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About Silas

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  1. House of Horrors

    Hard to imagine how this could happen. Both the man and wife must have been insane.
  2. Muhammad: The Messenger Of God (Film 2015)

    It looks like major production: huge sets, extensive cast, etc Doesn't look like it is available on Amazon (US or UK), but I would like to see it. I will have to search around to see if I can find a subtitled copy (just starting to learn Farsi ;) )
  3. I suspect that is true for political radicalization as well. People who come to certain movements through the Internet find themselves in an echo chamber of extremism without any context, and little real-world application. This started happening 10-12 years ago I believe
  4. Whats was your favorite country to visit in life

    My favorite was probably Italy, especially Florence. I eventually want to go to Iran, but it is an expensive trip for me (I am in the states), and I would like to get some proficiency in Farsi first ;)
  5. yes, in the sense that many believe it is the most comprehensive, and fullest expression of Islam, free from superstition and radicalism. I had an interesting discussion with some pretty right-wing people at a holiday party in the states a couple weeks ago. We were discussing the Muslim immigration issue, politics of the ME, and Islam in general. While these people were upset over the refugee/economic migrant situation in Europe, everyone agreed that it had little to do with Islam, and much more to do with economics, demographics, and ethnic conflict. They also agreed that there is nothing conceptually wrong with Islam, and felt that many Islamic countries, especially Iran, have much greater social and religious cohesion than western countries, despite the problems. Some even went so far as to say that Shia Islam is in many ways better than Christianity! These views can be found among some in the west--others who are less educated and worldly have a knee-jerk hostility towards Muslims and Islam, because of the incidents of the last 40 years or so. I typically point out to these people that I live in an area that is mostly Middle-Eastern and Indian (about 30%+ Muslim at least, including Shia), and it has one of the lowest crime rates in the country. I never have to worry about getting attacked in the street or blown up. The people here are upper-middle-class (or upper), highly educated, moderate and tolerant, etc. I think what gets lost in all this is issues surrounding class, education, ethnic background, etc. Most will welcome a college educated Iranian in the neighborhood, but not everyone will welcome a Somalian with little or no education and skills, and a sketchy criminal background. I think we need to be honest about this, since it shouldn't be taboo to discuss.
  6. I don't think it would take much to normalize relations between the US and Iran (and the west in general). Both sides would have to make concessions: Iran would have to relax some of its laws and soften its approach toward political and ideological dissent, dismantle any attempts at creating a nuclear weapon, and improve relations with the Arab states and Israel The US would have to end all sanctions, recognize the legitimacy of the Iranian government, and formulate a formal treaty The current situation is bad for all sides and makes zero sense. A vast majority of Americans (and people in the west) have absolutely no ill-will towards Iran or its people, and many believe that Shia Islam is the "true" Islam, unlike the violent radicalism of the Salafists/Wahhabists.
  7. Western media is blaming economic woes for the protests: Iranians are 30% poorer than they were 10 years ago, double-digit inflation, the price of eggs doubled in a week, etc. But I am sure there are other elements involved as well, such as anti-clerical groups, etc. It would be interesting to hear from people within the country as to what is going on
  8. Remember that smart phones can be conduits of all kinds of obscene or objectionable material, and kids can stumble upon this material If a teenager requires a smart phone, look into software and services that can lock it down and limit what they can view. It can be very tricky to control these things, unlike laptops or wireless networks.
  9. shadow_of_light: he was a teenager with autism. Basically beaten, burned with cigarettes, cut, etc. It was racially motivated and upset a lot of people I think he is OK now, but the people that did it received very little punishment.
  10. Why studying Philosophy is wrong

    I am of the belief that God would not have endowed us with an intellect if He had not intended for us to use it This controversy is not new: the early Christians also had disputes over the usefulness of philosophy when compared to theology. Tertullian wrote "What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What concord is there between the Academy and the Church?" (De praescriptione haereticorum). Later, Thomas Aquinas, using theories and commentaries from Avicenna (Ibn Sina) and Averroes (Ibn Rushd) would reconcile reason with revelation and demonstrate that there is no conflict between them, and while they are not the same in terms of their formal object, they are both important.
  11. This is outrageous and depressing But remember that there is a reason people film things like this and disseminate them online--it is to invoke anger and hatred. When I go on Facebook or twitter, I commonly see people posting ugly, violent incidents involving race, religion, etc. There was an incident this summer in which a white kid was kidnapped and tortured by some black kids in Chicago (they uploaded it to youtube). Also, there have been attacks by Muslims against Jews in Europe, or Christians, and these have also found there way onto the web. The result is ethnic and religious conflict. To some extent, we are what we think about. While we shouldn't ignore incidents like this, we shouldn't dwell on them either, or go looking for nasty things to be angry about.
  12. I am a very traditional guy When I met my future wife, she was pretty upfront about her past. She had numerous boyfriends before me (she was 32 when I met her, and I was 29), and this did initially bother me quite a bit. I thought about breaking off the relationship, even though I adored her, and everything was going very well. I stuck with her, and we married 8 months later. We have been happily married for 17 years, and she is a woman of outstanding character, honesty, and fidelity. She is a wonderful mother to my children and my best friend. Life is complicated, and while we should hold to our convictions and principles, we should not be so rigid and unforgiving as to miss great opportunities.
  13. The whole thing is a huge shakedown: those arrested will have to pony up millions as a "fine" in order to be freed.
  14. Net Neutrality

    What kind of Internet restrictions exist in Iran? Do they have a "great firewall" like China?
  15. also, scholarships would not be taxable, which means that colleges would have to reclassify work-study tuition waivers as scholarships in order to prevent their graduate assistants from having to pay more taxes. So the tuition-waiver would be free from taxes, but if you did some work at the university in which you were paid by the hour, etc., that would be subject to taxes (just like it is now) Really nothing to worry about here: it is a clerical issue