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I was wondering if it was a sectarian (I think that's the right word?) thing, and it looks like it is. So for us who aren't devout Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox Christians, this might seem... Improper? From the anthropological perspective it's a way for a woman to remain independent and unmarried without becoming a full-fledged nun.

You can do that without having an everybody-look-at-me day!

That's what I'm saying. "Hey everybody look at me." If it's not disingenuous, it still seems improper.

There's no way you can know if she's disingenuous, and it's difficult to say that it's improper because she didn't invent the concept or ritual of becoming a consecrated virgin. She didn't even make up the concept or ceremony of becoming a non-nun consecrated virgin. It's rare that someone actually wants to do it, but it is a legitimate ritual/oath dating back to pre-medieval times. It is part of the code of canon law, and it's been done by many catholic women before her, and is an oath held by many other women around the world even now.

Following are educated estimates of the current number of consecrated virgins in various countries of the world, based upon information compiled in preparation for the Rome 2008 International Congress of Consecrated Virgins. The Vatican's Annuario Pontifico, which ordinarily catalogs ecclesiastical statistics, does not yet track the vocation of consecrated virginity lived in the world.

In the world: approximately 3,000 consecrated virgins in at least 42 countries, including:

Argentina ~320

Canada ~ 40

Columbia ~ 15

Mexico ~145

United States ~215

India ~ 55

Germany ~150

Belgium ~ 35

Spain ~190

France ~570

Great Britain ~ 60

Italy ~510

Poland ~ 20

Switzerland ~ 20

Czech Republic ~ 50

Source: The United States Association of Consecrated Virgins

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I was wondering if it was a sectarian (I think that's the right word?) thing, and it looks like it is. So for us who aren't devout Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox Christians, this might seem... Improper? From the anthropological perspective it's a way for a woman to remain independent and unmarried without becoming a full-fledged nun.

You can do that without having an everybody-look-at-me day!

That's what I'm saying. "Hey everybody look at me." If it's not disingenuous, it still seems improper.

Well, this is how I feel about prominently displayed religious iconography, sooooooo.....

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I was wondering if it was a sectarian (I think that's the right word?) thing, and it looks like it is. So for us who aren't devout Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox Christians, this might seem... Improper? From the anthropological perspective it's a way for a woman to remain independent and unmarried without becoming a full-fledged nun.

You can do that without having an everybody-look-at-me day!

That's what I'm saying. "Hey everybody look at me." If it's not disingenuous, it still seems improper.

Well, this is how I feel about prominently displayed religious iconography, sooooooo.....

I understand, and actually I quite agree.

This nonsense here in Oklahoma about whether or not they can have a statue of the Ten Commandments displayed at the courthouse. It's... God would actually prefer we spent the money on something like feeding the hungry or something like that. There's an article I once read about how Fox News and their ilk complain about the the liberal "War on Christmas" when really they themselves have a war on Advent. That is to say, Fox News and many of these people who claim to fight for Christmas really just fight for consumerism. They don't care about fighting hunger or sheltering the homeless or helping the poor and needy. In fact, they think that such needy people are all freeloaders and should simply get off their butts and find a good paying job.

I'm not saying Christians in general are this way. I'm saying I'm sick of the connection made in America between political conservatism and Christianity. I'm sick of the way people use God as a political tool. God doesn't want that. In fact, as I was saying before, Jesus chastised the Pharisees greatly because of how they only cared about power and showing off their own self-righteousness.

I would almost go so far as to say the Ten Commandments statue is an idol. It's a distraction. Fighting about it in /no/ way brings glory to God. So the people who care so much about it have obviously lost perspective and it's frustrating to me that society seems to think this is what real Christianity is.

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Speaking from the apostate perspective, I find it curious that she is being accused of attention-seeking. I'd argue it takes two to tango in that equation. Even if a person is just grabbing for attention, the media and gossipers who give that attention are equally culpable as the person making the bid for attention. Attention-seeking goes nowhere without attention-giving. An explosion does not come from the match or the fire alone.

But I also think it's interesting that she's being accused of attention-seeking when, really, that accusation could be made of a lot of other religious gestures. Some people balk at the practice of altar calls, because a personal prayer between you and god is just that. You can stay in your seat and keep it to yourself. But altar calls ask you to stand up, where everyone can see you, walk to the front of the crowd, and pray in front of everyone in public. This lends a certain "everyone look at me being the kind of person who is righteous enough to pray in front of everyone" quality to it. It also creates a sort of peer pressure in the congregation for those who don't go to the altar.

