Author Topic: What are you currently reading?  (Read 1002843 times)

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Online Mandryka

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10400 on: January 16, 2021, 09:44:10 AM »
Silence, Shusaku Endo.
A 17th century Jesuit missionary's quest for truth in Japan, where Christianity was strictly prohibited.
The protagonist faces a dillemma-  unless he publicly renounces Christianity, his followers would be executed by the government.

Easy peasy. Renounce.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10401 on: January 16, 2021, 09:45:08 AM »
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." - Victor Hugo

Online Mandryka

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10402 on: January 16, 2021, 09:52:34 AM »
Renounce what?

I dunno. Whatever it was he needed to renounce in order to save the lives.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10403 on: January 16, 2021, 09:53:24 AM »
Easy peasy. Renounce.

I assume, you indicate that he should "pretend" to renounce Christianity while he could keep his belief inside. That's what the local govt suggested to him.

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10404 on: January 16, 2021, 09:57:57 AM »
I dunno. Whatever it was he needed to renounce in order to save the lives.

Easy to talk the talk for a non-Christian.

For a genuine Christian the dilemma is indeed a tough nut to crack. Trust me, my friend, it really is.

"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." - Victor Hugo

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10405 on: January 16, 2021, 10:03:33 AM »
I assume, you indicate that he should "pretend" to renounce Christianity while he could keep his belief inside. That's what the local govt suggested to him.

And that's exactly what a genuine Christian cannot do in full conscience.  I really don't know what I would have done. >:(

That's why I like living in a democracy, albeit an imperfect one: I wouldn't wish anyone to be put on such trial. Let anyone believe (in) whatever they wish.

"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." - Victor Hugo

Online Mandryka

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10406 on: January 16, 2021, 10:10:54 AM »
Easy to talk the talk for a non-Christian.

For a genuine Christian the dilemma is indeed a tough nut to crack. Trust me, my friend, it really is.

 I’m sorry it seems just clear to me that, although the genuine Christian does not want to renounce, he would surely see that it is right to save the lives.

In fact, something else may be true. The only Christian thing for him to do is to renounce. (Not sure about that - what would Jesus have done?)

As an exercise, scale it up. The evil dictator will press the button to nuke America if you don’t renounce. Maybe destroy the whole world. The logic is the same.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2021, 10:15:05 AM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10407 on: January 16, 2021, 10:18:20 AM »
I’m sorry it seems just clear to me that, although the Christian does not want to renounce, he would surely see that it is right to save the lives.

If that were the one and only right reaction, Christianity would have never achieved its current status.

There are a whole lot of Christian saints and martyrs who preferred rather to be killed than abjure their faith.
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." - Victor Hugo

Online Mandryka

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10408 on: January 16, 2021, 10:22:50 AM »
If that were the one and only right reaction, Christianity would have never achieved its current status.

There are a whole lot of Christian saints and martyrs who preferred rather to be killed than abjure their faith.

That’s not the same, in this case there are other people who will lose their lives.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10409 on: January 16, 2021, 10:24:44 AM »
what would Jesus have done?

Nobody knows. Jesus did, taught, and suggested, many things which were apparently contrary to the Law.

Quote
As an exercise, scale it up. The evil dictator will press the button to nuke America if you don’t renounce. Maybe destroy the whole world. The logic is the same.

Thank God and America be praised, there's nobody facing such an alternative.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Amen!
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." - Victor Hugo

Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10410 on: January 16, 2021, 10:30:00 AM »
And that's exactly what a genuine Christian cannot do in full conscience.  I really don't know what I would have done.

Yes, the end-justifies-means deception could exacerbate, rather than solve, the dilemma.  Very difficult and agonizing situation.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2021, 10:36:16 AM by Dry Brett Kavanaugh »

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10411 on: January 16, 2021, 10:34:50 AM »
Yes, the end-justifies-means deception could exacerbate, rather than solve, the dilemma.

Precisely.

I really, really don't know what I'd have done. The dilemma might seem as a merely theorical one, but back then it was only too real and life-threatening.

 
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." - Victor Hugo

Offline AlberichUndHagen

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10412 on: January 16, 2021, 10:51:30 AM »
I believe this same dilemma was discussed in The Brothers Karamazov, and this is one of the reasons I nowadays dislike that book. Smerdyakov is depicted as being wrong about arguing renouncing one's faith in ridiculous circumstances is more than justified even though the rational thing in such a case as presented would be to renounce it. As bad as Smerdyakov was, I felt more sympathy for him than that hypocrite Alyosha. At least Smerdyakov was rational. Alyosha is a classic example of creating a character intended to be selfless yet only thing Dostoyevsky managed to create was male version of Katerina Ivanovna.

