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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:56 PM 
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Just doing an exercise as to what are my core beliefs in this election cycle. Yes I wrote them down. With the religious nut-jobs defining the current GOP primaries, I wanted to share this here... (besides we haven't had a good religion topic in a few years)

Religion in politics – I want to quote Thomas Payne from Age of Reason as it most closely reflects my opinion; “I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life. I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy… I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any church that I know of… All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.”

In short, I do not believe in any church. I believe in possibility of a Supreme Being that created, as there are just too many things that are unexplained or at this time unexplainable. But I do not believe that this being has any active participation in our day to day lives.

Do I expect any other politician to echo those statements? It would be nice, but in this day and age, no way. However I would like a candidate to say that their religion is their business and it should not matter how they believe as long as they believe in the equality of man, preservations of liberty, and the effectively fulfilling the duties required of the office that they want to hold.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:26 PM 
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I believe in possibility of a Supreme Being that created, as there are just too many things that are unexplained or at this time unexplainable.


Fuck me, that's twice in one day I agree 100 % with something Krby said that in some way relates to politics.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:06 PM 
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krby does this stance on religion reflect a change over the last decade?


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:37 AM 
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yes, a big change. It has been hard to talk about with my wife as she is a devout church goer.

I feel like I have removed the blindfold. I kept wondering why every church I would go to had so many problems with people on power trips or doing things that I felt were too money centered.

Then I asked myself what would it be like if there were no church? The world would not end, and our souls would not vanish. If there was a creator he would want us to be kind to one another. All the other stuff is window-dressing meant to appease a lesser educated society.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:57 AM 
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krby71 wrote:
yes, a big change. It has been hard to talk about with my wife as she is a devout church goer.

I feel like I have removed the blindfold. I kept wondering why every church I would go to had so many problems with people on power trips or doing things that I felt were too money centered.

Then I asked myself what would it be like if there were no church? The world would not end, and our souls would not vanish. If there was a creator he would want us to be kind to one another. All the other stuff is window-dressing meant to appease a lesser educated society.


I do agree, there should be no Religous influence in any Government situation or stance. The world would not end, people will still be a live and well. I just wish more would see this.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:45 PM 
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The entire problem with this is that most people are entirely unable to be objective, and view the entire world through their faith's viewpoint.

I don't actually have a problem with lawmakers proposing laws because their personal faith tells them that the law would be "right" or "just" -- I have a problem when the only reason they can vouch for said law is because their religion says to. If they can frame the wording of that law in a way that makes sense to (and for) everyone, then I have no problem with it.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:46 PM 
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I've changed as well krby, and in a similar direction but even further. I think I have been pretty open about it on these forums, but I am pretty much at this point an agnostic that is afraid to admit is probable atheism. I started out as a full-blown evangelical Christian as a kid and teen, and as I moved into my 20s I went first into "liberal theology" type folks and Quakerism that cooincided with my first several years on these forums, and now I have moved even further away, toward a general feeling that it is difficult for me to see there being even a possibility of a God as described in the Bible.

I haven't really ever told my family, as I think it would break their heart. I am fortunate, however, in that I now have a fiance who knows me as I really am, and I imagine it would be very difficult to be in a situation where I was reluctant to tell my wife something like that.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:51 PM 
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There might be a God. This year I think the greatest evidence that he does not exist is that a lightning bolt has not annihilated that blaspheming malevagelist retard Santorum.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 12:31 AM 
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Frib, I grew up in a Christian house but we didn't go to church much at all.

When I moved out and had a life of my own, I felt I had to go to church as that was what people did.

My wife has always been a regular and devout Christian. I think in an effort to please her I took on the analytical side of Christianity but I only had one resource and that was the bible.

It was that further analytics that has brought me to where I am today coupled with the crap that I have had to put up with from so many different groups of people in leadership positions in different churches.

