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Sam Harris - The End of Faith (April 7th)
Posted: 23 June 2006 02:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Arty Marty asks

Did Jesus ever strike anyone?

You bet! Remember the money changers in the Temple? They were just doing the job we now call banking.
jimmie

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Posted: 26 June 2006 12:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Wonderful reply,

Sad that he won’t bother to read it. If he listened to the interview which I will record and make available for others to listen at their leisure BTW, he might find there are cracks in that facade of righteousness. Thanks again for such a good well thought out reply, Mine was like most of what I have had to do lately off the cuff.

Jim

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Posted: 26 June 2006 01:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Jimmy: what’s the interview?  With whom?  Let us know when/where and I’ll check it out.

Thanks for that reply Jump_in_the_pit.  Lotta work there.  Just an observation: the work we put into discussing the “no flying spaghetti monster” is sometimes comparable to the time the Other Guys put into their whole deal.  Good thing it’s fun.  Probably massages the same area in the brain…?

I listened to and enjoyed the NPR podcast with the author of “Misquoting Jesus”.  I’ve heard really good things about NPR materials but hadn’t gotten around to dl’ing.  I will now.  And I’ll keep it in my “reference library” of rational podcasts.

And the brick testament website.  HILARIOUS.  Leggo illustrations of Old Testament dictates.  You say it’s real, not satire?  Okay, I guess I’ll take that on faith (ahem).  It’s good that fundies have a kid-friendly way to illustrate “How long to hang a guy”, “Bestiality”, “Transvestitism”, “Incest”, etc.

According to “What not to eat”, hyrax, camel, lobster, shrimp…and of course pig are among the no no’s.  The folks that say the bible isn’t necessarily relevant to the way we live today obviously haven’t considered the “gee, Bob’s barbecuing a hyrax.  Should I or shouldn’t I?”

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Posted: 26 June 2006 03:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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[quote author=“CanadianAntiTheist”]Jimmy: what’s the interview?  With whom?  Let us know when/where and I’ll check it out.

Oops.  “Jimmie”.  Sorry for the typo.  The mind’s the second thing to go.  Forget the first thing.

Seriously, folks.  Check out the brick testament site cited above.  REEEEALLY funny.

C.A.T.

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Posted: 26 June 2006 04:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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I was talking about the Fresh air interview you pointed to, the Ehrman one but now I’ve got to go to the other one and get that one for the gang. I can hardly wait to hear it.
Jim

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Posted: 27 June 2006 06:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Thanks for the support, everyone.  grin

I think that artymarty has read my last message, he seemed
better than most of the web proselytizers that I’ve seen,
I think that he was truly curious about this group.

[quote author=“CanadianAntiTheist”]I’ve heard really good things about NPR materials but hadn’t gotten around to dl’ing.  I will now.  And I’ll keep it in my “reference library” of rational podcasts.

I posted a link to an NPR interview “_Doubt:_A_History_
radio/webcast interview” under the “Religion and
Secularism” which you might want to add.  I think you will
enjoy that interview.

[quote author=“CanadianAntiTheist”]And the brick testament website.  HILARIOUS.  Leggo illustrations of Old Testament dictates.  You say it’s real, not satire?

I find the Brick Testament to be scary, in a “Twilight
Zone”—world turning upside down or a “Single White Female”
“Fatal Attraction” (Glenn Close)—sick obsession way.
The Rev. Brendan Powell Smith is promoting stoning your
children, for God’s sake (double entendre, literally)!

[quote author=“CanadianAntiTheist”]Okay, I guess I’ll take that on faith (ahem).

grin

If you’d like to take it on faith then go ahead, but
faith isn’t necessary when you’ve got the evidence.
In his faq, Mr. Smith clarifies “Rev. Smith has stated
that the goal of The Brick Testament is to give people
an increased knowledge of the contents of The Bible in a
way that is fun and compelling while staying very true
to the original versions.” “Fun and compelling” toward
stoning your children! :shock: I suppose we can make it
a nice public gathering, bring a picnic, bring the whole
family, oops one of your family won’t be going home!?
:shock: Mr. Smith means for people to take those stories
literally, he means to take the edge off of them using
fun and colorful LEGOs to make the stories more appealing
and socially acceptable!

[quote author=“CanadianAntiTheist”]According to “What not to eat”, hyrax, camel, lobster, shrimp…

I suppose that eating “camel toes” is forbidden, too.  :(

  - steve s.

