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Just fishing for some advice and conversation here.

I'm following a bunch of different conversations in doctrinal that I continue to find interesting, but I haven't really jumped into many.

Mostly my concern is redundancy. I mean, how many times can I say "because it's made up" before it gets old, even if I restrict such posts to the "picking up threads" thread?

So here's my question: when does it become rude for a non-believer to insert that perspective into various conversations?

 

I could go on, but I'd prefer to leave the question open-ended and allow anyone who wishes to take the topic where it may lead.

 

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Wouldn't it be great if there was one definitive answer to this? Unfortunately, there isn't. I think it becomes rude, though, when the statement becomes condescending or mean spirited. 

 

When my son was young, he wanted to take an old lawn mower engine and make a go cart. It can be done, for sure. But, that's not the point I'm leading to. Rather than tell him outright that we had neither the materials or tools or the know-how to take on such a project, I asked him a series of questions, things like "How will we bolt the engine on?", How do we go about connecting the engine to the axle?", and on and on. He concluded for himself that the project was probably beyond our reach. You can do the same type of thing with scriptural discussions. You can pose questions like "How is _______ scientifically possible?" or "Are you aware that event conflicts with historical reality?"  Well, I think you get the point. You ask lead-in questions that call for them to draw a conclusion for themselves. That may not be the best answer but it's the only one I have at the moment.

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I agree with Waysider…I appreciate input from folks with different points of view – but usually I will ignore what they say if I feel they are being condescending or mean.

Raf, you’re one of the few posters here who is very adept at separating your viewpoint from the point being considered – and on occasion you will point that out – in a putting-all-your-cards-on-the table manner…like  your post on The Trinity thread  .

that post really exemplifies your transparent style of discussion…I thought you made several good points from an historical perspective as well as by referring to certain books of the Bible to determine the identity of Jesus Christ – was he God… an angel… an extraordinary man? And you brought up valid points for each…

your statement at the end of the post “My personal belief is that you can't get to one answer because there isn't one answer at the core of the argument. Finding out what the Bible says about who Jesus really was is complicated, perhaps irreparably, by the fact that the Bible's writers don't seem to agree with each other on the subject.” I do NOT find your statement offensive or rude at all – since I see the same issue – even though I am a Christian and believe the scriptures are inspired of God. I just don’t think they are inerrant. let me put all my cards on the table too – this year I’ve taken a big step away from fundamentalism – and rather than a strict biblical theology approach [since I’ve found the Bible can be a very pliable resource] I’m a lot happier with a philosophical approach…if I can’t figure out the issue from scripture and plain logic then I’m just not gonna lose any sleep over it.

So don’t hold back…be yourself…your logic is strong, your attention to details is superb, your honesty is refreshing, and of course you excel at articulating your thoughts – I mean - duh - you string words together for a living…all that keeps me on my toes and gives me something to shoot for when I’m posting on Grease Spot.

Edited by T-Bone
formatting & clarity

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Here's my thinking on that, which of course is contractually binding on nobody, least of all me.....

Providing the discussion is not in a place that prevents it (the GSC does not prevent it, but message boards specific to a belief may), simply joining a discussion and disagreeing with anyone or everyone's POV is not rude in and of itself.  My one previous objection to this was in a discussion about Bible content where someone who disbelieved it posted on it repeatedly, saying they disbelieved it, and said nothing else.  I felt that seeing this REPEATEDLY added nothing to the discussion (how about "I disbelieve the book of Hezekiah because blah-blah-blah" or something).  I didn't object to someone posting and disagreeing as such. 

 

So, my thinking is that I would probably offer the following general suggestions (not even "guidelines") as to such posts. 

Ask yourself the following questions before posting it:

A) Am I adding something to the discussion, in terms of information ("some scholars think this book was a total forgery", "This seems to contradict itself in alternating chapters", etc)  or in terms of discussion ("What if one approaches this as if one were about to die in 10 minutes?  Your entire perspective would change, for example...)   Either of those would add to a discussion, even if everyone disagreed with it.

B) If I'm just posting my opinion and not adding something (an absence of the previous point), am I being concise (i.e. am I spending 5 paragraphs to just say "I believe there is no god and no reason to think there is one".  Have I posted the same opinion in this discussion already without adding something else in that post or this one?  (Most active discussions don't need the same posts reposted, even if they're on-topic and agreed with.) 

