• baker
    5.6k
    This is all speculative so where's the harm?Tom Storm

    It's past my bedtime! That's the harm!
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    You clearly have a favorable bias for those who "leave religion".baker

    If true, is that relevant?

    The focus is on people who claim to have been (devoted) members of some religion (which they specifically name), who named themselves with the name for the members of said religion, who say that they have "left" said religion, and who exhibit a poor knowledge of said religion's doctrine.baker

    Are you saying that people are only real Christians or Muslims if they have a extensive knowledge of the religion's doctrine? I would think then that only a tiny percentage of believers qualify as 'real'.

    If a person says they have "left Christianity", but it turns out they have a poor knowledge of Christianity, then what has such a person actually left? Half-baked ideas, misremembered slogans, false equivocations, hasty generalizations, superficial socializing, ... and not necessarily "Christianity".baker

    Then they have left a half-baked version of Christianity. So what? We are not the purity police. There are believers who hold better and worse, theorized and untheorized versions of any belief system.

    Generally people leave religions because they don't believe in god. Knowledge of the religion may not be a factor.

    Will you also argue, by extension, that one can't be a true atheist unless one has extensively studied the arguments for and against god? Can one believe in democracy unless someone has studied the history of democracy and has a working knowledge of political science and alternative governments?

    I repeat my question - How do we determine if someone is a real Christian or not?
  • praxis
    6.2k
    For instance, I could ask a dozen questions about rebirth that no one could answer.
    — praxis
    I double dare you.
    baker

    1. Karma and rebirth are supposedly based on cause & effect. If true, there's a mountain of causes that, at death, would logically result in rebirth that is practically indistinguishable from the previous life. Yet the story goes that if you do a lot of dirty deeds in your life you will be reborn as a dirty cockroach or something. That doesn't make sense if karma and rebirth are based on cause & effect. It would be like I'm a human being one instant and the next instant I spontaneously turn into a dirty cockroach, just because I stole a loaf of bread or whatever. I should be reborn the same human bread stealing dirty deed doer that I was the instant before death, if karma and rebirth are based on cause & effect.

    If you ask a "book reader" about this they will say that such things are imponderable, or to put it another way, the book they read from is fiction.
  • praxis
    6.2k
    Faith in authority is essential in religion.
    — praxis

    Gosh darn, why do scientists stick to the definitions of scientific terms as found in scientific textbooks?
    baker

    Scientific textbooks and terms are not authorities.

    See the definition of authority
  • baker
    5.6k
    1. Karma and rebirth are supposedly based on cause & effect. If true, there's a mountain of causes that, at death, would logically result in rebirth that is practically indistinguishable from the previous life. Yet the story goes that if you do a lot of dirty deeds in your life you will be reborn as a dirty cockroach or something. That doesn't make sense if karma and rebirth are based on cause & effect. It would be like I'm a human being one instant and the next instant I spontaneously turn into a dirty cockroach, just because I stole a loaf of bread or whatever. I should be reborn the same human bread stealing dirty deed doer that I was the instant before death, if karma and rebirth are based on cause & effect.praxis
    Given that in life you also do a lot of other things, their effects mitigate eachother. If you once stole a loaf of bread, but you later regret it, work hard, earn money, and with it buy a hundred loaves of bread and give them to charity, then having stolen that one loaf once can be mitigated and then some.

    What is said to be imponderable is knowing in advance what consequence some particular action you did now will have in the future, given that you will also do a lot of other things and their effects will mitigate eachother. But right now, we don't know what other things you'll also do, hence the imponderability.


    What you describe above is more like the Jain doctrine, a type of karmic fatalism. Hindu or Buddhist doctrines of karma are different.


    If you ask a "book reader" about this they will say that such things are imponderable, or to put it another way, the book they read from is fiction.

    Instead of freestyling your ideas about karma and rebirth, why not read some standard texts about it?
  • baker
    5.6k
    Scientific textbooks and terms are not authorities.praxis

    No, people just treat them as such.
  • baker
    5.6k
    You clearly have a favorable bias for those who "leave religion".
    — baker

    If true, is that relevant?
    Tom Storm
    It is, because it means you're not open to discussion of this topic. And it's predictable that it probably won't go well.

