How old are you, what have you learned in that time ?

Some of us think far more than we should
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MeGusta
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Re: How old are you, what have you learned in that time ?

Post by MeGusta » Wed Dec 28, 2011 1:48 pm

Religion is purely a construct. It's people who control other people. It's people who choose to negate reason. You're also probably only speaking of christianity. So when you speak of "religion", what do you mean? Christianity? Buddhism? Hinduism? Shinto? All of the above? None of the above? I'm guessing that you are speaking on a subject you basically have no knowledge of. On the interwebs, everyone is an expert at everything!
That would be a poor assumption. My minor was in Theology with an emphasis on Philosophical Theology. I am speaking of all religion as unsubstantiated superstition. Christianity would be one of the more dangerous religions for using divinity as an excuse for atrocity, suppression of science, backward thinking, and oppression but it is not alone.
If it's your only tool, then what are your thoughts about things like empathy, charity, service, etc? Empathy is the negation of all reason! There's no rational purpose for it!
This declaration is devoid of intellectual foundation. How can any of these be a negation of reason if it has a beginning in logical thought? If I am charitable to my neighbor, because it benefits society, how is that not reasonable? That whole diatribe is simply stupid. Practicing logic and reason does not negate humanity. Humanity does not spring from religion. Humanity springs from the natural duality of mankind, to be both self serving and charitable, both positions constantly juxtaposed.
And there's nothing that says that my spiritual beliefs need to negate reason.
The foundation of your spiritual belief, no matter what it is, is a negation of reason as it is unsubstantiated. At the end of the day you must have it boil down to Faith. And Faith is not reasonable.
So pure reasoning is great. It's one of my personal strong points. I use it to design and build software, which is an intangible construct (much like religion). Reasoning helps me do my family budget and organize the house. I use it to troubleshoot computer problems and fix what's wrong with the car, household appliances, plumbing etc. I use algebra in my grocery shopping. I use geometry to miter the oak trim in my office.
Here you are mistaking the definition of reason.

You are using the following definition: rea·son - verb - to think through logically, as a problem

I am using the following definitions: rea·son - noun - 1) the mental powers concerned with forming conclusions, judgments, or inferences. 2) sound judgment; good sense. 3) normal or sound powers of mind; sanity.
Devout believers are safeguarded in a high degree against the risk of certain neurotic illnesses; their acceptance of the universal neurosis spares them the task of constructing a personal one. ~Sigmund Freud

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Re: How old are you, what have you learned in that time ?

Post by Freecare Spiritwise » Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:05 pm

Good. This is turning out to be a decent discussion.

On Theology:

So you studied theology just to hone your arguments for disproving it, or you had a falling out of some kind with some church? The reason I ask is that it seems like some of this stuff you are saying is incongruent. That and I sense and underlying hostility towards religion. I had some good arguments with Klast about this. He had no belief but no malice for those that did have it. As I have no malice for people who don't share my beliefs. I have a couple old friends who were pedal-pushing mormons and now they talk like you do.

On Control:

I actually some of your exact thoughts about organized religion, which I'm against overall. If there's a divine/mystical force that we're all connected to then why do we need some "club" to experience it, and why should we seek to contain or lable it? One thing I've leared in my 45 years is that everyone has an agenda. The Catholic's agenda is to make more Catholics. The best I can tell about Buddhism's agenda is that it exists to promote well being and cherish all life. I see where there's a controlling tendency in one but not the other.

And I think every belief system has some value. Throwing the baby out with the bath water. I agree with much of what you are saying about organized religion, but it wasn't science that gave us the golden rule. And I'm assuming that you agree the golden rule has some rational and tangible benefit to society, yes?

On religion in general:

I feel some mystical connection to something greater than myself. Some people do and some people don't feel the same thing, and I have respect for both. Whether you do or don't isn't really my problem. There's a great part of our individual reality that is subjective, and that mystical connection is part of mine. That built in connection for me came with a built in indicator light that tells me what what I am doing is conduscive to that connection and when it is not.