It became clear to me that whoever wrote the Christian bible had zero knowledge of what the future had in store. Also, that it was so full of flaws and self contradictions that by people saying it was the work of God should be an insult to the creator. I mean if the Creator could create a world so amazing and balanced as the world that we live in, wouldn't his writing be error free? Many of you may have remembered the pain that we went through last spring/summer. When people tried to comfort us by saying "God only gives us that which we can handle" I wanted to punch them in the face. What the hell? Giving death and destruction to people because they can handle it like it is a gift? I don't think so. I did a lot of reading and I realized that most churches are set up for one thing and that is to grow the church. Grow its members and grow its money so it can grow in power and prestige.

"What church do you go to?"
"Blah blah church of blah"
"oooh that is a big church, I bet you have lots of money"
"Yeah we have x thousand members"

If they were really set up to help people they would have no need for elaborate buildings or preachers that wear the latest finery, they would take all those resources to help those that need it.

I imagine how a homeless person that is getting some food or clothing from one of these mega-churches and that person probably thinks "you know, if I had the money you spend on flowers each year, I could own a house"

When I came across Age of Reason again, it really struck me. Like, damn, this is exactly how I am feeling. I know that Payne was shunned later in his life in part to his Reason writings, but I wonder if there are more people out there today that feel the same that I do.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 12:35 AM 
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Tran, that so many people are convinced that Santorum is a "True Conservative" really makes me sick.

But then, I think that if Santorum wins the nomination that would signal the end of the GOP. I think that you would see more fiscally conservative people leaving the GOP and coming to other political homes (like the Libertarians) that we may see an end to two party rule. Yes, it would mean the re-election of Obama, but it might be worth that.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:18 AM 
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Well... to be completely honest, Santorum is a "true conservative." He's a symbol of the most extreme conservatism we've seen in decades -- completely uncompromising, unwaveringly devout, and nothing else. This guy's entire political agenda is to bring back 1810; he has no other plans.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:24 PM 
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krby71 wrote:
Frib, I grew up in a Christian house but we didn't go to church much at all.

When I moved out and had a life of my own, I felt I had to go to church as that was what people did.

My wife has always been a regular and devout Christian. I think in an effort to please her I took on the analytical side of Christianity but I only had one resource and that was the bible.

It was that further analytics that has brought me to where I am today coupled with the crap that I have had to put up with from so many different groups of people in leadership positions in different churches.

It became clear to me that whoever wrote the Christian bible had zero knowledge of what the future had in store. Also, that it was so full of flaws and self contradictions that by people saying it was the work of God should be an insult to the creator. I mean if the Creator could create a world so amazing and balanced as the world that we live in, wouldn't his writing be error free? Many of you may have remembered the pain that we went through last spring/summer. When people tried to comfort us by saying "God only gives us that which we can handle" I wanted to punch them in the face. What the hell? Giving death and destruction to people because they can handle it like it is a gift? I don't think so. I did a lot of reading and I realized that most churches are set up for one thing and that is to grow the church. Grow its members and grow its money so it can grow in power and prestige.

"What church do you go to?"
"Blah blah church of blah"
"oooh that is a big church, I bet you have lots of money"
"Yeah we have x thousand members"

If they were really set up to help people they would have no need for elaborate buildings or preachers that wear the latest finery, they would take all those resources to help those that need it.

I imagine how a homeless person that is getting some food or clothing from one of these mega-churches and that person probably thinks "you know, if I had the money you spend on flowers each year, I could own a house"

When I came across Age of Reason again, it really struck me. Like, damn, this is exactly how I am feeling. I know that Payne was shunned later in his life in part to his Reason writings, but I wonder if there are more people out there today that feel the same that I do.


I think over the next generation or two (30/60 years) there is going to be a huge change on how religion is looked at, as people gain more knowledge so easily via internet and other areas. The large religions are unable to keep certain information out of public eye. People are going to see that those said large religious groups discrepancies and find out some information and beliefs just do not add up. People will start to place it on the back burner on what is right and wrong.

