Do you or do you not believe there is a god?

in reality, all of this has been a total load of old bollocks

Is there a god?

There is a god.
16
21%
There isn't a god.
44
57%
I don't know.
17
22%
 
Total votes: 77

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Copehead
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Re: Do you or do you not believe there is a god?

Postby Copehead » 13 Nov 2011, 17:36

never/ever wrote:
Copehead wrote:You can't get around the fact that the more highly educated people are the less religious they become.


Can you prove that?


google it for goodness sake it isn't exactly esoteric knowledge known ony to a small cabal.

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Re: Do you or do you not believe there is a god?

Postby Copehead » 13 Nov 2011, 17:37

Jimmy Jazz wrote:
never/ever wrote:
Copehead wrote:You can't get around the fact that the more highly educated people are the less religious they become.


Can you prove that?


No he can't. I do back him though having a strong feeling towards that too. Time and time again though
I meet cases of highly intelligent people who are religious too. I lean towards social/peer pressure and/or conventions to explain it away.


There is a wikipedia page about it
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Re: Do you or do you not believe there is a god?

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 13 Nov 2011, 18:58

Zeke wrote:
Davey Avon FatBoy wrote:Ah now you resort to personal attacks. A sure sign you've lost a debate.

Zeke - whether you softened your stance somewhere over the course of the conversation as it became impossible to maintain your initial position does not matter. Your argument was about the overall tax exemption of religious institutions, not simply their 501(c)3 status. The two are not the same. And that is a fact - I don't need to add IMHO to run away from it later.



Davey, it's not an insult, it's merely a statement of fact. You're acting like an idiot. Whether you genuinely are as idiotic as you appear to be is another matter.

BTW you're wrong. While a church doesn't have to apply for 501c3 status it is still obliged to meet it's requirements to maintain its tax exempt status. Simply not applying doesn't allow a church to skirt them.

From

JACK LANE TAYLOR, Petitioner v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL

Section 508(c)(1)(A) provides that churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of
churches are excepted from the general rule of section 508(a). Section 508(a) provides that organizations described in
section 501(c)(3) and organized after October 9, 1969, are required to apply formally for recognition of their tax-exempt
status. Thus, section 508(c)(1) simply relieves churches from applying for a favorable determination letter regarding
their exempt status as required by section 508(a). Nothing in section 508(c)(1) relieves a church from having to meet the
requirements of section 501©(3).


Zeke - You aren't going to drag me into returning your insults.

As for the 508 rules - I will admit that I'm now out of my depth trying to understand them. I've just spent 30 minutes looking at the IRS site and all over the internet trying to get a definitive interpretation of them, but the more i look the more I find completely different understandings of what that language means. There are "experts" all over the net saying things as contradictory as 508 exempts churches from filing at all to 508 ties them to the 501(C)3 restrictions. One thing is certain - a lot of people out there are acting on both assumptions.

Regardless - the fact remains that the scope of whatever restrictions exist is limited only to explicit candidate advocacy. Religious institutions are pretty much free to organize politically on an issue-based level without any threat to their tax exemptions.
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Re: Do you or do you not believe there is a god?

Postby never/ever » 13 Nov 2011, 19:26

Copehead wrote:
never/ever wrote:
Copehead wrote:You can't get around the fact that the more highly educated people are the less religious they become.


Can you prove that?


google it for goodness sake it isn't exactly esoteric knowledge known ony to a small cabal.

I have a taxi coming at 4:30 in the morning and I haven't got time to spoon feed


Brilliant. So next time I'm asked to substantiate any of my claims I can use the Copehead-stratagem? 'Google it'? :roll:



Great story Davey!.
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Re: Do you or do you not believe there is a god?

Postby Zeke » 13 Nov 2011, 20:01

Davey Avon FatBoy wrote:
As for the 508 rules - I will admit that I'm now out of my depth trying to understand them.



Clearly. That and much of what we've been discussing it would seem.


Regardless - the fact remains that the scope of whatever restrictions exist is limited only to explicit candidate advocacy. Religious institutions are pretty much free to organize politically on an issue-based level without any threat to their tax exemptions.



