Very Interesting

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Very Interesting

Postby Father Murud » Tue Sep 16, 2008 4:07 am

I must say, your site is very interesting. I came across it late this night and was stuck here for hours browsing the links/etc.

I am a believer in God, though. I am a former teacher of religion as well. Now, before I get tossed in the flaming pits of pasta I'd like you to know that I'm just here exploring. Hopefully I can get intelligent discussion on subjects I pose or respond to.

I am truly baffled by how billions of people can believe in a god (he goes by many different names in different religions) and you still have those who resist just because. Many of those don't really look into both sides. They just choose a side haphazardly and go with it. Which ever side they infer as the "rebellion" side is the side they choose. Intelligent choice is different. My theory is that it is in the nature of the human (or any animal for that matter) to resist having any thing/one use perceived force to move themselves in any direction. I probably didn't describe that well (I'm by no means a writer) so let me use an example. My dog. His name is Sheff. I can call Sheff up on the couch with me and he'll jump up. I can then gently try to push him off of the couch by placing my hand on his ribcage and applying a gentle shove. He will resist. Makes sense, right? He doesnt want to fall off of the couch. But, conversely, if I push him TOWARDS the couch (away from the edge) he will lean against that as well, even though if I pulled my hand back quickly he would fall off of the couch unprepared and probably land on his back. The point is: he resists any kind of push in any direction that is not voluntary. It is the same with humans to a lesser extent.

I saw a humorous tatoo the other day. One of my former student (non religious, by the way) came and showed me what he had just gotten tatooed on his forarm. It said "I WILL BE DIFFERENT!!" in fancy writing. Then underneath it in smaller, plain letter it said "just like everyone else". I chuckled and asked him why he got it. This very intelligent young man told me that he believes everyone wants to be a part of something but no one wants to be told what it is. Everyone thinks they are "different" but are really more like each other than each end would like to admit. Ask any parent this and they know: the more you push your child the harder they push back (for the most part). This student (I was proud to teach this young man) was making a very valid point.

No matter what evidence there is or isnt for pretty much anything there will be a resistance. People just don't like to be feel they are forced into doing/believing something that they didn't choose for themselves. You might say "but look at all the lambs in this world that follow some pretty crazy shepards", but even then for the larger followings the Shepard is usually extremely good at letting the followers think they are making the choice themselves.

That being said, I agree that there is little physical evidence for religion as compared to science. I believe that the written word (in whatever form) has been distorted/mistranslated/manipulated by man throughout the centuries. But... going against something ONLY because there is not enough evidence to satify you seems interesting to me. Is religion really so strong that was/is able to influence billions of people worldwide? Or is there something to it? Are we, as men, just unable to explain what it is effectively and so science is easily able to to poke holes in what it is that we are trying to explain? Is this why we say "Have faith" because we got tired of trying to explain to detractors what we already know to be? Christains readily admit that we know nothing (or most smart christains do) about the way "God" works so how can we ever explain it to a scientist who relies only on facts and theories and has no time for feelings and the such? Scientists have their place and I appreciate their work but scientists are proven wrong every year. What we, as humans, thought of as "fact" 100 years ago has proved today to be wrong on so many fronts.

Isnt anything today a belief in what we "see" in science, yet years down the road we find that we were "seeing" it wrong altogether because we didn't understand what "seeing" a particular thing even meant? We didn't understand how to really look at it.

Is "seeing" so much different than "feeling"? Because we don't understand as completely the mind/soul of ourselves we discredit much of what this part of us is telling us. The eye is much easier to break down scientifically than the mind and whatever else is influencing our "gut feelings".

I could go on and on here about my religious views but it would bore half of you to death and I'd probably be dead before I was done ;-) My main point is that many people are against religion of any sort because it is such a large force and it is in the nature of us to rebel against anyone or thing forcing us in a particular direction without us perceiving it as "our choice". Unfortunately it is also in our nature to control what we can and many of these "controllers" exist on BOTH sides of the fence: religion and otherwise. Controllers and Rebellers rarely can peacefully coexist.

