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Christianity....what do you think?
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TPM



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 1:48 am
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julie wrote:
So...then all the laws directed at keeping oneself clean and holy - the Kosher foods, no pork, circumcision, no women in the temple, strict observation of the Sabbath, etc. etc - that's no longer necessary because of God the Son's wiping away sin?

If I were a Jew, I'd think Christians took the easy way out.


Theoretically, what you just said right there is correct... BUT, what you're thinking actually touches upon yet ANOTHER debate and that has to do with the person of Jesus.

The short of it is that a good many Jews don't believe that Jesus was the Messiah prophecied about in the Old Testament. From what I understand, their understanding of the Messiah was of a military leader who would overthrow Rome, establish a new kingdom, blah, blah. That was the prevalent attitude during the time of Jesus, to the point where before the Death and Resurrection, even the 12 disciples believed that hype, to a certain extent; of course, after the Resurrection, they finally got things figured out, that the Messiah prophecied about wasn't meant to be an earthly military leader, but a leader in the spiritual sense.

This is why writers like Matthew go into painstaking detail to specifically refer to major prophecies in the OT and compare them to events in Jesus's life as a way to demonstrate to his fellow Israelites that Jesus was indeed the Messiah... so while this may have won some Jewish converts, I don't think it was a majority change b/c many of my pastors said that the Jews are still waiting for the first coming of the Messiah; they don't believe that Jesus did anything useful for them.

Of course, as another way of looking at it, you can view the dietary laws and whatnot as just customs of that culture; I'm sure every ethnicity in the world has silly customs and whatnot that others might roll their eyes over.
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julie
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 8:45 am
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"Of course, as another way of looking at it, you can view the dietary laws and whatnot as just customs of that culture; I'm sure every ethnicity in the world has silly customs and whatnot that others might roll their eyes over."

I am left speechless.
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Caleyna
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 2:07 pm
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Ooooookkkkk. But then we are back to the problem of saying that the Bible has authority. Is it just silly customs of culture or the ultimate truth?
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Patrick
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 2:37 pm
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Well, the way I've always looked at it (and me being no huge fan of the Mosaic law, for what are possibly obvious reasons)...the Old Covenant was supposed to be not only hard, but almost impossible to follow completely. That's why Judaism's most solemn day is the Day of Atonement, the day when you atone for sins you commit against God and one another, for all the times when you did not follow the Law. The rules and regs weren't ever meant to be easy, inviting, or merciful...they were meant to mark off the Israelites as God's chosen people, separate and distinct from every other people around them. When you are God's chosen people, your Covenant is naturally going to be exclusive, incomprehensible to foreigners, and almost impossible to obey perfectly.

Or, if you want to look at it from a secular perspective, look at all the other peoples that were around the Near East in the late Bronze Age, led by the imperial powerhouse that was Egypt. These were cultures where homosexuality was more or less common, where incest was considered perfectly acceptable in many places, where among the higher classes food and drink were indulged in disgusting form and proportions, where the common worship was of a wide variety of deities in rites varying from staid and boring to bloody and awful to debauched enough to make Larry Flynt blush. The Hebrews wanted none of that, they wanted to be "pure" and "holy," and the Torah reflects that.

Christianity comes, and (from a religious perspective) says "Jesus fulfilled all of the Law, and was the ultimate sacrifice such as no sacrifices will ever be needed again, and Christians are not bound by the old Covenant any longer" or (from a secular perspective) "these crazy Jewish laws really make it hard to get converts, because no civilized, Hellenized person in the Roman Empire wants to cut part of their willy off, stop eating snails and eels, and obey a bunch of seemingly nonsensical agricultural regulations."

