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Author Topic: A question
Tittles
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So in an attempt to bring some positivity into my life before I jump off a bridge or something, I've been thinking of joining one of the local Mormon churches. The community and lifestyle, focusing on the family and whatnot, appeals to me.

The main problem is that I think Jesus, if he existed, was just a traveling preacher. And Joe Smith was a con man. And not working on Sundays really isn't an option for me right now. So I'd have to lie a lot at a pretty fundamental level. I guess I'd be okay with that, but I don't know how feasible it would be over a lengthy period of time. Thoughts?

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TomDavidson
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I think you'd be happier if you stopped trolling, but also think that lying to yourself is one of the less efficient ways to become happy.
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BlackBlade
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Mormonism would not be a good fit for you. You can still attend church there and even accept a calling if you are really interested in serving others and belonging to the community.

Many Mormons work on Sunday out of necessity. There is no rule forbidding the practice. If you can find a way to not work on Sundays, then you should take it.

You should not lie so as to belong to any organization. Again, you are welcome to belong to the community even if you think Jesus and Joseph Smith are not who they claim to be. Many people do it.

You will have to jettison your haughty and unpleasant manner though. People will pick up on that, and won't think you want to actually belong.

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Marlozhan
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The cognitive dissonance of living in a way that you actually disagree with will definitely not be good for developing more happiness. I am not a fan at all of pretending to endorse something that you actually don't endorse. To be baptized into the Mormon church, but not actually believe in Christ as God or in Joseph Smith as a prophet, would be a contradiction.

If you like the culture, I would recommend attending the Mormon church, but not getting baptized into it. Lots of people attend who can be open about their doubts or beliefs, but don't join because they know they don't believe the fundamental doctrines.

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jebus202
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I think you should try out living as a homosexual man and see how it works for you. I understand they have a very tight-knit community.
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stilesbn
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
You will have to jettison your haughty and unpleasant manner though. People will pick up on that, and won't think you want to actually belong.

If you are really serious about fitting in with the community you should probably refer to the founder of the religion as Joseph Smith, not Joe Smith. You'll be instantly pegged as a troll/anti otherwise.
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Tittles
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Tom - Yeah, I figured lying about Smith and Jesus for so long probably wouldn't work. Grasping at straws and such, though.

Jebus - Lulz

Blackblade/Marl/Stiles - So do I need to make an appointment or something, or do I just show up to a service in button up and tie?

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stilesbn
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Well if you were interested in investigating and thinking about becoming a member getting in contact with missionaries would be the way to go. They will be eager to teach you with the goal of baptizing you. I think the "Request Visit" on Mormon.org will get you in contact with them.

If you want to just participate in the community but currently not real keen on getting baptized I'd recommend just showing up to a service with a button up and tie and locating the Bishop of that ward would be a place to start. I'm sure you could explain what you want and work something out with him. You can locate your local meeting house and time at Mormon.org as well using the Visit-->Find a Church menu options.

Or if you have a Mormon friend you could talk to them. They can bring you to their ward.

ETA: I think the "Find a church" option gives you contact information for the bishop. You could try contacting him prior to going as well.

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scifibum
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While I think you could work something out with the bishop, I also think the accommodation would be offered with an eye to future conversion. So don't be surprised if people keep prodding and teaching and otherwise not leaving you alone.

If I were to start attending services again so that I could regain my involvement in the Mormon community - which is something I'm about 20% likely to try at some point - I think I would simply politely refuse every "calling" while frequently volunteering to help with various things, and refuse to participate in "interviews" of any kind. I'd contribute via "fast offering" (without fasting) and not pay (and not discuss the matter of) tithing. I would sing but not pray. I'm undecided on how I would dress.

I anticipate it would be quite difficult for me to rebuff all the attempts to bring me in more fully, and I'm somewhat convinced that I would be treated with mistrust. But that's about the only way I could stand to participate; other modes would involve lying and wasting people's time.

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Black Fox
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quote:
Originally posted by Marlozhan:
The cognitive dissonance of living in a way that you actually disagree with will definitely not be good for developing more happiness. I am not a fan at all of pretending to endorse something that you actually don't endorse. To be baptized into the Mormon church, but not actually believe in Christ as God or in Joseph Smith as a prophet, would be a contradiction.

If you like the culture, I would recommend attending the Mormon church, but not getting baptized into it. Lots of people attend who can be open about their doubts or beliefs, but don't join because they know they don't believe the fundamental doctrines.

