119 thoughts on “Evangelical Christianity – trigger warning!

  1. I am so happy that this lady managed to realise that she was indeed free to think for herself. I sincerely hope that one day she learns to do just that, and her audience too.

    I don’t consider moderation of comments offered on one’s own blog to be cowardly, It is a facility that WordPress’s software automatically provides for me by default.

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    1. I am so happy that this lady managed to realise that she was indeed free to think for herself. I sincerely hope that one day she learns to do just that, and her audience too.

      Do I detect a dollop of sarcasm there, John?
      As you are a Christian, and from the negative/dismissive tone of your opening, I am interested to know why you consider your position any different to this woman’s? Other than your particular sect/cult/ denomination may be more liberal?

      I don’t consider moderation of comments offered on one’s own blog to be cowardly, It is a facility that WordPress’s software automatically provides for me by default.

      First a caveat.
      Over the years I have come across a few bloggers that moderate simply because they have never been bothered to look at or change the settings. In my experience, such blogs have not really invited much discussion and the content is such that there is rarely anything to discuss.

      Blogs that do invite discussion and are severly moderated are often hosted by people who are afraid of open dialogue as this may lead to severe criticism and thus they would rather not have such comments made visible.

      Oh, and in the spirit of openess I have moderated a couple of bloggers on occasion but I no longer bother and they are free to post what ever they want.

      For the record, your ”default” setting can easily be changed.
      Spam is adequately dealt with by WordPress so this is no excuse for moderation.
      Over the top comments or language can easily be deleted once you are online.

      Then there is the issue of selective moderation, where the host may release one comment, offer a withering, asinine reply then refuse to allow any further comment, thus denying any opportunity of a rebuttal.

      We both comment on Roberstsons’s blog and he is the perfect example of this behaviour.

      When commenters are in the same time zone censorship/moderation stunts open conversation to the point where it is often not worth the effort to even bother leaving a comment.

      I may wish to carry on an interesting aspect of the post with someone and just because ”you”, the host, have to be away from your laptop – shopping, work, bed, should not mean those on the thread have to be treated like children and wait for the ”adult” to return to continue our chat.
      Many’s the time I return to a post on my blog after a days absence to find a number of visitors ”chatting” among themselves.

      So yes, in the main I consider comment censorship/moderation to be unnessesary and cowardly and on WordPress such behaviour is more noticable among religious bloggers.

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      1. I’ve been blogging for a long time, about 8 years in all, including about court cases involving children, always pre-moderating comments offered. It’s a good job I do that, because occasionally would-be commenters offer comments that it would be illegal for me to publish, or which defame me in ways from which I couldn’t defend myself adequately without posting content that was unlawful, or which compromised the privacy of innocent parties including minors and members of my own family, or which would otherwise be unethical. Other comments I don’t publish are off topic. I am unable to show you examples of comments I have not allowed to be published, for roughly the same reasons I didn’t publish them in the first place.

        You ethical doctrine, your hard-and-fast rule, that anybody with a blog who doesn’t allow automatic publication of every comment is a “coward” is one about which I suggest we agree to differ. Suffice it to say I have never held back from publishing a comment that was on topic merely because the writer expressed an opinion different from mine.

        Do you have a specific complaint against me, about a comment of yours that I haven’t published? If so, you are able to raise that complaint with me here, now. (Any complaint you might have about The Wee Flea’s blog moderation is nothing to do with me.)

        Turning to this blog post of yours, and the expensively-produced video linked to, in the format of a non-academic lecture delivered, from a stage, to an enthusiastic audience, that forms the main substance of yours, rather than sarcasm, my comment was a reflection of my observation that the unhappy adult, or the now-happy adult with memories of a childhood or adolescence that she now remembers as having been unhappy, didn’t say anything I found original, surprising or enlightening. I discerned behind her words dogma with which I am already familiar, dogma which is perceived by many of her persuasion to be the antidote to indoctrination in Christianity during childhood, over-simplistically paraphrased as “my parents were Christians who indoctrinated me in their beliefs, which I grew up to reject; therefore I reject my parents and/or they have rejected me”. There may be counter-examples, in which somebody says something new, that negate a literal interpretation of the poetic words of Solomon in the bible, that there iss nothing new under the sun. But I did not encounter anything new to me, in the video.

        For the sake of balanced reporting and the right to reply, I’d have enjoyed also hearing from the parents of the young woman, who related her memories of what her life was like when she was five years old. What is their version of the same events? We aren’t told this.

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        1. Re:

          …including about court cases involving children, always pre-moderating comments offered. It’s a good job I do that, because occasionally would-be commenters offer comments that it would be illegal for me to publish, ….

          1. There are numerous platforms – You Tube for example – that one can find content that would be similar or the same as what you blog about and as far as I am aware most do not censor/moderate. The facility to remove comments is usually available and on occasion I have seen a notice indicating where a comment was removed. Again, this was after publication.
          So I consider the reasons you have listed for moderating not strong enough. The same applies for comments you consider off topic.

          You(r) ethical doctrine, your hard-and-fast rule, that anybody with a blog who doesn’t allow automatic publication of every comment is a “coward” is one about which I suggest we agree to differ. Suffice it to say I have never held back from publishing a comment that was on topic merely because the writer expressed an opinion different from mine.

          I offered a caveat to my assertion of cowardice regarding moderating comments and also went on to elaborate that in my experience most of the bloggers who moderate are religious/Christian. Therefore, I stand by my assertion.

          Do you have a specific complaint against me, about a comment of yours that I haven’t published?

          Other than what I have already laid out regarding moderation,no. Should I?

          (Any complaint you might have about The Wee Flea’s blog moderation is nothing to do with me.)

