments against the people who mocked about his self-declared "religious visions" than with anything else - I don't know if you're aware of that?

AP2008-10-19 23:36:54
ps2 - I chose the second hypothesis due to politeness, I just don't even want to think that an enlightened mind like yours can have some trouble understanding very basic facts. It's like Sand asked: "are you stupid or just paid to be so?", a question that I wouldn't like to pose.

Emanuel Paparella2008-10-20 00:19:41
So much for Ms. Cesari's scholarship and insights on the European bias toward religion. But to stay with the US, it appears that your understanding of this country is rather limited Ms. AP. Here is another take by Ronald Cherry which may give you some pause, albeit I doubt it, on the Judeo-Christian background of the American founding fathers:

"Judeo-Christian Values in America have a basis in the Declaration of Independence:

'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness...'
Since the pursuit of happiness, as Sigmund Freud surmised, is tied to human love and to creative work and play, the principles of American Judeo-Christian Values can rightly be summarized as the honoring of God-given Life, Liberty and Creativity. This seed of American social justice was then fleshed out in the U.S. Constitution through reason and common sense, unencumbered by the dysfunctional religious and secular traditions, and laws of Old Europe. (continued below)

Emanuel Paparella2008-10-20 00:21:38
Our Founding Fathers separated church from state, but they wisely did not separate God from state; they acknowledged God as the source of our rights, and, in fact, they were careful to place Biblical morality directly into our founding documents and laws, and into our values and culture precisely to help prevent a future of totalitarian or tyrannical rule in America. The combination of keeping Judeo-Christian religious morality in the state, as opposed to the church it's self; and, additionally, setting up our laws based on reason and common sense has contributed to the American Character, and to what is known as "American Exceptionalism."

Our Founding Fathers were religious in a new way, the Judeo-Christian way, and they were the liberals of their day by deducing that our political and human rights come from a power higher than human government; but they were conservative to Biblical morality. There was and still is a connection between God and Liberty; He is the author of it. It is ironic that American Conservatives are now the champion of this our most liberal founding principle; and also an irony that most American Conservatives are wholly unaware of their connection with the liberal founding ideas of this great republic. It is also an irony that many American Liberals have turned a blind eye to the required connection between God and Liberty. As Thomas Jefferson and John Adams noted, as you will see below, Liberty cannot survive among men without its Divine connection. (continued below)

Emanuel Paparella2008-10-20 00:24:57
This does not represent some form of tyranny of the religious majority or an injustice; it was in fact the wisdom of our Founding Fathers to stand in opposition to tyranny and injustice by acknowledging the source of our rights -- those rights originating from God rather than from King George III, or for that matter from the Soviet or Chinese Politburo, or a courthouse, or a legislature. It should be self-evident that if our sacred human rights are derived from government, they can also be removed by government.

America is a melting pot of diverse people including Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and Atheists; and from the Judeo-Christian perspective: all made in God's image. We have in America a multiethnic society, and that is good. What is unhealthy for America is for it to become Balkanized, which is very likely to happen with the atrophy of Judeo-Christian American Culture and Values. (continued below)

Emanuel Paparella2008-10-20 00:25:47
Worse yet would be for America to adopt the toxic values which exist in some parts of the world and which are endemic in some foreign cultures. The values of Fascism, Nazism, Communism or Totalitarian Islamic Sharia Law for example must never metastasize in our American Culture, which traditionally has been Judeo-Christian. These values have been with us from the beginning and they have made us strong and successful. These Judeo- Christian Values should be kept central to the American spirit and culture even as we have become more multi-ethnic. Honoring foreign cultures is desirable, but we should never tolerate the values of violence, coercion, totalitarianism, supremacism, bigotry or intolerance; values which are sadly endemic in some foreign cultures.

We must recognize that our culture, too, is worth preserving."

AP2008-10-20 01:31:05
So much for Paine's Rights and their influence BOTH in the enlightened and the declaration of independence, right, Mr. P.?

"the principles of American Judeo-Christian Values can rightly be summarized as the honoring of God-given Life, Liberty and Creativity"
What is wrong here? The use and abuse of the "God-given".
So much for the influence of european philosophies in the Bill of Rights, right Mr. P.?

"I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.
All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."
"The Christian religion is a parody on the worship of the sun, in which they put a man called Christ in the place of the sun, and pay him the adoration originally payed to the sun"
"How different is [Christianity] to the pure and simple profession of Deism! The true Deist has but one Deity, and his religion consists in contemplating the power, wisdom, and benignity of the Deity in his works, and in endeavoring to imitate him in everything moral, scientifical, and mechanical."
Thomas Paine

It seems like you are the true enlightened here, cutting with all the past just to praise the Judeo-Christian values of the Founding Fathers - they were like a group of Abrahams for you, uh? Spiritual ancestors "justified by faith", just like old Abraham.

