To counterbalance that last one

From Ben Jones’s “Benblog“:

That is our challenge, unique in the cosmos, to know that our own brief existence is simply a moment in time, and to experience that breath in the universe with a smile, knowing that we will fade once again into the oneness, floating someday, cosmic dust in a snowflake, minerals floating the phloem, breathed ourselves in and out of the ever unfolding universe.

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Now that is one good insult

From Yahoo! News (March 2004):

Andy Rooney certainly knows how to stir the passion in his viewers. The ’60 Minutes’ curmudgeon said Sunday he got 30,000 pieces of mail and e-mail in response to his Feb. 22 commentary, in which he called ‘The Passion of the Christ’ filmmaker Mel Gibson a ‘wacko.’

It’s the biggest viewer response ever to a segment on the CBS newsmagazine, which has been on the air since 1968, a spokesman said. …

He read some of the mail on the air, including one letter that called him an ‘asinine, bottom-dwelling, numb-skulled, low-life, slimy, sickening, gutless, spineless, ignorant, pot-licking, cowardly pathetic little weasel.’

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Love those pamphlet titles

From “American Jezebel by Eve LaPlante“, a review of a biography of Anne Hutchinson, in Salon:

If [Anne] Hutchinson had been born a man, some historians argue, she might have found a place in her society as a minister. She might have carved out a life like that of John Cotton, the unorthodox founder of Congregationalism, Hutchinson’s teacher and the man her family had followed to Boston when he was forced to leave England. On the other hand, she might have turned out like the renegade Rev. Roger Williams, another early settler of Rhode Island, who was driven out of Boston for voicing a variety of objectionable views, most notably the belief that the English had no right to claim Indian lands or subject Native Americans to forced conversions. Williams conducted a pamphlet feud with Cotton, set off when he published ‘The Bloody Tenet of Persecution,’ a tract in support of religious freedom. Cotton then put out ‘The Bloody Tenet Washed and Made White in the Blood of the Lamb.’ Williams responded with ‘The Bloody Tenet Made Yet More Bloody by Mr. Cotton’s Endeavor to Wash It White in the Blood of the Lamb.

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Timelessness, eternity, god

From "Science and Faith", at Ockham’s Razor:

Time, along with matter and space is a constituent part of our universe. Time cannot exist without matter and space. So it makes no sense to talk about a time before our universe came into existence. …

To begin with, what does the fact that there is no absolute time say about God? If one accepts that God has created the universe, through the Big Bang or some other means, then he must have created time in the process.

So God is not constrained by time, and God is not carried along in time as we are. God simply is. …

It follows that God is not waiting to find out what the future holds. For God, it is already present. You might imagine God as seeing the whole of creation, beginning, middle and end, all laid out before him. Rather like the pictures on the wall of an ancient tomb, or perhaps like the frames of a movie film. …

At first glance, God’s knowledge of the future might suggest predestination. But that does not take into account that we ourselves are moving through time. …

But having made that choice, you will not be able to go back and change it. It will have been swept away in time to become an immutable fact. And similarly for all our lives, our free choices are turned into unchangeable facts by the passage of time. … Does that mean that it was predestined? Certainly not. It simply means that our free will, within time, exists alongside God’s foreknowledge, outside of time.

The common understanding of eternity is of time simply going on and on forever. But as science now indicates, time can only exist as long as space and matter, that is our universe, exists. And since science also indicates that the universe is finite (that is, it had a beginning some time ago and will come to an end one way or another sometime in the future), our time, and hence our eternity are finite also. …

We need to think of an afterlife that involves a transfer of consciousness into a timeless state that is linked in some way to God’s being.

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Self-sacrifice in plague time

From The Plague in Britain, on The Science Show:

Outside London, the disease spread wherever the plague flea travelled, and it is thought to have reached the village of Eyam in Derbyshire that September of 1665 in a box of tailor’s samples and old clothing sent to Edward Cooper, a village trader. … by mid-summer 1666 over seventy of the village’s 360 inhabitants had succumbed.

It was [Rev. William] Mompesson, a married man with two children, who took the step that made Eyam famous – he urged his congregation to follow Jesus’s words in the Gospel of St John: ‘Greater love hath no man that this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’. Rather than fleeing the village and spreading the infection around the Peak District, argued the young rector, the community should stick together and help their fellow-men. This, clearly, was to risk their own lives in an act of extraordinary self-sacrifice. The congregation agreed, and for more than a year Eyam became effectively a huge plague house, shut off from the world. Their neighbours, meanwhile, who included the Earl of Devonshire at nearby Chatsworth House, responded to their gesture by leaving food and other provisions at the outskirts of the village. Derbyshire was spared further plague, and Eyam paid the price, losing more than 260 inhabitants, some three-quarters of the population. Among the last to die was Mompesson’s wife Catherine, who had gone from house to house during the outbreak, ministering to the sick.

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