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Old 16th September 2007, 01:20 AM   #106 (permalink)
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Re: What period in history would you have loved to go back and see for yourself

The most important thing for each person to remember here is that the acts comitted by people who belong to the religion do not speak for the religion. Christianity is a beautiful faith and one I am part of. From what I see and hear, there are peacful Christians and Muslims by the droves for every violent one. The problem is the violent get the press coverage and one violent person can kill hundreds of peaceful people if the circumstances are right.

People are easily led and religion isn't the problem, it is the tool used by those who would lead people to evil deeds. It only takes 3 1/2 seconds for an entire stadium to take up a chant and be in sync with one another to root for their team. Riots are similar and wars in the old days aren't much different. Spreading the faith by the sword was the motto, but at the heart of it was the rulers using the easiest available tool to lead the masses, their faith.

I just wanted to point that out since a lot of Christians did this and Muslims did that comments were floating around. People did this and people did that, they just happened to be Christians or Muslims and led by people who used that as a tool to incite the desired violence.
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Old 16th September 2007, 11:33 AM   #107 (permalink)
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Re: What period in history would you have loved to go back and see for yourself

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The most important thing for each person to remember here is that the acts comitted by people who belong to the religion do not speak for the religion. Christianity is a beautiful faith and one I am part of. From what I see and hear, there are peacful Christians and Muslims by the droves for every violent one. The problem is the violent get the press coverage and one violent person can kill hundreds of peaceful people if the circumstances are right.

People are easily led and religion isn't the problem, it is the tool used by those who would lead people to evil deeds. It only takes 3 1/2 seconds for an entire stadium to take up a chant and be in sync with one another to root for their team. Riots are similar and wars in the old days aren't much different. Spreading the faith by the sword was the motto, but at the heart of it was the rulers using the easiest available tool to lead the masses, their faith.

I just wanted to point that out since a lot of Christians did this and Muslims did that comments were floating around. People did this and people did that, they just happened to be Christians or Muslims and led by people who used that as a tool to incite the desired violence.
Good post Marvelo. I would like to say however that belief systems will, by their very nature, lead to conflict.

When people get into a discussion or argument, resolution can be brought about by quoting facts.

Sport for instance. 'A' says "My team is better than yours", 'B' says "No, mine is best". Resolution is simple - a comparison of league tables or past performance.

This is not possible with belief systems, because, in its simplest form "My God is better than yours" is a belief and can never be proven one way or another, hence no resolution. Consequently extremists will use other methods to prove their point - usually violence.
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Old 16th September 2007, 04:50 PM   #108 (permalink)
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Re: What period in history would you have loved to go back and see for yourself

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Good post Marvelo. I would like to say however that belief systems will, by their very nature, lead to conflict.

When people get into a discussion or argument, resolution can be brought about by quoting facts.

Sport for instance. 'A' says "My team is better than yours", 'B' says "No, mine is best". Resolution is simple - a comparison of league tables or past performance.

This is not possible with belief systems, because, in its simplest form "My God is better than yours" is a belief and can never be proven one way or another, hence no resolution. Consequently extremists will use other methods to prove their point - usually violence.
You have to go deeper than that. The belief system isn't the actual problem. It is human nature to strive. So when A says that to B, the majority of people on teams A and B might not be up for the fight, but the leaders of A and B won't settle for disagreement. When they need support, they don't ask, they incite. Team B is a bunch of blasphemous hounds! Team A is out to destroy everything we've built with their heretical rhetoric!

It goes down to the people on the teams. The teams are just the tools.
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Old 16th September 2007, 11:17 PM   #109 (permalink)
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Re: What period in history would you have loved to go back and see for yourself

What you missed out is the implied "I believe" in front of "Team B is a bunch of blasphemous hounds." And it's interesting that you mention blasphemy and heresy - more element of belief systems.

Nobody tortures anybody anymore over whether the sun goes round the Earth. They did when people believed it did as soon as it was proven that it didn't then it all stopped.

Belief is one of the most fundamentally divisive issues in the world today.

Good discussion BTW Marvelo.
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Old 17th September 2007, 04:05 AM   #110 (permalink)
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Re: What period in history would you have loved to go back and see for yourself

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What you missed out is the implied "I believe" in front of "Team B is a bunch of blasphemous hounds." And it's interesting that you mention blasphemy and heresy - more element of belief systems.