I honestly believe prior civilizations join together and created “religion” to keep the general populous inline and to keep us from self annihilation during that dark time. But I’m crazy.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:33 PM 
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I don't think you're crazy in saying that. Religion was created by the leadership of the time to control the masses. It's a tool to exercise control, nothing more.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:28 PM 
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I don't think it is that sinister. In most cases I think religions developed to explain what couldn't be understood at the time. In others religion and specifically ideas about an afterlife were created gradually in our collective minds to assuage the fear of death or to give hope of a better life or to be reunited with loved ones.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:38 PM 
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My father is an atheist. In my early youth, he openly mocked religion. Now, he quietly absorbs whatever is said without comment, but that change happened in my late teens. He's still an atheist, just a much more respectful one.

My mother was a Baptist when I was born. I have what others have called an operatic tenor voice; I was singing in front of my church at 3 years. I've never stopped that, but it became a gradually more secularized hobby. Then my parents divorced when I was ten. Some women change their hair. My mother became a Pentecostal.

There is such a thing as ideological whiplash. It's a rare trauma, since only the helpless can suffer it -- the rest simply withstand exposure itself and withdraw. My family abruptly changed the way we saw religion, and it was liberating to be able to dance in church for a while. The pastor had a prophetic vision and told the congregation I was going to be a pastor, and a really effective one, and I recoiled in horror at the idea that this man would set such an expectation for the rest of my life, in front of folks I imagined would be there to see it. I began to doubt the infallibility of my educators.

I was a smart child. The doubt grew as I came to understand that I was less wise, but more intelligent, than my teachers. This grew into a naive kind of contempt, even as my mother dated dumber and dumber primates -- a devolution of standards that culminated in her cheating on her second husband with a con artist "pastor" with forged ordination papers and an utterly brainwashed congregation of ten. She became the church's "prophetic singer", they took to waving tinsel-laced bullshit in the air during worship services, and the pastor guy decided we had to call him Dad and do what he said. You are invited to imagine what four kids with 700 IQ points between them might have come up with in response to this kind of directive.

Needless to say, as we all neared adulthood we each, in our turn, took a long, hard look at what we'd been told we believe. We reasoned out which parts made sense to us, which ones were obvious manipulation, and we cut away the chaff. The result is three atheists and myself -- the only agnostic in my family, Mom's side being entirely zealots and mine being entirely skeptics. (Afterthought: I should have typed "my dad's side", not "mine". Paging Dr. Freud....)

I suspect (believe is too strong a word) that an omnipotent intelligence could have created all this, but I think that when you live forever, know everything, and possess limitles power, the only remaining measurement of achievement is efficiency -- absence of waste. Therefore, if a God were to decide to create something as complicated and interwoven as Earth's ecosystem, the simplest, surest, most efficient method would be to set up an initial set of conditions, supply initial motive force, and stand back. This would incidentally explain why God would take five billion years to make us, and also why He would not save your parents from the Joker.

The pastor guy married Mom when her husband discovered them and divorced her. He took to flicking costume gemstones (plastic and glass) into the air during his sermons in moments of distraction; when they came down, he would tell his congregation that God was gifting them with material rewards for their faith and devotion. No one with half a mind really buys that shit, right?

Mom carries an armored case around, full of padded pouches with Lexan covers, behind which rest innumerable baubles of worthless paste. I challenged her to have one appraised once, but pastor guy got to select the jeweler, and he knows a guy who owes him a solid....

We were pragmatic children, but not squeamish or shy; pastor guy is alive because he's not hitting her, and the next guy down on the ladder might -- but he and Mom left an indelible mark that you might have seen expressed here as a violent, vitriolic, murderous hatred for the rhetoric of the religiously-inspired far right.

