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Old 06-03-2007, 01:51 PM   #316
Sternwallow
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The point is, I like to watch Sternwallow dice it up and go through it point by point, and finally pin the poor theist down to the point where they can't squirm anymore. They either leave, or complain they can't reason with him.
He has you conned with his lengthy messages and his misquotations from scripture. He doesn't dice, slice or go through anything point by point. He makes one irrelevant comment after another based on a reading of an ancient document that would earn him an F in any college literature course. We just get tired of trying to teach him what he either will not or cannot learn and we bail.

What I am positing is that he really can't understand what he is reading. So now I am feeling guilty for cutting him off a few months back. Well, not exactly that. I would have had to stop trying to get through to him no matter what. But I would have been a great deal more gracious about it, if I had understood that literature just isn't his cup of tea and that there wasn't any way he could get what I and the others have been trying to convey.
Ye cats, this is high comedy. Wait for the man to respond! He's going to peel your onion on the latter posts, as well.
Ratty, I thank you for the implied praise and I will try to live up to it, but I am not always in a position to create a comprehensive, Bass-O-Matic job on Lily and Lily wannabes.

"Those who most loudly proclaim their honesty are least likely to possess it."
"Atheism: rejecting all absurdity." S.H.
"Reality, the God alternative"
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Old 06-03-2007, 01:56 PM   #317
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Guess I needs to buy me a pick-em-up truck to carry my logic-box in. That "never-to-be-sufficiently-damned"* theistic claptrap is going to require a HUGE bed, though.

*a cookie for finding of that reference- quite esoteric!
I didn't cheat by using google so I am not sure, but it sounds a lot like "Paradise Lost" or "Faust".

"Those who most loudly proclaim their honesty are least likely to possess it."
"Atheism: rejecting all absurdity." S.H.
"Reality, the God alternative"
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Old 06-03-2007, 01:56 PM   #318
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Lily wrote
What I am positing is that he really can't understand what he is reading.
Shorter Lily: "Anyone who disagrees with my interpretations doesn't know how to read."

atheist (n): one who remains unconvinced.
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Old 06-03-2007, 01:58 PM   #319
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The problem is that it is the glory of science to progress and a great deal of what we "know for certain" turns out to be only partial knowledge, till other facts come in. The purpose of revelation is not to tell us everything about everything. It is to tell us about the important things. ...
What is important to you? Let's see if our priorities match up.
I think that curing cancer, AIDS, and crippling childhood diseases are very important things. These are but a few of the many endeavors that are actively being pursued by scientists. What are the theists offering?
The same prayers they used before the germ theory was ever imagined.

"Those who most loudly proclaim their honesty are least likely to possess it."
"Atheism: rejecting all absurdity." S.H.
"Reality, the God alternative"
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Old 06-03-2007, 02:11 PM   #320
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That is a good point and I don't deny it at all. I just see it as the other side of the same coin. For me (for us, really) the difference is that we see that we are weighing claims made not in the dim and misty past but in well attested and documented historical times. Indeed, one does have to weigh the evidence and make a decision and, as I said elsewhere, it is not a slam dunk for the home team. But the idea that Christ's miracles, resurrection, etc would violate the priciples of science is a bias that does not grow out of the study of science but is brought to it, to paraphrase the always quotable C S Lewis.
How is it not a slam dunk for the home team of the supremely wise creator of the universe to get the message across clearly, unambiguously and worthy of some sort of reliance?

Miracles are, by most definitions, violations of natural law, otherwise they would not be special or deserving of any awe. The other main definition of miracles, thanks to the ever quotable Arthur C. Clarke, is that they are merely technology beyond our current level of understanding.
There is no reason I can see to give spiritual credence to an event that comes from some advanced kid's toybox or that actually violates laws of nature while always remaining impossible to validate.

Jesus must be God because he self-resurrected.
The resurrection must have happened because somebody said that God said so.

"Those who most loudly proclaim their honesty are least likely to possess it."
"Atheism: rejecting all absurdity." S.H.
"Reality, the God alternative"
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Old 06-03-2007, 02:15 PM   #321
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Guess I needs to buy me a pick-em-up truck to carry my logic-box in. That "never-to-be-sufficiently-damned"* theistic claptrap is going to require a HUGE bed, though.