So I guess you could say it is an easy way out, from an orthodox Jewish perspective. My feelings on that is that a bunch of rules and regs do not faith in God make, and the early Church realized that. Even today, when we have large organized churches with millions of members that are replete with rules and regs, Christians don't hand out copies of their respective catechisms or organizational bylaws and say "here, read this, it'll get you to Heaven!" They instead hand out the Bible and say "read this!" The difference is that the New Testament isn't just a table of law and order...it's a story of hope and love in the face of a heartless world. Do we fall short of that? All the time.

It's once you come into the dance that we hit you with craploads of rules (I am being only slightly snarky here). And even in the Catholic Church, that bastion of laws and hierarchical arrogance, while we are of course a little nuts about our organization, I haven't heard even the most right-wing crazy of preachers try to convert people or keep wayward members in by bludgeoning them with rules. Even we, who have a catechism that is about 2,000 pages long and a several-hundred page body of canon law, have only seven actual defined rules that Catholic are bound to follow. Because, I think, at its very foundation, Christianity is about faith in and love of the Lord, about love of others and service to them...all the other stuff is just superstructure.

Nice, shiny, glittery superstructure, to some extent, but superstructure nonetheless. And I think that if you look beneath all the denominational squabbles, doctrinal disputes, mutual condemnations, political meddling, and organizational rigidity, you'll find that faith and love as the basis of the religion. Thing is, after 2,000 years, we have a metric frakton of superstructure to look beneath. We constantly forget what it's all about. But that's why I stick with it...because the message is still there at the end, in spite of everything.
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Xinpheld
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 6:45 am
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julie wrote:
"Of course, as another way of looking at it, you can view the dietary laws and whatnot as just customs of that culture; I'm sure every ethnicity in the world has silly customs and whatnot that others might roll their eyes over."

I am left speechless.


The thing is, those silly dietary laws kept people alive back then. Why no pork? Because pork is dangerous if not cooked properly, and they didn't exactly have high technology at the time. The idea of being kosher is one of the few old sets of laws that still makes sense today. A lot of other things in Deuteronomy were whack, like how much to sell your cattle for and when you could beat your wife, but those are now ignored as cultural guides for the times. Which wouldn't be so bad if some Fundamentalists and otherwise general haterz didn't cherry pick points out of this area of the Bible to condemn people they didn't like (a holla out to my GLBT friends, yo). For me it seems like it should be an all or none kind of thing. If you're gonna use old timey scripture to condemn, you should have to not be allowed to mix your fabrics, either.

Going back to Julidear's question, I don't think it was actually answered. The question as I saw it was whether G_D got it wrong the first time, and he send in the Jesus to patxh things up, like a HD wipe and putting in a new OS. That would mean that the stitching patch that G_D put on in the OT didn't work, therefore he is fallible. Even if we have free will, G_D should know how to make a proper patch that would work.

Secondary question - if G_D is omni-, then why can't he be in the presence of sin? You'd think someone omnipotent could handle that. Perhaps he's a clean freak.

An Aside: I think teenagers poke holes in dogma because they haven't yet been beaten into submission. They're young enough to see the faults and old enough to express them. I was in 8th grade when I dropped religion altogether, so I guess I was one of those pesky teens. :)

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TamAlthor
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:56 am
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Julie, in regards to the easy way out...a lot of people felt that way. They even feel it now within their own congregations. There is a parable that I really like in the bible, I share the condensed version now for no other reason that it is my favorite and you just reminded me of it.

There was like this Rich land owner who like needed to you know...like needed his grain harvested and junk. So like early in the morning he sent his servants out to start like harvesting. He was all like, Go and harvest today and i'll pay you a penny. (pennies were worth a lot more) It gets to be noon and the the Land owner he noticed that he needed more labourer's if he wanted to finish before sundown so he went to the market and made job offers and said 'hey, harvest my gain today and i'll pay you a penny.' So it is getting close to sundown and he is back at the market and says 'harvest my gain today and i'll pay you a penny.' So like these last guys only work for an hour before the sun goes down, but all the grain gets harvested. So the Land owner is paying everone their penny, when the early morning guys get up in his grill and are all 'Hey! why does everyone else get the same wage? We were working all up dis bish since sun rise and these foo's who have only been working an hour are getting the same penny" The land owner said, "I offed to pay you a penny for the day, you worked the day here is your penny. That is not unfair, It is my money and I spent it how I wish".


anyway back on topic..

