Author Topic: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me  (Read 2155 times)

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Offline Jag

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The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« on: November 03, 2013, 01:53:07 PM »
The whole approach is backward.

Imagine a slight change in emphasis. What would happen in just twenty years if we spent as much time and energy telling people that they are good, rather than bellowing about how wretched they are? Let’s even skip the obvious contributors – the media and the religious self-righteous – and just focus on the people we interact with every day. Our children and families, our coworker, our friends. Teachers to students, parents to infants, colleagues to each other, every day from birth forward, we share and reinforce the idea that “you are good”.
 
Can you even begin to imagine if that mentality is what we used to shape our policies? Our perspective of other people? Our daily interactions with each other?

What if the message from the pulpits mirrored this? What if every person in front of every congregation in America changed their focus and reminded people at every opportunity that yes, life is full of challenges, but you are good just because you are here and alive and part of the whole that makes up humanity?

What if? This doesn’t yield a perfect world – there’s more involved than simple positive reinforcement in curing that which ails us, but why in the hell do people keep using so much reinforcement of such a negative message while still expecting a positive outcome?

We frequently hear “god is love”. How much better off would we all be if instead we just say “love is love”, and then treat each other like we know what that means? In this, the existence or non-existence of a god, ANY god, doesn’t even matter, it’s a better message with a better outcome.
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Offline Ron Jeremy

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2013, 02:53:58 PM »
I spent the afternoon with a young earth creationist today. Over coffee I tried to open his eyes to my point of view. I tried all the ways I knew. He started telling me that the world and humanity was corrupt and evil, I asked him to back up that view with evidence; he didn't seem able to understand my request. He told me how wonderful Bible God was and how awful all humanity was. I pointed out;

The errors in the bible - He glossed over every contradiction from the problem of Abiathar to the contradicting Genesis accounts to the iron chariot problem.
I pointed out the problem of his positing an even more complicated creature (God) to explain why life was complex - "We cannot understand God..."
I talked about the starlight problem, the age of stalactites equalling deep ocean core samples, evolution, the hiddeness of his god and every other of the 2500 gods - Satan blinds me.
I asked the questions; "What would I have to show you to prove to you that the Aztec god Huitzilopochtl exists?" and "What would I have to show you to prove to you that your god does not exist?" - Aztec god there was no real answer I could decipher, proof against his god - there was none; he has belief.
Again and again I heard how evil and miserable we are.
I eventually left there feeling depressed. I don't want to debate with these people anymore.

I came home and watched an episode of a UK show called 'An Idiot Abroad'. It's about a real chap, Karl Pilkington, travelling the world, very funny and real, but there was a part where he was in India and spent some time with, I think, a Hindu holy man. As they eventually parted, the holy man said to Karl "Remember to love yourself!"

And I thought; THAT difference is the poison of Christianity.
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - An example of a clearly demonstrably false biblical 'prophesy'.

The biblical myth of a 6000 year old Earth is proven false by the Gaia satellite directly measuring star age.

Offline Nick

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2013, 03:07:05 PM »
What a waste of a day.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline RubyLeo

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2013, 08:31:35 PM »
I spent the afternoon with a young earth creationist today. Over coffee I tried to open his eyes to my point of view. I tried all the ways I knew. He started telling me that the world and humanity was corrupt and evil, I asked him to back up that view with evidence; he didn't seem able to understand my request. He told me how wonderful Bible God was and how awful all humanity was. I pointed out;

The errors in the bible - He glossed over every contradiction from the problem of Abiathar to the contradicting Genesis accounts to the iron chariot problem.
I pointed out the problem of his positing an even more complicated creature (God) to explain why life was complex - "We cannot understand God..."
I talked about the starlight problem, the age of stalactites equalling deep ocean core samples, evolution, the hiddeness of his god and every other of the 2500 gods - Satan blinds me.
I asked the questions; "What would I have to show you to prove to you that the Aztec god Huitzilopochtl exists?" and "What would I have to show you to prove to you that your god does not exist?" - Aztec god there was no real answer I could decipher, proof against his god - there was none; he has belief.
Again and again I heard how evil and miserable we are.
I eventually left there feeling depressed. I don't want to debate with these people anymore.

I came home and watched an episode of a UK show called 'An Idiot Abroad'. It's about a real chap, Karl Pilkington, travelling the world, very funny and real, but there was a part where he was in India and spent some time with, I think, a Hindu holy man. As they eventually parted, the holy man said to Karl "Remember to love yourself!"

And I thought; THAT difference is the poison of Christianity.

Dang I got depressed just reading this!  I'm sorry you had to waste your intellectual brain energy on such a fool.

