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I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting a conversation between you and Rain Wilson. You are full of surprises, Mr. Hart, and simply awesome.

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Sep 16, 2022·edited Sep 16, 2022

Just The Avengers? Listen.

When are you finally going to address ‘60s and ‘70s Doctor Who? It’s the elephant in the room.

I cannot accept the accuracy of Roland in Moonlight for this reason. At no point in the text does he even mention Jon Pertwee. At no point do you state that the writing reached its peak when Robert Holmes was script editor. But I’ve been to your house many times and I know what goes on there.

(Or is this to be the subject of a sequel??)

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author

One cannot capture everything in a single book--though I tried to do so in RiM. As you know, I would be more likely to bring up Patrick Troughton first--as you would.

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I'm just waiting. It seems like the last great subject you have not formally essayed.

Patrick Troughton is of course the definitive Doctor in my book. But I have to say, my deep intuition is that all dogs love Pertwee. Maybe it's the cape? The patrician demeanor, which just screams "Leader, will feed" to dogs?

It's at least partially the cape. They love when people in capes stand up, because then they have an excuse to wag their tails and jump around.

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More often a Yorkshire riding coat than a cape. But yes, there was something of the squirearchy about him, something that suggested long walks with dogs and a robust appreciation for canine nature.

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Whilst I love both the Doctors you've mentioned, isn't Tom Baker deserving of an appreciative nod as well? He was pretty marvelous too, I think.

And I agree that a column discussing classic Dr Who would an amazing thing.

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All of the first four were wonderful.

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Sep 16, 2022·edited Sep 16, 2022Liked by David Bentley Hart

I’m deeply fond of the first four, so I feel obliged to mention Hartnell too, just to round things out.

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Tom Baker’s Doctor actually had a dog. Sure, K-9 was made of metal, but a loyal friend nonetheless. I think that gives Baker the lead.

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The first four—to my mind, the only four—are all beyond criticism or reproach.

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I would agree, save for David Tennant. I am very grateful for not only his Doctor, but many other wonderful performances.

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Sep 19, 2022·edited Sep 20, 2022Author

I protest. That vulgar sentimentalist is not the Doctor.

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Perhaps Pertwee was mentioned, but the mention was lost when Roland reversed the polarity...

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And yet we know that reversing the polarity is usually a solution to every possible extraterrestrial threat.

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Ok, I feel like I might be in a dream.

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I see that some people here have expressed quite a lot of admiration and affection for the Baha'i Faith, even going as far as to admit that they could actually picture themselves converting to it in the future.

I understand why so many people are attracted to the Baha'i Faith when they first learn about it, especially people that identify as "liberals" or "progressives" in the current (and American) sense of these terms : being explicitly opposed to sexism, racism, nationalism, religious bigotry and anti-science attitudes, it is true that this religion has much to offer to such people.

However, please do consider these less widely known facts about the Baha'i Faith in order to get the bigger picture :

- Baha'u'llah defended the concept of the death penalty for two specific crimes : arson and murder.

If you are indeed a liberal/progressive, it seems that in order to be a "good" Baha'i, you are going to have to consider relinquishing an important part of what it usually means to be a liberal : opposition to the death penalty, under all or almost all circumstances.

Murder is to be punished by death... It is rather disturbing to see someone who taught that Jesus was a Manifestation of God (as the Baha'i Faith would put it) suddenly and radically reject the Nazarene's most fundamental ethical teaching, which is to *not* take revenge on anyone and to *never* resort to any kind of violence.

- Any Baha'i who openly disagrees with and/or criticises the official policies adopted by the governing body of the Faith, which is the Universal House of Justice, falls into the Covenant-Breaker category of people.

"Covenant-Breaker" is a Baha'i expression that can mean "heretic" or "apostate" and Covenant-Breakers are to be excommunicated and shunned by all Baha'is, including family members.

Furthermore, a Baha'i who refuses to stop frequenting a Covenant-Breaker is at risk of being considered a Covenant-Breaker himself.

If you happen to know anything at all about, say, the Jehovah's Witnesses, then you know that there's no difference between how the Witnesses treat their apostates and how Baha'is are traditionally expected (at least on paper) to treat theirs.

