New Rule Added to the Comment Policy: No Off-Topic Comments

I didn’t want to enact a rule concerning the topicality, but since there are inconsiderate commenters who keep on hijacking the comment thread and show no remorse for littering the blog with their irrelevant musings, and have indicated that they will go on polluting the comment section, you will not be able to post off-topic comments from now on.

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When Religions Teach Slaughter, Some People Learn the Lesson

Ed Brayton wrote something in his blog yesterday with which I couldn’t disagree more, and I think it’s the wrong way to look at religions. In a post entitled Yes, President Obama, Some Religions Do Teach Slaughter he wrote:

It’s trivially easy to cite chapter and verse from the Bible and the Quran not just encouraging but demanding the murder of innocents. Does this mean most Christians and Muslims would ever consider doing such things? Of course not. They have a wide range of rationalizations, excuses and interpretations that allow them to ignore such passages. But pretending they aren’t there and that lots of people do take those verses literally and believe they justify barbarism is quite absurd.

As I’ve said many times, we need to stop thinking that there is such a thing as Christianity or Islam. There are multiple versions of each that differ from each other in hugely significant ways. Decent, compassionate people find all the support they need in those holy books to justify being decent and compassionate. Violent, hateful people find all the support they need in those books to justify being violent and hateful. They all pick and choose the parts of their religion that they like and find ways to explain away or ignore the rest. It’s also not reasonable to claim that one or the other of these versions is the One True Religion. [Emphasis mine].

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Movie to Look Forward to: Humbling

Philip Roth is a great author, and Humbling is a great novel, a masterpiece. When I heard that it’s going to be adapted into a film and Al Pacino is playing the lead, I was very excited, as Pacino really is the perfect choice, I even imagined the protagonist as Pacino when I read the novel. How awesome is that? When you read a novel, imagine an actor as the perfect person who should play the role, and the exact person is cast?

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In Iran: The Noose Around Reformists’ Neck Gets Tighter

A little more than a year has passed since Rouhani became the president of Iran, but it seems that the conservatives are in full oppression mode. I have already told you how Rouhani’s minister of science was removed by the conservative parliament for the “crime” of doing his job and implementing reforms. But the events of these days show that the conservatives are continuing to restrain Rouhani in his place. These events usually seem too domestic and too insignificant, but they are significant, so in this blogpost I will explain why they matter.

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Liberty Interviews Episode 2: James Croft

This is the first episode of hopefully many weekly interviews I plan to conduct on the subject of liberty from people with varying standpoints and views.

James Croft is the Leader in Training at the Ethical Culture Society of St. Louis – one of the largest Humanist congregations in the world. He is a graduate of the Universities of Cambridge and Harvard, and is currently writing his Doctoral dissertation as a student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is an in-demand public speaker, an engaging teacher, and a passionate activist for human rights. James was raised on Shakespeare, Sagan and Star Trek, and is a proud, gay Humanist. His upcoming book “The Godless Congregation”, co-authored with New York Times bestselling author Greg Epstein, is being published by Simon & Schuster. Read his blog at Temple of the Future.

Black and White Current

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10 Books Which Stayed with You

OK, in Persian we have something called “I ate shit”, and people say that in many situations, but also when they boast something and then realize how difficult it is. I wanted to participate in a Facebook game in which we name ten books which stayed with us and we love. Now my dear friends were kind enough to tag me in this game, now I feel that I indeed have had a healthy meal of shit, as it has proven very difficult to narrow it down to ten.

I wrote this is blogpost, But I think it’s a good list of recommended books so I share them with my dear blog readers too.

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Why As An Iranian I’m Skeptical of Jon Stewart’s “Rosewater”

The trailer of Jon Stewart’s Rosewater was released. I ought to be very  excited. No event was more defining of my life than the 2009’s Green Movement. Jon Stewart is a witty comedian with honorable sensibilities, whose coverage of 2009 events, sending Jason Jones to Iran to cover the election and then how he handled the protests, made him famous and popular in Iran. I have watched all Daily Show episodes since that time, and no other American has been as influential in my understanding of contemporary United States. Plus, the Green Movement deserves to have books and movies. So what’s wrong? Why I’m not excited? Why do I feel the movie is going to be a failure in my eyes?

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Crisis Group on Nuclear Talks: A Focus on Irreducible Core Interests rather than Maximalist Stances

Crisis Group is one of the best resources one has to understand international policy better. I have frequently read their reports, and I fully agree with their stances. Ali Vaez frequently appears on Persian TV and I consider him the best commentator on Iran’s international policy. Anyway they have a 40 page report on how the nuclear talks could be successful, and it’s a must read for everyone interested in the subject. The report itself is not new but it’s been edited and it should be read.

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Liberty Interviews Episode 1: Daniel Fincke

This is the first episode of hopefully many interviews I plan to conduct on the subject of liberty from people with varying standpoints and views.

For the first installment of my interview series on Liberty, I interviewed Daniel Fincke of the blog Camels With Hammers. Dan earned his PhD in Philosophy from Fordham University and taught philosophy classes at numerous universities in New York and surrounding states for 11 years. Now he teaches independent, non-matriculated philosophy classes online, including one on Social and Political Philosophy.


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