People like this will not listen to reason.  Faith is their blanket and pacifier.  I can almost imagine the glazed look this person must have had on his face when you made points that  he could not argue with. 

Facts don't mean a thing to someone like that.

In a world that Jag described, these idiots would not exist, or would be rare. It seems to take a lot of self-loathing to subscribe to the beliefs this guy has about humanity being corrupt and evil.

Hey, if atheists start to out-reproduce the fundies, there might be hope.  But it's hard to compete with the mindset that churns out families like the Duggars.

"Any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child, cannot be true. "
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2013, 08:44:12 PM »
Would we be telling other people that they are good, and telling ourselves that? Would we be teaching children, for instance, that the person they meet on the street is good?

Or do you see the message 'you are good' as being sufficient to actually make people good?
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Offline Jag

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2013, 09:47:50 PM »
Would we be telling other people that they are good, and telling ourselves that? Would we be teaching children, for instance, that the person they meet on the street is good?

Or do you see the message 'you are good' as being sufficient to actually make people good?

Imagine a slight change in emphasis. What would happen in just twenty years ...

...reminded people at every opportunity that yes, life is full of challenges, but you are good just because you are here and alive and part of the whole that makes up humanity?

This doesn’t yield a perfect worldthere’s more involved than simple positive reinforcement in curing that which ails us, but why in the hell do people keep using so much reinforcement of such a negative message while still expecting a positive outcome?

...... just say “love is love”, and then treat each other like we know what that means...


Yeah magic, I think not telling people that they are wretched sinners would do a great deal of good. Even more if a positive message is substituted in it's place. Maybe a really simple one, like "you are good".

Astonishingly enough, centuries of telling people that they suck doesn't seem to have done the trick of convincing them to be better. Who'da thunk it?
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2013, 10:45:33 PM »
I have a response, but the nature of it means the thread will almost certainly turn into an objective morality discussion. I'm sure we've had enough of that in recent times.
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2013, 10:54:19 PM »
Given that this thread is focused on peoples' emotional responses to what they're told, how does the subjectivity/objectivity of morality even become relevant?
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2013, 11:02:37 PM »
Easily. If Jag is wanting a bigger focus on people being told they are good, it seems inevitable that the conversation will turn to what 'good' actually means.
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Offline xyzzy

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2013, 11:18:50 PM »
Yeah magic, I think not telling people that they are wretched sinners would do a great deal of good. Even more if a positive message is substituted in it's place. Maybe a really simple one, like "you are good".

Like this, perhaps?

Quote
Astonishingly enough, centuries of telling people that they suck doesn't seem to have done the trick of convincing them to be better. Who'da thunk it?

It seems that a Christian indoctrination may bring with it a mastery of the guilt-trip and an innate ability to play the victim, that puts even my bubbe [little old Jewish grandmother] to shame.

Further, I've never understood how anyone could readily accept the concept of forever being in the debt for something that supposedly happened thousands of years before they were born. That's emotional blackmail to a level of repulsiveness and evil that beggars belief.
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2013, 11:22:52 PM »
Easily. If Jag is wanting a bigger focus on people being told they are good, it seems inevitable that the conversation will turn to what 'good' actually means.

Only if you want to side-track the discussion.  It will mean something positive to the person being addressed; the specifics of their idea of "good" don't matter to that.
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2013, 11:26:18 PM »


It seems that a Christian indoctrination may bring with it a mastery of the guilt-trip and an innate ability to play the victim

If its an innate ability, by definition it has nothing to do with indoctrination.
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2013, 11:29:04 PM »
Easily. If Jag is wanting a bigger focus on people being told they are good, it seems inevitable that the conversation will turn to what 'good' actually means.

Only if you want to side-track the discussion.  It will mean something positive to the person being addressed; the specifics of their idea of "good" don't matter to that.

That seems to reduce Jag's suggestion to that of providing meaningless platitudes. I think she meant more by it than that. But I don't want to side track the thread by arguing over what would side track a thread....
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Offline skeptic54768

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2013, 11:43:25 PM »
No, magicmiles is right.

The thread can not go any further unless the OP defines what he means by the word "good."

let's try an example:

An atheist wants to kill every old person that lives in a nursing home because it's a waste of space that could be used for more productive things. Old people are just stuck in nursing homes contributing nothing to society, so why should they be allowed to live?

Is this atheist a good person? Why or why not?
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2013, 11:56:30 PM »
No, magicmiles is right.

