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#31 Old 05-15-2015, 11:07 AM
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I forgive you, River. I shall not stone you to death!
Oh merciful Capstan, thank you!
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#32 Old 05-15-2015, 11:11 AM
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Oh merciful Capstan, thank you!
Thank you for the conversation!

"There is more wisdom in the song of a bird, than in the speech of a philosopher...." -Oahspe
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#33 Old 05-15-2015, 12:03 PM
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It doesn't make sense this way around. You're saying that people who criticize belief in the existence of God are themselves unsure of their own belief in the non-existence of God? That's not how the burden of proof works.

If you say to me that you've been communicating with the ghost of Michael Jackson and I'm sceptical of this, I might ask you to explain how ghosts exist, or why Michael Jackson decided to contact you rather than a member of his family, or about any of the other logical holes in your story. If you, then, can't offer anything as explanation and simply call me a bigot for criticizing your faith, you're showing a marked lack of understanding of your own belief system. Someone who truly communicates with Michael Jackson's ghost would have already pondered all these questions before, would have studied Michael Jackson's discography at length, and would be able to offer at least a passable explanation for the inconsistencies in his claim of paranormal communication. My asking you about it in the first place doesn't somehow imply that I secretly believe I've been communicating with ghosts, too.

Similarly, anyone who's serious about their belief in God will be able to offer an insightful answer to River's legitimate questions about the intersection of free will and God's will. It's a topic discussed at great length by biblical scholars, and anyone of faith will have considered this question before and come up with an answer acceptable to himself. Sharing it would be a wonderful exercise in affirmation, since Christians are encouraged to go out and spread the word about Christ.



Blaming religion is in no way analogous to blaming God. Religion is an existing, measurable human construct which manifests itself as a widespread system of churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples with hundreds or thousands of individual members each, many of them occupying positions of power in various world governments and military forces. Various religions have, throughout history, exercised their power by conquering lands and mass murdering non-believers. Today, religion exerts its power by the oppression of women and GLBTQ+ people through laws which limit their freedoms, and through a seemingly never-ending war over holy land which has cost thousands upon thousands of innocent lives. Religion exerts its power by making the genital mutilation of women and young boys an acceptable or even sacred practice, even in the United States. I fail to see how religion could ever be considered "harmless," or why its critics should be silenced in the name of tolerance.

God exerts no power because God is a story we tell ourselves, a story we've told ourselves for as long as we've been self-aware. Like all myths, the stories we tell about God convey certain deep truths-- not about the universe, but about ourselves. I'm very much interested in the truths hidden inside our mythology and folklore, and very able to recognize their inherent beauty and worth. This does not mean that I condone blind faith to any iteration of God. If someone is to call themselves a true believer, she should be familiar with her chosen religious texts and able to explain and defend her beliefs in the face of criticism. There is no worth in claiming allegiance to a God you've barely thought about simply because your parents took you to church as a child, and much less worth in using your shaky understanding of that God to justify your own hatred and bigotry of others.
Many spiritual or religious people do not choose to debate with those with different belief systems. It is pretty much purposeless for a Christian to argue with an atheist, especially an athiest who quotes from the Bible, mocks believers (big man in the sky, etc), tells believers that they aren't acting very Christian when they argue, etc. What is the purpose? An athiest arguing in this fashion is unlikely to change his beliefs in his logic, so why bother? It is like debating veganism with a duck hunter. Purpose?

I am not religious, but I am spiritual. I chose Buddhism in adulthood, and also like some of Hinduism's ideas. I never in a million years would tell those of another (or no) religion what to believe, or try to change their minds.

As far as people thanking God for Grandma surviving the hip replacement, or saying they place their trust in a god to help them through hard times, what harm does it really do? It is a hard world, let people find comfort where they may.

