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Old 16-Oct-2010, 06:38 PM (18:38)     1        41433
Gurdur
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Question Asking you all your opinions and experiences

I'm requesting as much feedback as possible from everyone on a particular set of questions, these being:

Interfaith and -faithless cooperation.

What are the principles to be adhered to? What are common pitfalls and mistakes? Does anyone here have concrete case studies of where such cooperation went well, and where it went bad?

It's very clear that on all sides you get segments for whom cooperation and dialogue are dirty words; the extremists. Christians often complain about atheists being rude, confrontational etc., yet I've just seen over the last few days elsewhere self-professed Christians being very bigoted indeed against cooperation and dialogue, and that on quite dishonest grounds. Then there are of course famously some extremist Muslims, etc.; and then there are atheists who see no value in cooperation with the religious at all.

So I am asking you all your experiences, conclusions, case studies etc., and I will be very soon blogging about it all in a very major way.
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Old 17-Oct-2010, 03:43 PM (15:43)     2        41446
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I have no experience with these issues, but can't wait to see the comments. I can't remember who it is, but I know we have someone over on the hangout who is a very active Unitarian. They could probably share a lot about this issue.
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Old 17-Oct-2010, 09:36 PM (21:36)     3        41447
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Honestly, a lot of us who would like to see co-operation and dialogue feel really embattled by the extremists. Making said co-operation and dialogue work doesn't work so well when you have a very loud minority making jackasses of themselves.

I've noticed these things seem to work best when everyone's had some time to relax, and relearn what it's like to discuss things with other people who have the same goals. It's hard to get out of the "We disagree, so I'm going to rip your head off" mindset, but it is a real relief to find places like the Hub where it's okay to disagree... Nicely. And then move on, because in the end, it's other things that are important.
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Old 18-Oct-2010, 10:42 PM (22:42)     4        41451
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There are a sizeable number of atheists who don't want to be in any way associated with Interfaith groups. Not wanting to be the token atheist so interfaith groups are lauded as inclusive. Willing atheist contributors could be considered to be supporting the prevailing theist discourse, particularly in the UK where church and state are so intertwined. But then, if folk of different mind sets sit down together to work on issues that all can agree, and atheists are not there in the dialogue we may be missing an opportunity...

I have no personal experience beyond this observation, and to note that I have yet to decide whether getting in bed with the theists is a good or a bad thing.

Doubtless no help whatsoever I'm afraid Gurdur.
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Old 19-Oct-2010, 01:36 AM (01:36)     5        41453
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Gurdur,

Quote:
What are common pitfalls and mistakes?
Off the top of my head.

You have several problems from the more conservative American Protestant/Anabaptist Christian viewpoint as well as help. One of the biggest helps is that the Christian is supposed to be loving. I think most of us know the good side and the bad side of that, but I assume that I'll have to take some lumps when I say something that sounds like heresy and be prepared to prove my point. Mainly, though, I have had pretty good relationships with most conservative Christians and I hope you will, also.

OTOH. There are a couple of things you will need to watch out for even with non-extremists:

First, Jesus said that he was the way. Full stop. So you will need reckon with that. No good trying to get into an argument with me about it. I'm stuck with his words on that subject, but it doesn't have to come up in the conversation either.

Second, there is Paul's verse about being unequally yoked with unbelievers. It means far more than just being married, but basically it will mean that you will have a bit to work through. Probably the best thing is to say truthfully that you want to learn by dialogue with others but not to the extent of being "yoked" as if in partnership. This actually makes sense, because all Paul was saying that if two people have different fundamental premises they will frustrate any but arm's length working together. (Some people will be more rule-based, though. "It's a rule. Gotta obey it.") So how close is close? Dunno. But even non-extremists realize the problem.

The main problem when you say you are trying to dialogue is that you will have people trying to convert you by "telling you the truth."



Other thoughts are that there are some insane, some wolves, some baby, some tare Christians.

I really have a hard time slapping down insane people, even when they do insane things. Yes, there are insane people off their meds in churches giving Christians bad cases of super-raised eyebrows. I accept them as Christians until proven otherwise.