*a cookie for finding of that reference- quite esoteric!
I didn't cheat by using google so I am not sure, but it sounds a lot like "Paradise Lost" or "Faust".
Really esoteric: A quote of Boskone from E.E. "Doc" Smith's "Second Stage Lensman":

"Also, from the fact that everybody having any weight at all wore thought-screens, it was almost a foregone conclusion that they had been warned against, and were on the lookout for, THE Lensman - that never-to-be-sufficiently-damned Lensman who had already done so much hurt to the Boskonian cause."
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Old 06-03-2007, 02:19 PM   #322
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To you, Sterny:

:bow::bow::bow::bow::bow::bow::bow:
Seven bows, a new personal best! I'd like to thank the academy.....:D

"Those who most loudly proclaim their honesty are least likely to possess it."
"Atheism: rejecting all absurdity." S.H.
"Reality, the God alternative"
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Old 06-03-2007, 02:19 PM   #323
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He has you conned with his lengthy messages and his misquotations from scripture. He doesn't dice, slice or go through anything point by point. He makes one irrelevant comment after another based on a reading of an ancient document that would earn him an F in any college literature course. We just get tired of trying to teach him what he either will not or cannot learn and we bail.

What I am positing is that he really can't understand what he is reading. So now I am feeling guilty for cutting him off a few months back. Well, not exactly that. I would have had to stop trying to get through to him no matter what. But I would have been a great deal more gracious about it, if I had understood that literature just isn't his cup of tea and that there wasn't any way he could get what I and the others have been trying to convey.
Ye cats, this is high comedy. Wait for the man to respond! He's going to peel your onion on the latter posts, as well.
Ratty, I thank you for the implied praise and I will try to live up to it, but I am not always in a position to create a comprehensive, Bass-O-Matic job on Lily and Lily wannabes.
I am just so amused by lily's skill at artful dodgery that I love it when she gets to the point where she "can't discuss it with you anymore", as you have pinned her down to the real question that she can't/won't answer. You did good on this one, but of course, there is that finger-in-the-ears denial going on. I realize you ask every theist the same questions for that reason- none of them can give a satisfactory answer, because you have placed them in a position they can't defend anymore. Not because you don't read it or get it.

And, oh, sorry if it seemed like I was offering your services. Of course, your time is your own.
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Old 06-03-2007, 02:24 PM   #324
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You perpetuate the canard that Einstein proved that all of Newtonian physics were wrong. Einstein's gravity did not replace Newton's; rather it showed that Newton's was a special case of a more general understanding covering scales that were quite impractical for Newton. Newtonian physics is still getting our spacecraft to their destinations with astounding accuracy even while the speed of light has to enter the calculations for GPS systems to work properly.

Incidentally, the "G" that sometimes appears in the equations of both Newton and Einstein does not refer to god.
That's slightly misleading Sterny. It's not so much that Newton's gravity is a special case, it's more like a first approximation. Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure that spacecraft always use the correct relativistic calculations.
You are right, I dumbed it down a bit for the smaller gauge mind of my audience. I also deliberately didn't elaborate on the relativistic adjustments required for GPS that, every microsecond confirm the time difference caused by the relative velocities of the satellites and the ground. I didn't check so I am not sure, but I think the required GPS adjustment also amounts to ongoing practical validation of the twins paradox.

"Those who most loudly proclaim their honesty are least likely to possess it."
"Atheism: rejecting all absurdity." S.H.
"Reality, the God alternative"
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Old 06-03-2007, 03:01 PM   #325
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I must object! I sometimes loosely characterize well known ideas, but, more than any other poster, I give the actual text from the Book and do not misquote. Perhaps I reference smashing kids on rocks. When the detail is important, I give the whole quote “Pss.137:9 Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.” when I ask what noble principle is to be gleaned from that “poetry” or in what possible context can happy infanticide be honored.
I (taking your word for it that you are a bibliophile who enjoys all sorts of literature) am partly glad and partly not to know that you understand all kinds of literature. Glad, as a human being, that that particular pleasure is not foreclosed to you but not glad, because it demonstrates the truth of my observation that you are deliberately dodging and deliberately misunderstanding the real point of everything I have tried to convey.