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Posted: 28 June 2006 01:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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FOR EVERYONE

Sorry Jimmie, as far as I know I live on the other side of the world to you, and I do not have the internet at home yet. Surfing the net is something I only get the chance to do at other people’s places. I have not got the time to sit and wait for responses from others on a world wide forum. If you could forgive me for that I would appreciate it.

Also, I accidentally missed your comments about the money changers, once again you will have to forgive me.

Firstly I will thank you, as it is good to see you are in touch with some of Jesus actions according to the bible.
It may be helpful to read Matthew chapter 5, where Jesus said: You cannot serve both God and money.

These people loved money, not God. Also, what they had done was the equivalent of putting a poker machine in a church, where we are supposed to meet and encourage one another to love. This was not just “banking” as you go to a bank to do banking, not a temple. Again my question still remains “did Jesus ever strike anyone?” Correct me if I am wrong, but Jesus turned their tables over, he did not strike them! Besides, they knew they were not supposed to be there, otherwise Jesus would have been arrested for his actions.

Also, Jesus had every right to get fired up, just as we have the right to feel dissapointed by the amount of corruption in the Church throughout its history.


During this forum, dougsmith wrote:
“That said, to repeat, there is much of great benefit of the teachings of Jesus. To reject the religion shouldn’t mean to reject every word”

So which words do we accept and which do we reject? And when we do so, aren’t we guilty of the same crime as the scribes who copied the original texts? Thank you though for seeing that there is benefit in Jesus teachings.


I also read a quote that went something like:
“the religious left-wing needs to step up and defend their religion from the right-wing thugs taking it over and defining it for the left-wing.”

Let me just say, easier said than done!
I will add to the defense of the unbelievers this personal experience. I attended a church that did not allow people in without an invitation. Several of us fought to change these ideas, and I am sure there will be no surprises when I say we got kicked out! Remember, Jesus’ greatest opposition was the religious leaders!


During this forum, dougsmith wrote:
The problem is that when you get in to founding churches, then the issues become ones of:
(1) Who you allow as members in your church, who you exclude, and how.
(2) What the creed will be.
A church by its very nature is a closed system like a club. It can get cultish for the folks inside

Yet the American Atheists also get mentioned as having a “cult-like atmosphere.” When will people realise that people are imperfect, even if we try our best to follow Jesus teachings WE fail. So indeed, we all need a ‘stinkin’ messiah.


During this forum, jump_in_the_pit wrote:
“Sure violence comes from many reasons, religion being one of the many.”

What? Violence comes from many reasons. In the podcast where Sam was interviewed, he states that religion is THE cause of violence. If what you say is true, then what Sam said is false! I joined this forum so people can hear from the other side of the fence, only fair don’t you think? I call it “giving people a chance to think for themselves”, and yes the vast majority of the church fails to think for themselves. It is something I constantly struggle with, and it is another reason why I say we should not confuse true Christianity with Church.

Oh, and by the way, I did not grow up going to sunday school, nor did I attend church for most of my youth. So my answers are not “trained sunday school responses.” I have not always been Christian.

I MUST THANK JUMP_IN_THE_PIT FOR YOUR INFORMATION REGARDING THE HISTORY (AND EVEN CURRENT STATE) OF THE CHURCH. YOUR POSTING WAS WORTH NOTING.

This is vital information that every Christian needs to be aware of. I learned of some of these things not long after I became Christian (fortunately). It has helped me to determine WHO it is that I have faith in. EVERY CHRISTIAN should know the foolishness that has, and does, exist in the church, if only to serve as a wake up call. AND GOD KNOWS WE NEED IT!

Please take note of Jesus words: “small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
So, who are those few?

There is another peace quote I would like to add that will hopefully help people to see that violence and godliness do not go hand in hand. Again this came from Jesus: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”

Jesus also said “not all who call me Lord will be saved.”


During this forum, jump_in_the_pit wrote:
“I like the idea of taking one Jesus Christ existing today over all of his followers that exist today… sounds nice… but that’s not reality.”

That is reality!! The bible says “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith”, and this is your best bet. The moment you shift your focus from Jesus you will ALWAYS go wrong. You WILL miss the true message and core values of Christianity. This same chapter of the bible states this: “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy;” LIVE IN PEACE!

The heart of all conflict is selfishness.
Some cowards hide behind “God” as an excuse, and believe it or not Jesus (of all people) warned us against such people. He says: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.”

Selfish people may hide their true motives behind a false faith. Surely if you are wise you will see through the sheep clothing.

As for those who claim that we should judge both words and actions (after all the bible says “let us love, not just with words, but with actions”). That is fair enough, except I am not quite sure how you will best choose whose actions you should be weighing up.

