The last of my grandparents just passed away (it was peaceful and expected) but I'm struggling to hold myself together. I think my grieving is normal since it just happened but I'd love to hear advice and techniques to think of his life and death in positive, comforting ways. [more inside]
Can you give me quotes from historical or mythical religious figures on the thought that life is process, that one is never "finished"?
What is the best way to start lecturing on a new self-help / philosophy type concept? Is it better to organize your own lectures first, or to join various existing conferences? If the former, does anyone have any tips or pointers to books on how best to organize and effectively publicize these lectures, and stories about how others have done it? If the latter, does anyone have any tips on how to successfully apply for a speaking slot at a conference? No blog-related tips, please.
December 23, 2014
We are looking for a "midnight" mass Christmas service in Providence or Warwick, RI. We are not religious and don't live there, but nonetheless have very specific desires (after the break). [more inside]
December 19, 2014
Is there some kind of discernible justification for the allowance of the word "em" (meaning, the letter "m") in Scrabble, and not, say for example, the "word" "ee" (meaning, the letter "e")? I mean, who the heck decided "em" was a word, and if it is, why aren't all letters "words"?! [more inside]
When I was young, I remember reading a Jewish fable, or maybe even many different versions of a fable, about a wily trickster who outwits someone or something who is holding him or his community hostage. It might have been Herschel or Hillel, but whoever it is, he succeeds by bluffing that he is going to do something awful if he doesn't get what he wants. [more inside]
December 14, 2014
Please help me decide how to ethically consume books now that I'm the owner of a brand shiny new Kindle. [more inside]
December 12, 2014
There are widespread reports that the Pope now claims that animals go to heaven, based on this article from the illustrious Daily Express newspaper, and in particular this line: “One day we will see our animals again in eternity of Christ’, Francis quoted Paul as saying. Is this a real quote attributed to Paul, or is the Express making shit up, or is Francis making shit up, or what is happening
December 10, 2014
Two-part question about books of angelology: one specific and one more general. [more inside]
December 3, 2014
Quick 'n dirty: is there a name (in either classical logic/reasoning OR a newly-coined term) for the belief that "if you hold a different opinion on a topic than I, it must be due to a deficiency in information/experience/intelligence on YOUR part" (in other words - "anyone sufficiently smart/experienced/informed, when presented with this issue, would inevitably draw the same conclusion as I"). E.g. "You're a [member of political party] NOW, but that's only because you haven't [something] yet!", or "Wow, you believe in [thing]... maybe you should DO SOME RESEARCH and see if you don't change your tune!"
November 30, 2014
I'm paraphrasing, obviously, but I recently encountered the Thoughts of a Prominent Thinker who's belief in the existence of god is based, somewhat backwardsly, on the sheer ridiculousness? improbability? unlikelihood? of god's existence. I can't for the life of me track down the specific memory attached to this idea, and google only gives me a bunch of websites arguing about how to prove god does or does not exist. Help me out, friends!
November 28, 2014
My mom has been attending a new church whose congregants regularly fret over what they call "The Black Moon." The talk amongst the folks there (though not--as far as I know--from the pulpit itself) is that the Bible predicts a stock market crash in October of next year. What in the holy hell are they talking about? And, on a scale of one to ten, exactly how bananas are these people? [more inside]
November 26, 2014
Two points in the early chapters of Karen Armstrong's "The Case for God" are really bothering me, almost to the point of putting the book down in frustration; can the hivemind put my doubts to rest by answering two questions about religious history: First about the validity of Armstrong's "logos/mythos" distinction, and second, about the current thinking on the documentary hypothesis? [more inside]
November 23, 2014
I love reading Chinese philosophy, and I'm looking to get into some Korean philosophy, just to see what their take is. But I'm having trouble figuring out where to start. I'd like to read uniquely Korean things, or takes on confucianism and taoism, from any time period, or just interesting thoughts posed by Korean philosophers. I'd also like to read some Japanese texts in the same vein, and once again don't really know where to start. I'm looking for the best English translations. Any suggestions?
November 22, 2014
It was said by Wittgenstein that a perfectly good work of philosophy could be written which was entirely composed of jokes. Has anyone done it, in analytical or continental philosophy? [more inside]
November 21, 2014
I'm looking for a copy of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations that isn't in the en face format (German on one page, English translation on the other). I had a straight Anscombe translation in college but have since lost it. Any ideas? Everything I've seen on Amazon is the en face. Thanks for your help!
November 18, 2014
Hi! I'm interested in finding some information about the way that Hephaistos is guessed to have come to be worshipped in ancient Greece. Please note that I am not looking for psychological theories (for example: "he represents the creative drive, and functions as a symbol of social exclusion and early technology"), but historical ones (for example: "he is found on an Athenian vase in 500 BCE, but no earlier, so that may have been when they began worshipping him" or, for example: "the philosopher Anaxamagazine tells us that the Thracians worshipped Hephaistos above all other gods, so it is possible Thrace was the initial origin of his cult"). Book recommendations or well-sourced websites would both be welcome! If you're dropping by the thread to merely mention a fact you know regarding Mister Hammer's origin point, that's great, but please link to a primary source. Thank you!
November 16, 2014
A family member lost her sense of smell in an accident and we would like to hold a little "memorial ceremony" to help her process it. Can you think of any songs, poems, quotations, readings, symbolic activities we could use? Serious and humorous suggestions are fine.
November 13, 2014
I've been basically a lifelong atheist, but a small part of me is extremely tempted by some of the more comforting aspects of various religions (such as the idea of an afterlife). But the logical part of me just can't bring myself to seriously believe in things for which there is no evidence. I am interested in hearing stories of people who have gone from being firmly atheist to accepting religion later in life, and how they were able to do so without cognitive dissonance. [more inside]
Help me out, Hivemind. I'm looking for respectable, scholarly books, friendly to the layman, on the early beginnings of Christianity. More specifically, I'm interested in its first few centuries. I'm also hoping to attain a better understanding of Gnosticism and its place in Christianity's history. I am NOT looking for New Age-y neognostic inculcations.