Carne Levare

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Luther and the Devil

Posted by Remy on October 31, 2013

“When the devil comes at night to worry me, this is what I say to him: ‘Devil, I have to sleep now. That is God’s commandment, for us to work by day and sleep at night.’ If he keeps on nagging me and trots out my sins, then I answer: “Sweet devil, I know the whole list. But I have done even more sin which is not on your list. Write there also that I have shit in my breeches. Hang it around your neck and wipe your mouth on it.” Then, if he won’t cease to accuse me of sins, I say in contempt: ‘Holy Satan, pray for me’.”

-Luther to his friend Johannes Schlaginhauffen

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Sexual Sin and Marriage

Posted by Remy on May 7, 2013

“What good Christians don’t realize is that sexual sin is not recreational sex gone overboard. Sexual sin is predatory. It won’t be ‘healed’  by redeeming the context or the genders. Sexual sin must simply be killed. What is left of your sexuality after this annihilation is up to God. But healing, to the sexual sinner, is death; nothing more and nothing less. I told me audience that I think too many young Christian fornicators plan that marriage will redeem their sin. Too many young Christian masturbators plan that marriage will redeem their  patterns.. Too many young Christian internet pornographers think that having legitimate sex will take away the desire to have illicit sex. They’re wrong. And the marriages that result from this line of thinking are dangerous places. . . . Marriage does not redeem sin. Only Jesus Himself can do that”

-Rosario Butterfield

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The Bible and π

Posted by Remy on January 28, 2013

In describing a large water basin, 2 Chronicles 4:2 reads, “Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass, and five cubits the height thereof; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.” A similar verse appears at 1 Kings 7:23.

Critics point out that this implies that π is 3, and in 1983 about 100 professors and students at Emporia State University in Kansas founded an Institute of Pi Research to lobby (wryly) for adopting this new value in place of the awkward 3.14159 …

“To think that God in his infinite wisdom would create something as messy as this is a monstrous thought,” medieval historian Samuel Dicks told the Kansas City Times. “I think we deserve to be taken as seriously as the creationists.”

“If the Bible is right in biology, it’s right in math,” added economic historian Loren Pennington.

But writing in the Mathematical Gazette in 1985, M.D. Stern of Manchester Polytechnic noted (also wryly) that the word translated as line above is transliterated qwh but read qw. Further, the ancient Greeks and Jews used letters to denote numbers, with the letters q, w, and h taking the numerical values 100, 6, and 5.

“Thus the word translated line in its written form has numerical value 111 whereas as read the value is 106. If we take the ratio of these numbers as a correcting factor for the apparent value of π as 3 and calculate 3 × (111/106), we obtain 3.141509 to 7 significant figures. This differs from the true value of π by less than 10-4 which is remarkable. In view of this, it might be suggested that this peculiar spelling is of more significance than a cursory reading might have suggested.”

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On Chastity

Posted by Remy on October 15, 2012

I wrote this earlier in the year for a friend’s website.

Q: If a man is not chaste when he marries, how big a deal is that?

Sin destroys. We have been designed to live a certain way and to deviate from that breaks us. Sexual sins are more damaging in that they have repercussions up and down a culture. In the breaking of yourself, you cause another to be broken; by taking what is not yours you defraud them and their future spouse as well as your own.

Q:I’ve noticed that people have a hard time believing a young man could stay chaste by choice. That is, that sex is impossible to resist for any length of time. I’m sure that it was difficult, but how difficult was it, really? What kind of struggle was it?

I think we have been designed to want sex and having it is the norm. A strong desire to have sex is a good motivator to prepare yourself for marriage. That something is hard does not make it unnatural. For example, mastering our excretory system is a difficult practice that takes a year or two or in some case more. And that is a biological need that we are equipped to perform from the very beginning, which is not the case for sexual organs. So chastity is not a twenty plus year burden, first of all. But it is a time to master our urges.

But it is difficult and we shouldn’t want it otherwise because we should want to be driven people, motivated in all things, not lax nor slavish, but directed. Relieving the pressure to act, the pressure to mature, to be a valuable contributor in the world is a suicidal urge. Putting off marriage, wherein you discover yourself (contra the current blase idea of self-discovery), is to unleash an aimless and useless halfperson upon the world. Marriage makes the man, not man the marriage.