"Our Founding Fathers separated church from state, but they wisely did not separate God from state"
This is quite an intriguing sentence, that's the minimum I can say.

"they acknowledged God as the source of our rights, and, in fact, they were careful to place Biblical morality directly into our founding documents and laws"
No comments. God as the source of our rights??!! What if God - as described by men because we have no direct communication with the divine source - is stupid??

"setting up our laws based on reason and common sense"
My jurist God, they based themselves on reason!! Fucking enlightened!!

"has contributed to the American Character, and to what is known as "American Exceptionalism.""
Do you really believe in "American Excepcionalism"? I think you just answered that question that I didn't want to pose back there. Thank you.

AP2008-10-20 01:38:25
And thank you for the cherry by the Cherry as well. Precious.

AP2008-10-20 01:51:09
"Our Founding Fathers separated church from state, but they wisely did not separate God from state"

Nor does George Bush. How wise.

Emanuel Paparella2008-10-20 03:57:05
Intriguing. Of the scores of founding fathers, the only one you chose to quote from was the lonely atheist. Would you consider that slightly unbalanced and biased? Here are the facts:

The three major foundational documents of the United States of America are the Declaration of Independence (July 1776), the Articles of Confederation (drafted 1777, ratified 1781) and the Constitution of the United States of America (1789). There are a total of 143 signatures on these documents, representing 118 different signers. (Some individuals signed more than one document.)

There were 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. There were 48 signers of the Articles of Confederation. All 55 delegates who participated in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 are regarded as Founding Fathers, in fact, they are often regarded as the Founding Fathers because it is this group that actually debated, drafted and signed the U.S. Constitution, which is the basis for the country's political and legal system. Only 39 delegates actually signed the document, however, meaning there were 16 non-signing delegates - individuals who were Constitutional Convention delegates but were not signers of the Constitution. (continued below)

Emanuel Paparella2008-10-20 04:00:04
There were 95 Senators and Representatives in the First Federal Congress. If one combines the total number of signatures on the Declaration, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution with the non-signing Constitutional Convention delegates, and then adds to that sum the number of congressmen in the First Federal Congress, one obtains a total of 238 "slots" or "positions" in these groups which one can classify as "Founding Fathers" of the United States. Because 40 individuals had multiple roles (they signed multiple documents and/or also served in the First Federal Congress), there are 204 unique individuals in this group of "Founding Fathers." These are the people who did one or more of the following:

- signed the Declaration of Independence
- signed the Articles of Confederation
- attended the Constitutional Convention of 1787
- signed the Constitution of the United States of America
- served as Senators in the First Federal Congress (1789-1791)
- served as U.S. Representatives in the First Federal Congress (continued below)

Emanuel Paparella2008-10-20 04:00:34
The religious affiliations of these individuals are summarized below. Obviously this is a very restrictive set of names, and does not include everyone who could be considered an "American Founding Father." But most of the major figures that people generally think of in this context are included using these criteria, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, John Hancock, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and more.

Religious Affiliation
of U.S. Founding Fathers # of
Fathers % of
Episcopalian/Anglican 88 54.7%
Presbyterian 30 18.6%
Congregationalist 27 16.8%
Quaker 7 4.3%
Dutch Reformed/German Reformed 6 3.7%
Lutheran 5 3.1%
Catholic 3 1.9%
Huguenot 3 1.9%
Unitarian 3 1.9%
Methodist 2 1.2%
Calvinist 1 0.6%

Sand2008-10-20 06:38:21
Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity.

-Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

Emanuel Paparella2008-10-20 08:28:26
"I can never join Calvin in addressing his god. He was indeed an Atheist, which I can never be; or rather his religion was Daemonism. If ever man worshipped a false god, he did."

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

Emanuel Paparella2008-10-20 08:38:32
“[July 4th] ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”
–John Adams in a letter written to Abigail on the day the Declaration was approved by Congress

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." --October 11, 1798

"I have examined all religions, as well as my narrow sphere, my straightened means, and my busy life, would allow; and the result is that the Bible is the best Book in the world. It contains more philosophy than all the libraries I have seen." December 25, 1813 letter to Thomas Jefferson

"Without Religion this World would be Something not fit to be mentioned in polite Company, I mean Hell." [John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, April 19, 1817]

Emanuel Paparella2008-10-20 10:10:37
P.S. Had Jefferson reflected a bit more carefully and objectively on the introduction of Christianity, he would have undoubtedly have notices that for at least three hundred years since the introduction of Christianity in the West it was innocent Christian men, women and children who were burned, fined and imprisoned. Indeed, bias, unfortunately clouds the mind.

