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Old 20th June 2017, 07:40 PM   #81
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Originally Posted by Sherman Bay
Me too. It was because the chicks didn't put out.
Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
You went to the wrong church.
Reminds me of "The Grapes of Wrath" where an ex preacher "Casy" is bothered by his need to have sex with a young girl after a meeting, Casy has been wandering about, trying to figure out how men can be "sinful" when they are full of the Holy Spirit.
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Old 20th June 2017, 11:12 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I provided these comments as a contrast to the popular narrative. I expected that someone might want to ask me about what did cause me to leave the church, but it's okay that no-one did. Perhaps "interesting" might have been a better word choice than "funny", but any intent to "slay" anyone else's argument is entirely in your own head.
There were, of course, more than 3 reasons on the list produced by the survey, but I can't remember what the others were. I assumed that if you wanted us to know what yours was you would tell us. If you'd like to share it I might be able to remember if it was on the list.
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Old 20th June 2017, 11:28 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
If you study how the Bible came to be It's easy to see the power struggle of different groups trying to mold the story of Jesus to their own view. To get an understanding of this I highly recommend a couple of books by Bart Erhman

Lost Christianities The battles for scripture and the faiths we never knew
Misquoting Jesus The story behind who changed the bible and why

When you read about Marcion of Sinope who created the first New Testament which included 10 epistles of Paul and most of Luke. He did not believe that Jesus's heavenly Father was Yahweh as the Hebrew god Yahweh was a cruel and vengeful god. I think it is interesting that Marcion thinks that Paul is the ultimate interpreter of Jesus. Never mind that Paul never spent a moment with Jesus.

It also goes into the Gnostics and other groups fighting to control the Jesus story. This all more than 100 years after Jesus was crucified. This would be like like you and I fighting about the story of a preacher who live a hundred years prior and determine what was accurate about a bunch of anonymous stories about a carpenter who said he was the messiah.
I am reading now The Quest of the Historical Jesus, by Albert Schweitzer. In 1911 and before it was evident that the gospels reflected opposite trends in early-early Christianity. Otherwise, the constant contradictions would be unintelligible. You can see this in Paul’s furious curses against different currents of Christianity already in the 50s: “As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!” (Galatians 5:12)
It is Paul who begins the efforts –contradictory also‒ to separate Christianity from Judaism. Warring and nationalist Yahveh was not assimilable by the Empire, among other problems. Yahveh’s cruelty had nothing to do in the business.

Of course, Yahveh is a little more primitive than Jesus. Therefore he is more savage. But Jesus’ Father is not spotless. Jesus continues cursing everybody –and everything (fig tree!, Mark 11:12-25)‒ that doesn’t submit to his absolute will. Whole towns are condemned to the eternal fire only because they didn’t ear the Son of God. Gomorra and Sodom are specifically mentioned (Matthew 11:20-24; Luke 10:13-15). And the babies?? The babies also. What strange way to love and forgive the enemies!

This kind of things made me unbeliever.

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Old 20th June 2017, 11:51 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
There were, of course, more than 3 reasons on the list produced by the survey, but I can't remember what the others were. I assumed that if you wanted us to know what yours was you would tell us. If you'd like to share it I might be able to remember if it was on the list.
As it turns out I deliberately kept my comments terse because if no-one wanted to engage with them I didn't want to distract from the things people did want to talk about.

So much for goals, huh?
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Old 21st June 2017, 12:59 AM   #85
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
If you study how the Bible came to be It's easy to see the power struggle of different groups trying to mold the story of Jesus to their own view. To get an understanding of this I highly recommend a couple of books by Bart Erhman

Lost Christianities The battles for scripture and the faiths we never knew
Misquoting Jesus The story behind who changed the bible and why
I've never been religious nor have had any interest in all of it. But with the rise of right-wing Christianity in the USA, I've become more active in fighting it. Then on vacation, the proprietor of the place I was at loaned me that book. I stayed up all night to read the whole thing. It's absolutely fascinating, a real spellbinder. What it solidified for me was that the Christian god is entirely a man-made phenomenon and that Christianity is a cruel hoax perpetrated on believers.

Since then, I've since seen no reason to change that assessment and, further, have seen no reason to reject extrapolations to other religions.
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Old 21st June 2017, 02:42 AM   #86
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I've actually softened considerably on religion in general recently.

The whole internet Atheists argument (non of that stuff is real dummy, there is no invisible man living in the sky etc etc) seem to be just simplistic and only applicable to a small number of hard-core believers.

These stories are really, really old and are a fantastic and amazing connection with the past. You can keep that connection and not internalise the morals of the stories. Case in point: Judaism. Mostly harmless, with a book that makes ISIS look rational.

I get the attitude of those who grew up in an environment where this stuff was taken as -well- the gospel.
But I grew up Atheist and the Bible is just as amazing as Gilgamesh, Beowulf, Bhagavad Gita and the Illiad.

