Re: Happy Valentine's Day

1

The second link no funciona.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 10:59 AM
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Whoops. Fixed. Just the Wikipedia entry on AYS.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 11:01 AM
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That's great. A girlfriend was raised by hippies who held a 13th birthday party for her in which they watched a documentary about different penis shapes. She is apparently still alive and somehow did not literally die of embarrassment.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 11:29 AM
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Now it's called OWL

Harry Potter and the Embarrassing Unitarian Education?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 11:35 AM
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Huh. I hadn't realized this was a Unitarian thing. I just thought my parents were weird. Somehow, this is vaguely comforting and explains so much about my childhood and sex ed.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 11:35 AM
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For a brief period of my childhood, my mother decided to tentatively re-explore the idea of "church." Her traumatic Catholic childhood and current gay adulthood demanded that she do this with the Unitarians, which, ok, yeah, seems reasonable. But it also corresponded with my childhood exploration of...gender roles? I guess? Anyway, it all culminated in a disastrous Sunday school adventure that had me wearing -- and honestly, I don't know how; where do you even find this? -- a, extremely large, somehow green tartan/checked kind of...blazer? I think? And a bowtie decorated with glitter? (That I must have made myself. Really. Could not have been for mass production.) While my mother slowly fought of a panic attack in the pews. Mostly I remember the Sunday school lady's kindly befuddlement at the whole package. We didn't go back, but now I feel like possibly we should have.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 12:15 PM
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Will everyone here be my Valentine? I love you all so very much.


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 12:18 PM
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I'm yours!


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 12:21 PM
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Cupid's got me! I love you!


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 12:37 PM
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I recall being on the business end of the sex talk when I was seven or eight years old, which any sane , not-miserable, parents might have thought too young to understand, much less absorb, the warnings and promises that were, I assume, intended to be conveyed.*

More to the point, the OP story reminds me of thinking, while languishing in a high school health class review of the same material in the blinkered but clinical detail permitted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, that if the class was an accurate rendering of adult sexuality, it was no surprise that the adults around me seemed so desperately unhappy.

* Around the same time, I received a clever, colorful picture book about the dangers of illegal drugs, which, oddly, did nothing at all to make drugs seem interesting or appealing.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 12:43 PM
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||

Can I complain? I've got a sizable inheritance in various investments, and our taxes are complicated enough that we have a CPA do them. The investments are all in my name, and I've always been the one to communicate back and forth with the CPA.

Each year the CPA sends us a form to update anything that's changed over the past year. He puts my husband as "taxpayer" and me as "spouse". This drives me crazy.

I know it's totally minor, but I'm his main contact, and all the complicated stuff is under my name! And we both work fulltime, so it's not a matter of a regular paycheck. Why am I the non-person?

|>


Posted by: Betty Ford | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 12:58 PM
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Alcoholic... du-uh.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 1:00 PM
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Actually, I'm sure it's exactly what you think it is.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 1:02 PM
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Uh. Shouldn't you complain to the CPA? Or, since you can afford it, fire him after this year, write a letter addressed to his wife explaining why (even if he doesn't have one!), and get a super feminist CPA. (God, what would that look like? Have I identified a niche?)


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 1:04 PM
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Also, I don't think it's minor. You pay this fucker, and he's disrespectful. Stand up for yourself, Betty.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 1:05 PM
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I am puzzled by the need to "conclude the masturbation sequence in the most affirmative way possible."

Tasting?!?!

Wouldnt a simple fist pump or scene of him flexing his muscles (aka awesome pose) be sufficient denouement?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 1:07 PM
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BTW, the thread the heebinator linked in the OP is worth a read if you want a good sampling of other folks' (some of whom you know) sex education experience. Thread stayed remarkably (or maybe unsurprisingly) on topic. (It seems like there has been a momre recent run through that territory as well, but the search key is broken on my computer.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 1:10 PM
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This AYS thing you're describing is so far from anything I encountered growing up that I can't even quite believe that it existed. My parents were as healthy about these things as conservative Christians could get ('Sex is awesome... WHEN YOU'RE MARRIED'), but having watched something like this at any approved institution is beyond the realm of my imagination.

(I don't disbelieve you, I just can't quite grasp it.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 1:13 PM
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I think Betty should follow DQ's advice in 14, especially the part about addressing the letter to his wife.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 1:16 PM
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Because I'm a feminist.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 1:16 PM
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I am fairly wide-open about sex education as well, but, like blume, I have a hard time believing that such slide would be shown.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 1:19 PM
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OT: We saw The Kids are Alright last night. We liked it.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 1:22 PM
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11: Joint return, nominal "head of household" for said purpose, something like that?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 1:24 PM
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Also, to second will and Blume, WTF TASTING?

That is...honestly, as Heebie describes it, I'm gonna laugh about that for a long time. Especially because I'm imagining that one Church elder artlessly trying to suggest that the youth taste his own semen whilst studiously trying to avoid the implication that he himself at any time in his youth tasted his own semen. Earnestness and embarrassment: such a fantastic combination.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 1:24 PM
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On one hand, the message that you are nasty if you taste semen isnt a great message.
But, that scene is going to overpower every other one and inhibit your ability to cover lots of important topics.

I just cant imagine a group of sane people agreeing to include that in a slide.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 1:30 PM
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Yeah, I'm kinda torn between my intellectual response ("you know, that's actually a really great thing") and my adolescent giggling at imagining the awkwardness involved. It's just so good.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 1:35 PM
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14 seems like overkill if you haven't actually, you know, asked the CPA politely to do it the other way.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 1:44 PM
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Well, someone who is able to access materials at the Andover-Harvard Theological Library could take a look though a few boxes and give us a report (I'm going to guess that the slide described was only used for a short time). Apparently there was a film made, A Course Is Born, the Making of "About Your Sexuality" which might answer some of the meta-questions.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 1:46 PM
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Sexist.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 1:46 PM
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29 to 27.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 1:46 PM
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Looking up the creator of the program (Deryck Calderwood--a Kinsey researcher, died of AIDS in 1986) led me to this flowchart on academia and the "Sex Industrial Complex".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 1:49 PM
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30: Hey, I'm sexist too!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 1:49 PM
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33

I so love the suggestion in 14.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 1:51 PM
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(I'm going to guess that the slide described was only used for a short time).

Why? I really, really would not be surprised if I saw that slide.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 1:52 PM
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Yeah, as someone who went through AYS, I don't remember this slide, but I am unsurprised.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 2:00 PM
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34: 1) Because I assumed it would have been memorable if you had.
2) There were apparently a number of revisions.
and
3) This guy, for instance, in defending and recalling the program after some controversy in the '90s (attacked by Bryant Gumbel!) states: The filmstrips themselves were entirely unmemorable--and my unscientific poll of other adults who took AYS as youths reveals that my lack of memory about the filmstrips is typical.

I guess I just assume that people would have clear memories of having seen a slide of a guy tasting his semen after having ejaculated into his own navel.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 2:00 PM
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37

Because I assumed it would have been memorable if you had.

You underestimate the scope of this course. Seriously, it's a semester of explicit discussions of everything under the sun.

Also, at that age I didn't have any baggage about why sex would not be natural and happy, so tasting one's semen wouldn't have lodged as any weirder than, say, the discussions and videos of oral sex.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 2:04 PM
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38

At one point in AYS we were asked to anonymously write down our sexual experiences to date. The anonymous writings were then shared by being read aloud. I lied, on grounds that my total lack of experience (like, no kissing or hand-holding) would be identifying information.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 2:07 PM
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37: OK--and the guy at link in my 36.3 did mention that the slides were "ten minutes out of the course's twenty hours".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 2:08 PM
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Also, the slides feature adults, which when you're 12 or 13, look like totally unattractive hairy Unitarians with pendulous breasts. At least to me, none of the slides were titillating. So unmemmorable.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 2:11 PM
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16 Wouldnt a simple fist pump ... be sufficient denouement?

Careful, will. We wouldn't want urple getting his bodily functions all confused with each other.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 2:12 PM
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I love the "let's take your negative stereotype of Unitarians and crank it up to 11" aspect of this. It's like if Episcopalians started serving gin gimlets in place of communion wine.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 2:12 PM
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This is starting to sound like really well intentioned torture.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 2:12 PM
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44

Especially awful: taking AYS with your crush-object.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 2:13 PM
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45

hairy Unitarians with pendulous breasts.

Now that we're all grown up, though, we know that these are the sexiest people around.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 2:15 PM
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37: at that age I didn't have any baggage about why sex would not be natural and happy

And this might be a boy/girl thing or an early '60s/whenever thing or just a me/heebie/everyone-else-who-subsequently-comments thing (or combinations of those--not that they're orthogonal) but at that age I had a massive edifice of baggage that sex was probably not "natural and happy" which had been constructed and reinforced continually on the playground, between the lines of just about everything in popular culture and through furtive ogling of Playboys hidden in the woodpile behind the garage; and which troubled me on a regular basis.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 2:18 PM
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We stopped going to the UU church before I would have reached that course, but my friends who've been through the course (included one who was raised Mormon, but whose family converted not too long before experiencing this) all talk about it as a kind of supersaturation of explicit sexuality.