Sand2008-10-20 13:14:02
You should know, Mr.P. You certainly should know.

AP2008-10-20 16:02:40
What do I fucking care about their religion? It's like doing a survey of religions among the players of a football team. I still think the Cherry quote was a true cherry.

AP2008-10-20 16:07:17
The majority were very good Christians, that's what you just told us. No surprise there.

AP2008-10-20 16:10:03
You keep taking literally the need of keeping God attached to the State.

Sand2008-10-20 16:12:03
In any case the current situation would more encourage Americans to pursue subsistence rather than happiness.

AP2008-10-20 16:27:13
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
Oh, this explains a lot about government failures.
"The chosen people", uh?
It's incredible how you take sillinesses of the 18th century seriously, Mr. P.

Emanuel Paparella2008-10-20 17:04:01
Which way do you want it Ms. AP? Are 18th century founding fathers "enlightened" children of the Enlightenment or are they silly? You cannot have the cake (not even that of Mr. S. despite what his visiting voices, "the voices in my head" as he calls them, might have suggested to him and you) and eat it too, unless you are a goddess of some kind...who can dispense with logic and common sense.

The point was quite simple and yet it seems to have gone right over your head, and it was this: the vast majority of the founding fathers of this country insisted on keeping religion separate from politics but they had a great respect for religion and made sure that freedom of religion was enshrined in their political documents. Moreover, the inalienable rights of man, so beloved of Paine, rights which are inherent in being human, period, and are not given by the state, did not come out of the blue sky one fine day into Jefferson's or Paine's head. They were and remain part of the Judeo Christian ethos. Here too, to declare the brootherhood of man and do away with the Fatherhood/Motherhood of God us contrary to logic and common sense. Not to see that is to be either ignorant of history or to be wearing tick ideological lenses which makes seeing inpossible.

Emanuel Paparella2008-10-20 17:14:52

P.S. It is obvious that either you missed my article in Ovi on "exceptionalism" or if you indeed bothered to read it, you gave it short shrift, or you would not have jumpet on your war horse and proffered the slightly silly remarks on "the chosen people," that you did, when in fact that whole article was a condemmnation of exceptionalism. I attach the link to the article above.

AP2008-10-20 18:27:23
"One of the first examples of a codification of laws that contain references to individual rights is the tablet of Hammurabi. The tablet was created by the Sumerian king Hammurabi about 4000 years ago. While considered barbaric by today's standards, the system of 282 laws created a precedent for a legal system . This kind of precedent and legally binding document protects the people from arbitrary persecution and punishment"

"Several ancient documents and later religions and philosophies included a variety of concepts that may be considered to be human rights. Notable among such documents are the Cyrus cylinder of 539 BC, a declaration of intentions by the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great after his conquest of the Neo-Babylonian Empire; the Edicts of Ashoka issued by Ashoka the Great of India between 272-231 BC; and the Constitution of Medina of 622 AD, drafted by Muhammad to mark a formal agreement between all of the significant tribes and families of Yathrib (later known as Medina), including Muslims, Jews and Pagans"

AP2008-10-20 18:30:33
"Are 18th century founding fathers "enlightened" children of the Enlightenment or are they silly?"
You tell me. You seem to consider highly both their and Voltaire's sillinesses, while you neglect their most important contributions. Strange criteria.

AP2008-10-20 19:11:03
Now, did those ideas come come out of the blue sky one fine day into Hammurabi, Cyrus the Great, Ashoka the Great of India and Muhammad's heads, or they were and remain part of the Judeo Christian ethos?

Sand2008-10-20 19:12:03
You are announcing repeatedly, Paparella, that you are incapable of having an internal dialogue to puzzle out what may or may not be inconsistent or wrong with the ideas you present. It is no wonder they are so consistently idiotic and unsubstantiated. You must have been an ideal subject for the straight dogmatism your church shoves into the unquestioning heads of inexperienced children. A good many of them probably recover but it seems you are one of those hapless victims who never made it back into sensible thought.