And I actually enjoy how utterly screwed up those stories are. It gives a window into how far we've come as a civilisation, and what we could fall back to. Just like I laugh at the casual sexism in old Bond movies, I am amazed by the accounts of unapologetic sex slavery, genocide and sacrifice. With the right perspective, it is actually a really good to gaze into these dark parts of our soul.
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Old 21st June 2017, 03:10 AM   #87
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Originally Posted by Eddie Dane View Post
the Bible is just as amazing as Gilgamesh, Beowulf, Bhagavad Gita and the Illiad.
I have no doubt that it could be interesting for its insights into its times. But when I have set out to read it, I think I made a mistake by starting at Genesis. Sometime after the Flood and the Tower of Babel, I just burned out. I don't even remember what was the last thing I got to, but it wasn't the "begats" that everyone talks about being bored by; I didn't get that far. (I didn't even think those were in Genesis, but people always bring them up when I mention not getting out of Genesis.) Now I think the parts I'm really after probably begin with Joshua. But it still always has to get in line behind the other books I plan to read first...
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Old 21st June 2017, 04:11 AM   #88
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
I have no doubt that it could be interesting for its insights into its times. But when I have set out to read it, I think I made a mistake by starting at Genesis. Sometime after the Flood and the Tower of Babel, I just burned out. I don't even remember what was the last thing I got to, but it wasn't the "begats" that everyone talks about being bored by; I didn't get that far. (I didn't even think those were in Genesis, but people always bring them up when I mention not getting out of Genesis.) Now I think the parts I'm really after probably begin with Joshua. But it still always has to get in line behind the other books I plan to read first...
To be fair, I don't read the Bible, but rather about the Bible. It's too much of a hard slog for me. Same with Nietschze actually.

Funny story: I have a Muslim friend who's always going on about how miraculous the Koran is. How the prose couldn't be human made, how there is so much science in it that could not have been known at the time.

Did he read it? Nope. He will get into it later. After he finishes his Friends DVD box set.

If I had a book that I believed was written by the creator of the universe, I'd be all over it.
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Old 21st June 2017, 05:45 AM   #89
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Originally Posted by Eddie Dane View Post
I've actually softened considerably on religion in general recently.

The whole internet Atheists argument (non of that stuff is real dummy, there is no invisible man living in the sky etc etc) seem to be just simplistic and only applicable to a small number of hard-core believers.

These stories are really, really old and are a fantastic and amazing connection with the past. You can keep that connection and not internalise the morals of the stories. Case in point: Judaism. Mostly harmless, with a book that makes ISIS look rational.

I get the attitude of those who grew up in an environment where this stuff was taken as -well- the gospel.
But I grew up Atheist and the Bible is just as amazing as Gilgamesh, Beowulf, Bhagavad Gita and the Illiad.

And I actually enjoy how utterly screwed up those stories are. It gives a window into how far we've come as a civilisation, and what we could fall back to. Just like I laugh at the casual sexism in old Bond movies, I am amazed by the accounts of unapologetic sex slavery, genocide and sacrifice. With the right perspective, it is actually a really good to gaze into these dark parts of our soul.
If Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism etc were just stories like Zeus and Odin none of these conversations wouldn't be necessary. It's that people take these stories seriously and they act on them. Our beliefs inform and influence our actions. In the US, we have Christians that want creationism taught in our classrooms. They want to control other people's reproductive rights and freely discriminate against the LGBT. They shun friends and family members. A great many Muslims want to live under Sharia law. I've just scratched the beginning of the problems.

Beliefs matter.
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Old 21st June 2017, 06:26 AM   #90
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
If Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism etc were just stories like Zeus and Odin none of these conversations would be necessary. It's that people take these stories seriously and they act on them. Our beliefs inform and influence our actions. In the US, we have Christians that want creationism taught in our classrooms. They want to control other people's reproductive rights and freely discriminate against the LGBT. They shun friends and family members. A great many Muslims want to live under Sharia law. I've just scratched the beginning of the problems.

Beliefs matter.
True that.

I'm Dutch. Religion here is mostly an identity thing.
It's only with the recent arrival of Muslims that we have a large group that take their religion literally and intimidate Muslims that don't take it literally.
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Old 21st June 2017, 06:43 AM   #91
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Originally Posted by Eddie Dane View Post
True that.

I'm Dutch. Religion here is mostly an identity thing.
It's only with the recent arrival of Muslims that we have a large group that take their religion literally and intimidate Muslims that don't take it literally.
I went from being very religious to being neutral to being virulently opposed to religion and particularly the concept of 'faith'. For no other existential claim do people apply faith. I want people to stop making exceptions for religion. While I think people should be free to believe in Vishnu, Jesus, Santa or the Easter Bunny, that doesn't mean we should respect those beliefs.

Every supernatural deity I have ever read about has been patently ridiculous and ridiculous ideas warrant ridicule.
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Old 21st June 2017, 09:12 AM   #92
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Originally Posted by Eddie Dane View Post
To be fair, I don't read the Bible, but rather about the Bible. It's too much of a hard slog for me. Same with Nietschze actually.

Funny story: I have a Muslim friend who's always going on about how miraculous the Koran is. How the prose couldn't be human made, how there is so much science in it that could not have been known at the time.

Did he read it? Nope. He will get into it later. After he finishes his Friends DVD box set.

If I had a book that I believed was written by the creator of the universe, I'd be all over it.
Your last sentence reminds me, I was once in a bookstore in which one of the staff had put some of those "signed by the author" stickers on Bibles...

Re the rest of your post, and not limited to Islam of course, I find many people - theist or atheist - don't know much about the faith the profess to have (or not have). Yes, I know from the Pew survey atheists tend to be more knowledgeable, at least re basics, than religious, but the comparison is with people who aren't necessarily that knowledgeable about their own religion.