It reminds me of what my mom described for one of the courses on human sexuality as part of a Social Work grad program. At the begining of the course they spent most of a day watching porn/films of various people having sex, with the idea that this would get them over the initial shock and titilation and make it easier for them to view such materials or discuss sexual subjects dispassionately.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 2:19 PM
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48

Oh look, it's on that flow chart.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 2:21 PM
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49

47.2: Hott!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 2:21 PM
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31: Are non-insane people still that angry at Kinsey? I recall reading something in the New Yorker about an effort to sue the bejesus out of the Kinsey Institute around the time of the biopic, ostensibly on behalf of the probably-long-dead victims of the Kinsey-survey interviewee portrayed by William Sadler in the movie, but the woman behind the suit was so patent a looney tune that it was kind of sad.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 2:25 PM
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Hah, gimlets. My ex is an Episcopalian. At one point she asked me about my church-friendliness. I commented that the Unitarians seemed nice and not crazy. She...sneered? "It's just orgies with God."

(Apparently this was an opinion based on Church camp stories. The Episcopalian camp was - I swear to God, this is what she said - across the lake from the Unitarians.)

Later in the convo, when I said something about how Church was supposed to be (at least partially) about, like, equality and humility before God or something, she laughed and said, "You don't know much about Episcopalians."

...

In retrospect, there were maybe some signs.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 2:26 PM
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"You don't know much about Episcopalians."

I know that, according to my father, they were "the competition." Ah, Protestantism.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 2:29 PM
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Heh. My preferred snarky characterization of Unitarians is that they're the last-but-one stop on the train to atheism.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 2:31 PM
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"Atheists who like to have coffee on Sundays"


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 2:36 PM
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Those must be some orgies.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 2:36 PM
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My preferred snarky characterization of Unitarians is that they're the last-but-one stop on the train to atheism.

Less kindly, that Unitarians are atheists who are afraid of spending Sunday mornings alone.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 2:39 PM
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After it became clear we weren't even going to do the most minimalist Jewish religion thing with our kids, I mentally toyed with UU but sloth stayed my hand (also my wife, whose catchphrase on them was, "People who don't really want to go to church but don't know how to stop.")


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 2:43 PM
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"People who don't really want to go to church but don't know how to stop."

It's a sickness. Help me, Jesus!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 2:54 PM
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The one I've heard is "A unitarian is someone who believes there is, at most, one god."


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 3:10 PM
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Those must be some orgies.

I know! Seems like a selling point. "Well, our God is pretty...open."


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 3:15 PM
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The one I've heard is "A unitarian is someone who believes there is, at most, one god."

Not necessarily.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 3:23 PM
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"At least zero gods", then.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 3:28 PM
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"Why should you never anger a Unitarian? Because you might wake up with a burning question mark on your lawn."


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 3:43 PM
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"Atheists who like to have coffee on Sundays"

That sounds not unpleasant, really.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 3:44 PM
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"Well, our God is pretty...open."

"John 3:16 says you look like you could use a massage."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 3:44 PM
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66

What is from Transylvania and fears the cross?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 3:50 PM
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67

Those must be some orgies.

John 14:20: "At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you."


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 3:51 PM
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68

67: "Great act! What do you call yourselves?"

The Trinity.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 3:56 PM
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69

To the OP (or maybe the thread linked): most of my sex education until I was about 13 came from a book called "Truly Tasteless Jokes 3", which I found at a neighbour's house. There was one in particular, which I still remember and which probably caused some weird psychological damage. I didn't quite understand anything, obviously - I read them when I was 7 or 8, but the joke

-How does a real man know when his girlfriend comes?
-A real man doesn't care.

somehow triggered something in me, so that I used to repeat it silently to myself from time to time. Also, if anything, it made me horribly anxious about orgasms when I did get around to having sex, and I always made sure that my partners came before me. (...laydeez)

I've recovered since, though. I care just right!


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 3:56 PM
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70

I'll show you transubstantiation.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 3:58 PM
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71

68 is great.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 4:00 PM
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72

Oops, guess I killed the blog again.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 4:15 PM
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73

Nope, that was dona. Offering Stormcrow affirmation is never a crowd pleaser.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 4:22 PM
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73: The Trinity Patriarchs.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 4:26 PM
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Also, 69.last: I've recovered since, though. I care just right!

Me too (-> 46). I'm so normal now that I have standard deviations.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 4:28 PM
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But wait, this

-How does a real man know when his girlfriend comes?
-A real man doesn't care.

somehow triggered something in me, so that I used to repeat it silently to myself from time to time

is genuinely awesome / funny, as long as it's not still traumatic for Awl. Like, as compulsive statements from children go? But I couldn't be sure about the trauma. Well, clearly I'm still not. So...I might just be an asshole. But still! I find it endearing.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 4:29 PM
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76: A complementary joke:

-Honey, how come you never tell me when you come?
-Because you're never there.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 4:34 PM
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76: Oh, it's pretty funny now, don't worry.
It is strange, though, how the assholish-to-women jokes were the ones I kept thinking about. Well, those and the dead baby jokes. I guess some sociologist-in-residence could say something about norms and stuff.
Though come to think of it, so could the mathematicians.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 4:52 PM
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79

Okay, 77 is funny.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 5:05 PM
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80

We didn't have any sex ed that I can remember, but everyone knew the basics, including about contraception and STD's. Also not much in the way of anti-drug stuff; alcohol ed involved teachers telling puking teenagers at school dances that now they know why one should drink in moderation.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 5:11 PM
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78.1 so could the patrons of a certain Boston basement bar.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 5:12 PM
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82

I'm with Blume in 18 on finding the AYS thing completely mystifying: not only did you watch videos (or a slide show) of a man tasting his semen, you watched videos of a man masturbating!?

Why do people suggest upthread that it's the tasting that's bizarro, but the masturbating, well, sure, that's unremarkable? WHAT PLANET DID YOU PEOPLE GROW UP ON?

Then Heebie says at 37: so tasting one's semen wouldn't have lodged as any weirder than, say, the discussions and videos of oral sex

Oh, well, sure. Those educational videos of people having oral sex were a commonplace.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 5:13 PM
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Oh, well, sure. Those educational videos of people having oral sex were a commonplace.

Ha! Yes, this.

Also, 79 gets it right.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 5:26 PM
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83.last was sarcastic, but not meant in a snotty way at all. I'm just amazed, to tell you the truth, that y'all were shown that kind of thing. Obviously I don't disapprove; I just really had no idea.

Was this just a Unitarian thing, or was school sex ed like this as well?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 5:42 PM
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85

I mean 82.last. Was sarcastic.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 5:42 PM
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86

And funny.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 5:44 PM
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87

Of course school sex ed wasn't like that. Parents were constantly trying to have Judy Blume books removed from the library, for crying out loud.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 5:44 PM
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Oh, well, sure. Those educational videos of people having oral sex were a commonplace.

But....they are! If you grow up in that sort of household, at any rate. This is why I said above that I am now suddenly feeling so much better about things, now that I realize that it wasn't just my parents but instead the culture they were enmeshed in. (I must have known this at some point, and in my attempts to block it all out, actually forgotten that part.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 5:44 PM
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My school took the clinical approach. They sort of hoped you'd read between all of the incredibly scary lines about STDs, and that when you went out into the world you wouldn't sound like a complete idiot. Definitely nothing about "feelings."


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 5:48 PM
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My school took the clinical approach. They sort of hoped you'd read between all of the incredibly scary lines about STDs, and that when you went out into the world you wouldn't sound like a complete idiot. Definitely nothing about "feelings."


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 5:48 PM
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No, wait, it's not what it looks like! These are, uhhhh, educational videos. Yeah, that's it! Educational videos!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 5:48 PM
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92

"It's not porn, it's...cultural criticism. It's ironic? IT'S NOT PORN!"


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 5:50 PM
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87: Okay, okay. I was in the process of trying to figure out if my school system(s) were particularly backward or something. My experience was most like what Flippanter recounts upthread in 10 about "health" class. I was also coming of age during the advent of the AIDS scare, so emphasis was almost entirely on safety.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 5:52 PM
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The woman who taught sex ed in my high school (she also taught gym) would very firmly lecture the boys that their partner's pleasure was as important as their own and that they should be particularly concerned and generous about pre-sex arousal of their partner. She was kind of awesome. My mother told me that 10 or so years after I graduated a parent complained and she was kept to teaching only gym.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 5:53 PM
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91: "Well, okay, but I don't want to learn how to do... that."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 5:54 PM
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96

My middle school Sex Ed teacher was the wife of the fat guy from the Police Academy movies. Hooray for Hollywood!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 5:56 PM
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97

She was also big on the "mutual pleasure" lesson, which was pretty awesome.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 5:57 PM
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98

My AYS class was actually pretty great. The key was tempering the earnest materials with sarcastic (and hilarious) teachers. Also I'm pretty damn sure we didn't watch any semen-tasting videos.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 6:10 PM
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Pretty pretty pretty pretty.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 6:11 PM
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The mutual pleasure message is indeed awesome.

