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  #601  
Old 09-20-2017, 11:55 PM
HlaaluStyle HlaaluStyle is offline

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Originally Posted by BaronGrackle View Post
But I can also point you to secular Crusade atrocities (e.g. the Sacking of Constantinople)
I would question this bit, since I'm not sure if secularism could even be said to have existed at the time. While greed was undoubtedly the doge's prime motivation, the Sack of Constantinople also tied into the various disputes between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. At any rate, the waters are muddied enough that I don't think you could count it as secular per se. The Mongol conquests might be a better example (the Mongols certainly had religion, but faith was not, to the best of my knowledge, a significant motivating factor in building their empire).

Other than that, I agree with your post and thought it was well-written.
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  #602  
Old 09-21-2017, 06:17 AM
Shaman Shaman is offline

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Originally Posted by BaronGrackle View Post
Anything that appeals to eternal afterlife or to a divine quality of humanity will work. Here's an easy example:

"Slavery tyrannically assumes power which Heaven denied,—while, under its barbarous necromancy, borrowed from the Source of Evil, a man is changed into a chattel, a person is withered into a thing, a soul is shrunk into merchandise. Say, Sir, in lofty madness, that you own the sun, the stars, the moon; but do not say that you own a man, endowed with soul to live immortal, when sun and moon and stars have passed away."
-Charles Sumner, 1860

You can say there were secular abolitionists. But I can also point you to secular Crusade atrocities (e.g. the Sacking of Constantinople) or secular Inquisitions (e.g. the French Revolutionary Reign of Terror), so I don't know what examples of religious-only atrocities you'd invoke if we go down that path.
Slavery is positively recommended in the Hebrew Bible and the Hadith; and has been justified by preachers for hundreds of years by appeals to their holy books - so its well good that some of these godly men eventually remembered their consciences and spoke against the institution that their deity prescribed. It may have been of some help to humanity when the Decalogue was being handed down from the omniscient and omnibenevolent deity to mention that owning people as property -or that rape was a bad thing- ought to be forbidden. Instead the ethics of those texts read like they were the product of their times; in that they were written by the male property-owning classes of agrarian and illiterate societies and not inspired by a timeless creator.

And I don't believe that asserting an afterlife would meet the qualification of an ethical statement. What would be particularly moral of me of assuring credulous others that immortality awaits them in the halls of Valhalla or the fields of Elysium - a claim I couldn't prove and would have no right to promise? And the corollary to that claim of an afterlife would be what is at all ethical about damning others to an eternity of punishment for finite crimes - a claim that has been used to terrify children for thousands of years?

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I recall a number of school shootings/suicides unrelated to religion.

A lot of modern-day shooters go in not expecting to survive. Including those without religious motive.
Indeed - there will be sadists and nihilists without religion. But as soon as you seriously convince one of these suicide-murderers that an afterlife of bliss awaits them for their deeds, then all manner of unconscionable acts become permissible. We need only look in Sudan, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and now parts of Europe to see the cause-effect relationship between convincing would-be martyrs of an afterlife and the act of killing for one's faith.

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You said Jewish. Male circumcision is not comparable to female genital mutilation. Male circumcision is so secularized now that it's common in the U.S., despite the Christian New Testament saying it's not necessary.

...
Circumcision has its origins as a religious observance though and is widely practiced as such - and it is comparable to the mutilation of the genitals of young girls in that it is a medically-unnecessary surgery forced upon children without their consent by their parents. Informed adults may do what they want with their own bodies, but it is a betrayal of trust for mothers and fathers to make that irreversible decision for their children - particularly so when, as rabbis like Maimonides have written, it is a practice designed to dull the sexual instincts of those it is afflicted on.

Last edited by Shaman; 09-21-2017 at 06:34 AM..
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  #603  
Old 09-21-2017, 07:41 AM
PajamaSalad PajamaSalad is offline

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I have always liked Johnathan Haidt's or Emile Durkeim's view of religion and other societal bonds. Without them we would have never evolved beyond small tribes vying for dominance in the swamps. We went from smaller tribes to increasingly larger ones. I think the whole violence directed at outsiders is something that was inherited and not something that group mentalities like religion are the cause of. The stability of larger groups allowed other advances in economics and science to flourish.

