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Two American tourists detained in North Korea
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catman



Joined: 18 Jul 2004

PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:07 pm    Post subject: Two American tourists detained in North Korea Reply with quote

Quote:
PYONGYANG, North Korea - Two American tourists charged with "anti-state" crimes in North Korea said Friday they expect to be tried soon and pleaded for help from the U.S. government to secure their release from what they say could be long prison terms.

In their first appearance since being detained more than three months ago, Matthew Todd Miller and Jeffrey Edward Fowle told a local AP Television News crew that they were in good health and were being treated well. They also said they were allowed to take daily walks. The brief meeting was conducted under the condition that the specific location not be disclosed.

Fowle said he fears his situation will get much worse once he goes on trial.

"The horizon for me is pretty dark," he said. "I don't know what the worst-case scenario would be, but I need help to extricate myself from this situation. I ask the government for help in that regards."

It was not clear whether they were speaking on their own initiative, or if their comments were coerced. The TV crew was permitted to ask them questions.

North Korea says the two committed hostile acts which violated their status as tourists. It has announced that authorities are preparing to bring them before a court, but has not yet specified what they did that was considered hostile or illegal, or what kind of punishment they might face. The date of the trial has not been announced.

Ri Tong II, a North Korean diplomat, declined to answer questions about the Americans at a news conference Friday at the United Nations. But when pressed in a follow-up question he said their cases were "legal issues" and they had "violated our law."

Fowle arrived in North Korea on April 29. He is suspected of leaving a Bible in a nightclub in the northern port city of Chongjin, but a spokesman for Fowle's family said the 56-year-old from Miamisburg, Ohio, was not on a mission for his church. Fowle works in a city streets department. He has a wife and three children, ages 9, 10, and 12.

"The window is closing on that process. It will be coming relatively soon, maybe within a month," Fowle said of his trial. "I'm anxious to get home, I'm sure all of us are."

Fowle also produced a letter he said he had written summarizing his experience in North Korea.

The attorney for Fowle's family said Friday his wife hadn't seen the video, but had read news reports about his comments.

"I can tell you that she is very upset, as you can imagine," said attorney Timothy Tepe. He said he and the family were still gathering information and likely would have a statement on Monday.

Less is known about Miller, or about what specific crime he allegedly committed.

North Korea's state-run media have said the 24-year-old entered the country April 10 with a tourist visa, but tore it up at the airport and shouted that he wanted to seek asylum. A large number of Western tourists visited Pyongyang in April to run in the annual Pyongyang Marathon or attend related events. Miller came at that time, but tour organizers say he was not planning to join the marathon.

"I expect soon I will be going to trial for my crime and be sent to prison," Miller said. "I have been requesting help from the American government, but have received no reply."

A handwritten note on the front door of his family's home in California asked for privacy.

Neighbour Carol Stewart said Miller first travelled to South Korea about four years ago to visit a brother stationed there with the U.S. Air Force. He found work teaching English and learned Korean, Stewart said in a July 1 interview. She has since declined to comment out of respect for his parents' wishes.

"He liked it a lot, and he's been there ever since," said Stewart, describing Miller as the shy one of the four brothers.

North Korea has also been holding another American, Kenneth Bae, since November 2012.

Bae, a Korean-American missionary who turned 46 on Friday, told a Japan-based pro-North Korean news organization earlier this week that he felt "abandoned" by the U.S. government. He is serving a sentence of 15 years of hard labour for what North Korea has claimed were hostile acts against the state. However, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Thursday the agency is in regular contact with Bae's family.

Last summer, authorities moved Bae from a work camp to a hospital because of failing health and weight loss. He was sent back to the work camp earlier this year, only to be taken again to a hospital less than two months later. His family says he suffers from diabetes, an enlarged heart, liver problems and back pain.

Bae's sister, Terri Chung, said in a statement Thursday it was the first word the family has had of Bae since April.

"After months of silence, it is devastating to hear Kenneth talk about 'feeling abandoned by the United States government,'" she said. "Although we acknowledge and appreciate all the efforts the U.S. State Department has been making behind the scenes to secure Kenneth's release, the fact remains that after almost two years, Kenneth still remains imprisoned in North Korea."