But I'm very hesitant to place a lable on that connection or try to contain it to something when it seems quite obviously un-containable. I don't think this connection expects/requires/needs/wants/demands under threat of force to join any sort of club for it to be valid. I don't believe it can be contained in a single book. This connection seems remarkably self-contained. My connection to this "force" is my connection to it. Other people might have their connections but those are their connections. When a Christian calls it "God", I believe we are talking about the same thing, though again, I don't like to label it. And when I hear a few certain parts of the bible the little indicator light glows. For most of it though, the light is dim. And a great deal of the "Christians" I have talked to have twisted that connection into something self serving. They cherish all life except when they don't.

Proof of this "force":

As an engineer I know good work when I see it. That's really all the proof I need. If we each live a thousand years, at best we will scratch the surface of the beauty and magisty that is the reality we live in. I look around and I have profound respect for the level of engineering and the attention to detail I see in the smallest of things. There's no way that perfection and level of engineering is achieved on accident. 1,000 monkeys at 1,000 typewriters will not produce a NYT best seller. Sorry, they won't. So all this whole reality as random happenstance? I'll never believe that. Science talks about the "laws of nature" but every law must have an arbiter. And much like I see when I look at my aunt's cookies, I see the universe as a labor of love for what ever created it / flicked the dominos / whatever. I don't see things like love and brotherhood as randomly generated constructs.

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Re: How old are you, what have you learned in that time ?

Post by MeGusta » Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:35 pm

On Theology:

So you studied theology just to hone your arguments for disproving it, or you had a falling out of some kind with some church? The reason I ask is that it seems like some of this stuff you are saying is incongruent. That and I sense and underlying hostility towards religion. I had some good arguments with Klast about this. He had no belief but no malice for those that did have it. As I have no malice for people who don't share my beliefs. I have a couple old friends who were pedal-pushing mormons and now they talk like you do.
I have no malice towards religion. I have the same view of believers as I would have of someone who believed the earth is flat. They are misinformed. My level of apprehension for a belief structure is directly proportional to the open mindedness of the individual. You seem quite open minded.

I have never really believed in God and found that my reasoning was affirmed by my studies which I chose because they interest me.
On Control:

I actually some of your exact thoughts about organized religion, which I'm against overall. If there's a divine/mystical force that we're all connected to then why do we need some "club" to experience it, and why should we seek to contain or lable it? One thing I've leared in my 45 years is that everyone has an agenda. The Catholic's agenda is to make more Catholics. The best I can tell about Buddhism's agenda is that it exists to promote well being and cherish all life. I see where there's a controlling tendency in one but not the other.

And I think every belief system has some value. Throwing the baby out with the bath water. I agree with much of what you are saying about organized religion, but it wasn't science that gave us the golden rule. And I'm assuming that you agree the golden rule has some rational and tangible benefit to society, yes?
I can agree with this to a point. If the exercise is rooted in the pursuit of knowledge rather than control it has some redeeming value. I think that the golden rule is common sense humanity. Not everything must arise from science but it must arise from critical reasoning and thinking for ourselves.
On religion in general:

I feel some mystical connection to something greater than myself. Some people do and some people don't feel the same thing, and I have respect for both. Whether you do or don't isn't really my problem. There's a great part of our individual reality that is subjective, and that mystical connection is part of mine. That built in connection for me came with a built in indicator light that tells me what what I am doing is conduscive to that connection and when it is not.

But I'm very hesitant to place a lable on that connection or try to contain it to something when it seems quite obviously un-containable. I don't think this connection expects/requires/needs/wants/demands under threat of force to join any sort of club for it to be valid. I don't believe it can be contained in a single book. This connection seems remarkably self-contained. My connection to this "force" is my connection to it. Other people might have their connections but those are their connections. When a Christian calls it "God", I believe we are talking about the same thing, though again, I don't like to label it. And when I hear a few certain parts of the bible the little indicator light glows. For most of it though, the light is dim. And a great deal of the "Christians" I have talked to have twisted that connection into something self serving. They cherish all life except when they don't.
I have no frame of reference to address this other than regurgitating philosophers or old texts. I do not dismiss it except to say it is based in faith and therefore unsubstantiated.
Proof of this "force":