I think religion serves as more of a catalyst for culture. Christianity in the US is responsible for a lot of altruism in the form of volunteerism and charity. The abolitionist movement was heavily influenced by religion. When Americans went out to form communes in the 19th century religious communes were more likely to last than secular ones. Religious people are generally happier than the non-religious and they feel a greater sense of belonging. I think American Christianity is a very particular strand of religion though. I am not going to defend Christianity in the LRA or Uganda. Some American Christian teachings are more pragmatic than some of the secular 'religions' who have more similarities to a religion than they would like to admit.

A suicide bombing is terrible because they are murdering other people but simply dying for something greater than oneself is a requirement for some professions that are necessary for society. When US airliners were hijacked by suicide bombers on September 11th we had Air Force pilots on standby to sacrifice themselves by crashing into the airplanes to prevent them from hitting their targets. We had fire fighters running into the towers and attempting to save as many people as possible and not making it out. You simply can't pay someone enough to do something like that. They have to believe in something greater than themselves.
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  #604  
Old 09-21-2017, 10:07 AM
Kakwakas Kakwakas is offline

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Originally Posted by HlaaluStyle View Post
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the link you provide said that the procedures were conducted through a computer simulation? A game is so far removed from normal reality that I'm skeptical that in-game behavior really says a lot about the player.
"Dictator Game
In this task, children were shown a set of 30 stickers and were told to choose
their ten favorite [6]. They were then told ‘‘these stickers are yours to keep.’’
Children were instructed that the experimenter did not have the time to play
this game with all of the children in their school, so not everyone would be
able to receive stickers.
Moral Sensitivity Task
In this computerized task, used previously with children in both behavioral and
functional neuroimaging studies [19], a series of short dynamic visual sce-
narios depicting interpersonal harm (e.g., pushing, bumping) was presented."
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  #605  
Old 09-21-2017, 11:40 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Originally Posted by Shaman View Post
Slavery is positively recommended in the Hebrew Bible and the Hadith; and has been justified by preachers for hundreds of years by appeals to their holy books - so its well good that some of these godly men eventually remembered their consciences and spoke against the institution that their deity prescribed.
So my quote from Charles Sumner. It invokes his religious beliefs (in this case the authority of God and immortal nature of the soul) in order to attack slavery.

But, despite his own words, you are interpreting his belief as coming in SPITE of his religion because, in your opinion, he does not understand his Bible or his religion correctly.

Do you see why this is hard for me to agree with? You and Hlaalu were just discussing bad things unrelated to the standard definition of religion, so you clarified that nationalism can be credited as a "civic religion". But when looking at good things like Christian abolitionism, you automatically conclude that the abolitionists were accidentally in violation of their own faith and therefore not being religious.

It comes off with the appearance that you're defining anything "bad" as religious and anything "good" as nonreligious, based not on the religious belief of the practitioners but on your personal opinion of the quality of their effects.

Quote:
And I don't believe that asserting an afterlife would meet the qualification of an ethical statement. What would be particularly moral of me of assuring credulous others that immortality awaits them in the halls of Valhalla or the fields of Elysium - a claim I couldn't prove and would have no right to promise? And the corollary to that claim of an afterlife would be what is at all ethical about damning others to an eternity of punishment for finite crimes - a claim that has been used to terrify children for thousands of years?
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Indeed - there will be sadists and nihilists without religion. But as soon as you seriously convince one of these suicide-murderers that an afterlife of bliss awaits them for their deeds, then all manner of unconscionable acts become permissible. We need only look in Sudan, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and now parts of Europe to see the cause-effect relationship between convincing would-be martyrs of an afterlife and the act of killing for one's faith.
I feel these two sections are contradictory.

Quote:
Circumcision has its origins as a religious observance though and is widely practiced as such - and it is comparable to the mutilation of the genitals of young girls in that it is a medically-unnecessary surgery forced upon children without their consent by their parents. Informed adults may do what they want with their own bodies, but it is a betrayal of trust for mothers and fathers to make that irreversible decision for their children - particularly so when, as rabbis like Maimonides have written, it is a practice designed to dull the sexual instincts of those it is afflicted on.
You have problems with common American medical practice, unrelated to religion unless you believe a secret Zionist movement has overtaken American medicine.

