vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
The main difference is that his is actually worth reading. (If somewhat bare of Heavy Weapons Guy references, but that's probably related.)

Two articles worth mentioning:
A ‘free’ China, for him, is emphatically not ‘free’ in a bourgeois capitalist sense, nor even ‘liberated’ in a Marxist sense. It’s fascinating to see an intellectual, reckoned a ‘leftist’ in Chinese discourse, defend certain non-teleological and anti-modern Confucian political ideas and understandings as necessary for China’s continued ‘modern’ reform and development. Dr. Wang himself is likely quite aware of the irony; the reason he eschews the term ‘left’ to describe himself, after all, is because he feels a terminology imported from a Western revolutionary context has very limited traction in a Chinese one. ...

My own interest in China stems from the fact that an immensely long body of civilised tradition – a body which goes back, with few interruptions, for 3200 years – is brought into a constant, disruptive and disorienting contact with the most frantic, brutal and unvarnished forms of modernity. And unlike in other nations – like Japan or Korea – no serious attempt is made to paper over or downplay or explain away these violent juxtapositions. No soothing political noises are made to the effect that one can have a society grounded in Confucian values that is at the same time fully integrated into a value-demolishing global economy. Tradition has not yet been reduced to an ersatz of itself in the service of modern ideologies.
This dovetails well with some cultural observations I've made myself over the years, including where Chinese capitalism seems to avoid certain Western vices while exacerbating a few others. (Glaring example: the sometimes hilarious disjunct between the concerns of modern, updated Canadian estate and family law, the product of two generations of jurisprudence from post-industrial, post-sexual-revolution liberal gweilo litigants, versus what goes on on the ground with the majority of Chinese clients of similar socioeconomic status.)
Like Solovyov, Mencius recognises that human beings have the distinction of moral feelings to separate them from animals. And Mencius’s account of the ‘four beginnings’ bear an uncanny resemblance to Solovyov’s basic moral feelings. Mencius’s ‘sense of shame’ (xiu’e zhi xin 羞惡之心) and Solovyov’s are identical. His ‘sense of compassion’ (ceyin zhi xin 惻隱之心) is directly analogous to Solovyov’s moral feeling of ‘pity’. And his ‘sense of modesty’ (cirang zhi xin 辭讓之心) is somewhat culturally-coded into a Chinese mentality, deferring honours and rewards out of a knowledge of one’s place in the social fabric, but there’s enough of an analogy within that cultural coding to be drawn to Solovyov’s feeling of ‘reverence’ to be, at the very least, interesting.

(this last one is not the best quote by a long shot. The entire thing is well worth reading.)
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
(Just as I attempt to start preparing this to post on DW, a courier comes in to pick up a cheque for these guys - the motto is, of course, a play on moving mountains, while "move mountains" is itself a priest spell from the original Exile series that... well, let's just say it gets you into houses to let you move things out of them.)

Context: I've got stewing in the back of my mind (and a few text files in my hard drive) for a while now an idea for a reboot of Jeff Vogel's Avernum setting, with a mind to play up all the wonderful and utterly missed and squandered opportunities at exploring the ecological and cultural ramifications of living in such a completely different environment as a magic-powered endless underground maze. The gameplay, if I ever got to that point, would be a very random roguelike with very little in the way of game-stat optimizing or trying to "win" things by clearing everything (in fact you would be ostracized by everyone for wiping out all large animals in a cave, for example) - the exact polar opposite of the sort of games Spiderweb make, so there would be no competition. (EDIT: And quite possibly Linux-only, to underscore the point.)

One recurring feature of the Exile/Avernum games' magic system is to have 2 classes of spells: "mage" spells that rely on your usual fantasy magic; and "priest" "spells" that... well, mechanically they are identical to mage spells except in the particular effects available, though they are described as prayers rather than incantations. You run into occasional NPCs who explain certain points of doctrine, but as far as I've ever played this has had no systemic effect on the spells available and the general feel is as though one bought a church, removed all the icons, replaced the crosses with ankhs and never opened the books except for a couple fake props where the viewer never even gets a fleeting glimpse of the contents.