I've also been in Christian forums where people have played at being Christians for their own purposes. I don't quite understand it because I wouldn't go into an atheist forum as an atheist just to, say, blacken prominent atheists by taking their words out of context. So what does one do when one finds someone deliberately doing that on Christian boards? Just be aware of that. They might want to attack you for their own purposes.

I haven't a problem with baby Christians, per se, but their childhood days should be counted in months. I would judge that one of the ones that "humphed" you on ship of fools was of the variety of ancient baby Christian. I'm not too popular with them, if that makes you feel better--I'm liable to pm them to dress them down. I would suggest that your best bet is to ignore any venom at the beginning. This will allow for others to get into the act. If they all come stone-in-hand at you, then you know that there is nothing you can do in that forum. Otherwise, you could also ask in general if the person's attitude is Christ-like, hoping that the person will be admonished by the others. Or you could ask them how long they have been Christian, "you don't seem to be what I would think of as a 'mature' Christian." That should give them pause. Well, it should. I scatter-gun them, myself. (I mean by that I take their statements apart and kindly match them up against scripture or other facts and show how they fail.)

Finally, is the problem of those who call themselves Christians but don't seem to know anything about it. I get my worse attacks from that sort of rule-based person. But for your purposes, you will have to deal with them as if they are Christians. You are on your own. Ignore 'em, *I* say. (I scatter-gunned one and was complimented later by a lad in our church, but I had to admonish him for calling the guy a windbag.) I've also been admonished by one in our main church and had a lot of people come and apologize to me.

I had been skirting the edges of the Orthodox Christian groups trying to learn something about them, but the feeling there seems to be that I need to be one of them before I can learn anything from them. I've stopped skirting--they don't look good in dresses--but you might have better luck. I'm a heretic--you a mere unbeliever. Just don't tell them you are a PK.

Hope this makes sense and is a help. I'll think about it more, too.
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Old 19-Oct-2010, 02:52 AM (02:52)     6        41454
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Speaking as a pagan, this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by muddleglum View Post
First, Jesus said that he was the way. Full stop. So you will need reckon with that. No good trying to get into an argument with me about it. I'm stuck with his words on that subject, but it doesn't have to come up in the conversation either.
Is what tends to lead to this:

Quote:
Second, there is Paul's verse about being unequally yoked with unbelievers. It means far more than just being married, but basically it will mean that you will have a bit to work through. Probably the best thing is to say truthfully that you want to learn by dialogue with others but not to the extent of being "yoked" as if in partnership. This actually makes sense, because all Paul was saying that if two people have different fundamental premises they will frustrate any but arm's length working together.
That first bit tends to really close off lines of communication. No matter how willing we might be, minds shut the moment you say "pagan" or try to explain that your beliefs aren't in any ways Bible-based. Either you need to be saved for your own good (even non extremists will try to nicely bring it up, especially if they're ignorant of what I mean when I talk about my own religion.), or you're a scary evil satanist and you'll never get another word of explanation in edgewise.

No offense, Moddleglum, but often enough trying to talk to a Christian is like trying to talk to a brick wall. If you can't talk, you can't get anything done. Minds shutting down makes these things hard.
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Old 19-Oct-2010, 04:16 PM (16:16)     7        41457
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moving message
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Old 19-Oct-2010, 04:29 PM (16:29)     8        41458
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muddleglum View Post
moving message
?????

I was getting quite something out of this thread. Hoping it continues. Many thanks, all! Muddleglum, very useful advice, thanks!
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Old 19-Oct-2010, 04:44 PM (16:44)     9        41459
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Makbawehuh,

Gurdur is talking as an atheist, so he, at least, can keep away from saying all roads lead to God. That will keep the first alarm from going off. It just doesn't have to. He doesn't need to say that one must accept everyone else as on the same road. That, though, is a common way of thinking and it might be a temptation for Gurdur to reply that, "other religions believe they are right too, ya know." The "all roads lead to god" motif will work well with some religions because of their presuppositions, but it will fail with most conservative Christians. That would be a very common pitfall he needs to take care not to trip into.

OTOH, he needs to know that even the non-extremist will not think well of a partnership system, and be on his guard not to push in that direction. Just will not work. Strangely enough, he will work better with dedicated Christians if he doesn't attempt to partner with them.
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Old 19-Oct-2010, 04:46 PM (16:46)     10        41460
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grrrr. I missed the right button AGAIN!

