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Compare 12/30/2013

It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry.
  --Thomas Paine, philosopher and writer (1737-1809)

P.1711 - §3 (153:2.11)  By this time there was much murmuring in the synagogue, and such a tumult was threatened that Jesus stood up and said: "Let us be patient; the truth never suffers from honest examination."

    Thomas Paine was an English-American political activist, author, political theorist and revolutionary. As the author of two highly influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, he inspired the Patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Britain. His ideas reflected Enlightenment era rhetoric of transnational human rights. He has been called "a corsetmaker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination".
    Born in Thetford, England, in the county of Norfolk, Paine emigrated to the British American colonies in 1774 with the help of Benjamin Franklin, arriving just in time to participate in the American Revolution. His principal contributions were the powerful, widely read pamphlet Common Sense (1776), the all-time best-selling American book that advocated colonial America's independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and The American Crisis (1776–83), a pro-revolutionary pamphlet series. Common Sense was so influential that John Adams said, "Without the pen of the author of Common Sense, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain."
Paine lived in France for most of the 1790s, becoming deeply involved in the French Revolution. He wrote the Rights of Man (1791), in part a defence of the French Revolution against its critics. His attacks on British writer Edmund Burke led to a trial and conviction in absentia in 1792 for the crime of seditious libel. In 1792, despite not being able to speak French, he was elected to the French National Convention. The Girondists regarded him as an ally. Consequently, the Montagnards, especially Robespierre, regarded him as an enemy.
    In December 1793, he was arrested and imprisoned in Paris, then released in 1794. He became notorious because of his pamphlet The Age of Reason (1793–94), in which he advocated deism, promoted reason and freethinking, and argued against institutionalized religion in general and Christian doctrine in particular. He also wrote the pamphlet Agrarian Justice (1795), discussing the origins of property, and introduced the concept of a guaranteed minimum income. In 1802, he returned to America where he died on June 8, 1809. Only six people attended his funeral as he had been ostracized for his ridicule of Christianity.

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Christmas Compare 12/25/2013

And it came to pass that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
  --Bible, Luke 2:1

P.1350 - §3 (122:7.1) In the month of March, 8 B.C. (the month Joseph and Mary were married), Caesar Augustus decreed that all inhabitants of the Roman Empire should be numbered, that a census should be made which could be used for effecting better taxation.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.  And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
  --Bible, Luke 2:13-15

P.1352 - §1 (122:8.5) At the noontide birth of Jesus the seraphim of Urantia, assembled under their directors, did sing anthems of glory over the Bethlehem manger, but these utterances of praise were not heard by human ears. No shepherds nor any other mortal creatures came to pay homage to the babe of Bethlehem until the day of the arrival of certain priests from Ur, who were sent down from Jerusalem by Zacharias.
 

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Compare 12/23/2013

A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just
Begins to live
That day.
  --Emily Dickinson, poet (1830-1886)

(159:4.7)  The authority of truth is the very spirit that indwells its living manifestations, and not the dead words of the less illuminated and supposedly inspired men of another generation.

(180:5.2)  Static truth is dead truth, and only dead truth can be held as a theory. Living truth is dynamic and can enjoy only an experiential existence in the human mind.

(180:5.4)  The true child of universe insight looks for the living Spirit of Truth in every wise saying. The God-knowing individual is constantly elevating wisdom to the living-truth levels of divine attainment; the spiritually unprogressive soul is all the while dragging the living truth down to the dead levels of wisdom and to the domain of mere exalted knowledge.

    Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) was an American poet. Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, to a successful family with strong community ties, she lived a mostly introverted and reclusive life. After she studied at the Amherst Academy for seven years in her youth, she spent a short time at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary before returning to her family's house in Amherst. Thought of as an eccentric by the locals, she became known for her penchant for white clothing and her reluctance to greet guests or, later in life, even leave her room. Most of her friendships were therefore carried out by correspondence.
    While Dickinson was a prolific private poet, fewer than a dozen of her nearly eighteen hundred poems were published during her lifetime. The work that was published during her lifetime was usually altered significantly by the publishers to fit the conventional poetic rules of the time. Dickinson's poems are unique for the era in which she wrote; they contain short lines, typically lack titles, and often use slant rhyme as well as unconventional capitalization and punctuation. Many of her poems deal with themes of death and immortality, two recurring topics in letters to her friends.
    Although most of her acquaintances were probably aware of Dickinson's writing, it was not until after her death in 1886—when Lavinia, Dickinson's younger sister, discovered her cache of poems—that the breadth of Dickinson's work became apparent. Her first collection of poetry was published in 1890 by personal acquaintances Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Mabel Loomis Todd, both of whom heavily edited the content. A complete and mostly unaltered collection of her poetry became available for the first time in 1955 when The Poems of Emily Dickinson was published by scholar Thomas H. Johnson. Despite some unfavorable reviews and some skepticism during the late 19th and early 20th century as to Dickinson's literary prowess, she is now almost universally considered to be one of the most important American poets.

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Compare 12/20/2013

There is no man so good, who, were he to submit all his thoughts and actions to the laws, would not deserve hanging ten times in his life.
 --Michel de Montaigne, essayist (1533-1592)

P.555 - §1 (48:6.22)  Law is life itself and not the rules of its conduct. Evil is a transgression of law, not a violation of the rules of conduct pertaining to life, which is the law. Falsehood is not a matter of narration technique but something premeditated as a perversion of truth. The creation of new pictures out of old facts, the restatement of parental life in the lives of offspring--these are the artistic triumphs of truth. The shadow of a hair's turning, premeditated for an untrue purpose, the slightest twisting or perversion of that which is principle--these constitute falseness. But the fetish of factualized truth, fossilized truth, the iron band of so-called unchanging truth, holds one blindly in a closed circle of cold fact. One can be technically right as to fact and everlastingly wrong in the truth.

    Michel Eyquem de Montaigne was one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance, known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre, and commonly thought of as the father of modern skepticism. He became famous for his effortless ability to merge serious intellectual exercises with casual anecdotes and autobiography—and his massive volume Essais (translated literally as "Attempts" or "Trials") contains, to this day, some of the most widely influential essays ever written. Montaigne had a direct influence on writers all over the world, including René Descartes, Blaise Pascal, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Albert Hirschman, William Hazlitt, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friedrich Nietzsche, Stefan Zweig, Eric Hoffer, Isaac Asimov, and possibly on the later works of William Shakespeare.
    In his own time, Montaigne was admired more as a statesman than as an author. The tendency in his essays to digress into anecdotes and personal ruminations was seen as detrimental to proper style rather than as an innovation, and his declaration that, 'I am myself the matter of my book', was viewed by his contemporaries as self-indulgent. In time, however, Montaigne would be recognized as embodying, perhaps better than any other author of his time, the spirit of freely entertaining doubt which began to emerge at that time. He is most famously known for his skeptical remark, 'Que sçay-je?' ('What do I know?' in Middle French; modern French Que sais-je?). Remarkably modern even to readers today, Montaigne's attempt to examine the world through the lens of the only thing he can depend on implicitly—his own judgment—makes him more accessible to modern readers than any other author of the Renaissance. Much of modern literary non-fiction has found inspiration in Montaigne and writers of all kinds continue to read him for his masterful balance of intellectual knowledge and personal story-telling.
 

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Compare 12/19/2013

The voice of conscience is so delicate that it is easy to stifle it; but it is also so clear that it is impossible to mistake it.
 --Madame De Stael, writer (1766-1817)

P.1005 - §2 (91:2.6)  Religion has at one time or another sanctioned all sorts of contrary and inconsistent behavior, has at some time approved of practically all that is now regarded as immoral or sinful. Conscience, untaught by experience and unaided by reason, never has been, and never can be, a safe and unerring guide to human conduct. Conscience is not a divine voice speaking to the human soul. It is merely the sum total of the moral and ethical content of the mores of any current stage of existence; it simply represents the humanly conceived ideal of reaction in any given set of circumstances.

P.1207 - §7 (110:5.1)  Do not confuse and confound the mission and influence of the Adjuster with what is commonly called conscience; they are not directly related. Conscience is a human and purely psychic reaction. It is not to be despised, but it is hardly the voice of God to the soul, which indeed the Adjuster's would be if such a voice could be heard. Conscience, rightly, admonishes you to do right; but the Adjuster, in addition, endeavors to tell you what truly is right; that is, when and as you are able to perceive the Monitor's leading.

Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein commonly known as Madame de Staël, was a French woman of letters of Swiss origin whose lifetime overlapped with the events of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era. She was one of Napoleon's principal opponents. Celebrated for her conversational eloquence, she participated actively in the political and intellectual life of her times. Her works, both critical and fictional, made their mark on the history of European Romanticism.
 

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Compare 12/17/2013

Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.
   --Edwin Hubbel Chapin 
(1814-1880) American author, clergyman

P.556 - §12 (48:7.12)  Righteousness strikes the harmony chords of truth, and the melody vibrates throughout the cosmos, even to the recognition of the Infinite.

    Edwin Hubbell Chapin (December 29, 1814 – 1880) was an American preacher and editor of the Christian Leader. He was also a poet, responsible for the poem Burial at Sea, which was the origin of a famous folk song, Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie.
    Chapin was born in Union Village, Washington County, New York. He did not attend college, but completed his formal education in a seminary at Bennington, Vermont. At the age of twenty-four, after a course of theological study, he was invited to take charge of the pulpit of the Universalist Society of Richmond, Virginia, and was ordained as a pastor in 1838. Two years afterward, he moved to Charlestown, Massachusetts, and in 1840 he accepted the pastorate of the School Street Society, in Boston. In 1848 he settled in New York as pastor of the Fourth Universalist Society, the church of which was then located on Broadway. Here he labored for a period extending over eighteen years, drawing large congregations. A new edifice, known as the Church of the Divine Paternity, was erected on the corner of 5th Avenue and 45th Street, and dedicated on the 3rd day of December, 1866.
    Chapin became widely known as an orator and author of works including the Crown of Thorns, Discourses on the Lord's Prayer, Characters of the Gospel, illustrating phases of the present day, Moral Aspects of City Life, and Humanity in the City. He spoke at Frankfort-on-the-Main, before the World's Peace Convention in 1850; at the Kossuth Banquet; at the Publishers' Association Festival, and at the opening of the New York Crystal Palace. Harvard College conferred an honorary D.D. upon Chapin in 1856. He was one of the chief actors in what was called the "Broad Church Movement".
    He was the author of the poem Ocean Burial, which was put to music by George N. Allen. The song which it became was published widely. It became a sailor's song and also the beginnings for another song, Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie. He wrote the poem in his youth and it was published in September 1839 in Poe's Southern Literary Messenger.
    He was a trustee of Bellevue Medical College and Hospital, and a member of: the State Historical Society, the beneficent society called the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the prestigious Century Club, composed of "authors, artists, and amateurs of letters and the fine arts. In 1854 he was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Honorary member.
    He died at Pigeon Cove, a village of Rockport, Massachusetts, survived by two sons, Frederic H. Chapin and Dr. Sidney H. Chapin, and one daughter, Marion Chapin Davison. The Chapin Memorial Church at Oneonta, New York was dedicated to him in 1894. A chasm in the rocky coast near his home in Pigeon Cove is named Chapin's Gully where Chapin often swam.

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Compare 12/16/2013

Nurture your minds with great thoughts, to believe in the heroic makes heroes.
  --Benjamin Disraeli, (1804-1881)

P.192 - §5 (16:6.9)  These scientific, moral, and spiritual insights, these cosmic responses, [Causation Duty and Worship] are innate in the cosmic mind, which endows all will creatures. The experience of living never fails to develop these three cosmic intuitions; they are constitutive in the self-consciousness of reflective thinking. But it is sad to record that so few persons on Urantia take delight in cultivating these qualities of courageous and independent cosmic thinking.

    Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, KG, PC, FRS, (21 December 1804 – 19 April 1881) was a British Conservative politician, writer, aristocrat and dandy who twice served as Prime Minister. He played a central role in the creation of the modern Conservative Party, defining its policies and its broad outreach. Disraeli is remembered for his influential voice in world affairs, his political battles with the Liberal spokesman William Ewart Gladstone, and his one-nation conservatism or "Tory democracy". He made the Conservatives the party most identified with the glory and power of the British Empire. He is to date the only British Prime Minister of Jewish birth.
    Disraeli was born in London. His father left Judaism after a dispute at his synagogue; young Benjamin became an Anglican at age 12. After several unsuccessful attempts, Disraeli entered the House of Commons in 1837. When the Conservatives gained power in 1841, Disraeli was given no office by the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Peel. In 1846, Peel split the party over his proposal to repeal the Corn Laws, which imposed a tariff on imported grain. Disraeli bitterly attacked Peel in the Commons. The Conservatives who split from Peel had few who were adept in Parliament, and Disraeli became a major figure in the party, though many in it did not favour him. When Lord Derby, the party leader, thrice formed governments in the 1850s and 1860s, Disraeli served as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Leader of the House of Commons. He also forged a bitter rivalry with the Liberal Party's William Ewart Gladstone.
    Upon Derby's retirement due to ill health in 1868, Disraeli became Prime Minister briefly before losing that year's election. He returned to opposition, before leading the party to a majority in the 1874 election. He maintained a close friendship with Queen Victoria, who in 1876 created him Earl of Beaconsfield. Disraeli's second term was dominated by the Eastern Question—the slow decay of the Ottoman Empire and the desire of other countries, such as Russia, to gain at its expense. Disraeli arranged for the British to purchase a major interest in the Suez Canal Company (in Ottoman-controlled Egypt). In 1878, faced with Russian victories against the Ottomans, he led the British delegation at the Congress of Berlin and secured a settlement favourable to Britain. This diplomatic victory over Russia established Disraeli as one of Europe's leading statesmen.
    Although Disraeli won public acclaim for his actions at Berlin, events thereafter moved against the Conservatives. Controversial wars in Afghanistan and South Africa undermined his public support. He angered British farmers by refusing to reinstitute the Corn Laws in response to poor harvests and cheap American grain. With Gladstone conducting a massive speaking campaign, his Liberals bested Disraeli's Conservatives in the 1880 election. In his final months, Disraeli led the Conservatives in opposition. He had throughout his career written novels, beginning in 1826, and he published his last completed novel, Endymion shortly before he died at the age of 76.
 

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Compare 12/13/2013

"...it [regarding the technological revolution] has brought a social environment altering so rapidly with technological change that personal adjustments to it are frequently not viable."
   --Loren Eiseley, The Firmament of Time, page 133

P.1090 - §2 (99:4.6) During the psychologically unsettled times of the twentieth century, amid the economic upheavals, the moral crosscurrents, and the sociologic rip tides of the cyclonic transitions of a scientific era, thousands upon thousands of men and women have become humanly dislocated; they are anxious, restless, fearful, uncertain, and unsettled; as never before in the world's history they need the consolation and stabilization of sound religion. In the face of unprecedented scientific achievement and mechanical development there is spiritual stagnation and philosophic chaos.

P.1772 - §4 (160:1.3) The more complex civilization becomes, the more difficult will become the art of living. The more rapid the changes in social usage, the more complicated will become the task of character development. Every ten generations mankind must learn anew the art of living if progress is to continue. And if man becomes so ingenious that he more rapidly adds to the complexities of society, the art of living will need to be remastered in less time, perhaps every single generation. If the evolution of the art of living fails to keep pace with the technique of existence, humanity will quickly revert to the simple urge of living--the attainment of the satisfaction of present desires. Thus will humanity remain immature; society will fail in growing up to full maturity.

