Saturday, January 10, 2009


Political compass check

I do this about every six months or so. I'm never off more than a couple points one way or the other, always libertarian left, close to the middle of the quadrant.

Economic Left/Right: -4.75.
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.74.

Take the test: Political Compass.

Where do y'all stand?


Economic Left/Right: -7.38
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.13
I've become a tad more libertarian on sex questions the past few years. Not sure that any sex between any two or more human beings is immoral per se. Selfishness, lying, sneaking, betrayal and that sort of thing are the immoral acts.

I wonder, actually: What was the biblical sin of adultery? I think it was probably seen as a property crime.
No doubt there were the major economic/patriarchal forces on social construction of gender role, sexuality, and family life in antiquity.

But sex was still sex.

And so there were the forces of religious construction and anxiety of cultural drift in a colonized country being increasingly influenced, at least in the marketplaces, by Greco-Roman theologies.

Judaism was an ethnically defined socially cohesive identity wanting, in part, to frame social order. Adultery was the breakdown of order and control and therefore having a bad impact on communal religion. Even as today, they recognized the social and psychological, as well as spiritual impact on the whole community of individual behavior.

Also, the increasing influence of the Greco-Roman world, particularly on Hellenistic Jews of the diaspora (like Saul/Paul of Tarsus), was manifold according to the many religious/philosophical players.

Among some ideologies, the body and the needs of the flesh are a corruption of pure or true human existence. Sex was permissible in marriage simply to reproduce (ala Marshal). Otherwise, sex, the body, desires, needs were all a slap in the face to real achievement of the spiritual plane. Women tended to symbolize all of this in a figurative way, though a sexual comfort to the guilt in a practice (ala Augustine tortured self-accounts). This influenced the ascetic passages of the NT, especially in Paul.

Among other ideologies, flagrant wantonness by the wealthy classes was itself a pursuit and Jewish culture and Jewish born Christian culture rejected the hedonism of the imperial influence (as the Gospel inferences re Herod and his family). Many other religions both central to and very marginal to Rome rejected hedonism as well.

Christianity's demonstrated power to order its urban, ethnically and economically diverse members to a sober lifestyle became quite useful to Roman power and Constantine found it instrumental. (Robin Meeks, The First Urban Christians.)
Also, Peter Brown's The Body and Society. Anything by Peter Brown is worth a lot, not least his bio of Augustine.
When I wrote, "women tended to symbolize," I mean, the tendency of writers (all men) was to make women serve as figurative symbols of putrefaction but found release in their beds, nonetheless (as well as having prepubescent boys to their own beds).
Hey Rudy (& other fellers)--my webbernet got struck on by lightnin & I just got it fixated. I knowed it was bout to get struck on cuz my tail stood strait up in the air...course it does that I when I sees a bird in the thicket too.

Anyways, I took on the compassational test...werent a lotta middle ground questions to my lil dot was almost like a bullseye in they lil chart:

ELR: -.31
SLA: .31

I aint figured out what its meanin, but then again, I aint figured out what that lil flag is fer on mailin box either.
Wow! Almost a bull's ye, DL!

Feodor: 10-4 on social order. I understand that, and agreed, as a lad. The chance of ruin in this life is what kept me a virgin until 21, not the threat of hell fire in the next.

Off to rescue my truck ...
And glad to see ya back, Doc Bill.
Economic Left/Right: -6.25
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.05
Here you go:

Economic Left/Right: -6.75
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.23

Don't know what it means, other than my dot is in the lower right-hand corner.
I meant lower left-hand corner. So sorry. Still confuzzed by my GI battle yesterday.
I meant lower left-hand corner. So sorry. Still confuzzed by my GI battle yesterday.
Caveat: I am responding to the biblical notion of "adultery" as you wrote - which I take to mean sexual relations outside of marriage (while married) with persons who are comparable to marriage partner (hence the social impact).

I am not responding to the related biblical notion of "fornication," which I would take to be all sexual relations otherwise.
Economic Left/Right: -4.50
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.90

So on economic issues, I'm slightly right of ER, significantly right of Feodor, and slightly right of Ghandi, but I'm more of a libertarian than all three.
ELR -0.00 (Like my GPA at Faber College)
SLA -0.62

I really wanted a "neither agree nor disagree" on many of the questions. But, looking at my score, I guess that's not surprising.
Yeah, I'd like some "either is fine" or neither answers to pick from too. Still, I think it's a good survey tool.

I reckon, Doc, that that meansw yer a double-nought spy on the economy? Or even a triple-noughter! Sha-zayam! :-)
hi ER,

Is the quiz valid for non-Americans?

I did the test anyway...

Economic Left/Right: -5.75
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.38

Don't know what it means... looks like I am suppose to be a bit like Gandhi.

Is this good or bad?

Hey, Lee.

I don't think the quiz was done by Americans. And the questions aren't specific to U.S. law, so, glad you played!

I'd say your score is good, but that's my opinion, which is the point: opinions. :-)
Feodor, Re: "Christianity's demonstrated power to order its urban, ethnically and economically diverse members to a sober lifestyle ..."