I think that an adult should/must study/confront/discuss problematic things in their own religion. And contrariwise, I find many critics of religion don't know much. For instance, a glib response that because bad things happen to children they don't believe without considering even the most trivial aspects of theodicy. Well, there are some critics (Hitchens I think) who I found worth reading because they knew enough to criticize meaningfully, even if I ultimately didn't agree with their position. Most others, not so much.
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Old 21st June 2017, 09:25 AM   #93
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Originally Posted by epeeist View Post
Your last sentence reminds me, I was once in a bookstore in which one of the staff had put some of those "signed by the author" stickers on Bibles...

Re the rest of your post, and not limited to Islam of course, I find many people - theist or atheist - don't know much about the faith the profess to have (or not have). Yes, I know from the Pew survey atheists tend to be more knowledgeable, at least re basics, than religious, but the comparison is with people who aren't necessarily that knowledgeable about their own religion.

I think that an adult should/must study/confront/discuss problematic things in their own religion. And contrariwise, I find many critics of religion don't know much. For instance, a glib response that because bad things happen to children they don't believe without considering even the most trivial aspects of theodicy. Well, there are some critics (Hitchens I think) who I found worth reading because they knew enough to criticize meaningfully, even if I ultimately didn't agree with their position. Most others, not so much.
Are you saying that atheists don't know much about their own lack of faith? Can you expound on this? For instance, what is it that they don't know that you feel they should know?
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Old 21st June 2017, 09:34 AM   #94
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Originally Posted by epeeist View Post
Re the rest of your post, and not limited to Islam of course, I find many people - theist or atheist - don't know much about the faith the profess to have (or not have).
I think I speak for all atheists when I say, huh??? We don't have any faith; which is the one we're supposed to be experts in not having?

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Old 21st June 2017, 09:59 AM   #95
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I believe epeeist is saying that atheists who discuss religion with theists should also have an understanding, or at least a familiarity, with what they are discussing. Not that one needs to read, well, anything, to be an atheist.
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Old 21st June 2017, 10:28 AM   #96
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Originally Posted by epeeist View Post
Your last sentence reminds me, I was once in a bookstore in which one of the staff had put some of those "signed by the author" stickers on Bibles...

Re the rest of your post, and not limited to Islam of course, I find many people - theist or atheist - don't know much about the faith the profess to have (or not have). Yes, I know from the Pew survey atheists tend to be more knowledgeable, at least re basics, than religious, but the comparison is with people who aren't necessarily that knowledgeable about their own religion.

I think that an adult should/must study/confront/discuss problematic things in their own religion. And contrariwise, I find many critics of religion don't know much. For instance, a glib response that because bad things happen to children they don't believe without considering even the most trivial aspects of theodicy. Well, there are some critics (Hitchens I think) who I found worth reading because they knew enough to criticize meaningfully, even if I ultimately didn't agree with their position. Most others, not so much.
I'm really confused. As an atheist I frankly have no use at all for faith

Faith in my mind is gullibility pure and simple. Is there any existential claim of any kind that you use faith for outside of religion? Probably not. I think that one should have reason and evidence to believe in anything.

Ever discuss with a theist of any kind the evidence they used to determine their God actually exists? I have yet heard a single argument that isn't patently ridiculous. It always devolves to faith. Faith is the excuse people use when they don't have a reason. Because if they had a good reason they wouldn't require faith.

I don't actually need to know the details of anyone's god claims although I do have a fair bit of knowledge about some of them and a great deal about Christianity. My experience is most people of any religion tend to think the beliefs of other religions are kind of ridiculous. I think they all are.

This isn't to say that most religions contain a fair amount of philosophical ideas that can be beneficial and they offer community and fellowship that can be valuable. But I have yet to here a story about God that isn't absurd. Personally, I don't get why we should ever follow the edicts of someone else.
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Old 21st June 2017, 12:24 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
We do the best we can. I do not comprehend many subjects. Take nuclear physics as an example. I don't grok that. Is it true?
That line of thought was also helpful when i was forming my opinions on religion. I had no idea how engines worked. I figured smart people had it all figured out and all I had to worry about pushing the gas pedal and knowing what would happen next.

My dad was a mechanical engineer. I started reading some of his trade magazines and realized that the basics of how an engine ran was actually pretty simple. But that there were a lot of smart people all around the world working to make them better. That there was a whole universe of knowledgable people who all understood a lot about engines and how they worked. And that was a group I could join and I could help make new engines better.

And when I would ask my dad what it meant for an engine to run lean, he would tell me in simple terms that I could understand, but could also go off into more detail pretty easily.

Taking Theology classes in a religious high school I found the opposite to be true. There were no simple explanations that were clear other than "don't look behind the curtain." And further study only lead to further layers of confusion and obfuscation, not clarity. No doors were opened or questions answered through study. Further study only led to additional unresolved problems that I hadn't even considered yet.

For almost every topic I have ever looked closely at I could see evidence that there are many people who have a far better understanding of the topic and I could see the path to becoming one of those people. Bart Ehrman is the closest I have come to finding something similar in Theology; you have to study it as if it isn't true to understand why so many think it is true.
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Old 21st June 2017, 02:20 PM   #98
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I'm really confused. As an atheist I frankly have no use at all for faith

Faith in my mind is gullibility pure and simple. Is there any existential claim of any kind that you use faith for outside of religion? Probably not. I think that one should have reason and evidence to believe in anything.