Misquoting individual scriptures can be bad, if you are trying to make a point but I really had in mind the pairing of quotes that irrelevant to one another or that you misuse to bolster a false argument. We have talked, for instance, about Psalm 137 before. You just didn't listen. There is no noble principle to be gleaned from that Psalm, per se, beyond the obvious that the psalmist is expressing again that he trusts God to bring the Jews out of captivity. It conveys the grief the captive nation feels. The fact that he hopes that the babies of the enemy will be dashed against rocks should shock us; unfortunately that was a common fate of vanquished foes at that time and in that part of the world. There was no Geneva convention in place and those peoples needed to do some evolving of the moral kind.

The Psalms as a whole are there because they are the songs of the people whose history the OT is recording. They express trust in the goodness of God towards the nation and towards the Psalmist. Any good commentary on Psalms can give you more information.

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I am quite comfortable with the written word in its many forms, literature, fiction, textbooks, poetry etc. The very big mistake that I do not make is to read one kind of text thinking it is another. So, when reading poetry, for instance, I appreciate and experience the emotions the author intended. I do not read it as sacred communication intended to enrich my relationship with an insubstantial and ill-defined god.
Anyone who thinks that the God of the Bible is insubstantial and ill-defined has either not read the Bible or has not learned to read, period.

Yet again I say, scratch an atheist, uncover a fundamentalist. You, despite the education you have (or could have) received from Steve, Thomas and even me, continue to read the Bible literally and find it wanting (naturally) as a scientific text.

This is why it does not repay me or any of the others to try and engage you on these issues.

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... I am not always in a position to create a comprehensive, Bass-O-Matic job on Lily and Lily wannabes.
Well, I don't begrudge you the adulation of your amen corner. I should point out to you, though, that you have never even come close to creating "a Bass-O-Matic" job on me. You simply will not engage my point. Anyone can win at his own game when he creates the rules! :lol:
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Old 06-03-2007, 03:12 PM   #326
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I don't know how you have the patience. One also has to be careful to speak to theists in the right way. It's a bit like responding to a scowling wife: the wrong word and the shit hits not the fan but your face: For example, what is the correct response to a request to take out the garbage:

a) Yeah, I'll do it later

b) don't nag me woman

c) No problem, I'll do it immediately. I love you.

d) ok, after this wank

e) you're the garbage, take yourself out bitch

For some reason theists don't respond well to my analysis of their condition....
I didn't realize that you had been married. Gee, don't you learn from your mistakes? Your analysis of our condition is banal. To repeat myself, I always require an analgesic after I try to set y'all straight.

What a pair of losers we are! You will have to develop new strategies for pleasing your next wife and I will have to develop new strategies for smiting heathens!
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Old 06-03-2007, 03:41 PM   #327
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What a pair of losers we are!
you're half right! That's a step in the right direction.

(I didn't say I had been married, I was merely using the power of empathy.)

You can always turn tricks for a few extra bucks. If looks are an issue, there's the glory hole option, but don't expect more than ... tips.
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Old 06-03-2007, 03:45 PM   #328
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See above. This is a literary account and not written by God. It reflects, I suppose, the mathematical understanding of the man/men who wrote it. Yaaawwwn!
This is something that I have never understood. A particular section of the bible does not stand up to scientific scrutiny so you simply attribute it to the fallability of the human authors. What you don't seem to realize is that virtually no part of the bible stands up to scientific scrutiny. It should be very clear that the entire bible is the work of man.

I think this nit-picking is what bothers me the most about modern-day Christians. Although I don't like evangelicals at least they have the guts to be more-or-less consistent in what they believe. Catholics and liberals on the other hand go all over the place, picking out what they like while rejecting what they don't like. God's laws my ass. What good are god's laws if you are just going to nit-pick them?

I have heard Lily and other Catholics saying that certain parts of the bible are historical, others are literal, others are only allegorical. And yet they have consistently failed to provide guidelines for deciding which is which. In fact, in e-mail exchanges with them a couple of years ago I was rather horrified to learn that it's done in a more-or-less ad hoc fashion (this is probably how the canonical gospels and texts were chosen as well). I guess it's based on whatever the prevailing concensus is at the time based on what people want to believe. Is this right Lily?

Religion - it gives people hope in a world torn apart by religion.
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Old 06-03-2007, 03:53 PM   #329
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What a pair of losers we are!
you're half right! That's a step in the right direction.

