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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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1  General Discussion / History / Re: Presidential nominee who was most unlike his predecessor on: April 14, 2014, 03:47:04 pm
Breckenridge and McClellan (who, whatever he was, was not a Southern supremacist)?

Seymour to (no candidate) for the Democrats between 1868-1872 is an obvious choice.
2  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Do you believe in ancient aliens? on: April 13, 2014, 04:13:14 pm
Blks and Jews were the ones that building pyramids and they're the ones along with Arabs that the Bible talks about in length or as the chosen people as the first ones. Ancient civilizations aren't supernatural. Along with Indians they can do supernatural or alien like things. Hopefully, when we die, we will see a parallel universe, a ghostly or an alien plane, and be incarnated by resurrection or reincarnation.

What the hell is this?  I can't parse this.
3  General Discussion / History / Re: On the socialist origins of the Republican Party on: April 12, 2014, 11:25:12 am
Wasn't Lincoln pen pals with Karl Marx?

Marx wrote a letter congratulating Lincoln on his reelection and received a very polite form letter in response.
4  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Dropbox facing boycotts after naming Condolezza Rice to Board of Directors on: April 12, 2014, 12:36:25 am
Who would boycott Dropbox over this?  That's silly.  They provide a useful service and Condi Rice isn't really relevant to what they do as a member of the board.
5  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Papyrus Referring to Jesus' Wife Likely Genuine, Scientists Say on: April 10, 2014, 03:34:41 pm
Genuine in the respect that it's not a modern forgery doesn't really mean much.  There were a wide variety of Christian traditions in the early Church.
6  General Discussion / History / Re: Opinion of US Entry into WWI on: April 04, 2014, 10:22:59 am
And it is undeniably true that none of the belligerent nations joined in the bloodbath to protect their overseas Empires, however important they were in other respects. They would all have been much better protected by neutrality.


I'd make Japan an exception...not in a desire to defend their empire, but they joined the war in a blatant push to claim all of Germany's Asian colonies while the Germans were distracted and couldn't fight back.
7  General Discussion / History / Re: Who was the most intelligent President? on: March 29, 2014, 01:26:53 pm
Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, Wilson, and Hoover are all pretty solid candidates.
8  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Calvinism Is Back on: March 29, 2014, 11:59:26 am
The extent to which Calvinism is 'back' is also the extent to which it was never really gone. I don't think the size or influence of mainline Calvinist denominations has really fluctuated all that much in recent years (DC Al Fine or Mung Beans or somebody can correct me on this if I'm wrong about that), and as Tweed mentioned generalized conservative evangelicalism is prone to a sort of cyclical theological faddishness.

There's a cycle between Calvinism and Arminianism within the Baptist movement. Calvinism is definitely on the upswing right now. You're right though. There isn't any massive growth in the Reformed faith. We're growing yes, but it's slow.

The way I understand it, God, in Calvinism, simply plays Duck, Duck, Goose with people ("You go to Heaven, you go to Heaven, you go to Hell, you go to Heaven..."), and we can do literally nothing to influence His decision in one way or the other. I'm not trying to be a dick, but what exactly draws people to Calvinism? Is it the idea that you can commit as many sins as you want, because you just may be one of the Elect, and, if you're not, you had a good run anyway? I'm very curious.
I'm sure that is a part of it to some degree, but Calvinism has many other ideas (democracy within the church, etc) that is not within Lutheranism (the Lutheran Church has a bishop system).
Another is that I expect that the people drawn to Calvinism are likely to believe that they are part of the elect and aren't particularly looking for a "get out of Hell free" card to commit as many sins as they want .  One of the attractive features of Calvinism compared to Arminianism is that you don't have to worry about falling out of grace.  God won't let you do that.

I'm a bit surprised by socialisthoosier's criticism. Usually we're attacked for being Puritan prudes Wink. Ernest is correct though, election and perseverance of the saints are the most comforting parts of our theology.

How do we know who the elect are?

We don't know. Well, you can know your own salvation, but it's not like I can tell who is saved or who is damned.

That seems like a bizarre way to live life.
How is that bizarre? It seems far more bizarre to think that any human would have the knowledge or power required to judge the eternal fate of another, a task that I would expect most religious people to reserve to their god(s).

Well, I meant more of the idea that certain people are automatically saved or dammed, and that you have no idea who is which, and that you can't do a thing (good deeds, for example) to change that.

Calvinism embraces the idea that there is no such thing as a good person because committing one sin is tantamount to committing all of them so the gossiper is just as damned by his actions as the murderer, therefore no one is saved by virtue of his/her actions.  Only God can decide who is and isn't chosen to be saved and there's not much (anything) you can do to sway that judgement.

It can be a very bleak idea, but the dyed in the wool Calvinist would say that it doesn't matter if it's bleak or not, it's how it works.
9  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: Texas Megathread on: March 29, 2014, 11:25:47 am
Setting the over-under at Abbott 56%, Davis 43%.  Does Davis do better or worse than this?  Discuss.
10  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Bad time to be a Democrat on: March 29, 2014, 11:17:42 am
The Republicans are likely sailing to smashing victories this November in the midterms, yes.  I don't think many here are disputing that.

