an ongoing interview
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29-07-2015, 10:32 AM
RE: an ongoing interview
(29-07-2015 10:16 AM)TheInquisition Wrote:  
(29-07-2015 10:04 AM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  She is also interviewing another, I assume a theist.

I know this only because in one email she said, "Well, its a lot more in depth then the other person I am interviewing. They are easy to trip up. You are not." She stated she uses my TTA resource library as a source for the other interview, so again, I am assuming that person is of the creationist persuasion. If she is using that info, I am sure she is having a field day with the poor theist Laugh out load

Blush

If she's questioning already, then creationism is going to make her retreat from the theist position like half-decayed roadkill.

That is my hope. She is too smart to be undecided.

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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29-07-2015, 11:29 AM
RE: an ongoing interview
(28-07-2015 06:55 PM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  Question 2 just received, and answered below, time for bed. More to follow I am sure..

2) You say there is no evidence, historical or otherwise, to support the existence of God or Gods. Yet, the cosmological argument/theory uses science/physics to support the argument that there is a God/Self-Being. Do you believe this argument is flawed? If so, why?

GWG: First let’s look at the Cosmological argument:

Incorporating Aristotle's notion of a "prime mover" into Summa Theologica and elsewhere, Thomas Aquinas famously formulated his version of the cosmological or "first cause" argument. According to this argument, the things which we see around us now are the products of a series of previous causes. But that series cannot go back in time forever. Thus there must be some first cause which was not itself caused by anything else. And that first uncaused cause is God. The argument can be put more formally as follows:

1. Every thing has either been caused to exist by something else or else exists uncaused.
2. Not every thing has been caused to exist by something else.
3. Therefore, at least one thing is itself uncaused.

There are several problems with this argument. The most crucial objection to the argument itself is that unless we know that premise 2 is true, the argument fails. If the universe is infinitely old, for instance, everything could indeed be caused by something else before it; the series of causes could go back forever. But perhaps more importantly, one could hold that the argument succeeds without believing that God exists. There could be multiple uncaused causes—multiple gods, say—or the uncaused cause could be an unintelligent, impersonal force. Finally, the argument holds that God is required to explain the existence of the universe, but offers no explanation for why God exists. If you invoke God to answer the question "Why is there a universe rather than nothing?" you raise the further question "Why is there a God rather than nothing?" The fundamental question—"Why is there something rather than nothing?"—remains unanswered either way; so why invoke a potentially nonexistent God to explain a universe which we know exists? This is the epitome of god-of-the-gaps argument. We don’t know…so….god.

One cannot state with any degree of validity that the first causal theory doesn't apply to the mythical egocentric abrahamic god because one has the unique opinion he is the "eternal god", thus wasn't "caused". How does one arrive at that thought? How does one ascertain ones version of "god" is eternal? Which god by the way? There are so many, yet each fan club thinks their god is the only god, the true god and the only true religion. The irony of that kills me. 4500 different religions, all of which claim their god is the one, the truth and the light. Christianity alone has over 40,000 strains of their delusion, and each declares all others are not "true christians".

The major premise of the argument, ""everything had a cause," is contradicted by the conclusion that "god did not have a cause." You can't have it both ways. If everything had to have had a cause, then there could not be a first cause. If it is possible to think of a god as uncaused, then it is possible to think the same of the universe.

Some theists, observing that all "effects" need a cause, assert that god is a cause but not an effect. But no one has ever observed an uncaused cause and simply inventing one merely assumes what the argument wishes to prove. If a god can be thought eternal, then so can the universe. The word "cause" is a transitive verb. Causality requires temporality. If god exists outside of time, he cannot cause anything.

The latest spin on this position by christian philosophers like William Lane Craig is that:

1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
2) The universe began to exist.
3) Therefore, the universe has a cause.

This may be seductive to those who already believe in a god. To me, it seems awfully suspicious. The clause "Everything that begins to exist" sounds artificial. It is not a phrase we hear outside the context of theistic philosophy. It appears to be an Ad Hoc construction designed to smooth over earlier apologetic efforts.

Little bit of nitpicking here. I do not find the cosmological argument convincing, and I remain an atheist, but I think you are misstating the argument in several ways.

1. When Aquinas talks about causes, he is using the word "cause" in the Aristotelian sense, which is different from the way we understand the word. It doesn't mean a temporal cause, like a succession of events. It's more vertical than horizontal. Like the cause of our existence (ultimately) is that God wills it -- not only as an initial act of creation, but continuously. So if God stops willing our existence for even an instant, we all go "poof". So whether or not time is infinite is of no concern to Aquinas. His first cause is first in importance or significance. It has nothing to do with time or a sequence of events. When you bring time into it, it becomes the Kalam cosmological argument ("begins" to exist, etc.).