Nobody tortures anybody anymore over whether the sun goes round the Earth. They did when people believed it did as soon as it was proven that it didn't then it all stopped.

Belief is one of the most fundamentally divisive issues in the world today.

Good discussion BTW Marvelo.
Which is exactly my point. The speech matches what the crowd needs to hear to feel compelled to do what the speaker wants.
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Old 18th September 2007, 10:55 PM   #111 (permalink)
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Re: What period in history would you have loved to go back and see for yourself

You do not need to torture people, you can just use TV. one 30 second snippet of news can lead people to hate their neighbour. When i was a child i thought 1984 was a work of great fiction, as an adult 25 years later i realise it is the truth.
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Old 18th September 2007, 11:29 PM   #112 (permalink)
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Re: What period in history would you have loved to go back and see for yourself

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You do not need to torture people, you can just use TV. one 30 second snippet of news can lead people to hate their neighbour. When i was a child i thought 1984 was a work of great fiction, as an adult 25 years later i realise it is the truth.
I don't think TV could change anyone's mind on the mechanics of the solar system - torture certainly could.
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Old 18th September 2007, 11:33 PM   #113 (permalink)
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Re: What period in history would you have loved to go back and see for yourself

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Which is exactly my point. The speech matches what the crowd needs to hear to feel compelled to do what the speaker wants.
My point is Marvolo that if facts rather than beliefs, education rather than superstition were the order of the day there would be less disagreement in the world.
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Old 19th September 2007, 02:17 AM   #114 (permalink)
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Re: What period in history would you have loved to go back and see for yourself

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My point is Marvolo that if facts rather than beliefs, education rather than superstition were the order of the day there would be less disagreement in the world.
Disagreement is undeniable in nature. If "superstition" wasn't the key component then it would be something more tangible, like say, oil.

But your post is very telling. Athiests always believe that religion is the root of evil in the world. The truth of it is that athiests belong to their own religion of sorts. They mostly view themselves as intellectuals and believe that everyone outside of their worldview is slightly less intelligent than themselves for having faith in something that isn't tangible.

If this doesn't describe you then I read your post wrong and I apologize. But the intellectual movement is in effect a religion. It operates with all the same components of a religion.

Without our faith (I'm very partial to mine but I don't feel ire towards others for theirs) we aren't the same people. All of our laws and moral structure comes from our religions, whether people realize it or not. Without the moral base and stability that Christianity, Islam, Taoism, Judaism, etc., provide the world wouldn't be the same place. I daresay it would be a MUCH more violent place as people would grow up without a defined moral structure.

Religion is part of humanity and it will never be seperated wholly from it. I for one wouldn't want to live in a world where no one has faith in anything they can't see or touch. What desperate lives they'd live without faith in the fact that what they do on this world matters in the next. There'd be no sound reason why I couldn't do whatever the hell I wanted right?

But I got off my point here. Belief is part of human nature as is disagreement. We already disagree on far more than religion in this world. We disagree on property, possessions other than property (even intellectual property), race, money, etc. Disagreement won't evaporate if religion goes poof, it'll just get a little more serious as people's moral structure collapses over the generations of folks raised without faith in God.

The funniest thing about it all is, no matter how good of an argument, you cannot convince people without faith that faith isn't the problem. I know. I've been on the faithless side of the argument before and an invisible wall stands in the way of any religious person's words.
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Old 19th September 2007, 02:45 AM   #115 (permalink)
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Re: What period in history would you have loved to go back and see for yourself

Or, an invisible wall stands in the way of any non-religious person's words. It depends what side of the fence you are on. Apologies for dipping into your discussion at this late stage but there are a couple of points I feel compelled to make.

The first is that atheists do not always believe that religion is the 'root of evil' in the world. I would contend that very few atheists actually believe this. I am an atheist (or a secular humanist), and I do not believe it. Most of the people I know are atheists, and most of them do not believe that evil, as an innate property or state of mind/nature, exists at all. For us, evil is a word that can be used to describe someone's actions, but there is no 'root of evil', such a view is inherently religious.