I think it takes pesky teens/adults/seniors to keep people on track.

It takes courage to make an unpopular descision. Back in the day, if you questioned things too publicly they burned you at the stake.

I think the catholic church played/s an interesting and role in christianity, yet if it wasn't for those pesky reformers like John Huss, and Martin Luther the face of christianity would be quite different. They may not have been teens when when they took some of their more famous actions, however it was from questioning and looking for other ideas that they did great things, and sparked a powder keg that had been building for years.

It changed the face of christianity. Or rather our understanding of it. Not all at once, and not all together. But it was reformers and prodestants who publicly asked questions that were obviously were on the minds of others.

I'm sure even Catholism is somewhat differnt now than it was back in Luther's day.

Now a days you may only get shunned or excommunicated from a particular faith. If it is for questioning things you are probably in good company.

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TPM



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 11:02 am
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Re: pesky teens

Having worked with teens professionally for 2 years, I don't think them poking holes is just limited to religion. Teenagers as a whole seem to take sexual pleasure in questioning EVERYTHING, whether it be the Bible, math, science, money, or even picking your nose. If I had a nickel for every time I heard the word "why?" from a teen....

Re: getting it wrong

I thought I answered the question, but... *lol*

God has a master plan. This master plan included the OT laws as well as 300 some-odd prophecies that would point to Jesus. God instituted the OT laws KNOWING that eventually, He would send Jesus to earth to fulfill and perfect the OT laws.

More later, b/c I need to get to class.
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connor
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 2:13 pm
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Mhmm, as a teen, I can say that we DO get sexual pleasure....from about anything.

Ur lucky I didnt call u a dumbass there TPM.
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Patrick
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 9:06 pm
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*lmao*
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Dudde
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:48 pm
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Rude, but truthful. I'm 24, so out of my teens, and I loooove asking why to anything and everything, it's a way of learning. To be honest, it's when people stop asking why and start making up their own excuses or answers when I get annoyed =c

Some teens only do it to be stupid and don't actually listen to the answers, they're just annoying, but genuine questioning of ones faith/modern science/why someone is picking their nose, I think, should be encouraged
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LunaRaven



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 6:07 am
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Quote:
ctually, you'd be surprised how often this question pops up among Christians, especially teenagers (b/c, being the smart-arses that they are, they try and poke a hole in everything, just b/c they can).


Quote:
Having worked with teens professionally for 2 years, I don't think them poking holes is just limited to religion. Teenagers as a whole seem to take sexual pleasure in questioning EVERYTHING, whether it be the Bible, math, science, money, or even picking your nose. If I had a nickel for every time I heard the word "why?" from a teen....


Being the smart-ass, teenage LunaRaven that I am I feel the need to point out that we don't always point holes in everything just because we can. I myself find that I only poke holes for pleasure when the person I'm prodding with my talons has shown adverse reactions to open discussions in the past. Otherwise, us youthful peoples(and ravens) are naturally curious beings and we don't like being told to do or accept something without knowing everything about that something.

That being said, if you ever need a hole poked i'm well practiced. I make my own plastic pots and everything.
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Celania



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 9:19 pm
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I just want to say that I'm thoroughly enjoying this discussion. I was kind of wary when I first read the title to the thread because these sensitive topics can really upset people. There are so many times that these conversations spiral down into nothing but rude and sarcastic comments that do little to shed light on the question at hand.

Personally, I enjoy listening to the different perspectives on this topic. I grew up in a nominally religious household. I went to Sunday School when I was young, then stopped going to church. Finally, in about middle school, I started doing the teen thing and asking my mom "Why?" regarding theological questions. She admitted that she wasn't the best person to answer them but she said that the Pastor would be able to. I started attending Catechism classes, was confirmed, and went to church until about a year ago.