My college roommate and I cynically collected religions. Anyone could come in, sit down, and tell us about their beliefs, leave their book behind -- no converts here, but come in and polish your pitch. Welcome. Well, there's a passage in the Book of Mormon, right at the beginning, that basically says "Look, dudes made this book. We believe it's God's inspired Word, okay -- but if we're wrong, blame us, right? It's not God's fault." I read that and realized I was punishing an ideology for the sins of a few mortals, and it didn't make me feel any better -- but it did inspire enough instrospection and restraint that I save up the burning wrath for the people who demonstrate an actual intent to manipulate secular matters through religious means.

Seriously, fuck Santorum.

Meanwhile, as we grew, pastor guy realized we were never going to be his pawns, so he removed us from the board. Probably the smartest thing he ever did. One night, the Holy Spirit appeared to him in a dream, and instructed him that my mother was not to see her children anymore. He told her about this amazing vision first thing in the morning, and we see her once a year for a single night every Christmas Eve. She never forgets to bring her armored case of gifts from Heaven.

I haven't set foot in a church in fifteen years. Churches are where hypocrites get together once a week to see who's "holier", whatever the hell that is, and show off their nice clothes, and hate on anyone whose lifestyle isn't mainstream enough. My God doesn't hate anyone, and I've told Westboro that in person to their faces on the steps of the Theatre building at Central Washington University when they came to shout down our production of the Laramie Project. Churches are a culture medium for the lethal rot of faithful faith.

My God doesn't need them. I don't need them. We get along just fine without an interpreter, peers, or judges. I can see everything I do, and that keeps me in line just fine. It's amazing what a little conviction and no meddling does for one's moral resolve.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:52 AM 
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Thank for your story Tran.

I wonder how I should talk with my kids about my understanding. My daughter is 15 and my son is 12. I am sure they have realized that I don't go to church anymore (I didn't attend Christmas Eve services) but they haven't asked me anything. My wife wants me to "fake it" around the kids, but I think that is selling them short. I want to talk to them but I know that this is the one issue that could damage our marriage.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:53 AM 
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I would personally let them make their own choices regarding faith, but that's coming from someone who had religion shoved down his throat as a child and turned his back on it at a young age.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 6:08 AM 
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So Van and I have this in common.

Your children's religious beliefs are not yours to control. Funnier yet, the best way to get them to choose what you didn't is to tell them what you chose and then tell them that they have to choose that.

Tell them that religion is a personal decision, and that they are free to choose whatever beliefs they like. Then lie to you if they want! It's not your business by that wide a margin.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:40 AM 
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Just gotta let them know that at a young enough age, or hope they're smart enough to pick up on it early.

I don't even have kids of my own, but I'd imagine that in a world where some people seem to have no reservations whatsoever in using various bullying, peer pressure and scare tactics to sway young and impressionable children that it's difficult to ensure that they actually make their OWN decision.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 9:52 AM 
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krby71 wrote:
However I would like a candidate to say that their religion is their business and it should not matter how they believe as long as they believe in the equality of man, preservations of liberty, and the effectively fulfilling the duties required of the office that they want to hold.


This would be so nice, too many laws are put in that are clearly religious based.

Tranthas wrote:

Tell them that religion is a personal decision, and that they are free to choose whatever beliefs they like. Then lie to you if they want! It's not your business by that wide a margin.


Having kids I agree with this but, I think they need to go to church and/or "study" religions so they can make an educated choice on how they would like religion in there life.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:32 PM 
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Having kids I agree with this but, I think they need to go to church and/or "study" religions so they can make an educated choice on how they would like religion in there life.


Why? If a parent encourages a kid to go to church to "study" the religion, isn't that really just another form of encouraging the child to embrace the religion?

Surely there's enough exposure in the world today that - once they reach the age to seek out that information on their own - they can make an educated decision all on their own.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 2:24 AM 
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Well, yes and no. Remember that the pastor of any church is in that position because he's the most persuasive guy in the room except for any who might have refused before he was asked.

If you want to bring your children to a church service so they can investigate what it's like, and you already go to church, go to your church. You'll be more relaxed about the whole thing, so it'll freak them out less and let them watch more. Other members of the congregation will greet you by name, and your children get to see whether or not you become someone they don't recognize when you talk to them.

