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Old 25-Oct-2010, 12:53 AM (00:53)     31        41516
Makbawehuh
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Haha. It's like going outside and telling the rain it needs to stop.

Actually, I think I'd have more luck with the rain...
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Old 26-Oct-2010, 03:25 PM (15:25)     32        41531
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Does anyone here have concrete case studies of where such cooperation went well, and where it went bad?
Not personally, but in a poor choice of words about AA, there is this statement:
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And almost all the AA histories agree, that original group was divided 50/50 between the faithful (predominantly Christian) and agnostics. Bill Wilson, one of AA's co-founders, was the man at the typewriter, but everyone reviewed and commented on the manuscript as it developed. And this (mostly) friendly friction between the devout and the doubtful resulted in the balanced, open-minded wording throughout AA's primary text as we have it today.
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Old 26-Oct-2010, 06:09 PM (18:09)     33        41534
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That's actually an interesting example on many levels.
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Old 28-Oct-2010, 10:43 AM (10:43)     34        41543
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I'm a translator and I do a lot of voluntary work for a German Jesuit (a former member of the Vatican's Interfaith Commission) who is very active in Christian-Muslim interfaith dialogue.
I am continuously amazed and encouraged by how civil the dialogue is, how intelligent the questions and how nuanced the answers.

My aunt, a staunch liberal Christian, is involved in running a meeting point for immigrant Muslim women in her town so they can get together and talk, obtain basic information about the place they live in, meet others from their host country. Out of this arise faith conversations, but the reality of getting to know the others as people with the same hopes and dreams for their families and their futures, with the same day to day frustrations of ordinary life, does more than anything else to break down barriers.
This means that the resulting faith conversations are also marked by a genuine desire of both sides to learn more about the other and a real respect.

There's hope!
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Old 28-Oct-2010, 07:33 PM (19:33)     35        41548
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Hi Erika and welcome! Thank you for your post.

This article about dialogue between Catholics and Humanists appeared in the Catholic Herald today.
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Old 02-Nov-2010, 12:54 AM (00:54)     36        41618
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It is hard to join a debate this far through without the grave danger of not doing previous posts the honour and time they deserve - however, if the premis of this is how can a 'faith - non faith' dialogue work, I see it in the following terms, writing as a professional Christian practitioner:

1. Valency of title - to enter a debate on the basis of 'faith and faithless' is perjorative and to denote a party as having a lack of something invariably places them at a disadvantage

2. Implicit agenda - Jews and Muslims regard Christians as being hard to deal wth on the basis that they appear only to want to convert - the same concerns should be taken seriously here (incl. by Christians who don't necessarily subscribe to that philosophy) - what is indended beyond the debate itself - that stall needs setting out properly

3. Listening versus speaking - often an imbalance in many religio-debates, and as likely a problem in this one.

4. Partial knowledge - as already rightly pointed out, religious people often work from a flawed scriptural basis that they will defend aggressively. This brings with it a defensiveness that very often closes conversation.

5. Undefendedness - I will talk to anyone who is prepared to listen without preconceptions and will try hard to listen without preconceptions to anyone who wishes to speak. My conceptions are then formed around the conversation not brought to the table ahead of it.

In general though - all parties are better for the debate. Christians (for whom I can only reasonably comment) are in need of proper healthy safe challenge. They will close down immediately if mocked or if faith itself is questioned - after all, atheist friends must find it hard to question faith, only its basis. Christians need to understand that people have other views, and to engage with them, and they/we are not so good at that. Richard Dawkins is robbing the debate in many people's opinions because he does not listen.
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Old 02-Nov-2010, 01:47 AM (01:47)     37        41623
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Interesting points. And yes, this thread is still very important and open, and I still haven't blogged on the issue.
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Old 02-Nov-2010, 02:22 AM (02:22)     38        41625
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Originally Posted by FrDavidCloake View Post



In general though - all parties are better for the debate. Christians (for whom I can only reasonably comment) are in need of proper healthy safe challenge. They will close down immediately if mocked or if faith itself is questioned - after all, atheist friends must find it hard to question faith, only its basis. Christians need to understand that people have other views, and to engage with them, and they/we are not so good at that. Richard Dawkins is robbing the debate in many people's opinions because he does not listen.
Can you please elaborate further on these two points? I don't understand the first one, and I am in the process of reading Dawkin's "The God Delusion". I can't for the life of me see how a man brought up as an Anglican is "not listening" to the conversation. I mean exactly what is it he didn't hear?