Ever discuss with a theist of any kind the evidence they used to determine their God actually exists? I have yet heard a single argument that isn't patently ridiculous. It always devolves to faith. Faith is the excuse people use when they don't have a reason. Because if they had a good reason they wouldn't require faith.

I don't actually need to know the details of anyone's god claims although I do have a fair bit of knowledge about some of them and a great deal about Christianity. My experience is most people of any religion tend to think the beliefs of other religions are kind of ridiculous. I think they all are.

This isn't to say that most religions contain a fair amount of philosophical ideas that can be beneficial and they offer community and fellowship that can be valuable. But I have yet to here a story about God that isn't absurd. Personally, I don't get why we should ever follow the edicts of someone else.
community, rituals, festivals that mark the year, there are some good reasons to have religion. And you don't have to believe in God to have a religion.

I'm married to a Catholic. I initially had some trouble with the whole thing. I go to baptisms and communions mostly. It's really nice. Never anything negative about Protestants, Muslims, gays, science, evolution. The place is suddenly attracting lots of Phillipinos who collect money for orphans and cook great food.

The worst I can say about it that it is boring. You will never be intellectually challenged in a Church.

But with the whole new rational, non-confrontational incarnation of the Church, it also seems to die. The people there don't really actually believe the BS, now that the "others" (Jews, Muslims etc) are no longer vilified, they also no longer serve as something to contrast the Catholic identity against. Most of the people there, I suspect, go there to perpetuate a tradition that they feel they should continue.

It would be nice if we could find a way to keep the good stuff (networking, meeting a partner, support, some rituals) without all the toxic stuff.

Jeez, My dad was encouraged by his Protestant teachers to beat up kids of the nearby Catholic school. That was in the fifties. Unthinkable now.
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Old 21st June 2017, 02:30 PM   #99
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
That line of thought was also helpful when i was forming my opinions on religion. I had no idea how engines worked. I figured smart people had it all figured out and all I had to worry about pushing the gas pedal and knowing what would happen next.

My dad was a mechanical engineer. I started reading some of his trade magazines and realized that the basics of how an engine ran was actually pretty simple. But that there were a lot of smart people all around the world working to make them better. That there was a whole universe of knowledgable people who all understood a lot about engines and how they worked. And that was a group I could join and I could help make new engines better.

And when I would ask my dad what it meant for an engine to run lean, he would tell me in simple terms that I could understand, but could also go off into more detail pretty easily.

Taking Theology classes in a religious high school I found the opposite to be true. There were no simple explanations that were clear other than "don't look behind the curtain." And further study only lead to further layers of confusion and obfuscation, not clarity. No doors were opened or questions answered through study. Further study only led to additional unresolved problems that I hadn't even considered yet.

For almost every topic I have ever looked closely at I could see evidence that there are many people who have a far better understanding of the topic and I could see the path to becoming one of those people. Bart Ehrman is the closest I have come to finding something similar in Theology; you have to study it as if it isn't true to understand why so many think it is true.
Ehrmans's books are good. He shows the sausage being made and that certainly isn't welcome among most Christians. They don't want to hear anything that might possibly result in doubt. Their entire world view is wrapped up in this fairy tale.

One of my favorite movies that touches on this subject but then wimps out ...well because it's a comedy and they don't want any bad feelings is Leap of Faith. It stars Steve Martin, Debra Winger and Liam Neeson It's also got Phillip Seymour Hoffman in a bit part.

I particularly like a part in the movie where Steve Martin says 'No, God don't want no doubt money'
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Old 21st June 2017, 02:36 PM   #100
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
If Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism etc were just stories like Zeus and Odin none of these conversations wouldn't be necessary. It's that people take these stories seriously and they act on them. Our beliefs inform and influence our actions. In the US, we have Christians that want creationism taught in our classrooms. They want to control other people's reproductive rights and freely discriminate against the LGBT. They shun friends and family members. A great many Muslims want to live under Sharia law. I've just scratched the beginning of the problems.

Beliefs matter.

Beliefs most certainly do matter.

I can see how Eddie comes to be in the position he is in, of viewing religion somewhat complacently. I get the same impression from my relatives in Sweden, the reason being I think that the battle has been won to a large degree there, as it has in Eddie's home country of Holland.

Here in Australia, and perhaps more so in the USA, the battle is still raging as the religious are the ones standing in line, fighting for those restrictive rights you mention.
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Old 21st June 2017, 02:57 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post

Snip

Taking Theology classes in a religious high school I found the opposite to be true. There were no simple explanations that were clear other than "don't look behind the curtain." And further study only lead to further layers of confusion and obfuscation, not clarity. No doors were opened or questions answered through study. Further study only led to additional unresolved problems that I hadn't even considered yet.

Snip

What you are saying here is in line with the proposition acbytesla is suggesting. To add to this further I refer to the work of the famous American philosopher Daniel Dennett, who gave a presentation titled “The Evolution of Confusion” in October 2009, where the main topic of discussion was “Non Believing Clergy”. He, together with his colleague Linda LaScola as the interviewer, were studying the cases of clergy who had lost their faith.

