07-05-01, 08:21 AM #1
My .02 (or $20, whatever)
There may be a God. There might be several. I'm in no position to know, I freely admit.
But it's all too clear that whatever powers that be are not too interested in (or are perhaps incapable of) communicating clearly with mere mortals. They haven't been giving a lot of public addresses lately, so to speak. So it makes me very suspicious when someone claims to know what God wants of us. Why would God choose to communicate through these annoying people (televangelists and the religious right, for example) rather than just talking to me herself?
I feel strongly that sprituality should be a personal matter, not just a subscription to one of the many ready-made fantasies that comprise the established Religions. Most of these -- particularly the Judeo-Christian varities -- are a real tribute to people blindly believing and doing whatever they are told.
But don't get me wrong -- New Agers are a just bunch of copycat-occultist-feelgood morons. (With crystals.)
Some favorite examples of religious insanity:
"Good" Jews can't enjoy shrimp, crab, bacon, pepperoni pizza, unsalted meat, or most brands of cheese. Why? Because.
A Catholic mass-murderer can confess on his deathbed and be admitted to heaven. The unbaptised infants he slaughtered go to Hell (or perhaps Purgatory) -- thems is the rules! Makes perfect sense; God can consign these children to eternal suffering but their parents aren't allowed to use a little contraception.
All this, of course, from the same folks who happily observe a rite of symbolically cannibalizing their savior. (Please see below...)
Hinduism enforces an elitist class system to such an extent that it is theologically amoral to associate with the poor. It also has people convinced that there's something sacred about a common ruminant herbivore. Let me clear this one up right now.
Cow: Tasty - Yes! Embodied God - No!
Muslims.... Well truth to tell, I'm just too scared to insult Islam. Those fine folks over in the Iranian Parliament might get a look at this page and then I'd be up Shits Creek, eh?
Those Wacky Christians -
Jesus died for your sins. Don't let Him have died in vain. Commit them!
Occassionally, Christians will berate me for my heretical beliefs. They'll tell me all these spooky stories about people doing magic tricks and rising from the dead and stuff. Or sometimes it's these fanciful tales about what happens after you die. Then they'll say:
How do I know that this is true? Because I read it in the Bible."
This is hard logic to argue with. After all, I know The Man In The Yellow Hat was good friends with a mischievous little monkey, because I read it in Curious George.
Christianity, to its credit, contains a highly refined and extremely enlightened ethical and moral system. Unfortunately, it also contains that stuff about Heaven and Hell and God and cubits and Jechonias begatting Salathiel and Salathiel begatting Zorobabel and so on. One of the odd rules many Christians seem to believe is that if you aren't a Christian, you are going to Hell. Which is supposed to be an even worse place than Amsterdam, if the stories can be believed.
So when you combine this dogma, and that caring ethical system, out falls the indisputable fact that Christians are morally obligated to pester the hell out of you until you've either converted to their faith or they kill you in a frenzied rage. Don't blame the individuals. Blame the system.
Those Wackier Catholics -
As I understand it, there's this branch of Christianity called Catholicism. I'm pretty sure they're the ones with the Pope. They're also the ones who write me a lot, usually pointing out that I'm an ignorant unenlightened cur because I don't fully grasp the intricate details of their particular religious subsect. Egotistical lot, huh?
Anyway. Many write to point out that unbaptised dead babies might not go to Hell or Pergatory, but to Limbo. There's also supposed to be a possibility for promotion to Heaven. (I imagine only the infants that are really good at sucking up to the archangels make it, though.) But none of this stuff is in the Bible. It seems that they had to fudge some new rules later on to avoid looking like a really mean, Bob Dole-like religion.
A surprising number of people also write to correct my misimpression regarding communion. Personally, I'm fascinated by the communion. Who makes the wafer? Is there a big wafer factory somewhere? If they run out of the regular wafers, is it okay to use Necco Wafers? So I appreciate people writing to clear up my mistakes.
I have always thought it strange to associate with folks who happily observe a rite of symbolically cannibalizing their savior. I'm shamed to have to say that I'm wrong, wrong, wrong. Because the consecrated Eucharist actually is the body and blood of Jesus Christ, there's nothing symbolic about it. It is (to the believers, mind you) actual cannibalism.