    The focus is on people who claim to have been (devoted) members of some religion (which they specifically name), who named themselves with the name for the members of said religion, who say that they have "left" said religion, and who exhibit a poor knowledge of said religion's doctrine.
    — baker

    Are you saying that people are only real Christians or Muslims if they have a extensive knowledge of the religion's doctrine? I would think then that only a tiny percentage of believers qualify as 'real'.
    The extent of a person's knowledge of their religion's doctrine only becomes relevant for other people when that person claims to be a representative of said religion or claims to have been such a representative in the past, and that as such, deserves special recognition and respect.

    Generally people leave religions because they don't believe in god. Knowledge of the religion may not be a factor.
    How can someone believe in God in any intelligible manner unless they have at least some knowledge of theistic religious doctrine??
    If they don't have such knowledge, but still claim to "believe in God", then such a "belief in God" is likely wishful thinking, idiosyncratic. It's no surprise then if such a person "leaves the religion".

    Will you also argue, by extension, that one can't be a true atheist unless one has extensively studied the arguments for and against god?
    No. But one can't be an anti-theist unless one has extensively studied the arguments for and against god.

    Can one believe in democracy unless someone has studied the history of democracy and has a working knowledge of political science and alternative governments?
    I expect that someone who claims to "believe in democracy" has at least studied up on what "democarcy" means, and related themes, and preferrably, can discuss the topic.

    I repeat my question - How do we determine if someone is a real Christian or not?
    It's mostly irrelevant, until someone claims to be a representative of a religion or claims to have been such a representative in the past, and that as such, deserves special recognition and respect.

    It's like with any other claim of proficiency in something. If, for example, someone claims to "speak French", and then it turns out that they know only a few phrases in French, it's only natural to be skeptical about whatever claims they make about French.
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    It is, because it means you're not open to discussion of this topic. And it's predictable that it probably won't go well.baker

    What a sneering and insinuating response. Thanks. How is my putative favourable judgment of people who leave a faith (which you have not demonstrated) connected to the argument about who is a real member of that faith?

    How can someone believe in God in any intelligible manner unless they have at least some knowledge of theistic religious doctrine??
    If they don't have such knowledge, but still claim to "believe in God", then such a "belief in God" is likely wishful thinking, idiosyncratic. It's no surprise then if such a person "leaves the religion".
    baker

    People also belong to religions to be part of a community and because they are socialised in the aesthetics and values of that religion. Of course they have 'some' knowledge, but the question remains - where does 'some' knowledge become sufficient for you to decide they are true Christians or true Muslims since this seems to be your concern?

    I repeat my question - How do we determine if someone is a real Christian or not?
    It's mostly irrelevant, until someone claims to be a representative of a religion or claims to have been such a representative in the past, and that as such, deserves special recognition and respect.

    It's like with any other claim of proficiency in something. If, for example, someone claims to "speak French", and then it turns out that they know only a few phrases in French, it's only natural to be skeptical about whatever claims they make about French.
    baker

    It's doubtful you can compare the claims of someone who speaks a language (which is an empirical claim) with someone who is a member of a religion (which might include much that is non-verbal, experiential, intuitive).
  • praxis
    6.2k
    Scientific textbooks and terms are not authorities.
    — praxis

    No, people just treat them as such.
    baker

    Some textbooks may be authoritative in the sense that they're considered accurate or true. A textbook is not an authority in the sense that it doesn't have the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.
  • praxis
    6.2k
    Given that in life you also do a lot of other things, their effects mitigate eachother. If you once stole a loaf of bread, but you later regret it, work hard, earn money, and with it buy a hundred loaves of bread and give them to charity, then having stolen that one loaf once can be mitigated and then some.baker

    This is irrelevant to the question.

    What is said to be imponderable is knowing in advance what consequence some particular action you did now will have in the future, given that you will also do a lot of other things and their effects will mitigate each other. But right now, we don't know what other things you'll also do, hence the imponderability.baker

    You're basically saying that it's impossible for me to make predictions. Okey dokey! :snicker:

    What you describe above is more like the Jain doctrine, a type of karmic fatalism. Hindu or Buddhist doctrines of karma are different.
    ...
    Instead of freestyling your ideas about karma and rebirth...
    baker

    You're claiming that karma & rebirth in Buddhism are not based on cause & effect?
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2.1k


    My understanding of such studies are that it is community and being with people for a common cause promotes flourishing. I don’t think this is deniable. The theistic part of it is likely to be moot, but in today’s atomised culture, it is generally only sporting clubs or religious groups that still encourage and build community and no doubt people benefit. Has nothing to say about the truth of those beliefs - it’s likely more about the power of conformity (shared values) and tribalism.