(I feel like my post is coming off as aggressive, but I'm not meaning it that way.)
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  #606  
Old 09-21-2017, 01:53 PM
HlaaluStyle HlaaluStyle is offline

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Originally Posted by Kakwakas View Post
"Dictator Game
In this task, children were shown a set of 30 stickers and were told to choose
their ten favorite [6]. They were then told ‘‘these stickers are yours to keep.’’
Children were instructed that the experimenter did not have the time to play
this game with all of the children in their school, so not everyone would be
able to receive stickers.
Moral Sensitivity Task
In this computerized task, used previously with children in both behavioral and
functional neuroimaging studies [19], a series of short dynamic visual sce-
narios depicting interpersonal harm (e.g., pushing, bumping) was presented."
That's what I was referring to. I don't think one's behavior in a game necessarily denotes their behavior in real life. A very conscientious and moral person might still enjoy booting up Postal 2.
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  #607  
Old 09-21-2017, 02:30 PM
Kakwakas Kakwakas is offline

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Originally Posted by HlaaluStyle View Post
That's what I was referring to. I don't think one's behavior in a game necessarily denotes their behavior in real life. A very conscientious and moral person might still enjoy booting up Postal 2.
They played the game and were given 30 stickers as a reward and were told they don't have time to play the same game with the rest of the kids, so they wouldn't all get stickers. Religious children being less likely to share those stickers isn't part of the game itself.
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  #608  
Old 09-21-2017, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by BaronGrackle View Post
So my quote from Charles Sumner. It invokes his religious beliefs (in this case the authority of God and immortal nature of the soul) in order to attack slavery.

But, despite his own words, you are interpreting his belief as coming in SPITE of his religion because, in your opinion, he does not understand his Bible or his religion correctly.

Do you see why this is hard for me to agree with? You and Hlaalu were just discussing bad things unrelated to the standard definition of religion, so you clarified that nationalism can be credited as a "civic religion". But when looking at good things like Christian abolitionism, you automatically conclude that the abolitionists were accidentally in violation of their own faith and therefore not being religious.
The texts of the Hebrew Bible, New Testament and Hadith are not neutral on the question of slavery - but instead recognize it as a legitimate institution, give instructions on how slaves are to be managed while also positively-recommending the enslavement of innocents. When Thomas Jefferson confronted the ambassador of Tripoli over the crimes of the Barbary pirate-states enslaving hundreds of thousands of sailors - their ambassador justified their practice by appealing to their holy books. The Hebrew books are particularly wicked on this subject; as Yahweh rewarded his loyal warriors after a massacre by allowing them to take the fertile wives and daughters of the slain for their own. So on the specific question of slavery, yes, those Christian abolitionists were advocating for emancipation in spite of their holy texts - and a good thing that was, too.

Now I happen to have already had a great respect and admiration for Rep. Sumner -and it was a terrible crime what happened to him- but his work, and the work of others like him in the abolitionist movement, was hindered at every turn by their fellow theists who had justified the enslavement of others by making direct appeals to their holy texts. There are commendable verses to be found in each of the three main monotheisms, but the Abrahamic religions have an appalling record on the issue of slavery - and the inability of their authors to recognize the evil in owning others as property does not lend any credence at all to the notion that their texts were the work of an all-benevolent deity.

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Originally Posted by BaronGrackle View Post
It comes off with the appearance that you're defining anything "bad" as religious and anything "good" as nonreligious, based not on the religious belief of the practitioners but on your personal opinion of the quality of their effects.
We have a duty to criticize foolish or wicked sayings and deeds wherever we recognize them; and there is a great deal of foolishness and wickedness in this world that is justified through appeals to religion.

And leaving aside ethics for a moment, as a matter of intellectual-honesty I am simply compelled to criticize religions for their mythical truth-claims about the nature of reality. Appeals to the supernatural are anathema to me - no religion has ever produced compelling evidence to justify a belief in angels, demons, ghosts, witches or an afterlife. Instead the universe has all-the-appearance of being ordered without us in mind - and there is hubris in the belief that everything that has ever occurred was set in motion so that we, lowly primates that we are, might escape death.