I figure if I ever get this underground-roguelike-Avernum-knockoff game off the ground, I should probably do something along these lines, but with more meat to it. So... )
vaecrius: The infamous cartoon of Darwin's head on a chimp's body, superimposed with a MSPainted Nazi armband. (are you a monkey)
So this picture has been making the rounds: it's a picture of Anders Breivik and this caption:
This is Anders Breivik
On 22 of July 2011 he murdered
77 people & injured 319,
most were children.
Remember how the media made a big thing out of the fact that he was a Christian?
No? Neither do I

This kinda had me wondering just how low a bar you can go, and I started reading some commentary.

Some interesting discussion about that here, as well as Andrew Sullivan's much-needed reminder that we are all sinners who must repent, quoted in part here.

One recurring theme I've noticed: lots and lots about the bounds of the label "Christian", but nothing about the actual Christ part of it.

So I decided to search his manifesto.

What I find is pure, spectacularly naked heresy, the fulfilment of a ridiculous cartoon of every single thing both Protestants and Orthodox unfairly and overstatingly caricaturize* as wrong with Roman Catholic ecclesiology. )

In short, there is absolutely nothing in here that can even be argued as a joke to have come from what was expressed in John 3:16. This is analogous to my stating that I'm a Communist and displaying all sorts of Soviet and hammer-sickle propaganda, but I'm not a member of the Communist party and I'm working from a manifesto that celebrates the corrective power of the market, assumes private property to be the cornerstone of rule of law and the need to keep the plebs quiet and working for the good of those on top, occasionally quoting from das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto, but mostly from Stalin and current Chinese Communist Party doctrines to justify my position.

Or another analogy that could get me into a bit of hot water: I walk into a Vital Stats office in my men's suit and tie and five-o'-clock shadow and demand they change my driver's licence to say F instead of M. I insist that I am a woman and that I am representing a female voice in all that I contribute, and that all my feminist support should be understood as my supporting my fellow sisters in their plight. But it is shown at all times I openly leave a substantial amount of facial hair on and speak with a masculine voice, wear men's clothes (and express shock when other people tell me about how bad women's clothing is), use implicitly masculine inflections and vocabulary where the language makes a distinction, and generally approach all matters with total, unabashed male privilege. And then:
Myself and many more like me do not necessarily have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God. We do however believe in Christianity as a cultural, social, identity and moral platform. This makes us Christian.
admit that personally I don't "necessarily" feel like I'm a woman at all, but I am culturally identifying with feminist cause and identity (to wit: I love pink and Barbies and am an avid fan of My Little Pony - both the old and the new cartoon, no "brony" here!) and therefore, by Dumpty, I am a woman!

It's the sort of thing that This makes me consider taking up E-Prime again.

Of course, I know the better motive for this sort of posting: the implication that what the terrorists are doing now is just as wrong under Islam as Breivik's actions are in Christianity. (The worse motive, to express total moral equivalence, is summarily rejected as indigestible waste product.) Part of my intention in the above is to show just how utterly absent the core doctrine of the Cross and salvation is in Breivik's stated beliefs, and no definition of "Christian" can include such a set of beliefs without being utterly stripped of the word's basic theological and doctrinal meaning.

Or perhaps this is another "Protesdox" bias, that the unifying identity of Christianity must be inextricably bound to the actual subjective belief of the person confessing that identity, whereas for the Catholics baptism (but was Breivik actually baptized in the Roman church or in a way that would be recognized in it?), communion (same question) and submission to papal authority may be enough. But everything I've seen from actual Catholics suggests quite the contrary and that they're much more like all other Christians in this respect.

