Morals, Christianity, Atheism
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21-11-2014, 10:15 AM
RE: Morals, Christianity, Atheism
(21-11-2014 09:28 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  None of the points about definitions, or how you know what you think you presume to know about outcomes have been addressed.

That's because I didn't see any points in there related to any of the one's I was making. In fact, I don't see anything in your listed points for me to even argue against.

Quote:There might be a way to test your theories.

What theory? Did you think that I was suggesting that the results would be different for one group over the other? Perhaps you misunderstand the intent of my question, which was to understand another person's views on moral obligations, and if he believed this view was more a window dressing, or something he believed has real implications.

It appears you don't think they so, and as far as I can tell you lack a belief in moral obligations, and if that is the case, i don't really have much else to say to you.
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21-11-2014, 10:24 AM
RE: Morals, Christianity, Atheism
(19-11-2014 03:01 PM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  
(19-11-2014 01:26 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  "Fun questions" from The Q:

Jesus died and rose to save people from punishment for moral crimes.

ah yes, the incarnation and atonement BS. Here let me help you "Q".

The relationship between incarnation and atonement

To contemplate the relationship between incarnation and atonement, with special emphasis on Anselm’s idea of satisfaction, we must first look at what incarnation and atonement means to those of the Christian faith. Incarnation is continual in that our redemption depends on the reality that the eternal son of God came to us as a man. If he did not come fully down, then we are not fully saved (Dawson 5-6). Since Jesus became what we are, accepting our very humanity and God crossed the gap between human and deity, and he overcame our sin and came to live on our behalf. He chose to leave a faithful life that was beyond our capacity, but required by the Father.

The very obedience of Jesus led him to die on the cross as penalty for human sin. Not only did he die for us, but he gave us new life for salvation, and salvation depends on our continuing union with him. The Incarnation is basically a fundamental theological teaching of Christianity, based on its understanding of the New Testament. The Incarnation represents the Christian belief that Jesus, who is the second part of the triune, God, took on a human body and became both man and deity. This can be seen in the Bible in John 1:14: "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us” (Bible – King James version – John). The Christians worldview is rooted in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the belief that Jesus is God in human in one person (Mueller 141).

Atonement is a theological theory which describes human being’s reconciliation with God. This atonement is basically the forgiveness of sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus. This voluntary sacrifice by Jesus made possible the reconciliation between man and God. “God so loved the world, and gave his only begotten son” (Bible – King James version – John 3:16). This Scripture verse highlights the source of atonement by the very provision of God’s love. It is the love of God the father that Paul has in view when he speaks of him who “spared not his own son, but delivered him up for us all” (Bible – King James version – Romans 8:32). Surely God could have saved man by other means then allowing his only son to die, since God is all-powerful, other ways of forgiving sin were available to him. Some view the very necessity of his great self-sacrifice magnified his glory and enhanced the precise character of the salvation bestowed (Murray 12). Salvation requires not only the forgiveness of sin but also justification. Sin is the contradiction of God he must react against it with holy wrath demonstration of Christ on the cross is the ultimate demonstration of the love of God. The very nature of the atonement requires that it contains obedience, sacrifice, propitiation, reconciliation and redemption.

Obedience is a compilation of motive, purpose, direction and intention, of which Christ was the epitome of obedience and discharge of God’s will in its increasing demands leading up to his inevitable sacrificial death. Sacrifice is the removal of sin liability via the transference of liability itself. Propitiation; to pacify, and Christ’s propitiation to God was to deal with the wrath so that those loved would no longer be the objects of wrath, and God’s love would be eternal. Reconciliation is concerned with our alienation from God, and the inherent need to have that alienation removed. Redemption by Jesus’ blood, “Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Bible – King James version – revelations 5:9).

