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Friday, January 07, 2011

Living in Harmony

I prefer the idea of living in harmony to the notion of tolerance. Tolerance is better than intolerance but I don't think it is enough, and I don't think it is what citizens of the Kingdom are expected to exhibit.

A mental fragment floating around my head today comes from my Sunday school class reading Sam Harris's "End of Faith." I think it is fair to say an important point for Harris is that religon adherents can only get along with other adherents if they betray their principles. Another brain crumb comes from hearing on the radio that the executive who fired Juan Williams for saying he was scared to fly with Muslims who dress like Muslims, resigned after having her 2010 bonus withheld as punishment for handling things poorly. In the story, Juan Williams called her a bigot.

This Paul Moses piece on CNN.com, which includes the story about Francis of Assisi visiting the son of Saladin in 1219, was nice to read given the debris that had collected in my mind. It doesn't prove that Muslims and Christians always get along. Heck, the story takes place in the middle of a cruscade. But I think it does provide at least a few data points that conflict with our standard anti-Muslim narrative. His book pictured on the left might be worth a read.

Thursday, January 06, 2011


Currently reading a little Aristophanes. Specifically, Clouds. It is fun because one of the characters is Socrates. In the Apology, Socrates, as written by Plato, claims that his accusers are responding to the characterization of him in dramas rather than in real life. Interesting.

Anyway, it made me think back to the book of Job, which I believe can be fairly treated as a script. Consider the first chapter here. The author of Job was much more given to long speeches though.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Does Honors Dishonor?

CNN reports Capt. Owen Honors has been relieved of his command. I'm always torn by these stories. I think the military culture is so distinct from that of the business world. CNN reports that the videos for which he was relieved included "anti-gay slurs, simulated sex acts, and what appear to be two female sailors in a shower together." I guess these videos aired to the entire ship between 2006-2007 while Enterprise was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

2006 is pretty recent, and such insensitivity is probably disqualifying for a commander of so many people. I guess the pause that I have is that I do not think you should have to behave with the same level of sensitivity in all circumstances. When you broadcast something to 5000 people, though, you really need to make sure it is suitable for all audiences. If the tapes had been secretly recorded or viewed only by his friends, this would be a very different case for me.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Previous Post

As happens sometimes, there have been a couple of new comments on an old post that are worth checking out. Day 11 (Dueling Revelations)

Jesus : Socrates

I am reading Plato's Apology and cannot help but notice that Socrates is challenged by the three institutions he most challenged. He takes the position that he is but a conduit for the truth and that he will accept death rather than terminate his mission.

The Gospel passage that gives us "Give unto Caesar," is one of three testers attacking Jesus shortly before he is executed for refusing to end his ministry. The testers represent various aspects of the establishment that he has challenged.

The human mind loves pattern recognition, yes?