My secondary point is that we know nothing. Without getting into Physics or Philosophy too much; we really don't know much at all. Many theories by scientists, well regarded scientists who are not challenged as being scientists by anyone, have theories of how time works, how the physical universe works, how we are seperated from different realities by a space thinner than a hair from your head, etc. Many of these theories, while not agreed on by everyone, are still considered scientific by people in the field yet they have no more evidence (or less) than modern religions. Interesting.

What I can't wait for is a thousand years from now the things we'll know then and how we will chuckle about what we thought we know now. Maybe I'll be reincarnated a few times over by then and will be able to see it all. Might have to switch religions to make that one happen, eh? ;-)

We know nothing. Almost everything is by faith.

And yes, I believe religion should be taught in school. Not in science class, though. In History class. ;-)


Mu (as my students used to calle me)




*Edited to add* : I see that my "smilies" have been forcibly changed to Spaghetti Monster Smilies. Another religion forcing their beliefs on the masses. We've got to watch these religious people, yes? They can be so overbearing. ;-) (I fixed the smilies, by the way, to reflect my non-Monster beliefs)

Also, apolgies for grammer/spelling errors. I'm not such a good writer and I'm very sleepy.

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Re: Very Interesting

Postby DaveL » Tue Sep 16, 2008 4:35 am

Welcome aboard Father Mu,

Thanks for your welcome thoughts and comments. Feel free to join in our many discussions.
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Re: Very Interesting

Postby Father Murud » Tue Sep 16, 2008 4:49 am

Thank you for the welcome. I look foward to proposing different views in a respectful manner. I havent seen many people on my side of the fence here. I was worried how my post would be taken and if I'd be allowed to hang around. It's just so hard to find disagreement without anger. I hope I can find some disagreement and agreement as well here. Also some fun and joking while we are at it.

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Re: Very Interesting

Postby fueledbycoffee » Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:54 am

Cheers, padre. I'll freely admit that I can be a pointlessly rebellious wanker, but I do try to temper that with a modicum of reason. We do have very few religious folks, but, speaking for myself, at least, I got no problem with that. From what I've seen so far, you seem like a reasonable person, so whatever. Here's hoping we can get some good conversation going with input from all parties down in Serious.

As for disagreement, we all disagree and argue, often heatedly, all the time. But most of us get along fine, despite that. In fact, the last overtly religious guy we had, who was a lot more abrasive (Let your imagination run wild with that one, no joke) than your two posts are, and who alienated a lot of people, still has people demanding that he be brought back.
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Re: Very Interesting

Postby Edd » Tue Sep 16, 2008 10:05 am

Welcome Father Mu. Please take a moment to post in The New Convert Thread.

You’ve brought up a few points in your opening post that are being addressed in other threads but its understandable if you didn’t come across them as we sometimes wander into many different topics within a single thread. There is, however, a section for serious discussion on evolution, Intelligent Design, theology and theosophy.

Give me a moment to catch myself up this morning and I might address the ‘individualizing conformity’ idea you’ve mentioned.
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Re: Very Interesting

Postby Apostateabe » Tue Sep 16, 2008 10:13 am

Welcome to the forum. I hope you stick around! I think it is easy to conclude that the backlash against religion is all about the spirit of rebelliousness, that we don't want to follow the rules. Once you investigate further, I think you will find, and this is my own conclusion, that the whole movement is driven by the values of knowledge, reason and science. That is why the handful of our leaders are accomplished in academia. That is why the rallying points are where religion intrudes on science. That is why we tend to be more highly educated than everyone else. And that is why we disdain "dogma" and "faith" more than all other elements of religion. If anyone gets into religious rebellion for the sake of rebellion, they typically stay in it for the reason. Or else they go back to religion when the rebellion wears off, and they are the ones who resist "just because." But the core and the majority of us resist for very good reasons.

How can billions of people believe in the gods? The gods are ideas, and ideas like that are adaptable to anything you can imagine. The gods are imagined to be magical beings, omnipotent, omnipresent, mysterious, where not even logic can restrain their power. That means that they can adapt to create a cohesive social system, they can promise people anything they want, they can grant prayers, they can instill authoritarian fear, and anything else that helps them survive. Think of the gods like viruses, not to be derogatory, but to be explanatory. How can 100% of people on Earth be hosts of viruses? Viruses are excellent evolvers, and so are religions. So here is another thinking point: how can anyone resist all of the promises that religions provide? Who can resist the promise of an eternal happy afterlife instead of a dreary snuff of the candle? Only the people who value the truth as empirical likelihood presents it.

