About Vanellus


Vance Byrd
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Chevy Chase, Maryland, United States
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16 Jan 2018 23:56


Date Joined:
08 May 2012
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15 Jan 2018 (1 day ago)
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Topic: Legalise prostitution?
Posted: 21 Mar 2015 10:54

Prostitution should be legalized, but regulated. By that I mean that prostitutes should be able to work free of pimps and traffickers, form unions and decide their work conditions and pay. In addition, attention should be paid to providing the necessary health care and and health training to keep them alive and free from disease.

Topic: Celibacy In Religion.
Posted: 21 Mar 2015 10:38

No one here has attempted to draw the crucial distinction between celibacy and chastity, so I will. Celibacy means remaining unmarried. This can include abstinence from sex, or not. Chastity is abstinence from sex, which may occur in or out of marriage.

The historical rule of the Catholic Church concerning priests ordained in the Roman Rite (and not the Eastern Rite) is that they must take a vow of celibacy, i.e., not marry. This was adopted roughly a thousand years ago as an anti-corruption measure. Bishoprics, no pun intended, were being passed on from father to son for their revenue (many bishops were feudal lords) rather than because the sons of bishops had vocations to serve as priests.

Nuns, brothers and priests who are members of a religious order (Jesuits, Dominicans, etc.) take vows of chastity, poverty and obedience before they become members of the order. Neither nuns nor brothers are members of the clergy and are not bound by the celibacy rule; although chastity, in Catholic moral theology, is incompatible with marriage and no one under a vow of chastity may be married.

As to non-Catholic Christianity, the Orthodox take the view that priests may marry before ordination, but only once.

All Christian traditions uphold some form of chastity outside marriage as a high moral value and deem almost all forms of unchastity as morally imperfect or sinful. To plumb the origins of this Christian idea, I would suggest the excellent "Adam, Eve and the Serpent: Sex and Politics in Early Christianity" by Elaine Pagels, a very well-known historian of religion who has taught at Princeton.

Topic: do you believe in God?
Posted: 21 Mar 2015 10:22

God is the biblical deity, with which I have considerable problems. I accept philosophically that a deity makes sense as a universal reference point for all meaning. The religious myths, which need not be falsehoods properly understood, are merely our way of reaching out to the deity and making the deity comprehensible to us. But, naturally, they are not facts.

Topic: I am Bi-Polar/Manic Depressive. (I suffer from a mental illness called Cyclothymia.)
Posted: 21 Mar 2015 10:15

I have been diagnosed with Dysthymia and your message prompted me to look at Cyclothymia. Since the drugs I've been prescribed have all brought temporary relief, but nothing for the long term, I will suggest Cyclothymia as a possibility.

Thank you! And, hey, I'm with you in that dark tunnel.

Topic: Should creationism be taught in schools?
Posted: 21 Mar 2015 10:06

First, there is not, and never has been, any part of the Constitution that stipulates a separation of Church and State. The level of education and understanding of our Constitution and current law(s) is appalling.

Secondly, more scientists back up Creationism or Intelligent Design than most of you seem aware.

Evolution is a theory, and until that changes, must be continued to be presented as a theory, i.e., man's ideas that explain nature.

So, of course, in our politically correct, diversity-ridden, multiculturally-dragged and dumbed down schools, both warrant about equal time and fair, and respectful conversation.

I like to take each of these in turn.

1. The Constitution prohibits Congress from establishing religion. This has been broadly interpreted by the courts over two centuries of litigation to mean that no agency of government may favor religion. This is what is meant by separation of Church and State. The Constitution means what duly constituted courts, all the way to the Supreme Court, interpret the Constitution to mean.

2. There are scientists who accept the possibility that the universe could be the result of a creating act (making something out of nothing) by a pre-existing being. But not as science, rather as personal belief.

Intelligent design is a slightly different story because it does not presume creation, but only suggests that the universe's structure is of such complexity that it must be part of an intelligent design. Again, this is at best a hypothesis that leaves no room for randomness or chance and does not have evidence behind it. We don't know whether there is a causal correlation between the complexity of a thing and its cause.

3. Phrases such as "politically correct," "diversity-ridden," "multiculturally-dragged" and "dumbed down" are value judgments about schools from an ideological stance, not facts. As such, they cannot be the basis for deciding how to handle science and religion.

Topic: Should creationism be taught in schools?
Posted: 21 Mar 2015 09:53

In my understanding, the theory of evolution is a science-based topic, and creationism is a religion-based topic.

Evolution is a scientific theory, which itself has evolved a great deal since Darwin. "Creationism" is a pseudo-scientific label to what is effectively unsubstantiated religious belief.

I am not exalting one over the other by making the distinction.

I am merely saying that scientific theory is not a dogma. Scientifically we cannot prove evolution back to the very beginning, in part because we don't know that beginning and because there are inexplicable leaps in the middle. Most biologists agree that evolution happens and debate just how much or how little and to what extent.

Similarly, religious belief is not factual; if it were factual it would be knowledge, not belief. Just because something is not factual, however, it doesn't mean it might not be in some sense true factually. Just as no one has proven that God exists, no one has accomplished the counter-logical feat of proving God does not exist. We just don know. Some choose to believe He/She/It exists, some don't.

I think children should be taught to understand the distinction between science and religion, and the uncertainties in both attempts to grasp truth.

Topic: Should creationism be taught in schools?
Posted: 21 Mar 2015 09:44

If you do teach creationism in schools, which creation story do you teach? The Judeo-Christian version, the Hindu version, the Zoroastrian or the ancient Egyptian?

Excellent point. The idea of a divine intervention that began the world could be taught in a Comparative Religion class, one in which the various religions are reviewed. This could be a social studies elective.

Topic: Audio Reader
Posted: 03 Sep 2013 14:18

Hi, is there a profile of the reader of the audio stories? The woman who has a strong Celtic accent. I'm in love with that voice!

Topic: "Slut"
Posted: 03 Aug 2013 21:42

I often read this word in stories. Sometimes they are used by men, sometimes by women.

I doubt women actually get off on calling themselves or being called "slut." But I also wonder the logic of it for a man.

Why would I want a slut? Why would I want to call a woman a slut for having sex with me? Aren't I really saying that I think it's "bad" to have sex?

Would a woman really get off on calling herself or being called a slut?

Topic: Can we learn from erotic fiction? if so, what?
Posted: 22 Sep 2012 13:07

see? learning stuff already :)

Lots to learn.

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Happy Birthday from the Lush team.
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