C)  Can I make the exact same point by phrasing myself more diplomatically or tactfully?   If so, why not do so?  We're mostly aware of who disagrees with whom, here. We don't have to be mean about our posts.  (IMHO, of course. Others have said the opposite was welcome.)

 

So, I consider the relevant points to be tact, contribution to the discussion by information or introduced perspective,  and whether the same poster said exactly the same thing in the same thread already.   It is my considered opinion we can all get along with a little effort to be polite if not respectful, and restrict ourselves to curt and not abusive when we feel unable to do that. 

 

 

 

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Great answers!

Of course, I'm biased because one of those answers was REALLY flattering.

 

That said, I do try not to be rude, but I think WordWolf hit on my subconscious question in his answer: I think my comments, if I were to really let loose, would run the risk of being repetitive. Not to mention redundant. In other words, I've said it already.

Thanks.

Any other feedback will be welcomed.

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2 hours ago, Raf said:

I think my comments, if I were to really let loose, would run the risk of being repetitive. Not to mention redundant. In other words, I've said it already.

Well, for whatever it's worth, it seems that one of the difficulties encountered on these message boards is anticipating (or in some other way, knowing) how some else reading it is going to (or NOT going to) perceive what you meant when you said it.  And surely at times, the lack of response simply indicates they just didn't "get it" (or hear it)... possibly because of when or how it was said.  So... is there some other way to say (more or less) the same thing?  Of course, no guarantee it will do any better or have any different result.  However, it has been my experience that anyone (even with limited communication skills) who genuinely understands what they are talking about, can usually find one or two other ways to present their thoughts.  (And a highly skilled teacher, some number more than that.)  Furthermore, does anyone deny that the proven value of repetition when it comes to our being able to remember what it is that somebody else thinks?  

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It's one thing to repeat your point. It's another to make the same point over and over again, in different topics.

What do you think of dispensationalism? It's a way to reconcile inconsistencies in a made up theology.

Can you lose salvation? Sure! Why not? Or why? It's all made up.

What do you think of the Trinity? Someone made it up.

SIT? Made up.

Are all governments from God? No. That's made up.

Make up? Only after a fight.

 

That's what I was referring to by redundancy. 

Anyone who's been on this site more than half an hour knows I am not above beating a dead horse. But it has to be warranted. It shouldn't be like Stan Lee showing up in every Marvel movie to make a conspicuous "Look at me, I'm Stan Lee" appearance.

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5 hours ago, Raf said:

It's one thing to repeat your point. It's another to make the same point over and over again, in different topics.

What do you think of dispensationalism? It's a way to reconcile inconsistencies in a made up theology.

Can you lose salvation? Sure! Why not? Or why? It's all made up.

What do you think of the Trinity? Someone made it up.

SIT? Made up.

Are all governments from God? No. That's made up.

These examples are exactly what wordwolf described as not contributing.  They are lacking the supporting argument that you are pretty well known for, I believe as T-Bone indicated.  So, to repeat the initial point over and over doesn't necessarily mean the supporting argument will be the same.  That will depend on the specific topic.

I have to admit, it was initially difficult for me to read your unbeliever comments, because I haven't had biblical discussions with unbelievers in over 40 years.  But eventually I found it refreshing.  Not that I started agreeing with you, but I had to acknowledge your perspective as viable, at least to a degree.  And I don't remember seeing such curt answers.

So, yes, I completely agree with T-Bone, and partially agree with wordwolf.  So, please, disagree, but share the supporting arguments along the way.

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11 hours ago, Raf said:

Great answers!

Of course, I'm biased because one of those answers was REALLY flattering.

 

That said, I do try not to be rude, but I think WordWolf hit on my subconscious question in his answer: I think my comments, if I were to really let loose, would run the risk of being repetitive. Not to mention redundant. In other words, I've said it already.

Thanks.

Any other feedback will be welcomed.

As a professional writer, you're more than capable of speaking clearly, supporting your positions, bringing in new perspectives to old topics, and at least making the same point using a novel approach and making it interesting.     I think that if it's worth saying, it's worth the effort to say it well.  You don't need to resort to posts that are effectively cut-and-pastes of each other.