Pertinent to our discussion here a most interesting part of the lecture was the explanation of how these clergy found themselves in this situation. Dennett suggested that many lost their faith before they were ordained, whilst studying at the seminary. This he claimed was because they were confronted with the very dubious history of the Bible, and lost confidence that it really was the unerring word of God.
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Old 21st June 2017, 03:32 PM   #102
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Originally Posted by Hokulele View Post
I believe epeeist is saying that atheists who discuss religion with theists should also have an understanding, or at least a familiarity, with what they are discussing. Not that one needs to read, well, anything, to be an atheist.
Yes, this, sorry for the confusion. And in fairness it's not exactly the same situation I should have left out the parenthetical or explained more.

If one is/says one is Christian or Muslim or Buddhist or whatever, one should know something about one's religion (at least past a certain age/intellectual capability), an informed faith.

To be an atheist, not quite the same. But if you're an atheist who wants to persuade people they're wrong, rather than just tell them they're wrong, you need to know something about their beliefs.
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Old 21st June 2017, 03:49 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by epeeist View Post
Yes, this, sorry for the confusion. And in fairness it's not exactly the same situation I should have left out the parenthetical or explained more.

If one is/says one is Christian or Muslim or Buddhist or whatever, one should know something about one's religion (at least past a certain age/intellectual capability), an informed faith.

To be an atheist, not quite the same. But if you're an atheist who wants to persuade people they're wrong, rather than just tell them they're wrong, you need to know something about their beliefs.
It helps, but I don't actually think it's required. You also can't talk anyone out of believing. They have to come to that on their own. I just nudge them in being honest about why they believe.

I like to point out that faith is a a terrible path to truth. That with faith you can believe anything irregardless of the truth. I ask questions such as 'have you ever wondered why you can point to a geographical spot in the world and have a very good idea what religion that person is? Do they honestly believe that a God would make it that way?

I tend to just ask a lot of questions. They're either willing to be rational and logical or they are not. Few people are.
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Old 22nd June 2017, 07:33 PM   #104
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
It helps, but I don't actually think it's required. You also can't talk anyone out of believing. They have to come to that on their own. I just nudge them in being honest about why they believe.

I like to point out that faith is a a terrible path to truth. That with faith you can believe anything irregardless of the truth. I ask questions such as 'have you ever wondered why you can point to a geographical spot in the world and have a very good idea what religion that person is? Do they honestly believe that a God would make it that way?

I tend to just ask a lot of questions. They're either willing to be rational and logical or they are not. Few people are.

I see a bit of Peter Boghossian's (author of "A Manual for Creating Atheists.") approach in your method.

Peter's thrust in trying to get believers to question their beliefs is not to confront the beliefs directly but to question the way believers acquired those beliefs.
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Old 22nd June 2017, 10:40 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
What you are saying here is in line with the proposition acbytesla is suggesting. To add to this further I refer to the work of the famous American philosopher Daniel Dennett, who gave a presentation titled “The Evolution of Confusion” in October 2009, where the main topic of discussion was “Non Believing Clergy”.
The talk is available here. I haven't watched it yet but I certainly will later.
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Old 23rd June 2017, 09:45 AM   #106
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
I see a bit of Peter Boghossian's (author of "A Manual for Creating Atheists.") approach in your method.

Peter's thrust in trying to get believers to question their beliefs is not to confront the beliefs directly but to question the way believers acquired those beliefs.
Sounds about right. I haven't read it but I'll give it a look. I have spent my life in sales. I learned a long time ago that changing people's minds on anything is incredibly hard. And challenging their position more often than not leads to stiffer resistance. That was the most important thing I learned taking the Dale Carnegie sales course.

Telling people that they are wrong is the fastest way to kill any sale. So I don't.

I think that very few people really believe that Jesus walked on water and turned it into wine. They don't believe Jonah was swallowed by a whale or big fish or that Moses lived 900 years and built an Ark. They know this is all bs. They just don't want to look at it too closely. Because that would threaten the very foundation of their identity.

And that really is the biggest obstacle. There is a cost of being on the outside looking in. Most people dont seem willing to pay that price and I don't blame them. But there is a cost as well. Such as feeling like a hypocrite and a fraud. Knowing that it just isn't right. I was given a brain. Why is it wrong to trust it? Why if God really wanted us to believe in him that he made it ridiculously hard to demonstrate his existence? Why does Paul get his epiphany on the road to Damascus and we have to trust a translation of a translation of a translation of some story written 1800 years ago? If God is so powerful, why the hell would he need to go through all of this?

Let's see, hmmm, God is so powerful that he created everything and yet he made such moronic rules? Why does he require human sacrifices? Seems pretty sick to me. I'm sorry, I'm not going to believe that such a being would be some kind of celestial Hannibal Lecter.

Everything about Christianity is absurd.

I do believe (maybe it's just hope) there will come a time when the cost isn't so high and reality reigns. I just try to get them to be honest about reality that they will come to the correct conclusion on their own.
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Old 23rd June 2017, 12:12 PM   #107
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
It helps, but I don't actually think it's required. You also can't talk anyone out of believing. They have to come to that on their own. I just nudge them in being honest about why they believe.