So what, then, do we make of that analogy? What is the core Islamic doctrine that we can with complete confidence say the Hebdo murderers or ISIS or Boko Haram or the Saudi government have utterly failed to consider in their motivations? And, more to the point, how do we establish that it is core Islamic doctrine in the face of any number of Islamic theologians (to use the word in the broadest sense, to engage in any kind of logos whatsoever about God) who would so vehemently argue otherwise?

(Relatedly... this also answers my previous question: always seek and follow the truth. Have mercy on me, a sinner.)

*as opposed to a more sober criticism, of course. There's some overlap, but it's the unfair caricature version that I've got in mind. (If you were directly linked here and don't see the asterisk'd statement, ignore this footnote.)
vaecrius: A stylized navy blue anarchy sign juxtaposed with a pixellated chaos symbol made to resemble a snowflake. (anarchy and chaos)
There are two shooting clubs, Club O and Club C. Each has their own shooting range.

C boasts some of the most advanced techniques and is welcoming of everyone, and all of their members are capable of hitting their man-height target 100% at maximum range on most days.

O openly admits that the vast majority of its members can't even reliably hit the target, which is about 20 feet wide.

C's range is a state-of-the-art climate-controlled sound-dampened indoor range of exactly 10 metres. Everything is built to very exacting measurements. The bullseye on each target is exactly 0.61803 metres in radius. Members are fitted with custom-made ergonomic pistols with optic sights accurate to 1/60 of a minute of angle. Failure to hit the bullseye is treated as a scandal resulting in much hand-wringing for your teacher and the club board, and failure to hit the target can get you permanently banned from the club. (This is not always enforced.)

O's range is on the side of a mountain - the rainy side. It is in the burned-out clearing in a wooded area that suffers many brush fires and the area often gets hit with snowstorms. The clubhouse has been destroyed several times in the past fifty years due to landslides. The target is about 20 feet wide and its circumference is painted with a very bold, thick red line so you know exactly where it is - which is important because it is about 300-500 yards away (depending on more factors than we can get into right now, none of them seeming to involve what anyone actually wants) and the bullseye is about an inch wide, with a literal bull's eye painted into the middle. You are expected to aim for the optic nerve in the back of that eye (not depicted). Scopes are forbidden but full-auto weapons are encouraged. It is strictly forbidden to denigrate anyone for their inaccuracy, provided they were actually aiming for the bullseye and the bullet did not hurt anyone. (Temporary bans are frequent and there is no standard for their length.)

O and C used to be the same club. Both of them have plaques in their clubhouses dedicated to their early legends who were able to shoot tiny, barely visible targets at over 300 yards in the middle of a storm in a burning forest - no scope, of course.
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
Progress is, in many ways, a modern myth and a rhetorical device by which Modernity doesn’t have to give a reasonable account for its failures. Everything’s in progress so no matter how bad we’re doing, “we’re improving.” And, as we’ll see in an article I’m working on now, everything that doesn’t agree with this is simple “like something out of the Middle Ages…” That is, able to be dismissed as not even belonging to our own time period.

This technique was used repeatedly by the colonial powers in order to justify their wholesale rape of other cultures – and continues to justify the wholesale rape of many traditional cultural values in our own land. It should rightly (and accurately) be compared to the repeated 5-year Plan justifications of the Soviets, for whom wholesale slaughter and genocide could be justified by Marxist progress. The Brave New World has almost destroyed the inhabited earth several times within the last century.

We had plagues and infections. Now we have obesity, diabetes and cancer.

We had cripples and the lame. Now we have crippling debt and the overqualified unemployable.

We had slaves that we owned and had to feed and care for. Now we have indentured workers who have no ability to exercise their theoretical choice to stop working, that we have no responsibility for and can throw away at any time - rented from no lessor.

We had soldiers who would burn down and depopulate inconvenient villages for us and send the survivors into slavery. Now we have corporations and gentrifiers who enslave first, and backhoes and law enforcement to do the rest. (Admittedly, the killing is now kept to a minimum, or at least a reasonably slow trickle.)