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1 hour ago, Taxidev said:

These examples are exactly what wordwolf described as not contributing.  They are lacking the supporting argument that you are pretty well known for, I believe as T-Bone indicated.  So, to repeat the initial point over and over doesn't necessarily mean the supporting argument will be the same.  That will depend on the specific topic.

I have to admit, it was initially difficult for me to read your unbeliever comments, because I haven't had biblical discussions with unbelievers in over 40 years.  But eventually I found it refreshing.  Not that I started agreeing with you, but I had to acknowledge your perspective as viable, at least to a degree.  And I don't remember seeing such curt answers.

So, yes, I completely agree with T-Bone, and partially agree with wordwolf.  So, please, disagree, but share the supporting arguments along the way.

If you're sharing the supporting arguments, you're adding to the discussions.  (Although if it's just the same post repasted in each thread- "See? I made the same point, so I made the same argument" or some such-  I'd dislike it for that reason.)  

In the case of discussing wierwille and twi, I'm in favor of repasting for the specific purpose of informing the new posters and new lurkers what's been said for the past 17 or so years on their subjects of interest.  Because the GSC exists "to tell the other side of the story", expose the hidden snares, and inform them of all the evil that they would want to know about, there will be repetition on that.  It's necessary because that's the GSC's stated function.  A little tiresome to the regulars, but absolutely necessary to attempt to fulfill the stated purpose of the GSC. Otherwise, I'm not in favor.

So long as one isn't trying to suppress the discussion, disagreements IN a thread should not be a problem.  When we discuss, we need not agree.  When we discuss, we share ideas and interact.  That has value in and of itself, independent of whether anyone changes and agrees with me afterwards.

Again, all IMHO.

Edited by WordWolf
Ice cream doesn't have any bones.

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7 hours ago, Raf said:

It's one thing to repeat your point. It's another to make the same point over and over again, in different topics.

What do you think of dispensationalism? It's a way to reconcile inconsistencies in a made up theology.

Can you lose salvation? Sure! Why not? Or why? It's all made up.

What do you think of the Trinity? Someone made it up.

SIT? Made up.

Are all governments from God? No. That's made up.

Make up? Only after a fight.

 

That's what I was referring to by redundancy. 

Anyone who's been on this site more than half an hour knows I am not above beating a dead horse. But it has to be warranted. It shouldn't be like Stan Lee showing up in every Marvel movie to make a conspicuous "Look at me, I'm Stan Lee" appearance.

It IS redundant, mostly because you are using the same words.   You could always vary your vocabulary:

  • Pshawwww
  • Pfffffftttttt
  • Add "in the magical land of make-believe" at the end of random sentences
  • Horse Apples
  • Imagi-nary in Trump falsetto

See?  Not redundant at all.  LOL.

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I wanted to add some things that were in the back of my mind when I wrote my previous post.

Whether a non-believer or a believer is posting - we’re talking about one’s own belief system - a complex thing if you consider all the biases, experiences, acquired knowledge and reflection that comprise one’s viewpoint.

I enjoy reading a thoughtful response - and will likely be more receptive if it passes the "smell test"...sometimes you can pick up the odor of bull$hit a mile away...i try to get a feel for where the person is coming from...does the poster hit me as humble and honest ...do they come across as a person who might on occasion acknowledge the limitations of their viewpoint...and somewhere in all that I try to get a sense of the foundation - or perhaps the lack of foundation  - for their belief...I think a lot of folks are turned off by someone who often avoids direct questions, changes the subject, talks through their hat, etc..but anyway, a good post isn't just a pat answer - there was some thought behind it...it adds to the discussion...doesn't try to derail it.

 

I think just saying “it’s made up” may be an oversimplification when it comes to a rebuttal with valid reasons... and if one can shoot holes through an opposing view (i.e. find legitimate problems with it) they probably have every right to say “it’s made up”...”that’s a logical fallacy”...”that idea doesn’t hold water”...

