I believe in God. And I'm not silly. - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 03-18-2008, 07:31 PM
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The title of this thread is somewhat tongue-in-cheek.



Many people say it is silly to believe in God. I think there are silly aspects of religion but the belief in God is not silly to me.



Recently there have been books that have negatively portrayed religion and there are some valid points in those books. I haven't read those books but I have heard discussions on those books. At least one of the books tries to refute the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. But Aquinas had already had, in a sense, refuted his writings. It's not so much that he rejected them entirely but that compared to his "experience of God" they really weren't very insightful.



Quote:
Once back in Naples, he worked on his commentary on Romans and continued the Third Part of the Summa , with the questions on the mysteries of Christ's life and the sacraments. But he was never to finish it, for on the feast St. Nicholas in December 1273 he had a vision in which, as he expressed it, "All that I have written seems like straw compared with what I have seen." After that he wrote no more.



-- Aquinas 101 by Francis Selman



I believe that all people with a deep and real faith in God have had an "experience of God" but to varying degrees. That is why I think their faith is not silly. I can see why others think a deep faith in God is silly because they haven't had that same experience or haven't understood that experience.



Finally we have a scientific analysis of 6 people having an experience of God. Six children in the former Yugoslavia have explained how they were/are seeing an apparition of Mary, the mother of Jesus. It started in the early 1980s and continues with at least one of them today. Of course there have been many skeptics including within the communist government that was in that country and among the Catholic priests, bishops and laity.



Scientists were also interested and they wanted to test the children.



The Miracle Detective by Randall Sullivan:



Quote:
From Publishers Weekly



...



He began in Rome, where he met with Catholic Church officials charged with investigating such phenomena, and proceeded to the village of Medjugorje in the former Yugoslavia, where the Virgin reportedly first appeared to six young people in 1981.



...



Much has been written about Marian apparitions, particularly those at Medjugorje, but The Miracle Detective may well emerge as one of the most comprehensive and engaging modern works on the subject. Well told and expertly researched, Sullivan's book should appeal to skeptics and believers alike.



http://www.amazon.ca/Miracle-Detecti.../dp/0802141951
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#2 Old 03-18-2008, 07:35 PM
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This thread probably belongs in the Heap.



Mod?

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#3 Old 03-18-2008, 07:37 PM
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This thread probably belongs in the Heap.



Mod?



Well, it will turn into a debate, so I agree.



Moving to the heap.

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#4 Old 03-18-2008, 07:41 PM
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On a more on topic note,



I also believe in God, and I am not silly.

I have had some of those deep mystical experiences you were talking about Mr. Sun.

I had faith beforehand as well, although my experiences certainly deepened my belief.



I do think that a literal interpretation of any scripture, or a belief that any one religion has it absolutely correct and all the other ones are dead wrong is silly. There is more to God than we can know, so for one person or faith to claim they have all the answers is, well... silly. *IMHO*

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#5 Old 03-18-2008, 07:46 PM
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Ok, so this is from the book mentioned in the OP:



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... Father Slavko began his first meeting by debunking his own myth. He was never so hardheaded as he had been made out to be, Slavko said "I accepted from the beginning that the apparitions were possible. If in Lourdes and Guadaloupe, why not in Medjugorje? But I admit I had more doubt than belief. When I first met the visionaries, I was expecting them to try to convince me. But they made no effort to do so. This is what made me want to look at them more closely."



The first possibility he entertained was that the apparitions had been orchestrated by overzealous priests.



...



"But I see problems with this right away. For example, when the group first comes together, the organizer is not there. Okay, maybe the group chooses the organizer later. It is possible. But when police come and put the organizer in jail, what happens? Nothing changes. And when the group itself beings to suffer, all of them suffer together. No one tries to escape. Eleven police stations in this district, each with three officers on duty at any time. And they change shift every eight hours, so these children are being questioned, watched, followed, by a hundred officers everyday, for months and months. In Sarajevo, Mirjana is taken to the police station everyday for six months. All her friends are brought to police station also, to be asked what she has told them. There is all this persecution and suffering, the organizer is in prison, the children and their families are under pressure, being threatened and ridiculed. And yet it is still going on. Psychologically, you cannot explain how that could be".