If you don't go to church, and your kids want to see one, go with them. This is the purpose of the MPAA's "PG" rating. You have a responsibility to help them understand what's happening, so their imperfection of understanding doesn't screw things up for them down the road.

If you provide all that but don't push in any direction, you don't really need to worry about what your children choose. Just remember it's still your house -- if your daughter decides to worship Ba'al, she still doesn't get to torture goats to death in the backyard without parental permission. Draw the line at getting you thrown in jail -- some beliefs have to wait until they're 18 to be freely expressed.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 2:26 AM 
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Just an aside: Where the hell is Tarot? C'mon, lady, this is begging for your two cents.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:08 AM 
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Tarot hasn't been around on the forums or facebook for six months-ish.

She won't even respond on Steam, even though I know she's actively playing TF2.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:15 AM 
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Remember that the pastor of any church is in that position because he's the most persuasive guy in the room except for any who might have refused before he was asked.


Just because whatever church you went to has grossly twisted your mind to believe things like this, please don't lump all churches with this crap. This is solely your opinion alone and not the way a lot of churches work.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:33 AM 
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It is absolutely the way all churches work, you're just turning what I said into a bizarre absolute. Every pastor has to be a persuasive speaker or he can't do his job. He also has to want the job, or he won't be good at it -- and the elders that select him know both of those things.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:14 AM 
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Yeah, I guess I have to say that I'm a little confused as to what was found to be offensive about that statement.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:16 AM 
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Tranthas wrote:
It is absolutely the way all churches work, you're just turning what I said into a bizarre absolute. Every pastor has to be a persuasive speaker or he can't do his job. He also has to want the job, or he won't be good at it -- and the elders that select him know both of those things.


In some denominations, the pastor gets assigned to the church, rather than the congregation inviting someone to preach.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:23 AM 
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Tarot hasn't been around on the forums or facebook for six months-ish.

She won't even respond on Steam, even though I know she's actively playing TF2.


Ive even emailed her on all the known emails I have never gotten a response. ;(

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 4:52 PM 
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Tranthas wrote:
Well, yes and no. Remember that the pastor of any church is in that position because he's the most persuasive guy in the room except for any who might have refused before he was asked.

If you want to bring your children to a church service so they can investigate what it's like, and you already go to church, go to your church. You'll be more relaxed about the whole thing, so it'll freak them out less and let them watch more. Other members of the congregation will greet you by name, and your children get to see whether or not you become someone they don't recognize when you talk to them.

If you don't go to church, and your kids want to see one, go with them. This is the purpose of the MPAA's "PG" rating. You have a responsibility to help them understand what's happening, so their imperfection of understanding doesn't screw things up for them down the road.

If you provide all that but don't push in any direction, you don't really need to worry about what your children choose. Just remember it's still your house -- if your daughter decides to worship Ba'al, she still doesn't get to torture goats to death in the backyard without parental permission. Draw the line at getting you thrown in jail -- some beliefs have to wait until they're 18 to be freely expressed.


thanks Tranthas, that about sums it up. In order for somebody to make an educated choice on something they must learn it and learn about the apposing view point or options

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:24 PM 
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Then if you are going to take them to church, you should give them equal time in all the other major faiths, as well as time spent with a knowledgeable atheist, right Devil?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:06 PM 
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What other faiths do you recommend? There actually isn't sufficient time in a human lifespan to visit one example per day and see all of them, so which ones should they try first?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:20 AM 
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I'm not proposing it. Devil suggested it in his post, and I was wondering if he really does that.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:50 AM 
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So... many... religions, I would go crazy trying to try each one out. Thank god for the internet!

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:02 PM 
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Fribur wrote:
Then if you are going to take them to church, you should give them equal time in all the other major faiths, as well as time spent with a knowledgeable atheist, right Devil?


