Loud Atheism

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Postby FiddleMath » Thu Aug 02, 2007 6:45 pm UTC

Richard Dawkins, in his usual style, calls for atheists to "out" themselves, essentially in the cause of awareness. Knowing his audience, he gives fairly specific details about why "awareness" is useful. In particular, it changes the viewpoints of those to whom demographics matter, and for many it replaces empty stereotypes with actual faces - often of people who they know, but of whose atheism they were unaware. They've even got pamphlet site.

I'm thinking about doing so myself. My close friends and close family have always been aware of my areligion, and it's only rarely been an issue for me. However, it might not be a bad idea to acquire, say, an atheist bumper sticker. Normally, I find such labels really silly, but there just might be a few good points in what's being said
there.

I feel several ways about this. I think the logo is uninspired. (The IPU logo is actually quite elegant, though the Invisible Pink Unicorn is more likely to evoke ire than just the "atheist" label.) I, like many others, don't think that much on atheism, so it's odd to be willing to publicly identify as "an atheist." On the same note, it's odd to me to publicly identify as anything but myself, or perhaps my online persona.

On the other hand... the social points that Dawkins raises seem valid. In particular, atheists being more vocal helps to eliminate the feeling for many that they are alone in their convictions, a real problem in many communities where religion isn't discussed, merely assumed. If it helps ease the worries of someone wavering between apparently-enforced conformity and expressing what they think is true, it seems like a good idea.

On the other hand, bumper stickers are tacky; literally and metaphorically. What do y'all think?

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Postby mosc » Thu Aug 02, 2007 6:48 pm UTC

don't you feel offended when an evangelical hands you a pamphlet or has an aggressive bumper sticker? I sure do! It would be no different if someone was 'aggressively atheist', I would find it similarly offensive. Can't you just believe what you like without forcing it down my throat? Do we really have to dwell in our differences? Do you want to convert me to atheism or something?

As bad as evangelical Christianity is, I think evangelical atheism would be 100x worse.
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Postby Phenriz » Thu Aug 02, 2007 6:54 pm UTC

i think if you wanna stoop down to the evangelical's level feel free to do so.

I find it just as immature and prone to ignore it much the same as i ignore evangelical christianity.


It's nice that both "sides" have their opinions and thoughts on the subject, but i could honestly care less what your thoughts or their thoughts are unless we're engaged in some sort of conversation/relationship.
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Postby lukkucairi » Thu Aug 02, 2007 6:54 pm UTC

bumper stickers never helped anyone be a better person.

there's a real human tendency to split into factions and argue - and this kind of polarization doesn't usually advance anyone's interests.

state your case and then move to find consensus. have you been following E. O. Wilson's outreach to the christian evangelists? interesting stuff.

that said, I agree that you need thesis and antithesis to come to synthesis, so by all means bumper-sticker your car if you so desire.

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Postby Vaniver » Thu Aug 02, 2007 6:55 pm UTC

I'm not sure it's worth a bumper sticker, and none of the t-shirts he linked to were particularly classy. But the idea is good.

[edit]
As bad as evangelical Christianity is, I think evangelical atheism would be 100x worse.
I don't know; atheism isn't a business the way organized religion is.
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Postby ZeroSum » Thu Aug 02, 2007 6:59 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:I don't know; atheism isn't a business the way [some|certain|most if you can back it up with statistics] organized religion is.

Fixed. Trust me, I've seen plenty of Churches that most emphatically do not have a business-based idea of their purpose and do not shove their religion down the throats of others.

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Postby TheTankengine » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:00 pm UTC

I doubt it would be 100x worse, but that is personal opinion.

I agree with you mosc, I don't like evangelical anything. If you can't appeal to my logic with the use of well-founded arguments, I don't want to hear it.

I feel the same way about labels in general, they just don't matter. Especially the "straight edge" people.

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This is a great statement, I can definitely relate to that.
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Postby Belial » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:00 pm UTC

I see this as less an evangelical proselytization, and more akin to a "We're here, We're Queer" type movement.