I assure you my actions back up my words, and anyone around me would testify to that. So then, judge me by my actions and my reputation. At my wedding, my best man said as he and other friends gathered around to find “dirt” on me, they found nothing. In his speech he said “we have never seen Marty do the wrong thing!” Ofcourse, I know of times I have done the wrong thing in their presence, only they are not Christian and fail to understand God’s ways. Aside from that, around three weeks ago a co-worker said “I don’t think there is a ‘bad’ bone in your body Marty.”

Around a year ago when I said to someone “I need to do plenty of improving” their response was, “if you do any more improving you will make everyone else look terrible!” Just last week my wife was told that she is lucky to have a husband like me, and I get similar compliments about her.

Again at work I would like to state that I am the only Christian, and I am also the only one who has never lost my temper there! (And that is not because I am the one getting on their nerves) I am also the only one who has never insulted anyone there.

Not long after I began my life as a Christian, I had a lesbian say “I hate men! Except you Marty.” Does that give any credit to the love your enemy statement? My old bisexual boss said I was the best worker he has ever employed. I even had someone once say to me that she felt a sense of peace observing how I interacted with others. I could easily go on, but I think anyone should get the point by now.

I would also like to state that all the most violent acts I have committed were when I was NOT Christian (that is, when I used to say “the bible is a load of crap”).

If anyone thinks I hang around all the “good” Christians, let me get this straight. The MAJORITY of my friends are nonbelievers! I mingle (and debate/challenge) other so called Christians on different issues. And I count my blessings that God has placed a few (and very few at that) genuine Christians in my life. Without their support I would be completely alone.

Remember what I said before about the gate being narrow and only a few go through it. I can see evidence of that statement since day 1 of the Church.

So let’s call violence what it truly is, a product of selfishness.
Sure, many use “God” as an excuse for their bad behaviour, but unbelievers are just a guilty as they (not all) use “there is no God” as an excuse for their bad behaviour. Hopefully one day more people will see that heart of the problem, is the problem with the heart. We all seem to be striving for freedom from guilty consciences. Maybe trusting in God’s forgiveness and changing our ways is better than making up excuses.

I don’t believe this posting will change anyone’s beliefs, but at least it gives people a chance to see that the truth is not always found in popularity and one sided debates.

Based on the last few posts I have to say there seems to be a lack of focus on the real issues (in this forum). Is this a place of thought & inquiry? Or just another anti-religious gossip site?
I will leave further “inquiries” to you.
Keep searching, and may God bless you all with heightened understanding.

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Posted: 28 June 2006 02:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Hi Arty,
I don’t disagree with much you say when it is moral principle that you assert or define, but I do disagree with you when you quote the bible as the foundation of those principles. for example
[quote author=“arty marty”]The bible says “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith”,

and again [quote author=“arty marty”]Again my question still remains “did Jesus ever strike anyone?” Correct me if I am wrong, but Jesus turned their tables over, he did not strike them! Besides, they knew they were not supposed to be there, otherwise Jesus would have been arrested for his actions.

In the first example you are quoting not from the gospels but from either the Acts or an Epistle and in the latter reaffirmation of the first question you asked you are describing the contents of a very famous painting of the event as it was in the minds eye of the artist who drew the tables being upended.

The bible is being studied for the first time as if it were any other historic document and the discoveries are interesting. The King James version was written by scribes who used - not the Greek texts known to be the oldest original documents but the Vulgate, a Latin version prepared under the auspices of Pope St. Jerome, a new book by an expert historian and teacher of religion, documents the differences and insertions where the scribes wanted to make a point.

FX now it is thought by most experts that the Sermon on the Mount is one of those additions inserted to suggest the powers of the king might not be so absolute after all.

What is my point with all of this. Just that, your beliefs are just that, beliefs, so long as they don’t cause you or your comrades in arms to either kill those of us who do not believe as you do or rise up and attempt to take over my country you are entitled to keep them and hold them dear. But you should realize they are beliefs unsupported by anything written by any supernatural deity. The bible is a historical document written by men with the hopes problems and prejudices of the men of that day. It is no longer thought to be the inerrant word of god except by persons who haven’t kept up with the scientific accomplishments of those who study the bible as a historical document.

My best to you, I believe you to be a very good man, I doubt you need the bible to be as good as you are.
Jim

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Posted: 29 June 2006 03:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Re: FOR EVERYONE

[quote author=“artymarty”]During this forum, dougsmith wrote:
“That said, to repeat, there is much of great benefit of the teachings of Jesus. To reject the religion shouldn’t mean to reject every word”

So which words do we accept and which do we reject? And when we do so, aren’t we guilty of the same crime as the scribes who copied the original texts? Thank you though for seeing that there is benefit in Jesus teachings.