This atonement can be broken down into various theories, one of which is the satisfaction theory of atonement, developed by Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109). Anselm posited that sin unbalanced the order of justice in the universe. Once a sin has been performed, something good must be done in order to restore the balance. For example, a sin is incurrence of debt to God, the source of order, and that debt must be paid through true repentance (Albl 271). The work of Christ is to repair the breach human sin introduced into the relationship between humanity and God. Anselm argued in Cur Deus Homo that this work can be accomplished only by a God-man; one person equally divine and human. This doctrine of Christ is commonly called “Chalcedonian Christology” because it was created by the Council of Chalcedon in 451 CE (Visser 213).

One cannot explain the incarnation by appeal to any supposed obligation on God’s part to respect the devil’s rights over humanity. Since the devil had no such rights, so it appears that God would not have been acting unjustly if he had just delivered human beings the power of the devil by fiat. What reason did God have to redeemed mankind and the way he did, given that he was not under any obligation to do so? Anselm suggests that since we know God’s will is never irrational, we can be confident that God had some reason for doing what he did, even if we do not see or understand what the reason is (Visser 214).

Anselm believed he could prove, by unavoidable logical steps, that Christ was removed from the case, as if there had never existed anything to do with him, is it possible that without him mankind could have been saved (Anselm 261 – 262). A foundation of Christianity is that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins (Bible – King James version –1 Cor 15:3). In this way he fulfilled the old covenant sacrificial system, reconciled us to God, and changed our lives forever. This is the doctrine of the atonement (Mattison 1). At this point the author makes a faith claim, or commonly known as a knowledge claim, by positing “its reality is not in dispute”. I must interject here the whole subject is in dispute, and has been the center of debate for centuries. The author’s mere assertion in a knowledge claim that the atonement “reality” is not in dispute does not make it true. It does however assert that the atonement theory is an essential foundation of Christian religious belief. The author goes on to say, “we know that the atonement works; but how it works is not as clear.” Again, a knowledge claim is made; we have zero proof that the atonement works, at best it is a comforting theory for the faithful to cling to in order to validate their faith to themselves.

“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Bible –King James version – Matthew 20:28). The statement suggests that Jesus gave his life as an extreme expression of love for mankind. Iranaeus of Lyons argued that Jesus was paid as the ransom to the devil free people’s souls. This view was known as the ransom or classic theory. The ransom theory was the dominant theological theory for centuries until dismantled by Anselm of Canterbury. He pointed out that this theory empowered the devil too much, and he posited that Jesus’s life was ransom paid to God, not the devil. Anselm viewed sin as dishonorable conduct that went against God. Since God cannot ignore this conduct, a debt or “satisfaction” is required. Since mankind is unable to make the requisite level of satisfaction, God became human to do it on our behalf. Thus, Jesus was payment to God, not the devil. But since Jesus was part of the triune god, did god merely appease himself?

The church leaders developed doctrine to reflect Jesus Christ’s fulfilling of God’s will through active obedience, vice his passive obedience through death. Basically, God requires mankind to obey and live a life of perpetual obedience (Mattison 1). This endless cycle of perpetual intellectual and spiritual slavery upon birth, where we continuously strive to bow and scrape in deference to our alleged creator’s self-centered will and ego, is hardly what a thinking person would presume a deity of such universe and life creating power, would be so obsessed with. What kind of immature supreme being would create all of this, create life, destroy life, send part of his own “body” down in the form of a man through immaculate conception, so he can die on our behalf to satisfy God’s ego requirement for sacrifice. I don’t purport to understand the consciousness of this alleged magical creature, but it is hard to conceive such childish, disingenuous manipulation of life for the entertainment of itself. This dramatic, over thought, contrite, anthropocentric theory must be the creation of man’s imagination. How could it be anything else?

In summary, this complex, dramatic Christian theological concept is obviously a fabrication of much thought, and introspective philosophy. Perhaps they could have put all that time and effort into something more constructive. Creating a subservient, subjugative crutch for people with low mental resilience, apparent inability to use reason and logic to comprehend the world around them, and wild imaginations seems unnecessary. In my opinion, religion and faith block the believer’s ability to utilize appropriate epistemological methods to process and gain knowledge. As apparent by the fact that a recent study showed that one fourth of America believed the sun revolved around the earth. This is the perfect example of how religious thought handicaps a person’s ability to learn.