Reflecting, I don't think I ever got any message to the contrary (a la the joke 69), though I was also apparently pretty sheltered. I do remember meeting and becoming friends, in my early 20s, with a woman then in her early 40s who raved to me about her second husband's assiduous attention to her pleasure. She emphasized that he was Jewish, and that this was a Jewish thing, taught to him (as a value) by his mother. I don't recall much about my reaction to all of this other than that I liked her; great lady.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 6:14 PM
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82: WHAT PLANET DID YOU PEOPLE GROW UP ON?

You are right. The oral sex/masturbating alone would certainly have been way over the top on their own accord. But I'm still pretty sure I would have remembered the semen tasting.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 6:17 PM
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102

a la the joke 69

And how does that work, exactly?


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 6:19 PM
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103

I don't remember anything from high school sex ed indicating that we were expected to enjoy the process -- biology, contraception, STDs (with an exciting movie about horrible sores and warts on your genitals) and that was about it. There was sort of a background assumption that people were doing this sort of thing for some reason, but not a lot of attention to social or interpersonal aspects of sex.

That, I think I picked up mostly from Clan of The Cave Bear and sequels, and the Travis McGee mysteries. In comparison, the Unitarian sex ed sounds wonderfully healthy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 6:21 PM
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102: Well, it can be awkward. Overrated, even. All in the delivery.

Oh, wait, you mean that I omitted a word.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 6:22 PM
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I'm still pretty sure I would have remembered the semen tasting.

Only one way to find out for sure...


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 6:23 PM
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Four! Four AYS alumni in the thread so far. I'm pretty sure Snarkout is another one. I wonder if Unfogged has more people who've been through AYS or on Jeopardy. Either way, far fewer than cross their 7s.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 6:23 PM
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But I'm still pretty sure I would have remembered the semen tasting.

It wasn't like we visited a vineyard.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 6:24 PM
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107: Homework.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 6:27 PM
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I grew yo with young pregnant girls close to my age stay with us until they could give their child up for adoption.

Despite a pretty extensive knowledge of the entire range of reproduction (start to finish so to speak), sex with still a mostly fuzzy concept to me.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 6:32 PM
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A question about dating is on-topic enough that I can comment it here without pause/play signs, right? Okay, good. I'm not 100% comfortable with it being on the front page.

A friend just started dating someone who's apparently fairly religious, although seemingly in a politically liberal way. The friend is atheist and I've heard him making biting remarks previously about religion in general.

My first reaction was to think this dating experiment might be in trouble, but maybe this sort of set-up could work? I could imagine, say, a Catholic and a Jew, both practicing, figuring out a mutually respectful way to remain together. But could an atheist really date someone fairly serious about his or her faith?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 6:35 PM
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sex with still

Moonshine: ur doin it rong.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 6:36 PM
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prob drank too much of it.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 6:41 PM
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110: I don't see why it couldn't. There's obviously possible problems, but if they can each manage to be respectful about the other's beliefs, and not to expect more than is reasonable in the way of respect (that is, it has to be okay with each of them that the other thinks that they're just wrong about this stuff), it could work.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 6:42 PM
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110: Does your friend respect faith, or people who have it / practice it? Your concern about disparaging remarks makes it seem like you're worried s/he doesn't. And if that's the case...no. (Ditto goes for the religion nut.)

Also, though, people (like me!) make stupid jokes. I feel like people grow in relationships, so, you know, that can happen, too.

Helpful verdict: maybe!


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 6:43 PM
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Please. Please stop pwning me.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 6:44 PM
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I know couples who make it work, but it can be a source of tension, particularly if you get to the "how dhould we raise the kid" point.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 6:46 PM
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But could an atheist really date someone fairly serious about his or her faith?

My parents managed to make it work! Granted, she raised her kids in the church as practically a widow, as far as the church was concerned, and granted, I remain sort of traumatized by the whole dual-ideology upbringing, but over time he's come around to being almost an auxiliary member (now that he's retired and has nothing else to do). Hilariously, he's become the eminence grise of a massive Mormon clan. I'm not sure exactly how my parents made their initial boundaries clear to one another, though.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 6:50 PM
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My health/sex ed teacher/basketball coach had one particular show stopper excercize. Without set up, he would ask the boys in the room* to take their tongues and feel around in their mouths for a bit. After some time had passed, he would announce that this is what the inside of a vagina felt like. It was an uncomfortable moment, but he was pretty much right.

*I don't remember if homosexuality was dealt with at all, though it certainly wasn't here.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 6:52 PM
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118: And the vagina dentata legend passes down to yet another generation.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 6:54 PM
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I've heard him making biting remarks previously about religion in general.

I (as an atheist) wouldn't be able to do it unless we had an agreement not to introduce religious considerations into political matters, at the very least. The 'how to raise the potential kid' thing is significant: I'd have an issue with a co-parent who wanted to bring my kid to anything but a Unitarian church service.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 6:56 PM
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Without set up, he would ask the boys in the room* to take their tongues and feel around in their mouths for a bit.

I had to reread this to figure out whose tongues were in whose mouths.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 6:57 PM
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117: I find this really interesting, in so much that what I know about the Mormon church is that it's a tighter religious community (in a large, umbrella-y sense?) than most, i.e., functions as an actual community more often. But then again, I don't have much personal knowledge about most religious communities.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 6:57 PM
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I wouldn't be able to date someone who was highly religious, either. I can deal with smushy looks-like-hippies-if-you-squint versions of any religion, but not much more than that. Around Christians I draw the line if they believe in hell. Prior to living in Texas, I thought this meant I set the bar really, really low.

I wouldn't be able to date someone whose politics differed from mine significantly, either. That's probably a bigger dealbreaker than the religion one.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:01 PM
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Unrelated, except to the post title: I would really, really love it if 1 800 F/LOWERS would stop emailing me about Valentine's Day. No, I did not forget, thanks.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:02 PM
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s/b "feel around in their inner cheeks"

Better?


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:02 PM
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Around Christians I draw the line if they believe in hell.

Could you manage someone who believed in hell but wasn't assuming that all non-Christians went there? You could avoid hell by being a good person rather than absolutely having to be a Christian? Or is anyone going to hell too much?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:04 PM
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Well, if you're taking suggestions, may I recommend 'feel around in their own cheeks'?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:05 PM
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I think I'm probably with 123.2 as well. Does this make me (us) intolerant?

Correction, though: I could date him or her, but not become serious.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:05 PM
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127: You're right. It needed a reflexive.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:08 PM
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42: There are other kinds of gimlets?


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:10 PM
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Or whatever you'd call that.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:10 PM
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I would add to 126: what kind of hell? Fire and brimstone and red hot pokers and lumps of coal in uncomfortable places would also be a deal breaker for me, but do you include more abstract notions? Maybe this is nit picky, but, like, "hell is the absence of God," for example? Or is it hell as punishment that's a problem?


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:11 PM
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Could you manage someone who believed in hell but wasn't assuming that all non-Christians went there?

If this is some puddle of fire that they want to reserve for the top 1% of all sadists in the Olympic sadist-offs, then I probably could let that slide, at least.

I used to say that I didn't respect someone's beliefs if they believed in hell. Now I don't say it out loud anymore, after finding out exactly how central Hell is to Christianity.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:11 PM
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I feel like, for me, it would be a bit like dating someone who, due to the way they were raised, was deeply racist against Maori or some other group. Such that it rarely had an affect on their conduct (as in, not living in NZ), and perhaps wasn't so much their fault (product of upbringing, etc), but still represented something of a flaw in how they saw the world and responded to it. I could probably come to overlook it, but it would be harder if the person insisted I respect their beliefs.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:12 PM
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130: There are certainly places here that serve vodka gimlets and tequila gimlets. One could argue that there's only One True Gimlet (and, indeed, I'd agree that ordering an unqualified "gimlet" and getting anything other than a gin gimlet would be odd and unexpected). But the first time I heard someone order a vodka gimlet, I knew exactly what that person was ordering.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:13 PM
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HELL IS OTHER PEOPLE


Posted by: OPINIONATED JEAN-PAUL SARTRE | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:13 PM
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Maybe this is nit picky, but, like, "hell is the absence of God," for example?

It depends how mushy they're willing to get. If they're willing to dilute hell until I'd be content there (ie, the absence of Jesus is just alright with me), then sure, believe away. But generally I think people's version of hell includes suffering.

I really don't know, since it's a topic I avoid, since I don't want to find out that people I like have hideous beliefs.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:14 PM
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Hell is other people.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:15 PM
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God dammit (to hell).


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:15 PM
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"You don't know how much shit I've had to take off of blackMaori midgets, man."

That's...undeniably true.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:16 PM
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eibeeh: Am I wrong that you krow at a souigiler loochs? Do they care about your views on this?