(I didn't say I had been married, I was merely using the power of empathy.)
:lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

"you're the garbage, take yourself out bitch" My heart is moved; my withers wrung, by this example of your empathy!
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Old 06-03-2007, 04:04 PM   #330
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The Bible tells people what to believe. It is written in a language that is, at least indirectly, accessible to them and comprehensible. Notably, the Bible does not tell people how to believe what it says they should believe. The OT is supposed to be accurate down to the famous "jot and tittle" and that contributes to the necessity of taking it quite literally.
The Bible does not tell people what to believe. At least not in the way you mean. The Old Testament records the history of the Jews. It starts, using the prevailing cosmology of the Babylonians, by explaining how anyone/thing got here and then the author(s) move on quickly to explain why the affairs of men are not in a better order. Finally the narrative moves on to speak of the Jews' progenitor, Abraham. So the authors sum up in approximately 22 chapters (I am too lazy to get up and check the exact number) the entire prehistory of the world, to get to the matter at hand-- explaining the origins of their nation.
It is good to hear that we need not believe any of the OT as being accurate characterizations of God or of His behavior. Frankly the OT does not treat God in a favorable light at all.
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It (the OT) then records their tribal history and its laws. You will not find many of them on the tablets Moses brought down from the mountain. God stated his precepts and the ancient tribes worked out how to implement them. The jot and tittle remark has nothing to do with men's laws but God's.
The "five books of Moses", last I heard, were the "law of God" that Jesus spoke of. Unless you can find a contradicting reference, he meant the jot or tittle to apply to the entirety of that law.
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So, when Revelation speaks of a dragon with seven heads and ten crowns (at a time when empires and states and rulers were well known) he was obviously not talking about some empire with ten kings or any other such interpretation or he would have been perfectly able to do so. When the end of it all comes, if I have a vantage point (which I doubt), I expect to see a fire-breathing seven headed dragon rise up from the sea rather than a renewed Roman empire composed of ten nations. That is what the writers of the Bible, for my culture, clearly believed.
We have had this conversation too many times for me to have any expectation that it will help for me to explain it to you again. Nor will your echo chamber here get it. But maybe one solitary soul whose name we don't know will read it and think about it ...

Scratch an atheist, uncover a fundamentalist. [I admit to being a critic of inerrancy.] How is it possible for you to expect that what is described in Revelation is an exact account of how God looks and that there will be a dragon with 7 heads, etc. except on the belief that the Bible was written directly by God? I can't say more than I have said on this score in the past. Again, we are talking about reasonably educated belief vs literal reading. This is, as Steve pointed out eloquently a real problem for Protestants who believe that each person can read and understand the Bible himself. The Catholic and Orthodox have never been bibliolators so they don't have this problem.
I myself had a dream just last night. I was frantically trying to fix broken plumbing in a shifting combination of my current home and the one I grew up in. Since this was revealed to me, I am burdened to write it down for posterity. Since I have only a tiny idea what it all means, I can only express it in terms that I do understand. Now, if this dream of mine is included in a work of sacred text, you must find a way to extract the spiritual meaning from it. If you want information you can rely on, and why would I have bothered to write it down otherwise, you need reliable analysis tools that will yield the same information to you and anyone else who uses them. Here is a hint: the broken wall showing water collecting on the gravel basement floor below is an anagram for the need for compassion in the third world. Here is another hint: the basement floor really was covered in gravel. Final hint: it was a dream formed by the undirected operation of my association mill.
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Entirely too many Christians (some 30-50%), in my view, take the Bible literally (or they think they do without actually knowing it) and would literally die for what they think is there. ...
Who cares if they get the age wrong, you may ask. Because they are not content to believe it themselves, they must agitate to have it taught in school. That represents a definite harm to society.
This is certainly true of some but it, again, is more caricature than truth. Christians are not a monolith, which ought to be clear just from the number of denominations in this country. They simply do not agree when it comes down to brass tacks, on just how the various bits of the Bible should be interpreted. Christians were heavily represented among the people who successfully fought the implementation of evolution in Dover, PA.