Except that they aren't "pretty much free to organize politically on an issue-based level without any threat to their tax exemptions." They can organize on any issue they like but they are restricted in that they "may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities" as we've already discussed. And you've conveniently forgotten.

Well, I hope you've managed to learn something from this exchange. I'd like to think my little outreach program to educate the ignorant has had some effect.

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Re: Do you or do you not believe there is a god?

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 13 Nov 2011, 20:12

Medb wrote:I think what happened to you, Davey, is what happens to a lot of young people. Every young person goes through a period of needing to fit in somewhere and you never found your niche. Not surprisingly this angered you and you needed something to attribute that to, and that was your atheism. I have been atheist my whole adult life, I say adult life because I don't believe children understand the notion, but I certainly cannot remember having faith. As I explained in another post, as a very small child religion scared me but I would have been equally scared of monsters at that time and hell seemed pretty, well, hellish.

So, as a young atheist I never experienced the anger you did, or more accurately I never attributed my anger to my atheism. You then found your niche in the form of attributing your feelings to god, you felt this fitted, therefore you fitted somewhere. You say your father searched for a religion that suited his needs too, it seems to me anyway, that this religion you hold needs to fit like a pair of shoes. I'm sorry but that just makes it more meaningless to me. You could quite easily have called this lack of understanding in your life "Bob".

I too would like to know more about the "unknowable mystery at the centre of it all", if you could try to be as clear as in the post I'm addressing that'd be good, I also want to know more about your "worship", what did it do to deserve worship, why do you worship, because from what I've read you don't attribute anything much to it ;)


And please, don't just be nice because you know I'm female now, I'd hate that :lol:


I don't mind answering any questions you have, and I appreciate you trying to understand where I am coming from. That said, my answering Chuck's request for a more personal account at how we arrived at where we are does not constitute an open invitation for amateur psychoanalysis of my words. Nor is it an invitation to judge their validity. I am willing to clarify, but nobody can possibly express any more than the broad outlines of their personal spiritual evolution in a few paragraphs. By the very nature of the mode of communication we are using you must assume that I am leaving out all sorts of detail.

Anyhow - the reason atheism didn't stick for me was that mine was essentially oppositional at its foundation. It was not simply the absence of belief, it was a belief that the folks pushing religion at me were wrong. I had no idea what I believed or did not believe - except that I believed that these folks were full of shit. I gave them the power of defining God just so I could reject their God. It was a really easy loop to get stuck in.

What changed for me was that I finally decided that taking an oppositional stance did not serve me, nor did it serve truth. So if I was going to strip away the opposition, what was left? If the answer had been "nothing" - I would still identify as an atheist. But when I was honest with myself I did believe in something. I believed that something was at the center of it all. I just didn't know what it was or how to define it. What the conversation with my father crystalized for me was that I did not need to define it. That that was what faith was...surrendering to whatever truth sits at the core of our existence without the presumption that it requires any definition that I could possibly place on it. That to me was a more profound form of faith than simply choosing a set of rules and definitions that one is comfortable with and then professing faith that they know exactly how things work. In fact what began to emerged as core to my spiritual value system was the notion of humility. If accepting the spiritual definitions of others had caused me to be oppositional, the answer was simple - recognize that no human can possibly be in the position to know. No man or woman knows any better than I do. Imposing definition on God was the ultimate presumption, and the more I read the scriptures, the more I saw that the ancient religious scholars agreed with me on this point. I then began to re-read all of the ancient scriptures with this new perspective in mind, and the more I read, the more sense they made. And the more connected I began to feel to the traditions of Judaism, whose central idea of one God (or one truth) beyond the understanding of man, reverberated more and more clearly with me every day.

With all of this in mind, hopefully it makes sense to you that what bothers me most about the Dawkins/Hitchens/Harris/Dennett brand of atheism (and that of much of this board) is that it is almost entirely oppositional. As such, it props up the worst brand of fundamentalism as "real" faith and insists that all other forms of faith are simply less committed versions of the same thing. And it does this simply to build a man of straw that burns easily.
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Re: Do you or do you not believe there is a god?