I have taken them to all the Major Christian religions as well as the Jehovah's Witnesses and have gotten information on Judaism. My oldest was interested in being an Atheist so I had her research it and tell me what she liked about it (what was so appalling to her). it turned out that she just wanted to piss her mom off.

Tranthas wrote:
What other faiths do you recommend? There actually isn't sufficient time in a human lifespan to visit one example per day and see all of them, so which ones should they try first?


Your right there is not enough time to visit one example of all of the religions out there,so I think the best you can do is give them some information about things and to encourage them to research things.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:59 AM 
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I have taken them to all the Major Christian religions as well as the Jehovah's Witnesses and have gotten information on Judaism.


I think we need to set something straight. There are not Christian religions. They are all Christian, they are different denominations. Yes, even Jehovah's Witness is Christian, not some different religion.

Different religions would mean, Christianity, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, etc...


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:32 AM 
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Quote:
My oldest was interested in being an Atheist so I had her research it and tell me what she liked about it (what was so appalling to her).


Research what? It's just the absence of religion. =D


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:56 AM 
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Devil wrote:
My oldest was interested in being an Atheist so I had her research it


This statement boggles.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:27 PM 
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Why wouldn't you have someone delve deeper into the inner nuances of a particular ideology? Not believing in something requires as much rigor as belief if you want to be intellectually honest about it. "Cuz I haven't seen it" or even "Because I don't see evidence for it(initially)" doesn't really cover the scope of it. Asking someone to rebuke Intelligent Design, for example - and I'm not saying it has merit at all - requires more thought process and at least allows a person to go through the ins and outs of elaborating on their position.

I would think if you were a diehard atheist, of the utmost importance would be to investigate and analyze claims in order to further bolster your own position. If you're going to play the skeptic, at least act the part.

To that end, I'd take a Dawkins over a blank piece of paper without dissection any day.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:03 PM 
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I'm sure that there are any number of reasons that a person decides to become an atheist, just as I'm sure there are any number of things that could touch on religion that you could delve deeper into along with your decision to become atheist (morality for example), but they aren't a part of atheism itself and do not necessarily require thought before or after deciding to become an atheist.

In all sincerity, what is there to delve deeper in to before becoming an atheist? Just like all religions, you take the one that makes the most sense to you or makes you feel the best, and then you believe it as a matter of faith. If anything, I would think that atheism is the one faith that requires absolutely no further study as it is the simplest to grasp and its basic precepts are taught in schools.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:13 PM 
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Understanding the scientific world in itself lends well to realizing that there are often rational explanations for the unexplainable. It doesn't prove or disprove the idea of a God, but for a person that might lean in that direction(or even the other, in some respects), it could well influence the decision-making process in a more thoughtful way than a blank rationale. Even without direct reasoning or proof, an informed decision is always better because the nuances of the subject can be approached and reasoned on. In other words, refuting Intelligent Design may not directly refute the idea of God, but it is within enough proximity of it that reasonable evidence can be used to make a better decision.

On its face atheism is pretty basic, sure, but Newton's first treatise on calculus was based on something pretty basic as well. However, it took countless pages for rigorous proof, which was very much needed. The average ignoramus can perform a calculus problem when shown how, and only a small percentage can provide real proofs. I think it's reasonable for the average person to seek something in between the two extremes of completely ignorant belief and rigorous application of methodology.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:27 PM 
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Venen, you're retarded.

Just choose agnostic, then you don't have to prove shit.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:20 PM 
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Venen wrote:
but Newton's first treatise on calculus

I've finally figured it out. Venen = Schmidt.