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Originally Posted by BaronGrackle View Post
You have problems with common American medical practice, unrelated to religion unless you believe a secret Zionist movement has overtaken American medicine.

(I feel like my post is coming off as aggressive, but I'm not meaning it that way.)
The commonality of circumcision is irrelevant to the question of its ethics - every parent in the United States could agree to it or only one of them might; doesn't change the principle that parents do not have the right to submit their children to an irreversible and medically-unnecessary surgery when the baby is unable to give consent. In the same way that it would be unethical to tattoo a newborn baby or to pierce their skin with metal - when the child is old enough to give an informed opinion on the matter, fine, but its entirely inappropriate for parents to use their children as props for their own cultural or religious rituals.

Quote:
(I feel like my post is coming off as aggressive, but I'm not meaning it that way.)
Not at all.
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  #609  
Old 09-21-2017, 03:47 PM
HlaaluStyle HlaaluStyle is offline

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Originally Posted by Kakwakas View Post
They played the game and were given 30 stickers as a reward and were told they don't have time to play the same game with the rest of the kids, so they wouldn't all get stickers. Religious children being less likely to share those stickers isn't part of the game itself.
This link (taken from the study) offers more detail on the sticker game.

http://www.ehbonline.org/article/S10...093-6/fulltext

I really wouldn't consider this particularly meaningful unless the child was asked, by someone who lacked stickers, to share those stickers with them. It could be that they simply don't perceive material rewards as being as important, so they don't assume that their peers would want lots of stickers.

I wasn't raised in a religious household, but I probably wouldn't have shared them unless I perceived there was a need for it.
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  #610  
Old 09-21-2017, 03:51 PM
Kakwakas Kakwakas is offline

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This link (taken from the study) offers more detail on the sticker game.

http://www.ehbonline.org/article/S10...093-6/fulltext

I really wouldn't consider this particularly meaningful unless the child was asked, by someone who lacked stickers, to share those stickers with them. It could be that they simply don't perceive material rewards as being as important, so they don't assume that their peers would want lots of stickers.

I wasn't raised in a religious household, but I probably wouldn't have shared them unless I perceived there was a need for it.
I think you're just going to see what you want to see here.
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Old 09-21-2017, 04:20 PM
HlaaluStyle HlaaluStyle is offline

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I think you're just going to see what you want to see here.
So are you. And so are sociologists. Sociology is not a trustworthy discipline because it cannot capture the complexity, contradiction, and hypocrisy of an individual human. Thus, it's attempts to do the same for groups are automatically suspect.

Sociology is the antithesis of art.
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  #612  
Old 09-21-2017, 04:55 PM
Kakwakas Kakwakas is offline

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So are you. And so are sociologists. Sociology is not a trustworthy discipline because it cannot capture the complexity, contradiction, and hypocrisy of an individual human. Thus, it's attempts to do the same for groups are automatically suspect.

Sociology is the antithesis of art.
Sorry I don't see what you feel as being right to be as reliable as the combined efforts of researchers and the peer review process, nor do I see the same issues you do. Maybe that's why I'm not religious.
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  #613  
Old 09-21-2017, 05:03 PM
PajamaSalad PajamaSalad is offline

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So are you. And so are sociologists. Sociology is not a trustworthy discipline because it cannot capture the complexity, contradiction, and hypocrisy of an individual human. Thus, it's attempts to do the same for groups are automatically suspect.

Sociology is the antithesis of art.
These are one of those times I am disgusted with the excesses of academia. I just can't imagine myself conducting a study like that and feeling like I made a contribution to society. What does it possible provide people with besides a piece of propaganda?
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  #614  
Old 09-21-2017, 05:16 PM
Kakwakas Kakwakas is offline

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These are one of those times I am disgusted with the excesses of academia. I just can't imagine myself conducting a study like that and feeling like I made a contribution to society. What does it possible provide people with besides a piece of propaganda?
How dare they seek knowledge!
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Old 09-21-2017, 05:51 PM
HlaaluStyle HlaaluStyle is offline

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Sorry I don't see what you feel as being right to be as reliable as the combined efforts of researchers and the peer review process, nor do I see the same issues you do. Maybe that's why I'm not religious.
I'm an agnostic.
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Old 09-21-2017, 06:15 PM
Kakwakas Kakwakas is offline

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I'm an agnostic.
Agnostic theist or agnostic atheist?
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Old 09-21-2017, 06:30 PM
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Agnostic theist or agnostic atheist?
Agnostic atheist, if you want to be technical.