          Did I suggest it was anything to do with you?

          I did not encounter anything new to me, in the video.

          It was not posted to show anything ”new”. Did you consider this was my reason for posting?
          Although I would once have labelled myself a Christian – as most of those raised in the UK probably would have at some stage – it was almost entirely cultural. I was never indoctrinated to any degree.
          However, if you read the comments here from those who were most definitely raised in a similar environment perhaps you might begin to understand the serious damage this filth causes, and maybe extend some sympathy?
          As one commenter astutely wrote. ”All religion is a cult.”

          For the sake of balanced reporting and the right to reply, I’d have enjoyed also hearing from the parents of the young woman, who related her memories of what her life was like when she was five years old. What is their version of the same events? We aren’t told this.

          As you are someone who has reported on issues relating to children, what do you seriously think the hyper-relgious parents of a five year old child are likely to tell, you if you asked?

          Finally,you may have missed this in my first reply?

          ‘I am interested to know why you consider your position any different to this woman’s? Other than your particular sect/cult/ denomination may be more liberal?”

          regards

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          1. If you have a grievance against me for my not having published one or more of your comments on my blog, you’d better remind me, being specific, because I cannot remember doing anything that I expected would leave you aggrieved. I have explained why I stick with pre-moderation. I think my legal position is weaker than that of Google, which owns YouTube, and which gets away with post-moderation. Freedom of speech doesn’t force me to facilitate the publication of anything that I suspect might be illegal or unethical.

            I am here at your express invitation because you wanted me to comment on a future post or posts of yours about which I had anything to say. If I reacted differently from how you hoped to the video in this post, that is because I see life from a different point of view from yours. Reactions, caused by views, are authentic. They are neither right nor wrong and there isn’t any scope for arguing that they are.

            If I knew what the parents of Dawn Smith would say, I wouldn’t wish they’d been given a voice. But I can only guess what they’d say, and for me to do so would amount to prejudice, having only heard the complaint against them, not any reply they might have to it.

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          2. If you have a grievance against me for my not having published one or more of your comments on my blog, you’d better remind me, being specific, because I cannot remember doing anything that I expected would leave you aggrieved.

            Either you may not have acurately understood my replies in this regard,or my answer is not clear enough?
            Let me try once again. I answered that I do not have any grievance against you other than the general issue of moderation (no specific comments) which I have been at pains to point out.
            Here is my response to the first time you asked.
            Other than what I have already laid out regarding moderation,no. Should I?

            I have explained why I stick with pre-moderation. I think my legal position is weaker than that of Google, which owns YouTube, and which gets away with post-moderation. Freedom of speech doesn’t force me to facilitate the publication of anything that I suspect might be illegal or unethical.

            Again… while I understand your hesitance/reluctance to offer a specific example I am sure there must be something you could use to demonstrate your point. Furthermore, I would venture that very few of your posts would stray into such delicate legal areas – where you could of course apply post- specific moderation. A win-win situation all round.

            I am here at your express invitation because you wanted me to comment on a future post or posts of yours about which I had anything to say.

            If you recall I simply made a suggestion to continue a particular dialogue begun on Robertsons blog, solely because of his highly irritating habit of severely moderating comments, as I have previously mentioned.

            If I reacted differently from how you hoped to the video in this post, that is because I see life from a different point of view from yours. Reactions, caused by views, are authentic. They are neither right nor wrong and there isn’t any scope for arguing that they are.

            I had not ”hoped” for any particular reaction from you, although perhaps a little sympathy would probably have been in order.

            If I knew what the parents of Dawn Smith would say, I wouldn’t wish they’d been given a voice. But I can only guess what they’d say, and for me to do so would amount to prejudice, having only heard the complaint against them, not any reply they might have to it.

            This comment suggests you have little or no inkling of the type of behaviour that seems part and parcel of so many relgious cults. I am sure you could think of a few ”famous” examples, John, surely? Are you seriously suggesting this woman was either lying, exagerating or being disengenious?
            Even a cursory glance at a few of the comments left here by former Christians should tell you that they are all too familiar with this type of sect.
            If you look up to my previous comment you will see the question (in italics) I asked. If you don’t want to answer it then would you at least say so?

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          3. I willingly confess that there may indeed have been replies of yours that I have not understood accurately and/or answers which I have encountered that are insufficiently clear.

            I am glad that you don’t have any specific grievance against me over my moderation of your own comments on my blog.

            I am sorry that you still have a “general” grievance against me because I moderate my blog at all, even after I have explained to you why I do this, and expressed the hope that we might agree to differ on the ethics of this.

            I am not willing to provide examples of comments that I have not allowed to be published on my blog.

            Poor Dawn Smith. Fancy having story of which her video tells one’s side. How she must have suffered, if her parents were as horrid as she says. One must surely have sympathy with her, albeit without rushing to judgment, of course. She deserves sympathy even if she was lying or exaggerating, possibilities one ought not to speculate about before hearing her parents’ side of the story, except to recognise the possibility (because there is nothing like a stage, an audience, a microphone and a running movie-camera to make a person want to lie, exaggerate, or – for that matter – oversimplify) and to reserve judgment until one has heard both sides.

            So far, we only have one side of the story as to what “type of sect” it was that poor Dawn Smith’s parents belonged to.

            “If you look up to my previous comment you will see the question (in italics) I asked. If you don’t want to answer it then would you at least say so?”

            Couldn’t you please just ask the question again, whatever it was?