The difference being conversion. If the group isn't interested in making people be more like them, then all they're doing is running an awareness campaign. In that case, comparing them to evangelical christianity is heinously inaccurate.
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Postby Vaniver » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:02 pm UTC

ZeroSum wrote:
Vaniver wrote:I don't know; atheism isn't a business the way [some|certain|most if you can back it up with statistics] organized religion is.

Fixed. Trust me, I've seen plenty of Churches that most emphatically do not have a business-based idea of their purpose and do not shove their religion down the throats of others.
I wasn't implying that they were profit-oriented, just that they were a business, with land, payroll, revenue, expenses, and such, that sold a set of services to its customers. Now, I'm not very in touch with modern atheism, and so it may be that they have social clubs run by donations that offer counseling and other services in ways that mimic how churches run, but that would surprise me.
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Postby Brian » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:02 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
As bad as evangelical Christianity is, I think evangelical atheism would be 100x worse.
I don't know; atheism isn't a business the way organized religion is.

Evangelicals, Christian or otherwise, believe that there is some sort of eternal benefit to be had on both sides of the transaction. Atheists do not, which makes "loud atheism" seem merely annoying as opposed to annoying and pointed.

That said, I would take no offense to someone with a bumper sticker/button/etc. that merely said "I'm an atheist." This would promote awareness AND not sink to the level evangelicals often do at the same time.

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Postby FiddleMath » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:04 pm UTC

mosc wrote:don't you feel offended when an evangelical hands you a pamphlet or has an aggressive bumper sticker? I sure do! It would be no different if someone was 'aggressively atheist', I would find it similarly offensive.


Well, there's a big difference between actively to deconvert people and just saying "I'm an atheist." I mean, I'm not offended by baseball fans wearing team logos, even though I avoid watching it myself. This is why I figure the IPU logo wouldn't work - it specifically symbolizes a somewhat insulting argument.

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Postby mosc » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:04 pm UTC

It matters on the syntax but it seems the OP is the one who was drawing the similarity, not just me.
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Postby Belial » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:05 pm UTC

Look at the person you're replying to, and then look at the OP.
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Postby 3.14159265... » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:07 pm UTC

People don't persecute christians, or Jehovah's witnesses. People persecute against atheist rights.

The separation of church and state, is part of the constitution, yet they teach AI in schools in the US. Thats a violation of atheist rights.

As Belial said this is a "We are here, we are queer" type of thing.

I have been told before "You know I don't like people of other religions, but i can respect them, but atheist, I hate you guys".

There is ALOT of discrimination against atheists all over the world. Right after sexist discrimination, is religious discrimination. That usually goes against liberal "whatevers" and "Atheist/agnostics". Just like Gay people were prosecuted and given hormone therapy and sent to camps to learn to hate themselves, atheist are sent to mosques, temples, churches like this. This happens TODAY.

Thus there is a need for atheist to be a more organized group, if only to show that they exist in pretty big numbers.

I personally wouldn't do the shirt or the bumper sticker, thats just advertising. I do however like to point out to every new person I meet that I am an atheist, and do introduce my friends/acquaintances to arguments for atheism. A few have converted/become much more liberal.

Edit: Fixed numerous spelling errors. If you are going to identify as an atheist, please remember how to spell it.
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Postby Phenriz » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:10 pm UTC

3.14159265... wrote:I do however like to point out to every new person I meet that I am an athiest, and do introduce my friends/aquaitances to arguments for athiesm. A few have converted/become much more liberal.


Is this not a method of conversion, and put you on par with evangelism, you know the whole converting people to your "camp" thing?
Last edited by Phenriz on Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:11 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Belial » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:10 pm UTC

People don't prosecute christians, or Jahova's witnesses.


Quibbling, but the JWs would tell you a different story in that regard. And they wouldn't be entirely lying. They have encountered some degree of persecution in the past.

Not as much as they'll claim if you ask them, though.
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Postby Brian » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:13 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
People don't prosecute christians, or Jahova's witnesses.


Quibbling, but the JWs would tell you a different story in that regard. And they wouldn't be entirely lying. They have encountered some degree of persecution in the past.