And obviously, this is nothing short of cult-like mentality, no need to sugarcoat it.

- "Practicing" homosexuals (and bisexuals, of course) are a notable exception to the Baha'i Faith's commitment to tolerance : while it is true that homosexuals are tolerated by virtue of their humanity and that they are even allowed to join the Baha'i Faith, Baha'u'llah forbade sodomy and his great grandson, Shoghi Effendi, the third head of the Faith, described homosexuality as "an affliction that should be overcome".

The Baha'i Faith teaches that instead of engaging in this "sinful" behaviour, homosexuals must consider remaining celibate for life - as if such a life would be anywhere near satisfying for the overwhelming majority of people.

It isn't like *only* the Baha'i Faith condemns homosexuality, of course (even most *buddhist* clergymen do actually condemn it as "sexual misconduct", at least in Southeast Asia), but here again, if you are indeed a "liberal" at heart, then it seems to me that in order to become a "good" Baha'i, there's much more you are going to have to change about your whole worldview than what you might have expected so far.

- While the Baha'i Faith claims to be opposed to sexism, none of the 9 members of the Baha'i Universal House of Justice, the single most important and influential Baha'i institution of all since it is the one that supervises the whole faith, may ever be a woman.

At the highest level of the Baha'i Faith, women have no say in, not in spiritual matters... Quite surprising, for a religion that repeatedly teaches that men and women are spiritually equal.

Furthermore, if you think that this state of things is reformable, you might want to reconsider : Abdu'l-Baha, eldest son of Baha'u'llah and head of the Baha'i Faith after his father's death, said "it will become clear, in the future, why this (male-only) restriction is in place".

More things could still be said, but I think that this is quite enough, already.

I mean, I do like many aspects of the Baha'i Faith and I do think *much* more highly of it than, say, evangelical protestantism, that wicked cult we call the Jehovah's Witnesses or that spectacularly stupid religion we call Mormonism (Mormonism, I mean... Words fail me), but still, I am not going to fall for this.

And neither should you, really.

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Sure. But: Fall for what? A discussion of someone’s faith is not meant to be an advertisement for his or her religion. Rainn was not trying to con anyone.

I am afraid that all religious traditions and sects are unsatisfactory in many details. We can’t pretend otherwise. And “apostasy” is treated pretty nastily in every faith.

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Am I mistaken or several comments (including mine) have been deleted here?

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Not intentionally. But sometimes the page refreshes and comments disappear. So maybe.

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Oh, okay.

I wanted to answer Mr LaBonte... Maybe he'll repost his message.

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Your comments about a "progressive revelation" by God over time and about a widespread "prejudice against religions that are not old enough" have me wondering about how to best retitle the team blog that I administer which is currently called "Jesus and the Ancient Paths." Perhaps "Jesus and the Wise Paths" would be best? Much to ponder. Also excited to hear of your upcoming talk titled "Prisca Theologia: Revelation as Polyphony" at the upcoming conference on "Converging Wisdom? Questioning the Continued Relevance of the Perennial Philosophy" (October 2-4, 2022). Perhaps there will be more related to some of your thoughts on God's "progressive revelation" to us?

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Well, if the Bahá’í Faith claimed to be presenting something completely new and had no roots in the developed religions of the ancient world, it probably wouldn't be worth our time. But it clearly values the "Ancient Paths" and expresses spiritual and theological continuity with them.

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Really looking forward to this one. The Baha’i community here in Northern CA has been incredibly welcoming to me at some of the interfaith gatherings I have attended. I’m thrilled to pass this along to a few friends here. Thanks for this one David.

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"Baha'i, baseball, Beatles."

Classic stuff. lol

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Listening to both of you, we feel that the spiritual dimension of existence is a reality !

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It was interesting to hear you mention your visit to Mount Athos and your experience there. I had been unaware. Do you write of that trip anywhere?

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No. And I never will.

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I see. Just for clarity, I am not talking about the experience you allude to, that would be far too intimate, but rather your experience of Mt. Athos.

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Ah. Maybe I will write about it some day.