As an engineer I know good work when I see it. That's really all the proof I need. If we each live a thousand years, at best we will scratch the surface of the beauty and magisty that is the reality we live in. I look around and I have profound respect for the level of engineering and the attention to detail I see in the smallest of things. There's no way that perfection and level of engineering is achieved on accident. 1,000 monkeys at 1,000 typewriters will not produce a NYT best seller. Sorry, they won't. So all this whole reality as random happenstance? I'll never believe that. Science talks about the "laws of nature" but every law must have an arbiter. And much like I see when I look at my aunt's cookies, I see the universe as a labor of love for what ever created it / flicked the dominos / whatever. I don't see things like love and brotherhood as randomly generated constructs.
I could discuss this aspect of the pro intelligent design theories all month if you would let me.

To summarize your assertion, It is so perfect that it could not be by accident. Not so.

I would question this scientifically by asking if it is so perfect then why is there millions of years of evolutionary change and why is this change ongoing? Why would the intelligent design not start with perfection instead of scaling it over millions of years?

I would question this philosophically by asking how would a disorderly universe be possible from what we know of physical laws and our observations of reality? What would a disorderly universe look like? Our ideas of order come from the our observations of reality and reality is necessarily orderly because it's the standard of what exists. The idea that a contradiction could exist is simply ludicrous on its face.

On the topic of your personal beliefs, Freecare, I am not against you. You seem to be open minded enough to discuss these issues with rationally.
Devout believers are safeguarded in a high degree against the risk of certain neurotic illnesses; their acceptance of the universal neurosis spares them the task of constructing a personal one. ~Sigmund Freud

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Re: How old are you, what have you learned in that time ?

Post by Freecare Spiritwise » Wed Dec 28, 2011 4:11 pm

Awesome. This is fun. I look forward to more of this discussion. Yeah, I'm not trying to sell my beliefs. Shit, I could be wrong. Any of us could. Who the fuck knows. Like I've said all along, it could be the Flying Spaghetti Monster just manipulating our instruments for its own sick pleasure. Just as we get closer to true understanding *yoink* it pulls the prize away...

Running low on time here for today, sorry, so a few random thoughts.

I'm convinced that if there's a supreme being then it does not want us to focus too much on it. I'm convinced that we each need to live our lives the best we can as we see fit. We can soak up the wisdom from people and places and books and things but we ultimately need to make and are responsible for our own decisions. I believe that what we do in life matters. When we feel joy, the universe is a better place.

Let me ask you this. If you had proof today that there is a supreme being and there is some sort of greater purpose in life and that our actions do matter in the cosmic/divine sense, would you still be happy with your life and major decisions up to this point?

I've never seen where it's written that reason and spirituality should be in conflict. They fit perfectly well together in my daily experience.

Oh, and the universe is perfect because it does evolve. Not because of some perfect moment frozen in time. The perfection lies in the system that seeks perfection. I believe in eternity. What a boring eternity it would be without change. That's why I believe that change is the only real constant. Evolution on an eternal scale. Evolution built into the very fabric (with a bit of chaos/uncertainty thrown in to stir the pot). We learn and we grow, and all of it is forward progress in a permanent sense. I believe that the universe is not and can never be stagnant.

And I believe that the "lesson" of all this is: 1. self improvement and 2. service to others. I also believe that the universe is designed to teach us these things no matter what we believe.

That's all I have time for today. I could argue this stuff all month too lol.

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Re: How old are you, what have you learned in that time ?

Post by Freecare Spiritwise » Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:53 pm

On religion as an excuse:

It's been my experience that people who use religion as an excuse would just use something else. I don't think organized religion has a monopoly on assholes. And anyone can claim ownership in one of these clubs. The problem with people using religion towards their own self-serving ends isn't a problem with religion. The problem is that they're self-serving assholes. So I think you are really doing some serious stereotyping here. I am too probably. I've known a few Catholics that save up all their vacation time and use it building houses for the poor in some shit south american jungle where they come back and can't digest real food for a month. But then again you don't need to join a club to do good deeds either.