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          4. I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt regarding your ”not being sarcastic’ over the woman’s history and the trauma it caused, her and others.
            However, having had years of online discussions and a few face-to-face with former Christians I consider your attitude towards her plight somewhat disconnected.
            If you feel you would be happier hearing the other side of the story, why not scratch around on Youtube or Face book and see if you can find a post or video from the perspective of the cult leaders/ parents of children ?
            Considereing what people generally understand by the term ‘Religious Cult’ I’m sure there are examples you could dig up?
            In fact, there may be other examples of this particular cult somewhere online?

            But why go to all, that trouble?
            You are free to engage any one of the former Christians that visit my blog.
            I cannot guarantee the type of reception you will receive but I do know you will be supplied with enough verifiable evidence to keep you busy for a considerable time.

            My belief, however, is that you being a Christian and having a modicum of understanding of ”where you are coming from” suggests that your own personal type of religious indoctrination will effectively render any objectivety moot.
            Maybe I’m wrong in this regard? I would be very happy to be proved so.

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          5. Arjun/
            Maybe u need to define what a cult is. Is it something that u do not simply agree with?

            Are Chinese children raised in cults because they are taught to grow up and marry Chinese?

            Are Amish children cultists because they grow up having eschewed electricity?

            Cult is an opinion. Some opinions are better than others. You use the term entirely too loosely. I agree with John when he suggests that in the interest of fairness, one needs to hear of the parents of she who was so mentally ‘abused.’

            That said, God’s word has the final say on all matters. After all, there is only one beginning, and many imposters try to usurp Genesis which is the only reliable source material.

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          6. If I may, for all interested parties, a cult is defined thusly:

            Followers of an unorthodox, extremist, or false religion or sect who often live outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.

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          7. So then nan by your own admission, have determined that our girl here in the vid, is in fact a cult leader herself, because of her extreme views and her charisma.

            See how this works? Or we can say she is simply untaught in the ways of intellectual maturity, and leave the word ‘cult’ to followers of Degrass Tyson, or Koresh.

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          8. All I did, CS, was provide a definition. Did I make any type of pro or con comments? Did I reference you … the girl … Ark … anyone who has commented on this blog post?

            Considering the discussions taking place on this post, I thought it might be well to clarify the word “cult.”

            Have a nice weekend.

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          9. Maybe u need to define what a cult is. Is it something that u do not simply agree with

            Well, I am fairly sure after all this time you must have a pretty good idea of how I view ALL religion and its proponents – including delusional flat-earthers like you, CS.
            Nan’s dictionary definiton of a cult seems to be on the money (scuse the pun).
            However, I consider all religions to be cults as all are based on claims that invariably have a supernatural element and absoluterly no evidence to support such claims.

            For example, the garbage your religion (Christianity) invented concerning Hell, in whatever form you may adhere to/ believe) which invariably requires some form of long term indoctrination., often begun at the knee. This amounts to little more than child abuse.
            Ask an ex-Christian!

            That said, God’s word has the final say on all matters.

            Of course this immediately harks back to the fact that your god’s ”word” (sic) is in fact merely the ignorant blatherings of some bronze age men.
            Even today, you lot can’t agree on doctrine or interpretation.
            For anyone in this day and age to use the term ”God’s word” – and mean it in anything approaching a literal sense (including the term: Inspired word of …) simply highlights their ignorance, wilfull or otherwise.

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          10. It’s amazing D-
            You cite a dictionary definition, yet neglect to see that it was the illustrious mind of Noah Webster who used his unapologetic inspiration from the Giver of the human brain, a task mind you, that a horse with ten hands could not put together, nor any trained ape.

            Btw, I keep waiting for you to provide proof by way of a post, that the oceans of the world as well as mighty Everest, are guilty of spinning @ 1 thousand mph, and orbiting at 65 thousand mph, numbers which in reality are inconceivable in the world of facts of reality.

            But I am the better person, for I do not cite globers as cultists, just unaware.

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          11. Once you skew off on your Flat Earth garbage I am inclinded to switch off.
            There are enough Dickheads in the world who already deny science that cause untold damage.
            I am fortunate that your brand of abject idiocy I can simply choose to ignore.
            Take your meds and go for a lie down.

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          12. Sorry ark/ it was you who introduced the topic of ‘flat earth,’ a term I never use. I merely corrected the UNscientific claims people ignorantly cling to.

            You speak with a forked tongue when you deny the very proof you demand, and accept Dawns testimony as gospel while rejecting the true gospel.

            But nothing new under the sun, that great timekeeper over the earth. Love that incomparable Rolex which is as sure as scripture that Precisely presents mans waywardness while blaming God.

            Your vid agrees with my assessment.

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          13. CS. You have the numbers pretty much spot on (thanks google) simple maths the Earth is roughly 24,901 miles in circumference and takes 24 hours to complete a rotation = 1,037mph. Oh by the way the Earth is spherical. Sorry to be the bearer of sad tidings but if you start at point a and proceed straight ahead without veering off course eventually you will arrive back at point a. If the Earth was, er, ‘flat’ then you would simply f*@k off the edge which just doesn’t seem to happen! Likewise the Earth orbits the Sun at roughly 65k mph same maths and yes this and all other planets do orbit the Sun not t’other way round. So why do we not ‘feel’ this speed? Because it is a constant.
            There was a time man believed that if you traveled at over 30mph your brains would explode! I can vouch that this isn’t true, honestly.
            Anyway I’m sure your ‘views’ are simply a bit of tongue in cheek banter, least I hope they are!

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  2. All religion is a cult. A cult is a group of people believing in something with no proof that runs contrary to reason and logic and often can justify violence and a whole lot of misinformation and lies.

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    1. Best description I’ve seen of the difference between a cult and a religion:

      In a cult, there is always one person at the top who knows that the whole thing is a scam.