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 13 Nov 2011, 20:30

Zeke wrote:
Davey Avon FatBoy wrote:
As for the 508 rules - I will admit that I'm now out of my depth trying to understand them.



Clearly. That and much of what we've been discussing it would seem.


As you have been. The difference being that I admit it when I don't know. The original contention you made that started this exchange remains definitively wrong. You argued that churches could not be involved in any political organizing of any kind. Supposedly you moved the goalposts later (though I have reread all of your posts and still don't see where) - but you remain incorrect about this. See below.


Zeke wrote:
Davey Avon FatBoy wrote:Regardless - the fact remains that the scope of whatever restrictions exist is limited only to explicit candidate advocacy. Religious institutions are pretty much free to organize politically on an issue-based level without any threat to their tax exemptions.



Except that they aren't "pretty much free to organize politically on an issue-based level without any threat to their tax exemptions." They can organize on any issue they like but they are restricted in that they "may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities" as we've already discussed. And you've conveniently forgotten.


From a post two pages ago:

Here is a link the the IRS web site's guide to Charities, Churches and Politics.

http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,, ... 31,00.html

Here is how they define the scope of their ban:


Currently, the law prohibits political campaign activity by charities and churches by defining a 501(c)(3) organization as one "which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office."


Pretty narrow - publishing and distributing statements.

It also says the following

The IRS has published Revenue Ruling 2007-41, which outlines how churches, and all 501(c)(3) organizations, can stay within the law regarding the ban on political activity. Also, the ban by Congress is on political campaign activity regarding a candidate; churches and other 501(c)(3) organizations can engage in a limited amount of lobbying (including ballot measures) and advocate for or against issues that are in the political arena. The IRS also has provided guidance regarding the difference between advocating for a candidate and advocating for legislation. See political and lobbying activities.

In addition to being able to do some issue-based lobbying, churches are also allowed to participate in general activism such as voter registration - which as we know, can have partisan implications.

In short - the ban you keep citing is pretty narrow (not to mention toothless).

Well, I hope you've managed to learn something from this exchange. I'd like to think my little outreach program to educate the ignorant has had some effect.


I have. Unfortunately you appear to have learned nothing - you are still operating under a false premise.

The more you read about this issue, the more clear it becomes that the IRS has left their definition of political activity that violates their rules frustratingly unclear. Look at the weasel words you just used to describe it:

They can organize on any issue they like but they are restricted in that they "may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities"

What constitutes a "substantial part" of a churches activities?
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Re: Do you or do you not believe there is a god?

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 13 Nov 2011, 21:24

Rorschach wrote:There have been other occasions e.g. relatively recently when you claimed that the atheists on the board all had a simplistic view of religious faith. And Davey and Toomanyhatz have said the same kind of thing, however much they deny it now.


Show me where I have ever denied saying that? I still hold to it as a general impression. I am willing to grant that exceptions exist - though I must admit they are seldom evident here.

I'm willing to give credit when due though. If you feel that you are an exception, I trust that you are willing to condemn some of the more closed-minded assumptions about faith we've seen tossed around here. I've not seen you actively raise your voice on any though.
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Re: Do you or do you not believe there is a god?

Postby Chuck [Bot] » 13 Nov 2011, 21:41

Davey thank you for all the information surrounding how you define your faith. It is interesting to read, but I still don't understand why you believe. I really see why your oppositional atheistic view was shaped by being told how you should believe. I appreciate that once this was opposition was removed you were able to recognise your own belief and begin to define, or rather choose not to define it, and also that you recognised your own feelings in the teachings of ancient theists, which lead you to accept your Judaism.

But I don't understand why you believe. I don't understand how the 'unknowable mystery' manifests itself in you. I just don't get it.

I call myself an atheist because I don't believe in god. I don't oppose other individuals' rights to believe what they believe. I do feel antagonistic towards organised religion because it is so often misused for human ends. I haven't read Dawkins et al and I don't plan to - I don't need to know about atheist theory, I just know that I think 'religion' is nonsense doesn't make any sense - no disrespect intended.

