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Messages - Bolivar

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1
Time to Challenge No-Fault Divorce:

https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2014/12/time-to-challenge-no-fault-divorce-1

2014 article but this remains a big deal. The invention of no-fault divorce, which American bar assocations pulled entirely out of their own ass, was the first of many disastrous shifts that undermined the significance of marriage in the public consciousness. Conservatives often say "politics is downstream of culture," but Maggie Gallagher rightly pointed out in another excellent First Things essay that the inverse is often true - the machinations of attorneys in the bar and the bench have often worked to unilaterally destabilize our values outside of the democratic process.

Society has an invested interest in preserving marriage as a permanent union. The article cites to the overwhelming evidence that children outside of traditional families suffer great disadvantages in terms of their educational, vocational, and interpersonal outcomes. During my toast at my brother's wedding, I posited the idea that marriage is the means by which we improve society, one generation at a time. May we work to strengthen families to create stronger civilization.

2
General Misc. / Re: Video Game Thread! What are you playing?
« on: April 04, 2018, 01:37:24 am »


I got about 1/3 of the way through Witcher 3 and got bored, put it down and never picked it back up. I found the combat disinteresting for some reason.

A lot of people felt the combat was underwhelming. I always thought it was pretty good but that's on PC at high framerates, so the experience may vary across different platforms and specs.

I've been really addicted to Dragon Quest Builders lately. It's Minecraft but with strong player dorection through storylines and quests, plus Dragon Quest's 30 years of iconic monsters and art style. I played the hell out of the game on Vita when it came out and got it again for Christmas on PS4. I've been making different creations and sharing them between versions, to put them in my custom world.

3
The Almanac: TAE Edition / Re: The Slog of All Slogs, A Real Chopper!
« on: April 04, 2018, 01:29:43 am »
I've been meaning to reread TAE straight through so I might hop on then. If enough people get into it from the beginning though I might not be able to abstain. I love PoN too much.

4
General Misc. / Re: Video Game Thread! What are you playing?
« on: March 02, 2018, 02:38:03 am »
Picked up my New Game+ save for the Witcher 3 to play on my 1440p monitor. Game is still such a masterpiece!

5
First Things is awesome. Archbishop Chaput writes some really great stuff on there from time to time but all the writers seem class acts.

Hope your Lent's going well BFK!

6
General Misc. / Re: Super Bowl 2018: The Contest!
« on: February 14, 2018, 03:59:41 am »
It resulted from me "hating" the Broncos due to John Elway throwing his weight around not going with the top team drafting that year - seems like a joke now with free agency. I'm over it, have incredible respect for that guy nowadays, he knows football ( even rooted for the Broncos during their recent SB appearances - I'm big on running backs ).

He did a great job bringing in Peyton and giving him the tools to consistently compete deep in the playoffs every year. It's cool seeing Tom Coughlin move into a similar role with the Jaguars and helping them become a top caliber team in the AFC this year.

7
General Misc. / Re: Super Bowl 2018: The Contest!
« on: February 10, 2018, 02:27:31 am »
Glad the Pats lost!

Not happy to see such a poor defensive showing but it was awesome with how explosive it was, full throttle offense for sixty minutes. I was at a bar and went out after the win, was such an amazing vibe in Philly.

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General Misc. / Re: Super Bowl 2018: The Contest!
« on: January 29, 2018, 06:18:18 am »
Philadelphia 24

New England 20

9
Philosophy & Science / Re: What do you believe? (Redux)
« on: January 26, 2018, 09:21:19 pm »
Quote from:  BFK
The collegial, respectful attitude that you foster here at the TSA Forum is an example of what all Christians, indeed, all people should strive for.

Quote from:  Madness
It's important to remember that the average person of any creed/ideology isn't able to have the conversation we're having right now. This might render us all heretics to the average embedded faithful.

No, its a testament to what you and Wilshire and many other have created. A place discuss an issue like Religion and someone not totally flip out.

Hey, your dad could've just watched Ancient Aliens! ;)
^ Can't reiterate this enough. I've been on a number of forums but this is the first one where I could discuss my religious views and have this kind of discussion. This is not normal for the internet or maybe even real life for that matter. Truth be told, you guys have likely given my posts more courtesy than their content actually deserves.

It probably helps that you make an effort to include new members on the podcast. I suspect establishing that vocal connection fosters a bit more civility than we would otherwise have.

10
The Unholy Consult / Re: TUC Reviews
« on: January 26, 2018, 08:32:31 pm »
I agreed with EBR on this:

Quote
I remember reading THE DARKNESS THAT COMES BEFORE and thinking that it was well-written. But Iím telling you, I went back and looked at the prose in that book, and it is well-written. BUT the writing in THE UNHOLY CONSULT makes THE DARKNESS THAT COMES BEFORE read like it was written by an elementary school student. Bakker has come a long way in his writing skill and technique, and I canít help but think that this is killing his ability to tell a convincing story. At least it feels that way to me. The writing, as impressive as it is, just keeps getting in the way.