      In a religion, that person is dead.

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  3. Just remember, Ark: whenever some evangelical hack like the Scottish interloper moderates your comments — as he does mine, at his site — it probably just means you scored a bullseye, and made him uncomfortable.

    @JohnAllman.UK:
    Just think: your cult probably began as the Scientology of its day. Look how far you came!

    Pity it’s now on the wane, though.😇

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    1. Oh, I know , Chris.
      Robertson only allows comments through that in a round about way agree with his view or if he can vilify the commenter with a condescending asinine reply.
      He deletes more comments of mine than he allows, including those to other comments besides his and especially to people like Geoff. Furthermore, Robertson almost never allows a second rebuttal.

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  4. Appreciate the *trigger warning.* Though I have been in therapy for years, I still have trauma symptoms that present themselves, often unexpectedly. The warning is helpful and helps some of us be prepared.

    My born-again moment was during the Jesus Movement of the late 60’s. I was thirteen when I was caught up in it. My parents had everything to do with it, though in a different manner than Dawn’s. I didn’t have a sure foundation and short story, I was looking for one. It was during that camp that “hell” was used to scare me to death. Even shorter story, I raised my own children in an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church here in Ontario. Later became a lay youth minister with Biker Dude. Our adult daughter told me one day that I was never like those people. Still, the guilt just doesn’t ease. It ebbs and flows but never leaves. I may have not been like those people but I sure as hell tried to be. I spent the best years of my life trying like hell to make the “Bible” story fit. As the years went by I witnessed the damage done to women and I walked out of the church. It would be years more before I’d walk out of the faith. By then I realized the damage done to myself.

    I cried on an off as I listened to Dawn. When she spoke of not seeing her grandparents since leaving and the difficult parental relationship, I heard her heart break. Time and time again, Jesus wins and family members lose.

    I found it interesting when she mentioned using comedy to cope. I use to do the same thing. I had one pastor tell me I missed my calling. I said, what’s that? He said you should have been a comedian. The thing is, when I look back, it’s then I stopped laughing. It’s then I stopped the comedy. Because none of it was a laughing matter.

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    1. Sorry it caused you distress, Zoe.
      It was you who I initially thought of hence the trigger warning, and it is because of what this shit does to some people I tend to get a little pissed off when I read the derisive tone of a comment like that from John Allman (above).

      Your mention of Hell reminded me of the reason Mel Wild banned me from his blog:
      Paraphrase: I made a joke about something to do with oral sex on one of his threads about Hell and he said I was to stop being vulgar.
      I asked him why a blow-job was more vulgar than indoctrinating children that if they did not believe in Jesus they would burn for eternity in Hell? He immediately banned me!
      I laugh every time I think of it.

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      1. I have always appreciated your respect towards those of us who struggle with trauma.

        I think it’s nearly impossible to point out just how vulgar “hell” is when a believer believes the Bible is “God’s” word. If God created a hell than it isn’t vulgar to them. Of course, God created sex too but that’s different.

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        1. If God created a hell than it isn’t vulgar to them.

          And of course it’s not God’s fault, we choose to go to hell!
          Whenever a fundamentalist Christian peddles this crap it is enough to make you want to slap them across their stupid smug face.

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  5. Trigger warning” for sure Ark! 😬 Listening to Dawn Smith describe her youth inside The Assembly sounded too eerily close to what my ex-wife (Mother of my two kids) was raised in by her Evangy-Fundy missionary/minister parents. So many of those rules, laws, No-no’s Dawn Smith listed were/are identical doctrines for my kid’s maternal family and beliefs. 🥺 This was difficult to watch/listen to Ark. Ugh.

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    1. Sorry, Mister D.
      There is no emotional connecton for one such as moi, so while I can feel sympathy I tend to shake my head at the insanity of it all.

      On a different note, ’72’ is my new least favorite number!

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      1. Thank you Ark. I’m not sure if you know or not, but since Oct. 6, 2019 my daughter has not spoken one word to me. Nothing. No text messages, no emails, not even a birthday card or Father’s Day card. Total silence. Why?

        Suddenly out of the blue, out of nowhere, she somehow decided that based upon vague (and faulty) memories when she was 9-yrs old until her mother and new step-dad permanently moved them over 300-miles away at 11-yrs old… that in Oct. 2019 I was suddenly a horrible, irresponsible father, and because then and now I was/am not “saved by the blood of Christ,” I am a tool, a puppet for Satan. Thus, she told me that when she and her husband have children, I will never be around them or able to talk to them. She also convinced my son that October to do the same—have not heard, read, anything or seen him for over a year and counting. 😞

        This is the extreme radical result of religious/Cult paranoia of the outside world and anything, anyone NOT a True Born-again Christian™ Her current church, like her mother’s church and her maternal grandparent’s churches… are absolutely on the cusp of a Cult, specifically connected to aspects of the Word of Faith Movement, Prosperity theology, and Joel Osteen offshoot-groups throughout Texas. 😨 See this link below for info of what I’m talking about:

        https://culteducation.com/warningsigns.html

        “72”? Explain please Sir. 🙂

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        1. I seem to recall you mentioning something before with regards the state of affairs with your kids.
          If I didn’t say it then, I’m really sorry , Prof.
          It is difficult for me to get my head around such behaviour and when I read tales like yours and all the others among the former fundies who grace my blog I have to consider myself fortunate I was never ”infected” and my kids have been spared this filth.

          ”72” . Okay … so I missed the hyphen. Sue me!