AP2008-10-20 19:38:36
"when in fact that whole article was a condemmnation of exceptionalism"
I am SO sorry, my judgment was biased because you tend to quote sentences of authorities that you admire, because you quoted Cherry to underline the "the Judeo-Christian background of the American founding fathers" and because, as Cherry puts it, reason, common sense and above all Judeo Christian values connected to the State are the DIRECT ROOT of "Exceptionalism" and American Character: "The combination of keeping Judeo-Christian religious morality in the state, as opposed to the church itself; and, additionally, setting up our laws based on reason and common sense has contributed to the American Character, and to what is known as "American Exceptionalism"" and "What is unhealthy for America is for it to become Balkanized, which is very likely to happen with the atrophy of Judeo-Christian American Culture and Values.
Worse yet would be for America to adopt the toxic values which exist in some parts of the world and which are endemic in some foreign cultures." (Cherry as above)

AP2008-10-20 20:24:22
"there is no blame on you, if you are annoyed with rain or if you are sick, that you lay down your arms, and take your precautions"
"Children of Adam! We have given you clothing with which to cover your nakedness, and garments pleasing to the eye, but the finest of all these is the robe of piety."
"He who forgives, and is reconciled unto his enemy, shall receive his reward from God; for he loves not the unjust doers"
"Do not turn away a poor man...even if all you can give is half a date. If you love the poor and bring them near you...God will bring you near Him on the Day of Resurrection."
"And the Prophet said: sell not what is not with you" (futures, options, bodies and freedom)
"The one who murders a dhimmi [non-Muslim under protection of the state] will not smell the fragrance of Paradise, even if its smell was forty years travelling distance"
-- source: Koran

I suppose you also consider the Three Treasures of Taoist Ethics ("abstention from aggressive war and capital punishment", "absolute simplicity of living", and "refusal to assert active authority"), 6th century BC, Judeo Christian?

I suppose you are being exclusively Judeo Christian when you defend, together with Confucianism (5th century BC), that internalized ritual and shame
do more wonders than law when it comes to rights, punishments and crimes.

Did the Judeo Christians re-invent the wheel, Mr. P.?

AP2008-10-20 21:09:50
For more examples of Judeo Christian ethos: :)

- righteousness, livelihood, sensual pleasure, liberation, freedom - the objectives of life for Hinduism (500-400 BCE)

- Yoga: behavioral norms which are the basis of Yama (Nonviolence, truthfulness, overcoming fear, compassion, non-stealing, renouncing wrongdoing, child-like behavior or ludic sense/playfulness/curiosity, and moderation in human interactions) and Niyama (observances) - 200BCE-300CE

- the Eightfold Path in Buddhism (speaking in a truthful and non hurtful way, ethics or morality, freedom and harmlessness, a non harmful livelihood, etc) - 3rd-1st century BCE (beware: they use the word "enlightened" too!!)

- "Every soul is potentially divine with innate infinite knowledge, infinite perception, infinite power, and infinite bliss.
Therefore, regard every living being as yourself and harm no one. In other words, have benevolence for all living beings.
Every soul is the architect of its own life, here or hereafter. Enjoy the company of the holy and better qualified, be merciful to those afflicted and tolerate the perversely inclined. Every soul is considered worthy of respect as it has potential to become Siddha (Param-atma - pure soul)" - Jainism (9th century BCE)

AP2008-10-20 22:07:59
Mr. P., let's say that "Deconstructing Europe" has its limits... :) for as much as you struggle, Paine was not a Christian, Hume criticized the design argument for God existence and Locke believed in God in a very particular manner. And they influenced your Fathers, together with some other cursed Deists, Atheists, Agnostics, Pantheists, spiritual men and free-thinkers. The ironies of History, uh?

AP2008-10-20 22:18:58
I will finish this discussion with a long quote:
"Voltaire: "His entire life was a parodox. He despised mankind and yet he was passionately fond of men. He ridiculed the clergy and dedicated one of his books to the pope. He made fun of royalty and he accepted a pension from King Frederick the Great. He hated bigotry and he was bigoted in his attitude toward the Jews. He sneered at the vanity of riches and he acquired a vast fortune (by means that were not always honest). He disbelieved in God and he tried all his life to find Him. He had no respect for religion and he created a new religion of laughter... His father was a Jansenist, which in itself was a paradox. For the Jansenists were a sect of 'Protestant Catholics.'... His father imposed his doctrine of abstract mysticism so vigorously upon him that Voltaire grew up with a rebellious thirst for concrete reality. He cordially hated Jansenism. But he grew up with another hatred--a hatred against the persecution of Jansenists. Against any kind of persecution."; Pg. 185: "He was not, as is commonly believed, an atheist. He was a deist. He believed in the existence of God. Indeed, 'if God did not exist,' he said, 'it would be necessary to invent him.' But Voltaire's God is not an exclusive king of a single ecclesiastical order. He is the world's 'supreme Intelligence, a Workman infinitely able'--and infinitely impartial. He has no favorite people, no favorite country, no favorite church. For the true worshiper there is but a single faith, equal tolerance to all mankind."; Pg. 186: "...he helped them in the preparation of the great Encyclopedia of Free Thought. The Encyclopedists accused him of being a Christian and the Christians accused him of being an infidel, and between the two parties he had his hands full." (Source: Henry and Dana Lee Thomas. Living Biographies of Great Philosophers, Garden City, NY: Garden City Books (1959); Other source: "Late in life Voltaire wrote considerably against religious injustice and was quite opposed to the Catholic Church and Christianity in general."