We are all so very lucky. Yes, we may work hard for our achievements, but if we had been born in a different place, a different time, to different parents, our present and future would look very different from what they do now. I do not believe anyone succeeds without good fortune, as well as other people, playing a part.
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#34 Old 05-15-2015, 12:08 PM
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i don't identify as an atheist or nihilist, i don't need to, it has no impact on my life as i spend literally no time thinking of a god, a religion or the arguments for or against them.
Hi Muttley

You may be interested in the Freedom Of Thought Report 2014 (A Global Report On Discrimination Against Humanists, Atheists And The NonReligious) produced by the International Humanist and Ethical Union). LINK

Just be glad that, as a person without religion, you live in the USA.
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#35 Old 05-15-2015, 03:54 PM
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I don't see that my thread has anything to do with vegetarianism, animal rights, animal welfare, etc. The Compost Heap is to discuss all manner of contentious topics, not just those vegetarian ones.

I would never seek to pander to any group, simply to avoid alienation. If a religious person, including my friend on Facebook who made the original post (and is also a member here) would like to defend the idea, I would love that. It is only through listening and discussion that any learning can be done. If someone is so insecure in their beliefs (vegetarian or religious) that they cannot defend them or weather an offense, they are not stable beliefs anyway.
I would just like to point out, that no one is going to have any interest in defending their beliefs, when there is so many posts in a thread that show such a lack of respect to those beliefs.
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#36 Old 05-15-2015, 04:09 PM
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I would just like to point out, that no one is going to have any interest in defending their beliefs, when there is so many posts in a thread that show such a lack of respect to those beliefs.
Then those beliefs will never earn respect in the conversation.
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#37 Old 05-15-2015, 04:55 PM
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Then those beliefs will never earn respect in the conversation.
But people don't need to defend their beliefs if they are secure in them and just going about their life in their own way. Why beat a dead horse? Few will change their minds, and I'm not out to recruit.

Like I said, I'm lucky to have been born where and when in history I was, so there is freedom to choose. I don't need to defend or explain my spiritual beliefs because they are legal and make my life happier and more fulfilled.
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#38 Old 05-15-2015, 09:49 PM
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But people don't need to defend their beliefs if they are secure in them and just going about their life in their own way. Why beat a dead horse? Few will change their minds, and I'm not out to recruit.

Like I said, I'm lucky to have been born where and when in history I was, so there is freedom to choose. I don't need to defend or explain my spiritual beliefs because they are legal and make my life happier and more fulfilled.
I agree, I do.

But if someone doesn't want to discuss the merits or their beliefs, they will never have their voice as part of the discussion.

It's hard to disagree with the stance or general tone of the conversation because no one has yet presented that view, and then say they won't present their view because no one yet has presented it.
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#39 Old 05-15-2015, 11:18 PM
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Id like to say one thing, God might not open doors for someone, but luck does. So it's not just hard work that gets you somewhere.
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#40 Old 05-16-2015, 12:53 AM
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Id like to say one thing, God might not open doors for someone, but luck does. So it's not just hard work that gets you somewhere.
There's a famous quote from the golfer Arnold Palmer:

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"I was practicing in a bunker down in Texas and this good old boy with a big hat stopped to watch. The first shot he saw me hit went in the hole. He said, "You got 50 bucks if you knock the next one in." I holed the next one. Then he says, "You got $100 if you hole the next one." In it went for three in a row. As he peeled off the bills he said, "Boy, I've never seen anyone so lucky in my life." And I shot back, "Well, the harder I practice, the luckier I get."

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#41 Old 05-16-2015, 07:43 AM
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As far as people thanking God for Grandma surviving the hip replacement, or saying they place their trust in a god to help them through hard times, what harm does it really do? It is a hard world, let people find comfort where they may.
I would be lying if I said I didn't believe in God when I was young, like everyone else I too grew up hearing sentences like pray for yourself and others, have faith and everything shall turn out fine etc, & it really did comfort me during those times. Every kid all over the world prays for good grades or even for the smallest things like for a tummy ache to go away, I know I did. Reading your post reminded me about the few good things about organized religion.. if nothing else its a source of strength for a momentary weakness, it doesn't harm anyone as it just uses positive thinking disguised in the form of God.