I've met a fair number of religious people in my life, from all the major faiths. A few of them were awesome. A few of them were jerks. Most were somewhere in between.
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Old 09-21-2017, 06:39 PM
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Old 09-21-2017, 06:46 PM
Kakwakas Kakwakas is offline

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I don't see any "atheist fanaticism" here.
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Old 09-21-2017, 06:56 PM
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I don't see any "atheist fanaticism" here.
You literally just cited a study saying that religious people are fundamentally less altruistic. That certainly fits my definition of "othering".
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Old 09-21-2017, 07:15 PM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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The texts of the Hebrew Bible, New Testament and Hadith are not neutral on the question of slavery - but instead recognize it as a legitimate institution, give instructions on how slaves are to be managed while also positively-recommending the enslavement of innocents. When Thomas Jefferson confronted the ambassador of Tripoli over the crimes of the Barbary pirate-states enslaving hundreds of thousands of sailors - their ambassador justified their practice by appealing to their holy books. The Hebrew books are particularly wicked on this subject; as Yahweh rewarded his loyal warriors after a massacre by allowing them to take the fertile wives and daughters of the slain for their own. So on the specific question of slavery, yes, those Christian abolitionists were advocating for emancipation in spite of their holy texts - and a good thing that was, too.
Thomas Jefferson the great abolitionist?

But try something. Envision two individuals. First, a Quaker or Methodist abolitionist who has been raised believing slavery was against God's will, yet is surrounded by a society where slavery is the norm, and who risks his/her life to help runaways flee on the underground railroad. Second, a Southern Baptist plantation owner whose preacher tells him slavery is God's will, and whose livelihood/wealth/influence depends on the institution of slavery remaining legal.

Take away their religious influences.


* Would the first person risk life and security to help runaways? I think it's less likely.
* Would the second person continue to act in his best economic interests by owning people in a highly profitable industry? I think it's more likely.

How religious was Jefferson?

EDIT: I'm actually intrigued by the study Kak posted and don't want to dismiss it. I may reflect and ramble later.

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Old 09-21-2017, 07:20 PM
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Thomas Jefferson the great abolitionist?

But try something. Envision two individuals. First, a Quaker or Methodist abolitionist who has been raised believing slavery was against God's will, yet is surrounded by a society where slavery is the norm, and who risks his/her life to help runaways flee on the underground railroad. Second, a Southern Baptist plantation owner whose preacher tells him slavery is God's will, and whose livelihood/wealth/influence depends on the institution of slavery remaining legal.

Take away their religious influences.


* Would the first person risk life and security to help runaways? I think it's less likely.
* Would the second person continue to act in his best economic interests by owning people in a highly profitable industry? I think it's more likely.

How religious was Jefferson?
Jefferson's religious views are subject to a lot of debate. He professed himself to be a follower of Christ in the sense that he acknowledged Christ's moral lessons, but seemed to be more of a deist when it came to supernatural elements. He is known to have put together an altered version of the New Testament which ommitted Christ's miracles and focused on his teachings.
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Old 09-22-2017, 12:57 PM
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I am mostly with Hlaalu on this one. I am largely agnostic but with some shades of belief (I want to believe in something greater, but I mostly can't), I would also consider myself a Cultural Christian again with some shades of genuine Christian belief.

I am somewhat surprised how militant some of you are, especially didn't expect it out of Sarah. I personally am of the opinion that you should live and let live (provided that the other side is doing the same). Imo religion has helped more than it has harmed when the score is tallied. Provided that one is not overly intrusive with their religion and that they are tolerant (in the original sense of that word) then just let them do their own thing.
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Old 09-22-2017, 01:12 PM
Kakwakas Kakwakas is offline

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Originally Posted by C9H20 View Post
I am somewhat surprised how militant some of you are
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Old 09-22-2017, 01:25 PM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Originally Posted by Kakwakas View Post
You wanna do case-by-case? I feel like a lot gets dismissed when the big lists come out.

1) Revolutionary France
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