The reply that was moved was supposed to be moved under Makbawehuh's reply to me.

Last edited by muddleglum; 19-Oct-2010 at 04:48 PM (16:48). Reason: clrfy
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Old 19-Oct-2010, 05:24 PM (17:24)     11        41461
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muddleglum View Post
grrrr. I missed the right button AGAIN!
Be happy you are not a mod. On a mod's screen, the "Edit" and "Quote" buttons are quite close together, which can lead one into very bad and badly embarrassing moments.

You press the button, and make a long reply to some poster, blithely thinking you are being all supportive and developing the poster's thesis, and then you press the "post" button --- and bugger, it turns out you had previously pressed the Edit button, not the Quote one, which means you've just chopped up the original poster's post into tiny confetti. This makes you look both evil and stupid, which is .... bad PR. Highly embarrassing.
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Old 19-Oct-2010, 06:23 PM (18:23)     12        41463
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lol

I'm glad I'm not a mod--I'm too immoderate.

well, Makbawehuh will have to find my reply where I left it, poor thing.
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Old 19-Oct-2010, 07:11 PM (19:11)     13        41464
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Playing hard to get, huh?
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Old 19-Oct-2010, 07:13 PM (19:13)     14        41465
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That implies that Makbawehuh is chasing me. I'll leave her to reply to that insinuation.
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Old 19-Oct-2010, 07:14 PM (19:14)     15        41466
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Oh oh. Smart tactical thinking there!
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Old 19-Oct-2010, 08:45 PM (20:45)     16        41467
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Makbawehuh View Post
Speaking as a pagan, this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by muddleglum View Post
First, Jesus said that he was the way.
That first bit tends to really close off lines of communication. No matter how willing we might be, minds shut the moment you say "pagan" or try to explain that your beliefs aren't in any ways Bible-based. Either you need to be saved for your own good (even non extremists will try to nicely bring it up, especially if they're ignorant of what I mean when I talk about my own religion.), or you're a scary evil satanist and you'll never get another word of explanation in edgewise.

No offense, Moddleglum, but often enough trying to talk to a Christian is like trying to talk to a brick wall. If you can't talk, you can't get anything done. Minds shutting down makes these things hard.
I replied first from Gurdur's perspective so that I don't get things mixed.

From your perspective, I understand where you are coming from. The reason you are writing, I assume, is that you think I have somewhat of an open mind. (If I'm correct, thank you.) If I do have an open mind (or mouth?), that is because I had deeper experiences with the supernatural than most, and a skeptic's view of Christianity. I can usually kick back and relax without getting emotional about slurs cast upon my (yawn) fondest beliefs. (I usta be called Mr. Spock in my atheist years and some time afterward.)

The best I can say is that Jesus did not mean for love to shut down. So I'm here more to learn how to communicate and to communicate in a loving way. That means listening. I'm also learning (from you) something about questions I have been asking God about.

Hope I don't sound too preachy.
.
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Old 19-Oct-2010, 09:17 PM (21:17)     17        41468
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My experience is from only online encounters, and none of them have been good for reasons already mentioned in here. Most people I've encountered both online and IRL who claim to be Christian have never read more than scattered bits of their own Bible, and have little idea about what's actually in it. Nor have they ever given much, if any, thought to other people's beliefs.

I belonged to a UUA congregation here for about 4 years. Our minister was a well qualified woman of some clerical experience. At one point, a group of Christian ministers got an article published in the local paper about wanting to start an inter-faith council for dialoguing and cooperative efforts on things like the local food bank and so on. Our minister contacted them to see about participating, and was told in no uncertain terms she was not wanted. But they had one token Catholic priest and one Rabbi for window dressing. The rest were all Protestant mainline or evangelical types. It was nothing but a Christian good-ole-boy's club.

