Trying to hard to believe

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by jayleew, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Yours or his?
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  3. jayleew Who Cares Valued Senior Member

    I knew God was real when he was real beyond understanding. When I had experienced a peace that passed understanding I believed. It's kind of like remembering something you forgot when you come to belief in God. Everything becomes clear even though you have a child's understanding. It is a deep experience that changes everything and changes nothing at the same time (because it was always there). It's like being lifted up in something connected between the mind and body. God was real to me and I believed. I remember the times preparing every day conversing with my good friend, God. Not so much a conversation, but just a knowing. He's there watching over me, and so I believed in my core, and experienced life as God was real. This didn't happen at any kind of ceremony or any event in particular. And it happened over and over. When I was in the car or at home.

    My belief started to crack due to many pressures and mostly due to larger cracks caused by my mentors, pastors, and the like. People were a crack. My son was the final crack that shattered my belief. When I made the choice to not put my faith in God for the first time in my life, answers to life came immediately. My life started improving as I became more aware of people around me. I thought to myself, "How can this be? How can my life actually improve without God and so quickly." And that was the beginning of the end. I made three final pleas to God to save me from the path I chose (to not believe in God).

    Then it was a gradual phase to agnosticism, then now to atheism. I am convinced I was self-delusional all the time.

    I still maintain an open mind. My phone is always on for the call, but I'm not going to wait on life for it.
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  5. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member


    That doesn't make any sense.

    That's all well and good, but what does it have to do with God\?

    I'm still trying to figure out how God fits into what you say.

    What do you mean by ''child's understanding''? What characterises children is their lack of understanding.

    So far your experience doesn't include God apart from knowing he was real when he was beyond understanding.

    You mean like half-decent acid trip?

    That's sweet, but it doesn't cut it. Give me some of your philosophical realisations. Who and What was God? What was you relationship to Him. A theist will be
    able to give explanation of this. Acid trip experiences, or warm, fuzzy feelings in your tum, do not mean you a theist. :m:

    How was God, a friend to you (no goo-goo stuff please)?

    You should have just written this, because it sums up everything you thus far said.

    I don't understand. How did these people shatter something that you KNEW to be God?

    You should have questioned whether or not you actually believed in God in first place. Nothing you've said so far shows that you did.

    It wasn't delusion. We all go through phases in our life. In the sixties people were all like.. ''yeah man''...''peace''...''let's replace all guns with flowers man'', then thirty years later these people become corporate robots.
    Some people aren't meant to believe in God, because they desire to be independent. They want to experience the ultimate sensual experiences, they want power, they want to lord it. They choose to forget God.

    Bhagavad Gita 15.16..

    I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas, I am to be known. Indeed, I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.

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  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    You're not still claiming that no theist can ever later become an atheist, are you Jan?
  8. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    When we use the terms ''theist and atheist'' as they were intended ie, belief or no belief in God, yes, a thiest can become atheist because God's existence is not in question.
    The branch of atheism that believes God does not exist is not really supported by those original terminologies. Such a person is not an atheist (in the original sense) because you cannot lack belief in something that you deem does not exist. From this point of view a person cannot be a theist as for them God does not exist and therefore all talk of belief in God is nothing more than a concept.

    Dinosaur said in another thread:

  9. Balerion Banned Banned

    More unfounded semantic nonsense. Atheism simply means "without God." It doesn't refer only to a person who lacks belief in God as opposed to someone who actively believes God does not exist. "Atheist" therefore applies to both, just as "theist" applies both to people who merely believe God exists as well as those who live their lives in dedication to God. My non-observing Catholic mother is as much of a theist as a monk living in seclusion at the top of a mountain.

    And from what I gather--and Fraggle could be a doll and tell me if I'm on track here--it seems that theism originally implied what deism implies today: one who believes in a transcendent god but denies revelation. So there goes your whole "as they were intended" argument.
  10. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    Theos = God
    ism = a distintive doctrine or system of practice

    ...a theist is someone who engages in such a practice.
    An atheist is someone who doesn't, and is therefore without Theos.

    If you think God doesn't exist, then you can not be without God anymore than one could be without the Spaghetti Monster.