Edit: I actually think renouncing one's faith, whatever it happens to be, is justified in all circumstances.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2021, 10:56:51 AM by AlberichUndHagen »

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10413 on: January 16, 2021, 10:57:49 AM »
I felt more sympathy for him than that hypocrite Alyosha.

In what way(s) is Alyosha a hypocrite?
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." - Victor Hugo

Offline AlberichUndHagen

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10414 on: January 16, 2021, 11:21:33 AM »
His fundamentalism drives me nuts! He gets mad at Ivan for trying to express his atheism in his Grand Inquisitor poem while still the narrator is constantly trying to uphold his (fake) image of not judging anyone. Also, like Ivan and Dmitri, he never acknowledges Smerdyakov as his brother because he is illegitimate yet he never stops thinking about Fyodor, arguably the most horrible character in the book, as his father, meaning that Alyosha's for the incredibly old-fashioned "bastards are not family" type of hypocritical mentality yet the fathers who rape people and act horrendously are family? I'm not arguing Smerdyakov hasn't done anything bad, I am arguing that Fyodor was worse, as one character in fact in Dmitri's trial very soundly argues Fyodor of having renounced all his duties as a father, even mocked them. And as a cherry on the top, there is his heinous rape of a mentally disabled character who actually happens to be Smerdyakov's mother. I don't remember if it is outright stated if Smerdyakov knew about Fyodor's rape of his mother but considering it appears to be public knowledge in the town I think he does.

I've also studied Dostoevsky's religious views in his Writer's Diary which included his enthusiastic support of murdering Turks, the so called "infidels". Dostoevsky represents the absolute worst aspects of Christianity and he never loses an opportunity to express his obsession in his books. I still like Dostyevsky as a writer but I mostly like from his characters those who express atheism as opposed to faith. His Christian characters are often either incredibly bland or outright annoying.

FWIW, I am an agnostic atheist.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2021, 01:34:48 PM by AlberichUndHagen »

Offline SimonNZ

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10415 on: January 16, 2021, 01:27:59 PM »
I'm going to have to go out and get a copy of Remains Of The Day.

currently:



Superbly and succinctly written and argued collection of short pieces (4-6 pages) articles from The Guardian. I'll be finding and reading the rest of his full-length books in the near future.

It occurs to me that its been a while since I read a hard-left author who didn't just sound like the boilerplate easily caricatured image of the hard-left but was a strikingly original voice., and precise and focused rather than broad and sweeping.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2021, 01:30:06 PM by SimonNZ »

Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10416 on: January 16, 2021, 02:34:29 PM »

Offline Brian

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10417 on: January 16, 2021, 09:02:04 PM »

FWIW, I am an agnostic atheist.
Same, and I very much enjoyed Brothers Karamazov at age 17 but very much did not enjoy it at 27, when all the philosophical discussions amongst the characters seemed to be unfairly weighted or "rigged." Also, I changed translations - MacAndrew at 17 and the much disliked Pevear & Volokhonsky at 27; perhaps that was part of the problem. On second reading the debates and politics of the book seemed much less subtle and more artificial or staged.

Offline SimonNZ

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10418 on: January 16, 2021, 09:07:04 PM »
Same, and I very much enjoyed Brothers Karamazov at age 17 but very much did not enjoy it at 27, when all the philosophical discussions amongst the characters seemed to be unfairly weighted or "rigged." Also, I changed translations - MacAndrew at 17 and the much disliked Pevear & Volokhonsky at 27; perhaps that was part of the problem. On second reading the debates and politics of the book seemed much less subtle and more artificial or staged.

You didn't like the translation, or are you saying its widely disliked?

I've read it twice, but both times the Constance Garnett translation. I'd like to do a third in another version.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10419 on: January 17, 2021, 05:50:08 AM »
I've never read The Brothers Karamazov but the Pevear & Volokhonsky translation has been sitting on my bookshelf for about a year. I did not know it was "much disliked"; rather, I thought it was supposed to be "the one to get". Anyway, I read their translation of Crime and Punishment several times and loved it each time. Ditto for Notes from Underground.

Yesterday I started yet another Ishiguro: A Pale View of Hills, his first novel. So far, so good.