The only reason I can think of I would participate in something like this, would be over CSS and issues related to it. Kind of reminds me of that thing the Pope came up with recently---asking some atheists to participate in a European dialogue, although I can't imagine what anyone thinks would come of such a dog and pony show, especially since the Church gets to hand pick the "atheists" who would be allowed to participate. I'd avoid it like the plague.
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Old 21-Oct-2010, 03:00 AM (03:00)     18        41479
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muddleglum View Post
Gurdur is talking as an atheist, so he, at least, can keep away from saying all roads lead to God.
I know this, but he posted a general question about why interfaith groups don't seem to work/what can be done to make them work better. From a pagan perspective, at least, the abovementioned is a biggie.

Quote:
It just doesn't have to.
No, no it doesn't. But a lot of people don't seem to understand that, and so it -will- go off, and it leaves the rest of us feeling like we should bash our heads against a brick wall for it. When brain damage is feeling like a productive way to go, things get pretty sad.

Quote:
The "all roads lead to god" motif will work well with some religions because of their presuppositions, but it will fail with most conservative Christians. ... OTOH, he needs to know that even the non-extremist will not think well of a partnership system...

....Which.... Was my point, LOL.
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Old 21-Oct-2010, 03:14 AM (03:14)     19        41480
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muddleglum View Post
From your perspective, I understand where you are coming from. The reason you are writing, I assume, is that you think I have somewhat of an open mind. (If I'm correct, thank you.)
You're welcome!


Quote:
If I do have an open mind (or mouth?), that is because I had deeper experiences with the supernatural than most, and a skeptic's view of Christianity. I can usually kick back and relax without getting emotional about slurs cast upon my (yawn) fondest beliefs. (I usta be called Mr. Spock in my atheist years and some time afterward.)
A much appreciated attitude. I try to be nice when dealing with Christians because I can never be sure if I'm past the "stupid-angry at what you came from" phase or not, but sometimes....

Sometimes it's a little like that person who calls in because their system won't power on, and they won't troubleshoot, and they sit there and argue that the troubleshooting won't fix it for five times longer than it would take to do the troubleshooting and FIX IT (because it's a rare day when the troubleshooting doesn't fix that), and by the end of the call all I can feel is this... Sense of long-suffering, frustrated... Weariness.

Like I said. When you get to where banging your head against the wall starts to feel productive, you've gotten someplace sad.

Besides. Why bitch about Christians when I could bitch about other Pagans? LOL

Quote:
The best I can say is that Jesus did not mean for love to shut down. So I'm here more to learn how to communicate and to communicate in a loving way. That means listening.
Thank you. And... Amen, brother! (We pagans seriously need an "amen" equivalent here. "So mote it be" just takes way too long to say.)

Quote:
I'm also learning (from you) something about questions I have been asking God about.
Huhwut? LOL. OHNOES!

Quote:
Hope I don't sound too preachy.
Nah, you have a knack for sounding quirky and witty, so it doesn't come across as preachy. ^__^
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Old 21-Oct-2010, 03:21 AM (03:21)     20        41481
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seeker630 View Post
My experience is from only online encounters, and none of them have been good for reasons already mentioned in here. Most people I've encountered both online and IRL who claim to be Christian have never read more than scattered bits of their own Bible, and have little idea about what's actually in it. Nor have they ever given much, if any, thought to other people's beliefs.
That's actually an excellent point, and was something that pissed me off all to hell when I was a Christian (and now pisses me off as a Pagan when other pagans are just as unthoughtful and ignorant of their own beliefs. I don't have pet peeves about ignorance among the faithful or anything...). When I left my first reaction was always to find ways to trip people up on the Bible, just because beating them with their own ignorance felt good.

Then I realized I was just acting like an asshole and that they were really just sad excuses for human beings, and it was a little like kicking a puppy... Which is fine, since I hate dogs. The problem here was that there were more puppies than I could kick in a thousand lifetimes, so I just gave up and started kicking my fellow pagans.

Yep! I'm a shining example of a human being. :P
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Old 22-Oct-2010, 02:13 AM (02:13)     21        41487
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seeker630 View Post
Most people I've encountered both online and IRL who claim to be Christian have never read more than scattered bits of their own Bible, and have little idea about what's actually in it. Nor have they ever given much, if any, thought to other people's beliefs.
I was going to comment on this earlier but got caught up in packing for a trip so can just "Me Too" with Makbawehuh with the additional observation that many who do know some of the Bible know it mainly out of context. Too bad I'm honest, I could make bunches of money...

