Category Archives: History

What is mythology?

Mythology (Greek Mythos means “Myth” in English) has to do with the relationship of the human experience to, and subsequent attempt to explain, the realm of the divine. Myth usually connotes the time before human history, what is called prehistory. The primitive epochs of creation of the cosmos, and speculation on divine hierarchical structures even before such creation events are familiar ground for mythological thinking. Myths and mythology therefore can be generally considered as stories outside of, or before, human history.

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What is postmodernism?

Postmodernism or postmodernity includes poststructuralism within its intellectual landscape of the 20th and 21st centuries. Postmodernism is the move away from modernism of art and architecture, philosophy and truth, and general cultural account and critique. It requires especially the rejection of global cultural narratives, meta-narratives, universal theories, or what are also called grand theories like religious fundamentalism.[1] Narratives are constructed realities produced from cultural meta-narratives so that religious fundamentalism can be expressed in the Islamist narrative. However within postmodernism narratives are dynamic, changing and evolving within different times and places, that is, different contextual backgrounds. Meta-narratives cannot even be approached in any substantive way if what we observe from them, namely narratives, are not static. Postmodernism is a social theory of skepticism questioning what meta-narratives create like authority, political and cultural norms for not only a society but individuals, and also questioning where meta-narratives stem from like revealed theology or even human reason.

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Democrat slavery and Republican liberty

Political party platforms define the governing political philosophies and how they are to be applied. Platforms for the Democratic party began in 1840, while the Republican party platform began in 1856. It is important that either party was entirely focused on the Constitution more so than any current platform seems to do, although Republicans are showing promise.

The very first Democrat party platform was in 1840 and it lists 9 Resolved principles of which politics form.  There is only one mention of slavery and it is number 7. It states;

7. Resolved, That congress has no power, under the constitution, to interfere with or control the domestic institutions of the several states, and that such states are the sole and proper judges of everything appertaining to their own affairs, not prohibited by the constitution; that all efforts by abolitionists or others, made to induce congress to interfere with questions of slavery, or to take incipient steps in relation thereto, are calculated to lead to the most alarming and dangerous consequences, and that all such efforts have an inevitable tendency to diminish the happiness of the people, and endanger the stability and permanency of the union, and ought not to be countenanced by any friend to our political institutions.

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What is Q?

The Q source (also known as Q document, lost sayings of Q or just Q) is a hypothesized concept used by biblical and New Testament scholars to suggest a non-existent manuscript as the source of common material (logia) found in the gospels Matthew and Luke but not the Gospel of Mark.[1] John S. Kloppenborg, James M. Robinson and Burton Mack, according to Michael Licona (Research Professor of the NT), refer to the Q source as a “sayings gospel” or “Q gospel” with Mack particularly overreaching by concluding that Q is wholly different, in fact alien, from important events recorded in the canonical gospels like the resurrection.[2] The Q document is thought to be constituted of the sayings of Jesus called logia. Source criticism supporting Q also generally supports Markan priority, or the position that Mark was the first written of the canonical gospels. Accordingly if a tradition or particular logia is found consistent with all three synoptic gospels then Mark is considered the source not Q. Therefore not just Q, but Q and Mark were source material for Matthew and Luke which is why depending on the variation of argument it is referred to as the QM theory.

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What is liberalism?

A liberal is someone who agrees with and votes in support for the political philosophy, and by extension type of government that will represent their favored view. Liberalism has a spectrum of definitions that help break down the many approaches of thought towards governance seen throughout history that regulates the activities, mainly economic, of the people.[1] Liberty is the result of interaction between the government and the individual to whatever degree is allowed by the temporary representation the people put into power. Liberty in the religious context is the spiritual and moral outcome that constitutes Christianity.

Characteristics

Within the 21st century political landscape of the United States for example, the Republican party to some extent embraces classic liberalism or what can be called conservatism, while the Democrat political party tends to support a new, more progressive liberalism.