  11. jayleew Who Cares Valued Senior Member

    The accepted definition for debate on this form is in the sticky by Cris. If you have a problem with the definition I suggest you have it changed. It is fruitless to not come to terms with the general definition and accept it for purposes of debate. That is why it is there. If you wish to debate the meaning then create a thread for it, as Cris said. But for now the general definitions, defined by the moderators, I consider general knowledge. Anything outside of the accepted definition is fruitless because it diverges the thread from the subject.
  12. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    I really have no idea what you are trying to say here.

    A theist is somebody who believes that God exists. An atheist is somebody who believes that God doesn't exist.

    I'm not sure who uses the terms "as they were intended" and who doesn't. Who is this person who intended them to be used a particular way? And how has that intention been subverted? I can't tell. And why was the original intender the authority on the matter anyway? Aren't the meanings of words agreed by consensus of those who use them?

    As for the "branch of atheism that believes God does not exist", doesn't that include all branches of atheism, by definition? What other branches are there? The atheists who believe God does exist? Where are those atheists?

    And the point about not being able to lack belief in something you deem does not exist is also confusing. I don't believe that there's a giant teapot orbiting the planet Mars, for example. Is that the same as deeming that such a thing doesn't exist? And if I have deemed that the teapot doesn't exist, does that mean I can't lack a belief in it? If so, then ... what? I have deemed that a giant teapot doesn't exist in orbit around Mars but I still believe in it? Huh?

    It looks like you are trying to redefine the term "atheist" to mean somebody who doesn't practice a particular religion. I am aware that historically the word was used that way, when the idea of not believing that God was real was so incredible that it was considered safe to slap the term "atheist" on anybody who didn't believe in your particular variety of religion.

    It's the 21st century now, Jan. These days, we have real atheists. They don't just deny your God, while secretly believing that he exists. They really, truly don't believe your God exists at all. Imagine that!

    Correct. Atheists put your God on a par with the Spaghetti Monster.
  13. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    Do you deny this...

    If you do please explain why.

    Regarding the sticky by Cris, the first sentence states...

    he goes on to say...

    ...and guess what?
    I disagree.

  14. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    James R,

    Really? Is there even a greek word for ''existence''? Maybe Fraggle could shed some light.

    Maybe ''intended'' wasn't the right choice of word. I gave an original definition, let's go with that.

    If it doesn't exist how can one believe or not believe?

    Why would you believe or not believe that there was a giant teapot orbiting Mars?
    Do you think that saying you believe something is the same as actually believing it?

    The words are there for you to see, and enquire about.

    The words speak for themselves. What can I tell you?

    As I said before, there is no question of believing, or not believing something to exist that does not exist. There is no need for it.

    Strange, in the past you stated that atheist aren't united in any kind of organised club or religion, and here you are now telling me what all atheist think and feel.
    Which is it?

  15. Balerion Banned Banned

    Incorrect. For one, -ism is not simply a doctrine or practice, it's also a state or condition. So "theism" can be the state of belief in a god or gods, which is precisely what its definition is. Likewise, atheism is the state or condition of unbelief. It can also be the state or condition of belief that God does not exist. It isn't limited to practice, as you so dishonestly attempted to frame it.

    Also, the "without" in the context of the a- prefix in atheism indicates disbelief. Otherwise it would make no sense. "Atheist" would then be nothing more than an article of derision. But even if that's all it were, it still wouldn't disqualify those who believe God does not exist. In fact, the term would be applied to them most vigorously of all. Again, you're simply misunderstanding the language and hoping that no one notices.
  16. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member


    LOL! So ''theism'' which means belief in God (belief being more than simply uttering the words) which is the actual condition, is also ''a state or condition'' of belief?
    I look forward to an explanation from you as to what that really means, and how it works.

    ''a-theos-ism'' means without belief in God, that IS the ''state or condition''.

    I've been saying all along that ''atheism'' means no belief in God, and ''theism'' is the opposite.

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    My point is, the term ''atheist'' is irrelevant to someone for whom God doesn't exist. You can call yourselves what you like, but it has no meaning when looked at up close.
    The original meaning is becoming lost, and is being taken over by another meaning. So while you may be atheist in the modern sense of the word, when it comes to the original greek meaning, you're kinda off the radar.
    Apart from that, why do you want to call yourself ''atheist'' if for you God does not exist?

