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  1. Politesse

    So what IS religion in general? A Smart rubric

    Smart, in the title, refers to Roderick Ninian Smart, a Scottish philosopher who offered up a model for thinking about religiosity beyond the so-called "Western definition" one tends to find in dictionaries and introductory textbooks published in the English-speaking world. The Western...
  2. Politesse

    "Classical Liberals"

    An odd phenomenon I have encountered lately is that people who seem to be pressing for an eradication of social justice politics and a dismissal of critical conversations about history, gender, race, and other controversial issues have started self identifying as "liberals" or "classic...
  3. Politesse

    Appeasement

    It seems to be a very common opinion that "appeasing" Hitler during the years 1929-1939 was a grave diplomatic error that spelled the doom of Europe in WWII. I certainly remember having this presented to me as fact when I was in high school. That said, I'm not a great expert on WWII era history...
  4. Politesse

    California May Have a Random Celebrity Republican as Governor Soon

    I don't know how many of our posters here will be interested in such a local political question, but California's governor is facing a recall election next month. My ballot just arrived in the mail. The whole affair is giving me very bad vibes; the conditions are similar to when Grey Davis was...
  5. Politesse

    TFT book club - any interest?

    I'll have some time to kill over the summer (which for me starts in a fortnight), and I was thinking it might be fun to start a structured book club here on the forum. Drop-ins would be welcome, but I'll only want to go forward with it if a reasonable number of people feel like they would be...
  6. Politesse

    Right of Conquest

    Does a military victory, alone, constitute a legal means of acquiring new territories? If so, on what moral or legal basis? Does the conquering "army" have to have the official imprimatur of their government in order for an invasion to be legal, or can random settlers acting unofficially be the...
  7. Politesse

    Genocide

    Many people claim to oppose genocide. Do you have a problem with it, and if so, how much of a problem? If a country or organization attempts one, do you believe that international forces should intervene? Genocide Watch believes that that 9th and most serious stage of genocide has been reached...
  8. Politesse

    On the Corpus Hermeticum: As Above, So Below

    So we have this whole forum on Religious Texts, but seldom a discussion of texts other than the Bible. I thought it would be fun to take a little dive into the esoteric! The modern history of the Corpus Hermeticum begins in 1471, when Marsilio Ficino working under the auspices of Cosimo de...
  9. Politesse

    Communism and Capitalism: True Opposites?

    Just some hurried thoughts in between numerous meetings, so bear with me if this is a bit jumbled. I've been listening to a lot of US news lately, owing to the resumption of my long commute and the fact that talk radio is the only bearable option on the dial. One of my local stations does...
  10. Politesse

    The Bible, in Order: but on whose orders? Some significant reorganizations of Scripture

    This thread does not attempt to be a comprehensive guide to all of the books of the Bible, their composition, or the many, many competing canons that have existed over the centuries. Rather, it is a beginner's introduction to the creation of the "Good Book" and a discussion of why the order in...
  11. Politesse

    Boston things

    Hello everyone! I'm going to be doing some traveling in Massachusetts and Connecticut on family business for the next week or so, and though my weekdays are tied up, the first weekend in Boston MA is mine to explore. Given two free days, what would those of you familiar with the town suggest...
  12. Politesse

    On Religious Agnosticism and Labels

    I take as a first principle in my thinking that no human being probably has credible answers to the truly "big questions" - why the universe exists, what lends it form and structure, what the ideal social orientation of a human ought to be. And yes, a religious identity or label is first and...
  13. Politesse

    Is there any candidate who (just) wants to be president?

    Watching the coverage of the presidential race, I am struck by the extent of the powers that most of the candidates seem to be striving for. In theory, our Consitution suggests a system of divided powers, in which the three branches have separate responsibilities and also a certain amount and...
  14. Politesse

    Doris Day, A Tribute Thread

    I regret to announce that Doris Day has passed, following a bout with pneumonia at the respectably mature age of 97. An interesting fact about her age is that for most of her life, she believed herself to be two years younger than she actually was, until her birth certificate was "revealed" by...
  15. Politesse

    Is atheism a relic of modernism?

    After we recently had a go over the old auteur theory/death of the author scuffle, I was thinking about something: I have noticed a strong preference among atheists for the philosophies and even aesthetics (thinking back to the art contest I used to run on SC) of modernism, and a noticeable...
  16. Politesse

    Are there concrete arguments against non-conservative Christianity?

    I'm especially interested to learn whether there have been any significant authors or thinkers whose focus was the discrediting of liberal or progressive Christianity. I have mastered many of the "classic" atheist texts, but they tend to have either Baptist Protestantism or conservative...
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