-- The Miracle Detective (p. 161)





I'm getting to the scientific observations now. Just a sec.
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#6 Old 03-18-2008, 07:47 PM
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i don't beleive in god, and i'm not silly either.



ok, i am, but thats got nothing to do with my atheism, its just co-incidental.
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#7 Old 03-18-2008, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Beancounter View Post

This thread probably belongs in the Heap.



Mod?



All the bad guys are in the Heap, though. *sigh*



lol
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#8 Old 03-18-2008, 07:53 PM
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I believe in God and I'm definitely "silly" (but I'm silly for other reasons). My belief in God isn't silly to me at all.



What others want to think is up to them.
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#9 Old 03-18-2008, 07:57 PM
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is it just me, or is anyone else getting the 'AA meeting' vibe here with all the "i _______ and i'm _______" posts?
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#10 Old 03-18-2008, 08:04 PM
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Dr. Lucia Capello, a neurologist, observed an almost complete lack of agitation in the children during the apparitions. Dr. Capello wrote that she had not only been impressed but deeply shaken by "the three synchonizations" in the seers' behavior: First, the visionaries dropped to their knees and their voices became inaudible in the same instant, without even a split of separation; second, without any observable awareness of one another, their voices again become audible at exactly the same moment, on the third word of the Our Father; finally the head and eyes of each visionary were raised in the same instant at the end of the apparition (when the Madonna ascended), as all five uttered "Ode". There was "no natural explanation" that could account for such perfect simultaneity, Dr. Capello wrote, particularly in the second and third instances.



...



The most aggressive tests performed on the visionaries were conducted by Dr. M. Frederica Magatti, who tried shouting at, jabbing, and pinching the seers during apparition, without obtaining "any observable reaction." Finally, after noting that the eyes of each child had become "hugely dilated" during the apparition, Dr. Magetti used a film projector with a 1000-watt bulb to blast their pupils with light. None of the five had reacted, Dr. Magatti wrote; not only did their pupils remain unusually dilated, but the eyelids of each seer continued to blink at a normal rate. The tests were merely "preliminary", Dr. Magatti noted; nevertheless, she was prepared to assert that the Medjugorje visionaries, during their apparitions, were demonstrating the most complete "suspension of consciousness of their relationship with the exterior world" she had ever observed in a subject.



ibid p. 163



Ok, one more section. Hang on to your hats.
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#11 Old 03-18-2008, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by hoodedclawjen View Post

is it just me, or is anyone else getting the 'AA meeting' vibe here with all the "i _______ and i'm _______" posts?



Definitely! I do not believe in God and I am not an evil heathen.
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#12 Old 03-18-2008, 08:08 PM
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I don't believe in god and I'm kind of silly.
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#13 Old 03-18-2008, 08:08 PM
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Well, your belief in god isn't silly as long as we don't consider a grown person's belief in Santa Claus or Leprechauns or Imaginary friends to be silly. But, in fact, we do consider those beliefs to be silly. And so the only two options are to churlishly believe in all things asserted enthusiastically, but without evidence, or to keep ourselves within the realm of reality.
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#14 Old 03-18-2008, 08:15 PM
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Well, your belief in god isn't silly as long as we don't consider a grown person's belief in Santa Claus or Leprechauns or Imaginary friends to be silly. But, in fact, we do consider those beliefs to be silly. And so the only two options are to churlishly believe in all things asserted enthusiastically, but without evidence, or to keep ourselves within the realm of reality.



that kinda talk makes the invisable man in the sky who reads your thoughts and knows your every move, and his son (who is also himself?) very cross, so i've heard.



i dunno- people can beleive whatever they want as far as i'm concerned, as long as



a) they don't try and make me/help me beleive it too.

b) they don't disregard or restrict other peoples rights, freedoms, and choices, as a result of what they beleive.

c) they don't cause a whole bunch of trouble.

d) probably some other stuff if i was more articulate and had thought this out.
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#15 Old 03-18-2008, 08:21 PM
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Dr. Jean Cadhilac added that the tests he had conducted on the visionaries "eliminate formally all clinical signs comparable to those observed during individual or collective hallucination, hysteria, neurosis, or pathological ecstasy."