Secondly, an intellectual movement is not a religion. An intellectual movement rooted in the scientific method is most certainly not a religion. You can make the claim that non-belief in god is a 'religion', since the certainty of that fact requires a leap of faith. But I would refute that. IMO, the burden of proof lies with the party making the positive claim. This is no evidence for the existence of god. Without claiming to know everything, it seems reasonable to assume therefore that god does not exist. But an assumption is not a belief. The scientific mind is always open to new answers, but only ones which have proof. If I was shown evidence for the existence of god, I would believe in god, but until that happens I shall remain an atheist.

There is no basis for the argument that religion provides a moral structure without which we would all somehow start killing each other, in fact without being the 'root of evil' that you suggest we think it is, religion has been the cause of a great deal of human suffering, hatred and death. Religion is something that grew up as a part of human culture, but there is no question that we coexisted perfectly well before we even had culture as we know it. This is clear from the archaeological record, and from the simple fact of our evolutionary success as a species.

The idea that the disappearance of religion would cause some kind of moral collapse in the modern world is simply ludicrous. Disagreement would not disappear, no, but neither would it be exacerbated. Quite the contrary, we would have one less thing to fight about. The ability of the human being to be decent is not predicated on belief in a supernatural entity.
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Old 19th September 2007, 04:51 AM   #116 (permalink)
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Re: What period in history would you have loved to go back and see for yourself

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Or, an invisible wall stands in the way of any non-religious person's words. It depends what side of the fence you are on. Apologies for dipping into your discussion at this late stage but there are a couple of points I feel compelled to make.

The first is that atheists do not always believe that religion is the 'root of evil' in the world. I would contend that very few atheists actually believe this. I am an atheist (or a secular humanist), and I do not believe it. Most of the people I know are atheists, and most of them do not believe that evil, as an innate property or state of mind/nature, exists at all. For us, evil is a word that can be used to describe someone's actions, but there is no 'root of evil', such a view is inherently religious.

Secondly, an intellectual movement is not a religion. An intellectual movement rooted in the scientific method is most certainly not a religion. You can make the claim that non-belief in god is a 'religion', since the certainty of that fact requires a leap of faith. But I would refute that. IMO, the burden of proof lies with the party making the positive claim. This is no evidence for the existence of god. Without claiming to know everything, it seems reasonable to assume therefore that god does not exist. But an assumption is not a belief. The scientific mind is always open to new answers, but only ones which have proof. If I was shown evidence for the existence of god, I would believe in god, but until that happens I shall remain an atheist.

There is no basis for the argument that religion provides a moral structure without which we would all somehow start killing each other, in fact without being the 'root of evil' that you suggest we think it is, religion has been the cause of a great deal of human suffering, hatred and death. Religion is something that grew up as a part of human culture, but there is no question that we coexisted perfectly well before we even had culture as we know it. This is clear from the archaeological record, and from the simple fact of our evolutionary success as a species.

The idea that the disappearance of religion would cause some kind of moral collapse in the modern world is simply ludicrous. Disagreement would not disappear, no, but neither would it be exacerbated. Quite the contrary, we would have one less thing to fight about. The ability of the human being to be decent is not predicated on belief in a supernatural entity.
Society would slowly ebb without the moral guidance of a religious culture. The majority of people in this world believe in the God of one religion or another. Through that belief and the faith that they are accountable for their actions by judgement from a power higher than man they follow a moral structure that is beneficial for mankind. Whether you realize it or not, your entire life is shaped by religion. You're either in or out of it. But the laws that govern us have a basis in religion. The founding fathers of my country (America - since this is a www forum I can't assume you're American but if you're then your founding fathers were Christians as well) were Christians and despite the fact that they wanted religious freedom they were still religious people. Their faith in God was the foundation for the moral structure they implied in the constitution of this country.

The religion of the American Intellectuals is pretty much exactly as you describe it. You call your faith reason. You call your methods wisdom and you filter everything (as I do) through your religion's viewpoint. Where the science of the day (and it is of the day because science changes more day by day) says that everything is a random collection of chaotic accidents. But honestly, how can that idea even sit well with you or anyone else? Look around at how the world operates and you don't random chaos, you see even relationships between environment and inhabitants. Where is the chaos except where we intervene? If this isn't evidence that it is our choice to use what God gave us then what is?

But I'm off on a different subject again.

