Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

The Continuing Curse of Babel

January 31st, 2016 by Zen

One thing that has had my attention for a while now, is how our language puts good for bad, even when we intend no such thing.

Thus, common language compels us to understand that something that is “wicked”, “sick”, “naughty”, “sinful” or even “perverted” is something good. Bad boys, and rebels, are held in esteem. While on the other hand, a “goody two-shoes” is an obnoxious person.

One bit of language that has really had my attention, is the use of the word “porn”, not in the sense of actual naked bodies, but as a kind of hedonistic indulgence. So, a gallery of fine vintage cars would be called “car porn”. A fine collection of computers would be “computer porn”. I just saw a demonstration of the Hilbert Curve referred to as “math porn”. No one is going to complain about the Hilbert Curve, but then it would seem to suggest, that likewise, no one would object to pornography.

It isn’t at NewSpeak levels yet, but there is a real problem here, where our language itself called evil good, and good evil, even when we do not!

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January 31st, 2016 18:47:11

Curse Steggles

January 29th, 2016 by G.

I twiddled ye olde TV dials yesterday e’en full of elan and the punting spirit.  I had placed largish sums as part of a betting syndicate on several of the contenders in the Republican debate and was looking forward to a spirited gallop.

But it seems the whole betting thingummy had to be scratched.  Parties whose names will not sully my lips had nobbled one of the thoroughbred contenders well before the starting gun, dash it. The whole affair was a frost.

It is almost enough to make one lose one’s faith in the purity of the political process.  Absolutely!

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January 29th, 2016 07:11:00

His Majesty was slack-jawed and drooling this morning

January 28th, 2016 by Vader

At first I feared he had suffered a stroke. Then I realized he had simply read the Washington Post.

And now I’ve gone and shorted out my own vocorder.

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January 28th, 2016 09:24:24

The Cattle who Stripped the Field Bare

January 28th, 2016 by G.

Once a herd of cattle in a field decided that it was unfair that the bull ate so much more grass than the cows. Even the bull said he saw the justice of the complaint. But as he was not willing to eat less grass, it was decided that the cows would have to eat more. (more…)

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January 28th, 2016 06:59:55

Project Orion

January 27th, 2016 by Pecos Bill

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January 27th, 2016 16:09:10

Repenting like Achilles

January 27th, 2016 by G.

The Lovely One read Lehi’s deathbed counsel to his children recently. She found some interesting points that I had not remarked before. (more…)

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January 27th, 2016 12:15:33

No Easy Path

January 26th, 2016 by G.

The  most discouraging thing I saw last Sunday was roughly 1/4 to 1/3 of the children in Sacrament meeting being entertained with tablets.  Tablets are easy.  But they are not a solution to the challenge of taming children to church attendance.  They are a way of avoiding the problem.  The high road gets to Scotland faster, it turns out, because the low road does not get there at all.


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January 26th, 2016 07:30:29

Why don’t we get divine help whenever we ask for it?

January 26th, 2016 by Bruce Charlton

It seems a fact of existence that we are made such that what we learn the hard way and by our own efforts is the only thing that matters to us. They are the only things that are real and significant.

By contrast, what we get the easy way – handed to us on a plate – just is not transformative: it does not do the work that experience is meant to do.

In his creation, God had to work with this attribute of Man. Unless each of us experiences mortal life as difficult, and unless we take responsibility for tackling those difficulties, and muddle-through as best we can – then we will not learn, grow or make spiritual progress.

Furthermore, if we consider God’s creative purpose in providing for our spiritual progression to full divinity, to the point when we can fully-participate in His society, then we will recognize that He does not aim at an ultimate situation where He would be surrounded by multiple ‘carbon copies’ .

On the contrary, it is  the uniqueness of each divine person which matters. Heaven is a society of individuals – not of ‘clones’.

So, there are times when you are in the process of making your own uniqueness when you will not get any help or guidance from God or His angels even when you ask for it.

We must sometimes, for reasons we do not appreciate, be made to muddle through.

But there are other times when you are not essentially making your uniqueness when, if you ask, you will get help.

So, there is not-help, and there is help. There is one sort of ‘help’ which destroys the person, and another sort of help which really helps them – and to know the difference between these requires a lot of wisdom.

God is with us and His angels are all around us, ready and willing to help whenever that is necessary and appropriate. They, but not we, have the wisdom to know when help is helpful and will be supplied; and alternatively when giving what we have asked for would destroy the main purpose of our lives.


I have paraphrased the above points from William Arkle. More is at:


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January 26th, 2016 06:40:07

Two Keys of Manhood

January 25th, 2016 by G.

Manhood has two different musical keys.  Many of the same notes, but being played in a different arrangement. (more…)

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January 25th, 2016 06:44:45

Agape = Storge: CS Lewis’s Four Loves reconsidered from a Mormon theological perspective

January 22nd, 2016 by Bruce Charlton

Mormonism is almost indistinguishable from mainstream Christianity in terms of its surface and essence; but is significantly different in the underlying metaphysical explanations of key terms.

This comes across in many well known ways – but an aspect I hadn’t previously noticed is that Christian ‘Love’ (or ‘Charity’ in the Authorized/ King James Bible – which is a translation of Agape) is conceptualized very differently from those types of Christianity which have a Classical Theology based on Greek and Roman philosophy.


CS Lewis wrote a book called The Four Loves (1960) in which he distinguished Affection (Storge; pronounced stor-gu) = Familial love; Friendship (Philia); Eros (Erotic love) and Agape (Charity). Much of the book prepares the ground for demonstating that Agape is an utterly distinct form of love from – and not to be confused with – any of the other three ‘natural’ loves.