Like everyone else who studied the results obtained by the French team, Dr. Joyeux was most impressed by the electroencephalogram tests that had measured activity in eight distinct areas of the seers' brains during their ecstasies. All states of consciousness known to neuroscience involved some admixture of alpha (receptive) and beta (reactive) impulses. Dr. Joyeux observed that the ratio of activity in the seers' brains prior to an apparition was exactly normal: ten alpha cycles to twenty beta cycles each second. Falling asleep or into a trance state would have increased the beta cycles while reducing the number of alpha cycles. During the apparitions, exactly the opposite occurred: Their beta impulses stopped completely. The six young people were not simple awake during their apparitions, but hyper-awake, in a state of pure meditation that had previously been observed in just a handful of Trappist or Buddhist monks while deeply in prayer. And those monks had achieved this "generalized alpha rhythm," Dr. Joyeux noted, only when their eyes were closed, whereas the Medugorje visionaries had kept their eyes wide open during the entire time of their apparitions.



ibid p. 203



And now I'll quote from my encyclopedia about mysticism.
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#16 Old 03-18-2008, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by AlainWinthrope View Post

Well, your belief in god isn't silly as long as we don't consider a grown person's belief in Santa Claus or Leprechauns or Imaginary friends to be silly. But, in fact, we do consider those beliefs to be silly. And so the only two options are to churlishly believe in all things asserted enthusiastically, but without evidence, or to keep ourselves within the realm of reality.



The people representing many aspects of science, who observed these children, were mystified by the results they obtained. They say they are seeing Mary. They say they are having "an experience of God". The scientists are stumped.



I'm looking forward to the scientific results of observations done on those who believe in Santa Claus or Leprechauns or whatever. Please provide links.
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#17 Old 03-18-2008, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Sun View Post

The people representing many aspects of science, who observed these children, were mystified by the results they obtained. They say they are seeing Mary. They say they are having "an experience of God". The scientists are stumped.



I'm looking forward to the scientific results of observations done on those who believe in Santa Claus or Leprechauns or whatever. Please provide links.



That doesn't mean very much. Just because scientists messed around with these kids for a bit doesn't mean a scientific experiment was conducted, and it certainly doesn't validate the children's delusions. Just think: how could you scientifically test (with current technology) the validity of a person's experience. And even if you could, would not a schizophrenic be shown to be as earnest as these children, and wouldn't it sound as convincing as the allegations of the girls who caused a woman to be tried and murdered for witchcraft?



And, by the way, my uncle believes in leprechauns--he even claims to have seen one.
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#18 Old 03-18-2008, 08:42 PM
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Well, it will turn into a debate, so I agree.



Moving to the heap.



But it hasn't turned into a debate , so why shift it , there seems to be a paranoia on the VB's that as soon as the word "god" in a thread is typed it has to go to the heap .
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#19 Old 03-18-2008, 08:44 PM
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From The World Book Encyclopedia 1969:



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Mysticism is the teaching or belief that a person achieves knowledge of God through direct awareness or personal intuition, rather than through logic and reasoning. A person who accepts mysticism is called a mystic. He wants to realize truth or ultimate meaning, not just think about it.



The mystic feels that all attempts to prove the existence of God by logic end in questions that cannot be answered. He believes that all the truths discovered by science lead finally to objects in space and time. The mystic believes that, following certain preperations, the heart can understand in a flash of insight what the mind may not be able to understand logically. He feels that intuition is the basis of religion.