My main point and I'm gonna lay back for a bit after this as I doubt I'll garner much respect here being a Christian is this: Because it isn't called a religion and because no one comes to your door on a bicycle wearing a necktie doesn't mean it isn't a religion. It also doesn't mean you've been indoctrinated without your knowledge. This is what bothers me so much about the seperation of church & state. We teach our children an entirely new religion while denying another. Why don't we offer classes on a variety of religions and let parents dictate which class they want their child to take, or none at all. The education of children from day one these days slowly attacks their ability to truly believe in God. Church and state aren't seperate already, but the religions not founded in the scientific method don't get an appropriate representation in our schools.

*Ducks as science books fly his way*
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Old 19th September 2007, 05:33 AM   #117 (permalink)
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Re: What period in history would you have loved to go back and see for yourself

I respect your right to hold Christian beliefs, I just vehemently disagree with them. And I feel you are confused about what is, and what is not a religion. I'm not American, I'm from Scotland, and I have my copy of the Oxford English Dictionary right here:

religion (n.) 1.) the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods. > a particular system of faith and worship
2.) a pursuit or interest followed with devotion.

Now, bearing in mind that the second usage is very informal ('sport was his religion'), I assume we've been talking about the first?

And regarding your point about America: first of all, the separation of Church and State is enshrined in the First Amendment of your Constitution.

You may also find this interesting:
Treaty of Peace and Friendship Between the United States and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary, 1796-1797
As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion--as it has itself no character of enmity against the law, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [Muslims], ... ("Article 11, Treaty of Peace and Friendship between The United States and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary,") 1796-1797

Regardless of what you may choose to believe, the values upon which your country was founded were very much secular values. Whether or not any of the individuals personally believed in god is not the point, they considered secularism a better model for their society, their 'new civilisation'.

Look around the world and you see chaos everywhere, particularly at the fundamental, quantum level. The universe is far stranger than the quaint anthropogenic notions enshrined in religion would have us believe. How can you look at that and then say that you understand it?

Religion has been a coping mechanism for an emerging species, helping it to begin to make sense of a baffling, nonsensical world by inventing explanations for things. Now that we have the scientific method, we don't need to invent explanations any more. We measure, we observe, and we obtain results that we can prove are true.

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Old 19th September 2007, 10:36 AM   #118 (permalink)
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Re: What period in history would you have loved to go back and see for yourself

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But your post is very telling.
Not as telling as yours.

Quote:
Athiests always believe that religion is the root of evil in the world.
I have been talking about ALL belief systems. No need to get defensive.

Quote:
The truth of it is that athiests belong to their own religion of sorts.
A common misapprehension.

Quote:
They mostly view themselves as intellectuals and believe that everyone outside of their worldview is slightly less intelligent than themselves for having faith in something that isn't tangible.
No need to get offensive.

Quote:
If this doesn't describe you then I read your post wrong and I apologize.
Too late.

Quote:
But the intellectual movement is in effect a religion. It operates with all the same components of a religion.
No it doesn't. This is is a commonly used argument - "You're just like us really." Well I'm not. I lump religion in with astrology, wizards, witches, fortune telling, mysticism, mediums, faith healers, flat-earthists and belief in fairies. All belief systems with no basis in reality.


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All of our laws and moral structure comes from our religions
No they don't. Another commonly held misapprehension. Man has invented language and mathematics, discovered the structure of the atom, the inner workings of the human body, the structure of the solar system (with loads of help form the church - NOT) and traveled to the moon and back, plus millions of other wonderful things without any 'outside' assistance - but we can't devise a few basic principles to help us live together without help from the almighty - yeah sure.

There's the old story of a vicar admiring a garden and saying to the gardener, "Isn't it wonderful what god can do?" The gardener replies "I'm not sure about that, you should have seen the mess this place was in before I got here."

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What desperate lives they'd live without faith in the fact that what they do on this world matters in the next. There'd be no sound reason why I couldn't do whatever the hell I wanted right?
Ah - the giveaway. Some of us think that doing the right thing by others is the right thing to do - because it is right. Others do it out of fear or desire for reward. I know which camp I fall into and know I know which camp you fall into.

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We disagree on property, possessions other than property (even intellectual property), race, money, etc.
But these things can be resolved, by laws, treaties and education. Disagreements over religion can't because there are no facts only beliefs and they will ALWAYS differ ALWAYS cause conflct.