Posted by: elpru | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:16 PM
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I'm not sure if I could be seriously involved with an atheist or with a doctrinaire monotheist (or doctrinaire anything when you get down to it). I think I could deal with just about any non-bigoted belief system, as long as they were willing to acknowledge that ultimately we just don't know.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:18 PM
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I love how this thread has turned out to be primarily about religion.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:20 PM
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128

... Does this make me (us) intolerant?

Depends on how you are defining "significantly". Clinton vrs Obama yes.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:20 PM
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I'm openly not Christian there, but I wouldn't speak frankly as an atheist there. The school is affiliated with (a rather liberal) denomination of Christianity, but they only compose around 10% of the students and faculty, I think. The reason I wouldn't speak openly about being an atheist is because of the Southern Baptists.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:23 PM
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Thinking about it, I don't think upbringing gets one off the hook for racism. After a certain age, and maybe barring extreme direct traumatic experience, it's a moral choice. Just...no.

With hell, yeah I'm not a fan of the world view that includes an angry, vindictive God causing people to suffer. But I'd be more concerned about how they go about having relationships with people who they believe are going to that hell. How does that work? Like, how can you really respect me? I don't....yeah, that doesn't work in my brain.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:23 PM
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143: Religion is just a system for properly sexing God(s)/the divine/the infinite void.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:25 PM
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I was convinced for quite a long moment that 141 was the ToS.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:28 PM
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147 seems correct (audio).


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:28 PM
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Yeah, and if they don't try to convert you, it's like they don't care that you'll be damned to hell. The Elaine/Putty (Puddy?) problem. No win, really.

Anyway, the problem for me is much more the epistemological one. But tempered somewhat--maybe more than my first comment implied--by the recognition that almost everyone has lots of unjustifiable beliefs, especially about big picture stuff.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:28 PM
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146: I don't....

Someday you'll figure out how to finish your sentences.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:30 PM
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Anyway, the problem for me is much more the epistemological one. But tempered somewhat--maybe more than my first comment implied--by the recognition that almost everyone has lots of unjustifiable beliefs, especially about big picture stuff.

Sometimes I think that by the time I hit middle age I'll have reached the point of complete practicality. "You believe in unionized gnomes who spin the fabric of reality and can be bribed with appropriate amounts of cheese? Sure, why not. You're kind, and you smell nice."

It's possible this will happen even sooner.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:36 PM
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parsimon, is there a problem?


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:37 PM
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You're kind, and you smell nice.

That does go a long way.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:38 PM
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because of the Southern Baptists

I was at a post-funeral (Episcopalian, actually! with booze! but more bourbon than gin) reception yesterday, and an acquaintance, who's not now religious but growing up his dad was a preacher in North Carolina, commented something like, "Man, weddings and funerals are so much different for some people than the ones I grew up with. Shoot, after a wedding, you didn't even go somewhere else. Just out to the church lobby for some mints and chatting, and then home. It was just so... so..."

I finished his sentence, "Southern Baptist?"

"Exactly!" he said. And then he found us five dollars more cocktails and finger sandwiches.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:39 PM
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143: Genesis 1:29: "See, I have given you ... seed; to you it shall be for food."

Everything I learned about selective bible quotes, I learned in Sunday school.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:40 PM
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And then he found us five dollars more cocktails and finger sandwiches.

Gross!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:46 PM
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153: You don't finish your sentences! You trail off, as though it's supposed to be obvious. Half the time it is, in which case it didn't need to be written, but use your words if you're writing something!

That is all. It's a writing style that bugs me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:48 PM
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say, a Catholic and a Jew, both practicing, figuring out a mutually respectful way to remain together

It can be done, but you have to be ready for hate mail.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:50 PM
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I had no idea this Unitarian parenting subculture existed. Also, the fact that so many people here are terrified of all forms of religion is really depressing.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:51 PM
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158 lastly: I've not gone into major attack mode. Carry on as you will. Possibly this is a pet peeve of mine.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:52 PM
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Where do you get terrified from?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:53 PM
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106 - Guilty as charged. And I cross my 7s. (And I tried out for College Jeopardy and passed the written exam, but bombed out in the test game.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:53 PM
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Where do you get terrified from?

Terrifists.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:58 PM
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Where do you get terrified from?

I was wondering that as well. I find many Christian religions distasteful on any number of grounds, and it's hard not to find a correlation, at least in this country, between the christian religions and a conservatism that I find anathema, but terror?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:59 PM
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I'm both pretty religious and single, so I think about this question a fair amount, and I think at least right now I'd personally have a harder time dating a highly religious person that an atheist. Largely this is because I'm basically a hedonistic asshole. But, also, the intensity of religious dating -- the idea of dating from church just seems like too much pressure, even at the ultraliberal gay marriage Hollywood church I attend.

I probably wouldn't want to date, and wouldn't like, an aggressive Dawkins/Hitchens type, but somebody who had roughly the same ethics but said "for me, the God stuff just seems like bullshit" would be just fine.

Also, I don't think hell is actually central at all to Christianity, but that's another topic for another day.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 7:59 PM
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Also, I don't think hell is actually central at all to Christianity, but that's another topic for another day.

I've asked theologians and they said that the New Testament is unavoidably explicit about hell. Certainly individuals are free to discard any piece of doctrine they feel like, but there is no version of Christian doctrine that doesn't hold that there must be a hell.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 8:03 PM
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Someday you'll figure out how to finish your sentences

but use your words if you're writing something

I'm going to hope (and, for the sake of continued comity, assume) that you didn't intend these missives to come off quite as patronizing as they do. Suffice to say that obviously everyone has their own tastes, but as briefly implied earlier in this thread, civility demands that we treat each other with a minimum level of respect. So, I'd appreciate it if you could do that.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 8:04 PM
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I don't feel like I phrased that very well. Basically I was given the impression that hell is central to Christian doctrine, however distasteful it may be.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 8:04 PM
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168: Acknowledged.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 8:08 PM
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Ok. Thank you.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 8:11 PM
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somebody who had roughly the same ethics but said "for me, the God stuff just seems like bullshit"

That's basically my dad's relationship with the Mormon church. I think the social structure has been great for him, as he's sort of passive and taciturn; my mother's religiously motivated activity and sense of familial duty have kept his social circle from dwindling into nothing. He has been remarkably good about not being a dick about the religion, however. When asked, he'll answer frankly, but generally he'll keep his opinions to himself.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 8:13 PM
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As I understand it, the doctrine of universal salvation (everyone goes to heaven, there is no hell) was rejected as heresy by the Fifth Ecumenical Council as a part of their denunciation of Originism.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 8:14 PM
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Hmm. I still have a very definite fear / anxiety response to professed Christians. I'm pretty sure it has a lot to do with having more than a few negative experiences (some very negative) with them while growing up with gay parents, and then being gay myself. It's a visceral response, but -- and hey! this is relevant to what I said earlier! yay! -- it can be overcome; I've had really close relationships with very religious Christians.

But I don't think fear, or even, in some circumstances, terror, is necessarily an unwarranted response.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 8:24 PM
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I'm not terrified of Christians; I'm surrounded by them and it's impossible to know who would think me an immoral monster if I were open about my beliefs. I don't feel like having people think I'm an immoral monster. So I am closeted.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 8:28 PM
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Originism s/b Origenism


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 8:29 PM
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I have zero interest in a typically half-assed blog style conversation on the issue, but there's extremely little evidence in the Gospels or in early Christianity for the modern baptist notion of hell as the afterlife place of eternal punishment, lake of fire, or whatever. And really no evidence of hell as a place of punishment for not following some particular set of behavioral rules. There's plenty of stuff about the absence of God and what that means, but that's really distant from the modern notion of hell.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 8:30 PM
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So I am closeted.

Is that as unfun as I generally understand it to be? I think that's one of the other reasons Christians stress me out -- it immediately puts me back in the closet, however temporarily.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 8:31 PM
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Isn't UU for those who either feel the need for the social circle provided by religion or to not be openly agnostic/atheist in the bible belt (or to eat semen)?

I may have mentioned before that my parents occasionally felt guilty about not exposing me to religion and while we were still in America occasionally would ask me if I wanted to go to church, any church. I had a vague curiosity, but not enough to give up my Sunday mornings. Never got any shit from friends or their parents about not being religious.

On parental sex ed, anybody else have parents who starting in your mid teens would question you about whether you'd finally gotten laid yet? Somewhat traumatic. It was mostly my mom who I think regretted she hadn't slept around enough in her youth.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 8:37 PM
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I'm all in favor of Christians who don't buy into hell,
Halford. Or should I say Hellford?

More seriously, I thought the NT sentiment was "If you don't accept Jesus as your saviour, you're going there" and then the details of what there was like were all filled in later.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 8:37 PM
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(thinks about it)

If there is a hell, I am pretty sure Dick Cheney is going there, quite possibly to spend lots of quality time licking Saddam Hussein's boots clean. There's a real cast of characters for him to join - people like Lavrenti Beria. It seems to me, at a minimum a just and loving and merciful God would spend a lot of time hitting those people (people who make Ted Bundy look like a real sweetheart) upside their heads with a 2x4. (I mean, if I add up all the dead and the mangled (leave the merely tortured out of it), and lay those amputated lives end to end, that is a real long stretch of time... how could said just and merciful God not do something about that?)