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          1. Oh, now I see what you are so frightened to spell out clearly for everyone here. Let’s review Ark…

            Now, get comfortable on my psychiatric reclining couch and tell me, how does 7 – 2 make you feel? What thoughts and emotions are you having remembering these nightmares, hot-n-cold flashes, nausea, and waking up screaming and causing distress to your wife, family, and all your zoo animals there at home? Please… speak freely. 😁

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          2. hehehe 🤭

            Well, to be fair Ark we Yanks should NEVER get cocky about how great we are in sports—many here brag & brag about how we are always world champions in American football (NFL) and baseball (MLB) usually; no one gets arrogant anymore about basketball 😄—and how “undefeated” we are in wars/battles. 🙄 HAH!

            But if I need to throw humble-pie into arrogant American sports fans regarding soccer/futebol, I gladly show them these highlights:

            (excuse me a minute Ark while I go on a rant…)

            And what was so incredibly infuriating then Ark was that that USA team left off many American boys who were playing club ball overseas; they were good/great players compared to the roster Bob Gansler (and the USSF) put together consisting mostly of domestic-playing athletes, including several NCAA D1 players… none of which had any European experience! Case and point, many of those American “starters” in the 1990 WC then again in 1994 are considered ultimate Hall of Famers and GOAT’s to American fans! A total joke! Goalkeeper Tony Meola was never in the same elite class as his backup Kasey Keller!!!

            So Ark, you are so lucky to have a completely different national footballing history as an Englishman than I’ve suffered through since 1986 and continue to scream and suffer after our loss to Trinidad & Tobago, eliminating ourselves from WC 2018 Russia. 😭

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          3. Goalkeeper Tony Meola was never in the same elite class as his backup Kasey Keller!!!

            Keller certainly made a better goalkeeper than his ”relation” Helen would have. 😉
            (Which was how poor Adrian looked half the time against Villa)

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          4. Haha! My Mum/Mom would like you Ark. She loves guitarists as well, so much that I am named after her love & idol, Duane Eddy. But she spelt it different for me. I’m sure you know Mr. Eddy, right? 😉

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          5. I’m sure you know Mr. Eddy, right? 😉

            Sure, do. He was that talking horse from the 60’s right? Loved that show!

            It must have been the bloody big ears that prompted your mum to name you as you wouldn’t have had any teeth at that stage! ,

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          1. I hope I am fit enough – mentally as well as physically.
            My dad is 86 and his memory has faded quite badly these past two years.

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          2. I hope you hang in there too … the world needs sense. Wouldn’t it be terrible to discover that we (despite all logic) were wrong after all, and St Peter sends us back to do it again? (There’s still time to hedge our bets, but doing so could be costly.)
            I’ll stick with the status quo and take me chances …

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  6. I still think that the answer lies in total Freedom, for people to say whatever they think. AND—

    —and teach the young how to think for themselves.
    As a matter of education provide the young with the basic tools of thought. Again I offer, if nothing else, the Law of Contradiction:

    Examples—
    God’s infinite mercy, and napalm?
    Man’s Free Will and God’s omniscience?

    Come up with some of your own and post ’em. It’s fun … or it would be if not so pitiable in meaning. And it’s indefensible on the part of the many Christian franchises (all/each of them the sole unique path to Salvation, no?).

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    1. There should be at least one voice on the contrary. Let it be mine.

      The affable young lady speaks of experiences. Period. For every gripe of hers, I can present a thousand that say the opposite. Too bad her life was tilted because of legalism/ the bane of correct theology.

      I didn’t hear hear complain about the scriptures per say, just her disdain toward her elders. Too bad.

      At the end of the day, the scriptures remain resolute, and her college friends and professors will be long gone: yet God’s word remains.

      As to moderation- it’s even worse when alleged believers put up bars to their own. Scripture speaks to that as well.

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      1. WhichScripture” ColonStorm? 🤣

        And your voice is not contrary, not even close. It does however, faintly come thru like a kitty cat from a distant galaxy, a universe of alternate facts and reality. 😉 😛

        Best regards

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        1. Prof: that was an unfair comment. How on Earth can CS possibly be familiar with scriptures? Sure, he may well be a genius/expert in his own, but his scriptures are just one of many. They are all correct, none of them wrong or mistaken … no?

          So, pleaes (in the interests of accuracy) can we not be a bit more precise?

          Liked by 2 people

          1. 🤣 Sure Argus! EVERYTHING is correct, even the Infancy Gospel of Thomas that accurately records Jesus murdering another child. So yeah, precision, truth, cumulative facts and contextual plausibilities… they don’t matter do they? 😉 😛

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Prof:

            I think that all the qualities you listed are very well and good for folks like us; but to sell a Saviour one needs spice things up a bit. A wee sprinkling of rape and pillage and sod’ems and such adds interest, no? (How boring the Christians would be if all they had was angelic choirs, loaves and fishes.)

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      2. @ Colorstorm
        Her experience is based on the interpretation of scripture held by those in the cult she was indoctrinated into.
        In essence, how is this any different from your own position regarding interpretation of scripture or every other Christian that make up the thousands upon thousands of different sects across the globe, from huge denominations like the Catholics to smaller sects like the one this woman was once indoctrinated into; each with their own interpretation, each one believing its interpretation of scripture to be the ”correct one”, while overtly or tacitly damning every other sect to Hell.

        Why is your brand of Christianity ‘right’ while hers was ‘wrong’?

        Liked by 5 people

        1. Your comment is fair, I’ll give you that. A common observation held by many, which suggests the ‘book’ lacks clarity because there may be too many strings on the cello, each with sounds of disharmony.

          So do we fault the conductor because the musicians are careless? Do we throw out Zarathustra because amateurs can’t play a note?

          My ‘version’ is not one of many, but more sound because it is harmonious with the whole.