So it was difficult, like anything good, it was sometimes torment. It was the hours in the gym to get the chiseled physique. Premarital sex is all fake tans and creatine shakes, resulting in deformed, boneweak, decrepit creeps with hard heartconditions. There will always be the temptation to go the easy way, the shortcut that only cuts you short, the selfish, unmotivated, vain way, but then there are the men…

Q:You must be some kind of wuss. So must other “wait ’til we’re married” guys. What do you say to that?

We have bought into certain lies that’s are flimsy as our pick-up lines. One of the most absurd is thinking that the more women you sleep with means more sexual skills, that more women equals more experience. Nothing could be further from the truth. Consider the  man who declares his love of cities, all cities and talks about his vast knowledge of cities. He spends the night in a different city one day after the next. He gets off the bus, buys a t-shirt, notches his belt and hops back on the bus. He is suppose to be a grand lover of cities? Rather his is the most worthless of tourists, he’s the doofus in the fannypack mugging in front of every giftshop across the nation. He knows nothing of the city, does not love any city at all, but rather he loves to see his greasy unshaven mug in different settings each  night. The man that says he knows New York City because he was once laid-over there one rainy insignificant night is a great fool.

So too the lothario, who beds women with tricks and well worn moves. He’s never had to please a woman night after night. He can only pick up women at the watering hole looking to be watered, the lowhanging fruit. A real man knows how to please the woman who’s dealt with screaming kids all day, who went through the day with peanutbutter in her hair, wearing sweatpants and grannypanties because the laundry is stacked to highheaven. A real man can’t rely on a couple of cheap sex tricks to please a woman, running the same two plays on an unsuspecting defense, a real man has to play the same team night after night and the things that worked last night aren’t good enough for today. Real men bed the same woman every night keeping it new and fresh and exciting. Lotharios, in the extremity of their lameness, have so little game they have to move from woman to woman with their smoke, mirrors and hand dancing.

Q: What good did staying chaste until marriage do you?

Sex without commitment is aimless sex, it has no end, there’s no ability to connect in a deep way without that commitment, and therefore premarital sex is dual masturbation. Women are just a strange fist and masturbating through them stunts maturity. Sex within marriage is aimed sex, there is a pursuit to it and a sense of achievement. It is a true collaboration.

But the best part is that your desires and likes and sexual tastes are shaped by your partner. Apart from marriage our tastes are shaped by movies and strangers in the streets, jokes, magazine covers, but within marriage your desires are shaped by the person who loves you most. True lovers, a committed man or woman, have been insulated from the sexual noise around them, set apart from the winds, and they are free to create an original, unique, personalized erotic experience. Handcrafted love.

Bedhopping makes such undefined, ill-kept, unstructured lovers, incoherent messes unable to love head from tail, that they have truly lost their souls, being poured into and parceled out over their unanchored objects of lust. They are the modern Frankenstein’s monster, a sexual amalgam equaling nobody. But the chaste man can say, this is my wife, there is none like her and truly no one can please me like her and I am hers and there is none like me and no one can please her as I do.

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Thoughts on Deep Reading

Posted by Remy on September 27, 2012

Here are some off the cuff remarks about learning to read deeply.

  1. Gauge the value/level of worthiness of each book. Not all books are worthy of deep, prolonged and slow readings. Someone once said (often attributed to Sir Francis Bacon), “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.” Ask yourself if a book should be read fast or slow, in short snippets or over longer reading sessions, and whether or not it should be read again.
  2. Mark passages, used partly to determine where you are in the overall argument, like breadcrumbs in the forest so that if you lose the thread of the point you can backtrack and sort it out. The first part is understanding what the writer is saying and little tick marks or marginalia outlining the book will help you in following the argument. But also marking passages will allow you to return and reflect on a point. Reading books is easy, understanding books takes time. Thinking is a luxury most cannot afford, but in developing your intellect/moral imagination requires thought and meditation.
  3. Apply the lessons learned from a book to another area or field. If you learned something about the nature of God, ask yourself what that says about fathers. If you learn that the Romans largely borrowed their laws, ask what that says about their religion. Knowledge is useful, but simple facts aren’t worth much. Value what you learn by using it.
  4. For any new point you learn, pause and think of another example explaining it. If you can’t teach the lesson, you didn’t learn the lesson. Use an example from the Bible, or history, or a book or movie to express what you just learned. Teaching is illustrating and the more illustrations you have, the better you know something and the better you’ll be able to pass it on.
  5. One simple interpretive rule is to trace all problems in society to the church. The church is the mover and shaker of history. If something is wrong in society, something is wrong in the church. Analysis is key to deep reading and this is a foothold into critical thinking.
  6. Read other books at the same time. This might take some more practice and discipline, but if you are able to read multiple books at the same time you get a lot of cool cross-pollination. Critical thinking is imaginative thinking; thinking widely means reading widely. Plus, reading an array of books at the same time forces more concentration as you switch from book to book. Often times it will force you to swoop backwards in your reading to pick up the thread of the argument, but being able to carry multiple lines of argument or stories in your head is excellent training in debates and mental flexibility. Also, I never use bookmarks, which forces me to recognize through memory where I am in a book. Often times I pick up at a place that I might’ve already read, but because I didn’t get it the first time I didn’t remember. So going without a bookmarker helps me read a book.
  7. It is important to submit to an author in order to learn from him, but at some point you need to resist him in order to test the verity of his point and to learn the strength of his argument. As you read, carry along counter-arguments to see if he addresses them. Anticipation is key to critical thinking, but also minimizing blindspots will help in using what you learn. Not all points are equal and as you read you should make mental note of weak points, points that are for the choir (so to speak) and points that are best to aim at antagonists. The weak push against the strong to get stronger. Test the wood of the bridge to ensure it will carry you over. These are wise things.