On the other hand, my Buddhist leanings kick in and I figure Cheney will just be reincarnated a few thousand times as a cockroach. Which seems even crueler than hell.

max
['Actually, so does mean oblivion.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 8:37 PM
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"Definitely a component" I can see, but not necessarily "central to doctrine." If basic Christian doctrine is adequately summarized in, for example, the Nicene Creed, I don't see how important the concept of hell is in that.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 8:39 PM
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I really enjoy not having much dealing with religion or explicitly religious people in my day-to-day life.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 8:39 PM
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I think 174 is pretty reasonable. So many assholes are "Christians" that it's not insane to use it as a synonym for "social conservative asshole" even if that's deeply depressing for people like me.

So much depends on milieu though -- I basically never encounter any conservative evangelicals in any context, and generally feel like I need to keep even my super moderate Christianity under wraps in the world of Hollywood lawyers.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 8:40 PM
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The past couple days there have been a handful of 20somethings on our main street with signs reading "Chocolate-dipped Strawberries For Jesus!" I'm pretty sure it was meant with a wink, even though it was still a fundraiser for a church. I laughed.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 8:44 PM
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184: Sometimes I think I should deliberately try to spend some time among non-asshole Christians, or, more accurately, in places known for high numbers of religious Christians, where I would hopefully learn that the vast majority of them are not actually assholes. I've never gotten around to it. (Or, honestly, found it practical.) But it would be nice to have a reaction to a rather large population that wasn't "I assume you will try to cause me harm until proven otherwise."


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 8:48 PM
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basic Christian doctrine is adequately summarized in, for example, the Nicene Creed

This.

remarkably good about not being a dick about the religion

The question in the OP depends entirely on the respective parties' abilities to not be a dick.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 8:49 PM
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To 182, it's more like "God has given you this great opportunity for salvation, which means getting out of the unbearable cycle of selfishness and death and competition that's the world, and if you don't take advantage of it, you won't get it and will be stuck with this shitty life as it is."

There's a further message of " Oh, and don't be too sure you can get salvation by speaking some mumbo jumbo about religion or conforming to some code of rules, since that's not really the point."

Thats what I'm going with, anyway.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 8:49 PM
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My friend's 4 year old goes to super PC preschool. Instead of Valentine's day, they're celebrating Friendship Day. I can't even figure out the angle that parents would have complained about the original.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 9:00 PM
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So as not to offend unattractive children?


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 9:03 PM
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But I'd be more concerned about how they go about having
relationships with people who they believe are going to that hell . How does that work ? Like , how can you really respect me?

Yeah, this was the key point I had to sort out with the boyfriend in my religion freakout. "I'm cool that you're Catholic and I am not, but if you think I'm going to hell because I'm not Catholic, I can't cope." mostly, I'm with Jimmy in 142: as long as we can agree that we can never know with certainty, we'll get along fine.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 9:06 PM
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I spent this evening with a classmate who's a very liberal Catholic, and he mentioned that it's very important to him that he can't believe in a God who would send anyone to hell. That seems fair enough; not sure how you get there within Catholic theology, but then again you can probably get to just about any position you want to within theology (...laydeez). Anyway, universalism plus a willingness to put up with my being open about my atheism and my reasons for it would be fine in a relationship, I'd think.

As to the OP: I'm with Blume, just absolutely completely boggling that this sort of thing existed. I am very tempted to drop by the Div School library and find that filmstrip. (This is a pretty good paper about Mormon attitudes toward masturbation, although it doesn't capture the intensity of the dread and guilt that a lot of us were burdened with.)


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 9:23 PM
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I'm both pretty religious and single

Pretty, religious, and single are three things, so I don't think you can say "both" here.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 9:27 PM
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So, I'm confused, didn't any of the rest of you illicitly procure old copies of Playboy prior to any heavy-duty Sex Ed class stuff, giving you a warped outlook on sexuality that comprised an inordinate emphasis on stereo equipment, national security theory and Hollywood/New York literary scene gossip?

Since I grew up in a UCC church in a bustling metropolis where everyone knew there was halfway-decent sex ed in the schools, there was never any mention of it at church. But then they never talked about Hell either, so it was kind of a wash.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 9:35 PM
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Hm, this thread is interesting. I think I separate morals/values from religion. It's really hard to imagine being in a relationship with someone who doesn't, broadly speaking, share my values.

It's not at all difficult to imagine being with someone who isn't a Quaker, as long as they don't actively ridicule my faith. And actually, that's basically the position I'm in now -- he's a longtime atheist, but I'm not getting any sense of of eye-rolling or patronization from him. (Good thing, too!)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 9:37 PM
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192: I think JP2 said hell wasn't a place, but a metaphor describing a personal condition of separation from god. Or something. (But I think the new guy made it clear that he didn't think there were any metaphors involved and that bad people were sent there with devils and pitchforks and dancing flames.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 9:38 PM
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Like LB, I gained a lot of my knowledge (to inappropriately employ a success term) about sex from Travis McGee novels, which my mother kept on a high shelf in the family room. And my dad had some sort of Truly Tasteless Joke Book that supplied cryptic tidbits about orgasms and sexism. Oh, and then there was the 5th grade sex-ed day. When I was in 4th grade, most of my friends were 5th graders, and they refused to tell me what they'd learned, although they implied that essentially they now understood all the mysteries. And then the next year when it was my turn to be initiated into the knowledge of the secrets, my parents decided the program was too pro-masturbation (though I doubt semen-eating was depicted or even mentioned) and wouldn't sign the permission slip. I felt like the guy in The Greatest American Hero who never got the instruction book for his superhero suit.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 9:51 PM
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Instead of Valentine's day, they're celebrating Friendship Day. I can't even figure out the angle that parents would have complained about the original.

Perhaps the idea that it is sort of creepy for little children to have sweethearts and romances, and that's what Valentine stuff tends to suggest.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-13-11 9:51 PM
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I recall being on the business end of the sex talk

which end is the business end? errr, dad?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 1:12 AM
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Instead of Valentine's day, they're celebrating Friendship Day. I can't even figure out the angle that parents would have complained about the original.

Your imagination is limited by your sanity. People can't even remember if they saw semen tasting dude in church let alone what their grade school holiday parties were like. For kids every in school celebration boils down to stuff like coloring, crafts, and candy. They could be celebrating Mayan genital blood letting and all the kids would want to know is what crafts they were going to make and whether or not they could pass out candy with their friends.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 1:23 AM
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Are all American Unitarians unreconstructed hippies? Because most of those I've met this side of the ditch have been quite serious minded- and elderly- Arians, who are certainly politically and theologically liberal rather than not, but certainly not Kumbaya singing freaks.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 1:30 AM
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My friend's 4 year old goes to super PC preschool. Instead of Valentine's day, they're celebrating Friendship Day. I can't even figure out the angle that parents would have complained about the original.

Emerson complained.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 1:43 AM
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re: 201

Hehheh, they made us sing Kumbaya at school, and our school minister [at least when I was little, our high school minister was a woman, and liberal] was fairly fire and brimstone (for a Church of Scotland minister).

I did a bit of work in Oxford for a religious college [computing stuff, not philosophy] and had a lot of interesting philosophical conversations* with the former principal of the college, who like a lot of theologians I've met was a billion miles away from the type of head-banging dogmatic ignoramus that characterizes much US discussion of religious believers by non-believers. I expect [d'uh] views of Christianity by non-Christians are heavily skewed by the type of Christians you come in contact with.

* interesting for me, if not for him.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 1:47 AM
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but not a lot of attention to social or interpersonal aspects of sex. That, I think I picked up mostly from Clan of The Cave Bear and sequels

Same here. Although I think one could do a lot worse--at least, if we're only focusing on the sequels. Very sex-as-mutual-pleasure, creepy possessiveness treated as a bad thing, etc.

Of course, my other early influences were the Anne Rice witch & mummy books; not so positive!


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 1:49 AM
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In other sex news, Wild Oats founder's quest for freshness goes a bit too far.

The chief executive officer of a Western grocery store chain resigned after he was arrested in a child prostitution sting, according to police and CNN affiliate KNXV. Michael Gilliland, 52, was one of eight people arrested in the sting, said Steve Martos, spokesman for Phoenix police. He is accused of soliciting sex online from a girl who identified herself as a minor on Thursday

Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 1:58 AM
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If basic Christian doctrine is adequately summarized in, for example, the Nicene Creed, I don't see how important the concept of hell is in that.

Unlike the Apostles' Creed where it gets a sentence to itself, and the Apostles' creed is pretty damn short.