Not as much as they'll claim if you ask them, though.
Mormons/Later Day Saints as well. They've been kicked out of communities, cities, and even states in the past.

edit: though, they would claim that they were about to leave anyway due to divine revelation

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Postby 3.14159265... » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:14 pm UTC

Is this not a method of conversion, and put you on par with christianity, you know the whole converting people to your "camp" thing?
no, its a way of letting them be comfortable if they aren't really into their religion, also lets them know I will be throwing around alot of religion jokes. My mission isn't to convert, but when someone raises something like Pascals's wager (trust me someone ALWAYS does), I just have to beat it down, kick it in the face, put a sock in its mouth, and throw it down a river. :D

Quibbling, but the JWs would tell you a different story in that regard. And they wouldn't be entirely lying. They have encountered some degree of persecution in the past.
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Postby Invisible_Insane » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:19 pm UTC

3.14159265... wrote:no, its a way of letting them be comfortable if they aren't really into their religion, also lets them know I will be throwing around alot of religion jokes. My mission isn't to convert, but when someone raises something like Pascals's wager (trust me someone ALWAYS does), I just have to beat it down, kick it in the face, put a sock in its mouth, and throw it down a river.
Some evangelical Christians probably feel the same way every time you bring up evolution. Acting like them isn't going to fix anything. I think making people aware that atheism is a choice for them is perfectly alright, but depicting religious symbols being thrown into a trash can is rather offensive.
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Postby bonder » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:20 pm UTC

Evangelical Atheism youtube video: Door to Door Atheist

Raising awareness about atheism is an important thing. It's been said that in the US, atheists are the last group of people that it's ok to hate (though the transgendered community may beg to differ). You can't single out anyone by race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender without labeled a bigot and possibly having legal action taken against you. However, there are politicians who believe that atheists cannot be US citizens and have no rights under the US constitution:
George Bush Sr. wrote:No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.

I've also heard that something like 2/3 of the US population would not vote for a candidate simply because he or she was an atheist.

I got the Bush Sr. quote from here: http://www.positiveatheism.org/writ/ghwbush.htm
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Postby 3.14159265... » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:21 pm UTC

So bringing up evolution in a discussion is the same as bringing up the creation story?

WoW.
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Postby Belial » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:23 pm UTC

Some evangelical Christians probably feel the same way every time you bring up evolution.


And they can feel free to argue why it's wrong.

It just won't work very well.
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Postby Vaniver » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:24 pm UTC

It's been said that in the US, atheists are the last group of people that it's ok to hate (though the transgendered community may beg to differ).
Or, you know, furries.
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Postby Phenriz » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:24 pm UTC

3.14159265... wrote:I do however like to point out to every new person I meet that I am an athiest, and do introduce my friends/aquaitances to arguments for athiesm.


Wikipedia wrote:Proselytism is the practice of attempting to convert people to another opinion, usually another religion.
~snip~
Proselytism can include:
Preaching



Dictionary.com wrote:Preach: 2. To advocate, especially to urge acceptance of or compliance with


Care to refute, or do you see where you're wrong in saying that you're not trying to convert?
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Postby Invisible_Insane » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:26 pm UTC

3.14159265... wrote:So bringing up evolution in a discussion is the same as bringing up the creation story?

WoW.
Belial wrote:And they can feel free to argue why it's wrong.

It just won't work very well.
I'm not saying they're right. I'm just saying they don't want to listen to your 'incorrect' views any more than you wish to listen to their 'incorrect' views.
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Postby iop » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:28 pm UTC

3.14159265... wrote:People don't prosecute christians

In the USA, you mean.


So bringing up evolution in a discussion is the same as bringing up the creation story?

