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(absolute)ly working December 2, 2006

Posted by Brad Richert in personal, religion.
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If you are a regular reader, I you may have noticed the limited frequency of posts around here, and of those posts that are published, they are generally papers I have previously written. Well, as I previously mentioned, I have been attempting to take a break from blogging until I get my papers done. This was (mostly) accomplished. Last week I had three papers due and those are now done and gone. It eases up a bit from now on until December 16. “Easing up”, however, is a relative term. Yes, the week from hell is over with, but now I have three more papers due in the next two weeks (plus a couple of exams). Due dates, as well, have bceome relative terms as everything has meshed together – it is basically down to getting them done when based on their relative due dates.

So blah blah blah, right?  Well, not really. As I am working on several of these papers I would like to get some outside opinions. Two of these papers are directly related to topics I have discussed (and will discuss in more detail as this blog takes a little bit of a thematic turn): Absolutes and mystery religion. Of course leave it up to me to pick an impossible topic (the former). Let me clarify the topic a bit.

The course is Advanced Topics in Buddhism: Mahayana Buddhism. The topic I had developed was the idea of Absolutes within Mahayana Buddhism. HH the XIVth Dalai Lama onced proclaimed that if Buddhism had any absolutes it would be compassion. This stuck with me. Basically, I am investigating the relation between ontological and moral absolutism. Although I have yet to develop a hard thesis, my underlying questioning involves the validity of distinguishing between different sorts of absolutes. In Mahayana Buddhism the big topics are wisdom and compassion (moral absolutes?) and the relation between conventional and real truths (a hidden ontological absolute?). Any thoughts? Khalidmir, if you have any links of articles relating to the subject in classical or islamic thought, it would be much appreciated.

The second paper is for Early Christian Writings and the topic I have developed is the secretive nature of Jesus in early Christian writings. Any links would be helpful. I haven’t really started on this paper yet, but I doubt it will be much of a problem writing it once I narrow down what books I want to concentrate on (canonical and non-canonical).

Anyway, although I cannot get into much discussion, I would greatly appreciate any first thoughts or references. These papers, plus one afterwards, will be where my head is for the next couple of weeks, so don’t expect too much posting. As briefly stated above, you will probably notice a slight thematic change to the blog after the holidays. For the past month I have concentrated on mainly religious-oriented articles, and they appear to be much more popular (and more fun to write) than political posts – plus they don’t get me riled up as much. Finding much more success in the theme, I will concentrate on both academic and personal religious ideas.

why i am a christian – part iv November 19, 2006

Posted by Brad Richert in personal, religion.
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continued from part iii

During my time in Alberta I had developed relatively radical political views. Since this is not the topic of this article, I will only state that they were socialist-libertarian in nature. This, however, would have a deep impact on my religious views and the way I perceived mainstream religions (especially Christianity). As I may or may not have mentioned previously, the Sermon on the Mount several years earlier had already convinced me of the inconsistency of conservatism with the Scripture. Yet as I continued to look deeper into all things spiritual and religious, it became apparent that most of my critiques against any religion were reactions to institutionalization of religious or philosophical movements. The larger the institution became, the more corrupt and perverse so did the teachings. Hopeless attempts to correct this, such as the Protestant Reformation in Christianity during the 16th century simply became dead institutions in themselves. Radicals such as the Anabaptists became de-radicalized and joined mainstream Protestantism as they gained acceptance and their views became watered-down. New movements such as Pentecostalism relied on heavily charasmatic teachers and sensationalism with practices that would make most early 20th-century occultist jealous. Each of these attempts, at least initially, were not “wrong” or fallacious – they were examples of anarchist Christianity – tearing down the walls of stonelike institutions that deadened the theology or spirituality. Yet as time went on, they became re-institutionalized: the Protestant Reformation created a million Popes rather than rejecting one. (more…)

taking a break November 11, 2006

Posted by Brad Richert in personal.
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Needless to say, I’m a little tied up right now. I have decided to take a little break from blogging so that I can take care of my wife and my new little girl. Hopefully this will also allow me to catch up on school work that the last three or four days has put me behind. I will probably update yesterday’s post with some pictures and Sophie’s story.