Numerous surveys disagree. There are a number of social and psychological benefits (happiness) that come from being involved in a religious community. I certainly wouldn't say that those benefits are exclusive to religious organizations, but there are few - if any around where the poster lives - secular organizations that provide the kind of community that religious groups do. I have yet to see atheists or logical positivists drive across a metro area to shovel a sick member's driveway. Just saying.
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vegimo
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I have a little experience in this and would like to encourage you to jump right in if you are so inclined.

I don't attend regularly, but I am still a member of the community. I enjoy the people and they enjoy me - or at least appear to. I count many as friends and do not hesitate to help them out when they need it, or to ask for help when I need it. I joke with my daughters that they have joined the "Mormon Mafia" because of the tight-knit community and the connections it produces and maintains.

I wear jeans with a polo and sneakers to the sacrament meetings and have never felt uncomfortable with that choice. I have been to dinners on Sundays with members and I have had the missionaries to my house for meals many times (I introduced the sisters to vegetarian Christmas dinner and, in fact, they are coming over tonight again). They understand that I am not interested in investigating, but they are happy to visit. I don't feel any pressure, but I still recognize that they are always looking for a sign that I would be open for more. I am comfortable with who I am around them, and I am comfortable with who they are around me. I perceive that they feel the same about me. The people who keep prodding and trying to teach the most are my daughters, but they and all the other missionaries and members I talk to understand and are respectful of my "No, thank you" responses.

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Aros
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I'd recommend some of the films that Joseph Campbell made with Bill Moyers before his death. You might be able to find them at the library. He was an expert on comparative mythology and the author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

The Bhagavad Gita (Hindu) has a pretty good point philosophically. God is infinite. Mankind cannot understand the infinite. Therefore, mankind cannot understand God.

Joseph Campbell surmised that all religions are pretty much the same and establish the same function -- building a relationship with God. He likened them to different sets of computer software that all try to accomplish the same thing.

So, if mankind cannot understand the infinite, no religion can be 100% perfect, right?

The LDS church is a good religion because it's a "living" religion. Joseph Smith founded a new church that has much fewer logical fallacies than most Christian dogmatic religions. Whether from inspiration or from logical inference, it doesn't matter. And the belief in modern revelation and personal interpretation of scripture allows the religion to keep changing. A lot of brilliant minds have broadened the gospel of the church, rather than relying on primitive dogma. Even if it isn't perfect, smart men are constantly working on perfecting it.

As religions go, you could certainly do worse. Just try to see it for what it is, an imperfect attempt to develop a vehicle to establish a relationship with God. Why imperfect? Because no matter how you crack it, religion is either invented or interpreted by man. It's a starting point on your journey, not a destination.

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advice for robots
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quote:
Originally posted by Tittles:
So do I need to make an appointment or something, or do I just show up to a service in button up and tie?

To answer your question, you can just walk right in and sit down in the chapel if you want to attend services. No appointment, no membership, and no prior approval needed. Depending on your location, services tend to start around 9 or 9:30 AM, beginning with sacrament meeting. You could probably Google your local ward's meeting time, or I could probably look it up for you.

Be prepared to shake a few hands, however. You'll be recognized as someone new and (hopefully, depending on how well the ward is functioning) welcomed happily.

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Szymon
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So you want to bring some positivity before you jump. I'd totally go for hookers then. You have to think much less. Although I don't know if it would be a big difference, since you don't seem to have this particular problem right now.
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umberhulk
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Smoke weed and escape into nature.
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Black Fox
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quote:
Originally posted by umberhulk:
Smoke weed and escape into nature.

Smoking weed and then going into the real wild = death.
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Black Fox
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quote:
Originally posted by Szymon:
So you want to bring some positivity before you jump. I'd totally go for hookers then. You have to think much less. Although I don't know if it would be a big difference, since you don't seem to have this particular problem right now.

You obviously have never been to a truck stop.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Numerous surveys disagree. There are a number of social and psychological benefits (happiness) that come from being involved in a religious community. I certainly wouldn't say that those benefits are exclusive to religious organizations, but there are few - if any around where the poster lives - secular organizations that provide the kind of community that religious groups do. I have yet to see atheists or logical positivists drive across a metro area to shovel a sick member's driveway. Just saying.
How many atheists or logical positivist associations have you observed? Just sayin'. [Wink]
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ElJay
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My Dad belongs to a secular volunteer organization that exists to serve the elderly in the community. Specifically, he goes and shovels out people's driveways after it snows.

(Actually, he and two other retired guys load up snowblowers on a trailer and hit multiple houses. They are the organization's most efficient shoveling team, probably because they are the best equipped.)