    Loren Eiseley (September 3, 1907 – July 9, 1977) was an American anthropologist, educator, philosopher, and natural science writer, who taught and published books from the 1950s through the 1970s. During this period he received more than 36 honorary degrees and was a fellow of many distinguished professional societies. At his death, he was Benjamin Franklin Professor of Anthropology and History of Science at the University of Pennsylvania.
    He was noted as a “scholar and writer of imagination and grace,” which gained him a reputation and a record of accomplishment far beyond the campus where he taught for 30 years. Publishers Weekly referred to him as "the modern Thoreau." In the broad scope of his many writings he reflected upon such diverse topics as the mind of Sir Francis Bacon, the prehistoric origins of man, and the contributions of Charles Darwin.
    Eiseley’s national reputation was established mainly through his books, including The Immense Journey (1957), Darwin's Century (1958), The Unexpected Universe (1969), The Night Country (1971), and his memoir, All the Strange Hours (1975). Science author Orville Prescott praised him as a scientist who “can write with poetic sensibility and with a fine sense of wonder and of reverence before the mysteries of life and nature.“ Naturalist author Mary Ellen Pitts saw his combination of literary and nature writings as his "quest, not simply for bringing together science and literature... but a continuation of what the 18th and 19th century British naturalists and Thoreau had done." In praise of "The Unexpected Universe", Ray Bradbury remarked, "[Eiseley] is every writer's writer, and every human's human. . . one of us, yet most uncommon. . ."
    According to his obituary in the New York Times, the feeling and philosophical motivation of the entire body of Dr. Eiseley’s work was best expressed in one of his essays, The Enchanted Glass: “The anthropologist wrote of the need for the contemplative naturalist, a man who, in a less frenzied era, had time to observe, to speculate, and to dream.” Shortly before his death he received an award from the Boston Museum of Science for his “outstanding contribution to the public understanding of science” and another from the U.S. Humane Society for his “significant contribution for the improvement of life and environment in this country.”
 

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Compare 12/12/2013

Questions show the mind's range, and answers it subtlety.
  --Joseph Joubert, essayist (1754-1824)

P.1358 - §0 (123:2.2)  The most valuable part of Jesus' early education was secured from his parents in answer to his thoughtful and searching inquiries. Joseph never failed to do his full duty in taking pains and spending time answering the boy's numerous questions. From the time Jesus was five years old until he was ten, he was one continuous question mark. While Joseph and Mary could not always answer his questions, they never failed fully to discuss his inquiries and in every other possible way to assist him in his efforts to reach a satisfactory solution of the problem which his alert mind had suggested.

    Joseph Joubert (7 May 1754 in Montignac, Périgord – 4 May 1824 in Paris) was a French moralist and essayist, remembered today largely for his Pensées (Thoughts), which was published posthumously.
    From the age of fourteen Joubert attended a religious college in Toulouse, where he later taught until 1776. In 1778 he went to Paris where he met D'Alembert and Diderot, amongst others, and later became a friend of a young writer and diplomat, Chateaubriand.
    He alternated between living in Paris with his friends and life in the privacy of the countryside in Villeneuve-sur-Yonne. He was appointed inspector-general of universities under Napoleon.
Joubert published nothing during his lifetime, but he wrote a copious amount of letters and filled sheets of paper and small notebooks with thoughts about the nature of human existence, literature, and other topics, in a poignant, often aphoristic style. After his death his widow entrusted Chateaubriand with these notes, and in 1838, he published a selection entitled, Recueil des pensées de M. Joubert (Collected Thoughts of Mr. Joubert). More complete editions were to follow, as were collections of Joubert's correspondence.
    Somewhat of the Epicurean school of philosophy, Joubert even valued his own frequent suffering of ill health, as he believed sickness gave subtlety to the soul.
Joubert's works have been translated into numerous languages. An English translation version was made by Paul Auster.
 

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Compare 12/11/2013

Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.
  --Flannery O'Conner, writer (1925-1964)

P.1126 - §2 (102:7.2)  God is the one and only self-caused fact in the universe. He is the secret of the order, plan, and purpose of the whole creation of things and beings. The everywhere-changing universe is regulated and stabilized by absolutely unchanging laws, the habits of an unchanging God. The fact of God, the divine law, is changeless; the truth of God, his relation to the universe, is a relative revelation which is ever adaptable to the constantly evolving universe.

(153:2.11)  Jesus stood up and said: "Let us be patient; the truth never suffers from honest examination."

    Mary Flannery O'Connor (March 25, 1925 – August 3, 1964) was an American writer and essayist. An important voice in American literature, O'Connor wrote two novels and 32 short stories, as well as a number of reviews and commentaries. She was a Southern writer who often wrote in a Southern Gothic style and relied heavily on regional settings and grotesque characters. O'Connor's writing also reflected her own Roman Catholic faith, and frequently examined questions of morality and ethics.
    Her Complete Stories won the 1972 U.S. National Book Award for Fiction and was named the "Best of the National Book Awards" by internet visitors in 2009.
 

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