    Htf do you work that one out?

    You are telling big fibs and don't (have to) give a shit whether anyone notices.

  17. Balerion Banned Banned

    I'm honestly not sure what you're confused about. Theism is belief, so why wouldn't theism be a state or condition of belief?

    You're not contradicting me. Instead of getting all in a huff about it, sit down a think. For once. It'll come to you.

    Then you haven't been disagreeing with anyone. You did this same thing in another thread, where you (wrongly) nitpicked items seemingly for the sake of it, all the while agreeing with the premise of my claim. You seem to be doing it again here.

    That's incorrect. There is nothing about the definition of the term as it is today, how it was used in the past, nor the etymology of the word, that disqualifies people who believe God does not exist. I mean, think about what you're saying; essentially, by this warped logic, everyone is either a theist or an agnostic. But in reality, most people who do not believe in God believe God doesn't exist. So where is the word used for those people? They've always been around, so what were the called, if not atheists?

    Use your brain for once, Jan. Put the emotion away, and think.

    You clearly haven't looked at it "up close," otherwise you wouldn't be having this issue.

    All that has changed is the perspective; it was originally a pejorative term, and now it isn't. What hasn't changed is to whom it is applied, which are those who reject God.

    Not at all. I'm exactly who the term would have applied to originally. But let me ask you this: No matter what you believe about the term's original purpose, today it very obviously applies to both groups of people (which I still say are just one group). So why are you harping on this irrelevant point? It wouldn't matter how the term was used in Ancient Greece, since it's being used a certain way today.

    Hey, I agree with you on this point completely. I don't think we should have to call ourselves atheists any more than we should have to call ourselves aparanormalists, or perhaps unalchemists. It's patently ridiculous to label ourselves in relation to something we do not believe to be true or real. Unfortunately, a lot of people in this world believe in God, and as such, the topic of belief is a common and relevant one. And "atheist" is the most apt term for people who don't believe in God or believe God does not exist (which isn't necessarily an either-or situation; one who believes God does not exists must necessarily also not believe in God). It's entirely possible that new terms are coined and this whole discussion looks a lot different tens of years from now, but it isn't necessary, as "atheist" is an accurate term.

    You're embarrassingly transparent, Jan. Nobody's buying your BS. You're clearly lost in a semantic nightmare, and rather than attempt to learn something, you'll insist upon being right in your ignorance.
  18. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Jan Ardena:

    Tell me what you think an atheist is.
  19. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    Um, because the concept exists.
  20. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member


    I'm wondering why you have to repeat it.

    Okay. Have it your way. You do have a belief.
    It's what I've been saying all along.

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    I'm having too much fun watching you squirm to be getting in a huff, but thanks for your concern.
    I don't have to contradict you, you're doing a great job of contradicting yourself.

    Well now that you have admitted that you have a belief, I'm good with that.

    You're not thinking.
    You can call yourself what you like, just like people now use the term ''wicked'' when describing something as really good.
    But if for you, God does not exist then you're not an atheist in the original sense of the word.
    I will call you an atheist, just like I can understand the ignorance behind the notion that theism is belief in God, gods, ghosts, pixies, and faeries. But it's nought but a sign of the ignorant times. I dare say in a hundred years the language will have changed beyond current recognition as ignorance increases.

    Only if you stop beating your wife.

    On the contrary.


    Erm, if you reject God, then God exists. If God doesn't exist, then you can't reject Him.
    However, if like you, you have a belief system, and that system is based on the notion that God doesn't exist, but you can't be sure, then that can be a reason for your atheism. If for you God doesn't exist, but in order to look like a rational, open-minded person, you pretend that you don't know whether or not God exists, but it's most likely that He doesn't, then you're simply a liar.

    No it's not. Even in the Bible there is distinction between atheists, and people who say God doesn't exist (fools).
    You're off the radar. You've only put yourself on by changing the meaning, but the essential, original meaning does not include you.