Of course like anything else all extremes hurt and religion taken to extremes of dogmatism and illogical thinking would hurt the follower too. Luckily my religion of Brahmanism never came with dogmas, its sole philosophy is peace on earth in the form of vegetarianism & being honest with oneself & I feel lucky I got a great start due to that. No religion is all bad but the problem starts when man tweaks it for his personal gain. Even the hippie movement (minus the drugs) had great potential, it was all about love, harmony and music what could go wrong? Unfortunately all of them wanted to trip while at it.
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#42 Old 05-16-2015, 07:56 AM
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Just be glad that, as a person without religion, you live in the USA.
@leedsveg We've discussed related things before and I know you're no stranger to India, I'd say one of the greatest advantages in India is the freedom to keep your religious stance discreet, its hands down the easiest place to be an atheist in. People are more interested in what you are as a person than the religion you represent. Of course extremists exist like every other place on earth but on the whole so far I've never had to disclose my religious identity (unless of course when in friendly conversation), & since the primary religion of the country (Hinduism) isn't even a religion it gets all the better.
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#43 Old 05-16-2015, 09:07 AM
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Unfortunately, I have noticed this uptick in what ive been calling Instagram Atheists who seem to think, atheism is nothing more than childishly mocking other's religions and wearing clothes with inverted crosses on them and this is some form of Super Badass Rebellion.
"Instagram Atheists"....excellent! And so true. Ridicule is the last bastion of someone with nothing to say. (And the last bastion of the childish.)

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i'll admit, I've never read the bible or any scripture from any other religions, nor do i plan to. i stay out of the politics of people's religions and beliefs for the simple fact that for as long as i can remember, I've just never thought there was anything beyond this life, nothing political or malicious behind it, its just what gets me through the day i suppose. whatever the person next to me believes in, that gets them through the day, as long as it doesn't interfere with me or the rights of others, is absolutely fine. i think the line is crossed, not just with religious beliefs but many aspects of life, when people try and push their beliefs or lack of on others. a catholic doesn't want to hear about my argument for a disbelief in god, (which is good because it would be an awfully short conversation, ' i dunno, it doesn't sound right to me') anymore than i want to hear an argument for their flavor of god.

i don't identify as an atheist or nihilist, i don't need to, it has no impact on my life as i spend literally no time thinking of a god, a religion or the arguments for or against them.
I've re-read your post a few times because it's possibly the most intelligent thing I've seen from atheists here. Some of the seeming anger and blatant ridicule is pretty silly. It's as guilt-driven and fear-based as the crap vegheads get from so many meat-eaters. It's both laughable and a bit pathetic.

Thanks for sharing your views. I feel and think similarly to you, albeit from the other side of the coin.
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#44 Old 05-16-2015, 10:28 AM
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i work very hard. i pray, too. but the answer is always "No."
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#45 Old 05-16-2015, 11:54 AM
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I'm a firm believer in the just get on with life and deal with the after life when it comes religion.
the whole point of an after life, is its after, how can any living man tell me that he knows whats after what is.
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#46 Old 05-16-2015, 04:50 PM
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I'd like to recommend the BBC television series called Human Universe, and particularly the episode called "Why Are We Here?"

Presented by astrophysicist Brian Cox, it gives scientific explanations for how the vast complexity of life emerged from the simple laws of physics. It's gorgeously written and leaves you with a true appreciation for and awe of the beauty of the universe.
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#47 Old 05-16-2015, 05:16 PM
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Now lets change your argument to something less mystic
Lets say instead of being skeptical about somebody's God, you are questioning their theory that they were born gay and it is not a choice.
I think it's fair to question that belief. I think it's fair to question every belief. I am curious to know the reasoning behind the theory that people are born gay, or that they aren't, or that God exists, or that God doesn't. It's only by examining the evidence that anyone can discern which theories are most likely to be true. That's the purpose of criticism, and I think it's a noble purpose. If we're genuinely interested in knowing the objective truth about the ways our world operates, then we have to be willing to examine every possibility until we find the one that fits best-- and we have to also be flexible enough to allow our "best fit" to change with new information and new evidence, which is something that most religions are by definition unwilling to do.
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#48 Old 05-16-2015, 09:48 PM
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I agree, I do.