So if I shout "Jesus hates you motherfucker, die!!!!!" as I'm running at you with a sword, how does that have anything to do with Jesus' pacifist teachings? How did any of what he said change by the fact that some asshole invoked his name?

One of my old ex-mormon room mates was a car salesman and he screwed everyone he could out of every penny he could because "life is fucked and there's no purpose or value to it anyway, so why the hell not?" He went from using religion as an excuse to be an asshole to lack of religion as an excuse to be an asshole. Nothing much changed in his falling out with the church. His problem wasn't religion. It was more personal in nature ;)

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Re: How old are you, what have you learned in that time ?

Post by Harlowe » Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:50 pm

Freecare, just quickly wanted to say that this was a great read and your outlook really does resonate.

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Re: How old are you, what have you learned in that time ?

Post by Alluveal » Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:56 pm

I think assholes come in all shapes and sizes: atheist, religious, spiritual but NOT religious, short, tall, big-boned, hairlip.

But, I will say this, I'm not a fan of people shitting on someone's beliefs (regardless of how silly they may seem). Bill Maher, for example? Couldn't watch his Religulous movie because the dude got a big, fat hardon by treating believers like shit.

I get that it's fun to put someone like Jim Baker in his place, but why everyone else? Some folks aren't hurting anyone, they're enriched by their beliefs and they're not total douchelords.

The extreme sides on both ends piss me off.

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Re: How old are you, what have you learned in that time ?

Post by Freecare Spiritwise » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:04 pm

Harlowe wrote:Freecare, just quickly wanted to say that this was a great read and your outlook really does resonate.
Thanks, Harlowe :) I've been thinking about this stuf a lot lately and I'd like to keep the discussion going. Long day at work though, so not much deep thought today :(
LuLu wrote:The extreme sides on both ends piss me off
Same. And I may take pot shots at the institutions themselves, but I am usually good with anyone who holds true to their own value system and doesn't push their beliefs on others. It's the people that interest me much more than the ideology ;) Also, I've noticed it's better to look at what people do more than what they say.

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Re: How old are you, what have you learned in that time ?

Post by MeGusta » Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:01 pm

I am also enjoying a conversation with a spiritual person who does not have some kind of all or nothing chip on their shoulder. I still think spirituality is a form of self delusion, but your delusion seems pleasant enough.
Bill Maher, for example?
I can't stand that guy. He made about a hundred theologically and historically inaccurate statements in his movie. That drove me bananas.
Devout believers are safeguarded in a high degree against the risk of certain neurotic illnesses; their acceptance of the universal neurosis spares them the task of constructing a personal one. ~Sigmund Freud

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Re: How old are you, what have you learned in that time ?

Post by Freecare Spiritwise » Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:40 pm

Hmm it might be a stretch calling my beliefs delusional when most people feel that connection to something greater than themselves. People call it many things but I believe that we are fundamentally experiencing the same thing. "A rose by any other name...", right?

So if everyone is suffering the same delusion but you, then wouldn't modern psychology say that it is you who is delusional for not sharing the collective experience? You're speaking about spiritual beliefs like somehow they are something on the fringe of collective experience.

In fact this mystical connection I feel is remarkably mainstream. It's something I share in common with my hippie sister and conservative mormon boss. People from all walks of life that I may disagree with on every subject under the sun, but there is always that common ground. My friends and family who are atheists are the ones more likely to be considered on the fringe. Not that there's anything wrong with being on the fringe either. But from the people who know me, I would like to think that 'delusional' isn't the first word that comes to mind ;)

The real delusion I see from religion is when people take what is a wonderful and happy spiritual experience and subvert it to their own self-serving ends. For example, I would consider someone delusional if they think that this spiritual connection has anything to do with hate or intolerance. But delusion for just feeling that connection in the first place? I don't see that as passing the "BS check".