TAE feels like so much of the purpose of the series is being eloquently explained by an omniscient narrator instead of the events happening to the characters. You can look at things like the Cants of Compulsion with Xinemus in the first trilogy and how it gets the message across with such force.

It reminds me of the complaints in the comments for Light, Time, Gravity posts, that the lengthy soliloquies by the author interrupting the story are too long and exhausting, only for Bakker to respond that he had already cut them down considerably in their current form. He remarked before that his blog hurts his commercial appeal by turning away would-be readers but now I wonder if it's also hurt him creatively as well, having an adverse impact on his storytelling and how he writes fantasy.

11
Philosophy & Science / Re: What do you believe? (Redux)
« on: January 25, 2018, 07:31:45 pm »
I am very interested in what BFK/Bolivar/others who seem to have a deep relationship with religion feel about that. Again, I'm not trying to persuade anyone of anything, just seeking opinions from those who think differently than me. I'd not otherwise speak frankly with anyone of one faith or another, so I find this conversation of particular interest.

I think it's all cherry-picking, sensationalism, and propaganda (the evidence that gets brought up for those arguments, not your post!). I don't think the prototypical Believer who's willing to kill and unwilling to question is representative of any real segment of religious practitioners. It's a caricature.

Although it's true many Muslims would like to live under theocratic rule which some of us might find harsh, the number of them willing to kill innocent people for that is miniscule. Don't get me wrong, I do believe the political left is burying it's head in the sand on the Muslim immigration issue for misguided self-serving reasons but I've always thought terrorism was primarily geopolitically motivated. I've read the religious knowledgability of the average Jihadist is actually very low.

In Anglo-America, almost all of the public imagination of religious violence and persecution can be directly traced to anti-Catholic nativist propaganda. The imagery of the crusades as xenophobic zealots launching unprovoked invasions to steal land from cultured arabs is just not in line with the academic scholarship. They were pre-emptive, penitential wars against perennial conquerors who had already destroyed the Persian Empire and had now subjugated Spain in the west, Anatolia in the east, and North Africa to the south. The Christian nobles who led the first crusade bankrupted themselves to do it and didn't proclaim themselves rulers after they had won, most of them went on pilgrimages. We have primary evidence that the knights who took up the cross knew they had led sinful lives and wanted a way to use their skills to help other people instead of themselves. The sources about the butchery during the siege of Jerusalem were exaggerations, often by people who weren't there. The data suggests it was in line with standard medieval warfare and the casualty numbers have been continually revised further down over time as we learn more.

Even the works that first advanced the notion that science and religion are in contention with eachother, the "Conflict Thesis," have been refuted by the academic consensus as misleading and ahistorical. For most of human history, the perception of a conflict was not something naturally apparent to the average person. It's a fabrication and we can actually trace the actors and rationale through history as to why it was fabricated. I don't know about you Canucks but in America, they teach children that Europeans believed the earth was flat before Columbus,  despite the fact no one really did. Their navigation would have been impossible, and clergy scholars actually had a pretty good approximation of the earth's circumference. This misinformation entered our public school system to make the German and Irish Catholic immigrants at the time look like they were bringing a repressive religion with them.

None of this is to say nothing bad ever has come out of religion ever! I just think a lot of it is based on outliers, the exceptions and not the rule. The monks at my church run the only homeless shelter in my neighborhood, a school for immigrant children with all kinds of after-school programs, and arrange companionship for people who are sick and alone. That's the average religious experience, not hopping into boats to go kill us some infidels. I just don't understand the calculus when anti-theists allege religion does more harm than good (I know many of you have denounced that proposition here). Yes, belonging to different denominations is inherently a division but so is rooting for different sports teams (actually dangerous) or graduating from different universities, I don't think it's something uniquely endemic about religion.

Now, as far as whether all faiths are the same  and what deference we owe to religious hierarchy and teachings... I have A LOT to say about that but thats maybe for a different time.

12
General Misc. / Re: Video Game Thread! What are you playing?
« on: January 23, 2018, 07:03:54 pm »
I probably wouldn't have gotten Forged Battalion if I didn't know and trust the developer. That said, it's still very much an early access game and I think it has a ways to go to be something special.

I recently just got Act of Aggression because it was supposed to be the RTS successor to C&C Generals. It looked the part in screenshots and videos but got terrible reviews. I bought it anyway and after struggling to boot it up through various errors and crashes, found out the reviews were right, it's just not a very fun game.

RTS is in a weird spot where the genre really is too hardcore for most gamers today but in the process of making it simpler or more accessible, they move away from the things that would make veteran players want to buy it.

That said, I do think Dawn of War III was an outstanding release last year, at least on the multiplayer front. It's like the classic Warcraft III gameplay of base building and hero units but with modern day competitive mechanics to make the matches fair and progress naturally.