    Words matter. Language is an integral part of societal development or un-development. Whoever has control of the language has real power.

    Good. For you does God exist or not exist? No ambiguities just a straight yes or no. If no, then you're not an atheist and you no longer have to call yourself one.

    It doesn't matter what people think. Think for yourself.

    Yes, and ''wicked'', ''sick'', ''ill'', and ''ridiculous'' can mean ''exeptionally good''. We live in ignorant times. What can I tell ya?

    Obviously this is how it will come across to you because your being overwhelmed, and your apologetic programme does not contain sufficient data to deal with my onslaught, so you have to resort to your masters Dawkins, and, Hitchens (the less intelligent one) tactic of personal attacks, humour, and attempted ridicule.
    Don't worry I understand, and am sympathetic.

  21. Balerion Banned Banned

    Because there's no more simple way to put it. You are having difficulty understanding a very simple concept.

    No, what you've been saying all along is that atheists aren't people who believe God does not exist.

    Where have I contradicted myself?

    Everyone has beliefs. Why is this some great revelation?

    You keep saying it, but your basis for this claim is a logical fallacy. "Atheist" applied to people who believed there were no gods then just as it does today.

    Theism isn't the belief in ghosts, pixies or fairies. It's the belief in at least one god, and there's nothing ignorant about that definition.

    I don't doubt the language will change, but that doesn't mean the world is ignorant. In the case of terminology relating to religious belief and unbelief, the opposite is true; we have more words and better definitions as our understanding has increased. We've refined the language, not dumbed it down.

    You're right, I should allow for the possibility that you did investigate the matter, and simply don't have the mental capacity to understand it.

    It's not irrelevant, it's the only difference between then and now.

    Another logical fallacy. Do you really not understand the difference between the concept of something and the thing itself? If it were impossible to reject something that doesn't exist, then how would scientists oppose things like the Young Earth nonsense promoted by creationists? By your idiot logic, scientists couldn't reject a 2,000-year-old Earth because they don't believe it exists in the first place. But anyone with an IQ over 65 could tell you that the thing being rejected is the concept, or the premise.

    I'm sure the desert demon you worship doesn't exist. There's no question in my mind. Of course, I base this conclusion on evidence, and it's always subject to change based on new information. I can see what you're trying to do now. You're trying to say that my worldview is no different than yours, because they're both based on belief. But obviously they're not the same at all. My worldview is based on evidence, yours is based on blind faith and delusion. I change my mind when new information is presented to me, while you do mental gymnastics to avoid learning anything might contradict your current understanding of the world.

    Really? Where in the Bible does it make such a distinction?

    You've failed to demonstrate any logical reason why it wouldn't include me. "Without gods" can apply to both those who do not believe in a particular set of gods, as well as those who believe no gods exist. The phrase applies equally to both, and in fact is more literally true of the person who believes no gods exist at all. Of course, true atheists were probably harder to find in ancient times, but that doesn't mean they weren't accounted for in the language.

    Fantastic non-sequitur. Now please try answering the question I actually asked you.

    I'm not beholden to your peculiar definitions of terms. You don't get to decide what a word means or doesn't mean. And you don't even have a valid argument, as your entire premise is based on a logical fallacy--ie that a person cannot be an atheist if they believe god is not real because they cannot reject something that does not exist.

    Please learn how to read. The point I made was that this society requires me to identify myself in relation to the God question since it is so relevant.

    You certainly couldn't tell me you spent much time in school if you think that slang equates to ignorance. (and the irony of calling our times ignorant while at the same time misspelling "exceptionally" is not lost on me) You know, if language actually intrigues you this much, why not pursue an education in it? Instead of running off at the mouth like an idiot, you could actually learn something and contribute to these discussions. (Though, to be fair, without your ignorance, these discussions wouldn't happen, since nobody else but you and your doppleganger seem to have any issue with terms like 'theist" and "atheist")

    This is how you come across because this is how you present yourself. You don't know what you're talking about. You display a startling inability to comprehend very basic concepts. (ironically, the concept of "a concept" seems to be one of your major stumbling blocks) You have an agenda you need to get across, nothing more. There isn't a shred of intelligence in anything you write.
  22. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member


    LOL!!! That's not what I meant.
    ''Theism'', a belief in God, is the state/condition.