2. He doesn't say that everything has to have a cause (which leaves open the question "So who caused God?"). He makes the important distinction that all contingent things must have a cause. God is by definition essential rather than contingent. It is part of his nature that he must exist. Contingent things can exist or not exist. To me, this is a bit like assuming the conclusion, but then that's the fallacy we must address.

If we're going to refute these arguments, we have to make sure we understand them correctly, which is tricky, because Aquinas and Aristotle use certain words differently than we do.

That's all. Carry on.
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29-07-2015, 01:42 PM
RE: an ongoing interview
(29-07-2015 09:59 AM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  
(29-07-2015 08:08 AM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  Sigh. Reading this should make me smarter; and it probably does. Alas, it also makes me feel dumb, relatively speaking.

So, you are built like a mountain, decorated with all sorts of military accolades, well-read and intelligent. I hope you won't mind if I imagine that you also have a very small penis. I am not saying you do. I am just saying that I tell myself you do to offset my own personal inferiority complex.

Sorry, back to the interview...
Blink

Big Grin

Thanks, makes me feel appreciated. I have always been a hyper active over achiever....sort of like a 6 foot 1 inch human vibrator Unsure

Evil_monster

Quote: sort of like a 6 foot 1 inch human vibrator Unsure

Big Grin

Thumbsup

Bowing

Oh. Um. Carry on.

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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29-07-2015, 02:28 PM
RE: an ongoing interview
(29-07-2015 01:42 PM)dancefortwo Wrote:  
(29-07-2015 09:59 AM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  Blink

Big Grin

Thanks, makes me feel appreciated. I have always been a hyper active over achiever....sort of like a 6 foot 1 inch human vibrator Unsure

Evil_monster

Quote: sort of like a 6 foot 1 inch human vibrator Unsure

Big Grin

Thumbsup

Bowing

Oh. Um. Carry on.

No! You are NOT allowed to have a vibrator in your carry-on! Didn't you watch Fight Club???
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29-07-2015, 03:24 PM
RE: an ongoing interview
(29-07-2015 02:28 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  
(29-07-2015 01:42 PM)dancefortwo Wrote:  Big Grin

Thumbsup

Bowing

Oh. Um. Carry on.

No! You are NOT allowed to have a vibrator in your carry-on! Didn't you watch Fight Club???

Quote:Carry on.


I left that damned hyphen somewhere. Must be next to that fuckin minus sign.Dodgy

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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29-07-2015, 06:20 PM
RE: an ongoing interview
(29-07-2015 11:29 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  
(28-07-2015 06:55 PM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  Question 2 just received, and answered below, time for bed. More to follow I am sure..

2) You say there is no evidence, historical or otherwise, to support the existence of God or Gods. Yet, the cosmological argument/theory uses science/physics to support the argument that there is a God/Self-Being. Do you believe this argument is flawed? If so, why?

GWG: First let’s look at the Cosmological argument:

Incorporating Aristotle's notion of a "prime mover" into Summa Theologica and elsewhere, Thomas Aquinas famously formulated his version of the cosmological or "first cause" argument. According to this argument, the things which we see around us now are the products of a series of previous causes. But that series cannot go back in time forever. Thus there must be some first cause which was not itself caused by anything else. And that first uncaused cause is God. The argument can be put more formally as follows:

1. Every thing has either been caused to exist by something else or else exists uncaused.
2. Not every thing has been caused to exist by something else.
3. Therefore, at least one thing is itself uncaused.

There are several problems with this argument. The most crucial objection to the argument itself is that unless we know that premise 2 is true, the argument fails. If the universe is infinitely old, for instance, everything could indeed be caused by something else before it; the series of causes could go back forever. But perhaps more importantly, one could hold that the argument succeeds without believing that God exists. There could be multiple uncaused causes—multiple gods, say—or the uncaused cause could be an unintelligent, impersonal force. Finally, the argument holds that God is required to explain the existence of the universe, but offers no explanation for why God exists. If you invoke God to answer the question "Why is there a universe rather than nothing?" you raise the further question "Why is there a God rather than nothing?" The fundamental question—"Why is there something rather than nothing?"—remains unanswered either way; so why invoke a potentially nonexistent God to explain a universe which we know exists? This is the epitome of god-of-the-gaps argument. We don’t know…so….god.