Works Cited:

Mattison, Mark. “The Meaning of the Atonement.” Mark Mattison. 1987. Web. Retrieved from http://www.auburn.edu/~allenkc/openhse/atonement.html

Anselm, Evans, G. R., The Major Works. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc, 1998. Print.

Visser, Sandra and Williams, Thomas, Anselm. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc, 2009. Print.

Murray, John, The Atonement. Evansville: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1976. Print.

Mueller, J.J., Theological Foundations: Concepts and Methods for Understanding the Christian Faith. Winona: Anselm Academic, Christian Brothers Publications, 2011. Print.

Albl, Martin C. Reason, Faith, and Tradition: Explorations in Catholic Theology. Winona: Anselm Academic, Christian Brothers Publications, 2009. Print.

The Catholic Study Bible: The New American Bible 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University press, Inc., 2011. Print.

Dawson, Gerrit S. Jesus Ascended: The Meaning of Christ’s Continuing Incarnation. New Jersey: P&R publishing, 2004. Print.

If atonement in Messiah is a purely NT concept, what are your comments on the many OT laws demanding sacrifice and also the Messianic prophecies in the OT that the Messiah would atone?

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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21-11-2014, 10:29 AM
RE: Morals, Christianity, Atheism
(19-11-2014 02:26 PM)ClydeLee Wrote:  
(19-11-2014 01:21 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  Because there isn't any other way to establish them. If you think they can be established some other way, I would like to here it.

I've already stated it in my prior post. You've given no rational reasoning to why only a deity like power establishes them.

Via social contract theory... in the context of obligation you were describing, it all applies.

And there are atheists who believe in universal objective moral rights and wrongs, in their cases they equally apply.

While I accept that "New Atheists" say there may be universal objective morals, on what basis do you accept such universals? For The Q's part, we would tend to say most Earthlings accept natural law and thus find those who commit moral heinous crimes repugnant, and then some Earthlings see the Bible has holding out moral objective standards.

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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21-11-2014, 10:41 AM
RE: Morals, Christianity, Atheism
(19-11-2014 02:45 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  
(19-11-2014 01:26 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  "Fun questions" from The Q:

Does prison population indicate that atheists are more moral than others or just less likely to be caught/more devious when committing crimes? (Okay, that's not really a question worth answering, but it is "fun"!) so let's try again:

If the atheists on this forum say that atheists are more moral/ethical than others, are they admitting that moral crimes deserve punishment/incarceration? You must be doing so because you are saying that immoral people are being imprisoned.

And saying that moral crimes deserve punishment opens a great door to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus died and rose to save people from punishment for moral crimes.

What an utterly inaccurate characterization of what's being said about prison populations. It can't be that you're actually trying to mischaracterize our positions to us, the very people who said it, because what a fucking idiotic thing that would be to do. It won't trick us into thinking that we think something we don't think. It just shows you don't have a clue what it is you're pathetically flailing against.

So, since you not having a clue is the most generous interpretation possible, allow me to clarify.

In this thread, when I and I suspect others made these observations about incarceration rates, we weren't examining questions about what SHOULD be true. We are examining questions about what IS true.

SHOULD atheists be more moral in their behavior than Christians, or vice versa, or maybe they should be equally moral? NOT BEING ADDRESSED HERE. (Answer: The ideal is that everyone should be equally, perfectly moral. Not realistic, but "should" questions rarely are. Also, a different conversation than this one.)

ARE they? That's the question we're trying to answer here. We are doing so in response to an oft-asserted, never-proven claim commonly advanced by the Christian community's most vocal spokespeople that Christianity guides Christians to moral behavior, and that atheism is devoid of morality.