What I try to understand - genuinely - is why anybody believes / has faith.
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Re: Do you or do you not believe there is a god?

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 13 Nov 2011, 21:47

Rorschach wrote:But back to "the dispersion of philosophical values". Philosophy based on the Bible or the Christian establishment has pretty much disappeared in Europe and good riddance to it.
Davey has, more than once, claimed that quoting the bad stuff from Deuteronomy is "cherry picking". It isn't though. "Cherry picking" is what Christians have been doing for centuries, including ignoring what's laid out in Deuteronomy. Little by little, the really nasty teachings of the Christian churches have been set aside, not for philosophical reasons but because they became unacceptable to people. i.e. people applied their natural philosophies to life in contradiction to those demanded by the churches.


The fallacy of your argument here is self-evident. Are you seriously claiming that what Sam Harris (the most notorious of the new-atheist cherrypickers in my judgment) does cannot be called cherrypicking simply because Christians also engage in the practice? I'd say both are guilty at times.

I can't speak all that well for Christians as i am not one, but I know that as a Jew we do not "skip over the nasty teachings". We pore over them, trying to reconcile what they mean. They are the stone in our shoe that forces us to wrestle endlessly with the scriptures. I suspect many Christians will say the same about their relationship to the difficult parts of the bible and I have no reason to think otherwise - though certainly I've met individual Christians, Jews and Atheists who clearly fail to do so. Best not to tar whole swaths of people with this brush and instead wait until you see someone doing it.




Here's a quote I've nicked off the internet for you. No doubt Davey has heard it many times and it shows I have no original thought but I guess I'll have to live with that:

Sir Hermann Bondi wrote:“Every one of us… has met the criticism that in ethics we humanists live on Christian capital, that our moral attitudes are drived from Christianity. I believe this to be utterly wrong and that, on the contrary, what goes for modern Christian ethics is in fact derived from humanist values. For most of its history Christianity was red in tooth and claw… It is only in the last couple centuries that Christian attitudes have gradually become ‘civilized’ and humane. Why? [Because of] the rise of humanism and skepticism. We have given Christianity its modern face. which often quotes the very nice things Jesus is reported to have said, and carefully omits the nasty sayings such as , ‘If a man abide in me not, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”


I think he gives too much credit to "the rise of humanism and skepticism" myself but I think the basic point is true. The philosophies that you, Toby, believe and hold dear don't come from Christianity.


Again, not being a Christian, I am not sure why you think I'd be so quick to attribute modern moral attitudes to Christianity - although I think Christ certainly said some things that continue to carry enormous weight to this day. Personally I don't see any great divide between religious values and humanist values until you get to the extreme end of either.
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Re: Do you or do you not believe there is a god?

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 13 Nov 2011, 22:02

Chuck_Yoghurt wrote:But I don't understand why you believe. I don't understand how the 'unknowable mystery' manifests itself in you. I just don't get it.


Maybe it isn't all that important that you do. I am the last guy to evangelize. If you get along fine without it, why do you need it? I'm not convinced that you do.

For my own part, it manifests in me as a sense of overwhelming awe. At first it was just the normal sense of awe you get when you look into the night sky and ponder infinity, but the older I got (and the more I dropped my oppositional thinking), the more this feeling began to grow in depth. And the more it grew, the more I became aware of the feeling that it found its best expression in the language of faith. There is great comfort in being in a room full of people who share this kind of feeling - or at least some of them do. Do you know the feeling of hearing a great song that isn't popular and not having anyone around you who knows why tears are streaming down your face because you are so moved? I think religious community at its best serves a similar need.
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Re: Do you or do you not believe there is a god?

Postby Chuck [Bot] » 13 Nov 2011, 22:16

Davey Avon FatBoy wrote:
Chuck_Yoghurt wrote:But I don't understand why you believe. I don't understand how the 'unknowable mystery' manifests itself in you. I just don't get it.