One cannot state with any degree of validity that the first causal theory doesn't apply to the mythical egocentric abrahamic god because one has the unique opinion he is the "eternal god", thus wasn't "caused". How does one arrive at that thought? How does one ascertain ones version of "god" is eternal? Which god by the way? There are so many, yet each fan club thinks their god is the only god, the true god and the only true religion. The irony of that kills me. 4500 different religions, all of which claim their god is the one, the truth and the light. Christianity alone has over 40,000 strains of their delusion, and each declares all others are not "true christians".

The major premise of the argument, ""everything had a cause," is contradicted by the conclusion that "god did not have a cause." You can't have it both ways. If everything had to have had a cause, then there could not be a first cause. If it is possible to think of a god as uncaused, then it is possible to think the same of the universe.

Some theists, observing that all "effects" need a cause, assert that god is a cause but not an effect. But no one has ever observed an uncaused cause and simply inventing one merely assumes what the argument wishes to prove. If a god can be thought eternal, then so can the universe. The word "cause" is a transitive verb. Causality requires temporality. If god exists outside of time, he cannot cause anything.

The latest spin on this position by christian philosophers like William Lane Craig is that:

1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
2) The universe began to exist.
3) Therefore, the universe has a cause.

This may be seductive to those who already believe in a god. To me, it seems awfully suspicious. The clause "Everything that begins to exist" sounds artificial. It is not a phrase we hear outside the context of theistic philosophy. It appears to be an Ad Hoc construction designed to smooth over earlier apologetic efforts.

Little bit of nitpicking here. I do not find the cosmological argument convincing, and I remain an atheist, but I think you are misstating the argument in several ways.

1. When Aquinas talks about causes, he is using the word "cause" in the Aristotelian sense, which is different from the way we understand the word. It doesn't mean a temporal cause, like a succession of events. It's more vertical than horizontal. Like the cause of our existence (ultimately) is that God wills it -- not only as an initial act of creation, but continuously. So if God stops willing our existence for even an instant, we all go "poof". So whether or not time is infinite is of no concern to Aquinas. His first cause is first in importance or significance. It has nothing to do with time or a sequence of events. When you bring time into it, it becomes the Kalam cosmological argument ("begins" to exist, etc.).

2. He doesn't say that everything has to have a cause (which leaves open the question "So who caused God?"). He makes the important distinction that all contingent things must have a cause. God is by definition essential rather than contingent. It is part of his nature that he must exist. Contingent things can exist or not exist. To me, this is a bit like assuming the conclusion, but then that's the fallacy we must address.

If we're going to refute these arguments, we have to make sure we understand them correctly, which is tricky, because Aquinas and Aristotle use certain words differently than we do.

That's all. Carry on.
I always encourage nitpicking, it keeps me honest. I think, like all things related to this field, it can be a bit subjective...interpretation is anything but an exacting science...after reviewing the evidence available, I go with my gut usually, and that doesn't ever mean I have figured out the universe, far from it, I can't even get to work without my GPS. My opinion is just one of billions.....some agree with it, some do not, so agree with some of it, some thing I am brilliant, some think I am delusional, some think I am an idiot....all I can do is stay true to my perspective, analyze new and different points of view to see if I agree or disagree, and move on. Everyday that I learn something new, even if I do not agree with it, is a good day.

I am sure if she interviewed 10 atheists, and asked the same questions, she would get ten distinctly different answers, and that is okay, because the definitive truth isn't known by anyone, all we can do is contemplate, make perhaps an educated hypothesis, and try to be open minded to accept new evidence as it becomes available. Thumbsup

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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29-07-2015, 06:56 PM
RE: an ongoing interview
Question 3 received and answered. I intentionally didn't get too technical, there is so much to say in response to this question and so many different angles to go, I used a new tactic....no evidence of a planner, means no plan, no plan means no purpose...hopefully I didn't get too long winded and lose my point, I walked in late from a long day, sat down and just banged out my thoughts as they rambled forth Unsure

3) If the arguments for our existence are flawed, what is the purpose of life?

GWG: What makes you think there is a purpose to life? What reasoning do you utilize in your observation of the real world around us that suggests life has a purpose? Purpose suggests a plan, a plan suggests concepts like fate, fate suggests preplanned destiny, which suggests a planner, which points to an intelligent designer. But nothing I have observed suggests our lives have a purpose. For example; What is the purpose for a mosquito…that is life, what is its purpose? What is the purpose for millions of babies born with terminal diseases? Neither reflects purpose, but they both point to the wonders of random mathematics, the roll of the dice, the chance and circumstance that leads to a short, painful life, or a long, healthy life.