Lately I've started doing a lot of thinking and I'm at a point in my life right now where I'm really re-examining my beliefs and how they mesh (or fail to mesh) with the beliefs of the church - in this case, the Lutheran church.

To connor, I can just reinforce what the others are saying. It's understandable that your parents were upset, given their beliefs. However, I also believe that faith should be sincere - you shouldn't say you believe just to please other people. You need to question these things for yourself. Don't be blinded by either side. Seek opinions and viewpoints, talk to God, don't talk to God, explore books and find a faith (and I use the term loosely there as belief in something - even if that something is nothing) that you can believe in. I appreciated the fact that my parents didn't push me one way or the other. My relationship with God when I was regularly attending church was stronger because I knew that it wasn't forced on me. At the same time, I'm enjoying the freedom I have now to question different things and keep an open mind on the topic at hand.

So hearing this rational discussion and the respect that comes from people holding various viewpoints is refreshing and certainly comes at an opportune time. I'm glad that I stopped by this thread =)
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connor
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 12:53 pm
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Well Im glad you liked the discussion. For all the christians here, have you guys ever heard of Lourdes? Well my parents are making me go there. So, how hypocritical will it be for me to go to one of the 'holiest' christians places, and pretend to know, or even care about what the priests are saying.

God help me....Or not.
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Window Bar



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:24 pm
Post subject: Christianity....what do you think?
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For its time, Christianity was one of the most important STORIES (even though it borrowed chapter & verse from many previous stories) to ever enter human dialogue. As metaphor, it casts light upon almost everything we do, from forgiveness to kindness to humility to sacrifice.

Along with the Hero Story (i.e.-- Arthurian legends, Tolkien, even Harry Potter) the Christian epic has molded the West into what it is.

Of course, many changes are needed. My candidates for the top 2 are:

1) Let's grow up. A story, however profound, is still a story. Fundamentalism -- both in the Christian & Muslim worlds -- can't deal with this fact, and becomes quite destructive.

2) Even as metaphor, the story is incomplete and needs to grow. Let's open the story to the symbols of Oneness (i.e. -- the "One" of Buddhism); and let's open the story to the wonders of science.
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Xinpheld
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:30 pm
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Window Bar wrote:
For its time, Christianity was one of the most important STORIES (even though it borrowed chapter & verse from many previous stories) to ever enter human dialogue. As metaphor, it casts light upon almost everything we do, from forgiveness to kindness to humility to sacrifice.

Along with the Hero Story (i.e.-- Arthurian legends, Tolkien, even Harry Potter) the Christian epic has molded the West into what it is.

Of course, many changes are needed. My candidates for the top 2 are:

1) Let's grow up. A story, however profound, is still a story. Fundamentalism -- both in the Christian & Muslim worlds -- can't deal with this fact, and becomes quite destructive.

2) Even as metaphor, the story is incomplete and needs to grow. Let's open the story to the symbols of Oneness (i.e. -- the "One" of Buddhism); and let's open the story to the wonders of science.


Ever heard of Unitarian Universalism? It's not just about good coffee. Learning from the whole spectrum of religion and embracing the wonder of science are two main precepts.
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Window Bar



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:21 pm
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Good point, Xinpheld. The only problem, as I see it, is that in Unitarian Universalism the STORY has been nearly discarded. For that reason, I don't believe it has much appeal to children...or, for that matter, to the emotional & aesthetic side of adults. Christianity, on the other hand, spread because of its instant and satisfying grip upon the emotions.

Our current children can develop a moral awareness via J.K. Rowling, Phillip Pullman, Tolkien, et al. But, of course, they must become readers to do so.