People try to skirt this gruesome fact by pointing out that Christ was more than human. But dogma seems to say that Christ had both his human and his divine sides. So, I guess it's more like half cannibalism and half eating God.
Still a little odd, yes??
"Money Is The Root of All Evil"
Such was the cry of the ardent Christian, telling me how I should live my life in order to reap the benefits of salvation. This quotation, from the first book of Timothy, ironically enough, is one that I have heard over and over from poor and wealthy Christians alike. I must point out to them that not only are you wrong, you are also incorrect.
First: you are wrong. Money is not the root of all evil. Money is no more capable of good or evil than a cherry pit is capable of ruling the universe. People's lust for money, on the other hand, has likely been at the root of many an evil deed. Many of society's greatest evils can be traced to the lust for gold. The holocaust, Bre-X Minerals, the savings and loan scandals, the Home Shopping Network and the World Wrestling Federation are all examples of what men and women will do for money. (by the way, am I the only one who finds it funny that the World Wrestling Federation and the World Wildlife Fund share the same acronym?)
But I digress. So, to a Christian, money is evil? ("It would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven, etc.) Well... Christians tithe. That is to say, they donate a portion of the evil that they earn to the Church. The Church then becomes a large collection of the evil worked by it's members, which they promptly put to work improving the Church's buildings, communities, and supporting its' clergy.
And I'm going to Hell? Right.
Second: you are incorrect. This popular saying among those of the faith is actually misquoted. The quotation, from the King James version of the bible reads: "For the love of money is the root of all evil..." (I Timothy 6:10). The attribution of evil in this passage would be the love of money, not the money itself. Naturally I had to ask why people would often misquote this, and why I kept hearing it.
Of course, I had to answer myself, and I came up with two possibilities for this error.
One: through the passage of time, it could have been a simple shortening of a phrase, as people, in general, are apt to do. This seems logical, otherwise we wouldn't have contractions such as they're, it's, that's, or ain't. (I cringe at using ain't, though it seems some dictionaries list it as a word simply due to the number of people using it. And that ain't right.)
Two: a second, more likely, and more insulting reason for this error has to do with the very nature of the Christian religion itself. The belief in the Christian God goes hand in hand with the belief that all things, good and bad, originate from a source outside the individual. So the responsibility for these acts lies outside the individual. Therefore, the *individual* can do no Evil, he or she is merely influenced by the powers beyond, such as Satan, the Kool-Aid man, and Richard Simmons.
I am not a judge of what is good and what is evil, although there are some explicit and implicit rules that society seems to have about such matters. Others you just sort of have to pick up by living in society. Here are some of the things that I have learned:
Not cheating on your taxes is Good. Torture is Evil.
Helping an injured person is Good. Injuring someone is Evil.
Saving someone's life is Good. Killing someone is Evil.
Being philanthropic with your money is Good. Amway is Evil.
You get the idea.
With my tone and demeanor, one might think that I have an axe to grind with the Christian religions. Well I do, and it stems from the fact that I am a reformed Catholic. When I was young, I was naïve and inexperienced. Over time, wisdom and experience came with the age that replaced my youth. Besides, I was unknowingly coerced into becoming a Catholic. It's not exactly like they gave me all the facts about the pros and cons of joining this cult before I was baptised. As an infant, I suspect that I was more concerned with pooping and burping.
So, as an unknowing member of this organization, I learned to walk and talk. And with talking, I also learned one of the most treasured skills that I have: I learned to ask questions..
"Mommy, why is the sky blue?"
"Because that's the way God wanted it, dear."
"Mommy, who is God?"
"He is the most powerful being in, and creator of, the universe."
So that was that. Grown-ups knew the answers to everything back then because
a) they were grown-ups and
b) they were bigger than you.
That was one fact about life on the playground. People bigger than you were invariably right. One time, one of the older kids told me that I was going to eat some dirt. I didn't think he was right...
What I was learning about God was that first there was nothing, and then there was something, which God saw was Good. And He was the superintendent to this amusement park we call Earth. Not only was he the superintendent, but the mighty overseer and the dispenser of two-fisted justice to all creatures, great and small.
