Minion Molly’s Mailbag, Part the Second

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been seriously remiss in posting comments on some e-mails he has gotten. He is particularly delinquent in thanking a few minions for their thoughtful comments on his Pontifications post. So to those of you who sent kind words, unkind words, or other articles for your Maximum Leader’s consideration; he thanks you.

But, of all the minions out there your Mximum Leader owes his Divine Minion Molly the most material. So, with that in mind, here is a little something for Minion Molly.

Many moons ago now Minion Molly wrote: “I think you need to blog on what makes a liberal and a conservative.” A sensible question indeed. Your Maximum Leader has wracked his brain trying to think up some definitions that were broad enough to encompass the common daily usage of these two terms. But at the same time, not be too partisan or snide in the defining.

Your Maximum Leader could only come up with these definitions. And they only really fit the usage of Liberal and Conservative insofar as domestic affairs in the United States go.

Here they are:

A Liberal seeks to utilize the government as the primary agent to affect social, economic, and civic change as rapidly and evenly as possible.

A Conservative seeks to minimize the intrusion of government, where ever possible, into social, economic, and civic life.

Not terribly exciting eh? Well, they are broad enough to be inclusive of most of the common usages of the two terms. But, being broad, they fail to capture the nuance extant in both the “Liberal” camp and the “Conservative” camp.

Your Maximum Leader would prefer, and might yet, to come up with a series of more “tight” definitions that would convey nuance.

Now you think this is the end of the post. Well you are wrong on that count minions. There is more.

Your Maximum Leader recently received a message from Minion Molly in which she commented on recent posts. Your Maximum Leader thought he would go ahead and share them with you.

Minion Molly writes on the subject of Alexander the Great. (In response to a post in which your Maximum Leader mentions Alexander obliquely, and in the context of a post by the Poet Laureate.) She writes:

First, Alexander the Great was bisexual. The Greek government can get over their homophobic selves. There are numerous primary sources that allude to it. Also, this was 300 years before Christ, and this was the norm for men in the military.

The Spartans were taken away from their parents at the age of 6 and trained. They lived in barracks and weren’t allowed to marry until they were in their 30s. Alex was schooled in Athens and would have learned the Greek ways.

You can look at pottery and mosaics from this time period and it is depicted there. I think it’s a moot point. He had conquered almost 90% of the known world at this time and was a great strategist. So what if he loved another guy?

Don’t you just love a woman who can comment on Alexander the Great as “Alex?” Your Maximum Leader surely does. On this point your Maximum Leader will have to agree with Minion Molly. It is fairly clear that Alexander was what we would now term a bisexual. But, as Molly alludes, sexuality was not what it is today. An important element that has been missing in the ongoing web discussion of Alexander’s sexuality is the idea of love espoused by the ancient Greeks. A critical element of love is that it could only occur between equals. And since men and women were not equal, love among equals was out. Your Maximum Leader says sure Alexander batted for both teams, but that doesn’t diminish his formidable accomplishments.

Really now. Compare your life to Alexander’s. King at 16. Conqueror of the world by 32. Hard not to feel as though you haven’t been reaching your full potential.

Excursus: Your Maximum Leader was watching some interview program on TV with Oliver Stone, Colin Farell, and Angelina Jolie discussing “Alexander.” Damn Angelina Jolie. Your Maximum Leader can’t figure out what draws him to her. She must have the “kavorka.” Your Maximum Leader cannot turn her off. No matter what it is, if Angelina is in it your Maximum Leader watches with rapt attention. And in the true confessions mode of blogging, your Maximum Leader got all hot and bothered when, in the interview, Angelina stated that she couldn’t have played Olympias (mother of Alexander) until she had become a mother. She said that she knows what it means to be a mother. She said she’d kill someone to protect her son. And your Maximum Leader thought to himself, “Damn, and she only has an adopted son. She’d likely kill thousands for a child sharing half her genes.” If Angelina Jolie needs some genes for a child, your Maximum Leader will offer them up gladly. Hummm… Where does this leave Jennifer Love Hewitt… She’s still number one with your Maximum Leader. Jolie may have the kavorka, but she is also likely to cut you when you’re not looking.

Not only did the Divine Minion Molly comment on Alexander, she also commented on Judas Iscariot. She writes:

Next, the Judas question. I was raised free will Southern Baptist. I have a great Aunt that left the Baptist Church and became Calvanist. She probably knows the Bible better than anyone I know. Her family learned Greek so they could read the Bible in its original form. I had never been crazy about predestination and election, but she in her wily way got me to thinking….

…If you believe in election (the correct term for predestination and election), he was predestined to sell Jesus out. Period. You just have to accept this on faith. So does this mean if any person or persons in history do something “bad”, that they can be excused from this because they have been predestined to do this and it was God’s will? I have a problem with that. I’m having lunch with my aunt tomorrow and will discuss this further with her.

First off, allow your Maximum Leader to tip his bejeweled floppy hat in the direction of your aunt. Learning ancient Greek to read the Bible. That is worth a hat tip. And your Maximum Leader is keen to know the thoughts of Minion Molly’s aunt on Judas.

As for the Judas question. Your Maximum Leader was musing more on the condemnation (or the assumption of the condemnation) of Judas. If you believe in predestination,** then Judas was picked by God to betray Christ. But he was also (presumably) condemned for doing so. There is the heart of the issue at which your Maximum Leader was driving. If your Maximum Leader was predisposed towards believing in predestination, then he would have no problem believing that Judas was picked to do the deed. But if you believe in a benevolent God, why would God then punish Judas forever for acting in the only way God would allow? Even if you don’t believe in predestination, the Gospel accounts are pretty clear that Jesus knew what was coming. And Jesus also knew that one of his disciples (perhaps he didn’t know Judas specifically) would be the one to betray him. This gives rise to one thinking that, again Judas was ordained to betray Jesus. And once again one wonders if God’s punishment was just in the face of Judas apparently having no choice in the matter.

** - Your Maximum Leader feels that predestination might be a better term to use in this context. In his experience the term “elect” or “elected” in this context generally refers to those who have been “elected” by God to go on to heaven and not suffer eternal damnation. Your Maximum Leader has never heard the term “elect” used to describe the condemned sinners.

So the real problem your Maximum Leader (and the always thoughtful Bill) was pondering was the nature of Judas’ punishment. If there is free will, then Judas made his own choice and was punished for it. But if Judas had no choice in the matter, then is punishment really fair.

As Bill wrote in his post, this question gets really to the heart of Christian doctrine. If God has determined our course since the beginning (or before the beginning) of time; then is the punishment we receive for a sinful life really just? Afterall, we didn’t have a choice in the matter. An all-poerful God, before whom we are powerless, willed our lives to be sinful and for punishment to be metted out accordingly. This hardly is in accord with the typical concept of an omni-benevolent God.

Hummm… Your Maximum Leader is curious to know the minds of other minions in this matter.

Carry on.

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