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The funniest thing about it all is, no matter how good of an argument, you cannot convince people without faith that faith isn't the problem.
That's because it is. And it's not funny at all.

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I've been on the faithless side of the argument before and an invisible wall stands in the way of any religious person's words.
I'm an ex Methodist lay-preacher, there's no invisible wall at all. Just lack of education.

Last edited by mosaix; 19th September 2007 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 19th September 2007, 11:11 AM   #119 (permalink)
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Re: What period in history would you have loved to go back and see for yourself

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Why don't we offer classes on a variety of religions and let parents dictate which class they want their child to take, or none at all. *
why don't you let the child decide whether they want religion?
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Old 20th September 2007, 01:56 AM   #120 (permalink)
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Re: What period in history would you have loved to go back and see for yourself

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Not as telling as yours.

I have been talking about ALL belief systems. No need to get defensive.

A common misapprehension.

No need to get offensive.

Too late.

No it doesn't. This is is a commonly used argument - "You're just like us really." Well I'm not. I lump religion in with astrology, wizards, witches, fortune telling, mysticism, mediums, faith healers, flat-earthists and belief in fairies. All belief systems with no basis in reality.


No they don't. Another commonly held misapprehension. Man has invented language and mathematics, discovered the structure of the atom, the inner workings of the human body, the structure of the solar system (with loads of help form the church - NOT) and traveled to the moon and back, plus millions of other wonderful things without any 'outside' assistance - but we can't devise a few basic principles to help us live together without help from the almighty - yeah sure.

There's the old story of a vicar admiring a garden and saying to the gardener, "Isn't it wonderful what god can do?" The gardener replies "I'm not sure about that, you should have seen the mess this place was in before I got here."

Ah - the giveaway. Some of us think that doing the right thing by others is the right thing to do - because it is right. Others do it out of fear or desire for reward. I know which camp I fall into and know I know which camp you fall into.

But these things can be resolved, by laws, treaties and education. Disagreements over religion can't because there are no facts only beliefs and they will ALWAYS differ ALWAYS cause conflct.

That's because it is. And it's not funny at all.

I'm an ex Methodist lay-preacher, there's no invisible wall at all. Just lack of education.
A few points and I'm done here. I knew this would happen when I revealed myself as a Christian. No point I make is going to be well recieved.

1. To the religion providing the moral structure: Yes man accomplished these things, but you're putting the chicken before the egg. Man accomplished these things within the moral framework society uses.

2. You're an ex-Methodist. You above all should appreciate that being a Christian doesn't mean you have a lack of education. You've been indoctrinated by the athiest curriculums modern society promotes. You're absolutely right, it isn't funny. It is very sad.

3. You say that athiests don't believe that religion is the problem, but in your next to last point you say exactly that. Eliminating religion isn't the key to creating world peace. No law of man can compete with the moral structure that God provides.

4. You are practicing a religion, just an extremely non-tolerant one. I was making points without directing them at you necessarily while you are demonizing me and everyone who believes as I do. You lump Christians in with witch-doctors and everyone else that believes things with no basis in fact. But what are the facts that you believe? Science provides very few concrete things and is constantly making old theories obsolete or flat out proving them wrong. The science you worship today will be looked on as crude later on.

5. And lastly, many, many, many Christians are very well educated. You're the telling one by making the statement that we reveal ourselves to be lacking education by believing things we cannot see and touch. My life is enriched by my belief in God. I wish yours was as well, but I've been on your side of the fence and no matter what I say it won't bring you over. If, as you say, you've been on my side of the fence I wonder what could have possibly happened that made you leave.

To Soggyfox: We are parents and as such we make decisions for our children based on what we know to be best for them. Teaching our children to be good Christians is not only the right choice, it is the best choice we can make. We don't let our children decide whether or not to do drugs on their own. We know drugs will affect their lives in bad ways. We also know that living a life without God is an empty and arrogant existance and we want better things for our children. I hope that helps you see my view a little more clearly.

So, the thread is titled "What period in history would you have loved to go back and see for yourself."

It'll probably do well for all of us if we get back to that because there is very little chance anyone is going to get anywhere with this argument.

If anyone has anything further to ask or discuss with me about Christianity feel free to PM me.
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