But if someone doesn't want to discuss the merits or their beliefs, they will never have their voice as part of the discussion.

It's hard to disagree with the stance or general tone of the conversation because no one has yet presented that view, and then say they won't present their view because no one yet has presented it.
There is no real want to be in the conversation, when there is so much hostility before an affirmative stance has even been presented. Your original post did not leave any opening for discussion, when it came right out with ridicule immediately. Anyway, just wanted to say that, and if you ever wish to actually have a discussion, rather than ridicule, feel free to pm me.
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#49 Old 05-17-2015, 01:03 AM
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Your original post did not leave any opening for discussion, when it came right out with ridicule immediately.
I totally disagree that River came out with ridicule in her opening post. She was merely challenging a religious statement with which she disagreed.
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#50 Old 05-17-2015, 03:08 AM
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I totally disagree that River came out with ridicule in her opening post. She was merely challenging a religious statement with which she disagreed.
What about this part of the original post?

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It goes to one of my main complaints against religion or the belief in a supreme deity. This idea that you wait and let the deity open doors for you, will things to happen for you, fate, destiny, blah blah blah.
It suggests she considers the words of the faithful to be gibberish- unworthy of consideration or legitimate analysis. It's hardly the way to invite constructive discussion. If the OP wants to be taken seriously, perhaps she should question with more objectivity. "Blah blah blah," says her mind is not open to legitimate discussion. Why would someone secure in their beliefs want to submit to that sort of baiting?

"There is more wisdom in the song of a bird, than in the speech of a philosopher...." -Oahspe
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#51 Old 05-17-2015, 03:26 AM
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"Instagram Atheists"....excellent! And so true. Ridicule is the last bastion of someone with nothing to say. (And the last bastion of the childish.)

....Some of the seeming anger and blatant ridicule is pretty silly. It's as guilt-driven and fear-based as the crap vegheads get from so many meat-eaters. It's both laughable and a bit pathetic
Right!

"There is more wisdom in the song of a bird, than in the speech of a philosopher...." -Oahspe
"The thing is, you cannot judge a race. Any man who judges by the group is a pea-wit. You take men one at a time." -Buster Kilrain, The Killer Angels -Michael Shaara
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#52 Old 05-17-2015, 03:29 AM
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to save her from the fires of hell of cours
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#53 Old 05-17-2015, 04:47 AM
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"Blah blah blah," says her mind is not open to legitimate discussion. Why would someone secure in their beliefs want to submit to that sort of baiting?
I think River has managed to generate and sustain a good discussion which may surprise some in view of what you say Capstan. Maybe most members have focused on the gist of what River was trying to convey, rather than getting hung up on the words "blah blah blah"? Good discussions are one of the things I like about VeggieBoards whether our views in them coincide or not. I prefer both sides in a debate to try to find common ground but the following statement as discussion has progressed, gives me no reason to be optimistic in this thread:

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Some of the seeming anger and blatant ridicule is pretty silly. It's as guilt-driven and fear-based as the crap vegheads get from so many meat-eaters. It's both laughable and a bit pathetic
[I'm quoting part of Everly's post #43 here]
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#54 Old 05-17-2015, 04:53 AM
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I know I've come in from nowhere, but I have been following this thread and I've found it super interesting

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It suggests she considers the words of the faithful to be gibberish- unworthy of consideration or legitimate analysis. It's hardly the way to invite constructive discussion. If the OP wants to be taken seriously, perhaps she should question with more objectivity. "Blah blah blah," says her mind is not open to legitimate discussion. Why would someone secure in their beliefs want to submit to that sort of baiting?
I totally get how you could read it that way, but have you considered that maybe you read it in a tone that was not intended? For me, I simply use 'blah blah blah' if I'm too lazy to continue listing things and I figure people can just assume what I would have said in place of it if I finished the sentence properly. Kind of a substitute for 'etc'! Well, that's just me, anyway..
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#55 Old 05-17-2015, 05:03 AM
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I know I've come in from nowhere, but I have been following this thread and I've found it super interesting