We used to live at the mercy of the weather and the elements, which at any time may destroy all that we hold dear. Now we live at the mercy of stock prices, market forces and the politics of government regulation.

We used to live in regular dread of famine. Now we are in danger of the entire world becoming unable to produce food and we don't feel a thing.

And now an idea for that far-future thing:
ancient alien race lives for tens of billions of years fleeing dying star after dying star, with only survival in mind. they attack earth, and capture a saint for interrogation. they torture him to death over the course of a year trying to get "the truth" out of him, about what humanity "really" is, and the result drives the torturers insane in a reverse Lovecraft scenario. someone picks up the transcripts and disseminates them to all public channels, sending ruin among the stars as the ancients destroy themselves in a nihilistic orgy of violence. we take their ships and infrastructure, learn to replicate it and use our newfound habitable planet indices and FTL travel to colonize the galaxy. we never learn how the FTL actually works and after the initial wave there is a gradual deterioration until everyone is isolated again.
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
A rock-club which is supported by the church keeps its own coffin, and if a believer wishes to lie down in this coffin for a while and think about death, he is not forbidden to do so, because many Russian saints used this practice. "The main thing, you should not forget that life is wonderful," Hegumen Sergy says.
The entire linkdump will take some time to go through.

All that "Christianity is a way of life", "you need the Spirit in you", "accept Jesus into your heart" talk is, I think, incomprehensible without this framework:
Barlaamists and Barlaamizers not only are empirically ignorant of this spiritual and angelic liturgy, but they deny it, dishonor it and mock it. They completely identify worship with hymns and prayers, which they want to understand with their reason, because otherwise they don’t feel like they are praying. In other words, they are based entirely on their reason and make it absolute. The question is: if they think in and desire to pray this way, then how will they learn about the other-worldy liturgy and how will they enter into this after their death, since they are ignorant of it and fight against it now?

And more:
The Law applies in the Old Testament, but also in the New Testament. The Law is not only in the Old Testament. The Law is in the New Testament as well. Why? Because it is Our tutor to bring us to Christ’. The Apostle Paul says it clearly: ‘The law was our tutor to bring us to Christ’ (Gal. 3:24). But when St Paul says Our tutor to bring us to Christ’ he does not mean, as the Lutherans and others suppose, that the Old Testament Law is a tutor to lead us to the New Testament. No. The Law leads us to the state of purification.
[the writer explicitily ties this to the Miserere further down.]

Also of note:
“Because the beginner cannot manage this, as he has not yet distinguished between the nous and the rational faculty, he sits and prays as much as he can with the rational faculty, under the guidance of his spiritual father. He prays continually until the day when, instead of praying this prayer with his rational faculty, he begins to pray it with his nous in his heart.”

The amazing thing is that, when the nous enters the heart and prays, the rational faculty is outside observing the movement of the nous.

The distinction seems very close to the rider/beast analogy I had before. And the description of the underlying problem seems to be describing the same thing with respect to each, but with a different (obviously mine inferior and more misguided) approach.

Wherein I am tempted to move out to Chilliwack so I have an excuse to go to Fr. Richard's parish on Sundays, as he points out the emperor in such majestic, priapic nakedness in this whole hideous kerfuffle:
...What I am suggesting, though, is that in our preoccupation with canonical questions about sex, we forget to ask something more essential: to what extent do our sexual behaviours manifest self-desire rather than desire for our Creator? Even if our sexual behaviour is ‘canonically approved,’ so to speak, how can St. Paul’s words to the Romans challenge us to repent of the lusts of our hearts and turn back to a love of the One who made us?

Again, this is a question we too often neglect to ask of ourselves, and our neglect continues to hinder our struggle to understand the place of sexuality in a God-centered human life. While we may win the canonical battle, we end up losing the moral war because we have lost sight of where the ‘front line’ really lies.