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Re: Very Interesting

Postby Edd » Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:07 pm

In reference to the idea that resistance to conformity is not an ‘intelligent choice’:

As humans, we want to be recognized as individuals, yet we also want to belong, to feel secure and safe in a hostile environment. So we each strive to find the perfect balance of uniqueness and acceptance.

Let me give you an example on a smaller scale.

Many times siblings will develop personalities so different they are often referred to as opposites. My brother and I are perfect examples of this. I have always been a quiet, well-behaved bookworm, with only a few close friends. He is very outgoing, more rebellious in nature, tons of friends, and had a lackadaisical attitude toward education. We are less than two years apart in age and I believe we each developed our own character to contrast with the other’s, to set us apart in our parents’ minds.

Does one of us have a more valid personality than the other? Of course not. In our case, it wasn’t rebellion for rebellion’s sake; it was simply two individuals purposefully exploring different paths, each influencing the other along the way.

On a larger scale, non-conformity should be encouraged, as long as the rights of others are not infringed upon. The non-conformists are the leaders, the groundbreakers, the inspirational, and the innovators. As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote ‘Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness.’ http://www.emersoncentral.com/selfreliance.htm
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Re: Very Interesting

Postby Father Murud » Tue Sep 16, 2008 2:03 pm

fueledbycoffee wrote:Cheers, padre. I'll freely admit that I can be a pointlessly rebellious wanker, but I do try to temper that with a modicum of reason. We do have very few religious folks, but, speaking for myself, at least, I got no problem with that. From what I've seen so far, you seem like a reasonable person, so whatever. Here's hoping we can get some good conversation going with input from all parties down in Serious.

As for disagreement, we all disagree and argue, often heatedly, all the time. But most of us get along fine, despite that. In fact, the last overtly religious guy we had, who was a lot more abrasive (Let your imagination run wild with that one, no joke) than your two posts are, and who alienated a lot of people, still has people demanding that he be brought back.


I must admit, Fueled, that when browsing the forums, I saw you were a frequent poster and looked at your avatar and immediately said to myself "This guy's going to crush me." Glad to meet you and find you are at least willing to listen before you crush me. ;-)


Edd wrote:Welcome Father Mu. Please take a moment to post in The New Convert Thread.

You’ve brought up a few points in your opening post that are being addressed in other threads but its understandable if you didn’t come across them as we sometimes wander into many different topics within a single thread. There is, however, a section for serious discussion on evolution, Intelligent Design, theology and theosophy.

Give me a moment to catch myself up this morning and I might address the ‘individualizing conformity’ idea you’ve mentioned.


Glad to meet you, Edd. I will make my way over to the appropriate New Convert area ASAP. I'll take the forum title to mean I'm a "convert" to the forums, if you don't mind. ;-) I also did see the Serious Forums too late. I did wander in there though and realized it best for me not to try to wade into the deep end of the pool, instead use the steps and gradually make my way there. Too much going on for a new guy so I just marked all forums "read" and will try to join in from my new starting point. I am curious to hear your views, as well.


Apostateabe wrote:Welcome to the forum. I hope you stick around! I think it is easy to conclude that the backlash against religion is all about the spirit of rebelliousness, that we don't want to follow the rules. Once you investigate further, I think you will find, and this is my own conclusion, that the whole movement is driven by the values of knowledge, reason and science. That is why the handful of our leaders are accomplished in academia. That is why the rallying points are where religion intrudes on science. That is why we tend to be more highly educated than everyone else. And that is why we disdain "dogma" and "faith" more than all other elements of religion. If anyone gets into religious rebellion for the sake of rebellion, they typically stay in it for the reason. Or else they go back to religion when the rebellion wears off, and they are the ones who resist "just because." But the core and the majority of us resist for very good reasons.