The thread can not go any further unless the OP defines what he means by the word "good."

let's try an example:

An atheist wants to kill every old person that lives in a nursing home because it's a waste of space that could be used for more productive things. Old people are just stuck in nursing homes contributing nothing to society, so why should they be allowed to live?

Is this atheist a good person? Why or why not?

Skeptic, my point is that the thread shouldn't become this type of debate because its been done to death recently. Its possible for others to discuss the OP concept without this type of discussion, its just not possible for me to do it (or you).

Also, Jag is a she. (Just a Girl) She chose that user name at a forum which discussed sports as an experiment to see whether a gender neutral name would be treated differently than a gender obvious name. It was.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2013, 12:31:32 AM »
Agreed, we don't need another argument about what 'good' and 'evil' truly mean.  And we certainly don't need loaded examples of what we consider 'good' and 'evil' behavior.

The real question is, why do we need to define good and evil at all?  Why do we need to say that humans are evil at heart?  To me, that's an artificial concept - an attempt to define our basic natures as being something other than animal instincts.

I feel it would be much better to just accept that our basic natures tend to be at odds with our higher intelligence, rather than trying to load the question with concepts like good and evil.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2013, 12:35:40 AM »

That seems to reduce Jag's suggestion to that of providing meaningless platitudes. I think she meant more by it than that.

No more of a meaningless platitude than if the definiton of "good" was universally agreed-on.  The "meaningless platitude" part wouldn't be the part that defines "good" - it would be the rest of the statement/treatment.
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Offline Astreja

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2013, 01:22:15 AM »
Old people are just stuck in nursing homes contributing nothing to society, so why should they be allowed to live?

"Allowed" to live?  I think this says more about your morals than ours, Skeptic.

I have a relative in a nursing home.  If you raised a finger to harm her, you would be in for the fight of your life.
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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #18 on: November 04, 2013, 01:41:37 AM »
Old people are just stuck in nursing homes contributing nothing to society, so why should they be allowed to live?

"Allowed" to live?  I think this says more about your morals than ours, Skeptic.

I have a relative in a nursing home.  If you raised a finger to harm her, you would be in for the fight of your life.

And one more thought for Skeptic, since he can't come up with any on his own. The harm killing senior citizens would do to the society that made that choice (trust would be reduced between people, paranoia about who would be killed next would affect folks, guilt for being one of the killers or agreeing to the killing would negatively impact some, the newly formed pro-death groups  fighting with the newly formed anti-death groups, etc.) would far outweigh the minor inconvenience that being nice to old folks sometimes is. You don't want to go around judging levels of societal contribution out loud unless you are perfect yourself. And then you'll be forced to fear that not everyone agrees with you about what perfect is. As you age towards old folkdom yourself.

By the way, good people would never even consider doing such a thing. Which means that a useful definition of good would be anything that Skeptic isn't.
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Offline Ron Jeremy

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #19 on: November 04, 2013, 01:59:35 AM »
What a waste of a day.

I know. And I won't do it again. Except I will, because I can't sit idly by while stupid tries to take over the world. This is the unending task each one of us atheists performs ceaselessly. Christians think it's difficult being a Christian? Try being an atheist, the never ending learning about science to refute those that would drag us back to the Stone Age.
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Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #20 on: November 04, 2013, 03:50:10 AM »


It seems that a Christian indoctrination may bring with it a mastery of the guilt-trip and an innate ability to play the victim

If its an innate ability, by definition it has nothing to do with indoctrination.

Indoctrination supplies the particular form of religion which takes advantage of your feelings.

Name a religion which does not do this.
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Offline wheels5894

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #21 on: November 04, 2013, 03:54:59 AM »
Is the real  answer to the OP that religion labels people as bad so that the people know that they need the services of the religion and so that they pay in time and money to try and stop being bad? After all, if a religion taught people that they were good they would have no further need for the religion.

Frankly we don't need to be told we are bad and, as Jag says, telling us we are bad doesn't help. We need to be free of religion and to go about being good.
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Offline Ataraxia

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2013, 04:45:26 AM »
What baffles me is how it's supposed to be "good news". Everyone is labelled sick by default and there is only one cure, yet the sickness is caused by, and is the problem of the cure. That's the thing here, the problem is God's, not ours, yet we are meant to think it is our fault. It looks like a classic case of projection. ;)

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Offline sun_king

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #23 on: November 04, 2013, 04:58:49 AM »
To the OP, what difference would it really make Jag?

Most religions don't have the concept of Original or Ancestral sin. Does it make them any better?