And this is what God was like: The Jews were His chosen, favorite people. And they had the living shit persecuted out of them over the centuries. I don't know of any group of people (other than lawyers) that have been more viciously assaulted. This All-Knowing, All-Loving, All-Powerful being did not so much as lift a finger when His son was lynched on a visit to Earth.
This is the being who loves Us, watches over Us, and makes sure that no harm comes to us? Perhaps I am overly cynical. Perhaps I am judging the Almighty ufairly. Perhaps there was a diplomatic emergency on Alpha Centauri IV and he missed the whole cross thing, but come on!! Isn't He omniscient and omnipotent?
To me, that means He knowingly, and willingly let his son die. (Oh, sure, he resurrected him on the third day, but too little, too late, as far as I'm concerned.) This is not someone I want looking out for my best interests, considering I'm a very distant relative. This would not be the God that I would choose to believe in. Perhaps I am looking for God the Friend, and not the Father.
I stumbled on my merry way through life, not really expecting any help from above or below. I continually questioned everything, and got no satisfactory answers from my parents or priests. But then again, I rarely got a satisfactory answer from anyone back then.
It seems to me that a God who is, by the Catholic definition, all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving, does not exist. The type of message that is sent by Catholicism is an inherent contradiction:
"God loves you, dear, as he loves every single one of the special beings on this planet.. He watches over you, guards you, and if you break his rules, will damn you to suffer in the bowels of Hell for all of eternity. Now, sleep tight, and sweet dreams."
07-05-01, 10:25 AM #2
A very warm welcome to sciforums: Some great humor and some wonderfully apt cynicisms, as well as some obvious truths. I will be more than pleased to meet you in hell.
A great way to start my day. I hope you stick around.
07-05-01, 12:28 PM #3
I'd love to be able to go into a long, raging tirade as to how you, goofyfish (and you too, Cris) by your words have damned yourself to eternal hell - but I can't ... I'm too exhausted from laughing.
Thank you goofyfish. I'll most likely, if it really does exist, be waiting to welcome you to Hell (but not Cris. I have the feeling he's going to become an acolyte to the Great Computer one of these days).
Take care all.
Last edited by Chagur; 07-05-01 at 12:43 PM.
07-19-01, 01:04 PM #4
I'm a "Christian" (i hate to lump myself in with such a dispicable group of people) that takes what I read in the bible as the truth. I could give you a whole bunch of reasons why, good ones I think, but I won't for now. I agree with what I've read here that if God knows the future as a certainty then we are pretty much like a computer program.
I don't have an axe to grind and I'm not bitter because of some terrible experience with the religious establishment, catholic or otherwise. i do believe that "christian television" is a stench in the nostriles of every person who can think for themselves. I agree that religious people have and continue to pervert the word of God for their own selfish wants.
The bible taken at face value is a source of incredible insight. When I read it I see just how... Oh, ok I won't get into how great the Bible is. Back to the beginning of this thread.
I don't believe my future is fixed because I really do have a free will. I also believe God is omniscient. How do I reconcile these two beliefs and still be able to claim my IQ is pretty much the same as the general public? Actually I have no idea what my IQ is. Well, anyway...
It all comes down to how you define God's omniscience. To understand God's omniscience I believe you have to view it with his other attributes. God is also omnipresent and omnipotent.
Here's how the dictionary on MSN defines these words...
om·nis·cient [om níssee nt ] adjective
all-knowing: knowing or seeming to know everything
om·ni·pres·ent [òmnee prézz'nt ] adjective
1. always present everywhere: continuously and simultaneously present throughout the whole of creation
2. found everywhere: present or seemingly present all the time or everywhere
om·nip·o·tent [om nípptnt ] adjective
all-powerful: possessing complete, unlimited, or universal power and authority
God's attributes taken together help shed light on each. Where in theses definitions can you deduce that God knows all the future as a certainty? God's omniscience is only possible because of his omnipresence. The only thing i can say about God when considering these attributes is that because God is everywhere He knows everything that is going on. Nothing is hid from Him.
How does this do away with free will?
Classical Greek philosophy is where the idea of Omniscience as: Perfect knowledge of past and future events, originated.
The Greeks where obsessed with the idea of perfection. The state of perfection by definition meant that it was unchangable, in other words... static. This philosophy enter Christian theology early on and has tainted accurate intrepretation of scripture and therefore most everyones few of God.
