Re "I also happen to love the smell of frankincense":

 The reign of Antichrist is near! 

 Frankincense - a traditional staple of the Christmas story - faces an 
uncertain future, according to researchers. Ecologists have warned that the 
production of the fragrant resin could decline by half over the next 15 years. 
The festive fragrance is produced by tapping the gum of trees in the Boswellia 
genus."The forests that remain are declining because the old individuals are 
dying continuously, and there there no new individuals coming into the system. 
That means that the forests are running out of trees. In places like Oman and 
Yemen, it is being cut down systematically. Now, in Ethiopia, it is being cut 
down as land is being turned over to agriculture." 

 If the Second Coming, er, comes, maybe Jesus will accept a gift card from 
Walmart as an alternative?




---In, <awoelflebater@...> wrote :


---In, <s3raphita@...> wrote :

 Re "But every so often, it's probably good to present the point of view of a 
more balanced atheist.":

 This "Cephus" is just setting up a straw man; then knocking him down and 
feeling pleased with himself. Just take a look at Richard Dawkins debating with 
the (former) Archbishop of Canterbury at Oxford University. You may or may not 
think that Dawkins has the better of Rowan Williams but Williams is clearly 
*not* stupid and doesn't employ any of the ten "statements" that Cephus 
 One issue that strikes me about the difference between Barry and myself is 
that he's American; I'm English. And what kind of difference would that be? 
Well, in the USA, religion (including fundamentalist versions) is big - indeed 
it's big business. In the UK, religion is now marginal. It conjures up images 
of well-meaning but ineffectual Anglican vicars with little input into current 
societal changes. 
 To me religion is harmless - rather sweet perhaps. To Barry the mention of 
"religion" triggers memories of some unresolved trauma from his childhood or 
adolescence. To Barry it's all about visceral emotion; to me it's all about 
sweet reason and nuanced reflection.

 Nice one. I too can view religion with a bit of an outsider's objectivity and 
don't particularly condemn those who embrace some form of it nor do I run out 
myself to Sunday mass or Buddhist prayer. There is a lot of aesthetic tradition 
in some of the older religions. There is a great deal of beauty in the 
structures erected in the name of glorifying God. The artwork alone is worth 
much of the counterproductive aspects of religion. It can not quite equal the 
murder and mayhem done in the name of religion throughout the ages but there is 
also the other 'up' side. The up side being anyone who takes the time and the 
trouble to seek a little deeper and learn a little more beyond what they can 
measure with a ruler or scale or see and hear and touch can be transported into 
mysteries worth investigating. I also happen to love the smell of frankincense 
and watching ritual and listening to Evensong in the candlelit mustiness of old 

 Here's Dawkins/Williams in civilized debate . . .

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