I like to point out that faith is a a terrible path to truth. That with faith you can believe anything irregardless of the truth. I ask questions such as 'have you ever wondered why you can point to a geographical spot in the world and have a very good idea what religion that person is? Do they honestly believe that a God would make it that way?

I tend to just ask a lot of questions. They're either willing to be rational and logical or they are not. Few people are.
Also replying a bit to your later post.

I don't think religious belief is a choice. Religious behaviour is, but not belief. But that has been discussed extensively elsewhere on this board. That means I don't think atheists are bad because they're atheist (and likewise with other religious beliefs) and I disagree with religious people (mostly fundamentalists of various stripes, I mean fundamentalists in the broad sense not some Christians specifically). For someone to act contrary to their beliefs, which make them happy (and have a positive health/stress reduction effect) to satisfy your opinion would, itself, be irrational and illogical.

With some exceptions, wilful blindness or failure to be willing to think about one's beliefs involves some degree of choice.

Re other points in your later post, I agree that you shouldn't be a hypocrite. If you don't believe, you shouldn't have to lie (lie from your perspective/beliefs) about it (save in unusual circumstances where e.g. someone is threatening you!). But also in most contexts not just sales just as (I assume) you're not interested in being preached at, you shouldn't preach at others, unless the circumstances justify it (e.g. someone refusing medical care for their children, or a good friend or family member who wants to talk religion with you).

Most Christians I know (who aren't Biblical literalists) do generally take miracles in the new testament literally, most significantly the resurrection. If they don't believe in resurrection, they may be wonderful people but they're not Christian (though they might, vis-a-vis Jefferson and his bible, agree with Christian moral teachings...). Old testament especially not necessarily meant to be interpreted literally - e.g. one doesn't have to believe that there was a guy named Adam and woman named Eve to be a good Catholic, one can believe that the message is more about humanity through arrogance disrupting the relationship with God.

Re doubt and lack of definitive proof etc., I see that as a positive. If everyone had 100% all the time positive belief and knowledge of God's existence and presence without a scintilla of doubt, how could anyone have free will? You would be too frightened and fearful, all the time, to have a happy life knowing with 100% certainty that every thought, let alone action, was known and judged. I know there are discussions about e.g. blessed doubt but that's a bit different.
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Old 23rd June 2017, 01:24 PM   #108
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Originally Posted by epeeist View Post
Also replying a bit to your later post.

I don't think religious belief is a choice. Religious behaviour is, but not belief. But that has been discussed extensively elsewhere on this board. That means I don't think atheists are bad because they're atheist (and likewise with other religious beliefs) and I disagree with religious people (mostly fundamentalists of various stripes, I mean fundamentalists in the broad sense not some Christians specifically). For someone to act contrary to their beliefs, which make them happy (and have a positive health/stress reduction effect) to satisfy your opinion would, itself, be irrational and illogical.

With some exceptions, wilful blindness or failure to be willing to think about one's beliefs involves some degree of choice.

Re other points in your later post, I agree that you shouldn't be a hypocrite. If you don't believe, you shouldn't have to lie (lie from your perspective/beliefs) about it (save in unusual circumstances where e.g. someone is threatening you!). But also in most contexts not just sales just as (I assume) you're not interested in being preached at, you shouldn't preach at others, unless the circumstances justify it (e.g. someone refusing medical care for their children, or a good friend or family member who wants to talk religion with you).

Most Christians I know (who aren't Biblical literalists) do generally take miracles in the new testament literally, most significantly the resurrection. If they don't believe in resurrection, they may be wonderful people but they're not Christian (though they might, vis-a-vis Jefferson and his bible, agree with Christian moral teachings...). Old testament especially not necessarily meant to be interpreted literally - e.g. one doesn't have to believe that there was a guy named Adam and woman named Eve to be a good Catholic, one can believe that the message is more about humanity through arrogance disrupting the relationship with God.

We agree on some things and obviously not on others. I agree to a point that belief is not a choice. But it can be a decision. 'Act as if ye have faith and faith will be given.' In other words, if you can get people to dispense with critical thinking you can get them to believe anything.

31 % of Americans believe that Donald Trump is trustworthy. Never mind that he can hardly get through a paragraph without lying. Never mind the trail of lies and broken promises. More than half of America believed that Iraq was behind the attacks on 911 even though all but two of them were Saudis and none were Iraqis.

I don't preach to Christians, but I'm not going to just sit idly by while people attribute the grandeur of this world to God or try and inflict their beliefs on me and mine. Or try and pass laws that suggest creationism should be taught in science classes. Religion is losing its power and influence. Thank God. I want to help in that process.
Originally Posted by epeeist View Post
Re doubt and lack of definitive proof etc., I see that as a positive. If everyone had 100% all the time positive belief and knowledge of God's existence and presence without a scintilla of doubt, how could anyone have free will? You would be too frightened and fearful, all the time, to have a happy life knowing with 100% certainty that every thought, let alone action, was known and judged. I know there are discussions about e.g. blessed doubt but that's a bit different.
I think this is a crock. It's an excuse for cognitive dissonance. You just said belief is not a choice so there is no free will in your story either.

I believe what I can see touch, smell, taste or what can be demonstrated to me. On every single thing I use reason to believe its validity and I'm sure you do too with just this exception.