Most liberal theologians I've met go with "Hell is separation from God", but AFAIK there's no textual justification for this in the bible. I've seen it said that Jesus' reported comment about people being cast into hellfire literally translates as "dumped in the city incinerator outside Jerusalem", but I don't know if that's true.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 2:13 AM
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203. IME most theologians are a billion miles from headbanging dogmatic ignoramuses, but sadly the Bob Jones U. type product is actually out there too, damaging people.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 2:16 AM
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207: it is also important to remember that (at least based on the theologians I've talked to) most theologians believe a set of stuff about God etc that is utterly at odds with what most ordinary pewfillers believe about God. For a start, it's a much smaller set.
This is theologians who've been to proper universities, obvs.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 3:55 AM
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What ordinary pewfillers believe about God etc can, I think, be summarised as the sum of All Things Bright and Beautiful and There is a Green Hill Far Away. The more exotic protestant sects, especially those whose literal reading of the bible excludes the sermon on the mount, add a series of bizarre beliefs about what Fred Clark describes as the "magic words", but on a global scale they're (thankfully) a pretty small minority.

Theology by contrast, pace Rchard Dawkins & Co., involves a degree of mental exercise.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 4:08 AM
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179.last: Not quite so bluntly (and really just my mom) but yeah. She did a lot of pointing out of places where I could "park" with my high school boyfriend, which I had absolutely no interest in doing. And then when I wanted to break up with the boyfriend, she asked flat out if it was because I was in love with my (female) best friend. I think she meant well, and I certainly appreciated her liberality when TJ and I were newly dating and visiting home for Christmas, but at the time it was kind of traumatizing.


Posted by: Bonsaisue | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 4:08 AM
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I've seen it said that Jesus' reported comment about people being cast into hellfire literally translates as "dumped in the city incinerator outside Jerusalem", but I don't know if that's true.

It's not. Hell as the Lake Of Fire was a New Testament innovation. The Old Testament version was gehenna, which is roughly a burning trashpile. Or so I was told in a Unitarian theology class.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 5:57 AM
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When I was in 4th grade, most of my friends were 5th graders, and they refused to tell me what they'd learned, although they implied that essentially they now understood all the mysteries.

It takes a while to appreciate all the stuff about Xenu and the body thetans.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 6:11 AM
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I heard that Al Gore claimed he was the inspiration for today's Google page


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 6:11 AM
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My Lord! Pauly is writing Andrew Sullivan's headlines. Congrats to Pauly on finally getting a job.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 6:19 AM
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Stanley, I'm an atheist in a relationship with a Christian and now we're even raising a child to be Christian-ish. (That's a whole other topic, because I'm more comfortable talking about difficult things and also know more about theology, so I end up being the one talking to her about things I don't believe. This is kind of easy with, say, Islamic artifacts at the art museum, but not so much when I'm talking about what Lee believes. Lee needs to step up, but on the other hand she'll tell Mara things I don't like or agree with.)

I think things were harder on Lee than on me in a lot of respects. I abide by her house rule that no one say "goddamn," even though I think it's stupid that "damn" itself isn't on the banned list since I think her way makes no sense. But she's had to reevaluate things and no longer believes non-believers are going to hell because I'm so objectively awesome that even Jesus has to take notice. It probably helped that she'd gone through a very difficult process deciding the same thing about herself and God's take on gayness, so the precedent was there.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 6:31 AM
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"God has given you this great opportunity for salvation, which means getting out of the unbearable cycle of selfishness and death and competition that's the world, and if you don't take advantage of it, you won't get it and will be stuck with this shitty life as it is."

So you are a Buddhist, or maybe a Hindu. Cool.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 6:31 AM
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But she's had to reevaluate things and no longer believes non-believers are going to hell because I'm so objectively awesome that even Jesus has to take notice.

This is really sweet.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 6:32 AM
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Everything you wanted to know about Hell but were afraid to ask. Unfortunately they seem to have stopped developing that site before it was complete, but there's a ton of good stuff about damnation in it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 6:41 AM
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We're actually about to face an important issue in childraising and religion.

Molly and the kids were going to a UU church for a while. I never went, but the way she talked about it, it fit all the UU stereotypes, including a transgendered minister delivering a sermon on gender neutral pronouns. She recently switched to a Quaker meeting, which is the religion she was raised in.

I've started going too, which is kinda strange. Given what I actually think about religion,* I should be more at home with the UUs, with their complete latitude in belief. Still, Quaker practice feels better to me.

In any case, ack... I'll finish this comment later.


* I call myself an atheist, because for all practical purposes I am. I've been thinking about metaphysical monism recently, though, especially the proposition "If there is exactly one god, then there is exactly one object."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 6:46 AM
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Anywhoo, the Meeting is having a meeting of all the parents in the Meeting to talk about religious education for the kids and what topics they should cover. And now we need to think about what we want. Teaching kids about world religions is an obvious one, as is tolerance and religious pluralism. If those aren't present in spades I'd seriously think about pulling the kids out.

But what else to talk about? For me religion is either (1) mocking fundamentalists or (2) a graduate seminar in metaphysics, neither of which is appropriate for children.

How should we approach the Bible? The Meeting house had a whole bunch of Bible stories for children books upstairs in the kids' rooms. They were standard fare, designed to completely hide what a fucked up book it is. Maybe I should just let the Meeting tell the stories they want to tell, and present my own side of things at home. I dunno.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 6:59 AM
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transgendered minister

Let me take up the argument about terminology that we all had last week! I almost added this but thought better of it, but I no longer say "transgendered" even though I think in some ways it's very useful, but there are so many transgender activists who object to it and want "transgender" for all uses and so that's what I do now.

Also, thanks for responding before Jesus McQueen had a chance to disagree about the degree to which I'm a-okay.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 7:03 AM
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a classmate who's a very liberal Catholic, and he mentioned that it's very important to him that he can't believe in a God who would send anyone to hell. That seems fair enough; not sure how you get there within Catholic theology

This is neither a rare position for liberal catholics, nor--carefully worded--is it considered heretical according to official catholic orthodoxy. (Although plenty of individual catholics think it's quite wrong.) The non-heretical position is that hell exists* but that we can hope that god is merciful enough to send no one there. This is in some ways an easier position to reach under Catholic theology than under a lot of a protestant theology; pugatory* helps a lot, for example.

* Perhaps--even probably--as a state of being rather than a "place".

* Likewise may not denote actual physical fire.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 7:07 AM
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Is the idea that "transgender" sounds like an identity, but "transgendered" sounds like you had something done to you?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 7:07 AM
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222 would have benefitted both from a few links and from a good proofreader. But you get neither.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 7:08 AM
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I've got nothing intelligent to add, but that's never stopped me before! Happy Valentine's Day to my best (BEST! BEST! BEST!) friends in the whole wide world. Mmmmmm-wah!


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 7:16 AM
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217 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 7:17 AM
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Four! Four AYS alumni in the thread so far.

Five!

I know I've talked about it here before, but neither Google nor Yahoo will tell me where.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 7:21 AM
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Urple should do a guest post on Catholic doctrine some day.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 7:22 AM
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The non-heretical position is that hell exists* but that we can hope that god is merciful enough to send no one there.

I vaguely remembered something Hans Küng wrote about the fire that burneth without consuming (thanks, Google, except for scraping the last fragments of humanity from the tropes of self-presentation in the developed West):

"Hell in any case is not to be understood mythologically as a place in the upper or underworld, but theologically as an exclusion from the fellowship of the living God, described in a variety of images but nevertheless unimaginable, as the absolutely final possibility of distance from God, which man cannot of himself a priori exclude. Man can miss the meaning of his life, he can shut himself out of God's fellowship."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 7:24 AM
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220: What about history of Quakers and Quakerism? I bet there's some good stories of pacifists standing up for what they believe that it'd be good for kids to hear. Plus Penn and religious freedom.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 7:27 AM
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What about history of Quakers and Quakerism?

Cough Richard M. Nixon cough.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 7:29 AM
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206: Unlike the Apostles' Creed where it gets a sentence to itself, and the Apostles' creed is pretty damn short.

If you are talking about what I think you are talking about ("He descended into hell"), that is almost a third meaning of hell (in addition to a lake of fire or separation from God). In that text, they are talking about a general place where all souls went after death before the Resurrection.

Most liberal theologians I've met go with "Hell is separation from God", but AFAIK there's no textual justification for this in the bible.

That seems also wrong, unless being cast into darkness is too subtle.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 7:30 AM
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Having read 163, I hereby change 227 to:

Six!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 7:32 AM
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Plus Penn and religious freedom.

It's not just a safety school anymore.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 7:33 AM
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In that text, they are talking about a general place where all souls went after death before the Resurrection.

I have been told, though I am not familiar with the literature first-hand, that there is substantial theological treatment of the implications, soteriological and other, of what might be colloquially rendered as "Where was Jesus between the Passion and the Resurrection?"


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 7:37 AM
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232: Also, what about all the parables of the Kingdom of Heaven, which say things like "there will be two women working in the field, and one will be taken and one will be left behind." Etc. Those always struck me as saying that God is going to divide the good and the bad, and the bad are fucked.

Russell argues that Jesus believes in heaven and hell in "Why I Am Not a Christian" although he is not a particularly good interpreter of any system of ideas other than his own.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 7:40 AM
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235: Engraving golden plates in upstate New York?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 7:41 AM
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Urple should do a guest post on Catholic doctrine some day.