I totally get how you could read it that way, but have you considered that maybe you read it in a tone that was not intended? For me, I simply use 'blah blah blah' if I'm too lazy to continue listing things and I figure people can just assume what I would have said in place of it if I finished the sentence properly. Kind of a substitute for 'etc'! Well, that's just me, anyway..
Theatre Company Blah Blah Blah are based here in Leeds and it's a well known fact that Leeds folk would never dream of being disrespectful.

I use the blah phrase all the time and so does Mrs Leedsveg.
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#56 Old 05-17-2015, 05:42 AM
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To me, the focus on River's word choice serves as a convenient way to ignore her legitimate query and therefore sidestep a difficult conversation.

You ask why a religious person would want to post her views here, on a thread where she'll likely face opposition? Because that's the whole purpose of a debate! Those who prefer to avoid these conversations probably shouldn't be participating in a thread about religion in The Compost Heap, anyway.

I, for one, am genuinely interested in the ways in which religious people rationalize the contradiction between free will and God's will. If God is omniscient, then He is already aware of what will happen tomorrow. If I'm playing a game of Scrabble with my husband tomorrow, God knows today which of us will win-- which means that the outcome of the game is predetermined, the winner is already fixed. As God is also all-powerful and responsible for every event in our lives, we can surmise that the outcome of the game is part of God's plan. Presuming that I win, it is God's will that I win, and I can thank Him for assuring my victory. Since my win is fated and determined by God, should I even bother brushing up on my Scrabble skills today? Should I put any effort into gameplay at all? If tomorrow I do a terrible job and my husband beats me by several hundred points, did I lose because of my own actions, or was it God's will that I lose?

It's all fun and games when the example is a friendly Scrabble match, but how does this conundrum play out on a larger scale with more serious consequences? Do the victors of war win because they had a tactical advantage or because they were favoured by God? What does that mean for the losers?
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#57 Old 05-17-2015, 06:33 AM
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Today's Sunday, so I'm going to take a day of rest from this thread.

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#58 Old 05-17-2015, 06:49 AM
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I, for one, am genuinely interested in the ways in which religious people rationalize the contradiction between free will and God's will.
I've been interested in free will for at least the last 40 years nwj. Outside of "nature and nurture", where could free will come from except from a divine entity? Bring in a divine entity and you have the problems/complexities that you mention. I understand that for members of the Salvation Army (in which I was brought up) if a person hears about Jesus but decides not to become a Christian, then that person will go to Hell when they die. So should that person suddenly start having Christian faith if they feel they are about to die and how exactly does fear bring you to a genuine faith?
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#59 Old 05-17-2015, 07:01 AM
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I've been interested in free will for at least the last 40 years nwj. Outside of "nature and nurture", where could free will come from except from a divine entity? Bring in a divine entity and you have the problems/complexities that you mention. I understand that for members of the Salvation Army (in which I was brought up) if a person hears about Jesus but decides not to become a Christian, then that person will go to Hell when they die. So should that person suddenly start having Christian faith if they feel they are about to die and how exactly does fear bring you to a genuine faith?
It's interesting that you bring up the nature v. nurture debate-- sort of the secular person's free will conundrum!
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#60 Old 05-17-2015, 07:12 AM
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I know I've come in from nowhere, but I have been following this thread and I've found it super interesting



I totally get how you could read it that way, but have you considered that maybe you read it in a tone that was not intended? For me, I simply use 'blah blah blah' if I'm too lazy to continue listing things and I figure people can just assume what I would have said in place of it if I finished the sentence properly. Kind of a substitute for 'etc'! Well, that's just me, anyway..
That's exactly what it was too >.<
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