The same might be said (by an outsider) of anyone who decides they want to be a youth minister. Or to play in a praise band (especially a christian band that puts on concerts that sell tickets and shirts and CDs). Or the act of giving testimony. And so many other such acts.

Now in each of those cases, there is no doubt a defense. Maybe, "I'm not going to the altar / into ministry for myself, but because I feel called to do it." Maybe, "I'm not playing in this Christian rock band for fame, but as a tool to spread the good word of our lord." Etc. I'm sure there is a good, non-attention-seeking explanation for all of those acts.

And I am guessing that she probably has a good, non-attention-seeking explanation for what she did as well.

You could say, "Well, I think she's being disingenuous." But wouldn't this constitute a "judge not lest ye be judged" type situation? Doesn't judging her in that way constitute a "holier than thou art" attitude?

Somehow almost missed your post.

You're right. There is attention given to people in those situations, and it's valid to point out the potentially unfair comparison between her action and those of, say a Christian band.

... I keep deleting my words as I write this because I'm thinking. I want to say more, but nothing I write seems to improve upon my post.

You're absolutely right.

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*edit*

Nevermind. Missed your post, which seems to address what I was saying before. ^_^

Will edit this maybe after I finish reading it.

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This nonsense here in Oklahoma about whether or not they can have a statue of the Ten Commandments displayed at the courthouse

We have a simple solution for that.

No religious symbols in courthouses.

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*edit*

Nevermind.

But I liked it.

Okay, after reading your posts, I still think what I said is okay, so reposting it here. So here is some of what I wrote before, still thinking along the lines of the consecrated virgin as well as displays of iconography or public displays of religion in general:

*paste*

I think Christianity means different things to different people. A person's view of Jesus and God/Yahweh and how they practice it depends largely on whether they are a catholic or protestant for starters. And if they are a protestant, what denomination culture were they raised in? I was raised in a pentecostal/evangelical environment, and then around the point of high school, I joined a band with some friends that would lead the praise and worship services at a methodist church on sunday mornings (as well as at various youth events in the region---we had a campus life director in the band, so he toured us around). It was weird hanging out with people who were brought up in a methodist environment, because even though they technically believed in the exact same Jesus/God/Bible/etc, they had a very different approach and outlook to it and applied different weights to different values. Or if you think of it in terms of theory and practice, it's like they were working with essentially the same theory, but their practice was very different, and since their practice was different, that also circled back around and colored their theory a little. That's not even getting into lutherans, baptists, presbyterians...

...not to mention all the little idiosyncratic perspectives people bring to their faiths based on personal reflection and experience.

So I think ultimately it means something different to everyone, but all of those people one hundred percent believe that they are following the correct path and are understanding the word correctly---or are at least pretty close. And all of those people probably can't help but feel, to varying degrees, that slightly different paths for the same god are at least "weird", if not "wrong". You end up with christians lecturing other christians about what god is really like and what god really wants, when actually that lecture could go both ways.

This is why, even though I am no longer religious myself, I am more warm to more philosophy-oriented religions like Buddhism, which is not a book-worshipping or god-worshipping religion quite as much as christianity and the abrahamic religions. It encourages people to find their own enlightenment. People can help each other, discuss, reflect, share experiences, but ultimately each person's path to enlightenment, morality, and goodness is a unique and personal path and none can say that another's path is "not the right way". It is a descriptive approach to religion, i.e. "I can't tell you what you have to do or what is correct to do, but I can share with you my own knowledge and experience, if that is any help to you. Your path to enlightenment might look different from my own. Any and all paths that ultimately lead to enlightenment and good are valid." This is markedly different from the abrahamic religions which in practice tend to take a more prescriptive approach to the religious path, i.e. "This is the path. This is what god is like. This is the book. This is what it says. This is what it means. This is what God said. This is what he meant by that. Avoid these things. Do these things. Those are the rules. We may have all started from different places, but we must all now converge on the same path. The one true and correct path. This is that path. All other paths are aberrations. Feel free to find your own form of happiness, as long as you do not step off the path." (This attitude is exuded with varying degrees of politeness---anywhere between bloodthirsty jihad on one end and some well-intentioned but still slightly condescending/pontifical lecturing on the other.)