Understand where I am coming from----I was raised very strict Roman Catholic---8 years Catholic school, altar boy---the lot------ and I count myself atheistic. Long story that. My take on what the "debate" is about, depends on exactly what it is being discussed. If theology is the subject at hand, then you will find most well-read atheists will tell you that it's been done to death. Moot issue, although it can be educational and fun with beer and bratwursts ( lots of onions and mustard thank you). If you want to discuss CSS issues, then that is a very different can of worms indeed.

I understand that you are British, and you have an established, tax supported church. I am an American, and we don't have that here-------at least not yet (well kind of---Faith Based Initiative and all that nonsense).

Please proceed sir, this could be productive. I've never dialogued with a Vicar. I have a really good feeling about this discourse.

Last edited by Seeker630; 02-Nov-2010 at 02:45 AM (02:45).
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Old 02-Nov-2010, 03:23 AM (03:23)     39        41628
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Originally Posted by FrDavidCloake View Post
2. Implicit agenda - Jews and Muslims regard Christians as being hard to deal wth on the basis that they appear only to want to convert - the same concerns should be taken seriously here (incl. by Christians who don't necessarily subscribe to that philosophy) - what is indended beyond the debate itself - that stall needs setting out properly
Glad to know it's not just us pagans who feel that way, LOL!

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3. Listening versus speaking - often an imbalance in many religio-debates, and as likely a problem in this one.
Ya, that can be an issue on both sides of whatever debate you're in. It's hard to watch, hard to be in the middle of, and worse if you know you've done it at some point.

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5. Undefendedness - I will talk to anyone who is prepared to listen without preconceptions and will try hard to listen without preconceptions to anyone who wishes to speak. My conceptions are then formed around the conversation not brought to the table ahead of it.
Not so many folks who seem to understand that concept at all. The more people I run into who do, the better I feel about humanity as a whole. Thank you. ^__^

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Christians need to understand that people have other views, and to engage with them, and they/we are not so good at that. Richard Dawkins is robbing the debate in many people's opinions because he does not listen.
Smoatbee.

Addendum: I dunno about Fr. Cloake, but IMHO, from the little I've seen of him, Dawkins seems to spend a good deal of time running his mouth and not so much taking in data. Whatever he was and whether or not the debate has been done to death, if he's going to be in the debate, he needs to let people get a word in edgewise and actually listen to what they're saying.

I may or may not sound like an asshole, but Dawkins has made me want to facepalm every time I've seen him do something, and I dovery much try to separate what I see elsewhere from the stuff I see here.

Though I must admit, after some of what I've seen discussed here, my *facepalm* reaction to him doesn't seem to be too far off. I don't think he's a bad person, just not as smart as he thinks he is. Or perhaps not as attentive. That might work better.

Last edited by Makbawehuh; 02-Nov-2010 at 03:29 AM (03:29).
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Old 02-Nov-2010, 12:51 PM (12:51)     40        41636
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Originally Posted by FrDavidCloake View Post



In general though - all parties are better for the debate. Christians (for whom I can only reasonably comment) are in need of proper healthy safe challenge. They will close down immediately if mocked or if faith itself is questioned - after all, atheist friends must find it hard to question faith, only its basis. Christians need to understand that people have other views, and to engage with them, and they/we are not so good at that. Richard Dawkins is robbing the debate in many people's opinions because he does not listen.
Can you please elaborate further on these two points? I don't understand the first one, and I am in the process of reading Dawkin's "The God Delusion". I can't for the life of me see how a man brought up as an Anglican is "not listening" to the conversation. I mean exactly what is it he didn't hear?

