In the immortal words of the country-and-western parody song “Wildwood Weed,” “All good things gotta come to an end”. Well, so, too, do these “Skeptic’s Collection” columns. So please consider this “Skeptic’s” column my personal Ave atque vale to you, my faithful regular readers and fellow-skeptics. (Both of you?) I began writing this column, believe it or not, 'way back in October of 2013 with “Oil, Water, and Marriage Equality” back when the column was called “Thoughtful Thursday”. Terri Stewart, who at that time I had only ever met on Facebook, admired my snarky sense of humor in some of my Facebook posts, and invited me to join the embryonic (at the time) set of contributing editors to her nascent Beguine blog. (It was also through Terri that I became acquainted with the folks
Like most everyone else – that is, except probably for the actual actors and staff of Game of Thrones (hereafter GOT) – I have only watched the penultimate episode “The Bells”. So I know no more about how the series ends than anyone else. Least of all do I know who ends up sitting on the Iron Throne. That question presumably is answered in the final-season episode next week, as this is written (14 May). But if the Westerosi elite were to ask my counsel about who is best suited and equipped to sit on the Throne, I could recur to some ancient Greek texts, specifically Plato’s Republic, for some very wise advice.
But first a solemn
warning: If you have not seen this next-to-last
episode of GOT, then read no farther,
because reading past this paragraph will almost certainly
Like any other ideology-based group or community, Christian communities – churches and even entire denominations – have their own hortatory idioms, their own shibboleths, often drawn from the biblical text itself. One of the biggies for me, growing up as a fundamentalist Baptist, was “Saved by grace through faith,” right out of Ephesians 2:8-9. As a Catholic, I remember being admonished to “Follow your [i.e., my] vocation [or sometimes ‘calling’]”. As a non-fundamentalist but still conservative evangelical Christian, I well remember assurances that “God has a wonderful plan for your [my] life” (usually those exact words). Now, just so there is no misunderstanding, most of the time, these exhortations are just harmless rhetoric. (Usually … there are exceptions, e.g., the “Follow