For instance, when dealing with unmarried people struggling with lust in its various forms, our concern tends to lie with ensuring that a person’s sexuality is ‘contained’ in a heterosexual, monogamous marriage. Once the single person finds themselves a suitable mate (we believe), their lustful urges can be safely channelled. If they were tempted to lust after sexually explicit images on the internet, they can now ‘safely’ act out with their spouse. Less often do we question whether a single person’s problem with lust might have less to do with the absence of a canonical ‘outlet’ than with a sexual identity fundamentally oriented to self-desire...
tl;dr those who accuse one side of this culture war of pharisaism have a point. But the corollary remains that Christ came to fulfill the law, not abolish it.
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
When one undertakes to examine Scripture in an idle, intellectual way, he creates hatred and quarrelling. Why? Because the intellectual approach to Scripture does not help us turn and reflect on our sins, but instead makes us focus on problems and concepts related to the study of Scripture – as a result our logical and intellectual faculties are aroused to no real purpose. “Knowledge” by itself adds nothing. On the contrary, it encourages the cultivation of the individual and his private sense of things; it fosters the self-sufficiency of his own personal opinions, which he then seeks to justify and impose on others. This kind of approach to Scripture immediately places you in conflict with others; it opposes your will and opinion to theirs, prompting you to disagree and argue with them, and to make enemies of your brothers. Filled as I am with my own opinions about things, I am not able to receive anything from God.

[…]It’s one thing to read Scripture because you want to collect information, and another thing to read it because you want to acquire its true content, that is, the Holy Spirit. This kind of knowledge is the life of God (cf. Jn 17:3), the entry and extension of God into our life; it is God’s descent and dwelling among us. We can judge whether or not our study of Scripture is authentic based on the number of tears we shed when we study. To be sure, I can also read Scripture without shedding tears, and without a strong sense of my sins, but with the hope that God’s grace, through my reading of Scripture, will break open my hardened heart. Read Scripture, then, but don’t forget about your sins and reduce Scripture to an object of intellectual inquiry, for at that point it ceases being the word of God and you start seeing it as something human. The criterion for your study should be this: the way you read the Bible should bring peace to your heart, communion with God, love of neighbors, and the consciousness of your own sinfulness: the recognition of how unworthy and ill-prepared you are to stand before God.
Elder Aimilianos, On Abba Isaiah

Bonus link: The Star by Arthur C. Clarke.

At first I thought it was a refutation, then a hypothetical refutation, a what-if. Then a story, if the ramifications are read backwards from what is implied (and there is no inherent reason in the facts presented to go in either particular order), of redemption. On further contemplation I feel this to be nothing less than an icon of the Cross.
vaecrius: A stylized navy blue anarchy sign juxtaposed with a pixellated chaos symbol made to resemble a snowflake. (anarchy and chaos)
[2016-01-06 Before reading this it might be better to read Jack Monahan's "refrigerator box" essay which is much more informative.]

From the sighting and aiming discussion here a few things occur to me:

Iconic representation

Icons and all the talk about making present, etc. never made any sense to me until I saw some comment about someone watching a "cradle" Orthodox believer pray to one, and the whole exchange(!) looked like they were having a conversation with a person standing before them. At once it all clicked: the skewed perspectives of various objects, far from being a matter of failing at mere "representation", were required for the full presentation to the viewer to address specific requirements for interacting with what was portrayed on the 2-dimensional space. Things are deliberately moved aside or extended or not foreshortened, or viewed from a different angle than something right next to it, to reveal that which if you were physically there you'd be able to see with no more than a very simple, unconscious movement - the top of a book being opened, the objects on the surface of a table, the hand of a person holding a heavy object. The entire image - and each portion thereof - is made not to reproduce the mechanical light-impression of the physical presence, but as an interface.

It also explains why I've always preferred Doom and Quake's centered guns over the angled views of later FPSes: while more "realistic" in the sense that the side of the gun would be a closer approximation to what you'd see from either eye while the weapon was pressed to your shoulder but before you started looking down the sights, it permanently blocks your view of whatever is below you to your right - something you would be able to see in meatspace with minimal effort by as little as a slight turn of the head, an action that probably should not deserve its own keybind.