On certain topics I do tend to be redundant in terms of expressing why I feel a certain way - and that may be due to the fact that thus far I’ve only looked at the Greek text , historical context, etc. in other words, I haven't looked into any new material - so I will tend to be repetitive - but I sometimes try to vary my argument by rephrasing the issue or try a more philosophical or speculative approach. :confused:...there’s an old thread discussion of SIT - where I did say "it’s made up" ...I explained why I am a cessationist from the Greek text in I Corinthians 13 and what one may infer from scripture on the signs of an apostle like II Corinthians 12:12 ( I believe that may have been part of God’s authentication process in the early church) - and thought I clinched it with references to Steven Pinker’s work on what’s palmed off today as SIT...and I even got into a somewhat philosophical/ psychological  approach   ( again with the BS   :rolleyes: ) as to the cognitive benefits of prayer in my understanding ( I guess I did that to just avoid saying the same thing over and over again) - i do believe it’s true what the Bible says about speaking in tongues back then - but in my limited experience when I was in TWI - I’d have to say when I did SIT it was made up...so my point is reasons may vary on why someone may say balderdash or call bull$hit on something -but it’s up to you look into what - if any - details are offered  - there may be something more interesting than just the punchline.

 

I think how interesting and thought provoking a debate can be is in the details...specifics! And maybe there’s some “beauty-is-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder” thing involved too...I enjoy many genres of music; but somebody that only likes classical music might criticize rock for being too simple and repetitive, “it’s the same chords over and over again”. whereas me on the other hand - I can listen to “Crossroads” over and over again (I often do   :biglaugh: ) and enjoy listening to the individually creative and collaborative efforts of each musician in The Cream - what they do with a simple blues tune is amazing!...Jack Bruce may he rest in peace.

Edited by T-Bone
I went down to the crossroads...fell down on my knees

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On 7/30/2018 at 4:44 PM, waysider said:

Wouldn't it be great if there was one definitive answer to this? Unfortunately, there isn't. I think it becomes rude, though, when the statement becomes condescending or mean spirited. 

 

When my son was young, he wanted to take an old lawn mower engine and make a go cart. It can be done, for sure. But, that's not the point I'm leading to. Rather than tell him outright that we had neither the materials or tools or the know-how to take on such a project, I asked him a series of questions, things like "How will we bolt the engine on?", How do we go about connecting the engine to the axle?", and on and on. He concluded for himself that the project was probably beyond our reach. You can do the same type of thing with scriptural discussions. You can pose questions like "How is _______ scientifically possible?" or "Are you aware that event conflicts with historical reality?"  Well, I think you get the point. You ask lead-in questions that call for them to draw a conclusion for themselves. That may not be the best answer but it's the only one I have at the moment.

Way, bingo!!

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On 7/30/2018 at 9:20 PM, T-Bone said:

I agree with Waysider…I appreciate input from folks with different points of view – but usually I will ignore what they say if I feel they are being condescending or mean.

Raf, you’re one of the few posters here who is very adept at separating your viewpoint from the point being considered – and on occasion you will point that out – in a putting-all-your-cards-on-the table manner…like  your post on The Trinity thread  .

that post really exemplifies your transparent style of discussion…I thought you made several good points from an historical perspective as well as by referring to certain books of the Bible to determine the identity of Jesus Christ – was he God… an angel… an extraordinary man? And you brought up valid points for each…

your statement at the end of the post “My personal belief is that you can't get to one answer because there isn't one answer at the core of the argument. Finding out what the Bible says about who Jesus really was is complicated, perhaps irreparably, by the fact that the Bible's writers don't seem to agree with each other on the subject.” I do NOT find your statement offensive or rude at all – since I see the same issue – even though I am a Christian and believe the scriptures are inspired of God. I just don’t think they are inerrant. let me put all my cards on the table too – this year I’ve taken a big step away from fundamentalism – and rather than a strict biblical theology approach [since I’ve found the Bible can be a very pliable resource] I’m a lot happier with a philosophical approach…if I can’t figure out the issue from scripture and plain logic then I’m just not gonna lose any sleep over it.

So don’t hold back…be yourself…your logic is strong, your attention to details is superb, your honesty is refreshing, and of course you excel at articulating your thoughts – I mean - duh - you string words together for a living…all that keeps me on my toes and gives me something to shoot for when I’m posting on Grease Spot.