Because God is all powerful he is able to determine certain aspects of the future. That does not mean that everything in the future is set.
How does the following scripture support the idea that God's omniscience means He knows everything in the future as set?
5 The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.
6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.
7 So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth--men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air--for I am grieved that I have made them."
8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
It seems to me that there is something here and many other places in the bible that doesn't line up with Calvinistic (Classical) theology. How can this be?
Let's think for ourselves. God gave me a brain and told me to use it "come let us reason together". I happen to believe the bible. For me it is the standard I test everything with. A good question to ask yourself... What standard do I stand on? Why?
If I saw someone take a mathematics class and he flunked out because he didn't read the textbook, didn't pay attention to the instructor and generally disrupted the class by being totally abnoxious. Would you agree with me that the reason that this guy flunked was because the text book was screwy. Probably not... I'm doing a terrible job of trying to get my point across.
The point is, judge the bible by its own merits not by what you see some so called believers doing or saying.
For more about reconciling God's omniscience and our free will check out:
Its an excellent resource for understanding the idea that the future is partly open, even to God.
I guess I'm assuming that you are interested in the truth and that it can be determined.
Here's a quote from you welcoming sensie:
"Everyone is free of course to hold their own points of view, but the issue here is whether your view represents truth or not. Your statements really just represent an unsupported assertion; you have not addressed the problem of the paradox. "
I hope that i have addressed the issue of the paradox, let me know.
i'm glad you are a seeker of truth. So am I.
Maybe we can disuss the problem of evil in the world. If God is good and loving why so much suffering?
07-19-01, 01:07 PM #5
the previous message was to go to Cris' thread
"Proof that the Christian god cannot exist"
07-23-01, 03:49 PM #6
I'm a Catholic!
That's the second time I've ever used the angry face icon, I mean business. I can tell that you fear the unknown. You obviously think you know a lot about religions, but you don't and therefore I think you fear them. Fear leads to hatred. Your two cents, as it should have been stated, are a thinly veiled hatred of nearly every religion on Earth. I have quite a few bones to pick w/you. Dr. Hannibal Lector would have problems doing this much work. Whew!
1) God does communicate with "mere" mortals. (Are you putting yourself above mere mortals? Just wondering.) God communicates in unconventional ways, through every day events, other people, yourself, and foremost through prayer. My God, and religion doesn't communicate though televangelists. Being Catholic, Jesus's main communication way is through the Pope, and further down through other men of the cloth.
Why would God communicate to someone like you who denounces him? That's self explanitory.
2) Organized religions, Christian, Muslim, Judaism and others aren't a subscription to a ready-made fantasies. (Religion isn't a proper noun, no capital R on that one son.) Christianity has existed for over 2,000 years, Judaism even longer. In the early Roman empire Christianity was a cult, that few believed in. Though the work of the twelve Apostles, and Jesus himself it grew to encompase a billion humans.
These aren't ready-made.
3) Blindly believeing what they are told? Really, poll any Christain, Jew, or Muslim. Most have conflicts with their religion. The Pope doesn't believe in embryonic stem cell research & development, aborition, and even birth control. I personally believe in those three practices with some limitations to abortion. I and many others aren't blind followers. You yourself may be a blind follower of atheist concepts, have you ever challenged them, or just adopted them because it fit a ideological craving?
4) No where in the Bible, or in Bible Study classes are babies that aren't baptized sent directly to hell. You don't know much. Second, the reason a mass-murder can confess his sins and be admitted to heaven has many reasons for that. It takes a real man to admit the tiniest sins, no matter how religious you are. Confession isn't a fun thing, but its a good thing I believe.
The second reason is because of something called empathy, compassion, and fogivness. Look these up in the dictionary, I don't feel like defining them for a simpleton.
5) Not being Jewish I don't know what foods are kosher and which aren't. You don't have a valid reason for explaining why they supposidly can't enjoy these foods. If you do, then type it next time. Because isn't an awanser, they should have taught you that in 2nd grade.
6) Canibalizing their lord? Wow, this is called symbolism. Look that one up too, bud. We do it to represent the Last Supper before his cruxsifiction, on Good Friday.