As I stated above, purpose implies a plan, which implies a planner….and we know that is a fallacy, as nothing points to a planner. From the perspective of someone observing the finished product around us (well, it isn’t finished, as everything is in some slow state of evolution, but you understand what I mean) it is easy to say, “wow, there is no way all of this could have just…happened”…but actually when you dig into the world at the DNA level, at the molecular level, at the sub-dermal level we see exactly what we would expect to see from an evolving world. In the human body the vast majority of genes are dormant, recessive and no longer used, as we evolved through time, things shut off with non-use, occasionally one of those genes becomes dominant, and we have a baby human born with a coccyx tail for example..our bodies contain vestigial organs and bone formations, which show our evolution from an earlier, different form…if we were created, for a purpose, as per god’s plan, we wouldn’t have those things..

We view things that are complex like say….the eye, and exclaim “that just had to have been the work of a god”…no actually, it is anything but a perfect design, it is just the opposite. The anatomy of the human eye, in fact, shows anything but "intelligence" in its design. It is built upside down and backwards, requiring photons of light to travel through the cornea, lens, acquaeous fluid, blood vessels, ganglion cells, amacrine cells, horizontal cells, and bipolar cells before they reach the light sensitive rods and cones that transduce the light signal into neural impulses....which are then sent to the visual cortex at the back of the brain for processing into meaningful patterns. For optimal vision, why would an intelligent designer have built an eye upside down and backwards?

So in summary, no evidence of a planner, means no plan, no plan means no purpose.

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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30-07-2015, 01:17 PM (This post was last modified: 30-07-2015 03:44 PM by goodwithoutgod.)
RE: an ongoing interview
Question 4 received today was:

4) Do you believe that the discovery of Earth 2.0, supports your views?

GWG: Yes. However, the discovery of Earth 2.0 should surprise no one. As I have asserted before, it all comes down to numbers. The Hubble telescope can see over 400+ billion stars and planets. A thinking person would surmise that beyond the range and capability of the Hubble telescope, are billions and maybe trillions of stars and planets that are beyond our view. So it would make sense that the perfect conditions to support life, whatever form of life that is, has been achieved elsewhere simply based on the numbers.

Now, if there were only the Earth, the moon, and the sun then perhaps the anthropocentric, Abrahamic faith-based belief in God, as per the fictional document called the Bible, would require closer scrutiny. Oh yeah, and throw a few stars in the heavens to provide light of course. But that isn’t the case is it? We know that there are at least 400+ billion stars and planets. Is one truly to believe that God created at least 400+ billion planets until he got at least one just right, and then grabbing a handful of dirt, blew into it, creating man? Not only is that preposterous, and lacking any supportive evidence, but it doesn’t pass the logic test either.

So yes, I do believe that the discovery of Earth 2.0 supports my views; that the universe is vast, does not indicate an intelligent designer or Creator, and that statistically, life could and most likely has been achieved on another planet. Interesting question. I have never been asked that question before.

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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30-07-2015, 02:21 PM (This post was last modified: 30-07-2015 02:33 PM by goodwithoutgod.)
RE: an ongoing interview
Question 5 received today:

5) Is it safe to say Morality and Religion have always been closely entwined? Religion provides a How to be a Decent Person guideline and society enforces it. Yet our world is corrupt and broken. What do you believe is wrong with the human condition?

GWG: Well, we know from Anthropology 101 where human customs come from, and in general why they arise. One of the fallacies religionists claim is that without their deity, morality would not exist. The fact is that EVERY SINGLE commandment, injunction and law in the Bible existed already in ancient Near Eastern culture and was imported into the Bible. Religion took their laws from existing culture, not vice versa.

Religious people and popular culture likes to draw a correlation between morality and religion, but upon close inspection, one has nothing to do with the other. One is not needed for the other.

Lets go back to hunter-gatherer time....it didn't take long to figure out that ones odds for survival were greatly increased if we stick together in groups, hunt in packs, protect each other....it also doesn't take a genius to figure out that as we started to build bigger tribes, groups, villages, towns, etc...that the basis of self-preservation and safety is a tier one concern. It would be frowned upon to put it lightly, if you stole my food, raped my wife or children, or killed one of my family....these type of actions would be considered against everyone's self-preservation and safety...thus banned...thus SOCIETY dictates what is acceptable behavior, and this evolves with time. No made up god/s needed at all. No BS "ten commandments" which are so obviously written by a group of empowered, ignorant patriarchal men.....thou shalt not rape? ....nope, not on there, thou shalt not enslave other humans? ...nope, not on there, and surely the all knowing god knew that would be a problem...but no...the MEN that created the ten commandments were more concerned with pressing matters like thou shalt not covet thy neighbors wife.