          ‘Cults’ are a dime a dozen, and there are just as many bowling or macrame cults as well.

          I have never been accused of being a member in a cult, because I am free to come and go, think and write whatever I want.

          Send like your girl there had some bad influence/ and guess what? She is still young, and has time to rethink whether God’s word is to be blamed/ or the behavior of adults who were lost as well/ the fog rolling in is blameless to who can’t see.

          ‘The entrance of thy word bringeth light,’ has no doubt never taken proper hold.

          And her’college’ issue? Yeah, like there are no PhD’s who are believers who excel in math and scripture.

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          1. I have never been accused of being a member in a cult, because I am free to come and go, think and write whatever I want.

            Largely because over the centuries ‘your version’ has had a lot more practice at subtly controlling its members. It now has enough members that those that fall by the wayside don’t appear to make much of a dent. But as we all know this scenario is changing.

            Of course there was a time when any form of dissent met with swift and often fatal retribution.
            At one point you could not even read the bible in English. I wonder how many died to afford you that privelage CS?
            And now you have so many versions of the bible to choose you can probably find just the right one to match whichever cult/sect/denomination you have decided to throw your lot in with.

            Liked by 2 people

          2. My version is … more sound because it is harmonious with the whole. Like thousands of others don’t say the same thing? You’re such a dreamer, CS.

            Liked by 2 people

          3. CS:

            Please forgive, but you did ask:

            “So do we fault the conductor because the musicians are careless?”

            A good ask. But I’m tempted to reword it to “Do we fault the conductor, when the composer made a total hash of it?”

            As for the PhDs who are believers … Islam too is raddled with them, and I imagine that the guys who created India’s Hindu bomb and/or North Korea’s and China’s likewise bombs do not excel in Christian scripture … but God will know if and when they let ’em off exactly who is to blame.

            Frankly … I blame Him. (Go—Prime Mover, omnipotent omniscient and all that.)

            Liked by 1 person

        2. Excellent points and final question Ark. Your logic, reasoning, and equity reflects about 71% of the world’s same logic, reasoning, equity, and conclusions. And to be fair, it is precisely “Christians™” like ColonStorm that significantly INCREASES that percentage… Christians™ have never been unanimous in their exact theology of their god, their savior, their ghosts, their church, or their manuscripts! Hell, forget unanimous. Often there is not even a majority on WHO has authority, here on Earth or up in Paradise! 😄

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          1. I am hoping that the other JOhn, John Allman, returns and answers the (final) question I posed to him in my previous comment.
            It seems one that causes a certain degree of discomfort among believers, especially as Hell is inevitably involved at some point.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. When you refer to your final question to me, do you mean this? “What do you seriously think the hyper-relgious parents of a five year old child are likely to tell, you if you asked?”

            I have responded to that question (but not answered it) explaining why I won’t speculate, seriously or otherwise.

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          3. Are you referring to this “question”? :-

            ‘‘I am interested to know why you consider your position any different to this woman’s? Other than your particular sect/cult/ denomination may be more liberal?”

            If not, then what?

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          4. “I am interested to know why you consider your position any different to this woman’s? Other than your particular sect/cult/ denomination may be more liberal?”

            Life is sometimes compared to a journey. A journey is a succession of positions occupied by a traveller at different times. Dawn’s journey and mine have been different. Her position is therefore different from mine. It is one’s position that determines one’s views. That is why Dawn’s present view is different from mine. She is at a different place from me. It isn’t even obvious that what Dawn is looking at and describing the appearance of, as seen from her point of view, is anything that I have seen myself from any point of view at which I have paused and looked around, to see what I can see from there. Does that answer your question?

            Even when two people are looking at the same thing, for example a mountain, from two different angles because they are at different positions because they are on different journeys, their two mental models of the same mountain can differ. Their mental models are formed by combining what they see (their view) with what they guess could be seen on the side of the mountain furthest from them (their guesses) and (if they are wise) also taking into account the views of those who occupy different positions from them and therefore see things differently.

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          5. I have paused and looked around, to see what I can see from there. Does that answer your question?

            In actual fact it carefully avoids the question.
            You are both Christian. Correction, she is probaly ex-Christian …. both believe/d in unsubstantiated supernaturalism and both been subect to indoctriantion regarding such belief/s.
            The core tenets were/are the same, only the degree of inoctrination and how it was/is maintained is probably different.

            As a comaprison, consider Francis Collins and Ken Ham.
            If you are unaware of these men, Google is your friend.

            In a similar way you would likely view Islam and Muslims or HIndus, to even begin understand your own position you have to first acknowledge that your religous beliefs are:
            a) in the main exclusively because of indoctrination and cutural mores.
            b) very firmly rooted in supernaturalism.
            and ..
            c) a belief system, the foundational tenets
            of which there no verifiable evidence whatsoever. And what emirical evidence there is flatly refutes every such claim. Scientific, archaeological, historical.

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          6. “In actual fact it carefully avoids the question.”

            I tried hard to answer the question I thought you were asking. Would you like to rephrase the question more clearly, so that I can understand it?

            “… to even begin understand your own position you have to first acknowledge …”

            Now you have started to use to me the sort of doctrinaire language, undermining the self-confidence of those one is attempting to re-educate, that one hears from cult leaders.

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          7. Would you like to rephrase the question more clearly,

            To me, your reply came across as somewhat of a hand wave that deftly avoided the core issues surrounding faith based belief. Be that as it may, I will gladly try again.

            1. As your brand of Christian faith is based upon indoctrination and belief in the supertnatural for which there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever, why is your position (re your Christian Worldview) necessarily any diferent from how Dawn’s was, other than your Christian sect/cult/denomiantion is likely more ‘liberal’.
            In other words, Christianity is built upon a foundation of indoctrination, superstition and unsubstantiated claims whose enforcement differs depending on the sect/cult /denomination.