T-Bone, great post!!  I am much more "Christian", and much happier, now that I am no longer a Bible-Thumper.  As others have pointed out here at the GSC, we were unpaid salespeople for TWI, and tried to recruit others for all the classes.  There was a lot of pressure on us to run classes, and have people go WOW.  I just wanted to learn about God, and His Son Jesus Christ.  Instead, I spent a lot of my free time being miserable, trying to witness to people who didn't want to hear about religion.  Who could blame them? Finally, I gave up.  One day I realized, TWI was teaching a lot of garbage, and I left.  Life for me has been so much better, knowing I don't have to drag a millstone around my neck.

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On 7/31/2018 at 12:01 PM, Raf said:

Great answers!

Of course, I'm biased because one of those answers was REALLY flattering.

 

That said, I do try not to be rude, but I think WordWolf hit on my subconscious question in his answer: I think my comments, if I were to really let loose, would run the risk of being repetitive. Not to mention redundant. In other words, I've said it already.

Thanks.

Any other feedback will be welcomed.

Raf, this is only one woman's opinion, but I think your posts are amazing!!  Short, polite, and to the point.  No Bullsheet!  I quickly realized you are a professional writer; only a few have the gift of writing at such a high level.  But what I really like about your posts, is that you don't try to convert others to your POV.  Some of the posts here, in my view, seem to want readers to agree with their opinions.  You seem quite happy to allow others a different POV, as long as the posts are polite, and not mean-spirited.  Raf Rocks!!

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On 11/2/2018 at 6:33 PM, Grace Valerie Claire said:

T-Bone, great post!!  I am much more "Christian", and much happier, now that I am no longer a Bible-Thumper.  As others have pointed out here at the GSC, we were unpaid salespeople for TWI, and tried to recruit others for all the classes.  There was a lot of pressure on us to run classes, and have people go WOW.  I just wanted to learn about God, and His Son Jesus Christ.  Instead, I spent a lot of my free time being miserable, trying to witness to people who didn't want to hear about religion.  Who could blame them? Finally, I gave up.  One day I realized, TWI was teaching a lot of garbage, and I left.  Life for me has been so much better, knowing I don't have to drag a millstone around my neck.

Kinda like another religion motivates its people with the promise of 70 virgins... or something like that.

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So this came up the other day in a situation unrelated to GSC.

My mother and I do not discuss religion. My brother and my cousin have all but disowned me over the issue. Apparently, it's fine for them to say God hates gay people, but it's not okay for me to say they are full of it and don't understand him nearly as well as they think they do. It's okay for them to say my son has autism because God wants to protect him from my atheism, but it's not okay for me to say any God who would inflict my son with such a disorder for such a reason is unworthy of worship, and their worship of such a piece of fecal matter is an actual character flaw.

So my brother and my cousin don't speak to me, and my family wants ME to be the one to smooth over the differences. As if I'm the one worshipping a monster who would hurt their kids to protect their kids from their backward, iron age religious views.

Fine. So the other day my family is gathered for a union (reunion? no, union) of sorts with a family member we've never met. Not important. And my mother kindly notes that the best way to avoid religious arguments is to keep your views to yourself.

Ok, fine.

Which she follows up with, of course there's a God, but people should be free to worship him however they wish.

And then it struck me: "Keep your religion to yourself" only applies to atheists. It doesn't apply to theists. They can say whatever they want, in my home, in defense of monsters who worship a vindictive, petty a-hole.

But I'm supposed to be the polite one.

And you know what?

That's rude too. The expectation that unbelievers should remain silent while believers are free to express themselves whenever, wherever and however they want is RUDE.

I see it here when people post about the "miracles" of the past, while unbelievers, I presume, are expected to just accept that these outlandish stories happened as advertised.

"What do you think of schmoe and schmoe" who played such a significant role in the miracle working ministry of Rev. Healed-A-Lot?

You know, sorry. That's rude too.

 

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1 hour ago, Raf said:

So this came up the other day in a situation unrelated to GSC.

My mother and I do not discuss religion. My brother and my cousin have all but disowned me over the issue. Apparently, it's fine for them to say God hates gay people, but it's not okay for me to say they are full of it and don't understand him nearly as well as they think they do. It's okay for them to say my son has autism because God wants to protect him from my atheism, but it's not okay for me to say any God who would inflict my son with such a disorder for such a reason is unworthy of worship, and their worship of such a piece of fecal matter is an actual character flaw.