    Yes and no. All groups help promote common metrics of well being. Religious association has a larger effect size than most though.

    But there are fairly reasonable explanations for this that naturalists might find convincing. First, religious organizations attract different types of people, particularly older individuals and women, who are far less likely to engage in crime in the first place or to suffer financial crises, so this is a major confounding variable. Second, a big part of most religions is time spent in prayer or meditation, which shows its own robust benefits for well being, even when placed in a secular context. Third, most religious traditions provide attendees with moralizing lectures or "pep talks," each week, commanding and encouraging them not to fight with people, to let grievances go, etc. This might have good effects even in a secular context, and then only certain people are going to stick around for that sort of thing (more selection effects).

    Sports clubs don't have the same selection effects or elements. Moralizing is a big part of religion. If a deacon or imam gets bagged for some sort of crime, say a DUI, it is a scandal. If it happens to someone on a bar soft ball league, their membership doesn't make their behavior particularly scandalous. So there is a change in pay offs too.

    But I think you could also say that being a Nazi in Germany in the 1930’s seemed to boost metrics of flourishing (for most) too. All that community building, sport, collaboration, infrastructure. Shared values and the promotion of a strong culture certainly seemed to benefit most of the citizens.

    That's still a common conception at least. The power of Nazi propaganda and the need of the US to "build up" the myth of Nazi power to justify their alliance with the Soviets during the Cold War is probably the main culprit here. That and "building up images of Nazi competence and power," also helped to assuage critiques of the initial French and British performance in the war.

    In reality, the Nazis trashed German standard of living. Even using the Nazis own cooked statistics, Richard Evan's "Third Reich Trilogy" and Tooze's "The Wages of Destruction," (just on the economy of the Third Reich) show German real wages crashing by about a third even before the war began. Rearmorment caused massive distortions in the economy, such that there were regular shortages of refined flour and animal fats, basic food stuffs, even before the invasion of Poland.

    Nazi forced labor schemes turned out to be horribly inefficient, and the focus on making girls into "future mothers of the Reich," and regularly taking boys out of classes for indoctrination and military style training hurt educational attainment.

    Germany's status as the center of physics and other scientific fields was already shattered before the war began by official harassment and discrimination on ethnic, political, and religious grounds, paired with political dogma being inserted into the sciences (e.g. quantum mechanics being branded "Jewish physics).

    All this occured despite running absolutely massive deficits that would have caused a financial crisis if the war hadn't come. The Nazis certainly succeeded at building a very competent (if horribly under equipped relative to the US) military, and some impressive public works, but the rest of the "development" was more of a shell game. Even their military competence is sort of overblown. Once the Western Allies arrived in force large battles routinely had 4-8:1 casualty rates, not in the Wermacht's favor, and shifting veteran formations over from the Eastern Front didn't do much to make up for the Western Allies massive artillery, air, and mechanized transport superiority.
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    My parents and family were caught up with the Nazi terror in Europe. There's little doubt that community and shared values were strong appeals of the movement and it worked for certain community members for some years. Which is why I referenced the 1930's. I'll leave interpretations of the Third Reich's sustainability or its viability outside of a war economy to the historians. My comparison wasn't intended as a totalizing account of Hitler and co. :wink:

    Having grown up in the Christian tradition and having spend time with those who found their way out of religion, by far the most common concern people have on leaving the church is losing their community. Losing god seems less of a problem. Perhaps it is because their life, relationships and friendships, along with many of their leisure and even work activities are predicated on belonging to a community of certainty and shared values. Once this goes, along with the presuppositions you have in common with those around you, you may end up disorientated, lost. For a time, anyway.