How can billions of people believe in the gods? The gods are ideas, and ideas like that are adaptable to anything you can imagine. The gods are imagined to be magical beings, omnipotent, omnipresent, mysterious, where not even logic can restrain their power. That means that they can adapt to create a cohesive social system, they can promise people anything they want, they can grant prayers, they can instill authoritarian fear, and anything else that helps them survive. Think of the gods like viruses, not to be derogatory, but to be explanatory. How can 100% of people on Earth be hosts of viruses? Viruses are excellent evolvers, and so are religions. So here is another thinking point: how can anyone resist all of the promises that religions provide? Who can resist the promise of an eternal happy afterlife instead of a dreary snuff of the candle? Only the people who value the truth as empirical likelihood presents it.



Good to meet you Apostateabe. I can infer from your name that you have left or denounced a previous religion or belief? If so, we have more in common than I can get into here. Nice to make your acquaintance either way. You pose very good points. I would not say that the whole movement is driven by all 3 of the reasons you list (knowledge, reason and science) but I think you are right that all of those can be and often are driving points. I have met many people, having taught for so long, that rebelled for all of those reason or none of them at all. Many times it is much more complicated than I could ever have imagined. Would you agree that "emotion" should be added to your reasons as well?

When you say "leaders" do you mean of these boards or in the world? In the world TOO many bring their religious beliefs into their postions of power, in my opinion. I believe an offering of religion should be offered on a tray, like an h'ordeurve, as opposed to a tranq dart shot in the neck. Government's job is to control what's going on and religion can cloud that control too easily, in my opinion, and starts to be put places it shouldn't be.

Religion also can have a "gang" mentality in many unfortunate situations. Once in a group such as this rarely do people go back after their reasonings for joining wear away. Being in a group, even good groups, can satisfy many emotional hungers. Once in a group where you feel safe it is extremely hard to move back out even if you no longer believe in your particular group's ideas. As long as you still feel loved and part of the "family" then it becomes extremely hard to leave from my experience.

You state that the gods are ideas. I agree with you 100%. They are ideas, to you. To others they are not so easily trivialized (if that is what you meant by them being just ideas). Why? Because emotion is heavily entrenched in religion. In many cases the very people who loved you your whole life, gave you everything you have, taught you what you know, sacrificed most of their lives to give you a good life are the same people who ushered you into your belief in your god. To these people, a very high percentage of religious people, their "god" is more than an idea. It's an emotional comfort zone that entails a lot more to leave than just switching ideas. To many it would tear the fabric of their life as they know it. You are a lucky one, sir. You are mentally strong enough, independent enough and smart enough to realize that God is an idea. You don't believe that idea. I happen to believe it. I find that most people, though, are NOT strong enough to leave all their beliefs because they are shown something different. This may not make sense but "fact" is what people believe is fact. I hope I can express this how I mean to, but to many God is a "fact" no matter what you tell them. They believe just as much as you disbelieve. Science is fact to you as religion is fact to others. Kind of like the saying "Something is only worth what someone will pay for it", well it's similar to beliefs. "Something is fact only if someone will believe it is". As abstract as that sounds I've found it to be true. I, for one, can't stand it when someone thinks they are 100% right on EITHER side. There is scientific proof in history that the things we think are most "right" are many times wrong. And on the religious front we have even less room to condemn others as being "wrong". Stubborness chaps my hide, as they say.

Also, excellent comparison of gods as viruses. No offense at all was taken by that. If a virus was made by God than I should assume it has it's good properties as well. ;-) I do find religion to be more work than non religion, though. It seems to me that the path of least resistance is the one taken by most. So I would think it is easier to resist the eternal happy afterlife because of the sacrifices that it takes now. Also, if I had a choice between a snuff of the candle guaranteed when I die as opposed to a chance at an enternity of pain and suffering (which I don't know at the time of death) then I surely would take the snuff. It seems to be that more people should be running from religion if you look at present sacrifices needed to be made to have a chance at eternal pleasure (or eternal pain). So what is pulling so many to it? I suggest something we can't pinpoint in ourselves or maybe just a basic need to belong, a "pack mentality" if you will.


Edd wrote:In reference to the idea that resistance to conformity is not an ‘intelligent choice’:

As humans, we want to be recognized as individuals, yet we also want to belong, to feel secure and safe in a hostile environment. So we each strive to find the perfect balance of uniqueness and acceptance.

Let me give you an example on a smaller scale.