To some christians, Kim Davis is an embarrassment. To others, she is a hero standing strong in the face of persecution. To some Christians, removing the ten commandments from public buildings is a good thing, or at least not bad. God doesn't care about that. But to others, it is an insult. It is christianity being oppressed or persecuted. Don't even get me started on the extreeeeeemely wide breadth of opinion among my christian friends about god's opinion of swearing.

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As far as I'm concerned, for a lot of people it's very difficult to wring joy out of existence, and whatever they do that helps them wring said joy out of it is fine with me, to the extent that it doesn't harm anyone else. So, for example, someone can claim to marry whatever (in my view) fictional entity they like.

Also, I can believe that to be ludicrous and say so, but it gets to a point where it no longer feels like anything is being accomplished in doing so. I am happy to specifically mock aspects of religion which I think have, on the whole been detrimental - in the same way that the film Life of Brian satirised things such as sectarianism, blind faith, persecution on religious grounds and zealotry. And I'm also happy with lightly tickling what I percieve to be some of the more nonsensicle aspects of faith (because, without bearing any ill will to the faithful, I think that faith is not a virtue).

But there is a line somewhere, I think, where it stops being about criticising institutions with humour, or having light-hearted fun, and becomes something sort of meaner, and I'm tired of being part of that sort of crowd. Even when I firmly believe that religion, all religion, on balance, is more harmful than good.

To get back to what I was originally saying, perhaps this woman did this thing for cynical reasons, for attention, perhaps not, I don't know really, I don't know her and I likely never will. But at worst she's got some attention, at best she's managed to find something which might be ludicrous to me, but gives her some form of joy. Joy is precious.

It took me a long time to make peace with stuff that, on its face, would seem very easy to mock. But in the end I think it was something to do with knowing a lot of furries closely. I've been to their events, seen them interact, and it's not something that I'm especially into myself, but watching them genuinely take joy in their fandom, work really hard, make stuff, put their skills to use, work together to bring other people joy, I find it very, very hard to mock, and suspect that people who spend a lot of their time mocking such things must find it harder to take joy in things themselves. It made more more childlike in my willingness to enjoy other people's pleasure, and I think it has done me good.

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This nonsense here in Oklahoma about whether or not they can have a statue of the Ten Commandments displayed at the courthouse

We have a simple solution for that.

No religious symbols in courthouses.

Yes, but there had been resistance to moving/removing it after the ruling. Ridiculous, I say.

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This nonsense here in Oklahoma about whether or not they can have a statue of the Ten Commandments displayed at the courthouse

We have a simple solution for that.

No religious symbols in courthouses.

One of America's founding principles is that there is to be a separation of church and state. But, as you would expect, church pushes the boundaries of this about as much as it can. Both sides want to interpret what this "separation" entails and does not entail to their own ends.

Just look at the clusterf*** that was the Hobby Lobby decision. (You don't actually have to look at it. It's complicated.)

It also gets complicated in other ways. Like there was a court case recently where the plaintiff argued that a memorial of a christian cross on government property had to be removed on the grounds of separation of church and state. But actually, the court ended up ruling that it could stay because, even though it is on government grounds, it was not purchased by the government, placed there by the government, and is not maintained by the government. It was privately purchased and placed, is privately maintained, and is clearly labeled as being owned and maintained by a private person. So the court allowed it.

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I think Christianity means different things to different people. A person's view of Jesus and God/Yahweh and how they practice it depends largely on whether they are a catholic or protestant for starters. And if they are a protestant, what denomination culture were they raised in? I was raised in a pentecostal/evangelical environment, and then around the point of high school, I joined a band with some friends that would lead the praise and worship services at a methodist church on sunday mornings (as well as at various youth events in the region---we had a campus life director in the band, so he toured us around). It was weird hanging out with people who were brought up in a methodist environment, because even though they technically believed in the exact same Jesus/God/Bible/etc, they had a very different approach and outlook to it and applied different weights to different values. Or if you think of it in terms of theory and practice, it's like they were working with essentially the same theory, but their practice was very different, and since their practice was different, that also circled back around and colored their theory a little. That's not even getting into lutherans, baptists, presbyterians...

...not to mention all the little idiosyncratic perspectives people bring to their faiths based on personal reflection and experience.

So I think ultimately it means something different to everyone, but all of those people one hundred percent believe that they are following the correct path and are understanding the word correctly---or are at least pretty close. And all of those people probably can't help but feel, to varying degrees, that slightly different paths for the same god are at least "weird", if not "wrong". You end up with christians lecturing other christians about what god is really like and what god really wants, when actually that lecture could go both ways.