    Yes and no. All groups help promote common metrics of well being.Count Timothy von Icarus

    That's all I was saying. Wellbeing is generally predicated on shared values and a supportive community. Naturally if you throw in a belief in an afterlife and a shared moral system, it's hard to see how that wouldn't promote additional cooperative contentment amongst true believers. Not so good for dissenters or certain identities and subcultures (if we are in Saudi Arabia or parts of the Bible Belt or Africa, for instance) and of course it says nothing about the truth of those beliefs. As an atheist I suspect that the world would be a better place if everyone was a Muslim like Irshad Manji or a Christian like Nadia Bolz-Weber. But again this doesn't attest to the truth of their beliefs. And they are often seen as heretical within their own faith traditions.
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    @Count Timothy von Icarus @baker @Wayfarer
    Does religion perpetuate and promote a regressive worldview?Art48
    Yes, religions tend to perpetuate and promote 'communities' of magical thinkers who talk to – placate – ghosts. :sparkle: :eyes:.

    Or with a lot of lipstick on that swine ...
    It is customary to blame secular science and anti-religious philosophy for the eclipse of religion in modern society. It would be more honest to blame religion for its own defeats.

    Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid.

    When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion – its message becomes meaningless.
    — Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
  • baker
    5.6k
    It is, because it means you're not open to discussion of this topic. And it's predictable that it probably won't go well.
    — baker

    What a sneering and insinuating response. Thanks.
    Tom Storm
    Oh Jesus. I have simply identified a boundary. Identifying a boundary is not "sneering and insinuating".

    where does 'some' knowledge become sufficient for you to decide they are true Christians or true Muslims since this seems to be your concern?
    Where? In your mind, apparently obsessed with judgment and persecution.

    Again:
    I repeat my question - How do we determine if someone is a real Christian or not?

    It's mostly irrelevant, until someone claims to be a representative of a religion or claims to have been such a representative in the past, and that as such, deserves special recognition and respect.

    It's in the nature of religiosity that different people will have varying degrees of knowledge of and involvement in their religion.

    But the extent of their knowledge of and involvement in their religion becomes relevant if they claim to deserve some kind of special recognition and respect.

    As in:

    "I'm a superior [member of religion X], while you're only an inferior [member of religion X], therefore, you owe me credence and respect."

    or

    "I left [religion X], because I have supreme insight into its workings, I know the truth about it, and you must believe me."

    In the former case, it's the standard internal hierarchy in religion, where it goes without saying that if one is newer, younger, or female, one automatically owes special credence and respect to the others who have been members longer, who are older, or male.

    This is also the case in religious supremacism. Such as when the majority religion expects special respect from the minority religion or from those with no religious affiliation.

    In the latter case, the often unstated assumption when someone leaves a religion is that they have superior insight into the workings of their now former religion, or that leaving religion was a good thing. Such as you here:

    Nevertheless, the secular community contains numerous members who were once devout. They found their way out.Tom Storm

    It is in such cases that the person's actual knowledge of the religion becomes relevant for how one will interact with such a person.
  • baker
    5.6k
    Yes, religions tend to perpetuate and promote 'communities' of magical thinkers who talk to – placate – ghosts.180 Proof

    Heaven knows I'm no fan of religion. But I think many atheists, agnostics, and humanists grossly understimate it. As far as I'm concerned, these atheists etc. have nothing helpful to offer me as far as dealing with a religious problem is concerned. There was a time when I sought help for my (meta)religious insecurity, and the atheists etc. had nothing to offer me. Other than displaying their massive ignorance of the religions they so eagerly denounced. Well, it's easy to dismiss something one barely knows!
  • baker
    5.6k
    You said that you can ask questions about karma that nobody can answer. So far, you haven't asked any such question that I can't answer. I actually want to see someone ask a question about karma that I couldn't answer.

    That you're not satisfied with my reply is really neither here nor there, because I'm not trying to convince you. I can tell that you only have a cursory knowledge of karma doctrines, and I'm not going to ask you to commit to a serious study of them and wait for a reply. And I certainly don't have the time to go through them with you step by step.

    Study up on karma doctrines, and then see what questions remain. I'm certainly not going to do your homework for you.
  • baker
    5.6k
    This is an excellent point. It used to be that people looking for spiritual truths would abandon everything they had to live with some great teacher. Rigorous study, ascetic practices, long periods of meditation — these are the norm in the Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Hindu, and Buddhist traditions.

    To be sure, these traditions allowed for other roads to enlightenment or spontaneous revelation. But in general, the truth required a great deal of study and praxis to ascertain.

    But now the general take is: "beliefs about the most central questions if what being is and how we should live should be summarizable in five minutes."
    Count Timothy von Icarus
    Yes. It's a trend toward infantilization and consumerism. And a victim mentality.