"Can you make twizzlers ... in hell?"


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 7:42 AM
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237: "Could Jesus create a to-do list so ridiculous that even He couldn't complete it?"


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 7:43 AM
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236.1: Yes, but I thought we were arguing "how" not "whether or not"?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 7:43 AM
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OT: It is Valentine's Day, and my FB friends will know precisely what I think, but this Matt Zoller Seitz slideshow of "Cinema's great declarations of love" properly includes the "Are you lonesome tonight?" song from Top Secret!:

"Are you lonesome tonight?
Is your kitchen a sight?
Is your wardrobe all run down and bare?
Is your lipstick all smeared?
All your stockings not sheared?
Do they make your legs show off your hair?
Do the tears on your pillow roll down as you turn?
Do they short out the blanket and make the sheets burn?
Is your heart filled with pain? Will you come back again?
Shop at Macy's and love me tonight."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 7:52 AM
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Well, since my baby left me
I found a new place to dwell...


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 8:05 AM
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The most relevant part from the "Hell" subsection of the Catholic Catechism (1.2.3.12.IV):

1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal fire." The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.
Note the quotes around eternal fire and the nature of the chief punishment. Elsewhere (and in commentary) it is noted that there is no wiggling out from the reality of Hell and its being eternal, but as noted in thread, no presumption that anyone need end up there.

Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 8:11 AM
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223: I know there are variations on the argument, but that's the gist.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 8:38 AM
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243 to 242.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 8:41 AM
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243: Interesting. So what counts as mortal sin?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 8:44 AM
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246: Well, although the Catechism gives the trappings of clarity on that, there are some weasel words in there*. So there is a lot of commentary and room for interpretation. The big "out" is that it is up to God.

1861 ... However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.
*It starts strong but then gets wobbly on "grave matter"
1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent."
1858 Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: "Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother." The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger.
1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 9:00 AM
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244: Ok, fine by me. "Transgender" it is.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 9:01 AM
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192/222: Hell exists, and yes, it's a horrible place. But God doesn't send anyone there; the people in it chose to go there because they chose to ignore God and reject His love.

I don't think it's a particularly liberal view, but it's a view of God that's different from the Old-Testament, I-am-a-jealous-god stuff. It gets rid of the hellfire and damnation... by replacing them with extreme passive-aggressiveness.

246
243: Interesting. So what counts as mortal sin?

IANACatholic, obviously, but I think the official definition is dying without a final confession and/or without asking for forgiveness at your last conscious moment. That is, dying ("mortality") with sins on your conscience. More or less. Alternately, a more ecumenical viewpoint is that only really, really horrible stuff counts as "mortal sin", like serial killing.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 9:02 AM
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In that text, they are talking about a general place where all souls went after death before the Resurrection.

It'd be nice to think that, wouldn't it? But I think you're being a bit over-confident. The creed says he descended εις τα κατώτατα - into the lowest things. I don't know of any tradition which says that souls are warehoused among the lowest thing until the resurrection, do you? Matthew says he spent three days in the heart of the earth, as Jona spent three days in the belly of the fish. Make of that what you will - it might just mean in the tomb, but the rather lurid analogy seems to suggest he's reaching for more than that.

I really don't think the biblical cites tell us much about what was going on in the heads of the people who wrote them, but I notice that the latin uses inferna, which is at one level a simple translation of τα κατώτατα but is also standardly used to mean Hell.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 9:03 AM
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For a depiction of "hell as choosing to reject God", see C.S. Lewis' The Last Battle.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 9:04 AM
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249: but I think the official definition is dying without a final confession and/or without asking for forgiveness at your last conscious moment.

Yes, I think that is captured in the final paragraph in the "The Gravity of Sin: Mortal and Venial Sin" section.

1864 "Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin." There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit. Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss.
Not entirely consistent with the whole mortal/venial dealio, but whatevs.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 9:11 AM
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250: I try not to be over-confident about anything, but I suppose it is a possibility. However, I think the "judges the living and the dead" is the place where both Creeds cover the punishment part of things.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 9:14 AM
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It gets rid of the hellfire and damnation... by replacing them with extreme passive-aggressiveness.

Mouseover text?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 9:16 AM
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Actually, I do try to be over-confident about a great number of things, but not theological ones.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 9:19 AM
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Are all American Unitarians unreconstructed hippies?

Not all, just an awful lot. (And of course there's selection bias in the stories that get told.) IME, most congregations have an ongoing struggle between the people who go to church to sing Kumbaya and those who go to think about theology. The UK strain of UUs not only tips the balance towards the latter side but also stresses Universalism (and quasi-mainline Christianity) much more than the Unitarianism (and heresy). Reciting the Lord's Prayer in a UU church: unexpected.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 9:41 AM
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235: Engraving golden plates in upstate New York?

Don't be ridiculous. Everyone knows it was a New World steel wielding Jew.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 10:05 AM
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194: didn't any of the rest of you illicitly procure old copies of Playboy prior to any heavy-duty Sex Ed class stuff, giving you a warped outlook on sexuality that comprised an inordinate emphasis on stereo equipment, national security theory and Hollywood/New York literary scene gossip?

Per my 46, yes on the illicitly-procured Playboys, and "sort of" on the other parts. While I was writing 46 I was thinking of the mixed role of Playboy in both my own views of sex and the whole "sexual revolution". [Started to spell it out, but too long and no one cares--synopsis: mixed with the negatives easily outweighing the positives.]


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 10:14 AM
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Also, thanks for responding before Jesus McQueen had a chance to disagree about the degree to which I'm a-okay.

You're objectively awesome, Thorn.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 10:15 AM
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Unlike the Apostles' Creed where it gets a sentence to itself, and the Apostles' creed is pretty damn short.

That has hell, but as a place Jesus descended to, not as a place all sinners are tortured forever. Again, doesn't seem central to doctrine.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 10:25 AM
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Maybe I should just let the Meeting tell the stories they want to tell, and present my own side of things at home. I dunno.

You could try raising them Amish.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 10:35 AM
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251 is a scene up there with the least appealing and most narrowminded of Lewis's entire series. Ha ha ha, the dwarves are for the dwarves! Those subhumans certainly cannot appreciate the finer things, like God! Socialists, amirite?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 10:37 AM
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I'm a lonely Pauly. Nobody will be my valentine.

:(


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 10:41 AM
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the Meeting is having a meeting of all the parents in the Meeting to talk about religious education for the kids ... (2) a graduate seminar in metaphysics, neither of which is appropriate for children.

Well, right; you give them an undergrad-level seminar. Quakers are precocious, should be fine.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 10:53 AM
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Does anyone remember an article in Harpers (RIP) from a few (many?) years ago on the history of public education? I ask because it began with a startling excerpt from some kid's homework about God and metaphysics and a whole bunch of other things that we now associate with graduate degrees, and the kid turned out to be, like, 10. And possibly a quaker.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 11:04 AM
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Why does Pauly Shore address himself in the third person? Inquiring minds want to know!


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 11:07 AM
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Since we're still talking about this,this is a fairly decent overview, in plain language, of the various uses of "hell" (an English word used to cover at least three distinct concepts) in the New Testament and early Christian thought. The key passage (I think, and I'm no theologian) is this:

The notion of Hell in early Christianity likely followed the lines of Greco-Roman thought; a very, very few righteous and favored souls came to a pleasant afterlife, similar to the Elysian fields, while the rest, the vast majority, lingered in a non-descript, shadowy, relatively unpleasant afterlife. The stories told of it being a punishment for the wicked, are found in two places: in Jesus' stories extolling the virtue of compassion and selflessness, in which those who did not follow these rules ended up in torment; and in Revelation, something of an epic in which all of God's enemies ended up in eternal perdition. Both cases, then, are illustrative in nature. Early Christians did not write extensively on Hell and appear not to have taken these as literally as many do, today.

It would have been fairly easy for the gospels themselves to have developed an extensive mythological narrative with precise descriptions of heaven, hell, and the afterlife, but in fact that kind of narrative is at best extremely peripheral to the overall message of the Gospel, which is overwhelmingly concerned with the present or (what was then seen to be the very near-term, soon to arrive) Second Coming. Of course this puts aside the question of the weight one should place on any single passage of the New Testament given what we know about how the Gospels were written and compiled, etc.

Moreover, what references there are appear to be either illustrative or references to broader Greek or Hebrew mythological elements that Christianity did not displace. There's a broader question about how to interpret in Christian terms elements that simply adopt common mythologies of the period; a key example is casting out demons -- some people interpret this to mean that the New Testament tells you that demons exist, but by far the more reasonable explanation is just that people of that era really did believe in demons and were trying to explain phenomena in language that they understood.

It is fairly clear that a narrative of hell had begun by the early dark ages, and the medieval narrative of hell as a physical place complete with torment, etc., of course plays a big role in the history of how folks think about this issue, but [insert disclaimer here that I don't really know what I'm talking about] there's really no reason to accept that story as more centrally or accurately "Christian" than the story about the concept of "hell" in English being a metaphor for the absence of God's presence.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 12:03 PM
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59, 61, 62: Canonically, "...any number of gods except three".


