Yay! More believers! Statistically, at least one should be able to articulate their thoughts and respond to the actual things people say rather than what they WANT the person to have said. Hopefully you guys can save the topic from eating it's own face off.
It's too damn late and I'm frankly too burnt out to break out my serious-ness-osity-debate-o-stick this evening, I'm just goofing off tonight, so it'll will have to wait 'till at least tomorrow... But I'd be interested to see if we can salvage something compelling out of this thread at any rate. And it would be kind of nice to see what flavor of people we have here before I throw myself face first into a three-way with complete strangers!
That's how you get pink eye, you know.
Oh, a few quick pieces of advice if I may... Hope I don't come off pretentious...
First thing off the top of my head, it would help everybody out a lot if you guys could state what particular religion/belief system you consider yourself a part of. As I'm sure you know, "god", "heaven", "soul",etc... spiritual lingo in general, can mean very different things depending on the religious (or lack of religious) views of the person using the words. .
So it would save everybody a lot of time and energy and probably headaches and frustration if we could clear that up right off the bat... Otherwise we're going to waste dozens of posts playing 20 questions going "Well, doesn't god say/do/whatever THIS" and the other person going "no, not MY god, MY God doesn't say/do/whatever that." and then just move on, thinking the question answered, while adding absolutely nothing to the conversation or the other person's understanding of where you're coming from.. In that situation, it's helpful and good to add what your god DOES say/do/whatever about whatever."
Hope I'm making sense here... Like I said I'm a little fried. I'm making sense to me at any rate.
What was I getting at? Oh yeah, how it's really no fun for anyone to have to essentially drag the bare essentials of your belief system out of you over the course of 8 pages of text... As you can tell just from this thread, we've all wasted 8 pages just trying to get clarification on the most fundamentally basic language YY uses and what exactly he believes in. I've just been watching it go down, barely participating, and even *I'm* embarrassed and frustrated for the people trying to get a glimpse of some of YY's cards that should have been laid out on the table right off rip.
It's been a complete waste of everybody's time. Tons of words spoken from his side of the fence, but no thing's really been *said* that could be construed, and we're all a little stupider for having indulged him in existential partake for days on end.
This works both ways, by the way. It's one of the few actual "RULES!" of the forum - you can't continue to dodge questions... If someone puts in the time and effort to ask it, and they make it clear that they're really genuinely interested in your answer, it's both irritatingly disrespectful and dishonest and shady of character to simply decide not to answer it because it's too hard, would take too long, or what have you. If that's the case, just say so. We'll try to be understanding and give you tie to work it out, if you need it.
If you don't know the answer to a question, JUST SAY SO!
I think you'll find that people's opinion of you will sink like a stone if you're caught just pulling answers or statistics out yer booty. Just be honest. Say "I don't know." or "I'll have to look into that and get back to you." or "Give me some time to think about it." You'll find people here are shockingly patient if you just ask for time. It does nobody any good at all to try to build a house out of bricks of pudding.
People here check their facts, they check your facts, they check everybody's facts. And the majority are ex-Christians as well, more schooled in and knowledgeable in scripture than many preachers I've known.
So make sure you know what you're talking about, otherwise you're likely to find yourself in front of a firing squad REAL quick. It's really one of the only things we ask of members - and one of the things that can start a raging firestorm without even using any tinder. That stuff can make you spontaneously combust. So just don't bullshit people. Keep it real.
But hey, like I said, it works both ways. We have to abide by the same rules. The overwhelming majority of us will answer pretty much any questions you have with no gobbledygook flim-flammy Jello answers... Pretty much all of us shoot from the hip and try to do it as straight as possible. and you'll see "I don't know" a LOT if you keep an eye out for it. Ditto with things like "I'm not entirely sure, but to the best of my knowledge I think..."
You know, just preface important statements with a disclaimer if you're not entirely sure... One bullshit answer can ruin the good will of 50 "atta-boys"!, as my father used to say.
If you guys can do the same, and maintain at least some basic level of mutual respect for the members of the forum, I think you'll find we can all have some productive and entertaining conversations. I hope I'm right!
Conversation here can get very adult very quickly too. Keep in mind that most times, if you hear hostile language or catch hostile attitude, it's usually aimed at the ideas we're discussing, and not the actual person. Try to remember that before instinctively getting defensive - it's a natural response a lot of times, but you should at least take a second to ask yourself if the person is actually attacking you as a person, or just the words you typed.
If they're attacking you as a person, by all means, feel free to fight back if turning the other cheek isn't your bag. The time might come where I myself decide I don't like you as a person - these things happen. If they do, I'd be very disappointed if you didn't at least make an attempt to defend yourself.
I'd like to point out however, that the holy books of the Big 3 technically meet the criteria of an "R" or "NC-17" rated product (meaning for mature audiences only) by any modern culture's standards (murder,rape, pedophilia,genocide,misogyny, endorsement of slavery, etc. etc. etc.), so in order for us to discuss those bucks openly and honestly, it often becomes necessary to allow us foulmouthed types our full range of expression. Just a friendly head's up, you know? Speaking for myself, I find it intellectually stifling if I have to constantly monitor my rhythms and modes of my speech.
It REALLY bothers me to be censored at all in the first place, but being told I shouldn't call a rape a rape or a slave a slave or what have you will make me immediately want to check out of a conversation for good.
A lot of people here on the forum find much of the content of the big 3 Holy Books to be morally abhorrant, and the god Yahweh/Allah/Elohim to be an unspeakably "evil" monster of a character. A lot of us find these holy books just overflowing with what can be perceived to be ethically bankrupt horror stories of an unspeakably ugly culture.
If you can understand that some people feel that way (I do myself, quite often), you can hopefully understand why it would get some people hot under the collar to talk about these perceived atrocities with a person who not only believes in them but SUPPORTS the ugliness of it all, going so far as to proclaim undying LOVE for this monster deity that many say surpasses the love of their spouse and/or children... It's very provocative. But please understand it's the horrible ideas and stories, and the people who use them to justify horrible behavior that gets us angry, not the actual fictional character in the book.
I bring this up now because new members often start yet ANOTHER topic that goes 10+ pages accusing atheists being "angry at god", with the atheists constantly having to explain why you can't hate something you don't believe in...
I really hope I can save us from that mind-numbing waste of time.
You'll earn a TON of respect if you can put on your Teflon big-boy pants before going too far out in the water and don't pull a persecution card or a "stop being a meanie!" every other post. A lot of people withdraw to those tactics, sometimes even subconsciously, and it just kills any momentum the conversation was building.
We're all grown folks here, and we should know that life isn't rated PG, and nobody enjoys censoring themselves or their train of thought simply because it offends somebody. The offended of course think it should be common courtesy for other people to adhere to basic requests for politeness and that it's respectful to change their speech patterns for the sake of the offended party... However I'm of the opinion that it's equally rude to ask a person to change the way they naturally express themselves because YOU don't want to hear it... And I think that's a very selfish, ego-centric position to take as well.
So, you know, please don't do that. I mean, we're godless and we eat babies and strangle dolphins to death with our bare hands for laughs. Potty mouth should be the least of anybody's concerns.
Holy CRAP did this end up longer than I ever intended it to! Meh lol, whatever. Let It Be.
Anyway, welcome gentlemen. Here's hoping things get productive and enlightening. Maybe most important, entertaining.