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Source: (consider it) Thread: Superstition - does it cross your path?
Gamaliel
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The Real Presence thread seems to have run out of steam ... or presence.

I've got hold of a copy of The Hidden Manna and am working my way through it. I'm quite enjoying it. It's telling me a lot about the RC position on these things.

However ... and it's a big 'but' ... it all seems to boil down to, 'the elements are changed irrevocably at the moment of consecration because the Church says so and anyone who disagrees is either proud - like Wyclif - and thinks they know best or else missing the point in some way ...'

I don't have an issue with some kind of Real Presence in the eucharist - however that's defined - but I do have an issue with the rather bizarre medieval reasoning that went on to determine what would happen if a mouse nibbled the consecrated wafer and so on ...

I've also got an issue with the 'epiclesis' being regarded as some kind of 'magic switch'. I don't particularly have a problem with the consecration of the elements, nor with sacerdotalism and so on ... but I am torn. There's a tussle between the old evangelical non-conformist part of my psyche and spiritual DNA and the more sacramental side ...

I sometimes wonder whether I'm drawn by aesthetic and 'mysterious' and 'affective' factors and considerations than baldly theological ones - but I doubt whether any of us take a 'purely' theological take - we aren't the theological equivalents of Leonard Nemoy's Spock.

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Gamaliel
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I meant to make a point about superstition there ... otherwise that post might have been better placed in the Real Presence thread.

I was going to ask Mousethief about the role of the epiclesis in the Orthodox tradition and why the RC take on it should be regarded as more superstitious than the Orthodox one ... which is what I read his post to imply.

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Martin60
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At least this stuff we make up is harmless in that it's consistent. The ritual, the magic, the story is the same every time, not like charismatic claims.

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Love wins

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I meant to make a point about superstition there ... otherwise that post might have been better placed in the Real Presence thread.

I was going to ask Mousethief about the role of the epiclesis in the Orthodox tradition and why the RC take on it should be regarded as more superstitious than the Orthodox one ... which is what I read his post to imply.

Why on earth did you read it that way?

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Latchkey Kid
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
I'm glad to hear that fletcher as the record of Christian cultural domination in the Americas, Africa, the Pacific, in that order, is appalling although ameliorates over time.

[Tangent]
There is at least one exception to this. I once lived a couple of doors from a large old house that held a number of Torres Strait Islander families. Every year you would hear the sweet and rich harmonies as they prepared for the Coming of The Light Festival which celebrated the coming of Christian missionaries and the end of cannibalism.
[/Tangent]

[ 05. March 2017, 00:54: Message edited by: Latchkey Kid ]

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'You must never give way for an answer. An answer is always the stretch of road that's behind you. Only a question can point the way forward.'
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Latchkey Kid
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
At least this stuff we make up is harmless in that it's consistent. The ritual, the magic, the story is the same every time, not like charismatic claims.

That sounds to me like we have have tamed (perhaps magically) its danger and it (God) is now safely under our control.

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'You must never give way for an answer. An answer is always the stretch of road that's behind you. Only a question can point the way forward.'
Mika; in Hello? Is Anybody There?, Jostein Gaardner

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Golden Key
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"He is not a tame lion."
--said of Aslan in "The Chronicles Of Narnia"

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
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Golden Key
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FC--

quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:
Are these things all just a superstition? I don't really know. I do know that I have met many people at such sites with incredibly moving stories, people with a great sense of hope and purpose and many people of great faith.

{In case this wasn't covered earlier in the thread...}

Terry Pratchett (currently my favorite theologian) had an interesting perspective on superstition. In the wonderful and fun novel "The Thief Of Time", Susan--Death's granddaughter!--says "Just because something's a superstition, doesn't mean it isn't true".

And she also mentions a substition--something that is true, but most people don't believe it.
[Cool]

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Latchkey Kid:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
At least this stuff we make up is harmless in that it's consistent. The ritual, the magic, the story is the same every time, not like charismatic claims.

That sounds to me like we have have tamed (perhaps magically) its danger and it (God) is now safely under our control.
Sooooo, the shamanism of charismatic theatre is God in the wild? Even though it's totally formulaic ritual too? Of course not. Where does He show up?

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Love wins

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Latchkey Kid:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
I'm glad to hear that fletcher as the record of Christian cultural domination in the Americas, Africa, the Pacific, in that order, is appalling although ameliorates over time.

[Tangent]
There is at least one exception to this. I once lived a couple of doors from a large old house that held a number of Torres Strait Islander families. Every year you would hear the sweet and rich harmonies as they prepared for the Coming of The Light Festival which celebrated the coming of Christian missionaries and the end of cannibalism.
[/Tangent]

Years ago (15-ish), from either the BBC or New Scientist, there was an authoritative account of the collapse of post-cannibal societies in the south Pacific due to the impact of Christianity. The vigour was gone.

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Love wins

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Gamaliel
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I meant to make a point about superstition there ... otherwise that post might have been better placed in the Real Presence thread.

I was going to ask Mousethief about the role of the epiclesis in the Orthodox tradition and why the RC take on it should be regarded as more superstitious than the Orthodox one ... which is what I read his post to imply.