We could, and often do, address this on a theoretical level of what the passages actually say to do and whether this is moral behavior, or whether behaving oneself in response to some sort of celestial extortion is really good character.

But here, we approach the question of whether Christianity leads to moral behavior from a different direction. Empricism. Are Christians more moral than atheists? The proof is in the pudding. We actually have DATA on how often atheists and Christians commit acts of theft, rape, and murder. That data is in the incarceration and conviction rates. Rather than arguing over what we think is maybe likely, like a hand-waving "who would win in a fight between these two comic book characters" type argument, we can actually check the reality of it.

And the reality of it is that Christians are more likely to commit each of these acts than atheists.

That's the question we're looking at the prison data to answer. Not "Should moral infractions be punished?" Why the hell would we be looking at prison data for that? That would just tell us that they ARE being punished, not whether they should be.

It's like testing a pharmaceutical. How much better does one fair under this drug than under a placebo? With all its pretenses and lovely little "ask your doctor about" ads claiming that it will lead people to be better, how does the "drug" of Christianity actually compare to the "placebo" of atheism?

Answer, according to the data: Christianity makes people MORE likely to steal, rape, and murder. Not less. That's not just the other side saying it. That's hard statistics saying it.

This is not a "should" question. We're not asking, should Christianity do this? We're asking, DOES Christianity do this? And the answer is, it does.

I find it particularly telling, when faced with this shortcoming of your religion, that your response was not, "gee, there's a major problem going on here, how do I fix it and help my fellow believers be better people, and help Christianity actually make good on its promise of moral guidance?" No, your response was to do a smarmy apologetic public relations marketing tap dance, rather than do anything of substance. I suspect that makes you part of the problem.

So, getting on to the irrelevant "should" questions. SHOULD moral infractions... however we define these things... be punished? I say -- and this is me speaking for myself here, not the atheist community at large -- not in and of their own right. There is room for a penalty system, but its goal should be the preemptive elimination of harms to society, not the after-the-fact punishment of immorality. It's not as if punishing it undoes it. In so far as a penalty system can serve as a deterrent and prevent future social harms, then yes, punish away, to the degree that makes sense for deterrence. But no further.

Does this open the door to Jesus? Well, that's begging the question of whether there IS a Jesus and whether he has some sort of supernatural power to forgive immorality on some abstract, supernatural level. Note that this is an IS question, not a SHOULD question. Argue that we SHOULD have that and that we would want to have that all you want, and I can argue back, but that will get us no closer to answering whether it IS true. I'd question the logic, or lack thereof, of saying that "there should be punishment for crimes" leads to "there should be a way of getting pardon for those punishments". I mean, it seems like a contradiction. One moment you're saying people should be punished, and next you're contradicting that by saying that there should be a way out of being punished. But whatever. What's most telling here is that opening the door to Jesus, at least in terms of belief and becoming a Christian.... and this is back to an IS question, backed up by data... makes things WORSE for society and the people in it, not better. (Argue if you want that it'll be better for them in the afterlife, but you won't have data for it.)

The only halfway reasonable objection you raise is the one you promptly backed out of: whether the data is good data. You don't actually make an argument that it isn't good data, you just kinda invoke the ghost of an objection and promptly run away from it. But okay, let's ask the question. Not because you raise it, but because it's a good question. Is there something biasing the data, such as disparate conviction rates for two people who commit similar crimes, that might throw off these numbers? Several possibilities come to mind. For example, open atheists are demographically more likely to be white, and blacks are more likely to be convicted of crimes than whites are in this country. Atheists are more likely to be higher on the economic ladder, and poverty leads to higher chance of incarceration. On the other hand, juries are more likely to have pro-Christian members than pro-atheist members, atheists are less likely to get lovely little character testimonies from their pastors, are less likely to have priests working to secure their parole based on good behavior and how they've turned their lives around, et cetera. For example, a recent story looked into the case of an atheist who was given a choice between attending a faith-based drug treatment program or going to prison, chose the program, got kicked OUT of the program for, well, being an atheist, and got sent to prison anyway. So as a preliminary does-this-make-sense test, I suspect there's factors and biases pulling the data in BOTH directions. There usually is, for almost any data you care to name. There's no such thing as perfect data, and we don't actually have omniscient statistics of who commits crimes when they DON'T get convicted. We should try to correct for this and get better data, even if it's not perfect data and never can be.

