In the last few years, since I fully shifted to the dark side, I have found myself less and less tolerant of the process of "debating" a believer. It's interesting how quickly and powerfully things change when you finally let go of a belief. So many aspects of that belief that you didn't even know were in your brain are suddenly highlighted and dismissed. The most profound example I have noticed is that I just refuse to include the bible in any of my discussions.

It seems fruitless for me to argue some fine point of what I now believe is a work of fiction. The problem arises when someone makes a point like: "well if you intend to convert anyone, change anyone's mind about the existence of god, you must meet them where they are". I don't know. It seems to me the best way to cut through the crap and get to the real issues, is to refuse to feed their deception. As soon as I let the bible into the debate, I have conceded the validity of it.

I notice that Brother Richard often will spend time in his posts discussing the interpretation of this or that passage in the bible. I don't have trouble with that when the discussion is in this type of forum where the presumption is that the text discussed is fictional. I'm willing to debate the question of a god's existence, the historical Jesus, or just about any religious issue, but only outside the context of an inspired, revealed word of that god.

Any thoughts?

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I just finished a week on vacation where I visited Amish and Mormon territories and could study their lifestyles, even to a depth bordering on uncomfortable.

I have no quarrel over their right to live as they please. I have no problem with them believing what they will in regards to their respective religious texts.

It's not an issue. Those texts do not belong to me, so have no authority over me. Their prophets are not my prophets...even if I had prophets of my own (which I don't). I don't recognize their authorities...the members of their communities which have been given the power of authority over their communities. I don't lend credibility to their religious texts, nor to the way they they interpret them.

Even if I were to suddenly wish to accept some religious text, I would find it rather difficult to accept one over some other, because they all contradict one another as well as my own views on secular matters. I have to confine my discourse to history and secular issues. There's just no arguing bibles or books of Mormon. For any other faith, neither could I argue Upanishad Gita or Koran. I just can't see how it pertains to me at all.

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