As applied to my so-called "realism" Doom mod, unlike most shooters with such aspirations I keep the crosshair rather than sights - which crosshairs, as crude approximations of sight pictures, only (but always and automatically) appear wherever looking down the sights would be an option in another game. The weapon sprite itself is kept as out of the way as would remain faithful to the original aesthetic. No more than movement of the eyes, or at most a slight turn of your avatar's direction to move either sprite or crosshair out of the way, is required to look around. The ultimate result is a double view of your weapon with a large gap in between that you would never see in real life, but which allows the viewer to extract information with no more effort or artifice than if the object had been physically present in the viewer's own equivalent space.

The "drone effect"

Which takes us to the next great hazard in "realistic" first-person shooting. You have a mouse and keyboard. This gets rambly fast. )
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
The best stupid pun ever.

But I don’t want to stop there. There a few deeper and more mysterious applications of this. The Lamb slain at the foundation of the world as a type of evolution.

That said, another, biologically more, philosophically less cf. colonials: more* ambitious take on the Nth Men story.
(Also he has thought out giant spiders :O :O :O||||~)

*2014-08-21 EDIT: The more I think about it, the more I think Bogleech is right. This is better in every way: humane where MAM was profoundly misanthropic, humble where F&LM was arrogant and certain, hopeful even in death where MAM and F&LM are ambivalent. This is what science fiction ought to be.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (g)
Start at the upper left and say the Jesus Prayer with each key (excluding those constituting the sign of the cross).

Read more... )
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
From the Sayings of the Desert Fathers:
The holy Fathers were making predictions about the last generation. They said ‘What have we ourselves done?’ One of them, the great abba Ischyrion replied, ‘We ourselves have fulfilled the commandments of God.’ The others replied, ‘And those who come after us, what will they do?’ He said, ‘They will struggle to achieve half our works.’ They said, ‘And to those who come after them, what will happen?’ He said, ‘The men of that generation will not accomplish any works at all and temptation will come upon them; and those who will be approved in that day will be greater than either us or our fathers.’

Abba Copres said, ‘blessed is he who bears affliction with thankfulness.’
Building on this. A speculation on a buildup to the great apostasy.

tw: rape, depression, violence, body horror, middle eastern politics )

Clearly something is not being mentioned here, as it is of course much easier to paint Hell than Heaven. I must take some more time to think about this, but it is my intention that the Church is to be noticeably present throughout, if only as a very quietly hummed ison.
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
Someone posts a picture of a seal of a demon on Tumblr. I'm curious what the various bits mean. I pull up DuckDuckGo and pray for protection from heresy and delusion, a standard procedure of mine when I am about to look something up respecting occult symbols or demonology.

I fail to find anything explaining the meaning and I give up in a mix of mild awkward discomfort and despair that I would find anything worthwhile (morally edifying, finding the Holy Spirit at work in all things, casting some light on some scientific, mathematical or historical curiosity or other) respecting this sort of thing.

My prayer is answered when about a page or two later in my Tumblr feed I read a science article in which there is an insistence that the only thing distinct about humanity, language, is "a quirk of evolution", when it occurs to me to stop the beginnings of an attempt to formulate an objection to the implied "merely" and recite the Nicene Creed to see just what part of the faith the thing I was reading actually contradicted (spoiler: nothing).
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
For the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who had an inordinate amount of money, far more than anyone knew or could imagine, and for which he had no use. And there was a tiny island nation where he did some business, and there a great multitude ended up owing him much money, though he had no use for these debts and did not care to collect on them; and yet The System these many debtors slaved under could not forgive these debts, and though the man thought they were worthless paper this multitude could not save, or buy or sell or trade, for their debt was great and all that they earned was siphoned off by collectors who charged exorbitant fees and interest, and interest on those fees, and fees for calculating that interest, and so on, such that the man never saw any money from the multitude while the collectors grew in power.