Many times siblings will develop personalities so different they are often referred to as opposites. My brother and I are perfect examples of this. I have always been a quiet, well-behaved bookworm, with only a few close friends. He is very outgoing, more rebellious in nature, tons of friends, and had a lackadaisical attitude toward education. We are less than two years apart in age and I believe we each developed our own character to contrast with the other’s, to set us apart in our parents’ minds.

Does one of us have a more valid personality than the other? Of course not. In our case, it wasn’t rebellion for rebellion’s sake; it was simply two individuals purposefully exploring different paths, each influencing the other along the way.

On a larger scale, non-conformity should be encouraged, as long as the rights of others are not infringed upon. The non-conformists are the leaders, the groundbreakers, the inspirational, and the innovators. As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote ‘Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness.’ http://www.emersoncentral.com/selfreliance.htm


I agree with everything you say as you were able to go into the conformity idea much more, and better, than I did. I believe that non conformity should be encouraged as much as conformity should be. I didnt mean to convey that I think non-conformity can not be an intelligent choice. I meant in that example that rebelling just for the sake of doing so was more emotional as opposed to intelligent. I think there's a fine line between corformity and non and after that line is crossed there's miles of grey area til you hit the other side. I believe non-conformity is needed to function in many ways as well. I consider myself a non-conformist (just like everybody else, heh heh). Also, that quote is great. Taken in the context of the time and his situation, it makes sense. Even Emerson had to strategically conform throughout his life to keep his voice heard. From what I understand he was a very crafty man. Often times the non-conformists we hear about the most are the ones able to conform when needed. I think his balance of both was masterful.

I pose an example to you. I recently was privy to witness a political convention in my city. Protesters abounded. I, being the curious fool that I am, waded out into the middle of it all to ask questions. I watched clips online and on TV as well and read a multitude of the "underground" fliers dropped in areas to gather people to the cause. You know what I found? Most of the people out in the protests had no idea what the heck they were protesting. Sure, they knew they were protesting the "government" and for "free trade" and "the war" but when asked why; how are these things affecting you and what are you trying to say with you being out here... most had no idea. In fact many of the kids were brutally honest in saying "Man, all my buddies are out here so I came with them" or "It's exciting. I wouldn't miss this" or the occasional "are you some kind of spy for the government?". It was great fun, overall. Most had no earthly idea why they were out there, though. In fact, not one person I met did. This, to me, would be an example of non-intelligent non-conformity. Not saying no intelligence was involved but rather it was not well thought out and was secondary to feeling/emotion. It seems to me that most non-conformity these days is done this way. It's the smaller, quieter pockets (like this forum, it seems) that are the thinkers and whom I would consider the intelligent non-conformers.

Everyone at the protests wanted to be a part of something. Even the "non-conformists" were conforming. I have my own theory that there is no such thing as conforming or not. It's a word used to describe a decision by someone that can't be described. Too many factors enter into the equation. Who knows why the person is really doing it or not? Someone who looks to be conforming could be non-conforming in their eyes. What do you think about this idea?


Looking at what I wrote I am almost embarrased to see how long winded I am. I will keep my posts much more concise in the future. I am excited to meet you all, though, and excited as well to find people to discuss this with. Again, apologies for errors in grammer as well.

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Re: Very Interesting

Postby Edd » Tue Sep 16, 2008 2:47 pm

Don’t worry about being long-winded, Father. One long post to make yourself clear is better than many short confusing ones.

Seems like your describing an example of mob mentality, though. And I hate to nitpick but protesting doesn’t necessarily equal non-conformity. Those protesters could be representing 99% of the population. One might even say it’s not rebellion if it was a McCain rally. After all, didn’t he say, ‘I work for you’?

(BTW, I hope you don’t mind, but I’ll send the mods a pm to move this to the appropriate section, probably Musings and Observations, since the FSM hadn’t been mentioned here.)
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Re: Very Interesting

Postby HeathenPastafarian » Tue Sep 16, 2008 3:02 pm

Welcome Father. We welcome people of all beliefs, just expect some intelligent and perhaps some not so intelligent challenges sometimes. I'm sure you saw that not all our threads are of a religious nature.....thank goodness or I would be way out of my league. Hopefully you read some of the stuff on the main site (not the forum) to learn about the "letter" and how the CoFSM got it's beginnings and that most of us really don't worship a FSM (like so many of our Christian hate mail writers think we do). Once again...welcome! :D
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Re: Very Interesting

Postby Father Murud » Tue Sep 16, 2008 3:19 pm

One more post before I get some sleep ;-)

These people see themselves as non-conformists, though. Therefor, they are, I propose.