Maybe it isn't all that important that you do. I am the last guy to evangelize. If you get along fine without it, why do you need it? I'm not convinced that you do.


I don't. I'm not looking for conversion! I'm just becoming increasingly curious with age about this. I feel the same about people who believe in ghosts, except that I can see how it's easier for people to fool themselves in this case, and ascribe their not-easily-explained observations to the supernatural, particularly when they already have the desire to look outside the mundane. Religion, being 'bigger', is correspondingly harder for me to understand.

Davey Avon FatBoy wrote:For my own part, it manifests in me as a sense of overwhelming awe. At first it was just the normal sense of awe you get when you look into the night sky and ponder infinity, but the older I got (and the more I dropped my oppositional thinking), the more this feeling began to grow in depth. And the more it grew, the more I became aware of the feeling that it found its best expression in the language of faith. There is great comfort in being in a room full of people who share this kind of feeling - or at least some of them do. Do you know the feeling of hearing a great song that isn't popular and not having anyone around you who knows why tears are streaming down your face because you are so moved? I think religious community at its best serves a similar need.


I understand what you are saying here, and I really appreciate you taking the time to say it.
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Re: Do you or do you not believe there is a god?

Postby Zeke » 13 Nov 2011, 22:19

Davey Avon FatBoy wrote:
Zeke wrote:
Davey Avon FatBoy wrote:
As for the 508 rules - I will admit that I'm now out of my depth trying to understand them.



Clearly. That and much of what we've been discussing it would seem.


As you have been. The difference being that I admit it when I don't know.



Hardly. If you were at all honest about your ignorance this discussion would have ended pages ago.


The original contention you made that started this exchange remains definitively wrong. You argued that churches could not be involved in any political organizing of any kind. Supposedly you moved the goalposts later (though I have reread all of your posts and still don't see where) - but you remain incorrect about this. See below.



This is what I mean by "acting like an idiot". You're acting like an idiot here. My original statement was given and clearly labeled as an opinion. Not a statement of fact regarding the way things are but rather how I thought they should be. You apparently don't know the difference. Or what "IMHO" stands for.

Later we began discussing what the actual applicable laws were. Or, rather, I began informing you of what the actual applicable laws were. The fact that you were and are incapable of following that leads me to believe that you aren't particularly bright.


In addition to being able to do some issue-based lobbying, churches are also allowed to participate in general activism such as voter registration - which as we know, can have partisan implications.

In short - the ban you keep citing is pretty narrow (not to mention toothless).



And yet it exists. And you were ignorant of it. You can thank me at your liesure.


I have. Unfortunately you appear to have learned nothing - you are still operating under a false premise.



Again, you're acting like an idiot. What is my "false premise"? Again, your ignorance and inability to follow a simple conversation doesn't constitute a "false premise" on my part.


The more you read about this issue, the more clear it becomes that the IRS has left their definition of political activity that violates their rules frustratingly unclear. Look at the weasel words you just used to describe it:

They can organize on any issue they like but they are restricted in that they "may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities"

What constitutes a "substantial part" of a churches activities?


Just how much more effort am I supposed to expend in educating you?

I'm not a charity, you know :)

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Re: Do you or do you not believe there is a god?

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 13 Nov 2011, 23:08

Again Zeke - You are full of shit.

You offered language about 501(c)3 as a defense of your opinion - meaning you attempted to argue that it established that yur opinion was not an opinion, but law. That isn't the world's biggest sin as the more you read about this subject, the more conflicting information you find out there. Along the way you made incorrect arguments about "freedom from religion". You also maintained for several pages that churches were banned from ANY political activity. You finally softened that to "restricted from committing a substantial portion of their resources to lobbying" on page 18 - looong into our discussion - and in the same post made the incorrect statement that they are "prohibited from participating in elections".

We've both been incorrect at various points in this debate, which as I've said before, is probably par for the course given the lack of clarity in the wording of the IRS statutes. For you to try and paper that over and pretend that you've been right all along is pathetic and transparent.
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Re: Do you or do you not believe there is a god?

Postby Medb » 13 Nov 2011, 23:18

Do you know what's funny?