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Black Fox:
quote:
Originally posted by umberhulk:
Smoke weed and escape into nature.

Smoking weed and then going into the real wild = death.
Yeah, if this were true, there'd be tons more dead colorodans.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Black Fox:
I have yet to see atheists or logical positivists drive across a metro area to shovel a sick member's driveway. Just saying.

Also to note, this really only highlights expected limitations in observation from bias and point of perspective. Which the logical positivist could educate you on once they get back from get back from shoveling a person's walk, just because it's a nice thing to do.

anyway as for the rest of you past tom's post: don't be surprised, please.

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umberhulk
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by Black Fox:
quote:
Originally posted by umberhulk:
Smoke weed and escape into nature.

Smoking weed and then going into the real wild = death.
Yeah, if this were true, there'd be tons more dead colorodans.
lol
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stilesbn
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
anyway as for the rest of you past tom's post: don't be surprised, please.

Surprised about what? That an atheist might shovel someones sidewalk?
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Tittles
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Thank you for the gracious responses, everyone. I can't promise that I'm actually going to try it out, but there's a ward about a mile from my place and it sounds easier then I thought it would be.
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Boris
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There's this great big "Visitors Welcome" sign on every church. Show up when the doors are unlocked.
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Samprimary
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yeah, like, seriously, it's been a while, but I've backpacked across a good portion of the roosevelt with people who basically live their entire waking lives high

quote:
Originally posted by stilesbn:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
anyway as for the rest of you past tom's post: don't be surprised, please.

Surprised about what? That an atheist might shovel someones sidewalk?
haha, no. not that. it is entirely unsurprising that the nonreligious do not lack for the charitable and kind, except to those who have been told this and pretty stupidly believe it.
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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by Black Fox:
quote:
Originally posted by umberhulk:
Smoke weed and escape into nature.

Smoking weed and then going into the real wild = death.
Yeah, if this were true, there'd be tons more dead colorodans.
Do this in Alaska. See what happens.
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Samprimary
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like do you think that weed makes you so dumb you don't know how to put on weather appropriate layers

or wait ..

does .. does weed attract BEARS

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BlackBlade
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It might make you hungry for bear...
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advice for robots
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It has an effect similar to Slim Jims.
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stilesbn
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quote:
Originally posted by advice for robots:
It has an effect similar to Slim Jims.

Probably better than causing an impulse to play pranks on Sasquatch.
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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
like do you think that weed makes you so dumb you don't know how to put on weather appropriate layers

or wait ..

does .. does weed attract BEARS

You don't have to attract bears to run into them in Alaska. There was a bear that liked to use the potty about 5 feet from my back door.
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MattP
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And if you had weed you might offer some to the bear, not realizing that bears view weed as a gateway drug and would mobilize politically against your legalization efforts in retaliation?
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Boris
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No, you might go, "Whoa! Dude! A bear!" instead of going "HOLY CRAP!" And run like hell.
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MattP
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I think you may overestimate the degree to which one may chill upon partaking of a typical quantity of weed.
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Boris
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I am unconvinced by that argument.

Edit: I guess it's also worth noting that Meth is much more common than weed in Alaska. With meth, you're much more likely to run into a crazy dude wielding a katana while running around town screaming obscenities at people (Yes. This happened. He attacked a cop and was shot)

[ February 27, 2013, 07:44 PM: Message edited by: Boris ]

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umberhulk
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by Black Fox:
quote:
Originally posted by umberhulk:
Smoke weed and escape into nature.

Smoking weed and then going into the real wild = death.
Yeah, if this were true, there'd be tons more dead colorodans.
Do this in Alaska. See what happens.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwtZgBFKlzs
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umberhulk
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
I am unconvinced by that argument.

Edit: I guess it's also worth noting that Meth is much more common than weed in Alaska. With meth, you're much more likely to run into a crazy dude wielding a katana while running around town screaming obscenities at people (Yes. This happened. He attacked a cop and was shot)

I laughed at this and hated myself for it.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
No, you might go, "Whoa! Dude! A bear!" instead of going "HOLY CRAP!" And run like hell.

Running like hell isn't usually a good response when you encounter a predator.
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umberhulk
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I never intend to smoke weed. I've never had a drink of alcohol. I'm an asthmatic basketball player and my body is a temple. Straight-Edge. **** drugs. But you'd be fine.
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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by umberhulk:
quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
I am unconvinced by that argument.