2016 isn't 2014, and the utter lack of any real GOP presidential bench and the strong possibility that they'll be running a nobody like Scott Walker or a has-been like Jeb Bush (Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State in 2012, Jeb won't have had a political position in a decade by the election day) means that 2016 presidential is a far more compelling option than 2014.
11  General Discussion / History / Re: Politicians who led diffrent countries on: March 29, 2014, 01:25:15 am
Enver Pasha led both the Ottoman Empire and was later the head of the Basmachi revolt against the Soviets.

I'd dispute that Enver was the head of the Ottoman government (Talaat Pasha fits the bill better), but I'll give credit for that one.

Faisal I, briefly king of Syria (1920) and then king of Iraq (1921-33).
12  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: How Chris Christie can contrast himself with his opponents on: March 25, 2014, 04:52:54 pm
If you try to paint Ted Cruz as an insider you deserve to get landslided.
13  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Why is Gomorrah less famous than Sodom? on: March 20, 2014, 04:48:48 pm
Not only does the narrative take place there, the narrative is preceded by a different story about Sodom (the bit where the king of Sodom loses a war and he and Lot get kidnapped and Abraham raises an army to rescue them, then snubs the king when the king offers him riches in return), and both the OT and NT callbacks to the incident don't mention Gomorrah.

14  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Fred Phelps Dying on: March 20, 2014, 04:47:12 pm
We all go sometimes.
15  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: When the candidates will announce presidential run? on: March 09, 2014, 11:15:13 am
The clustering of announcements will be around Valentine's Day, 2015.  By St Patrick's Day, 2015 pretty much everyone who's going to run will be in.
16  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: The 34 cities that the DNC asked to bid for the 2016 convention on: March 09, 2014, 11:04:07 am
Phoenix in the middle of the summer?  I'd rule that out on weather issues alone.
17  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Trends / Re: Gay Marriage as an issue in Presidential Elections on: March 09, 2014, 11:02:29 am
The issue of marriage equality is going to become irrelevant, and the GOP will stop talking about it at that point.
18  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Trends / Re: Is now the time for an Midwestern evangelical conservative as president? on: March 08, 2014, 07:28:57 pm
When I think "Evangelical conservative," I certainly don't think Reagan nor Pawlenty.

That said, no it isn't time for that.
You're probably right, but we'll see.

You didn't answer my point about Reagan not being (and not even identifying as) an evangelical.
19  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Trends / Re: Is now the time for an Midwestern evangelical conservative as president? on: March 07, 2014, 08:51:04 pm
How was Ronald Reagan an evangelical?  He didn't even attend church.
20  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Pick a side: Texan War of Independence on: March 04, 2014, 11:58:55 pm
Worth pointing out that Mexico at the time was a collapsing kleptocracy and Texas was just a successful one of several Mexican states, including the Yucatan and the Rio Grande region, that tried to break away from Santa Anna's grip.  The context is pretty important...Mexico came damned close to totally collapsing because the central government, which had overthrown the liberal constitution of 1824, was so widely loathed.

I don't have a lot of sympathy for the Texas settlers, but siding with Santa Anna, an incompetent tyrant who drove half of Mexico into open revolt over his authoritarian disregard for democratic principles, isn't exactly a consistent position for people who are obsessed with elections and democratic process.
21  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Ukraine Crisis on: March 03, 2014, 11:18:14 am
There will be a great musical made about this incident one day.

(Putin:)
If someday it may happen that a victim must be found
I've got a little list, I've got a little list
Of society's offenders who may well be underground
And who never would be missed, they never would be missed.

Stop stealing my gimmick.
22  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Judge rules SSM legal in Kentucky on: February 28, 2014, 12:42:03 am
I'm starting to think that Pennsylvania will be literally the last state in its region with gay marriage. All it'd require is one trolling judge in West Virginia.
23  General Discussion / History / Re: By what point was the Soviet Union's fall inevitable? on: February 26, 2014, 08:36:34 pm
1985-86, when the oil glut sent the price of oil through the floor.  The USSR had been using oil exports to paper over their declining industrial sector, once the price of oil hit $6 a barrel their economy lost the last prop that was holding it up.
24  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Opinion of people who think Jesus of Nazareth would be a "......." today on: February 26, 2014, 01:17:44 pm
As for real historical figure of Jesus's existence...nil.

As one would expect for any itinerant preacher in 1st century Judea.  If there were actual "evidence" that'd be far more suspicious than the lack.  In an era with no birth certificates, baptismal records, death certificates, marriage licenses, tax returns, etc. why would we have any evidence for anyone's existence except top political, cultural, and military figures, and not even all of them?  As late as the 14th century no name was attached to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, should we just assume that it popped into existence magically and the anonymous author is fictional because we have no proof of his/her existence?
25  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Is Israel an apartheid state? on: February 26, 2014, 01:13:27 pm
Asking to "name another state" is obviously a ludicrous proposition, since no other state occupies territory whose inhabitants it does not claim as its own.

Which is exactly the point I was trying to make.

Does that include Western Sahara?  Building a wall down the middle and making no attempt to govern the part on the other side of it seems right in line with "claiming land but not the inhabitants."
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