    Saint Augustine makes a related point, which is that we can never learn anything without trusting others. Our parents might not be our real parents. Our kids might not be our real kids, they could have been switched at birth. Anything we are taught could be bunk.

    And yet, if you don't put effort in, assuming your physics textbook might be able to shed some light on the world for you, then you'll never get anywhere in understanding the subject. The same is true for theology, which is up with philosophy for most abstract disciplines.
    Of course. But it's not simply blind trust. If one is going to even have a conversation with another person, then one should be able to act in good faith to begin with. Otherwise, why even begin talking to them?
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    Oh Jesus. I have simply identified a boundary. Identifying a boundary is not "sneering and insinuating".baker

    The following is not a boundary, it's a sneering jibe.

    It is, because it means you're not open to discussion of this topic. And it's predictable that it probably won't go well.baker

    ======

    It's mostly irrelevant, until someone claims to be a representative of a religion or claims to have been such a representative in the past, and that as such, deserves special recognition and respect.

    It's in the nature of religiosity that different people will have varying degrees of knowledge of and involvement in their religion.

    But the extent of their knowledge of and involvement in their religion becomes relevant if they claim to deserve some kind of special recognition and respect.
    baker

    There's some merit in this argument as I see it. But when someone says I am a Muslim or I am a Christian - I don't get to say if they really are or not. They are not making a claim for special recognition or respect.

    Heaven knows I'm no fan of religion. But I think many atheists, agnostics, and humanists grossly understimate it. As far as I'm concerned, these atheists etc. have nothing helpful to offer me as far as dealing with a religious problem is concerned.baker

    That may well be true. But what are you counting as a religious problem?

    What is the secular thinker underestimating - the emotional support; the explanatory power; the metaphysical explanation, the meaning of religon?
  • baker
    5.6k
    The following is not a boundary, it's a sneering jibe.Tom Storm

    And you are the boss, you define all the terms, right.
  • baker
    5.6k
    That may well be true. But what are you counting as a religious problem?Tom Storm
    Whatever my religious problem was at the time.


    What is the secular thinker underestimating - the emotional support; the explanatory power; the metaphysical explanation, the meaning of religon?
    The cunning. The tenacity. The mental and physical toughness. The bad faith. The wealth. The socio-economic power.
  • praxis
    6.2k
    So far, you haven't asked any such question that I can't answer.baker

    Of course, you actually answered the question. Your answer is nonsensical though, regardless of any relation to karma and rebirth. You wrote:

    What is said to be imponderable is knowing in advance what consequence some particular action you did now will have in the future, given that you will also do a lot of other things and their effects will mitigate each other. But right now, we don't know what other things you'll also do, hence the imponderability.

    As far as I'm aware, it's impossible to know something in advance of knowing something. That's nonsensical and has nothing to do with my question.

    My question basically has to do with narrative. Buddhists claim that karma & rebirth act according to cause & effect despite being unable to provide a narrative that shows this structure in their narratives. Going back to my example, if I were to create a narrative where someone spontaneously turned into a dirty cockroach for no apparent reason I would be failing to provide a narrative that shows cause & effect relationships. When asked about it I could, like the Buddhists do, say that the spontaneous transformation is inexplicable, or rather, imponderable, and that you'll just have to have faith in my narrative that the structure of cause & effect is there.
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    And you are the boss, you define all the terms, right.baker

    Did I say I am the boss and define all the terms? Or even anything close to that?

    But if that's your indirect way of saying it is not meant as an insult, ok.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2.1k


    The tenacity. The mental and physical toughness.

    lol, makes me think of the current thread on affectation. I don't think you could blame the monks who ended up beaten to death in fights over nominalism versus realism of being guilty of affectation. Even less the people who were tortured to death over questions surrounding transubstantiation. Given how academic philosophy is today, it's sort of comical to think of Pythagoras starving himself to death or Bruno and Polycarp accepting being burnt at the stake over the same ideas.

    “I have wild animals,” the proconsul said. “I’ll throw you to them unless you change your mind.”

    “Call them in,” Polycarp replied, “for we are not allowed to change from something better to something worse.”

    A Platonist until the end!