Edit: I guess it's also worth noting that Meth is much more common than weed in Alaska. With meth, you're much more likely to run into a crazy dude wielding a katana while running around town screaming obscenities at people (Yes. This happened. He attacked a cop and was shot)

I laughed at this and hated myself for it.
This happened about a month or two after the power in Juneau (all of Juneau) went out because an eagle ran into a power line while carrying a deer's head. At least that's what they guess happened. Since they found a blackened eagle three feet from a blackened deers head when they found the problem with the power lines. (Weirdest crap happens in Alaska)
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Black Fox
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
yeah, like, seriously, it's been a while, but I've backpacked across a good portion of the roosevelt with people who basically live their entire waking lives high

quote:
Originally posted by stilesbn:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
anyway as for the rest of you past tom's post: don't be surprised, please.

Surprised about what? That an atheist might shovel someones sidewalk?
haha, no. not that. it is entirely unsurprising that the nonreligious do not lack for the charitable and kind, except to those who have been told this and pretty stupidly believe it.
But you're not actually getting to the point of what we're talking about. I, nor anyone else here from what I can tell, is saying that the nonreligious are somehow less charitable than the religious. Or that there are no non-religious groups that provide charity. However, I don't know of a large network of non-believers that provides a sense of community that leads to small charitable acts such as driving across town to shovel their driveway, being god-parents, and a number of other small communal acts that can happen when you're involved in a religious community. I have yet to run into a group of atheists that does the same, not that there couldn't be.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Black Fox:

I have yet to see atheists or logical positivists drive across a metro area to shovel a sick member's driveway. Just saying.

Perhaps you haven't been looking.
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Black Fox
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by Black Fox:

I have yet to see atheists or logical positivists drive across a metro area to shovel a sick member's driveway. Just saying.

Perhaps you haven't been looking.
Oh please. Stop harping on one clause and look at the statement in the context. I was attempting to talk about organizations of atheists of logical positivists that offer the same kinds of services as religious communities. I was just using the anecdote of shoveling someone's driveway as I and a few other members of my church used to shovel driveways in Minnesota for older and disabled members of the church. I used the term "secular" organizations when I should have said a community of atheists. I am actually willing to bet that there exist some small communities of atheists that do this, but I certainly have never met any of them and I'm not all that close minded. My law school actually has a small group for atheists and agnostics, but they still don't offer the same kinds of services for students that the St. Thomas More Society does or the Rex E. Lee Legal Society does.
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Black Fox
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I should note that I'm a member of all three; cognitive dissonance be damned.
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scholarette
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Are you really comparing what a random group of basically ubaffiliated individuals do with what a group connected a large international well funded group does?

As far as snow shoveling, my sister lived in a variety of places with snow and she is convinced that being canadian is the real determination of who will volunteer to shovel snow for you.

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Black Fox
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quote:
Originally posted by scholarette:
Are you really comparing what a random group of basically ubaffiliated individuals do with what a group connected a large international well funded group does?

As far as snow shoveling, my sister lived in a variety of places with snow and she is convinced that being canadian is the real determination of who will volunteer to shovel snow for you.

What I'm arguing is that group of people tends to be unaffiliated and therefore doesn't tend to offer the services of large affiliated group or religious folks. There may be some large collective of atheists that offers some similar services as a church, but I have not met them or read anything about such a group. From what I've read, it seems to me that the idea of this thread was to talk about the benefits being a member of a religious community can give you.

Canadians are weak. A majority of Canadians live in a climate that is no worse than NYC. Toronto has nicer weather than Minneapolis. I'm a Minnesotan and I've been shoveling my neighbors driveways for free since I was 12.

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stilesbn
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quote:
Originally posted by Black Fox:
Canadians are weak.

Oh snap! 'Dems fightin' werds!
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kmbboots
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Black Fox, it seems that what you are complaining about isn't a lack of charity; it is a lack of organization. As general rule, atheists don't organize the same way that churches or even secular clubs so. That doesn't mean that they do less charitable work. They just don't necessarily do it under the auspices of a particular group.
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Aros
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Black Fox, it seems that what you are complaining about isn't a lack of charity; it is a lack of organization. As general rule, atheists don't organize the same way that churches or even secular clubs so. That doesn't mean that they do less charitable work. They just don't necessarily do it under the auspices of a particular group.

Wasn't that Black Fox's point? That religion had this advantage? Not necessarily because of charitability. But because of organization?

I know a lot of people who only attend church for the social / community aspects. I think a lot of people don't ever question religion. They just show up at church because that's how they were raised, and that's what everyone else is doing.

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