Understand where I am coming from----I was raised very strict Roman Catholic---8 years Catholic school, altar boy---the lot------ and I count myself atheistic. Long story that. My take on what the "debate" is about, depends on exactly what it is being discussed. If theology is the subject at hand, then you will find most well-read atheists will tell you that it's been done to death. Moot issue, although it can be educational and fun with beer and bratwursts ( lots of onions and mustard thank you). If you want to discuss CSS issues, then that is a very different can of worms indeed.

I understand that you are British, and you have an established, tax supported church. I am an American, and we don't have that here-------at least not yet (well kind of---Faith Based Initiative and all that nonsense).

Please proceed sir, this could be productive. I've never dialogued with a Vicar. I have a really good feeling about this discourse.

Thanks to Mak above, and I also share the view about the potential good feeling about this. I find talking to those who aren't automatically people of a religious faith (I have yet to learn who is who) entirely edifying, and will blog on its potentials in my own sphere!

First, I ought to corrent one view - the Church of England may be the 'national' church but we are not tax supported - we are struggling very deeply with finding anough money from our depleted congregation to pay for ministers and churches, let alone the important stuff like working with the world and doing some good. What comes to us monetarily is from the pockets of our pensioners, more or less.

Secondly, Mak largely stated the case for me. I lived in Oxford for some years before I took my Orders, when still in business. I worshipped in the centre of the city among those who knew Richard Dawkins personally - and all that Mak says is how he is percieved in academic circles - a person-cult. It is odd that in his own sphere he is forming an organised relgion of his own, one that has a scripture [God Delusion], disciples, and a central figure for teaching the 'faith'! He is an atheist who has become a religion, and after all, you don't need a deity to be religious, so to say that is ok, I think.

In general, a debate between people of varying levels and styles of faith (finding value-free language is hard too) has to overcome the emotional barrier that Christians certianly hold about atheists - that they are the enemy and out to do damage. It says more about the Christian than about the atheist, but the hidden agendas are there, sadly

Last edited by FrDavidCloake; 02-Nov-2010 at 12:58 PM (12:58). Reason: addition
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Old 02-Nov-2010, 12:58 PM (12:58)     41        41637
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...sorry, forgot to answer a point raised:
Faith by its very nature demands no proof. Atheists of the Dawkins camp attack the lack of proveability, thereby demonstrating our point of view for us. The debate ends up with faith still left untouched. Attacking faith as a factor in life is a little like punching out of a paper-bag. You can feel its edges with every assault, but it evades every time. This must be hard for non-faith folk - and you are left with debate about forms of faith and its expression. In short (as I am not finding this easy to explain) - we believe in God and have faith in His existence. An atheist cant say 'God doesnt exist' because neither of us know that or have proof. The relgious bod has faith that God does exist, and the atheist that he doesnt - end result, faith-squared.

Last edited by FrDavidCloake; 02-Nov-2010 at 12:59 PM (12:59). Reason: spelling, and a crucial letter
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Old 02-Nov-2010, 03:48 PM (15:48)     42        41639
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Thanks! The points you make are quite interesting and very helpful.
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Old 02-Nov-2010, 08:37 PM (20:37)     43        41640
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I posted a thought on this in my own blog - for those who are interested (I am not fond of the BHA, nor closed-minded Christians)

http://vernacularcurate.blogspot.com...with-daft.html
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Old 02-Nov-2010, 09:01 PM (21:01)     44        41641
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I posted a thought on this in my own blog - for those who are interested (I am not fond of the BHA, nor closed-minded Christians)

http://vernacularcurate.blogspot.com...with-daft.html
After reading your blog entry (nice piece by the way), I think I should clarify something for you------Gurdur and I, in this thread, are atheists. At least some of the others are Pagans. The Hub really is a mixed bag, as opposed to the Heathen Hangout (our sister site), which is restricted to non-believers. I didn't know if you were aware of that. Your blog article only mentioned we atheists as being part of your discussion.