Depends. If it is a discussion about creation among creationists, maybe, and of course, if you want to convert people to Dawkinism.
If it's a scientific discussion, there is no atheist proselytizing to it.
Last edited by iop on Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:32 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby ninjaboy » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:30 pm UTC

3.14159265... wrote:
Is this not a method of conversion, and put you on par with christianity, you know the whole converting people to your "camp" thing?
no, its a way of letting them be comfortable if they aren't really into their religion, also lets them know I will be throwing around alot of religion jokes. My mission isn't to convert, but when someone raises something like Pascals's wager (trust me someone ALWAYS does), I just have to beat it down, kick it in the face, put a sock in its mouth, and throw it down a river. :D


The problem with offending people isn't really about conversion- it's about ridiculing and belittling people. I take greater issue with someone who makes my own religion out to be something unimportant to me, because it's something I hold so strongly to. I have no problem with someone saying that they're atheist. I always put out an "I'm here to debate if you're interested" but I never make atheist jokes. That would just be inconsiderate.
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Postby TheTankengine » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:32 pm UTC

3.14159265... wrote:The seperation of church and state, is part of the constitution, yet they teach AI in schools in the US. Thats a violation of athiest rights.


Congress has made no law respecting the establishment of a religion, it is not a violation of consitutional rights.

And what do you mean AI? Is that another name for ID?
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Postby Belial » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:32 pm UTC

I'm not saying they're right. I'm just saying they don't want to listen to your 'incorrect' views any more than you wish to listen to their 'incorrect' views.


And what Pi was saying (in his hopelessly undiplomatic fashion) was that when Pascal's wager is brought up, he feels the need to put his arm through the logical holes in that trite little bit of idiocy, not that he feels the need to kill the conversation.

I was pointing out that creationist types can feel free to do the same to evolution. There's no real inequality there.

Except that it's harder to find an actual, valid hole in evolution.
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Postby ZeroSum » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:32 pm UTC

If you were to introduce yourself saying, "Hi, I'm [name]. I'm an [athiest|religious description]. You should be one, too, because [some argument]." I'd quickly put you in the "annoying" category.

If, for whatever reason, we were friends and, for whatever reason, religion came up as a topic, such as "what religion are you?" and you said, "I'm [athiest|religious description]. You should be one, too, because [some argument]." I'd quickly put you in the "annoying" category.

If, for whatever reason, we were friends and, for whatever reason, religion came up as a topic, such as "what religion are you and why?" and you said "I'm [athiest|religious description]. You should be one, too, because [some argument]." then you're being on topic and I'd listen to [some argument] and decide whether it's worth changing my beliefs over.

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Postby 3.14159265... » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:33 pm UTC

Care to refute, or do you see where you're wrong in saying that you're not trying to convert?
I do care to refute. I am not trying to convert to to a different religion. I am asking them to accept the age of reason.

Analogy: There are 2 cliffs. One person says jump of here, another says jump of here and they both advocate it. I come along and say, don't jump. My position is QUITE different than the other two.

I'm not saying they're right. I'm just saying they don't want to listen to your 'incorrect' views any more than you wish to listen to their 'incorrect' views.
Yes except, evolution is not incorrect. To take Pascal's wager is not the only logical choice, actually its an illogical choice.

In the USA, you mean.

And the JW's have not had a happy history in that country, and they still don't have it easy.
Then one should fight for their rights too, but not their right to knock on my door, though it is usually comedy relief from my math readings.

Edit:
If you were to introduce yourself saying, "Hi, I'm [name]. I'm an [athiest|religious description]. You should be one, too, because [some argument]." I'd quickly put you in the "annoying" category.

I don't do this.
If, for whatever reason, we were friends and, for whatever reason, religion came up as a topic, such as "what religion are you?" and you said, "I'm [athiest|religious description]. You should be one, too, because [some argument]." I'd quickly put you in the "annoying" category.
I don't do this.

If, for whatever reason, we were friends and, for whatever reason, religion came up as a topic, such as "what religion are you and why?" and you said "I'm [athiest|religious description]. You should be one, too, because [some argument]." then you're being on topic and I'd listen to [some argument] and decide whether it's worth changing my beliefs over.
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Postby bonder » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:35 pm UTC

TheTankengine wrote:
3.14159265... wrote:The seperation of church and state, is part of the constitution, yet they teach AI in schools in the US. Thats a violation of athiest rights.