So my brother and my cousin don't speak to me, and my family wants ME to be the one to smooth over the differences. As if I'm the one worshipping a monster who would hurt their kids to protect their kids from their backward, iron age religious views.

Fine. So the other day my family is gathered for a union (reunion? no, union) of sorts with a family member we've never met. Not important. And my mother kindly notes that the best way to avoid religious arguments is to keep your views to yourself.

Ok, fine.

Which she follows up with, of course there's a God, but people should be free to worship him however they wish.

And then it struck me: "Keep your religion to yourself" only applies to atheists. It doesn't apply to theists. They can say whatever they want, in my home, in defense of monsters who worship a vindictive, petty a-hole.

But I'm supposed to be the polite one.

And you know what?

That's rude too. The expectation that unbelievers should remain silent while believers are free to express themselves whenever, wherever and however they want is RUDE.

I see it here when people post about the "miracles" of the past, while unbelievers, I presume, are expected to just accept that these outlandish stories happened as advertised.

"What do you think of schmoe and schmoe" who played such a significant role in the miracle working ministry of Rev. Healed-A-Lot?

You know, sorry. That's rude too.

 

Raf, I know it sucks to have to deal with family in that situation. FWIW, I don't think the underlying problem/issue is who is right or who is wrong. 

But I hope you find a way to reconcile those things with your family, or they with you.

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59 minutes ago, Raf said:

It's annoying, but it's more far reaching than just my family.

Yes, it is. My representative in the AZ House gets mocked.
 

Arizona Representative John Kavanagh mocked another state lawmaker's secular invocation during the daily floor session on Monday by introducing God as his "guest" for the proceedings. God, Kavanagh said, was in the House gallery, "as he is everywhere."

Kavanagh's snarky remarks drew an emotional response the following day from Representative Athena Salman, an atheist legislator who gave a nonreligious speech about nature when it was her turn to deliver the opening prayer on Monday. Without invoking a deity, Salman had asked legislators to reflect on the “wonders of the universe" and the diversity of life on an "insignificant planet in an insignificant galaxy."

The incident is the latest in a long-running feud between the Legislature's cohort of the religious right and their secular-minded colleagues like Salman, a Democratic atheist from Tempe.

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ExACTly.

You know, if we had it our way, they would skip the invocations. But people insist on having them, so they need to buck up when it's handled by someone who doesn't share their faith.

Next time someone prays to Jesus, she should dish out what they served her: "Point of privilege: Jesus, if he ever existed, is dead and cannot hear our prayers, so it's really up to us to get s#!% done."

Watch how fast she is denounced for her rudeness.

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As to the thread, I expected it to go to Doctrinal,  I mentioned Doctrinal as the place to discuss the subject, in fact, and suggested starting a new thread there- but the same thread could just be moved. 

 

As for the family thing, that's a shame.    I also can't see eye-to-eye with anything like what they said.

 

I thought that the moment of reflection during the invocation was a fair way to cover equal time, since that can be done respectfully and reverently, which, I imagine, is how an invocation like that is supposed to go no matter who makes it.   Then again, it should be flexible enough to cover, say, Hindu, Muslim, Jainist, etc as well as Humanist, etc.   Either that or show flexibility by dropping the formal prayer and just getting to the work for which they were elected.

 

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3 hours ago, WordWolf said:

As to the thread, I expected it to go to Doctrinal,  I mentioned Doctrinal as the place to discuss the subject, in fact, and suggested starting a new thread there- but the same thread could just be moved. 

 

As for the family thing, that's a shame.    I also can't see eye-to-eye with anything like what they said.

 

I thought that the moment of reflection during the invocation was a fair way to cover equal time, since that can be done respectfully and reverently, which, I imagine, is how an invocation like that is supposed to go no matter who makes it.   Then again, it should be flexible enough to cover, say, Hindu, Muslim, Jainist, etc as well as Humanist, etc.   Either that or show flexibility by dropping the formal prayer and just getting to the work for which they were elected.

 

Yeah, that ain't gonna happen. And I agree, it SHOULD be flexible enough to cover Hindu, Muslim, Jainist, etc. too. But that also ain't gonna happen in many places in the good ol' USofA.

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