For Christianity its a major selling point, pretty much the same as a life insurance agent's pitch or an anti-virus company's promotion. A well thought out plan for a religion based on the Bible, it is in fact one of the few smart things in the book. From the perspective of selling the religion, the biggest the gain, the more the sales. Most religions start with zero and goes to some arbitrary positive value, Christianity has the starting point pegged back to the lowest possible negative. So for the naive ones, the gain is maximum here and that's probably why Christianity is the largest religion in the world.

I guess you mixed up love with sales.

Offline Jag

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #24 on: November 04, 2013, 09:15:40 AM »
No, magicmiles is right.

The thread can not go any further unless the OP defines what he means by the word "good."

let's try an example:

An atheist wants to kill every old person that lives in a nursing home because it's a waste of space that could be used for more productive things. Old people are just stuck in nursing homes contributing nothing to society, so why should they be allowed to live?

Is this atheist a good person? Why or why not?

It most certainly can. You're changing the subject by jumping on magicmile's misunderstanding, and frankly I'm not even remotely interested in your opinion on what YOU wish to discuss - I'm well aware of it.
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Offline Jag

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #25 on: November 04, 2013, 09:27:35 AM »
To the OP, what difference would it really make Jag?

Most religions don't have the concept of Original or Ancestral sin. Does it make them any better?

For Christianity its a major selling point, pretty much the same as a life insurance agent's pitch or an anti-virus company's promotion. A well thought out plan for a religion based on the Bible, it is in fact one of the few smart things in the book. From the perspective of selling the religion, the biggest the gain, the more the sales. Most religions start with zero and goes to some arbitrary positive value, Christianity has the starting point pegged back to the lowest possible negative. So for the naive ones, the gain is maximum here and that's probably why Christianity is the largest religion in the world.

I guess you mixed up love with sales.

I think you're missing my point, but what you say is interesting.

Most religions may not embrace the concept under discussion but the majority of religious followers do. This idea is present in all three of the Abrahamic religions straight from the OT, and two of those constitute roughly 4/7th of the worlds population, slightly more in you include Judaism. More than half may not be a sweeping majority, but between Muslims and Christians it's more than enough.

I'm not making a sales pitch, I'm observing a flaw that I think is significant and worth discussion.
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Offline Jag

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #26 on: November 04, 2013, 09:43:51 AM »
Apparently this idea is too subtle and in need of a bit of clarity.

No, it's not necessary to start by making a list of what qualifies as "good" - the answer is subjective dependent on what is being discussed and the culture under discussion. We already have laws in place that cover the kind of stupid sh!t skeptic is trying to divert us into, no god required. I'm talking about something far simpler than that - reinforcement from our primary contacts, daily, from the moment of birth, that we are good. An infant is not going to understand a list of acceptable behaviors, but they certainly respond to tone of voice, encouragement, and positive reinforcement - any parent worth the label will say the same.

For people too deeply indoctrinated to understand how indoctrination works, this concept may be impossible to grasp. It's just a slight change in emphasis to prompt a change in perception of the listener. It's simple psychology, but it's consequences could be astounding. Is this really that controversial?

Really, which message do you think gets a more positive outcome - "you are a wretched sinner in need of salvation", or "you are a good person"? Is it really that hard to figure out which way you would talk to your children and how you would choose to have other people talk to them? Which way would you have preferred as a child?

The message is flawed and frankly, abusive. Change the message, change the outcome.



« Last Edit: November 04, 2013, 09:48:46 AM by Jag »
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #27 on: November 04, 2013, 09:52:36 AM »
What if the message from the pulpits mirrored this? What if every person in front of every congregation in America changed their focus and reminded people at every opportunity that yes, life is full of challenges, but you are good just because you are here and alive and part of the whole that makes up humanity?

What if? This doesn’t yield a perfect world – there’s more involved than simple positive reinforcement in curing that which ails us, but why in the hell do people keep using so much reinforcement of such a negative message while still expecting a positive outcome?

Hear hear.

Consider this: the headmaster has a troubled and troublesome boy brought in front of her.  What approach is more likely to lead to the boy turning himself around?

1) You are a bad and wicked boy - you're useless, you'll never amount to anything.

2) You have so much potential, and I know that really you are a good person.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline sun_king

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Re: The fundamental flaw seems obvious to me
« Reply #28 on: November 04, 2013, 09:55:19 AM »
I'm not making a sales pitch, I'm observing a flaw that I think is significant and worth discussion.

Hmm, no. I was not saying that its your sale's pitch. I was saying that the flaw you pointed out is actually the sale's pitch for Christianity.

And out of interest, while the concept of Eve sinning is there in the Abrahamic religions, isn't Christianity the only one that considers the new born to inherit the sins?

We are talking about a Christian being born a sinner, right? (Sin == Bad?)