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Re: How old are you, what have you learned in that time ?

Post by MeGusta » Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:00 pm

You seem to be offended by the word "delusion". A well accepted delusion is still a delusion. Like the world being flat or the earth being the center of the universe. Both equally delusional and both universally accepted theories in their time. Just because the mainstream accepts it does not make it factually accurate.
Devout believers are safeguarded in a high degree against the risk of certain neurotic illnesses; their acceptance of the universal neurosis spares them the task of constructing a personal one. ~Sigmund Freud

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Re: How old are you, what have you learned in that time ?

Post by Freecare Spiritwise » Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:43 pm

Not offended at all. I was just pointing out that who gets labled as delusional and who gets labeled as normal is generally based on mainstream collective experience. It is you who are on the fringe. Your experience is the exception.

But hey, let's assume you are right and that I am completely delusional. What's it to you? You're the one who came to this "what have you learned in life" thread and the first thing you chose to mention as to what you've learned was that you disbelieve something. Seriously? That's the first thing that comes to your mind when someone asks you what you've learned in your almost 40 years in this life?

For me I could think of 1,000 things that come to mind when people have asked me what I've learned. I've learned the value of family, and how to make great guacamole. How to change a tire or that it's very good to tell your wife once in a while that she's beautiful, or to always carry a small flashlight. I've learned that it's the journey that matters and not the destination. I could literally think of things all day. Some would sound trivial to you but might be important to me. But one thing that would've never come into my pea-sized brain as the first thing to announce to the world what I've learned is that I don't like what you, someone I've never met, believe. Let's use our favorite tool, reasoning, and make a well-reasoned guess as to why that would be the case for you.

There's so many ways you could've initiated this type of discussion. At first I thought it was a straight up troll. But I think you have a hard-on for anyone who holds this "delusion" that you probably used to have at some point. You have the zeal of a non-smoker who's determined to show everyone how stupid smoking is. If I'm the only one here that thinks that then I'll back off this line of reasoning. Otherwise I think it's perfectly valid to ask after the underlying reasons behind your "crusade". I think you came here to pick a fight.

It's not much different than the other extreme coming here and saying "what I've learned in 99 years is that fags are going to hell". You have more in common with that other end of the spectrum than I believe you will ever admit to. Both ends of the spectrum seek to set everyone straight (heh, there I go with the puns again lol). Both ends of the spectrum find it unacceptable that others can't see what is ever so clear to them. Both ends of the spectrum have an extreme distrust for each other. Both ends of the spectrum use a similar language and tone.

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Re: How old are you, what have you learned in that time ?

Post by MeGusta » Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:29 pm

I seem to have touched a nerve.
let's assume you are right and that I am completely delusional.
I said you hold a delusion. I did not say you are completely delusional. Calm down.
What's it to you?
It is nothing to me. I am merely making conversation. This is a discussion forum after all.
and the first thing you chose to mention as to what you've learned was that you disbelieve something
That is a big assumption. How do you know that it is the first thing that came to my mind? The first thing that came to my mind was when my wife says we should not get anything for each other for Valentine's Day it is a trap.

For me I could think of 1,000 things that come to mind when people have asked me what I've learned. I've learned the value of family, and how to make great guacamole. How to change a tire or that it's very good to tell your wife once in a while that she's beautiful, or to always carry a small flashlight. I've learned that it's the journey that matters and not the destination. I could literally think of things all day. Some would sound trivial to you but might be important to me. But one thing that would've never come into my pea-sized brain as the first thing to announce to the world what I've learned is that I don't like what you, someone I've never met, believe. Let's use our favorite tool, reasoning, and make a well-reasoned guess as to why that would be the case for you.

There's so many ways you could've initiated this type of discussion. At first I thought it was a straight up troll. But I think you have a hard-on for anyone who holds this "delusion" that you probably used to have at some point. You have the zeal of a non-smoker who's determined to show everyone how stupid smoking is. If I'm the only one here that thinks that then I'll back off this line of reasoning. Otherwise I think it's perfectly valid to ask after the underlying reasons behind your "crusade". I think you came here to pick a fight.