13
Philosophy & Science / Re: What do you believe? (Redux)
« on: January 23, 2018, 06:56:47 pm »
While I understand how seeing ourselves as special might possibly provide a justification for destructive behavior, I'm not convinced that it's a primary motivator of it. If someone wants to do something fucked up, they'll find a way to rationalize it regardless. It's just a fact that in the world today, and what we can glance from the geological strata, that we're the only ones who have this. Telling the truth should not be  inherently dangerous. I'll take responsibility over ignorance any day of the week.

I'm also not convinced that trivializing ourselves would somehow place a safeguard against atrocity. Industry reduces the human person to units of production and consumption but it has had no problem brutalizing the planet over the last 150 years.

Bolivar, that's a beautiful post. You mentioned Catholic music, so I thought I'd add that I sing Gregorian Chant at my church, where we are blessed to attend the traditional Latin Mass.

That's awesome and you're lucky. We can only get a Latin Mass by us every once in a while for certain holy days of obligation. I went to our cathedral for the Immaculate Conception of Mary and was blown away. I still think the Novus Ordo has it's own beauty but it's clear that we lost a lot along the way. What really surprises me is how, from what I saw that day and what I've read about it elsewhere, it's really young people who are filling the pews for these Latin Masses. This really is a generation starving for tradition.

14
Philosophy & Science / Re: What do you believe? (Redux)
« on: January 23, 2018, 03:18:01 am »
I'm Roman Catholic. Grew up loving the art, music, and philosophy but it's only the last few years since really I got into the practice. The more I read the Gospel and the meaning behind it, the more I'm blown away. I really think the reason why Christianity has transcended all cultural barriers and epochs is because Jesus Christ really was the Word Incarnate, revealing the logic behind the cipher of the human paradox. I also really believe that if you try to orient yourself towards the kind of life He's describing, you absolutely nurture a closer relationship between yourself and the objective truth/good - God. It's awesome watching your spirituality grow when you take the time to study scripture, do good works, and to meditate and pray.

As far as an afterlife, I trust the Word, so it seems to me we might go to sleep after death, there really is oblivion, but at the end of time, we're reincarnated and some of us will make it to the second Creation while the rest evaporate forever. The sole entry criteria is how you treated people worse off than you. That's not to say it's the only motivation behind my charity and volunteering. The Gospel teaches that many people less spiritually-inclined or who came to religion late will absolutely get in before I do.

As far the free will discussion in this thread, it just seems blatantly axiomatic to me that we have it. We wouldn't be typing about it on an online discussion forum if we didn't. From a naturalistic point of view, it doesn't make sense that the only animal that evolved to have self-expression wouldn't in fact have a self to express. The idea that the soul is blind to itself is completely nonsensical - we can easily apprehend our behavior and our motivations and change ourselves to become better. Prey that's really bad at evading predators can't go to a self-help class to become a better escapist - it just dies off and its genes are discarded from the population. It's important to note that I don't need a religious argument for free will. Catholics don't believe in the theology because it's been dictated to us from the bishops - we believe it because it's true. The notion that we can use logic and reasons to understand the universe is not a secular scientific ideal - it's entirely premised on the Thomistic science and Augustinian philosophy of the Middle Ages.

I just don't see how things like language, abstractions, creativity, and civilization otherwise came to be - these entirely artificial ecosystems we've created according to our sensibilities as much as our environmental necessity. Too much of what defines us is completely unhinged from our survival programming and indeed goes against it. That's why I think the Cross, among other things, is the ultimate refutation of determinism. It's incontrovertible evidence that you can choose to supersede your survival programming, the social pressures of your culture, and even the laws of a legitimate state. That's not to say it's natural or easy for mankind to break our inclinations - the first among the apostles lost his shit when Christ told him he was going to Jerusalem to sacrifice himself.

I suspect the attack on free will is wholly motivated to support the fallacy that science undermines religious meaning. This view is woefully mistaken - marine biology and thermodynamics have no stake in your inherent value or purpose in life. The vast majority of neuroscience is devoted to the altruistic endeavor of recovering mobility and cognition in people suffering from disabilities. It's only these weird public personalities cultivating a commercial brand that misconstrue it to opine on metaphysics, without any training or credentials to back up their agenda. And even then, free will has no inherent bearing on religion or meaning. My wife is Buddhist-Taoist-Confuscist. She believes in all kinds of crazy supernatural and superstitious stuff. She honestly believes her Taoist masters have magical powers to see the future and into the afterlife. But she scoffs and ridicules videos I watch about free will.

The life and teachings of Jesus Christ have permanently and irreversible changed this world for the better. Those who attack the philosophical foundations of our society do so at the peril of us all.

15
General Misc. / Re: Video Game Thread! What are you playing?
« on: January 23, 2018, 02:07:53 am »


Lately I've been playing the Real Time Strategy game Forged Battalion on Steam. It's made by Petroglyph - the studio formed by veterans of the Command & Conquer series after EA closed down Westwood. This one is a pretty faithful recreation of Command & Conquer gameplay but it has a massive tech tree, where players unlock customization modules to create their own custom units and ultimately assemble their own personalized faction. It's fun but a little simplistic - it's still in early access so hopefully the team can improve on things enough for a solid full fledged release.

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