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 12:07 PM
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The real ancestors the current xian notions of hell and the soul are not in the Jewish tradition at all. It all comes from the Greeks, especially Plato and the Pythagoreans. That's where you get the idea of the soul as a separate entity from the body, one that carries your true identity, and one that receives punishments and rewards in the next world. (This bit of history is simplified from Bruno Snell)


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 12:40 PM
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that kind of narrative is at best extremely peripheral to the overall message of the Gospel, which is overwhelmingly concerned with the present or (what was then seen to be the very near-term, soon to arrive) Second Coming.

Well, yes, but ideas of hell are closely connected with the account of the Second Coming in Revelation. That's where the lake of fire shows up, and all. The devout might see this as a peripheral concern since they don't have to worry about it.

From personal experience: I was sent as a kid to a private christian elementary school for awhile, but my parents pulled me out because my first grade teacher freaked me out so seriously with her enthusiastic dispensations on how awesome it was going to be when the wicked burned in hell. They (my parents, not the wicked) were of the "no one goes to hell" persuasion, but as a kid I found this completely unconvincing, as they were pewfillers, and all the authorities assured me otherwise. And Most Christians I know now take the "hell is just a voluntary separation from God's love" stance, which I do approve of as less sadistic, but it always struck me as a rationalization of historic beliefs rather than anything based on theological research.

I was too early to experience the Second Coming Left Behind craze (that coincided with Clinton's presidency, funny how that works!), but it was certainly strange hearing a liberal Lutheran acquaintance talk about how she really expected the Second Coming; nobody took that as anything but a metaphor in the church and bible camps I grew up in. Things can go back and forth in how literally people take odd points of their religion, and fads of belief can spill over from the extreme to the mainstream.


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 12:41 PM
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Yes, 269 gets it exactly right.

I was actually under the (offhand and maybe mistaken) impression that there was no references to hell in the Old Testament, just to Death and The Grave. There's the standard line about the Old Testament fire-and-brimstone versus New Testament universal love, but the eternal torment idea I gathered in my youth was apparently a New Testament innovation, making use of exciting developments in metaphysics among the Greeks.


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 12:55 PM
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some people interpret this to mean that the New Testament tells you that demons exist, but by far the more reasonable explanation is just that people of that era really did believe in demons and were trying to explain phenomena in language that they understood.

Some people read the New Testament to suggest that God exists, but I think your explanation makes more sense regarding that phenomenon, too.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 1:02 PM
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I guess unsurprisingly there is a fairly extensive Wikipedia article on "Hell in Christian beliefs".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 1:06 PM
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272: Touché.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 1:10 PM
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Some people read the New Testament to suggest that God exists, but I think your explanation makes more sense regarding that phenomenon, too.

This is probably just proof of my unrepentant apostacy, but the aforequoted bit of snark actually seems totally compatible with Christianity to me. I hardly think we have anything near a complete understanding of God (those of us who believe in such an entity in the first place). So why shouldn't we believe that the New Testament represents an attempt to explain God in language the authors understood?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 1:28 PM
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(Obviously, when I say "compatible with Christianity" I mean "compatible with my particular, probably idiosyncratic, formulation thereof.")


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 1:29 PM
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I guess this is as good a place as any to say that I've been reading Gee/rtz's "Islam Observed" today, on Islam in Morocco & Indonesia, and it's pretty awesome. What a great writer.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 1:32 PM
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277: I liked his article on cock fighting so much I bought a bunch of chickens so I could be like him. Then somebody explained that I missed his point.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 1:38 PM
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I was actually under the (offhand and maybe mistaken) impression that there was no references to hell in the Old Testament, just to Death and The Grave.

There are a few scattered references to Sheol, which was apparently conceived as a vague sort of afterlife to which everyone went regardless of what they did in life, but the afterlife in general gets very little emphasis. The OT conception of "sinners in the hands of an angry God" all had to do with punishment in this life.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 2:26 PM
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Wikipedia says Pharasees believed in an afterlife and Sadducees didn't. Which fits with what Catholic school taught me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 2:38 PM
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279: See also Gehenna; In both Rabbinical Jewish and Early Christian writing, Gehenna was a destination of the wicked. This is different from the more neutral Sheol/Hades, the abode of the dead, though English Bibles traditionally translate both with the Anglo-Saxon concept Hell (that's from Wikipedia).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 2:41 PM
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I like to believe that the underworld is a tangy emulsion, based on meticulous study of the Hellman's line of products.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 2:41 PM
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The OT conception of "sinners in the hands of an angry God" all had to do with punishment in this life.

The OT God doesn't wait around, see. Efficiency.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 2:45 PM
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believed in an afterlife and Sadducees didn't

That's why they were sad, you see.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 2:45 PM
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Wikipedia is like a drug to me. Now I'm learning about the Kitos War.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 2:46 PM
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I must admit to being pleased that the Valentine's Day thread turns out to be a discussion of hell.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 2:49 PM
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285: Knowlege is the drug, man.

Wikipedia is just the supplier.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 3:02 PM
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The google proofing in 277 has to be the strangest since Bitch decided to google-proof "Seattle"


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 3:08 PM
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This is probably just proof of my unrepentant apostacy, but the aforequoted bit of snark actually seems totally compatible with Christianity to me. I hardly think we have anything near a complete understanding of God (those of us who believe in such an entity in the first place). So why shouldn't we believe that the New Testament represents an attempt to explain God in language the authors understood?

The exact analogue, though, would be to say that didn't have a clear understanding of why reality existed in the first place, and idea of God was an attempt to explain reality in a language the authors understood.

Of course, today we have a much wider variety of ways to fail to explain the universe. We shouldn't limit ourselves simply to failed explanations and hopeful storytelling that involve personal, creator gods.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 3:15 PM
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I like to believe that the underworld is a tangy emulsion

I think of it more as a tangy mayonnaise and relish sauce.


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 3:39 PM
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I think of it more as a tangy mayonnaise and relish sauce.

Q.E.D.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 3:42 PM
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I like to think the relish adds value.

There are a few scattered references to Sheol, which was apparently conceived as a vague sort of afterlife to which everyone went regardless of what they did in life

I'd sort of been assuming that "the place where everyone goes regardless of actions in life" boils down to "Death; The Grave", and the readings about there being "afterlife" involved were being projected on by later Christian types who took some sort of spirit afterlife as a given.


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 4:03 PM
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183 is about where I'm at. The closest correlate is that I occasionally find myself among Jews who insist that that Israel has no friends, is on the brink of annihilation, and the kids don't care. On questions of observance or metaphysics the badgering is nonexistent.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 4:43 PM
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The exact analogue, though, would be to say that didn't have a clear understanding of why reality existed in the first place

Compared to we enlightened modern folk, who can spend a hundred comments bickering about what "real" means.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 5:16 PM
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Anyway, let's not forget:

Strindberg: We are already in hell.
Helium: Heeeeelllll!

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 5:22 PM
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||

I'm thinking the computer's gonna win.

|>


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 5:42 PM
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294: I know! This "god" talk is so old-skool. Whatcha mean, "entity"?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 5:51 PM
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Quarks are realer than hell.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 6:15 PM
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I would have to agree, JP.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 6:25 PM
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298 I like the firm variety myself, but the soft German style one is fine as a desert base.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 6:29 PM
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I think that's called Tatooinequark, yes?


Posted by: ursyne | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 6:38 PM
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I could have written 166.

Or, I endorse it at least. I can't actually write things quite that sincere.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 9:21 PM
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"The real ancestors the current xian notions of hell and the soul are not in the Jewish tradition at all. It all comes from the Greeks, especially Plato and the Pythagoreans. That's where you get the idea of the soul as a separate entity from the body, one that carries your true identity, and one that receives punishments and rewards in the next world. (This bit of history is simplified from Bruno Snell)"

isn't it from the various breakoff sects, who started popping up around the right time, but defined themselves against the urban hellens?


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 9:26 PM
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Anyway, I like the story Jesus told about the guy who burned in Hell for being rich.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 02-14-11 9:30 PM
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In both Rabbinical Jewish and Early Christian writing, Gehenna was a destination of the wicked.

And these visions of Johanna are now all that remain.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-15-11 2:16 AM
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This semen-tasting thing has always mystified me. Since my earliest days of self-abuse, the urge to find out what my own spunk might taste like never had a fighting chance against the urge to quick wipe this goddam smelly gross shit off of me!. Wondering what your spunk tastes like makes about as much sense as wondering what your snot tastes like.

Then again, my position seems harder to justify given my enthusiasm for sucking cocks (that is, those attached to the right people of course), in which context having a mouth full of semen not only doesn't seem like a big deal, it's practically a little party favor.

But the thought of tasting my own still grosses me out. I know. It makes no sense.


Posted by: piminnowcheez | Link to this comment | 02-15-11 5:08 PM
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