Since mysticism seeks to go beyond the limits of logic and reasoning, it has some dangerous aspects. In religion, it has sometimes been associated with unstable personality. St. John of the Cross, a great Christian mystic, speaking of a nun who claimed to have held conversations with God, said: "All this that she says, 'God spoke to me; I spoke to God,' seems nonsense. She has only been speaking to herself." But mysticism still remains an expression of man's desire to have firsthand experience of meaning, reality, or God.



Mysticism plays a prominent part in Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Shinto. Quakers also stress the mystical element in religion. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have produced many mystics. Famous Catholic mystics include St. Bernard, Meister Eckhart, Jan van Ruysbroeck, St. Theresa, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. John of the Cross. Among protestant mystics are Jacob Boehme, George Fox, and Rufus Jones.



...



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#20 Old 03-18-2008, 08:48 PM
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I'm not a religious person but I think this quote by Randall Munroe might be relevant:



A million people can call the mountains a fiction, yet it need not trouble you as you stand atop them.
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#21 Old 03-18-2008, 08:50 PM
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I also believe in God, and I'm only silly when I feel like it.



I'm not sure how scientific experimentation could begin to test the veracity of a belief that goes outside of science, except to prove that someone does indeed sincerely believe it. Maybe a little help here, Mr. Sun?

Q: How many poets does it take to change a light bulb? A: 1001...one to change the bulb, 1000 to say it's already been done.
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#22 Old 03-18-2008, 08:51 PM
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That doesn't mean very much. Just because scientists messed around with these kids for a bit doesn't mean a scientific experiment was conducted, and it certainly doesn't validate the children's delusions.



The scientists have concluded that they aren't delusional. Many scientists. Reputable scientists.



Quote:
Just think: how could you scientifically test (with current technology) the validity of a person's experience.



They were able to test aspects of these people's experience. ETA: more precisely, they were able to examine aspects of the physiology of the children during the experiences. They cannot explain what's going on.



Quote:
And even if you could, would not a schizophrenic be shown to be as earnest as these children, and wouldn't it sound as convincing as the allegations of the girls who caused a woman to be tried and murdered for witchcraft?



Schizophrenia has been ruled out. All form of psychosis known to these professionals (including psychiatrists) have been ruled out.



Quote:
And, by the way, my uncle believes in leprechauns--he even claims to have seen one.



Well, he's got the luck of the Irish. Has he ever been scientifically observed by a variety professionals who've concluded that what he's experiencing cannot be explained.
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#23 Old 03-18-2008, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Skylark View Post

I also believe in God, and I'm only silly when I feel like it.



I'm not sure how scientific experimentation could begin to test the veracity of a belief that goes outside of science, except to prove that someone does indeed sincerely believe it. Maybe a little help here, Mr. Sun?



When one sincerely believes in something and goes on to explain what they believe they don't enter altered states that cannot be explained by scientists and professional mental health experts.



This Medjugorje experience doesn't prove the existence of God. But one must come to some conclusion after a whole array of tests have been conducted. Science, at the end of the tests, says there is no explanation. The children say they are seeing Mary. All forms of psychosis have been ruled out. We can believe the children or not believe them. But science cannot explain what's going on.
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#24 Old 03-18-2008, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Sun View Post

When one sincerely believes in something and goes on to explain what they believe they don't enter altered states that cannot be explained by scientists and professional mental health experts.



This Medjugorje experience doesn't prove the existence of God. But one must come to some conclusion after a whole array of tests have been conducted. Science, at the end of the tests, says there is no explanation. The children say they are seeing Mary. All forms of psychosis have been ruled out. We can believe the children or not believe them. But science cannot explain what's going on.



Ah, I getcha better now. You're saying that this experiment can't comment on whether God exists or not, but these children are certainly not delusional when they say they believe in God and have seen Mary. Right?

Q: How many poets does it take to change a light bulb? A: 1001...one to change the bulb, 1000 to say it's already been done.
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#25 Old 03-18-2008, 09:09 PM
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Ah, I getcha better now. You're saying that this experiment can't comment on whether God exists or not, but these children are certainly not delusional when they say they believe in God and have seen Mary. Right?