There are several aspects to this that I'm thinking about, and I'm unsure how or in what order to discuss them to convey the proper amount of weight I give to each.

Jesus said "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me." For myself, I can't discount this. He said so, so he is. Now, there is a potential caveat to this maybe? In the seventh Narnia book "The Last Battle", Aravis goes to heaven though he followed Tash and not Aslan. Aslan's response was to say that Aravis was really following Aslan because no good can be done that is not of Aslan and no evil can be done that is not of Tash. And that if one made an oath to Tash and kept the oath for the oath's sake, it is Aslan who rewards him for it. This point is not in the Bible, or if it is I'm not sure where. But it's a good point and I'm not sure if it conflicts or how far it extends. I do know that good works play absolutely no part whatsoever in salvation, but that faith without observable actions that result from that faith shows a faith that is meaningless.

I think it is incorrect to assume that Christians think they have all the answers. They don't. They believe Christ gave us the solution to having a permanent relationship with God, even after death on this physical plane, and that good things come out of that relationship, despite the fact that we are, of ourselves, irretrievably unworthy of it. BUT I don't think they believe they have the answers to everything else. We're his children. We're his sheep. We're learning and we're growing. And... and this is a big point for me: God is bigger than one's (that is to say my) own small limited perspective. "You shouldn't put God in a box" as it were.

Also, as far as people arguing about who is right on doctrinal issues, I think Paul had somthing to say about that (1 Corinthians) and take issue with how we let such issues divide us. The Body of Christ has many parts and none should think themselves more important, and all that.

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Jesus said "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

This is exactly what I mean when I raise the point about the abrahamic religions, though. The abrahamic religions are the only religions that make this stipulation: one god, one way. It starts running into trouble when there are disagreements about what god is like, which leads to disagreements about what god intends the “one way” for his followers to look like. (For example, see all of the various opinions of my christian friends who have different ideas of god's opinion of swearing.) Notably as well, all the abrahamic religions posit that the “one way” means subordination and deference to the one god and his will (whatever his will is concluded to be).

This isn’t the case in other religions that don’t take such a hard line “there is only one god and one way” attitude. You won’t get that sort of thing out of the more philosophical religions like Buddhism or Jainism. People who practice Jainism don’t believe in a creator or destroyer god, per se, but believe all people are capable of achieving a god-like state by following a path of non-violence, rejection of material goods, eating and possessing only as much as is strictly necessary, respect for all forms of life, down to plants and the tiniest insects. The path to righteousness does not involve subordinating yourself to a king god, or defering decisions to him, or putting his will before yours, etc. The path to righteousness simply means tending to one’s own soul and keeping it from being tarnished by the physical/material world.

Jesus actually had very similar sorts of ideas, as I’m sure you’re all too aware. Buddha also had a similar set of values. Some philosophers have posited (and it seems correctly) that all such figures are basically evolved from the Stoic philosophy of the ancient greeks. Gautama Buddha would have been alive and wandering around at approximately the same time Stoicism was popular in greece. There is a similar philosophy underlying all of them, but within the confines of each specific religion, there is some EXTRA stuff that’s added in there. In Christianity’s case (and all the abrahamic religions), the biggest extra bit is that line in the contract which says the soul can only achieve the ultimate state by subordinating itself and surrendering its will to the one god-king.

For myself, I can't discount this. He said so, so he is. Now, there is a potential caveat to this maybe? In the seventh Narnia book "The Last Battle", Aravis goes to heaven though he followed Tash and not Aslan. Aslan's response was to say that Aravis was really following Aslan because no good can be done that is not of Aslan and no evil can be done that is not of Tash. And that if one made an oath to Tash and kept the oath for the oath's sake, it is Aslan who rewards him for it. This point is not in the Bible, or if it is I'm not sure where. But it's a good point and I'm not sure if it conflicts or how far it extends. I do know that good works play absolutely no part whatsoever in salvation, but that faith without observable actions that result from that faith shows a faith that is meaningless.

I’m not super familiar with C.S. Lewis’s theology, though I know that a lot of Christians consider him the the absolute bee’s knees AS WELL AS the cat’s pajamas. I mean, they really like him a lot. It sounds to me, though, like maybe he had something akin to the B’hai faith in mind. You may be familiar, but practicers of B’hai essentially feel that all of the world religions are really talking about the same thing. They call god many different names, and they arrived at many different interpretations of that god’s attempt to communicate and connect with them, so there are some superficial differences. But ultimately it is all the same thing. Well, that’s the best case interpretation of what he meant. The worst case scenario is that he was being Ann Coulter and saying, “Jews are just imperfect christians” etc.