7) Maybe they don't feel that cows should be killed. Christians and Jews believe in similar things, called PETA, and Greenpeace. Ooops!
You haven't talked to any intelliegent Christians, its called faith. Regardless of facts, or lack of we believe, because we have faith in god. The point of faith is to believe in something bigger than you with no facts supporting or denouncing him, that shows devoition. Not blind stupidity.
Never once have I, or will I say that you should believe in God. This is to correct all of you misasumptions about religion, and to show you that just because you don't believe in something means you have the right to be prejudgice and hatefull against that something.
Those Whackier Catholics!
1) Now I'm pissed. I would think you would be sure that Catolics associate with the Pope. Do some homework before you start posting buddy. I'm a bit cocky, but egotistical no.
2) Cannibalism: 1 a person who eats human flesh 2 an animal that east its own kind. Guess what we're eating a bread wafer as a symbol, being that its not HUMAN FLESH we aren't cannibals! You really should read this book called Merriam-Webster's New World College Dictionary.
3) Think of borderline cannibalism when you eat the next hamburger. The cow probably ingested some human fesises somewhere along the line in the food chain. I said boderline, not full blown cannibalism.
Money is the root of all evil.
Capital on the Holocaust, being a major historical event I'm sure the Jews would be angry if you didn't fully respect their near annihalation.
Write this down, take pictures I'll agree with you once. Kind of. Money ISN'T the root of all evil. Its a branch, but not the root of all evil. What the book of Timothy meant was that greed, commonly associated with money is the true reason for evil. Greed, monitary, emotional, or physical is more evil than any other humanily act, next to murder.
If all Christians believed that all evil came from a source outside of them, i.e. the Devil, than confession wouldn't be nessicary because we wouldn't be gulity of anything. Homework, it helps.
Guess what, you didn't have the choice of being baptized, but you do have the choice of Reconsiliation, the third sacrament that makes you a full fledged Catholic. Your parents, or priest doesn't force you to do this. You may have let them, but this is a choice, not an order.
Your mommy gave you a simpler version of why the sky was blue, because as a child you wouldn't understand how and why the atmosphere filters out most of white light's other colors except for blue. Thats why when a four-year old asks you "where do babies come from?" You don't awanser, "its when a man and a woman have sexual intercource, which is followed by conception, more specificly the merging of the ova and sperm." Simplicity!
Just because someone is bigger than you doesn't make them right. You just don't bother to challenge their believes because you are intimitaded by their size.
Guess what, we have forgiven the Jews for crusifiying Jesus Christ. Pope John Paul II did that not to long ago.
Jesus didn't want to be helped by his father, thats why he reattached the Roman soldier's ear when it was cut off by one of his deciples. Remember that?
Wow you take things too much for face value. Essentaliy if you break the rules you will go to hell. Permitting that you don't break the rules, he still loves you and you'll go to heaven. I don't see the contradiction in that. If your wife is nice to you than you love her, if she castrates you than you hate her and want her to be sent to jail. If this subject is too beyond your mental compasity than sorry.
You have inspired me so much that I'm changing my signature on behalf of you. Let this be the only measure of flattery to be delivered upon you by me.
07-23-01, 03:50 PM #7
Spell check wasn't being very good today. Sorry for any spelling and grammar mistakes. Oh well, you that shouldn't grossly affect my reply.
07-25-01, 04:50 PM #8
I feel strongly that sprituality should be a personal matter, not just a subscription to one of the many ready-made fantasies that comprise the established Religions. Most of these -- particularly the Judeo-Christian varities -- are a real tribute to people blindly believing and doing whatever they are told.
Christianity is hinged around one person: Jesus. You can live the most sinful awful life and take His gift and you are saved--you get into heaven. So where is all the moral stuff that Christians are supposed to do? It comes from the desire to do that out of your desire to be like Jesus and follow what He does as a Christian. Not rules--desire. People break rules all the time anyway.
07-25-01, 05:10 PM #9
sprituality should be a personal matter, not just a subscription to one of the many ready-made fantasies that comprise the established Religions.
So where is all the moral stuff that Christians are supposed to do? It comes from the desire to do that out of your desire to be like Jesus and follow what He does as a Christian. Not rules--desire.