But what there ISN'T anywhere to be found here in the data we have so far, the best data we presently have available to us, is the slightest hint that Christianity leads people to more moral behavior. There's no huge swell of statistical indicators that Christians behave any better than non-Christians, not a hint of moral guidance from a holy book or a higher power having any positive impact in reality. If anything, it seems to do the opposite.

I appreciate your passion on this subject! Let me try to state The Q's position on your call to question with: "That's the question we're trying to answer here. We are doing so in response to an oft-asserted, never-proven claim commonly advanced by the Christian community's most vocal spokespeople that Christianity guides Christians to moral behavior, and that atheism is devoid of morality."

1. The Q do not believe atheism is devoid of morality. Indeed there can be atheists MORE moral than Xians. Christianity is for sinners. Sinners have bad habits and inhabit fleshly soul cages with the propensity to sin, so being "saved" does not automatically equal "supremely moral". If it did, every atheist would recognize the power of Christianity, and that would thwart Almighty God's decree that He remain veiled from sinners. You can substitute "answers to prayer", "winning the lottery" or whatever you like for "saved does not equal magic substantive change, just saved". So The Q would be relieved if some on this forum would stop invoking the "strike me with lightning" and etc. nonsense every few posts (not you, we speak to others here). Atheists deserve to be struck by lightning JUST AS MUCH as Christians, but if every atheist who asked to be was struck by lightning, other atheists might be "compelled" to be saved:

"The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him and He will make them know his covenant." - from Psalm 25

2. The Q question whether the new atheists can have no higher power yet claim universal objective morals.

3. The Q state that atheists can live moral lives, happy lives, self-actualized lives, and altruistic lives. They also state that the tenets of atheism by definition lead them to live what can biblically be called unholy lives, since holiness is not morality but transcendence. Remember the show "Touched By An Angel"? Christians are touched by Jesus and made holy.

4. If atheists say Christians are in prison because Christianity does not lead to morality, then either it leads to immorality or they wish others to infer that atheism leads to heightened morality. We can argue that if you like but it will go back rather quickly to our point #2 (if there are no true objective morals, than perhaps all the people in prison are either moral or forced to be there because of deterministic reasons, etc.)

--The Q has spoken on behalf of The Q-- All heed The Q or risk being cast into a perpetual Mobius Loop along the time-space continuum, never to return until the Judgment Day.

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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21-11-2014, 11:48 AM
RE: Morals, Christianity, Atheism
That's the problem with belief systems....you can type, explain all you want....but no belief system has proven validity. None. It's all conjecture.

When I want your opinion I'll read your entrails.
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21-11-2014, 11:58 AM
RE: Morals, Christianity, Atheism
(21-11-2014 11:48 AM)WitchSabrina Wrote:  That's the problem with belief systems....you can type, explain all you want....but no belief system has proven validity. None. It's all conjecture.

Yeah, ever since I can remember even as a child, all this spiritual and belief woo-woo talk has always made the person or persons appear just a little crazy to me. I wonder why?

“Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up, must come down, down, down. Amen! If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it.”
— Dan Barker —
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21-11-2014, 12:50 PM
RE: Morals, Christianity, Atheism
(21-11-2014 07:26 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Or in other words do you think there are any real ramifications for believing that moral obligations do not exist?
Yes, I do think there are real ramifications in not having belief in moral obligations.

