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(Image removed from quote.)

(Image removed from quote.)

That was why my undergraduate minor was geophysics ;-)

Ibn ... if I spoke with the words of angels, you wouldn't understand.  Wikipedia is still too educated for you, sorry.
Film, Music, Sports, and more / Re: Any Rick and Morty fans around here?
« Last post by Shiranu on Today at 12:08:52 AM »
The show has dark and nihilistic undertones, bringing into question the value of life itself. And then there's also this:

Again, nothing in the Bible says Christians cant have a sense of humour. I joke about some fucked up shit, doesn't mean I support that fucked up shit.
Introductions / Re: Just got banned from Christian Forums
« Last post by Baruch on September 24, 2017, 11:57:44 PM »
I like Dawkins. I've met him in Wales at a book festival. I told him I was a Christian. He said I was not. He said I was too young to decide on something like religion and I was just adopting my parents' religion. I told him my parents were just cultural Christians and that I was a cultural Christian too. He accepted that immediately. He is a very nice chap and he's quite funny. But before we parted, he told me to consider breaking from the tradition just to make a statement. He said I should really be an atheist and I should not chalk up the statistics for religion. Haha. He was so funny. I don't care for the statistics. There is no competition as far as I'm concerned.

You are young ... you may stick with tradition, or become a rock star like Boy George.  It is too early to tell, indeed ;-))  Think on this, 20 years from now, and have a good laugh.
Introductions / Re: Just got banned from Christian Forums
« Last post by Baruch on September 24, 2017, 11:55:53 PM »
That's because I'm a cultural Christian. But their rules are even more extreme than those of a church. Saying God does not exist is 'showing contempt of Christianity' to them. They tolerated me for a while because of my youth. They probably thought they could show me the way. And naturally, I won in every argument not because I'm good but because I was championing truth. Some of them got very angry especially those who fancy themselves to be the 'rational' defenders of the faith. I knew it was only a matter of time before I was banned.

And they are very sneaky. When they ban you, they won't tell the others that you are banned. They will remove your last argument (as they did mine) so that it seems as if I left after being defeated in an argument. I really find their dishonesty appalling. In my experience, believers are usually more dishonest than atheists because they have a great need to justify the unjustifiable and to defend the indefensible. That makes them evasive, ambiguous and generally more dishonest.

I notice many of them refuse to state an argument clearly. They'll deliberately couch everything in obfuscatory words until it feels like they're writing riddles. The purpose for that is to foil any opposition. If they write in such a mystic fashion, you can't oppose them because they aren't even coherent. And the brainless ones in CF will think whatever is said in a mystical way must be sacred and they will openly support it. At one stage I felt as if I was dealing with very young children.

Probably not innocent as children.  Where there is religion, there is politics.  They made you an un-person, like in an East Block country under the Warsaw Pact.  The photo of the Kremlin military review stand next year, won't have you in it, and all previous photos when you were in it, will be Photoshopped to not show you etc.
Introductions / Re: Just got banned from Christian Forums
« Last post by Baruch on September 24, 2017, 11:53:22 PM »
Yes, I do have a fundamentalist understanding of Christianity, because the most formative part of my religious training was Baptist.  My mother was a run of the mill Lutheran, however, and didn't get all taken up with "walkin with Jesus" all day long.  While my mother believed in God, she also said things to me that gave me permission and encouragement to come to a conclusion on my own.  But still after shaking it off, there will always be a part of my life that will be affected by my formative years.  I don't see that as good or bad.  It just is.

Oddly, I have a kind of appreciation for the fundamentalist commitment to religion.  As a Lutheran, you can just sweep stuff under the carpet, discard some of it, and make up a god that doesn't require an eye roll.  Fundamentalists, sweep stuff under the carpet too, but they manage to have a more fervent belief, and go out of their way to believe some of the most preposterous parts of the Bible.  I kind of credited them for having the right religious spirit.  Oddly, fundamentalist Christianity, which I had disregarded in my late teens, but later explored seriously, was the part of Christianity that pushed me to non belief.  Watching that deep commitment to utter nonsense sent me over to the dark side.  Without that, I could have continued on and just been a buffet style Lutheran, without having a need to really get serious about religion.

However, I don't see any need to raise hackles over anything Dawkins might say to offend some atheists, and I actually have a hard time imagining atheists to be so politically correct to raise hackles in unison.  I frankly don't care what other prominent atheists think.  I've read books by the Four Horsemen and others, and really haven't picked up anything new in any of them, and sometimes I wonder why I bother.  I agree with them mostly, but so what?  I can explain my atheism to myself, better than they can explain my atheism to me.  Having said that, I really do appreciate their willingness to publicly articulate their thoughts, and over all, I think they have made many people stop and think.

I would feel the same way about a secular Jew turning Baal Teshuvah.  I would ask myself, what in their life made them make such a radical change?  I am not that different from my teen years, just more mature, more defined.  I was undefined, immature but interested in religion as a subject ... but I was a theist even then, emotional, if not intellectually.  Now I have the definition and maturity to be a theist intellectually.  But it has been a long road.
Introductions / Re: Just got banned from Christian Forums
« Last post by Baruch on September 24, 2017, 11:49:25 PM »
I don't understand why you'd waste your time going to a Christian forum to debate this stuff. They find you just as annoying as we find them. Go to a dedicated debate space for that shit.