    Nope. I'm saying the word in it's original context, does not include people for whom God does not exist.

    You do it all the time, but I'll give you an example...

    If someone is afflicted with cancer, then the affliction IS their condition. You wouldn't say ''cancer is the condition of cancer''.
    Saying that theism is the state of belief in God, is like saying ''theism is the state of theism.

    That's good. I'll remember that.

    ''Believing'' that God does not exist, is not the same as ''God does not exist'', there is no God.
    And as I said before, ''Theos'' applies to God, not god's. If you insist on using ''god's'' as definition for the greek terminology, then you're just trolling.

    As far as your treatment of the word goes, it may as well mean that, because for you God does not exist, meaning the word is open for interpretation which is why you include gods, and anything deemed supernatural as theistic concepts.

    The greek word for ''God'' is ''Theos'', and ''God'' is described as a supreme being. So Theos-ism means belief in God, not gods. It is through ignorance, or carelessness, that they are lumped together as one thing.

    The word already has a meaning, the idea of ''better definitions'' is not only ignorant, but arrogant also.
    You can call water ''parpoobeedoo'' if you like, but it is what it is.

    Ah! Is that all you got. Mere insults?

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    The word is specific, and not subject to personal thoughts, or prejudices.

    The thing itself is God, and theism is a belief in God, atheism is a lack of belief in God.
    You are labouring under the misconception that ''Theos'' is a concept. While we can debate or discuss the existence of God, which is part of the ''ism'', there is no question as to whether or not God exists (within the context of the definition). At least there is nothing draw upon, save our personal ideas, that say's God's existence is in question.

    That's not even related, such is the level of your understanding.
    It's neither possible or impossible to reject something that doesn't exist. Why? Because it doesn't exist.
    Sure we can talk about God as a concept, which is what we are doing now, but God isn't merely a concept according to the greek definition, and that definition is the actual basis of present day discussions. So at any point, it can be pointed out that this is what ''theism or atheism'' means.
    What has occurred over a period of time is that the concept of God has become more prevalent to the point where the original meaning has been conveniently forgotten or left out.

    Wow! A new low!

    Okay. So for you God does NOT exist, and you base that on information which you regard as evidence. Right?
    Now, my question to you is: What is the evidence that shows that God does not exist?

    I'll disregard the rest of that segment as it is only (typical for you) a barrage of insults.

    For one it states that.... ''The fool has said in his heart, there is no God''
    And for two, there is a point where Jesus gives some religious folk a dressing down for their atheism, or lack of belief in God, due to their actions.

    For a start ''Theos'' has nothing to do with god's, it means ''God''.
    Also, it doesn't question God's existence. So theism and atheism is in direct relation to the existence of God, and where you fall off the radar is that you question God's existence.

    I gave you the answer, accept it or don't.

    I didn't say or even imply that you are beholden to me, and you're right, I don't get to decide what a word means or doesn't mean which is why I use the correct, intended meaning of the word. It speaks for itself.
    Again, you haven't understood my point but I'll say it again. In the context of the original meaning of the word, a person for whom God does not exist, is not an atheist. If however you believe that God doesn't exist then such a person is in opposition to a theist meaning he is an atheist. It may seem nitpickey to you, but that's because you most probably think peoples belief in God is based on them saying they believe in God. IOW, your understanding of ''belief'' in this context, is somehow lesser than ''belief'' in anything one might acceptably believe in (from your perspective).

    No it doesn't.

    ''Slang'' is the title that is given to it, but it is actually understood to mean that.

    I mean, really?
    You're actually gonna go there?

    Bye Balerion!

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  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    There's not much help to offer, unfortunately. Both "deism" and "atheism" were coined around 1700 by the French, who were in the vanguard of the Enlightenment. The definitions of both words have shifted and evolved as modern philosophy expanded and matured.