    Immediately they began to pile the wood around him. They were going to nail him to the stake as well, but Polycarp said, “Leave me the way I am. He who gives me power to endure the fire will help me to remain in the flames without moving, even without being secured by nails.”
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    Why don't you talk to nonbelievers who are literate in a religion or several religions and / or theology? They're not hard to find. :roll:
  • baker
    5.6k
    Why don't you talk to nonbelievers who are literate in a religion or several religions and / or theology? They're not hard to find.180 Proof

    They are hard to find. Well, depends on one's standards.

    For example, I know of even university professors of Buddhology who were also "practicing" Buddhists and who distanced themselves from Buddhism, but who nevertheless have holes in their knowledge of Buddhism that even I at my level can notice.

    What I have noticed consistently is that the belief system of "unbelievers" or "former believers" tends to reflect first and foremost their relatively solid and secure (upper) middle class socio-economic status, rather than some profound insight into religions or life.
  • baker
    5.6k
    And you are the boss, you define all the terms, right.
    — baker

    Did I say I am the boss and define all the terms? Or even anything close to that?

    But if that's your indirect way of saying it is not meant as an insult, ok.
    Tom Storm

    If I want to insult someone, I make that clear.

    Did I say I am the boss and define all the terms? Or even anything close to that?
    Of course, via the language you use. I have brought this up with you at least once before (as well as with some other posters). And I wouldn't bring it up, if this weren't a philosophy forum, and if you wouldn't work in some counselor capacity. I presume you had to be professionally trained in different styles of communication, and so you should know what I'm talking about.
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    I guess it depends on where you loiter. I'm a disbeliever (since 1978/9) with decades of comparative religions and theological literacy, briefly a practicing Soto Zen Buddhist (1982-3), raised and educated a working-class Roman Catholic for a dozen years (1969-81, beginning with Dominicans and ending with Jesuits), and I've never found it difficult to find others among the godless who are religiously / theologically well-read, especially here on TPF (though I've also found it much easier to find believers who think they know what they are pontificating about but don't).
  • baker
    5.6k
    1. Karma and rebirth are supposedly based on cause & effect. If true, there's a mountain of causes that, at death, would logically result in rebirth that is practically indistinguishable from the previous life. Yet the story goes that if you do a lot of dirty deeds in your life you will be reborn as a dirty cockroach or something. That doesn't make sense if karma and rebirth are based on cause & effect. It would be like I'm a human being one instant and the next instant I spontaneously turn into a dirty cockroach, just because I stole a loaf of bread or whatever. I should be reborn the same human bread stealing dirty deed doer that I was the instant before death, if karma and rebirth are based on cause & effect.praxis
    In Theravada and Early Buddhism kamma is intention. Generally, only intentional actions have kammic consequences. This is why two people, externally acting the same way, could face very different kammic consequences if their intentions for doing the actions differ, respectively.

    What you describe looks like Jainism, like I already said.

    My question basically has to do with narrative. Buddhists claim that karma & rebirth act according to cause & effect despite being unable to provide a narrative that shows this structure in their narratives.praxis
    I think this has sometimes more to do with an unwillingness to engage in time-consuming explanations to people who seem hostile rather than anything else.

    And the attitude you've been displaying here certainly doesn't suggest that you're interested in learning about the Buddhist concepts of kamma and rebirth. So why bother?

    You should also know that in Buddhism, at least for monks, there are restrictions as to whom they can or should speak about Dhamma and to whom they shouldn't. Lay Buddhist people may also adopt those restrictions.
    If you find that the Buddhists you're talking to don't seem all that open or willing to discuss things with you, then consider the possibility that you have ticked one or more boxes on that list of restriction criteria. (In my opinion, you have.) You can hardly blame people for setting boundaries on whom they spend their time on.
    If they seem evasive to you, bear in mind that from their perspective, you're evasive too.
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    If I want to insult someone, I make that clear.baker

    You're assuming that you are entirely in control of your communication style. I'm not sure we know that. About anyone here.
  • baker
    5.6k
    I've never found it difficult to find others among the godless who are religiously / theologically well-read, especially here on TPF180 Proof

    This has not been my experience.

    But, nevermind. My "religious problem" has actually lost almost all the life there was to it, simply due to inertia. Over the years, I've somehow managed to endure it, and to focus on other, more practical things. Now, if I can't sleep, I think about how to build raised beds in our garden, or what can be learned from this year's tomato blight and corn smut, and such.
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