Nice looking kids you have. I have three daughters myself.
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Old 02-Nov-2010, 09:11 PM (21:11)     45        41642
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On this thread active so far:

Gurdur , homo hirsutus , Makbawehuh , Fia , muddleglum , Seeker630 , lifelinking, Erika Baker , FrDavidCloake

Makes 9 penguins, 5 atheists, 1 Pagan, 3 Christians
Thread needs more penguins
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Old 02-Nov-2010, 09:29 PM (21:29)     46        41643
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...sorry, forgot to answer a point raised:
Faith by its very nature demands no proof.
Uh-oh! Almost looks like the opposite of my viewpoint--Faith, by its very nature [already has its] proof.
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Old 02-Nov-2010, 09:35 PM (21:35)     47        41644
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Penguins?

Gurdur, I hope to bring my church laptop tomorrow. I installed Linux on it so that I can actually use it without being nannied to death.
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Old 02-Nov-2010, 09:38 PM (21:38)     48        41645
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Penguins. See lefthand side, titles under username, as long as you're using the normal default Hub skin, and not some other skin. Linux, huh? 333 and Maku will approve of you.
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Old 02-Nov-2010, 10:15 PM (22:15)     49        41646
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...Maku will approve of you.
Poor Makbawehuh. I think I've already had too much bad influence on her. Did you notice she wrote, "smoatbee" in her comment to FrDavidCloake?

Well, tomorrow, the world...but what do I want with that?
.
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Old 02-Nov-2010, 10:27 PM (22:27)     50        41647
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Uh-oh! Almost looks like the opposite of my viewpoint--Faith, by its very nature [already has its] proof.
Yes! I noticed this. I am still putting a blog piece together about faith in its various guises, so this is very interesting to me.
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Old 02-Nov-2010, 11:21 PM (23:21)     51        41649
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I posted a thought on this in my own blog - for those who are interested (I am not fond of the BHA, nor closed-minded Christians)

http://vernacularcurate.blogspot.com...with-daft.html
After reading your blog entry (nice piece by the way), I think I should clarify something for you------Gurdur and I, in this thread, are atheists. At least some of the others are Pagans. The Hub really is a mixed bag, as opposed to the Heathen Hangout (our sister site), which is restricted to non-believers. I didn't know if you were aware of that. Your blog article only mentioned we atheists as being part of your discussion.

Nice looking kids you have. I have three daughters myself.
Thanks and thanks!

For my part, this is first few steps in a new journey, so am learning the pursuations of you all. I could say non-Christians but I am keen not to engage from a Christian-centric point as I am the specific minority here and feel that I need to show you all respect.
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Old 02-Nov-2010, 11:23 PM (23:23)     52        41650
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Quote:
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...sorry, forgot to answer a point raised:
Faith by its very nature demands no proof.
Uh-oh! Almost looks like the opposite of my viewpoint--Faith, by its very nature [already has its] proof.
for me ...

faith = belief without proof

belief with proof = fact = no need for belief, sort of!
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Old 02-Nov-2010, 11:33 PM (23:33)     53        41651
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As regards hangouts restricted to non-believers, that sounds like a sane idea to me. We have the opposite and I call them churches - although there isnt an express restriction against atheists, pagans etc etc

I feel that I need to be clear about what I stand for, so that I don't mislead unintentionally. I am a priest in the Anglican Church quite unlike many you may meet or experience. I am passionate and life-committed to my faith and my own relationship to my own God. This said, much of the paralysis and blindness and the daftness of organised Christianty is troubling to me, and its lack of openness a worry. I will speak freely here, from my heart - and I will debate any issue. I am also quite clear, as I was with my wife before she found her own way to faith, that I am here not to convert the world or my friends to my faith, but just to be the best Christian I can be. If that is compelling for others - a bonus. My job and life is to proclaim a truth as I percieve it, and then to guide people through their choices. I am not a converter of non-believers, that is not my job - I see it as my God's job. I will, though, defend what I believe insofar as I can, and for what it is worth, I will be as open about all that I speak about or comment about as I can - that is to say, I won't close down and ignore a difficult question that may not suit me.
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Old 03-Nov-2010, 12:29 AM (00:29)     54        41652
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cool
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Old 03-Nov-2010, 12:50 AM (00:50)     55        41655
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Poor Makbawehuh. I think I've already had too much bad influence on her. Did you notice she wrote, "smoatbee" in her comment to FrDavidCloake?
It was too good not to use. It will eventually end up a word in my vocabulary, much like "Meep". Hopefully I can sell the idea of it to other Pagans.