Why on earth did you read it that way?
I dunno, maybe I'm wired that way ...?

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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mousethief

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Well my point is that if we accept Russ's definition (or distinction, I guess), then we may end up with logical consequences we do not want, such as making the moment of epiklesis, or at least our expectations for it, superstitious. Whether that be for Catholics or Orthodoxen or Anglicans or whoever else believes that the bread and wine become at that moment (not at reception -- that's another question although obvs closely related) the body and blood of Christ.

But "expecting certain results" applies to everyday verities such as letting go of things (not resting on a surface, etc. -- to prevent moronic nit-picking) and expecting them to fall. I expect with complete certainty that if I hold a tennis ball at waist height and let go, it will fall to the ground. I rather don't doubt it at all. I know in the back of my mind there is a miniscule chance that some bizarre circumstance might cause it to do otherwise -- the air molecules in the room are in random motion and just might all puff up under the ball and hold it in place, I suppose. But I certainly don't expect gravity (whatever the hell it is) to turn off. I have complete certainty. Is that therefore a superstition? I think this definition will have to be refined or discarded. I fear the death of a million little qualifications.

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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Martin60
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If you took anybody on Earth from a non-Christian background and gave them a tennis ball and asked them to drop it, no sane person would be surprised by what happened next. Then stick them in a communion service.

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Love wins

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rolyn
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I suppose Superstition has generally been defined as an unhelpful state of mind, or manner of thinking that is centred upon fear. Something that brings comfort or reassurance would generally be categorised as Faith or Belief.

It is easy to see how the two can cross over. If someone was to claim that tossing salt over their shoulder brought them reassurance that a bad event had been averted then, for them, this is true. Therefore it is presumably as beneficial to them as any religious practice.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
If you took anybody on Earth from a non-Christian background and gave them a tennis ball and asked them to drop it, no sane person would be surprised by what happened next. Then stick them in a communion service.

Then stick them in the control booth at the Large Hadron Collider.

quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:
I suppose Superstition has generally been defined as an unhelpful state of mind, or manner of thinking that is centred upon fear. Something that brings comfort or reassurance would generally be categorised as Faith or Belief.

It is easy to see how the two can cross over. If someone was to claim that tossing salt over their shoulder brought them reassurance that a bad event had been averted then, for them, this is true. Therefore it is presumably as beneficial to them as any religious practice.

But the issue is not the feeling of reassurance, it is the actual warding off of harm. Is it true that they are now safer from unexpected harm or not? That is the issue for determining superstition from non-superstition, seems to me. Not whether they feel reassured.

[ 05. March 2017, 18:35: Message edited by: mousethief ]

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Martin60
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They've all got 'O'-level physics.

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Love wins

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mousethief

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'A'-level wouldn't be enough. "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." --Arthur C. Clarke

[ 05. March 2017, 19:49: Message edited by: mousethief ]

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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Martin60
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Indeed (I liked the LHC comeback of course, false analogy category error though it be).

For some reason this comes to mind.

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Love wins

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Indeed (I liked the LHC comeback of course, false analogy category error though it be).

No, it be not. Two things people can't understand. One we have been discussing as maybe or maybe not superstition. But if people's being able to understand or predict it is the mark of superstition, then the LHC is superstition as well for these O-level graduates.

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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Martin60
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Ayyyye. I wouldn't characterize observing any repeatable phenomena, no matter how superstitious the feelings and other decompressed stories we make up about them, as superstitious.

I believe in God thanks to Jesus now and therefore I am superstitious by definition. That explains nowt about my thinking. The stuff I continue to make up and edit.

No claims beyond the first couple of circles can work for me, and not all of them of course. Stuff we made up based on His first and last Passover is way beyond those circles.

Of course it will be argued that the bread and the wine put us in the first circle and it, Him in us. Symbolically, ritually of course it does.

But not in any ontological sense except for (excluding) Catholics who are exclusively beyond those circles.

They'll win of course. Post-Catholicism has no future.

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Love wins

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Martin60
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Yesterday a curate's wife said to me that her finding a nursery four streets away after the nanny resigned was an answer to prayer.

God and His mysterious ways eh?

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Love wins

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rolyn
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Ah, but was there a parking space left for her? That would clinch it would it not.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Yesterday a curate's wife said to me that her finding a nursery four streets away after the nanny resigned was an answer to prayer.

God and His mysterious ways eh?

Yep. Brexit and Trump, but the curate's wife is saved a bit of effort.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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MaryLouise
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An example of magical thinking, not religious. Last week I was walking down the pavement of a city street and noticed I was taking some care to walk in the squares and not tread on the lines. In case bears came around the corner and ate me up.

The persisting influence of AA Milne since the age of five.

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-- Ivy Compton-Burnett

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Baptist Trainfan
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My wife takes care when walking on the pavement, too.

Nothing to do with superstition or bears: the stones need relaying so badly that she is worried about tripping over the joints!

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mr cheesy
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That's an interesting point, I wonder where a "legitimate" worry tips into a superstition.