There was a fair bit of moaning went on about this thread, people saying 'here we go again' type blah blah blah, but it's been very active, comparatively speaking.

Looks like the old rule of not discussing politics and religion hasn't quite died but is thankfully on it's way out ;)
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Re: Do you or do you not believe there is a god?

Postby Zeke » 14 Nov 2011, 00:10

Davey Avon FatBoy wrote:Again Zeke - You are full of shit.



:lol:

I'd take that statement a bit more seriously if it weren't coming from someone who could be accurately described as a veritable factory of excrement.


You offered language about 501(c)3 as a defense of your opinion - meaning you attempted to argue that it established that yur opinion was not an opinion, but law.



Show me where I said that. Or are you, as I've indicated, merely spouting shit? My initial statement, again, was nothing more than an opinion. Something I would prefer to see. I would also prefer to see the current statutes more aggressively enforced. But there you go...

What I was doing, by citing the relevant tax code, was pointing out your ignorance on the existence of at least some restriction of a religious organization's ability to pursue political goals (i.e. lobby).


Along the way you made incorrect arguments about "freedom from religion".



You're kidding me? How was my argument "incorrect"?

This should be good.


You also maintained for several pages that churches were banned from ANY political activity.



More bullshit.


You finally softened that to "restricted from committing a substantial portion of their resources to lobbying" on page 18 - looong into our discussion - and in the same post made the incorrect statement that they are "prohibited from participating in elections".



Now you're misquoting me :lol:

They're prohibited from participating directly - i.e. campaigning for a political candidate.

So, let's see. You can't (or pretend not to) understand simple English or common internet acronyms. You can't follow along with a fairly straightforward discussion or just enjoy being utterly obtuse. And now you resort to misquoting?

What's next?

I await with baited breath your next troll maneuver.


We've both been incorrect at various points in this debate, which as I've said before, is probably par for the course given the lack of clarity in the wording of the IRS statutes. For you to try and paper that over and pretend that you've been right all along is pathetic and transparent.



You're a laugh riot, Davey. But that's OK. I'm sure your mother still thinks you're special :D

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Re: Do you or do you not believe there is a god?

Postby mission » 14 Nov 2011, 11:59

I realise the odd typo (liesure) or two hardly qualifies you as an actual idiot, but when you are completely going the tonk on someone for their supposed lack of intelligence, it's best to avoid solecisms such as "baited breath" - unless of course your breath really is baited.
Good.

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Re: Do you or do you not believe there is a god?

Postby the hanging monkey » 14 Nov 2011, 13:30

http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-bai1.htm

The correct spelling is actually bated breath but it’s so common these days to see it written as baited breath that there’s every chance that it will soon become the usual form, to the disgust of conservative speakers and the confusion of dictionary writers. Examples in newspapers and magazines are legion; this one appeared in the Daily Mirror on 12 April 2003: “She hasn’t responded yet but Michael is waiting with baited breath”.

Hardly a crime against humanity.
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Re: Do you or do you not believe there is a god?

Postby Medb » 14 Nov 2011, 13:36

the hanging monkey wrote:http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-bai1.htm

The correct spelling is actually bated breath but it’s so common these days to see it written as baited breath that there’s every chance that it will soon become the usual form, to the disgust of conservative speakers and the confusion of dictionary writers. Examples in newspapers and magazines are legion; this one appeared in the Daily Mirror on 12 April 2003: “She hasn’t responded yet but Michael is waiting with baited breath”.

Hardly a crime against humanity.


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Re: Do you or do you not believe there is a god?

Postby mission » 14 Nov 2011, 14:15

Arsegrape

As the self-appointed arbiter of crimes and blights when it comes to humanity, your opinion in these matters is to be respected.

You may have noticed that I did rest the foot lightly on the accelerator because, as you are no doubt aware, being ignorant of one thing doesn't make you wrong in everything. I felt though, in the context of all that slagging off of someone's intellect, that folks should be careful about appearing themselves, well, intelligent.

Medb

What the fuck are you on about?
Good.