Congress has made no law respecting the establishment of a religion, it is not a violation of consitutional rights.

And what do you mean AI? Is that another name for ID?


If we are indeed talking about ID, then that is a violation of constitutional rights. ID is merely a repackaging of creationism (replace creator/god with designer). ID is very thinly veiled religion. Though, I think the real issue should be the fact that ID is not science.
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Postby Invisible_Insane » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:35 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
I'm not saying they're right. I'm just saying they don't want to listen to your 'incorrect' views any more than you wish to listen to their 'incorrect' views.


And what Pi was saying (in his hopelessly undiplomatic fashion) was that when Pascal's wager is brought up, he feels the need to put his arm through the logical holes in that trite little bit of idiocy, not that he feels the need to kill the conversation.

I was pointing out that creationist types can feel free to do the same to evolution. There's no real inequality there.

Except that it's harder to find an actual, valid hole in evolution.
But the bible says...

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Postby marco262 » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:35 pm UTC

If I may interject with a minor plug...

I was, previously, a vehement, Christian-bashing nontheist[1]. However, I stumbled upon http://www.pointlesswasteoftime.com/godfuse.html on Pointless Waste of Time, and it helped me realize how ridiculous it is for either side on the aetheism/Christianity debate to degrade or villify the other.

I'd summarize the article here, but it's actually so well written that anything I say couldn't do it justice.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nontheism

Editted for syntax errors
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Postby Belial » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:36 pm UTC

And the JW's have not had a happy history in that country, and they still don't have it easy.


The organization *shouldn't* have it easy. They're pure fucking evil.

It's a pity that the poor slobs who get duped by them also get mistreated, though.

But that's a discussion for another time and place.
Last edited by Belial on Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:37 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby 3.14159265... » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:36 pm UTC

Yeah I mean ID, not AI. :oops:
They should teach AI.

The problem with offending people isn't really about conversion- it's about ridiculing and belittling people. I take greater issue with someone who makes my own religion out to be something unimportant to me, because it's something I hold so strongly to. I have no problem with someone saying that they're atheist. I always put out an "I'm here to debate if you're interested" but I never make atheist jokes. That would just be inconsiderate.
Do you also advocate your kid being taught your religion in our public schools? then you are violating MY rights. While freedom of speech allows me to bellitle and ridicule your religion. Though this isn't something I do, unless you also enjoy belittling and ridiculing your religion.
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Postby Vaniver » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:37 pm UTC

Analogy: There are 2 cliffs. One person says jump of here, another says jump of here and they both advocate it. I come along and say, don't jump. My position is QUITE different than the other two.
Your goal is irrelevant. Your methodology is what people dislike.
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ZeroSum
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Postby ZeroSum » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:37 pm UTC

3.14159265... wrote:Analogy: There are 2 cliffs. One person says jump of here, another says jump of here and they both advocate it. I come along and say, don't jump. My position is QUITE different than the other two.
Big difference between religion and jumping off a cliff: Religion doesn't kill you.

A better analogy would be putting a dollar (or maybe some non-trivial sum, though that'll mean the analogy needs more thought put into to determine that sum) into a black box. (And there are some possible and unproven benefits and some possible and proven benefits and possibly some detriments for putting your dollar in that black box, but again, that requires extending the analogy beyond analogy range.)

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Postby Invisible_Insane » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:39 pm UTC

What Vaniver said.

Yes except, evolution is not incorrect. To take Pascal's wager is not the only logical choice, actually its an illogical choice.
Why don't people have the right to make illogical choices? See the thread on logic... it's arbitrary anyway.
Last edited by Invisible_Insane on Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:40 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Phenriz » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:39 pm UTC

Wiki wrote:Proselytism is the practice of attempting to convert people to another opinion, usually another religion


3.14159265... wrote:I am not trying to convert to to a different religion. I am asking them to accept the age of reason.


If you care to read the complete first sentence, instead of the parts that conform to your incorrect assessment of your own behavior, it states that it's a word for converting someone to a different thought process, which is usually a religion but not always.
Last edited by Phenriz on Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:41 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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