I think it is incorrect to assume that Christians think they have all the answers. They don't.

I know. They are just trying to figure it out as they go and do what seems best, just like the rest of us. They are constantly taking in new information and experiences and adjust based on those, just like the rest of us.

Even so, all christians do seem pretty certain that they have at least ONE answer all figured out…

Jesus said "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

This alone is prescriptive enough an idea to make christianity markedly different from the merely philosophical religions. Don’t get me wrong: christians--like anyone--contemplate morality, and values, and spirituality, and how to maintain the spirit, and how to lead a good and spiritually-fulfilling life despite the trappings of destructive emotions, materialism, and bureaucracy, etc. But christians go one step further than jains or buddhist and say, “As long as you submit to the will of the one true god-king, everything will be well.” That is the only answer christians are super sure that they have, but it is a pretty significantly huge answer (not to mention speculating about his “will” leaves it pretty open to interpretation), and the jains and buddhists are not even close to riding on that train.

Thanks for entertaining all of my posts about this stuff by the way. I find religion very interesting in an academic sort of way, and I am sort of like Sam Harris in that I think feelings of spirituality are a real phenomenon but are ultimately an empirical (as opposed to divine/supernatural) phenomenon. Sometimes when I talk about religion—or especially christianity—I know it can seem like I’m hatin’ sometimes, but it’s just a product of the fact that I’m only interested in it as a subject and don’t have a personal/emotional stake in it at all. I don’t seem to have said anything too terribly offensive yet, though, so hopefully I’m not doing too bad. ^_^

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Just to further outline my own perspective: I am a Baptist. I dont know about Southern Baptist because the church I'm involved in isn't solely affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention (and the head pastor hates going to their meetings), and there are people in my church who come from various non-baptist denominations. Ive been going to that church (shbctulsa.org) basically since 2nd grade, and I prayed to receive Christ when I was maybe 8 years old (now 37). I was baptized by immersion but I believe it has no effect on salvation itself. I don't believe "once saved, always saved" as we're talking about a relationship here, but since grace is involved, I think being unable to lose it on that merit has some validity (the whole "you weren't really serious" thing maybe). I don't really know. On the fence there. I suppose that's between them and God really so not my call and doesn't matter.

I do live in Oklahoma, which is the reddest state in the union, but I'm a Democrat. This point only matters to discussion because of how Republicans have hijacked Christianity in America a la "The Religious Right". *rolleyes*. Nevermind the whole debacle Obama had involving his former mentor and pastor at a Christian church he regularly attended. Nope. He's a Democrat, so let's accuse him of being Muslim because the liberals won't care. I'm not liberal, I'm moderate. I'm conservative on a few issues but on the fence (ie. willing to discuss) on most issues that are controversial.

I'm not into "new age" stuff. I mean in general, not limited to religion. My in-laws like going to Eureka Springs, Arkansas in the fall every year or so for a weekend and at some point invited my wife and I to come. I like the natural environment there and enjoy it, but I dislike many of the shops downtown with their hippy-ish vibe.

I also like science and theories about space and time. I believe God is bigger than I can possibly understand, and that his greatness and complexity are mirrored in the greatness, complexity and order of the universe and how we really have only the faintest hint of a clue how the universe at large works or even how much of the universe really exists beyond our ability to measure it. But I believe Christ is the incarnation of God, sent not just to die for us but to show what God is really like (or at least what part is most important for us to focus on). And I am greatly irritated that American culture has twisted and obscured that message.

And I have had various experiences which, to my mind, can only be attributable to God's intervention in a situation, and I know people who have had similar experiences and/or visions that prove to them that specifically Jesus himself is involved in their lives.

So as much as I would want to explore the complexity of God or the nature of existence, I personally can not discount anything that Christ himself said or did. If it doesn't fit into my understanding, I either need to gather more facts to improve that understanding or I need to further research and understand the original meaning of the writings which document what he actually said. Or maybe just defer to the truth that I won't understand. For example: demons. Why would God, being who I understand that he is, allow malevolent beings to have any access or influence whatsoever on this plane and to influence or even possess a human being? I don't know. I mean, to my mind they should all be eradicated from all time and space. But the gospels document Jesus himself actually encountering these beings. This means they exist and have a certain level of influence on this physical plane. I don't know why. I maybe am not meant to know why. I just accept that as unanswerable (at least while I exist on this plane.)