Starting tomorrow I will also have a little series on women and religion. I did not plan on this being right after my baby girl was born as I was always going to post it on these dates. They were written for a women and religion course I took over the summer. I cover a few of the world religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism), but remember I am by no means an authority on the subject. I found the course very interesting and the articles are based on a combination of my western perspective growing up on the West coast and the books and article I have read on the subject. Most of the articles deal with how women have been treated by religions in the past with few additional comments about contemporary religion (which may or may not ruffle some feathers – the only real controversial ideas are quotes from women within their own religion – especially in Judaism). I appreciate any comments, as always, towards these posts – especially from those people who are within a religious tradition that I do not know much about – as I do think the subject is very important.

baby sophie November 10, 2006

Posted by Brad Richert in personal.
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Everyone knows that by far the happiest and universally enjoyable age of man is the first. What is there about babies which makes us hug and kiss and fondle them, so that even an enemy would give them help at that age? – Desiderius Erasmus

It has been a crazy 24 hours. Kristy (my wife) and I drove to the hospital around 10:00am. She was induced around 11:30am, she started contractions immediately. For the next nine hours she grimaced almost every 3 minutes until they got her upstairs with the epideral (spelling?) going. At 02:47 this morning we had our first, a healthy baby girl, Sophia Faith. Kristy is still at the hospital and I am waiting for Sophia’s Great-grandma to fly in.

I will update this post with some pictures and other words once we get settled back home.

If men had to have babies, they would only ever have one each. – Princess Diana

anniversaire November 6, 2006

Posted by Brad Richert in personal.
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Today is the one year celebration of marriage with my beautiful wife. It has been a hectic but ultimately awesome year, which in all honesty, I was not expecting. I only say this because I have always been told that the first years of marriage can be extremely challenging. Well, since Kristina is thirty-nine weeks pregnant, the true challenges are surely yet to come. In the past year, however, the trials of being university students with very little income has been miniscule compared to the blessings of marriage.

For those of you who do not personally know me, last year Kristina and I got married in the comfort of our own living room with a pastor, Kristy’s parents, two witnesses, and twelve dozen roses after a two-day engagement. No, she was not pregnant (that would happen three months later). There just comes a point when you know you want to be with the person you love for the rest of your life – with no regrets. Neither of us are a fan of big weddings, and so we had actually decided to elope – at the last minute we were convinced to have some traditional aspect and so we did get a pastor. And so here we are – are only debts are academic rather than because of a wedding – married one year later. It may not be the twenty-year later “you’re still married!” achievement, but we both feel we’re still going strong and will last until – excuse the cliche – death do us part.

Kristina – I love you.

why i am a christian – part iii October 30, 2006

Posted by Brad Richert in personal, religion.
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continued from part ii

Before leaving to Alberta I had patched up some turbulent relationships so I did not feel like I was simply running away from my problems. This was extremely freeing, and allowed me to gain some stability in my life. I was able to find a room close to the university the day I drove into the city of Edmonton. I had a little difficulty adjusting to my new setting, but I was visited by often enough by someone from home (who would later become my girlfriend and then my wife). Scholastically I was just getting by: a couple of B’s, a couple of C’s. Most of my time spent reading was not for school. Only a year into my Philosophy major I had a tendency to pass over my Philosophy textbooks to read books on religious syncretism, Buddhology, and early Christian writings. (more…)

why i am a christian – part ii October 28, 2006

Posted by Brad Richert in personal, religion.
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continued from part i