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Ok. At least in the US, "Mount Athos" seems so fraught as it functions as a kind of screen to project the kind of fundamentalism you write about so convincingly, but I would imagine the reality is rather more multifaceted(how could it be less?) in ways that are both more inspired as well as perhaps mundane. Most descriptions I have seen seem a bit idealized. I was just interested in your point of view on it. Thanks.

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There are different levels of learning and sophistication there.

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Right. One is led to believe that in addition to some instances of great erudition at Mount Athos, there is a cultivation of learning and sophistication nurtured in the life of prayer, liturgy, askesis and community. Did you encounter examples of that?

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A charming conversation and a good intro to a faith I knew very little about, even though I’ve visited the mentioned temple several times. The beach that’s by the temple is also lovely; Roland would surely appreciate it.

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You change (or already changed) your name on social media platforms to express more heat and protest for climate to be proper.

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?

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Hoping that's not bogus. Rainnfall Heat Wave Extreme Winter Wilson. I'm deserved to be deleted.

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Oh, I see.

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What just happened? What is going on in this little thread?

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This was fun.

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I was not interested in this at all because of the celebrity of the guest, but instead because I have had a long-held curiosity about Baha'i ever since boyhood when I was told that my Great-Grandmother was a friend of a practitioner. This all (my memory and this podcast) sounded very good to me, so much so that I've been casually researching further throughout the day, going so far as to read some of the prayers aloud and chanting Alláh-u-Abhá 95 times. Very curious about this faith, and greatly grateful as to how it permits my affection for Christianity and Buddhism.

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Sep 26, 2022·edited Sep 26, 2022Author

I'm glad celebrity wasn't the chief draw. I know a few famous and near-famous people, but only some of them are good to talk spiritual matters with.

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Do you incorporates pantheistic ideas into your theology David?

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That’s a very vague term.

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You mention Vedanta as being an influence for your theological thought and according to one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy, God is referred to as “Brahman,” and the word “Brahman” means vast or unlimited. So, Brahman/God is not limited by time, which means it is eternal. It is not limited by space, which means it is everywhere. Everywhere being the (Pan) theism.

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Sep 20, 2022·edited Sep 20, 2022Author

That is metaphysical monism, not actually pantheism as typically understood. All classical theism believes in an omnipresent eternal God. By that definition, just about every creed is pantheist.

By the way, Brahman does not actually mean limitless, though Brahman is indeed limitless.

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What is typically understood as pantheism in your opinion?

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Most people mean by it a kind of process theology whereby all of nature is also in its totality the becoming-of-God. But there are other definitions that are fine with me.

But that is a discussion for some other time.

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RW discusses the pantheistic faith as an adaptation of different religions to the modern world or to the modernity, in order for the spiritual resolution to be practiced on a global level for the unity of humanity. The vision is beautiful while it may self-limit the activities as in socio-political spheres by the operational emphasis as an ideal.

There are many more things. It is true that many of us are not usually facing starvations while saying God's prayer, ".... daily bread" . It is also keenly felt (by and according to me) as true that there was no boundary between the spiritual and the practical during Jesus's missions in his time. Death and life were so close at all moments.

More intrigued. Death understood as the end point would vanish. Maybe so does time itself. Gregory of Nyssa interests me.

Big themes are everywhere in this great conversation. For modern people in general, revelations might exist only in a conceptual dimension, or by convictions from a momentum of accidental leap in minds, brought by circumstantial conditions.

I believe the terminology is out of the scope, but the word "spiritual" itself seems to have had different connotations in the distant past. Rather, the term might have had no aspect of binary, if not having existed at all.

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A very enjoyable and enlightening conversation. And I confess it was delightful to see someone finally get David’s goat.

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?

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You know…his deadpanned comment about the goat that took you by surprise. A funny moment for both of you.

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founding

I recall the Jack in the Box in my hometown as a child in the 70's. However, as it was on the other side of town, my parents chose to be regulars (as much as money provided) at the local Yankee Doodle Dandy (fantastic fast-food chain in Chicagoland). At some point Jack in the Box ended up with an E. coli issue that resulted in their local demise. Yankee Doodle succumbed to an unfortunate demise as well (one that I still mourn) as their ownership decided to retreat from fast food restaurants. Thanks for the ride on the culinary way-back machine.

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I can’t say ghat I especially miss that part of the 70s.

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