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Honestly, Chyron... I wish more Christians were like you.

But it seems like so many people are way too caught up in what the Bible says that they don't stop to think about what it means.

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Honestly, Chyron... I wish more Christians were like you.

But it seems like so many people are way too caught up in what the Bible says that they don't stop to think about what it means.

This post reminded me of one of my all-time favorite conversations between a Christian and a non-Christian that I've ever heard. Really great stuff. They both know exactly where the other one stands, and they both make fun of each other's positions, and yet it's not mean-spirited and neither of them are offended by the reciprocal jabs. Even though they both playfully make fun of each other's positions, they both also respect each other's positions, despite disagreeing. Like even though the atheist (here represented by Tycho, aka bald guy) doesn't believe in christianity, he still sees value in it and is willing to talk about that.

I dunno, it's so weird, because it's almost never like this. It is a joy to see.

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Honestly, Chyron... I wish more Christians were like you.

But it seems like so many people are way too caught up in what the Bible says that they don't stop to think about what it means.

Man created God in his own image, and created the bible.

My mother went to a Catholic convent school for girls, my father to a Catholic boarding school. After university, halfway the 70's They joined a Christian apocalyptic cult, in an old convent in the north of France. All those people moved on with their lives, and 2 decades later, by the time I could walk and talk that cult had pretty much stopped. We'd still go on vacation there. Anyway, my parents pretty much felt brainwashed by all the religious hogwash. They did tell me bible stories for it's important morals and values and I was always free to criticize any of it. In a surprising dickish move my parents sent me to the same Convent school my mother went 40 years prior because of them Christian morals they teach there. Nuns didn't teach anymore but there was a retirement home for them within the school. That school was hell to me.

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Yeah, I also went to a super conservative Catholic school, though largely because the public schools in my area were terrible and the secular private school was way too expensive. Catholic school was better than nothing, though there were a few crazy teachers. Like my sixth grade teacher who did things like openly mock a ten-year-old for "acting gay" (it turned out later he actually was gay) and tell us evolution couldn't work because you don't get a kid who looks like a monkey (to which my response was, "have you even SEEN some of these kids??"). Oh, and she tried to convince us that Harry Potter would send us all to hell, but for some reason the magic in Lord of the Rings was totally legit.

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Well, LotR's universe is based heavily on Gnosticism (if I remember right), and Gandalf and the other Wizards are literally angels.

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Yeah, and if she'd brought that up, she might have had a point.

Except she didn't. Instead she tried to argue that there was a greater emphasis on good and evil in Lord of the Rings. Because, you know, Voldemort is totally the epitome of grey morality.

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When I was a kid, my pentecostal preacher and his crazy wife told us that we shouldn't watch Jumanji because it was withcraft and satanic and the work of the devil.

We watched it anyway, of course. Jumanji is great.

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So what I'm hearing is that people in general are closed-minded and prone to fear and judgement; are easily swayed by fear mongering; and often assume that if they don't understand something then the evidence in question is automatically invalid. And because you lot have encountered a number of these people in a religious-related environment, it then made the whole institution of God/Christianity/Catholicism a complete turn-off and you really don't want to bother with it anymore.

What you're /trying/ to say is that religious people by-and-large have shown to you that they are ignorant and backward, but I submit that people who think themselves supposedly religious haven't cornered the market on idiocy but that it's pervasive in society at large.

I also point to my previous post where I mentioned that Jesus regularly referred to us as children and sheep.

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So what I'm hearing is that people in general are closed-minded and prone to fear and judgement; are easily swayed by fear mongering; and often assume that if they don't understand something then the evidence in question is automatically invalid. And because you lot have encountered a number of these people in a religious-related environment, it then made the whole institution of God/Christianity/Catholicism a complete turn-off and you really don't want to bother with it anymore.

My issues with religion and my reasons for abandoning christianity are numerous, well-researched, well-considered, and thoroughly discussed over the course of many years. It's not just that religion "turns me off" or that I just "don't like it" or just "don't want to bother with it". I have thought about it and discussed it carefully, thoroughly, and at length. My position is not a rebellion or an emotional response or an excuse to sin it up without guilt (an accusation heard too frequently). It is a position I hold very consciously and decisively after thinking about it very carefully. So no, the fact that some people think movies with depictions of magic in them are the devil does not even come close to explaining why I abandoned religion. It's just an unfortunate symptom that religion can sometimes have.

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