Here we are faced with what the religious suggest is the most important claim and what is offered to man is only revelations made 2000 years ago? No different than thousands of other God claims. Your God doesn't reward the good but the gullible. You kick our supposed god given faculties to the curb. I don't think an all powerful being would give me this great brain and then order me not to use it or face eternal torture.

Sorry, that's seems absurd to me..

Reason, it works. Try it.
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Old 23rd June 2017, 02:27 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
We agree on some things and obviously not on others. I agree to a point that belief is not a choice. But it can be a decision. 'Act as if ye have faith and faith will be given.' In other words, if you can get people to dispense with critical thinking you can get them to believe anything.

...............

Choosing to believe?

Now that is something I hear constantly from Christians. I even hear some saying homosexuals "choose" to be homosexual.

When you think of it they must stay true to this line, in order to maintain the belief in God as being just. If you choose to not believe in God and even worse choose to hate God you don't believe in, (a tricky one that but not beyond the imagination of the faithful), then no amount of punishment in Hell is unjustified.
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Old 23rd June 2017, 02:28 PM   #110
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I don't hold it to be accurate. My former church would. They believed the whole bible to be the inerrant word of God. Do you?

This idea that these atrocities are somehow moral because God did it is bewildering to me. Basically it suggests that he who has the power is right regardless of what he does. A sort of celestial Donald Trump.
No. Blasphemy. He's more akin to the Wicked One.
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Old 23rd June 2017, 02:32 PM   #111
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
Killing every animal (including fish) except for one pair because you realize that your messed up big time is a genocidal method of covering up your mistakes.

But in an odd way I am more appalled by the story of Moses and the Exodus from Egypt: God keeps on escalating the plagues to convince the Pharao to let the Israelites go, but at the same time God hacks the Pharao's mind to make sure he will refuse no matter what:
all biblical definition of evil is based on the Free Will of humans to chose good: but in this case, God took that free will away and still punishes the people of the guy who was given no choice but to act the way he did.
The story of the Exodus isn't: escape from slavery, but "don't mess with the people under this God's protection, or he'll **** you and your tribe up, and there is nothing you can do about it, not even cry for mercy".

Edited by Agatha:  Edited to remove breach of rule 10. If you want to swear in the public sections (of which R&P is one), you must type the word out in full with no replacement characters or misspellings, and allow the autocensor to take care of it.
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Old 23rd June 2017, 02:45 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I am reading now The Quest of the Historical Jesus, by Albert Schweitzer. In 1911 and before it was evident that the gospels reflected opposite trends in early-early Christianity. Otherwise, the constant contradictions would be unintelligible. You can see this in Paul’s furious curses against different currents of Christianity already in the 50s: “As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!” (Galatians 5:12)
It is Paul who begins the efforts –contradictory also‒ to separate Christianity from Judaism. Warring and nationalist Yahveh was not assimilable by the Empire, among other problems. Yahveh’s cruelty had nothing to do in the business.

Of course, Yahveh is a little more primitive than Jesus. Therefore he is more savage. But Jesus’ Father is not spotless. Jesus continues cursing everybody –and everything (fig tree!, Mark 11:12-25)‒ that doesn’t submit to his absolute will. Whole towns are condemned to the eternal fire only because they didn’t ear the Son of God. Gomorra and Sodom are specifically mentioned (Matthew 11:20-24; Luke 10:13-15). And the babies?? The babies also. What strange way to love and forgive the enemies!

This kind of things made me unbeliever.
What is it with the fig tree?

No, Jesus was not at war with Yahveh, he was there from the beginning, the original High Priest, as mentioned in Genesis.

What is a priest?
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Old 23rd June 2017, 02:50 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by SezMe View Post
I've never been religious nor have had any interest in all of it. But with the rise of right-wing Christianity in the USA, I've become more active in fighting it. Then on vacation, the proprietor of the place I was at loaned me that book. I stayed up all night to read the whole thing. It's absolutely fascinating, a real spellbinder. What it solidified for me was that the Christian god is entirely a man-made phenomenon and that Christianity is a cruel hoax perpetrated on believers.

Since then, I've since seen no reason to change that assessment and, further, have seen no reason to reject extrapolations to other religions.
Imagine it is music. There are some who will be immediately utterly spellbound by a concerto and to others it will mean nothing but a dull dirge.

You either get it, or you don't.

The theologist Calvin believed being a Christian was predestination. Only the chosen few were so gifted they could understand the message.

There are many varieties of Christian theology, of course.
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Old 23rd June 2017, 02:50 PM   #114
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Choosing to believe?

Now that is something I hear constantly from Christians. I even hear some saying homosexuals "choose" to be homosexual.

When you think of it they must stay true to this line, in order to maintain the belief in God as being just. If you choose to not believe in God and even worse choose to hate God you don't believe in, (a tricky one that but not beyond the imagination of the faithful), then no amount of punishment in Hell is unjustified.
I know this. I don't believe. I dont think i could ever actually believe. It is ridiculous.

To me God was created by man because we want explanations for everything. It's why a 3 year old won't stop asking why. A false explanation is more satisfying than none at all. And to a degree, I think that is a benefit to mankind. But it's one thing to posit a possible explanation. It's another too insist you have an answer with absolutely not a shred of evidence to prove it.