            2. I’m sorry, John but the second part of your comment seems a bit garbled. Would you like to rephrase the question more clearly, so that I can understand it?

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          8. Christianity is built upon a foundation of indoctrination, superstition and unsubstantiated claims whose enforcement differs depending on the sect/cult /denomination.

            BINGO!

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          9. Coming from one who has experienced indoctrination of a sort I appreciate that my phrasing rings true.
            Definitions offered in this manner are so often hand-waved away by Christians in some sort of pithy reply usually resulting in teeth being gnashed and feathers spat in exasperation!
            🙂

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          10. Oh, and just in case ….
            The gif of the blinkered horse ”John” above is NOT referring to you! There are a couple of Johns that visit

            Don’t want to cause any friction there, now do we!
            🙂

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          11. What I find utterly ironic Ark is that the Hebrew Old Testament (Tanakh & Torah) and Judaism never really make an unequivocal distinction of a Heaven or Hell! Christians today know very very little (nothing at all?) of their own supposed Jewishness via Yeshua bar Yosef (Jesus).

            There is Olam Habah (world to come; afterlife) and a Sheol/Gehinom (a waiting area like an airport to heaven or hell). 😄 But the bottom line is in Judaism and the official Old Testament (yes, the same OT that Christians also have(?): There isn’t one definitive understanding of life after death or heaven and hell. Period. As their popular saying goes, “Two Jews, three opinions.” HAH! 😉

            Liked by 3 people

      3. CS:

        Scripture covers a lot. But I like to think that thinking should change with the times—and as often stated: “He who alleges, must prove”.

        With so many different faiths and gods and things in the world they all call for an awesome amount of proof.

        (But who needs proof when he has faith? You have it, I don’t … and only one of us can be right.)

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Well neighbor, have to disagree. You exercise faith every day/ without even thinking about it.

          You have faith, blind faith even, that the car coming toward you will not end your life.

          Your daughter has faith that you will catch her- when you tell her to jump off the deck- she trusts you entirely- having never jumped before. She has this assurance- no science necessary to prove what she knows innately/ this is not blind faith but full assurance in the unseen.

          So yeah, we all have faith- just use it differently.

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          1. You confuse faith with trust based on experience and/or evidence.

            You have ‘faith’ that you will not go to Hell because you have been indoctrinated to accept the dogma /teaching that this is reality, when in fact there is absolutely no evidence to support such a claim.

            I have ”faith” (trust) my car will start in the morning based on the knowledge I service it regularly and it has a full tank of petrol.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. But … but … but … Christians aren’t that much different, Ark. They’re doing the same thing by their daily prayers and regular fill-ups at weekly services. Of course, the big difference is their “being taken for a ride” whereas you’re in the driver’s seat.

            Liked by 3 people

          3. To a degree.
            I trust that the guy on the other side of the road isn’t a suicidal lunatic wanting to take himself out and use me as a tool. So far it’s worked.

            My daughter’s faith in me I could understand, but if a man she didn’t know came to our place and told her to jump and someone she could neither see, hear, smell, nor feel would catch her?
            If she did, and did; I think we can bet that she’d never do it again. We don’t need faith in the law of gravity for it to work, but we do need faith in the catcher; and once missed by the invisible catcher and covered in bruises I’d say we learn not to have faith in invisible catchers …

            Liked by 2 people

          4. @Arkenaten

            You wrote to ColorStorm, saying, “You confuse faith with trust based on experience and/or evidence.”

            Rational faith (or trust) is always based on experience and/or evidence. Your rational faith is based upon your limited experience and the evidence you have considered. ColorStorm’s faith is based on his or her different (and also limited) experience and/or the evidence he or she has considered. My rational faith is based upon my limited experience and/or the evidence I have considered. And so on

            Non-rational faith is conceived by wishful thinking and reinforced by confirmation bias and indoctrination that may by-pass critical thinking.

            Faith in God, or faith that there is no God, alike, are examples of a faith that appears, in my experience, to be a hybrid of rational faith and non-rational faith, in everyone I come across.

            If faith in God was not in part the result of wishful thinking, how could it be virtuous to have such faith in a worldview in which God existed? If faith that there was no God was not in part the result of wishful thinking, then how could it be reprehensible in a worldview in which God existed? Or vice versa, in a worldview in which God did not exist?

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          5. Faith in God, or faith that there is no God, alike, are examples of a faith that appears, in my experience, to be a hybrid of rational faith and non-rational faith, in everyone I come across.

            Let’s unpack this in bite size chunks to avoid spiralling off on tangents, shall we?
            First. Do you have evidence to support your faith in (the existence of) (your) God?

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  7. Thanks for this Ted talk, Ark. I was reminded of the difficulty I had in leaving a fundamentalist evangelical church and the freedom I felt afterward. I, too, was delighted to discover the joy of learning outside of the church. It is hard to leave, but so incredibly rewarding.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Oh Ark … “First. Do you have evidence to support your faith in (the existence of) (your) God?”

    You left yourself wide open with this one! We’re here, aren’t we? So of course there is a God! (And they call ME dumb! SHEESH!)

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Argus usually says something like: ”Ark, it’s in the bible!”
        I appreciate his humour. If he weren’t being funny he could probably pass for the average Christian with such a comment.

        Would you care to have a go with a more cerebral response?
        But, please … not a philosophical one.

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          1. Why should I make a more cerebral response, and why not a philosophical one, given that the original enquiry (about “evidence” for the existence of God) was something of a philosophical enquiry,about which there are whole libraries of books written.