Do you think the need for order made it more difficult for early Christians to detach from the Law and its order? Whether faith does or is is *still* the tension that keeps on giving in the faith. ... Maybe that humming tension actually is a manifestation of the harmony Clement, et al., sensed ...

First, let me clean up my own language. This can sound like “Christianity” has a goal in mind that is coercive on its members: “Christianity's demonstrated power to order its urban, ethnically and economically diverse members to a sober lifestyle…” I’d rather say that Christianity’s picture of the moral life was attractive to those who of themselves wanted to live more soberly – or came to be so motivated by conversion of faith - than most throughout the Roman empire. This practical art of living morally Christianity shared with other moral systems: cynicism, stoicism, Epicureanism, and other systems and faiths were concerned with living in structured ethical ways. They were diverse, but they stand together as efforts toward personal and communal moral order.

Even in Judea, there were comparable and pre-existing communities of strict living: the Qumran community being very ascetical. Many were variants of Zoroastrianism from mid first millennium BCE to the time of Christ and beyond.

Regarding Jewish law, only a few sects of Judaism were closely attendant to the full mitzvot in Torah. Remember, rabbinical Judaism, from which interpretation (Talmud) begins to accrue, did not yet exist. And after Paul and the council in Acts came to agreement and certainly after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 (when Jesus’ brother James apparently died) and Bar Kochba in 130-something, the major witness of Christianity was a Hellenistic phenomenon only. The church in the East (Persia, India) is almost wholly absent in documentary witness.

All this to say that the NT tension Re gospel and law was largely short-lived, predominantly an intra-Jewish issue, and disappeared with the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem.

The motivations for personal order among Christians in the Empire were manifold and operated differently in different places primarily due to the central concerns of the local theological leadership – the Bishop. And by the way, the first two centuries saw lots of changes, growth and development, and we don’t know all of them. Apocalyptic expectation was strong early on: live a strict life because Jesus is coming soon. This biblical witness and early church history is used today in fear mongering. Persecution was another, crucible-like, force to unify in strict and strong moral exemplary behavior that was to be a true sign to the pagan world. As Christianity continued to extend geographically, it gained intellectual adherents who were steeped in Greco-Roman learning and moral religio-philosophy.

So, all this to say that when the Church talked about Jewish law as found in its scriptures, it did so with a lot of other systems and motivations in hand that differed according to place and political time. Here, Law become something different, something quite more abstract than biblical Torah strictly speaking.

The law/gospel tensions in contemporary Christianity stem not from out focus on the NT originally, but from Protestant history and theology and the Enlightenment recovery of NT historical studies. It begins with Luther’s opening up of the question of the location of the act of salvation as being outside or beside the context of the Church. If the Church is not the strict location of salvation, then how does one KNOW one is saved? “By Faith Alone” is two answers. One, faith is part of the process located in the believer, but Two, salvation is now an abstract experience outside of the priest’s hands, literally. How does one know one is having the true experience of salvation? Protestantism has been chasing that down for hundreds of years now. And Law has been a big part of the conversation as an insurer of faulty/untrustworthy “experience.”

There are a lot of assumptions, glosses, elisions in the brevity of the above and I would hope that others would add to the story.
The First Urban Christians is by Wayne Meeks, not Robin Meeks.

Also, check out his The Origins of Christian Morality.
Good stuff to chew on, Feodor. Corinth need some coercion(sp?), judging from Paul's snippets. Or Paul thought Corinth did, anyway.
Yeah, Paul was centrally concerned with the community "representing" the faith well for evangelism's sake and with the imminent coming of Christ.

It can be debated how easily Paul thought salvation could be lost.
Re, "Paul was centrally concerned with the community 'representing' the faith well for evangelism's sake" -- SO *THAT'S WHERE THE PINCH-NOSED, PUTTIN' ON AIRS, CHURCH LADINESS STRAIN COMES FROM! :-)
Hey! I resemble that remark.

This is how it starts, you know. You keep thinking I start it, but if this thread goes postal - you started it.

I'm just sayin'... (as I arm myself with ruler, encyclopedia, the 129 vols. of the writings of the church fathers, and Das Kapital).
LOL -- the second after I left that comment, I thought, "Oh, s--t, I hope he doesn't think I'm talkin' about him."

I wadn't.

but if the phylactery fits ... KIDDING. Hee hee. :-)
Freud and I go, hmmm.
What ever happened to the good old days when all of the Gods were female and sex was an integral part of worship.
We need a theory of devolution that would take the nation by storm and return us to those days.
ER and Dr LBJ, From the NYT:

President-elect Barack Obama has selected the Rev. Sharon E. Watkins to deliver the sermon at the national prayer service that is held the day after the inauguration.

Ms. Watkins, the first woman ever selected to lead the service, is the president and general minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), a small, liberal-leaning Protestant denomination with 3,754 congregations and about 690,000 members in the United States and Canada. Ms. Watkins was elected to the post in 2005, the first woman ever chosen to lead a mainline Protestant denomination.
Wasn't Pres. LBJ a Christian Church (Disciple) member? He was from dirt-poor Texas, after all, so it seems that is where his roots would lie.

Meeks' books are great. Read carefully.
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