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:39 PM 
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Or take an the easy cop-out and choose Deism and you still can believe in God, just not all that religion bs.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:47 PM 
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Hey, I don't exactly enjoy agreeing with Devil =p

That he seems to think showing his daughter different denominations of Christianity will give a broader perspective on religion is pretty frightening =/


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:21 AM 
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First let's anger the Catholics and Protestants who both call themselves Christian. :snakeman:
The difference between "different denominations" and "different religions" is subjective. What one person or group sees as just differences of detail, another will see as an insurmountable gulf between belief systems that separates them ideologically forever. The Protestant faith considers praying to the saints to be blasphemous, and does not draw a clear line between a golden calf and a statue of Mary. The Catholic faith holds that the concepts of salvation by symbolic gesture, "once saved, always saved", violate the principle that "faith without works is dead". Both groups believe each other is qualified only to burn forever when they actually examine the tenets of each other's beliefs; inter-cultural atrocity has been founded on less.

Now I'm going to piss off the atheists. :blob4:
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Research what? It's just the absence of religion. =D
It's not, really. The non-existence of God is what's called a null hypothesis, and is therefore logically unprovable. Atheists have taken a stance that requires them to believe something in the absence of solid proof. That's called faith. You can use different labels for religion and faith if you like, but you're using the same structures as all the others. You're just Religion Zero in the Arabic sense.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:58 PM 
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It's not, really. The non-existence of God is what's called a null hypothesis, and is therefore logically unprovable. Atheists have taken a stance that requires them to believe something in the absence of solid proof. That's called faith. You can use different labels for religion and faith if you like, but you're using the same structures as all the others. You're just Religion Zero in the Arabic sense.


Ok, no.

No no no.

Lets not play this game that the religious folks have been starting to throw around in another attempt to get atheists in some sort of logic trap. There's no "faith" involved or any of that other mumbo-jumbo that people will try to assign to it. It's simply a rejection of the idea of a God. The fact that people have believed in gods for milennia doesn't assign any more weight to the idea, and simply rejecting the idea doesn't suddenly require any more decision-making based on those grounds either.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:09 PM 
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I'm not trying to persuade you that there's a God. I'm trying to point out that if something is not provable either way, belief in its existence or absence is faith both ways.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:30 PM 
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I know you're not trying to convert me, and I know what you're doing with the null-hypothesis thing, but it's junk logic. The only reason anyone would put any value into it is because religion has been around so long that its treated as though it has more weight than other claims that lack any sort of basis in the material world.

When your 4 year old son says that he has an imaginary friend named Hubert who has an elephant trunk for a nose, are you committing an offense against logic by thinking that he surely does not, that it's just a fabrication on his part? Of course not, and anyone claiming that you were would simply be using junk logic.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:04 PM 
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Your description of a clinical definition as "junk logic" is subjectively pejorative in the same way. What I said was that neither side can prove its case. I didn't say religious beliefs carried special weight; I'm not sure where that idea entered the conversation, but I don't think it happened while I was typing.

Belief.
Without proof.
Is faith.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:00 PM 
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Tranthas has a point and this point is exactly why I identify myself as agnostic instead of atheist.

I don't strictly believe there is no god, I just believe that it has never been proven and therefore shall remain as very doubtful in my mind.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:58 AM 
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Quote:
I didn't say religious beliefs carried special weight;


In a sense it's implied: If we did not know about Christianity, and we didn't believe in it, one might have less obligation to disprove that which you do not believe. Thus "absence" of belief; nothing there, no emotion, no commitment to a belief, nada. Many atheists try to distance themselves with this method by suggesting no association and thus make no claims of belief. It's an idealized worldview in which one tries to isolate themselves from contemporary belief systems.

Unfortunately, we do not live in a world in which religion or lack thereof can be viewed in a vacuum. Everyone knows about it. Everyone makes a decision with religion's influence in one way or another. Imaginary friend Hubert it is not.

Although I agree with Tranthas' sentiments, even if he didn't readily address Mr. Hubert. Whether it's a unicorn or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, belief without proof is still faith. Is anyone going to suggest you're stupid for not believing in unicorns? Newp. Is it still faith? Yes, even if based on a large body of evidence.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:40 AM 
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Seems an awful lot like debating semantics to me. As an atheist, I'm not particularly offended if you assert that it requires faith on my part to reject the idea of a deity. OK, I guess I have faith then. I would assert that my faith is less taxing then religious faith, perhaps, as I can list hundreds of imaginary things that I also don't believe in, with very little effort.