I no longer make moral judgments, I no longer arrogantly think that I can know what others should or ought to do.
I'm much more tolerant now, I'm much less likely to support law to stop people doing things that I personally don't like.

I see more value in diversity within society now.

I am now somewhat bemused when I see others worrying about whether something is immoral or not, or making bold circular claims "You can't do that because that is immoral", "We need a law against it because it is immoral".

However I am somewhat frustrated about my inability to explain it to others. Dodgy
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21-11-2014, 12:54 PM
RE: Morals, Christianity, Atheism
(21-11-2014 11:48 AM)WitchSabrina Wrote:  That's the problem with belief systems....you can type, explain all you want....but no belief system has proven validity. None. It's all conjecture.

No belief system? Including atheism? Do you live in that relativist of a world? I'm fine if you do, because a lot of atheists and Christians around here seem dead set on absolutism.

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21-11-2014, 12:57 PM (This post was last modified: 21-11-2014 01:04 PM by cjlr.)
RE: Morals, Christianity, Atheism
(20-11-2014 05:15 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(20-11-2014 04:52 PM)cjlr Wrote:  That doesn't make it "strange" that I still have them.
I've never said it was strange you have opinions.
I've said it is strange if you believe morality is subjective that you expect me to conform to your own moral beliefs.
"Expect" in such a way that you make a claim as to what I "ought to do"

How you could honestly come by such an interpretation to anything I've said is completely beyond me.

(20-11-2014 05:15 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(20-11-2014 04:52 PM)cjlr Wrote:  You appear to have misunderstood me - and quite thoroughly, at that.

Saying "ought" expresses, fundamentally, a preference. This is not the same as an expectation. Do you understand the difference?

"Ought" means more than a preference. Is seems you don't understand.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ought
Quote:(used to express duty or moral obligation):
Every citizen ought to help.
2.
(used to express justice, moral rightness, or the like):
He ought to be punished. You ought to be ashamed.
3.
(used to express propriety, appropriateness, etc.):
You ought to be home early. We ought to bring her some flowers.
4.
(used to express probability or natural consequence):
That ought to be our train now.

Ah, yes. "lol dictionary"; the beloved recourse of the tedious. Do note that there are, right there, multiple meanings given.

If I were to say to you that I think you ought to do something, what would you think I meant by it?
Your comments to me suggest you hold an interpretation I cannot even begin to guess at.

(20-11-2014 05:15 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(20-11-2014 04:52 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Being a social member of a social species, I would think you'd express at least some concern for how the other members of your society will regard and respond to you.
I care about how their response impacts me. I don't care about their preferences or their moral beliefs.

Their response is inextricably tied to their own preferences and beliefs.

Connect the freakin' dots, mate.

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21-11-2014, 01:02 PM (This post was last modified: 21-11-2014 01:15 PM by cjlr.)
RE: Morals, Christianity, Atheism
(20-11-2014 06:02 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(20-11-2014 04:52 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Saying "ought" expresses, fundamentally, a preference. This is not the same as an expectation. Do you understand the difference?

Let's try this a different way.

Which statements do you see as equivalent?

Scenario 1 (moral action) You ought to do X
A) You are obligated to do X
B) If I were you I would do X
C) I would prefer it if you do X
D) I give my approval of you doing X

Scenario 2 (immoral action) - You ought not do X
A) You are obligated not to do X
B) If I were you I would not do X
C) I would prefer it if you don't do X
D) I give my disapproval of you doing X

You know, stevil, you really don't want to hear my answer. You won't like it. No; I'm afraid you won't like it one bit. I fear you may whine about it being "evasive" or "avoiding" an answer, but I assure you, by no means. But you certainly aren't going to like it.

Have you guessed what it is, yet?
It depends. It depends on who I am speaking to, and in what capacity. It depends on the act, my thoughts regarding it, and the consequences I might envision. It depends on a lot of things, stevil. Because, shockingly, words do not possess one and only one absolute, inherent platonic meaning, never beholden to nuance or context.

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