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He, in his deep ignorance, might think that dreams are a kind of reality. Here's the rub; modern people who should have long since learned better and who surely don't take their own dreams as gospel (unless they are total losers), really and truly believe someone else's dream that God is an old guy with white hair sitting on a cold, hard golden throne, despite his arthritis, for all eternity. Again, this is fine for them as a private faith or quirk. It is unacceptable to make anyone pay to have that tenet and all the others taught to non-believers at taxpayer expense and enforced as matters of law and applied to public policy (resource renewal and re-use, for example).
Funny thing. These people existed in abundance when this nation was founded and yet, they were not excluded from the citizenry. Nor were their "quirky beliefs" ruled out of bounds by the constitution. To add insult to injury, they were allowed to vote!! I wonder why?
Oh, that's an easy one. The framers realized that the only way to ensure religious freedom is to keep it scrupulously out of government. They enabled the most diverse and most religious nation on the planet by deliberately excluding any hint of religious favoritism from law and public policy.
It is exactly incursions by certain religions into the legal and policy spheres that is degrading religious freedom.
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Even funnier. This nation still has managed to get where it is today despite them. Their voices are (for the time being) still loud and clear; they are allowed to insist that their views be heard and taken into account. They are allowed to vote. And yet, somehow, we manage to prosper and, from all signs, we are still a free nation. If you want to see theocracy in action you might look eastward..
One only need look as far East as DC to see a nascent theocracy and smell its foul breath on our lovely Constitution. You remember the Constitution? It is what keeps you from being hanged as a witch for knowing more than two dozen words.
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Yes, I do understand that cultural differences make different interpretations important. That is exactly why we must fight against taking the Bible as anything but an archaic anthology of fanciful writing with no place in modern practice.

Many people think the Bible is some sort of great literature. Fine, terrific! But you would not advocate running a court or a government by the rules in a book, "Peyton Place" perhaps, just because it was good fiction. Yet many very loud people want the most laughable of the three sets of "ten" commandments to guide our justice system.
We would be far better off, if our laws were guided by the ten commandments (it never fails to make me giggle when you trot out the "three sets" as though that were some original insight of your own).
Of course the multiple and conflicting sets of “ten” God-given commandments in the Bible are not my unique insight. The issue is thoroughly explored in other books, for instance “In God We Trust, but Which One?”. Furthermore, you have just implicitly agreed that there are three different sets of “ten” commandments in the Bible.

No, absolutely not. We would not be better off if all work on Saturday (the Sabbath) were prohibited on pain of death. We would not be better off if no god but Quetzalcoatl could be worshipped on pain of death. We would not be better off if pictures and statues of all kinds were prohibited on pain of death. No, I refuse to believe that you really think the common Ten Commandments make any kind of good law. That would be a terrible insult to you and would seriously harm our warm friendship.
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WAIT! What am I saying?? Our laws are guided by the 10 commandments. They are even carved into the walls of the Supreme Court!! O Theocracy, thou art a cunning harlot.
Theists should be the last people to say that the supreme court got everything right. You can look it up, our legal system is not based on the Ten Commandments (whichever set of them you wish to invoke) but on English common law. Note how few of our laws (none) deal with the first four of the common commandments. Note how many civilizations down the centuries, many predating the OT by thousands of years, prohibit killing, stealing and false testimony. Note what laws we have that should have been in any self-respecting set of divinely dictated commandments including laws against slavery and child abuse. Note the inclusion of the trivial law that demands honor even for abusive and criminal parents while being silent on honor to the child according to his or her merit. Note the impossibly unjust law prohibiting a harmless but unbidden thought (desire). And lastly, note the major, big-10 commandment direct from God's kitchen, not to boil goat meat in goat's milk!
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It would be so nice to have a Bible whose truth was manifest and which could be trusted to be our guide for morals and how to live in general. We could then abide by it without needing to inflict it on the justice system or enforcing penalties for those who disobey.

Such a pity that God was unable to accomplish it.
We do have such a Bible, used properly.[You are strictly right here. The problem is that there is no way to use the Bible, as fallacious as it is, properly.] But humans are still humans. The idea that we would obey completely and perfectly any set of precepts, if they were just written clearly enough, misunderstands man's nature completely.
We do not think that everyone would obey just because the injunctions were clear, only that they would correctly know why what they did really was wrong.

If they think that a person who is too mentally weak to resist temptation should be held guilty for not resisting it anyway, it is they and the Bible they rode in on who misunderstand human nature. (reference Eve's insignificant and inevitable gaffe). The reverse is also true, that a person who deeply desires to obey and who yields to temptation anyway is, by simple reasoning, inadequately strong to resist. I’ll even make it an aphorism “Anyone who can resist temptation does.”

I can resist the temptation to stop this right now and go get a beer. I can also resist the temptation to take out the garbage and mend that leaky pipe.

"Those who most loudly proclaim their honesty are least likely to possess it."
"Atheism: rejecting all absurdity." S.H.
"Reality, the God alternative"
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