That’s precisely the problem you have to confront as a Christian. You have to decide for yourself why it is that you accept only certain of Christ’s teachings and not others ... like the stuff about coming with a sword, or about claiming to do magic tricks.

As a non-Christian, the issue of accepting some and not all does not arise for me. I accept what seems true and correct, and reject what seems silly or ill-advised. In no account do I believe his teachings to be inspired by god, or the like.

[quote author=“artymarty”]During this forum, dougsmith wrote:
The problem is that when you get in to founding churches, then the issues become ones of:
(1) Who you allow as members in your church, who you exclude, and how.
(2) What the creed will be.
A church by its very nature is a closed system like a club. It can get cultish for the folks inside

Yet the American Atheists also get mentioned as having a “cult-like atmosphere.” When will people realise that people are imperfect, even if we try our best to follow Jesus teachings WE fail. So indeed, we all need a ‘stinkin’ messiah.

I know nothing about the American Atheists. If it is a cult, I am against it. But being an atheist has nothing remotely cult-like about it. It is simply a disbelief in the existence of god. End of story.

The need for a “messiah” or messiah-like figure is essentially childish. It’s the need for a substitute father to tell us all what to believe, inerrantly. In reality there is no such thing. All humans are fallible. All supposed messiahs are human. Hence, (by logical deduction) all supposed messiahs are fallible.

Best

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Posted: 01 July 2006 10:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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[quote author=“artymarty”]I also read a quote that went something like:
“the religious left-wing needs to step up and defend their religion from the right-wing thugs taking it over and defining it for the left-wing.”

Let me just say, easier said than done!

And the research that I put into my first message in
this thread was meant to help enable you to stand up,
and the CFI does research with a similar purpose such as
refuting the claims that are along the lines of—this is
a Christian nation founded by and for Christians alone,
therefore making the 10 Commandments the obvious basis of
law—by creating:

http://www.tenamendmentsday.org/

And supporting you to stand up against the claims of
supposed paranormal powers and supposed miracle medical
healings with the research done for:

http://www.csicop.org/

And there are other ways to support your arguments against
the various absolute religious and paranormal claims that
are out there, including the right-wing ones, through
the CFI and your own research.  But THE KEY is that you
must care about the factual evidence, and require that
the sources that you read constrain their statements
to the available evidence!  But I warn you that the
right-wing doesn’t value the “reality based” society
and instead values a “faith based” society in the USA,
and will therefore ignore any evidence presented to them.
This ignorance is how they practice faith.

[quote author=“artymarty”]During this forum, jump_in_the_pit wrote:
“Sure violence comes from many reasons, religion being one of the many.”

What? Violence comes from many reasons. In the podcast where Sam was interviewed, he states that religion is THE cause of violence. If what you say is true, then what Sam said is false!

Oh no! You’ve discovered that I disagree with
Sam!!!! [joking smile]

I have no religious devotion to Sam, nor anyone, of course.
I’m free to disagree with him whenever I choose.  I think
that Sam Harris does good work, and I’m glad that he works
with the CFI.  However, he doesn’t usually speak to me,
he seems to be speaking from the Protestant perspective
(e.g. valuing the Bible as the source of religion, valuing
logical debates about religion and God, etc.).  I wasn’t
raised in the Bible Belt and so I’ve never held any of
those Bible Belt values neither when I was religious, and
not today as an agnostic Secular Humanist.  So Sam does
a good job, but doesn’t interest me very much.  Maybe his
approach will have some good effects on the country.

[quote author=“artymarty”]I joined this forum so people can hear from the other side of the fence, only fair don?t you think?

I think that this forum exists on the web so that the
discussions are viewable and open to everyone.  In fact,
there recently was a more private CFI list-serve which was
closed down in favor of this more public forum.  I’m glad
to see that you’ve gotten that point, artymarty.

[quote author=“artymarty”]Oh, and by the way, I did not grow up going to sunday school, nor did I attend church for most of my youth. So my answers are not ?trained sunday school responses.? I have not always been Christian.

My questions about the basis of your amazement reaction,
“Amazing how so many people do not understand faith or
religion”, were literal and not rhetorical.  I do want to
understand why to some Christians act that way?  I think
that they all come from the Bible Belt, USA, but I could
be wrong.  Am I wrong about the basis of that common
amazement reaction?