That is the biggest problem with religion. They don't even attempt to prove their idea. They just assert it and order people to believe. My answer to that is 'screw you'. You have no authority and suggesting you should have based only on your assertion is something to be resisted. Let's have a society based on reason not revelation.
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Old 23rd June 2017, 02:53 PM   #115
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
What is it with the fig tree?

No, Jesus was not at war with Yahveh, he was there from the beginning, the original High Priest, as mentioned in Genesis.

What is a priest?
If you study the early Christians Vixen, you will find that many of them did believe that Jesus was at war with Yahweh or at least the Heavenly Father was. Read up on the Dimurge.
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Old 23rd June 2017, 02:58 PM   #116
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I went from being very religious to being neutral to being virulently opposed to religion and particularly the concept of 'faith'. For no other existential claim do people apply faith. I want people to stop making exceptions for religion. While I think people should be free to believe in Vishnu, Jesus, Santa or the Easter Bunny, that doesn't mean we should respect those beliefs.

Every supernatural deity I have ever read about has been patently ridiculous and ridiculous ideas warrant ridicule.
Sounds like you are going through a belated teenage crisis. Better late than never, I guess.

Like Rimbaud, I went through mine aged circa 17 to 19, a stripping out of what is artifice - inculcation by virtue of birth and environment what is true really.

Rimbaud went on to become an arms dealer in middle age. So much for the romantic teenage rebel, who, with Verlaine, desecrated posters for the Catholic Church and blasphemed all over the place, as well as having gay sex.

I guess a C17 version of Marilyn Manson who matured into a Homer Simpson type.
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Old 23rd June 2017, 03:03 PM   #117
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Originally Posted by epeeist View Post
Your last sentence reminds me, I was once in a bookstore in which one of the staff had put some of those "signed by the author" stickers on Bibles...

Re the rest of your post, and not limited to Islam of course, I find many people - theist or atheist - don't know much about the faith the profess to have (or not have). Yes, I know from the Pew survey atheists tend to be more knowledgeable, at least re basics, than religious, but the comparison is with people who aren't necessarily that knowledgeable about their own religion.

I think that an adult should/must study/confront/discuss problematic things in their own religion. And contrariwise, I find many critics of religion don't know much. For instance, a glib response that because bad things happen to children they don't believe without considering even the most trivial aspects of theodicy. Well, there are some critics (Hitchens I think) who I found worth reading because they knew enough to criticize meaningfully, even if I ultimately didn't agree with their position. Most others, not so much.
Yeah, that's right. A big problem is children are taught all the happy clappy stuff: 'Yes, Jesus loves me', and all the hell and brimstones stuff is kept away from them, as we don't want to upset them, give them nightmares and have the parents visit the school to complain bitterly.

So when little Larry grows up and discovers he was LIED TO, then the disillusion and atheism creeps in. His touching belief has been undermined. He never realised that fluffy-wuffy lamb actually got its throat slit and his sins were purified in the blood of the lamb.
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Old 23rd June 2017, 03:06 PM   #118
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Imagine it is music. There are some who will be immediately utterly spellbound by a concerto and to others it will mean nothing but a dull dirge.

You either get it, or you don't.

The theologist Calvin believed being a Christian was predestination. Only the chosen few were so gifted they could understand the message.

There are many varieties of Christian theology, of course.

Only the faithful can believe something like this and simultaneously believe that God is just and all loving.
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Old 23rd June 2017, 03:39 PM   #119
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Sounds like you are going through a belated teenage crisis. Better late than never, I guess.

Like Rimbaud, I went through mine aged circa 17 to 19, a stripping out of what is artifice - inculcation by virtue of birth and environment what is true really.

Rimbaud went on to become an arms dealer in middle age. So much for the romantic teenage rebel, who, with Verlaine, desecrated posters for the Catholic Church and blasphemed all over the place, as well as having gay sex.

I guess a C17 version of Marilyn Manson who matured into a Homer Simpson type.
Perhaps there is some rebellion there. But what am I rebelling against? I suggest that it is the tyranny of ignorance and willful stupidity. And that is something worthy of rebellion.

That one can simply claim some thing is true and then insist we should submit to the doctrine of a ridiculous totally unproven creator is absurd. The story of God and Jesus although containing a few uplifting messages is on the whole ridiculous. It is a cult of human sacrifice. This story is for the gullible and the indoctrinated.
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Old 23rd June 2017, 03:45 PM   #120
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
If you study the early Christians Vixen, you will find that many of them did believe that Jesus was at war with Yahweh or at least the Heavenly Father was. Read up on the Dimurge.
Oh well, yeah, insofar as the material world belongs to the Wicked One (as Luther calls the devil). When Jesus was in the desert forty days and forty nights, the Wicked One came by and tried to tempt him. He took him to a high point and said, 'All this will be yours [meaning the world] if you bow down and worship me.'

In other words, the world is owned by Lucifer. And yes, Jesus is in constant battle with this fallen angel. In Luke 10:18 he says, 'I saw Lucifer fall from the sky'

This fall happens in Genesis.

Jesus says his city is not made by human hand.

As you know, the end times culminate in Jesus (St Michael) fighting hand to hand with the dragon (Lucifer) who is currently locked up in a dark pit with Abaddon guarding over him. (No, not that one.)

At the end of his thousand year reign, which we are in now, there will be Armaggeddon and all of earth's empires will fade away.
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Last edited by Vixen; 23rd June 2017 at 04:00 PM.
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