It's not much different than the other extreme coming here and saying "what I've learned in 99 years is that fags are going to hell". You have more in common with that other end of the spectrum than I believe you will ever admit to. Both ends of the spectrum seek to set everyone straight (heh, there I go with the puns again lol). Both ends of the spectrum find it unacceptable that others can't see what is ever so clear to them. Both ends of the spectrum have an extreme distrust for each other. Both ends of the spectrum use a similar language and tone.
This is a fairly windy diatribe on your part. I apologize for mistaking you as someone without a spiritual chip on their shoulder. Why would you assume that my statement was all encompassing of my life experience or anything more than posted for the sake of brevity and conversation? How rude and arrogant, sir. You seem to take this personally when it was clearly in response to someone else. A someone else, I may add, that has not bothered to put up even a 10th of the defense of his or her position that you have. Please do not diminish my opinion of you by making this personal.
Devout believers are safeguarded in a high degree against the risk of certain neurotic illnesses; their acceptance of the universal neurosis spares them the task of constructing a personal one. ~Sigmund Freud

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Re: How old are you, what have you learned in that time ?

Post by Jarochai Alabaster » Thu Dec 29, 2011 11:20 pm

I don't take offense to religious belief (Nor do I know anyone who does), but I certainly find it very silly. I do take offense to people trying to enforce their religious beliefs on everyone around them, and have a particular disdain for the attempts by Christian organizations to hinder science education and my right to marry. And frankly, I don't think people use religion as an excuse to interfere in these matters, but that their religious conviction is the genuine source of the desire to interfere. There are certainly atheists who oppose marriage equality, but they are few and far between in my experience. And I've never heard of an atheist attempting to remove evolution from the classroom, replace it with creationism, or suggest that creationism be given "equal time."
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Re: How old are you, what have you learned in that time ?

Post by Freecare Spiritwise » Thu Dec 29, 2011 11:20 pm

I'm just trying to figure out your angle in all this. And not so much struck a nerve as I went back and read your first couple posts. I thought I was debating someone different. My mistake.

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Re: How old are you, what have you learned in that time ?

Post by MeGusta » Fri Dec 30, 2011 8:04 am

I don't take offense to religious belief (Nor do I know anyone who does), but I certainly find it very silly. I do take offense to people trying to enforce their religious beliefs on everyone around them, and have a particular disdain for the attempts by Christian organizations to hinder science education and my right to marry. And frankly, I don't think people use religion as an excuse to interfere in these matters, but that their religious conviction is the genuine source of the desire to interfere. There are certainly atheists who oppose marriage equality, but they are few and far between in my experience. And I've never heard of an atheist attempting to remove evolution from the classroom, replace it with creationism, or suggest that creationism be given "equal time."
I completely agree.
Devout believers are safeguarded in a high degree against the risk of certain neurotic illnesses; their acceptance of the universal neurosis spares them the task of constructing a personal one. ~Sigmund Freud

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Re: How old are you, what have you learned in that time ?

Post by Alluveal » Sat Dec 31, 2011 10:42 pm

I'm offended by the word delusion or someone saying you "hold a delusion." How can it not be considered offensive? It's the same thing as patting someone on the head and saying, "aww, you believe in something spiritual. Aren't you so cute?" (wink/wink)

The fact that you'd try to wrap it up in semantics is bullshit and you know it. Own your crap or don't.

(waiting for the patronizing "calm down.") :)

(waiting for the "I must have struck a nerve" drivel too).

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Re: How old are you, what have you learned in that time ?

Post by Freecare Spiritwise » Sun Jan 01, 2012 12:56 am

Calm down Lulu!


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Re: How old are you, what have you learned in that time ?

Post by Alluveal » Sun Jan 01, 2012 10:10 am

:happy6:

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Re: How old are you, what have you learned in that time ?

Post by Ddrak » Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:49 pm

Delusion doesn't really offend me - it's makes me wonder if it's influenced by Dawkins ("The God Delusion") more than anything else.

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