[quote author=“artymarty”]I MUST THANK JUMP_IN_THE_PIT FOR YOUR INFORMATION REGARDING THE HISTORY (AND EVEN CURRENT STATE) OF THE CHURCH. YOUR POSTING WAS WORTH NOTING.

I humbly appreciate your kind words and thank you for
reading, artymarty.

[quote author=“artymarty”]This is vital information that every Christian needs to be aware of.

Spread the word, brother!  Rejoice in the availability of
evidenced truth! [half-joking smile]

[quote author=“artymarty”]During this forum, jump_in_the_pit wrote:
“I like the idea of taking one Jesus Christ existing today over all of his followers that exist today… sounds nice… but that?s not reality.”

That is reality!! The bible says…

I didn’t word that well.  The comment came off a bit snide,
and that change of tone probably threw everyone for a loop.
Let me reword it for clarity: If just one Jesus with his
supposed teachings could exist today (walking on Earth,
as a human, with a metabolism, in-person) _in_place_of_
all of the hundreds of thousands of troublesome violent
America-is-Christian stop-embryonic-stem-cell-research
stop-condom-use stop-the-HPV-vaccine
hurricane-Katrina-hit-New-Orleans-because-it-is-sin-city
Christians, then that sounds like a nice trade, but the
trade isn’t reality.

[quote author=“artymarty”]Around a year ago when I said to someone “I need to do plenty of improving” their response was, ...

Well, we are human, humans are imperfect, therefore we
all have some room to improve.  grin It’s commendable to
try and improve yourself.  And I say:

  Life is guaranteed to change, which gives us the
  opportunity to improve.  Life is also guaranteed to end,
  which gives urgency to our goals.

[quote author=“artymarty”]I would also like to state that all the most violent acts I have committed were when I was NOT Christian (that is, when I used to say ?the bible is a load of crap?).

Keep up the good work.  But there are many factors that
drive people’s violent behavior, as men age they tend to
become less aggressive, depression and violence are related.
Many things can inspire people to change violent behaviors,
and if the Bible was yours then good for you, artymarty.
The Bible isn’t special in that way, there are other
methods of helping people to change after they have
volunteered to.  But the point I’ve tried to make is
that the Bible validates and justifies violence at times,
as well.

[quote author=“artymarty”]I don?t believe this posting will change anyone?s beliefs, but at least it gives people a chance to see that the truth is not always found in popularity and one sided debates.

The evidence is our best source of truth.  Beliefs can
sometimes work out, but are varied, opinionated, and
unreliable.  The evidence is difficult, costly, and time
consuming to dig up.  Evidence is therefore a goal that is
sometimes achieved and sometimes in the process of being
achieved.  Belief is easy, convenient, and free for all
to grab.  So we don’t want to jump to conclusions before
the evidence is in, and I think that is a fundamental value
of this organization.  I also think that the pursuit of
the evidence is what most of the debates here are about,
and so the debates attempt to be balanced between various
sources of evidence.

Religion has never valued proof as it’s basis, it values
belief (a.k.a. faith).  Therefore religion is irrelevant
to these discussions.  Don’t you remember what Bart said,
artymarty?  Did you listen to the whole NPR Bart Ehrman
audio stream?  Bart said, “The words of the Bible are not
the inerrant words from God.” and if you listen to the
interview, or obtain the full transcript, you’ll see that
his bold statement is well supported.  Therefore quote the
Bible all you want to, it is never evidence for anything
about the world.  (Except that it is evidence for what is
written into the Bible.)  The Bible holds no credibility
here, artymarty, and that is why there is no amount of
Bible quotes that will convince people that it has much
value.  Sure, people here will agree with this or that
passage in the Bible, as you do artymarty, but on the
whole I think that everyone here within the CFI agrees
that the Bible is not a credible source for anything.
(Except, of course, if you want to know what’s written
into the Bible by various anonymous scribes.)

Are you ready to take back your false, “Amazing how so many
people do not understand faith or religion.” reaction yet,
as people here are proving that they do know something
about faith and religion?

  - steve s.

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Posted: 07 July 2006 10:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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I like religious debates. And I’ve read The End of Faith.  But I don’t where to jump in.  Maybe if the topic steers back towards the book I’ll comment again.

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Posted: 07 July 2006 10:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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[quote author=“rogerflat”]I like religious debates. And I’ve read The End of Faith.  But I don’t where to jump in.  Maybe if the topic steers back towards the book I’ll comment again.

... or start up a separate thread ...

:wink:

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