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6 years ago @ The Toast - Portraits Of "The Wrat... · 0 replies · +12 points

Or possibly Thetis.

6 years ago @ The Toast - Portraits Of "The Wrat... · 0 replies · +22 points

No, he slaughters the heck out of Hector (pun not intended at first, but I decided to go with it). First he's mad that Agamemnon stole his war prize (in the modern world we call these "women"), and then he's unbelievably supernaturally mad that Hector kills his best friend. Like, he kind of stops being a person for a good while and just turns into the personification of murderous wrath. In the second to last one there the river god is pissed that Achilles has polluted the river with so many bodies, and Achilles is basically like, "Fuck you, I'll choke you to death with bodies and then I'll eat the bodies."

6 years ago @ The Toast - Conspiracies of Faith:... · 0 replies · +8 points

I grew up in a similar kind of Christianity. In college I started studying the early, early history of the Bible and Christianity, and I couldn't reconcile the two types of knowledge. My experience of losing faith was like dominoes, or peeling an onion. I kept trying to hold onto some essential tenet of my childhood beliefs, and kept realizing that what made each tenet possible were things that I'd already rejected. It wasn't until I got down to the very end of the chain that I could start building something new, and even then there were years where I kept discovering habits and assumptions left over from before. So, I feel you, and I hope reflections like these help you either keep digging to the foundations (it hurts, I'm sorry) or start building again if you've already reached them.

Now I have a very fulfilling spiritual life in a very, very different religion (but not as different as people like to think, hah), and I'm beginning to think that belief is overrated. It doesn't really matter what you believe. The world is going to operate in whatever way it's going to operate, whether you believe it or not. That realization has been really freeing, because it lets me get past all of the "but how do I KNOW?" and instead think about the ways that my tradition is good for me, how it can help me be a better person and connect to other people, and how it can make the world a little more navigable. It doesn't have to be capital-t True to be good and useful (whatever the hardcore fundamentalists of any persuasion tell you).

6 years ago @ The Toast - Link Roundup! · 0 replies · +12 points

I think it has something to do with Victorian ideas about children=innocent, and scariest thing ever=corruption of innocence. A friend of mine wrote his dissertation about it.

6 years ago @ The Toast - Link Roundup! · 0 replies · +7 points

The Jess Zimmerman piece is amazing! More of that sort of thing, please!

6 years ago @ The Toast - Link Roundup! · 1 reply · +4 points

That's actually not somewhere my research has taken me yet, unfortunately. The Wikipedia article "Sexuality in ancient Rome" has a gigantic bibliography (for Wikipedia), so if I were going to do that study I would start there. There's a collection of primary sources called "Greek and Roman Sexualities: A Sourcebook" that I understand is popular. And Marilyn Skinner's "Sexuality in Greek and Roman Culture" is also popular. That one's a textbook, so it's geared toward nonspecialists.

6 years ago @ The Toast - Reasons I Would Make A... · 1 reply · +20 points

And people complain about German.

6 years ago @ The Toast - Link Roundup! · 3 replies · +22 points

Honestly, I don't think there's much benefit to trying to prove the Bible doesn't have a problem with gay sex. It clearly does. That would be like trying to prove that the Bible isn't sexist. BUT it's also a waste of time to try and prove that the Bible is homophobic in the way that modern American conservative Christians are homophobic. Paul 100% lists men who have sex with men as sinners. But "gay" as we understand it is a heavily cultural phenomenon, and it doesn't necessarily have the same connotations as "arsenokoites" did in 1st century Corinth (for one example, to the best of my knowledge there was no such thing as a gay "identity" and therefore--again, to my knowledge--no gay "community"--sex with members of the same gender was, culturally speaking, something you did, not someone you were). In fact, Paul uses two different words for men who have sex with men, clearly intending them to refer to two different groups. I think most simplistically one means "top" and one means "bottom," but the fact that those are apparently two separate things and not two categories of the same thing tells you something (experts in Roman-period sexuality should weigh in on that, though).

Also, I read something recently that pointed out that in that passage Paul groups gay sex together with other "sins" like anger. I haven't done the work on "sin in Paul," but how an author groups together lists of things is a big part of that kind of study, and certainly part of its findings would be that (surprise!) Paul didn't think of sin in the same way American Protestants do.

Anyway, my point is that "the Bible" is a giant collection of often unrelated texts from different times and places, and their historical contexts matter. Since you aren't Christian, I don't think you need to worry about reconciling anything--I think it's enough just to make an effort to understand what it says and how our context might warp some of the original meaning. As far as reading goes, I would recommend scholarly works (or at least popular works written by scholars) on sexuality in the ancient world--start with the larger context, and then go back and see how the biblical texts fit into their own worlds.

6 years ago @ The Toast - How Old Were You When ... · 2 replies · +14 points

I could never figure that out. I also knew people who could stop by pointing their toes away from each other (like 2nd position in ballet) and spinning in a tight circle, which is some kind of wizardry as far as I'm concerned.

6 years ago @ The Toast - Bible Verses Where "Ve... · 0 replies · +10 points

With annotation and commentary by Two Monks?