And one day this man said, Enough! and purported to breach his contract with the collectors, and they sued him, and he filed a reply that admitted all the facts and contested none of the relief sought, and the collectors won default judgment and added him to the list of debtors. And at the first payment hearing that man agreed to pay, and received void cheques for a direct deposit; but when the payment came, the amount was so enormous that the flood of cash destroyed the entire nation's economy and sent it into chaos, and there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth, and many fled in vain to the outer darkness; but the man took hold of the entire System in his hands, and ruled as a benevolent tyrant, such that any who believed and switched over to his new system should never be in debt again.
vaecrius: The infamous cartoon of Darwin's head on a chimp's body, superimposed with a MSPainted Nazi armband. (are you a monkey)
It occurs to me that when I indicate that I am a Christian that might mean all sorts of things to people who are not themselves Orthodox Christians. With that in mind, I wish to compile a brief list of the various heresies and paganisms I DO NOT subscribe to. Wherein I DO NOT believe in all sorts of things... )

I think that covers all the big stereotypical ones and anything else can be dealt with as it comes.

In the meantime, here's something I had not thought I would have needed to believe, but should.
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
An Orthodox Christian Exposition of Islam
Truly il miglior fabbro, compared to my shoddy attempts at conveying the comparison.

tl;dr if you take Orthodox Christianity and replace the guts with all the guts that were rejected by Orthodoxy, while keeping all the trappings of Orthodoxy that aren't directly contradictory to the newly implanted theology (e.g. icons versus wholly transcendent, never-incarnate God), you basically end up with Islam.

A good deal of Protestantism (including what I've rejected in the past) goes the same way with the same replacements, but inherits radically different trappings. If Orthodoxy is Wolfenstein and Calvinism is Doom, then Islam is Map31 - old look and feel, new engine. (The analogy breaks down, obviously, when the "new engine" is the one with less features, functions and versatility.)

(That said, it's definitely worth a read if you have any interest at all in either Christianity or Islam. Also the reference to the Christian God as Allah in the end is, intentionally or not and at least to the eyes of this Western-raised near-English-monoglot, a brilliant inversion of the technique used in the Beatles' "My Sweet Lord". [2014-07-21 Prompted to re-read b/c of this. Definitely intentional given the progression from "God/Allah" to "Allah" alone.])

It occurs to me that one of the big rebuttals to the Protestant argument about the "fall of the church" also applies here: how did two movements so removed from each other in space, culture and time end up with such similar, independently arrived at conclusions, unless there was some kind of truth to it? But the analogy stops there: the "fall of the church" usually is in reference to preceived additions - Trinity, icons, liturgical tradition - but what we're looking at here is deletion in a sincere attempt to fit everything into a rational, logical order.

- The Trinity contradicts itself and borders on polytheism, so let's remove it. It is beneath God to come down to Earth as one of us human scum. (In Islam from the start; eventually you get more unitarian groups from the Protestant tradition)
- This old verse says no graven images, so let's get rid of all images.
- We need to standardize everything, so let's make "The Book" binding (no pun intended) so that everyone's reading the exact same law-reduced-to-writing and everything not in that book is treated as hearsay and optional, unreliable apocrypha.
- The wrathful, vengeful God of the Hebrews looks all wussied up in the New Testament, so that is clearly a later deviation. Let's go back to being sinners in the hands of an angry God.
- If God is all that is good, then things are only good because God wills it to be good. Therefore, any "moral compass" we may have in our hearts is only a temptation and a passion.
- The last 3 points, if taken without a deep underlying faith in the starting assumption of a loving God, strongly imply that we need to be as harsh and unforgiving as possible, to be maximally true to God's divine image. (cf. Westboro; Taliban every sharia jurisdiction that isn't actively trying to soften its image for some material or political gain/survival)

(also new tag for Christianity-related posts)

I know this

if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.


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