Posted in Education | 2 Comments »

Wallace Stegner on Profanity

Posted by Remy on May 25, 2012

“Words are not obscene: naming things is a legitimate verbal act. And “frank” does not mean “vulgar,” any more than “improper” means “dirty.” What vulgar does mean is “common”; what improper means is “unsuitable.” Under the right circumstances, any word is proper. But when any sort of word, especially a word hitherto taboo and therefore noticeable, is scattered across a page like chocolate chips through a tollhouse cookie, a real impropriety occurs. The sin is not the use of an “obscene” word; it is the use of a loaded word in the wrong place or in the wrong quantity.”

via

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Joel Weinsheimer : On Metaphors

Posted by Remy on May 25, 2012

“If thought is indivisible from language, then thought is more fundamentally metaphorical rather than logical. . . . Metaphor, by contrast, consists in a reversible, oscillating, circular movement.  If pages are like leaves, then leaves are also like pages. Each sets up a resonance in the other, thereby leveling the hierarchy.  Whereas induction and deduction are vertical models of thought, concerned with the ‘higher’ universal and the ‘lower’ particular, metaphorical transference operates horizontally.  Like the iconic relation of existent to existent, or the emanation of the real from the real, metaphor connects two things on the same plane.  To say that a table has legs does not subsume it to the body; to say that the human body has a trunk does not abstract something common to it and a tree.  Neither descending nor ascending, neither subsumption nor abstraction, metaphor is a lateral movement.  Like deduction, metaphor begins with a concept, but the concept is changed by the transferred application; like induction, it ends with a new concept, but by the metamorphosis of a previous one.  Because it is horizontal, metaphor flattens out the difference between particular and general, unfamiliar and familiar. . . . even in such defamiliarizing tranferences as ‘the pages of the tree,’ the unique appeals back to the familiar and the singular to the common.”

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Stuart Firestein : On Facts

Posted by Remy on May 23, 2012

“As I began to think about it, I realized that, contrary to popular view, scientists don’t really care that much about facts. We recognize that facts are the most unreliable part of the whole operation. They don’t last, they’re always under revision. Whatever fact you seemed to have uncovered is likely to be revised by the next generation. That’s the difference between science and many other endeavors.  Science revels in revision. For science, revision is a victory. In religion, or astrology, or any other belief system, revision is a kind of defeat. You were supposed to have known the answer to this. But the joy of science is that it’s about revision.”

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Peter Leithart on Scripture

Posted by Remy on May 18, 2012

“Treating Scripture as a directory of moral lessons or compendium of moral rules assumes a constricted view of moral practice and reasoning. We don’t pursue virtue simply by applying general principles to particular situations, and true morality is never simply obedience to commandments. Practical morality requires the ability to assess situations accurately, memory of our own past patterns of action and of others’ inspiring examples, and enough moral imagination to see how a potential tragedy might become the birthplace of unforeseen comedy.”

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N.D. Wilson on Critiquing Stories

Posted by Remy on May 17, 2012

“One final thought: never read or watch a story like a passive recipient, enjoying something in a visceral way and then retroactively trying to project deeper value or meaning onto the story you’ve already ingested. Such projections have been making authors and directors seem more intelligent than they are for decades. As you watch, as you read, shoulder your way into the creator’s chair. Don’t take the final product for granted, analyze the creator’s choices and cheerfully push them in new and different directions. As we do this, the clarity of our criticism will grow immensely.”

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