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Well, tomorrow, the world...but what do I want with that?
You find a hilltop and laugh diabolically. Even if you intend to be a benevolent overlord, I want you to do that for me just once.

...Please.

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For my part, this is first few steps in a new journey, so am learning the pursuations of you all. I could say non-Christians but I am keen not to engage from a Christian-centric point as I am the specific minority here and feel that I need to show you all respect.
Have no fear, for it is the bacon that binds us!

Token pagan in the conversation, right here, in case you didn't guess. :P I can hardly say I speak for all pagans, especially since I get all pissed off when other pagans speak for me, but I do try to give an impression of common sense.

It usually comes off as bat-shit insanity, I think, but hey... A girl's gotta take what she can get.

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As regards hangouts restricted to non-believers, that sounds like a sane idea to me. We have the opposite and I call them churches - although there isnt an express restriction against atheists, pagans etc etc.
Oooh, I like that point. Next time someone throws a fit about some pagan meeting I'll bring that up.

...Except that it probably won't happen. The pacific northwest is pretty pagan, unlike the rest of the US.

Quote:
I feel that I need to be clear about what I stand for, so that I don't mislead unintentionally. I am a priest in the Anglican Church quite unlike many you may meet or experience. I am passionate and life-committed to my faith and my own relationship to my own God. This said, much of the paralysis and blindness and the daftness of organised Christianty is troubling to me, and its lack of openness a worry. I will speak freely here, from my heart - and I will debate any issue. I am also quite clear, as I was with my wife before she found her own way to faith, that I am here not to convert the world or my friends to my faith, but just to be the best Christian I can be. If that is compelling for others - a bonus. My job and life is to proclaim a truth as I percieve it, and then to guide people through their choices. I am not a converter of non-believers, that is not my job - I see it as my God's job. I will, though, defend what I believe insofar as I can, and for what it is worth, I will be as open about all that I speak about or comment about as I can - that is to say, I won't close down and ignore a difficult question that may not suit me.
A respectful and respectable standpoint.
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Old 03-Nov-2010, 01:41 AM (01:41)     56        41657
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"smoatbee"
Hopefully I can sell the idea of it to other Pagans.
LOL! I keep trying to think of something to say on this but keep being interrupted by laughter.

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Originally Posted by Makbawehuh View Post
Quote:
Well, tomorrow, the world...but what do I want with that?
You find a hilltop and laugh diabolically. Even if you intend to be a benevolent overlord, I want you to do that for me just once.
But Makbawehuh, I'm not that sort. I'm just...

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...Please.
<sigh>...a wimp. Should I take over the world, or you?

Maybe I should write a story about a world that I could take over. In it I'll find a hilltop, laugh diabolically, and, umm, go find the nearest library?

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...Except that it probably won't happen. The pacific northwest is pretty pagan, unlike the rest of the US.
True. My brother-in-law died there recently. I'm not sure what he was (and I can understand why he wouldn't want to open up in his family), but I understand his wife was somewhat pagan.
.
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Old 03-Nov-2010, 01:47 AM (01:47)     57        41658
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As regards hangouts restricted to non-believers, that sounds like a sane idea to me. We have the opposite and I call them churches - although there isnt an express restriction against atheists, pagans etc etc

I feel that I need to be clear about what I stand for,
There is a reason the Hangout exists, and the Hub is a spin-off from there, the Hangout being the senior board by quite a bit. Some of the long time regulars in here and at the Hangout will tell you that they visited Christian boards/forums in the past, and it turned into a pile on of dozens of Christians against one or two atheists, agnostics, or members of minority religions. I mean ugly, nasty situations. Some were actually banned simply for not being Christians from some of them. In other words-- it was a very hostile situation for anyone not Christian, or even the right kind of Christian. Makes one wonder why they are so afraid to face scrutiny of their beliefs.