I still sort of think there's a fundamental difference between "belief in the absence of" and "no belief in the presence of" but it's sort of quibbling. A bigger difference is the level of importance given to the belief either way. To a religious person, faith is very important. It matters a lot whether their belief system is correct or not. To me, outside of the assertions of said religious people, not believing in a god goes right along with not believing in Count Chocula. Not particularly significant, really. It only matters because SO many people assert that it's important. If there wasn't such a following, I wouldn't even need to define myself as an atheist.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 8:24 AM 
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I should clarify a little, it's not so much the "faith" part that bugs me (although it is a little annoying) it's more the "Atheism is just another religion!" thing that's just ridiculous.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:27 PM 
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I think the atheists in this thread are hearing things I have not said, because other people have started a paragraph in the same way, and then gone on to do something stupid. For example, folks who run around yelling "Atheism is just another religion!" usually then turn and assert that if you have a religion, you believe in a God, and therefore Atheism is paradox. Usually when encountering paradox, it's rational to backtrack and revisit your basic assumptions until you find the flawed one; these folks instead reason that the flawed component of their case is atheism, since that fits the conclusion they want it to fit.

I'm not doing that.

Atheism requires faith, but I don't believe it qualifies as an organized religious institution -- but then, I don't really think Protestant Christianity is all that unified either. There are absolutely religious atheists -- they're the guys drowning your Twitter feed with the arguments they have with deist fanatics every chance they get; they contribute links to [url]FSTDT.com[/url] so everyone can point and laugh at deist ignorance. I asked those guys to peer review a paper I wrote based on a theological theory -- specifically, a logical deconstruction of a theoretical omnipotent deity's motives for creating anything evil, and not protecting us from it. I figured guys that think this much on the topic might have something intelligent to say. I got twenty pages of feedback, but none of it was about the paper. Its content demonstrated that my error was in believing they think about the topic.

All sides have their zealots, agnosticism included. I am not automatically calling any of you zealots by saying so. It's not even sort of implied. :D


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:30 PM 
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Um, there doesn't seem to be any way to use BBCode or HTML to create links just now.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:49 PM 
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Two thoughts, not completely unrelated.

1. I too tire of the semantics arguments about atheism. "OMG he called atheism a belief it's a non-belief" annoys me.

2. On the other hand, this "Atheism requires faith" argument seems silly too. I do not think any of us apply that argument to any other imaginary situation. For example, I do not go around saying, "wow you think there are no unicorns. You must have faith to do that!" It's not necessary, and it sounds ridiculous.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 3:04 PM 
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There isn't a large population of people who get called naive morons for believing in unicorns, either. Atheism is singled out as requiring faith because its contingent of zealots use the opposite assertion to claim immunity from their core mantra: "Faith is stupid."


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 3:13 PM 
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Wait... so your argument is now that atheism requires faith but only because people who are not atheists are offended? This is the strangest definition of faith I have heard yet!

If I can find a unicorn believer who thinks nonunicorn believers are mean does that now mean that nonunicorn believers have faith?

Yeah... I'm sticking with "ridiculous." :)

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 3:54 PM 
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And why not? It appears to be your only tool. To recap:

Atheism requires faith because it's belief without proof. If you're going to re-word my arguments to make them sound stupid, at least preserve the original message.

Technically, non-belief in unicorns requires faith too, but as you pointed out, it's not worth saying most of the time because no one's out there shouting that it doesn't require faith, and that when they call believers morons they're not impugning themselves in the process. In the case of atheism, there are people doing exactly that, so it is worth pointing out in this case. An argument becomes pretty non-trivial when it's used as part of the foundation for insulting other people's dearly-held beliefs. As defenses for your argument go, pointing out that my counter-argument is self-evident is, well... it's a strong choice.


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