So that should go into your little book of talking with conservative Christians, too, Gurdur. No, not the green get-rich-quick notebook...
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Old 22-Oct-2010, 01:46 PM (13:46)     22        41488
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Makbawehuh View Post
Thank you. And... Amen, brother! (We pagans seriously need an "amen" equivalent here. "So mote it be" just takes way too long to say.)
Do what the early Puritans did to the phrase "God be with ye." That ended up as "good-bye." Try saying, "smoat-bee."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Makbawehuh View Post
Nah, you have a knack for sounding quirky and witty, so it doesn't come across as preachy. ^__^
LOL. I woke up this morning, thought of what you wrote, and laughed again. I have preached or spoken publicly a bit, but hardly anyone gives me feedback--probably because the plains don't have enough of the right-sized stones.

And thank you for your kind words, Smoooat-bee.
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Old 22-Oct-2010, 10:44 PM (22:44)     23        41489
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lol, smoat-bee. I like that.
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Old 24-Oct-2010, 02:30 PM (14:30)     24        41499
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Gurdur,

Your ethics/faith blog post reminds me that in many circles--at least in the U.S.--logic is considered "the philosophy of man" and is therefore not to be named. I find it in diverse environments of Anabaptists, Holiness/Charismatic, Pentecostal, and baptistic type churches. Calvinistic groups have it too, but to a lesser extent. Therefore it follows that one does not say "logically it follows that."

Use logic, by all means, but just don't call it logic. Paul obviously used it in 1 Cor 15 where he defended the possibility of everyone being resurrected. He points out that if one's conclusion was that there was no resurrection then one of Christianity's premises was invalid--that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. It is obviously logic being used there, yet there is no "proof-text" or quick quote that says, "use logic"--reason and logic is merely implicitly understood.
.

Last edited by muddleglum; 24-Oct-2010 at 02:39 PM (14:39). Reason: clrfy
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Old 24-Oct-2010, 03:12 PM (15:12)     25        41500
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muddleglum View Post
Gurdur,
Your ethics/faith blog post reminds me that in many circles--at least in the U.S.--logic is considered "the philosophy of man" and is therefore not to be named. I find it in diverse environments of Anabaptists, Holiness/Charismatic, Pentecostal, and baptistic type churches. Calvinistic groups have it too, but to a lesser extent. Therefore it follows that one does not say "logically it follows that."

Use logic, by all means, but just don't call it logic. Paul obviously used it in 1 Cor 15 where he defended the possibility of everyone being resurrected. He points out that if one's conclusion was that there was no resurrection then one of Christianity's premises was invalid--that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. It is obviously logic being used there, yet there is no "proof-text" or quick quote that says, "use logic"--reason and logic is merely implicitly understood.
.
Fair enough point, thanks. Allow me to point out that my OP of this board thread is not my planned blog post on the matter; my OP was simply to get more opinions and input for a planned future blog post on the Abraham and Isaac story.
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Old 24-Oct-2010, 07:13 PM (19:13)     26        41506
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Of course, Muslims tell it as Ibrahim and Isma'il. The related festival of Eid-ul-Adha is pretty significant in their calendar. Didn't Kierkergaard present a thesis on faith based around the story?

eta sorry for rambling - have responded to Muddleglum's blog about this. Interesting discussion around the interfaith stuff btw. Not surprisingly I think there are some real differences between the US and the Yookay.

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Old 24-Oct-2010, 08:28 PM (20:28)     27        41508
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Howso?
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Old 24-Oct-2010, 08:49 PM (20:49)     28        41509
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Well, we have the odd ultra orthodox / conservative / groupings here, but nothing on the scale that some parts of the USA have. And if they do come out with any of their stupid dogmatic prejudice ridden pish there seems to a greater willingness to ridicule them.
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Old 24-Oct-2010, 10:50 PM (22:50)     29        41513
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Ah. Yeah, here it's just pretty pointless to call them out on it when they're being stupid. There's too many of them doing it for it to do any good.
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Old 24-Oct-2010, 11:30 PM (23:30)     30        41515
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Just keep pluggin away
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