07-25-01, 07:23 PM #10
Those rules are called the Ten Commandments. If any of you aren't Christian than you don't know what your talking about. That would be like a history professor walking into Los Alamos, and trying to help with experimental fusion. You shouldn't write off what you don't believe in. If you aren't Christian than why should you care either way weather it is a legit religion or not.
Religion shouldn't be flaunted or pushed into someone else's face, I agree in that aspect that it should be a "private" matter. But there's nothing wrong with having a connection with other people that share the same believes. Why do people think that all religions are comprised of stupid, mindless people that just follow as they are told? You are completely wrong about the vast majority of religious people. If you don't practice religion you couldn't really judge a religion or religious person, because you don't know much or anything about them.
Caleb, you just contradicted yourself. Jesus' life is an example of morality in Christianity. Don't tell me seriously that being nicer to someone, or being generous is an inherently bad thing, that religious people do because they worship Jesus.
Better to act with desire than rules. No one forces you to have desire to do something, rules are enforced. NO RELIGION OR PERSON MAKES YOU FOLLOW THE RULES. THAT IS SOMETHING THAT YOU ONLY CONTROL.
Dan1123, those are religious! Prayer, bible reading, church, hello where have you been, those are religious practices in every religion. Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, and a multitude of others. Guess what you do sacrifice a lot of things.
You shouldn't use drugs, become drunk, eat meat on Fridays during lent, you should give up a major thing in your life during lent. Plus the most important sacrifice may be pre-marital and non-monogamous sex. That's a damn big sacrifice. There are a ton of other things we shouldn't do.
The beauty of Christianity is that no matter who you are rich, poor, good or evil God will forgive you for your sins no matter what they are as long as you confess. When was the last time you three confessed your sins to a total stranger? Bet you've never, or haven't done it in a long time.
P.S. Nice comeback goofyfish. You were obviously so stunned by my retort to your post that you can't come up with anything substantial to discredit me or prove me wrong. It's very easy to just dismiss me without any facts to back up your believe. At least I used facts in my response. You my negative friend (which I use loosely), don't REALLY don't get it.
"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." -- Albert Einstein.
07-25-01, 09:06 PM #11
I'm not sure at all what you're getting at.
07-26-01, 02:22 AM #12
Interesting ....NO RELIGION OR PERSON MAKES YOU FOLLOW THE RULES. THAT IS SOMETHING THAT YOU ONLY CONTROL.
Of those religionists who have figured it out, they understand that just because they have a right to not educate themselves in the finer potential of their faith doesn't make it proper.
In the case of Christianity, the outward appearance as established by an apparent majority of adherents is to muck around in superstition and generally rail against the things that improve life: Seventh-Day Adventist contributions to cardiopulmonary research go overlooked because other Christians are concerned about the nature of a cancer-fighting drug that can be combined with other substances to induce an intentional miscarriage. Do you know how many chemicals we should ban on those grounds alone, then? Mr Yuk will be out of business! This is the idiocy that people see. When preachers demand that their rights as Christians are only honored when other people forfeit those rights: that's the idiocy people see. It seems to me that if you are compelled to be harmful to others, your religion should not be allowed.If any of you aren't Christian than you don't know what your talking about. That would be like a history professor walking into Los Alamos, and trying to help with experimental fusion.If you aren't Christian than why should you care either way weather it is a legit religion or not.
Because it still affects a person's life. Don't believe me? Check out Oregon, where groups of Christians are trying to strip various civil rights and, indeed, human rights, and basing their arguments on Scriptural mandate. It was, in the 1980's, Christian sentiment that tried to censor art of all kinds. Christian principle demands a reexamination of who has what right: the result is that more and more women are on birth control. Some Christians think women shouldn't be allowed that right .... If so many bad ideas are justified by a religion, then yes, there is a vital question of the legitimacy of said religion.Why do people think that all religions are comprised of stupid, mindless people that just follow as they are told?If you don't practice religion you couldn't really judge a religion or religious person, because you don't know much or anything about them.
And this is the problem: religion is so fundamental to people that it causes them to judge people's worth. What you have declared is that one who chooses to not worship a God has no right to explain the reasons why. Apparently, that person's opinion, intellect, and emotions are worth less than those of a member of said religion.
I feel that to be a crock of shite as well. And extra-stinky, too.