In retrospect it is amusing that Columbia Bible College did help me figure things out, it just did not happen the way I thought it would. I did not come out with a BA in Biblical Studies. I did not come out wishing to be a pastor or a Bible College teacher. I did not even come out wishing for more (in relation to spiritual guidance or something). I came out wanting to help destroy Christendom. Although I was not completely opposed to Christianity itself, I was vehemently disgusted with Christians. So how did that happen? How did a Bible-thumping right-wing evangelical become so horrendously opposed to everything he believed in? There is no one answer and there probably is not too many coherent answers. It was, however, a painful process. (more…)

why i am a christian – part i October 23, 2006

Posted by Brad Richert in personal, religion.
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I sit here writing, knowing full well that I should really be working on a silly assignment due on Wednesday so that I can start work on another due on Thursday, giving myself a bit of time to study for a midterm that I also have on Thursday. My laptop, prone to overheating, sits tilted on an angle upheld by a book on the religious right. It is a sunny day, my cats are lazing about and my wife is watching some television show on her laptop. And it is quiet. Very quiet. The hum of my computer is drowned out only by the hum of the humidifier. In my procrastination I have been scanning random websites, mainly those concerning contemporary Christianity. I think about my beliefs on a daily basis, mainly because my area of study forces me to. Yet every once in awhile I feel the need to share why I am a Christian, or more importantly, why I am the type of Christian that I am. (more…)

this week on audacity September 8, 2006

Posted by Brad Richert in media, personal, philosophy, politics, religion.
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For the next week or so I will be dedicating this blog to the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the chaos that has ensued. Some of the articles are ones that I have written, and some I have not.

scholastic resolutions September 5, 2006

Posted by Brad Richert in personal.
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Tomorrow is the first day of the last year of my undergraduate career. And I do mean career. I graduated high school in 2000 and have been in numerous colleges and universities since. Every year I like to think about what I would like to accomplish for the coming school year. Sometimes it is specific, other times it is ambiguous. Sometimes it is one thing, other times a list. This year I think is different. Come November (or late October) I will have the joy of my firstborn child. This joy, however, will come with serious marital, personal, emotional, mental, and academic challenges. (more…)

coming april 2007 July 31, 2006

Posted by Brad Richert in personal.
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If you by any chance happen to stumble on to this blog you can probably recognize the lack of content. This blog most likely will not be used until I finish my degree in April of 2007. My last post is a list of what sort of content you will find on this site once I start.

Between September and April, however, I will probably post a paper a month so those casual wanderers can decide whether they care for my writing or not. These papers will probably be conversions of specific assignments that I have previously written. Lo and behold, I am also taking a course in my last year at the University of Alberta on writing for non-fiction. Of course, that is very useful for my last six years of school, but I hope it helps for later academics.

*Update*

As you may have noticed, I sort of lied. I will post every so often about something that catches my eye. However, I will be switching the domain of the site in April of 2007. Until then, I hope you enjoy.

Blog Line Up (Subject to change upon whim)

  • September 2006: Visocica Hill – A Verifiable Hoax?
  • October 2006: The Antitheses of the Gospel of Matthew
  • November 2006: Nietzsche Within LeVay’s Satanism
  • December 2006: John the Baptist in the Synoptic Gospels
  • January 2007: The Ethiopian Claim to the Possession of the Ark of the Covenant
  • February 2007: Investigating Philemon
  • March 2007: The Guilt of Germany – Investigation of the Causes of World War I

Projects July 28, 2006

Posted by Brad Richert in personal.
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Current

  • Book: The Rise of Fascist Mentality in North America (Politics)
  • Book: The Divinity of Silence (Religion)

Ideas

  • Film: The Kennedy Curse (Politics)
  • Book: Loose Change (Politics)
  • Article: Occult and the Pentecostal Church (Religion)
  • Book: The “C” Project (History)
  • —————-
  • Article Series: Religion in Gaming Subculture
    • The Elder Scrolls
    • Fable
    • Final Fantasy
    • Halo