Voltaire made an official deathbed affirmation of Catholic beliefs, but his intentions in doing so are disputed. Like his writing, many of his activities consisted of multi-layered satire. There is no way to know conclusively what his motivation was. Certainly, from a cultural and literary perspective, Voltaire was deeply involved in Catholicism more than any other religion, often to the consternation of the Catholic Church."

What a fascinating character, Mr. P., I'm sure you will agree with me. And I mean this in a good way, really.

Emanuel Paparella2008-10-21 09:04:36
That he is, that he is Ms. AP. Consider this musing on Voltaire: having made intelligent a god he probably found out at the end of his life that it too is idolatry ant that the god of the philosophers is not the God of Abraham, Jacob and Isac; that he had misguidedly forgotten "the love that moves the sun and the other stars" hence his dying cursing his memesis, Dante. We know this from a maid that was at his bedside and said that not even if they paid her a fortune would she wish to attend the death of an atheist again.

Emanuel Paparella2008-10-21 09:11:17
Errata above: intelligent ought to be intelligence.

P.S. Another anecdote related by the same maid is that he attempted to bargain with God for another six months of life for he felt utterly abandoned by God and man, and after that "I and your Son (Christ) will be ready for hell." To stay on a purely natural level, I would suggest to you that Dante, in the end, won the debate with Voltaire despite Voltaire's cynical mocking and that was becaue Dante did not forget God.

AP2008-10-21 15:53:02
"not even if they paid her a fortune would she wish to attend the death of an atheist again."
That wasn't because he was an atheist, it was because he had very good temper :)

"because Dante did not forget God"
But God (and the Pope) did forget Dante, plus he was exiled just like Voltaire, had to marry the wrong woman (not the intellectual and sensual lover Voltaire had as partner) and died younger.

Emanuel Paparella2008-10-21 16:47:13
As far as the parallel between Dante and Voltaire, it couldn't be more misguided. In the first place their exiles were as different as night and day, the woman Dante loved (Beatrice) died in her teens, the Pope did not send him in exile (that exile which allowed him to write the Commedia), and "the love that moves the sun and the other stars)certainly did not forget him. She did not forget Voltaire either, it was Voltaire that had forgotten Her and could not believe that at the end of his life he was still loved. He felt he needed six more months but salvation is not something one needs time to work out as Calvin misguidedly thought, it is always at hand. There indeed a reason why Voltaire died cursing Dante.

AP2008-10-21 17:33:23
"their exiles were as different as night and day"
Yes, one went to the Bahamas and the other one to Indonesia.

"the woman Dante loved (Beatrice) died in her teens"
First he was forced to marry another one, and kept longing for Beatrice.

"the Pope did not send him in exile"
Where did you read it was the Pope? The Pope, though, did some other nasty things, didn't he?

"that exile which allowed him to write the Commedia"
We should exile writers and poets more often!

"She did not forget Voltaire either"
She? LOL

Look, just leave Voltaire and Dante in peace in their tombs, will you? I appreciate the Divine Comedy, I just don't like the fact that you usurp whichever works you like to try to prove your "theories".

Emanuel Paparella2008-10-22 09:14:26
Doesn't theory come before praxis, or do you prefer to put the cart before the horse? There is after all something in common between you and Ms. Palin. You both know how to adroitely play the gender card.

Emanuel Paparella2008-10-22 09:18:46
Oh, by the way, if you go to Florence to the Church of Santa Croce and see an angel crying there over the tomb of
Dante, that's because there is no Dante in the that tomb; he is not there. That will save you a trip to a church. The real tomb is in Ravenna. That is not a theory but a fact.

AP2008-10-26 19:51:50
That's rather natural, because the one in Florence is just a memorial. He died in Ravenna and stayed in Ravenna - at another church. Not that Florence didn't ask repeated times for his remains to come back.

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