Religion’s basis is their holy books, and their holy books are filled with horrific threats and deeds. Hardly the go-to reference for how to conduct oneself. The well-known passage from Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, "If God is dead, all is permitted," suggests that non-believers would not hold moral lives without the possibility of punishment by a God. This perspective is absurd as all one has to do is look at Denmark or Sweden to see that these largely atheist areas enjoy being at the top tier of civilization. This is broken down in great detail in a book by Phil Zuckerman, "Society without God".

Phil Zuckerman, associate professor of sociology at Pitzer College in California, in his article, "Is Faith Good For Us" states the following: "A comparison of highly irreligious countries with highly religious countries, however, reveals a very different state of affairs. In reality, the most secular countries (those with the highest proportion of atheists and agnostics) are among the most stable, peaceful, free, wealthy, and healthy societies. And the most religious nations-wherein worship of God is in abundance are among the most unstable, violent, oppressive, poor, and destitute."

A study by Gregory S. Paul, entitled "Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies: A First Look," was done and the study's conclusion was that there was an inverse relationship between religion and poor societal health rates. What that means is that the higher the level of religious belief in a country, the lower the level of societal health (more violent crimes, suicides, teen pregnancies, etc.).

So it seems that a plethora of evidence exists to show that not only do we not need religion in our lives to be good humans but that having it in our lives can be counter-productive and unhealthy. Our world IS corrupt and broken, but only parts of it. Guess what correlation exists in those broken areas? High levels of religious belief. Even within the US, there are a plethora of studies and statistics that show the Bible belt has the lowest average IQ, highest poverty levels, lowest average education levels, poor health, and….you guessed it…high levels of religious beliefs. The areas of the world that have a zealous belief in religion are usually the most violent, and enjoy being at the bottom tier of civilization ranking for quality of life.

Creationists have long been of the opinion that atheists are evil and corrupt. Well, lets take a peek at US prison statistics. US population of Christians is about 70%...and that number is reflected with entrance statistics for US prisons IAW the FBI database for religiosity and prison population. About 70% of US prisoners are of some flavor of Christian delusion. Guess what percentage are non-religious? .07%.....Contemplate on that for a moment.

One would surmise to make the world unbroken and less corrupt, a step in the right direction would be to remove religion from it. The only thing wrong with the human condition is the embracement of religion. People like to say, "why take away faith if it helps people get through the day"...I've never really understood how removing a bad way to reason will make it difficult to get through the day. If anything, it would seem that correcting someone's reasoning would significantly increase their chances of getting through their day.

With reliable forms of reasoning comes the capability of crafting conditions that enable people to navigate life's obstacles. By using a more reliable form of reasoning, people are more capable of bringing about conditions that enable them to flourish.

To argue that people need faith is to abandon hope, and to condescend and accuse the faithful of being incapable of understanding the importance of reason and rationality. There are better and worse ways to come to terms with death, to find strength during times of personal crisis, to make meaning and purpose in our lives, to interpret our sense of awe and wonder, and to contribute to human well-being...and the faithful are completely capable of understanding and achieving this..if they would only try.

Asking “If there is no god, what is the purpose of life?” is like asking, “If there is no master, whose slave will I be?”

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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30-07-2015, 02:51 PM (This post was last modified: 30-07-2015 03:45 PM by goodwithoutgod.)
RE: an ongoing interview
Final question (according to her)

6) How happy are you? How does your outlook on religion impact your life?

GWG: I am extremely happy, and confident in my worldview. It is good to be in a place where I do not have to consider fabricated religion as a crutch to lean on to get through life. What annoys me is the negative impact that religion has on my life, and all American's lives. We aren’t trying to sell anyone anything, we have a close personal relationship with reality, not jesus, or any other mythical BS religious figure. Religion is the ultimate scam and while some of it is benign in nature, it is the radical "my view of my god is right and all of you heathens who believe otherwise better get on board" mentality that bothers me. It is the sneaky little financing of a politician who they support to get him/her in office so that their crazy agendas can be quietly slid into laws that guide this country.

The aggressive attempts to get pseudo-science creationism into public schools under the guise of "intelligent design", the obsession with who people love, who they marry, and how they have sex, the blocking of vital stem cell research that can save lives, the belief they know what is best for an impregnated rape victim based on biblical interpretation...these are the things that go on daily under the guise of religious freedom...Those are the people I fight. If someone wants to whip a rubber chicken around their head while dancing in a counter clock wise circle quacking like a duck makes them feel closer to their mythical god, then by all means, knock yourself out...in the privacy of their own home or in a private venue with like-minded individuals. Don’t manipulate politicians to modify laws that affect us all, based on their religious views. That is the negative impact on my life religion has.


Tongue

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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