I may be getting to philosophical here, but it goes back to my idea of there is really no non-conformity at all. They all saw themselves as such. I used the protesters as an example because most of them that I spoke to/read about were calling themselves non-conformists (and many of them looked the part as well, heh).


As for the mob-mentality, I admit that sometimes I may use the wrong words to describe my point. Im definately not an English Major. Forgive me if I've crossed the line of the definition of the word. If I was referring only to the action of joining the protest then I'd call it a Mob Mentality as well. I didn't mean just that though. I'm more talking about the tone that I felt from the people that the protest brought out. From what I could glean from the situation, most of them were there to protest conformancy; the government itself, not just the candidates; the type of people in the government, etc. Although most of them didnt have any idea EXACTLY why they were in this particular protest, I assure you that most of them had strong views on conforming to society as a whole. I could make a whole other long winded post on things nonrelated to the Convention that I heard about from them.

I wouldn't disagree, though, that the mob mentality is closely related to the need to belong (whatever specific word that has for it).

I see to be stumbling to get across my points well here. It seems that when I say "I think A happened because B caused it" that I'm coming across as saying "I think A always happens because of B" or something of the sort. I don't believe I said protesting always equals non-conformity but more so that it did in this situation. I failed to explain my reasons for that, though, so I apolgize. It's hard to explain the feelings I got from the 4 days I experienced these events. Not to nitpik either, but I dont think a percentage figure neccesarily determines conformity (I believe it has to do with the power and who holds it as well). That being said, I still got the distinct feeling from the city in general that the protesters were representing a very small percentage of the overall population, so based on that I decided it was a decent example to use. I couldn't think of a better one at the moment. ;-)

I've got to get a nap in. I'm passing out at the keyboard.

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Re: Very Interesting

Postby Father Murud » Tue Sep 16, 2008 3:23 pm

HeathenPastafarian wrote:Welcome Father. We welcome people of all beliefs, just expect some intelligent and perhaps some not so intelligent challenges sometimes. I'm sure you saw that not all our threads are of a religious nature.....thank goodness or I would be way out of my league. Hopefully you read some of the stuff on the main site (not the forum) to learn about the "letter" and how the CoFSM got it's beginnings and that most of us really don't worship a FSM (like so many of our Christian hate mail writers think we do). Once again...welcome! :D



Thank you, Heathen. I did, indeed, read almost all of the links on the front page. I found it very entertaining. In fact, you may not believe, but I'd like to buy your "bible" to help support the site and for my own entertainment. Intelligence is next to godliness. Or that's what I say anyway. If the old saying about "Cleanliness is next to godliness" is true than I'm in trouble. ;-)

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Re: Very Interesting

Postby Father Murud » Tue Sep 16, 2008 3:30 pm

One last thing before I head to bed. I don't see the New Convert Thread. I didn't see a Forum titled that, either. I'm going to attribute it to my lack of rest and assume that I'll come back and it's right here in this forum in front of me and I just missed it.

It wouldn't be the first time.

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Re: Very Interesting

Postby fueledbycoffee » Tue Sep 16, 2008 3:32 pm

Oh, that's in Standards and Practices.
Vote Pieces for Pope! She didn't buy me off with the funny hat, I swear!... She made me a cardinal.

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Re: Very Interesting

Postby WelshRarePasta » Tue Sep 16, 2008 3:33 pm

^ It's at Welcome to the Neighborhood > Standards and Practices > New Convert Thread (just disregard the title).

Also, don't worry too much about 'Cleanliness is next to Godliness;' I've seen it attributed to Benjamin Franklin on good authority, and that guy wasn't so Godly ;)
"Only a man would think of that."
"It's our job... If you don't think of fifty-foot-high killer golems first, someone else will." Moist von Lipwig

"Are you saying," Brine interrupted, "that the human race was created to irritate Satan?"
"That is correct. Jehovah is infinite in his snottiness."
Brine reflected on this for a moment and regretted that he had not become a criminal at an early age. --Practical Demonkeeping


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