The "Not a true Englishman" problem instead of the "Not a true Scotsman" problem ;-)  If I were English, and theist, I would have some problem with British culture since Darwin.
Introductions / Re: Just got banned from Christian Forums
« Last post by Baruch on September 24, 2017, 11:47:39 PM »
In my native country (not the one I'm in at the moment), my church is a state church. When the monarch is crowned, it's done by the head of the church in an ancient cathedral. Everyone attends church for the ceremony. But in my country, there are more atheists than in the US. The US has 50% who believe in a 10,000-year-old universe which is a disgrace. And yet you don't see people in my country jumping as if they're on hot coals every time they hear a prayer said. It's this hatred for culture that distinguishes the American atheist from atheists all over the world including those in the Far East.

Even Buddhists and Hindus can be occasionally militant, and Buddhists are supposed to be pacifists.  Militant Hinduism comes from the great epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.  When an Indian sees himself as King Rama or Prince Arjuna ... they can be quite deadly.  Similarly some Buddhist leaders see themselves as "chakravartin" ... which is what the Buddha was prophesied to be ... either a world savior or a world king (chakravartin).  Emperor Hirohito took up the cudgel of the chakravartin.  Other Buddhist kings have occasionally done this, or Buddhist leaders (see Sri Lanka).  So don't take any stereotypes too seriously.  Americans don't all drive pick-up trucks with a rifle and a handgun in the back.  Not even all Texans, and I am from Texas, so I should know ;-)
Introductions / Re: Just got banned from Christian Forums
« Last post by Baruch on September 24, 2017, 11:41:11 PM »
You have a very fundamentalist understanding of Christianity. I have noticed that many Americans have this fixed understanding of religion. When Richard Dawkins explained that he would lead in prayer when grace was said in New College, Oxford where he's a Fellow, many American atheists were outraged. But this stand taken by these atheists will only lead religious people to think however falsely that atheism is a religion with its own brand of fundamentalism.  I suspect many of them were brought up in fundamentalist Christian homes and this is a rebellion against their many years of childhood subjugation to religion.

We are Americans first, religious or irreligious second.  We are different culturally from Britain.
Introductions / Re: Just got banned from Christian Forums
« Last post by Baruch on September 24, 2017, 11:39:23 PM »
Years ago, I called myself a Christian, because I grew up in a Christian home, but you know the no true Scotsman fallacy?  Even I realized a wasn't a "true" Christian.  Yeah, it was still a fallacy, but in my case it was more of a lie.  I really should have avoided identifying as a Christian, because some of the crap was too much to believe.  In fact, I guess I thought it was a bad thing to believe, morally and intellectually, both.

OK, I suppose they got some things right: Do unto others; Don't murder people.  But that god of theirs?!  Even when I was 10, it was really too much to believe in.  He was incomprehensible, irrational, infinitely everything, and I'm running out of "i" words.  Oh, I believed there must be a god, because I hadn't been introduced to logic, but whatever he might be, or what he might have wanted, or if he had a personality, I didn't have a clue.  I imagined a shapeless form much like the luminiferous æther.  I was sure the Christian god could not exist in the form described in the Bible.

Maybe I could rightly call myself a Christian and still avoid the hypocrisy because I really did believe that most Christians didn't believe most of the stuff either.  I figured they were like me, just putting on a good face.  But some actually believe it, and the wackier their beliefs get, the more sensitive they are apt to be about it.

You were a sensitive and intelligent child.  I didn't get much exposure as a child, just the commercial cultural side.  Most children stay childlike longer.  Some don't because they have bad childhoods ;-(
Introductions / Re: Just got banned from Christian Forums
« Last post by Baruch on September 24, 2017, 11:36:48 PM »
Why did you pick Judaism? Of the many gods and goddesses at your disposal, why choose Yahweh? Did you have to go through the requirements of the faith? Such as circumcision? The need to be circumcised would immediately turn me off a religion.

I find it puzzling because you were not brought up in the faith. If I weren't brought up a Christian, I'd happily be an atheist today. There is NOTHING that would recommend any religion to me if not for the fact that it's a part of my identity and culture.

You are a wonderful contrasting personality yourself.  I am not typical of the people here.  In American culture, we have very little tradition.  I can see that in your English culture, and your social class, that this is very important, but very alien to American sensibilities.  We reinvented ourselves when our ancestors came here, and when our popular culture churns.  As a comparative religion student since childhood, I know them all.  It is like trying on clothes .. you try on an identity (that must be very strange to you) ... see how it fits, look in the mirror and see if it is flattering or not (yes this is a metaphor).  I chose Judaism for a complex chain of reasons, having to do with my personal history, but also as a matter of deliberation.  And yes, it is perfectly fine to choose to be an atheist (but you aren't of an age, or position, to make such a major choice in your own life ... I wasn't at your age either).

What requirements?  I find a community that is Jewish that accepts me more or less as I am.  I am modulated by them, and I modulate back ... symbiosis.  That is how your find yourself in community.  Free verse, not a Shakespeare sonnet.  As a child, you are provided one by your parents or neighborhood.  I was already circumcised anyway, though I agree with St Paul that it is unnecessary in any case.  This was a major problem 2000 years ago ... Europeans didn't circumcise ... Semites and Africans did (including Egyptians).  It is a prehistoric African practice.

Did you know that the Star of David is a magical mandala ... from India?  It has only been Jewish for a few centuries now.  Rather innovative.  I won't explain the full symbology to a person of your age.  But you are probably aware that the swastika is also Indian, for both Buddhists and Hindus.  Things aren't as they seem, you will learn as you get older.  You won't be you, but will still be you, as you age.  We basically reinvent our history, each generation, and that becomes a part of who we think we are.  But variations, not an entirely new tune.
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