Yes. According to the experts who have studied them extensively, they are not delusional, they are not lying, and they are entering into a strange mental state that cannot be explained by the experts.



And I should say, that most experts on mysticism agree that the experience is subjective. You cannot say "they said to do such and such" and go and do it. It's like when 10 people observe a car accident and give different accounts. The accident happened but it may not be exactly as one witness says. Or when a speaker is giving a lesson, one may go home and explain the lesson but the latter version may be very different than what was said. We still have to use our minds to come to our own conclusion.



The Miracle Detective is an excellent book and it's written by a skeptic which makes it even better. I'm a skeptic at heart so I like the perspective.
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#26 Old 03-18-2008, 10:00 PM
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20/20 report on what's happening at Medjugorje. It's kinda old but might give a better sense of what's going on.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGsVE5jcs0o
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#27 Old 03-18-2008, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by AlainWinthrope View Post

That doesn't mean very much. Just because scientists messed around with these kids for a bit doesn't mean a scientific experiment was conducted, and it certainly doesn't validate the children's delusions. Just think: how could you scientifically test (with current technology) the validity of a person's experience. And even if you could, would not a schizophrenic be shown to be as earnest as these children, and wouldn't it sound as convincing as the allegations of the girls who caused a woman to be tried and murdered for witchcraft?



And, by the way, my uncle believes in leprechauns--he even claims to have seen one.





I've seen one too! He works at a BP station in Savannah!
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#28 Old 03-18-2008, 10:11 PM
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I don't know if I believe in God, and I am not silly. (Well, sometimes, I am, but I think God will forgive me. :P) There's no way to prove God, and I think that not knowing is half the fun.



When I was a Christian, I had these "experiences of God" in the past. But it could have just been nice music and community making me feel really happy. Regardless of who you are, and even if you have great faith, you can never be sure at all times.



I know any person who believes they have the one (capital t) Truth will disagree, but after studying religion for years (although there is much more to know), I feel that if there is an omnipotent, benevolent God like many think, he/she/it would know that nothing is black and white. As Catherine the Great said, "The more a man knows, the more he forgives." If God knows EVERYTHING then he (or whatever pronoun you can correctly attribute to God) has got to be really forgiving...even if we aren't whatever religion people claim is correct. No one can claim that God actually called them up and told them, "___ religion is true. So, if no one has any advantage over the rest of us (such as receiving phone calls from God), each religion is just an idea, one that is a human creation. I don't think that is necessarily bad, however. Religion is very important. It is just when it is oppressive and becomes part of the state that it is dangerous.



Even though I am not sure, I still pray once and a while. Maybe it is because I got used to it as a Christian, but it is my way of connecting myself to the universe and my idea of God, even if it is wavering and unsteady.



When I decided that I was going to question Christianity (and all religion, for that matter), I prayed to God and asked that he/she would lead me to where he/she wants me to be. I was deeply committed to following God's commands, and I still believe that if there is a God out there, I did follow what he/she wants.



I stopped being a Christian when I started being honest with myself, and admitted that I can't know, and I can't make all these claims about the universe because it is a lie to say I know. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to insult any religious people out there...but this was my experience.



I think that anyone who believes they can prove that God exists is afraid and trying too hard. Its impossible, so relax.
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#29 Old 03-18-2008, 10:17 PM
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Great post taryn. I really relate to what you wrote.
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#30 Old 03-18-2008, 10:45 PM
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I also believe that there is a god. Im not so blind to not realise that there have been many atrocities committed agenst supposed "heathens" in the name of religion either. people just need to realise that the dogma written for your chosen religion was written by people and being as such should be subject to suspicion when hate mongering(such as anti gay) is supported by your chosen religion.imo people who demean us for our belief in a higher power are no better than the zealots who scream anyone who doesnt follow their view of the after life will burn in hell for it. thats just my 2 cents.
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