The Hangout evolved as a place of sanctuary for non-believers of any description, free from preaching, proselytizing, and threats of eternal damnation and suffering because we simply didn't believe the right things, and we were honest about it. It also virtually eliminated trolls.

The unfortunate side effect is that it cuts off non-believers from any interaction with the believers on those boards, and any civil discourse quickly becomes impossible, because there is simply no reasoning with them. Once the Hangout had been established for a while, the Hub was created to "try it again", but from the secular POV, opening a board to everyone---not just non-believers. Very, very few Christian forums will return the favor. About two years ago or so, we had an influx of Pagans from a board that had an internal meltdown.

So that is how we came to be here. Some of the newer members are a lot more active in here than I am. I was very skeptical at first about participating in the Hub, and I am still leery of believers, but I will try to stick it out and see what happens. As I said before, dialogue might be good, but it depends entirely on what the subject of the discussion is.

I, like you, also need to stand clearly for what I believe, but belief in anything called "god" isn't on my list. That doesn't qualify as "faith". It merely qualifies as acknowledging that I have no good reason to think a certain way about something. In the exact same way that it requires no faith to say that I don't believe in the existence of leprechauns or invisible pink unicorns. There is simply no credible evidence for the existence of any of them. The same applies to "god", whatever that term means to anyone, and as far as I can tell, there is no coherent, universally accepted definition of just what that might be.
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Old 03-Nov-2010, 02:12 AM (02:12)     58        41659
muddleglum
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...sorry, forgot to answer a point raised:
Faith by its very nature demands no proof.
Uh-oh! Almost looks like the opposite of my viewpoint--Faith, by its very nature [already has its] proof.
for me ...

faith = belief without proof

belief with proof = fact = no need for belief, sort of!
We're probably polar opposites, then.

I'll leave it at that, not wanting to fill ears with more boring sermons.
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Old 03-Nov-2010, 03:30 AM (03:30)     59        41660
homo hirsutus
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4. Partial knowledge - as already rightly pointed out, religious people often work from a flawed scriptural basis that they will defend aggressively. This brings with it a defensiveness that very often closes conversation.
I'm not sure what these means or why it's relevant to this discussion. When it comes to faithful and faithless working together, why would it matter if a Christian is interpreting scripture "correctly?" Most everything else you said in the post I quoted from made perfect sense to me.

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Addendum: I dunno about Fr. Cloake, but IMHO, from the little I've seen of him, Dawkins seems to spend a good deal of time running his mouth and not so much taking in data.
That's technically true. I don't remember the last time I saw him on television just sitting and reading. I've seen him in debates and he states plainly: if you have evidence that we can debate then bring it and we'll debate it. The times I've heard people respond to him they just let out a spew of drivel. That said, I don't really like him and I think he's an ass. I just get really annoyed when I see people criticize him for things he isn't doing or for not doing things that he actually is doing.
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Old 03-Nov-2010, 04:21 AM (04:21)     60        41662
Makbawehuh
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That's technically true. I don't remember the last time I saw him on television just sitting and reading. I've seen him in debates and he states plainly: if you have evidence that we can debate then bring it and we'll debate it. The times I've heard people respond to him they just let out a spew of drivel. That said, I don't really like him and I think he's an ass. I just get really annoyed when I see people criticize him for things he isn't doing or for not doing things that he actually is doing.
You say the people he's debating with spout a lot of drivel, but from what I've seen he spouts as much drivel as some of the people across the table sometimes, from my point of view...

...When everyone's spouting drivel, they should at least be having the same debate and listening to each other's drivel. Which was my point.
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