One might be "legitimately" scared of walking around in the dark if there have been recent attacks in the area. One could have a heightened fear having watched a scary movie. One could have been affected by something you read as a child which still unconsciously affects you.

I think most would think superstitions are when two events are tied together when they are not connected. But I still think that's functionally identical (or maybe just very very similar) to having a heightened awareness or fear of something which is totally out of proportion to the chance of it actually happening to you and then having that thing influence your behaviour.

But then I think we're all basically superstitious as humans. It doesn't sound like many agree with me.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

But then I think we're all basically superstitious as humans. It doesn't sound like many agree with me.

I think to the extent that superstition is 'pattern matching applied incorrectly' we are all superstitious as humans. The reason I'd define it that way would be to avoid the objection that superstition necessarily implied some form of supernatural explanation at some level.

[ 09. March 2017, 08:17: Message edited by: chris stiles ]

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MaryLouise
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I don't know about 'basically superstitious' since there are so many cultural and historic variables to think about.

In my prosaic daily life, I consciously choose to listen to that reasonable inner voice saying things like 'If it sounds too good to be true it probably is,' or 'That's wishful thinking, stop it,' or 'Doesn't add up does it?'.

Reading a new biography of the writer Angela Carter though, I found myself thinking about how big a role fairy tales, nursery rhymes and the myth and legends of Greece and Rome play in my imagination because I read them over and over at bedtime when I was small and daydreamed about the stories and characters. Not a bad thing at all, but anarchic and irrational in many ways. The fabulous, improbable, absurd -- kissing frogs, how Echo falls in love with Narcissus, Daphne turned into a tree, Mother Goose flying through the air on her very fine gander, Rapunzel in the tower etc, etc. The first time I fell in love at university, all I could think about was Psyche and Eros and how she drops hot oil from the lamp on his shoulder trying to 'see' him and he flees from her. The myth had nothing to do with predictable dating experiences, but I needed some mythic oomph to feel as if I was in love.

Would I think and feel quite differently if I had grown up without Perrault or Grimm or versions of Homer as a source of inspiration? Will years of sustained Harry Potter shape another generation the same way? Or do some of us have differing imaginative capacities and a greater fondness for facts?

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-- Ivy Compton-Burnett

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quetzalcoatl
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That's an interesting issue about symbols and symbolic narratives, and how much humans need them. I don't think they are superstitious, but I suppose some people begin to believe them literally, or 'concretely' as the psychoanalysts say.

There are different views, ranging from the idea that humans just are symbolic animals, to the view that they are unnecessary irrational add-ons. I tend towards the former view. Of course, it's difficult to say when something is symbolic or not.

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the main fear that flat-earthers face is sphere itself.

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Martin60
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Superstition is predicated on belief in supernatural causality, usually derogatorily at the trivial, personal level up to intervention at any level in creation. Incarnation is in the middle of that. And the only credible superstition.

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Love wins

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
And the only credible superstition.

That's an odd thing to say, Martin. Why is the incarnation "more credible" than believing monsters will eat you if you step on the cracks between paving slabs?

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arse

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
And the only credible superstition.

That's an odd thing to say, Martin. Why is the incarnation "more credible" than believing monsters will eat you if you step on the cracks between paving slabs?
The incarnation is part of a system of belief. I am not aware of a system in which crack protecting monsters is a part.
That said, I don't think either is more inherently credible, though one is more sophisticated.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
e inherently credible, though one is more sophisticated.

I don't think complexity speaks to credibility. Homeopathy is complex, that doesn't make it credible.

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arse

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
e inherently credible, though one is more sophisticated.

I don't think complexity speaks to credibility. Homeopathy is complex, that doesn't make it credible.
I think that is what I said. Martin seems to be using the pejorative sense of superstition in a, relatively, non-partisan fashion. Those who would exclude their own religion as being superstitious must use a different definition. One that would also exclude other religions, but address beliefs like "lucky" rabbits feet. Else it is just pejorative, hypocritical nonsense.
ETA: this isn't to say people do not have superstition within their own expression of religion.

[ 09. March 2017, 17:40: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Boogie

Boogie on down!
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
e inherently credible, though one is more sophisticated.

I don't think complexity speaks to credibility. Homeopathy is complex, that doesn't make it credible.
Except that the placebo effect is incredibly powerful.

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Garden. Room. Walk

Posts: 12658 | From: Boogie Wonderland | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

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It certainly is Boogie, especially in matters of religion.

You get me lilBuddha.

mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
And the only credible superstition.

That's an odd thing to say, Martin. Why is the incarnation "more credible" than believing monsters will eat you if you step on the cracks between paving slabs?
I consistently argue that the only (supernatural) claim worth considering is the Incarnation and that subsequent claims within the first couple of circles are therefore valid where no rational explanation is possible apart from delusion. There are of course none since. The truth of the Incarnation doesn't validate any claims of God being personal back since.

Eutychus consistently wondered why. You've taken his mantle!

The credibility of the Incarnation above all other claims is in their utter irrelevance. And in its perfect, towering intrusion above such dross.

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Love wins

Posts: 16886 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged



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