However, I suddenly realized that for Mormons, Agape is not a distinct form of love; but in fact a completed and divininized version of Storge, or Familial love.

Thus, the focus of Mormonism is on a Heavenly Father – who is a literal (not metaphorical or adoptive) Father, and a Mother in Heaven who is his celestial wife; Jesus Christ as their first born Son, now grown to equal divinity; and men and women as literal children of God, and literal (but only embryonically divine) brothers and sisters to Christ.

For Mormonism; men and women are divine – in part and weakly, but divine in origin and scope – and the difference in stature between men and women and God the Father and/ or Jesus Christ is ultimately not of kind or quality; but a matter of degree.

A truly vast difference of degree, for sure! But in the end a quantitative difference – because each Man’s destiny (or potential) is to (eventually, at some probably very, very distant time – and only if he chooses to, and chooses well) become of the same stature as God (although always under His authority, being intrinsically His child).


However for Lewis, as for most Mainstream Christians – the difference between God and Man is absolute and unbridgeable: the difference between The Creator (ex nihilo – creating everything from nothing) – omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, un-embodied, living outside the universe and outside of Time… And A Creature, who is none of these, and never can be.

Agape – for Classical Theology – is thus an abstract Love, not of this world, a ‘divine energy’ as Lewis terms it; and Agape is a pure Gift, because God has no need for us, no need for our love or for anything else, no need for anybody or anything to love. God is seen as utterly self-sufficient, imperturbable. If we do not love God then he loses nothing by it.

Therefore Agape is, for mainstream Christian theologians, a purely disinterested (impartial) love.


But for Mormonism all this is a philosophical error illegitimately imposed upon revelation – which depicts God as a passionate being, a God with strong wishes and desires, and (in The Pearl of Great Price) a God who weeps with compassion and empathy.

The Mormon God does not ‘need’ Men for His own existence – but he does need Men in a creative sense: in order to grow, to expand the circle of loving relationships at the divine level.

Put it this way: God may not need Man but He deeply wants Man – and deeply yearns for men and women to progress spiritually to become of the same qualitative stature as Himself – on the same level (much as a grown-up mortal child may mature to be on the same level as his earthly Father). This is, indeed, God’s greatest wish; and the reason for creation.

The Mormon theologian thus sees Heavenly love (Agape) as the apotheosis, the ideal extremity and perfection, of Storge or Familial love. And the Mormon Heaven is a place of divine families, loving each other in the same way, but to a greater and more consistent degree and across a greater scope, than the best of earthly mortal families.


So, perhaps this is another of the ways in which Mormonism strikes mainstream Christians as seriously wrong – in terms of misinterpreting, misrepresenting and in general ‘selling-short’ (as they see it) Agape.

While in contrast, from the Mormon perspective; the classical philosophical concept of Agape is probably regarded as an unreal, artificial, essentially-incomprehensible abstraction; and therefore something which is in reality (as Familial love) much simpler, more concrete, comprehensible, and down to earth – and a matter of our personal experiences and innate yearnings.

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January 22nd, 2016 07:50:38

Bruce Charlton’s Recommendations

January 22nd, 2016 by G.

On Bruce Charlton’s recommendation, my family watched Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday on Monday night.  We had never heard of it before.  It was delightful.  Last night one of my children brought it up again at dinner.  “Dad,” she said.  “There are other Mr. Hulot movies.  Could you ask your friend Mr. Charlton if they are good too?”

I also finished reading The Fellowship:the Literary Lives of the Inklings.  It is probably the best book on the Inklings I have read.  A lot of the pieces about Owen Barfield and Charles Williams, in particular, fell into place.  I disagree with some of the author’s critical judgments, but they always make it clear when they are making a critical judgment, which I liked.  Recommended for anyone who suffers from any degree of Anglo-Catholic Fiction Disorder.

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January 22nd, 2016 06:49:44

Where Change Is — Juxtapositions XI

January 21st, 2016 by G.

  • Caelum, non animum mutant, qui trans mare currunt.  They change their sky but not their soul, those who cross the sea.


  • Wherever you go, there you are.


  • The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ would take the slums out of people, and then they would take themselves out of the slums.

-Ezra Taft Benson

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January 21st, 2016 21:33:08

Mormonism and the evolution of the earth, and life upon it

January 21st, 2016 by Bruce Charlton

The Darwinian theory of evolution by natural selection has been, since its launch, very effectively used as a stick to beat – and indeed kill – Christianity, for many individuals and social groups.

This arises from the fact that the metaphysical assumptions of natural selection rely purely on mechanical causation and undirected variation; hence they exclude teleology (i.e. overall purpose and direction) hence are incompatible with the Christian understanding.

All of which would not much matter if natural selection was understood as merely an expedient ‘model’ to be deployed for certain specific biological purposes – however natural selection is instead regarded as a kind of ultimate truth, to which all other knowledge must conform.

More exactly, it is the story of the ‘origin of species’, the history of life on earth having arisen entirely by natural selection (plus other mechanical and undirected processes), which is regarded as the ultimate metaphysical reality by modern mainstream and official culture and public discourse. To deny this is to be regarded as ignorant, insane or evil. (more…)

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January 21st, 2016 05:55:38

“Neoreactionaries are Wrong but Wromantic…”

January 20th, 2016 by MC

“…and the Alt-Right is Right but Repulsive.”

This is the sort of thing that pops into my head while making a turkey sandwich. I blame the provolone.

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January 20th, 2016 21:18:19

Working Out Our Collective Salvation

January 19th, 2016 by G.

“Individual salvation” is a phrase that nowhere occurs in the scriptures.

Screenshot (3)

The concept can be found there. But so can the concept of corporate salvation. (more…)

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January 19th, 2016 07:30:39