    My authority as Linguistics Moderator is hardly binding, but it would certainly improve this discussion (and this entire forum) if the members would all make peace with the fact that in American English, words are defined by consensus, as guided by the press, who give priority to the written form of the language for the very good reason that it's considerably easier to capture. Regardless of what was or wasn't going on in Paris in 1694, in the USA in 2013 the words theism, theist, atheism, atheist, deism and deist have uncontroversial standard meanings. To pretend that it's okay to make up a new meaning, as Jan has done over and over, is to destroy the integrity of the discussion.

    I don't think I've ever banned a member for flouting my directives to clean up the language in a discussion, but there's always a first time. Jan is being obstinate for the sake of obstinacy. Until I decide to invoke James's wrath by banning a member for an offense committed outside my own bailiwick, all I can recommend is that you all put Jan on IGNORE until she (he? Boys were named Jan in the U.S. up through the 1950s) normalizes her scholarship.

    In English, as I've noted before, including several times in this very discussion, YES! The French have their Acadamie and the Germans reflexively obey the authority of government language purifiers so they continue to say Fernsprecher instead of "telephone" like the rest of Europe. But Americans, Brits, and the other anglophone nations control their own language by a messy and contentious consensus. This is why words like "snuck" and "flammable" end up in the dictionary, and why it is now permissible to pronounce the first C in "arctic," which has been silent since we took it from the French centuries ago.

    That may be an oversimplification. Everyone knows that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a joke. But billions of people are not in on the joke about God. I think this requires putting the two fictions in different categories, in order to have a more nuanced discussion.

    I don't know much Greek. But the Latin word we use is only about a century older than "theism," which means it's "modern Latin." It has no community of native speakers so its words are all created by scholars and priests. It's formed from roots that literally mean "stand out," and was originally used for various related meanings such as "emerge," "appear" and "live."

    As for the Greeks, both Plato and Aristotle are said to have discoursed on existence. But for you to read my words on a discussion board is quaternary scholarship. You'd all do better to look it up and form your own opinions.

    If some tribe in Tannu Tuva had a holy book written five thousand years ago saying that there is a giant teapot orbiting Mars, some Tuvin would believe it. Not a bad bargain, since at least he'd understand that the universe is not geocentric. It took the Abrahamists a very long time to get over that delusion.

    Everyone is capable of lying. But we're all pseudonymous strangers here, with no good reason to lie to each other about something so abstract. If one of us says he believes something, I can't see why he wouldn't be telling the truth.

    We go players are not united either. There are various clubs and international organizations but most of us don't bother joining in order to play in tournaments. But we all think and feel the same way about the game and its rules, or we wouldn't be able to play. We'd spend all our time arguing over the rules and conventions.

    Similarly, there are a few basic thoughts and feelings you have to have to satisfy the definition of the word "atheist."

    This is English. Many of our words acquire new meanings frequently. The original meaning may be completely irrelevant.

    A strange prediction, given that education is becoming more available worldwide, near-100% literacy is spreading to new countries every year, and digital communication is rapidly making everything not only universally available (even in translation) but universally verifiable. The internet is currently in its Wild West phase, but the sheriffs will arrive soon enough and bring order.

    We occasionally backslide into ignorance--usually due to the temporary supremacy of one religion or other--but over time humanity as a whole is becoming less ignorant, more educated, and somewhat wiser.

    You're splitting linguistic hairs again. That's my job. People don't all use their language with perfect precision. When they say that they "reject God" they could very easily mean that they reject the possibility of his existence.

    And in the modern anglophone countries it is the speakers who have that power. It is funneled through the press because in an era of near-100% literacy written words are somewhat more powerful than spoken words. Indeed the press occasionally helps or hinders the emersion of a new word or idiom, but in the long run the people rule. We don't buy papers or listen to anchors who use words we've discarded.

    As I noted above, she consistently disagrees with the dictionary, turning her rhetoric into a secret cant that only she can understand. There's no point in arguing with someone who disrespects the language by capriciously redefining words and then criticizes people who remind her that she's wrong.

    Yes, I too have noticed many telltales of a very modest education. She's smart but she hasn't leveraged that raw intelligence by putting it to work.

    I realize that the temptation to insult can be overpowering and I have succumbed to it as often as anyone. But please try to resist it.

    That's better. Stick to factual observations.

    Are you suggesting that "atheist" is not the only word she has a problem with?

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