Classic Liberal

Classic liberalism or traditionally liberalism as it was originally conceptualized during the 18th, 19th and early 20th century, is the economic philosophy recognizing a political economy needs to be rooted within the honored principles of private property, land or soil, and an individual. A democratic government under classic liberalism goes so far as to suggest that land ownership by individuals or what can be called private property accumulation ensures both a limited government and a fomenting of individual liberty. The idea being that a free market can be attained by defining wealth through making it equal to the labor put into the production or refinement of the resources the land, or private property provides an individual. Classic liberalism is similar to free market capitalism in that a type of economic power is maintained for individuals to counter that of the federal government. Classical liberalism as well as capitalism reject the redistribution of wealth as a legitimate tenet of government.

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Alexis de Tocqueville – Democracy in America thoughts, Part 2

Town liberty therefore escapes human effort so to speak. Consequently it is rarely created; in a sense it arises by itself. It develops almost in secret within a semi-barbaric society. The continuous action of laws and of mores, circumstances, and above all time succeed in its consolidation. You can say that, of all the nations of the European continent, not a single one knows town liberty.

The strength of free peoples resides in the town, however. Town institutions are to liberty what primary schools are to knowledge; they put it within the grasp of the people; they give them a taste of its peaceful practice and accustom them to its use. Without town institutions, a nation can pretend to have a free government, but it does not possess the spirit of liberty. Temporary passions, momentary interests, the chance of circumstances can give it the external forms of independence; but despotism, driven back into the interior of the social body, reappears sooner or later at the surface.ref

The town system. The most intimate form of institutional government because the people are still physically close to its center, the center being where policy is made. Thus liberty accelerates because the power can literally be exorcised by the presence of individuals who exorcise that control by being physically close. It is from the many autonomous towns spread about within early America, from East to West and North to South. With their particular mores and social milieu, interconnect through trade that celebrates an overarching common character.

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What is exegesis?

Exegesis (from the Greek: ἐξηγεῖσθαι, exēgēisthai; “to lead out”) is a critical exposition, commentary or interpretation of ancient literature especially religious books such as the Bible or Qur’an.[1] The opposite of an exegetical reading of Scripture is eisegesis and instead of reading out what the text plainly presents it reads into the text what the reader is influenced by.

In order to understand a given passage one must reconstruct as much as possible the world of thought in which the NT writer lived. Since the NT frequently quotes the OT (hundreds of times) or alludes to it (thousands of times) and everywhere presupposes its language, concepts, and theology, exegesis should be particularly sensitive to its presence and careful to reconstruct the exegetical-theological context of which a given OT quotation or allusion may have been a part. A comparative approach is essential.[2]

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Alexis de Tocqueville – Democracy in America thoughts, Part 1

Alexis de Toqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville (July 1805 to April 1859)

At the time when European peoples descended upon the shores of the New World, the features of their national character were already well fixed; each of them had a distinct physiognomy. And since they had already reached the level of civilization that leads men to self-study, they have handed down to us a faithful picture of their opinions, mores, and laws. The men of the fifteenth century are almost as well-known to us as those of our own. So America shows us in full light what the ignorance and the barbarism of the first ages concealed from our view.ref

Alexis de Tocqueville renders a fascinating portrayal of American character. The moment European peoples stepped foot onto shores of land and air of which they never saw nor smelled defined for generations what being American truly is. Although escaping from European monarchy religious oppression, the peoples instinctively brought with them old European intellectual traditions as well as adoption of new ones that emerged such as the Protestant Reformation of the 1500′s.

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What is Islam?

Islam (Arabic: الإسلام, al-’islām) is a religion founded by Muhammad (Mohammed) in AD 622 during the Umayyad aristocracy (a golden age for the Islamic Ummah in which it was specifically Arab). Islam practices a theology based in the Qur’an, and an individual who follows Islam is called a Muslim. According to traditional Islamic belief, Isa or Jesus was sent by Allah to pave the road for Islam revealed to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel.[1][2] Gabriel revealed Allah’s last message, the Qur’an to the utmost and final prophet, Muhammad. The word Allah (الله‎) is the name of God predominately used by Muslims and the word Islam means “submission” or total surrender to the will of Allah.

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