Joseph Campbell, when he was alive, had much to say about Western civilization's need to build a new folklore. I agree, but I don't have the answers on how to do it. Unfortunately, lowest-common-denominator TV and cinema easily fill such a void.

Anyway, this is not a put-down of the Unitarian-Universalists at all. In my community, they are a very positive (but small) influence. Like me, however, they are mostly old.

Thanks -- Window Bar
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Patrick
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:54 pm
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connor wrote:
Well Im glad you liked the discussion. For all the christians here, have you guys ever heard of Lourdes? Well my parents are making me go there. So, how hypocritical will it be for me to go to one of the 'holiest' christians places, and pretend to know, or even care about what the priests are saying.

God help me....Or not.


Yeah, I know of Lourdes. It's a place where, allegedly, the Virgin Mary appeared, and where there are waters with allegedly healing properties. It's a big pilgrimage site.

Although a big big fan of Mary (my full Catholic name is Patrick Michael Mary Hayes, after all :P), I'm not into the whole apparition thing and I think a lot of it, although certainly not all, flirts with rank superstition and only serves to reinforce the offensive, nonsensical stereotypes that Catholics are idolaters. Even the Catholic Church states that, although apparitions of saints can be good things that help people along the way, they aren't central to the Christian faith and nobody is required to believe in them.

If you want my advice...don't buy into it if you don't believe it, and if your parents tell you that you have to because you're Catholic, or whatever, they're frankly wrong. There's quite a lot of hype that surrounds apparitions and too much of it betrays a superstitious mob mentality. As my mama said many a time, "just because something is "Catholic" doesn't mean it's right. I'm not saying these things are bad, and if you like them, more power to you. But no Christian should feel forced to participate in such things if they don't want to.

But, look at it this way: you get to go to France!! Be sure to try the cheese. :)
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Patrick
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:56 pm
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Also...not all Christians are in any way opposed to science, nor do they believe there is some necessary conflict between faith and reason. We take the story and and the science and we can be grown up about both.

Just sayin'....
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Xinpheld
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 7:00 am
Post subject: Re: Christianity...what do you think?
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Window Bar wrote:
Good point, Xinpheld. The only problem, as I see it, is that in Unitarian Universalism the STORY has been nearly discarded. For that reason, I don't believe it has much appeal to children...or, for that matter, to the emotional & aesthetic side of adults. Christianity, on the other hand, spread because of its instant and satisfying grip upon the emotions.

Our current children can develop a moral awareness via J.K. Rowling, Phillip Pullman, Tolkien, et al. But, of course, they must become readers to do so.

Joseph Campbell, when he was alive, had much to say about Western civilization's need to build a new folklore. I agree, but I don't have the answers on how to do it. Unfortunately, lowest-common-denominator TV and cinema easily fill such a void.

Anyway, this is not a put-down of the Unitarian-Universalists at all. In my community, they are a very positive (but small) influence. Like me, however, they are mostly old.

Thanks -- Window Bar


I have to beg to differ on both the idea that the 'story' is lost, and that the congregation is old. The Christian story may not be as completely prominent, but that's only because it's mixed in with other stories. UU acknowledges its Christian roots and doesn't shy away from it. Heck, I'm an atheist, and I still acknowledge my Christian (Methodist) roots. And the congregation at our church, which was founded by the same guy who founded what would eventually be the University of Akron, is age diverse. There are dozens of kids that are growing up UU. Maybe you just got a bad luck of the UU draw where you're at.

The church as a whole is having identity issues, but I think the same can be said for many doctrines these days. There's some sort of religious sea change these days, and it'll be interesting to see how it plays out.

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TamAlthor
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:04 am
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Patrick wrote:
Also...not all Christians are in any way opposed to science, nor do they believe there is some necessary conflict between faith and reason. We take the story and and the science and we can be grown up about both.

Just sayin'....


Dude Patrick, I love you man! I often have this conversation. I also enjoyed your explanation on Apperations above.
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