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          2. When you stated: ”I think so” in response to my request re: evidence I asked to to present it.
            I am still waiting.
            There was no hint of suggestion that my request was in any way a philosophical enquiry. You seem to have plucked this notion out of thin air.

            So please, once again, present the evidence you have to support your claim re: your god ….
            While you marshall your thoughts/evidence I shall pop to the kitchen and make a coffee.

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          3. Never having been a proper Christian – only a cultural one – I am unable to answer that question with any degree of certainty.
            As I presume you do regard yourself as a proper Christian how about we look at the evidence that convinced you?
            If you lay it out succinctly perhaps it might convince me as well?
            While it is unlikely to create a ”Damnascus Moment” here on my blog, if your reply is cogent, and avoids theology then it will at least give me something to think about.

            As you know, I do not moderate/censor, so feel free to express yourself.
            Let my blog be your ”blackboard”.
            You are welcome to provide links.
            Oh, just a heads up.
            I would prefer if you did not cite/reference people such as Strobel, Wallace, Habermas , Craig or their ilk, and if you have to ask why not then we will already have hit a pot-hole on the road.
            Cheers ….
            Please, go ahead.

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          4. “how about we look at the evidence that convinced you? … lay it out succinctly perhaps it might convince me as well?
            if your reply is cogent, and avoids theology then it will at least give me something to think about”

            You want me to talk about God, but avoiding theology? Couldn’t I just video myself removing my underpants without taking off my trousers (or do you call them pants?), with my hands tied behind my back? Or even raise somebody from the dead? I mean, the challenge of doing something we conceive of as being physically impossible, with God’s help, is less daunting than doing something that would be logically impossible, i.e. oxymoronic

            Have you ever, in your life, tried to interact with THE hypothetical God (capital G used to distinguish monotheism from polytheism), for example asking Him (capital H for the same reason) to make this or that happen, to prove to you His existence, because you desperately wanted to know the truth about that?

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          5. So, in other words you have no evidence for your god and will only engage the topic if you can present a theological perspective rather than a scientific one?

            Sort of makes the point, don’t you think?

            Feel free to post a video of you and your underpants.
            If at any point in the video you find them on your head don’t feel embarassed. Wearing them in this fashion you will fit right in with so many Christians.

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          6. You remind me of the chat show guest, an atheist lawyer, who was asked what would he do if he died and then discovered that God had existed after all, and he now had to face up to him. He replied, “I’d sue him for negligence.”

            Who gets to fill out the Demands and Needs Statement in your universe? The Creator, or the created? I think I’ve found that out already.

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          7. If you would care to demonstrate the existance of/provide evidence for this Creator you allude to then perhaps we could have a more productive discussion?

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          8. “I would prefer if you did not cite/reference people such as Strobel, Wallace, Habermas , Craig or their ilk,”

            Since I have never heard of any of these people, I’d better avoid citing or referencing anybody with a modern surname then, in case you happen to think those whom I cite or reference are of the same ilk as these scary bogeymen the mere mention of whom, or anybody like them, would be enough to derail a conversation which (I remind you) you asked for.

            You ARE touchy. (A reference to off-forum dialogue.) If only you’d desist from denying this!

            What is “a pothole in the road”? The onset of pre-moderation?

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          9. Dear John,
            I think your sense of self-importance is beginning to show from the snail-trails of the passive aggressive tone you leave across your comments and your apparent need to be acknowledged – inviting people to follow your blog and sending unsolicited emails.
            The ”Look at me,me ME” approach will only carry you so far before it gets tiresome.
            Cet animal est très méchant. Quand on l’attaque, il se défend.

            Sound familiar?

            I will remind YOU of your response:

            What would you accept as evidence of the existence of God?

            As your god is the Abrahamic god also worshipped by Jews and Moslems then we all know the only reference you have is the Torah.
            Of course there is the fallacious and ludicrous assertion by Christians that this very same Canaanite deity somehow transmogrified into a human being and then got himself crucified, supposedly because humans – who he … oh I am so sorry … He created in His image out of dirt are merely a bunch of sinners and ingrates.
            That you are unaware of the aforementioned characters (Strobel, Wallace, Craig etc) suggests you are not as familiar with Christian Apologetics as I would have believed.
            Maybe I should have also mentioned Billy Graham?
            This was the pot hole in the road I was referring to as you simply cannot imagine how many indoctrinated Christian half-wits immediately introduce one or all of these idiotic people into a conversation and if you had done so I would have stopped you in your tracks.
            That you subscribe(?) to Robertson’s blog suggests you are at least familiar with the evangelical approach to Christianity and if you also subscribe to the evangelical approach to Christianity I am inclined to deduce that you are also as indoctrinated.
            Feel free to correct any misconceptions on this score.
            So, where were we?
            If you have evidence that you would like to present for the existence of your god Yahweh/Jesus of Nazareth then, please, feel free to do so.

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  9. Acceptable evidence for the existence of God?

    Can’t answer here, I feel a whole new post on my own blog will do it better justice.

    But in the meantime there are a few questions that perhaps the divinely inspired God folks might be able to answer on His behalf. You know, interim sort of thing …

    Liked by 2 people

  10. as you already know, I’m Darwinian-Cartesian… 🙂

    “Religion is mind control, it has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time! But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion is like a pair of shoes; find one that fits for you, but don’t make me wear your shoes. I would never want to be a member of a group whose symbol was a man nailed to two pieces of wood. Never underestimate the power of ignorant, stupid people in large groups. Tell them there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority will believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure.”(George Carlin)

    Liked by 3 people

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