North Korea has in the past waited for senior U.S. officials to come to the country to secure the release of some American detainees. Both Fowle and Miller suggested that intervention from the highest levels in Washington — possibly a visit by a former president — might be needed to gain their release.

The U.S. has repeatedly offered to send its envoy for North Korean human rights issues, Robert King, to Pyongyang to seek a pardon for Bae and other U.S. detainees but without success.

Washington has no diplomatic ties with North Korea and no embassy in Pyongyang. Instead, the Swedish Embassy takes responsibility for U.S. consular affairs there.

Though a small number of U.S. citizens visit North Korea each year as tourists, the State Department strongly advises against it. After Miller's detention, Washington updated its travel warning to note that over the past 18 months, "North Korea detained several U.S. citizens who were part of organized tours."

North Korea has been strongly pushing tourism lately in an effort to bring in foreign cash. But despite its efforts to bring in more visitors — mostly from neighbouring China — it remains highly sensitive to any actions it considers political and is particularly wary of anything it deems to be Christian proselytizing.

In March, North Korea deported an Australian missionary detained for spreading Christianity in the country after he apologized and requested forgiveness.


This is certainly appalling and I hope they are returned home. However, if it turns out that they were proselytizing my sympathy for them will be reduced.
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Smithington



Joined: 14 Dec 2011

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, if they were religious nuts preaching bronze age nonsense let them rot. At least they won't be reproducing and providing the world with another generation of unintelligent fools.
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Julius



Joined: 27 Jul 2006

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Two American tourists detained in North Korea Reply with quote

catman wrote:
if it turns out that they were proselytizing my sympathy for them will be reduced.


So you don't believe in personal freedom? freedom of religion? You're on the side of the opressors?

Quote:
At least they won't be reproducing and providing the world with another generation of unintelligent fools.


Most education and scientific advancement-at least intially- were due to christianity. Wind your neck in, you pompous idiot. I doubt you would have the balls to go to north korea or risk anything based on your beliefs- (if you had any) beyond your own self-gratification.
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Smithington



Joined: 14 Dec 2011

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 9:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Two American tourists detained in North Korea Reply with quote

Julius wrote:
catman wrote:
if it turns out that they were proselytizing my sympathy for them will be reduced.


So you don't believe in personal freedom? freedom of religion? You're on the side of the opressors?

Quote:
At least they won't be reproducing and providing the world with another generation of unintelligent fools.


Most education and scientific advancement-at least intially- were due to christianity. Wind your neck in, you pompous idiot. I doubt you would have the balls to go to north korea or risk anything based on your beliefs- (if you had any) beyond your own self-gratification.


Tut tut. The fires of hell are licking at your arse as you read this. I suggest you repent, apologize and change your path.

https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/Matthew%205%3A22

Or are we in agreement that the bible is bullshit? If we are not in agreement, I strongly suggest you apologize. I hear your nasty, intolerant, vengeful little deity surfs the internet daily and if he sees your apology to me, maybe his divine and glorious rage will subside. (Can you imagine his friggin' blood pressure? I can just imagine Jesus trying to calm him down. "Dad, you're going to have a friggin' aneurism. It's not worth it, honestly...And, more importantly, if you croak then I have to be the heavy. And I have a reputation as a chill dude. A hippy, even.)

Anyway, at least one of the three gods you worship (sorry, the one god with three personalities) is a complete asshole. He's (yes folks, he has a gender) all knowing and knows that you called me an "idiot". He emphatically condemns such language (although St. Paul seemed to use it quite liberally in his letters... will the contradictions never end? Sorry I mean "apparent" contradictions.) Anyway, as far as I can see it, if you do not apologize for this transgression you're in for some cosmic ass whuppin. Your choice.

Oh, and this. http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/35wbnu

Repent muthahfuchah.
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Julius



Joined: 27 Jul 2006

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 11:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Two American tourists detained in North Korea Reply with quote

Smithington wrote:
Julius wrote:
catman wrote:
if it turns out that they were proselytizing my sympathy for them will be reduced.


So you don't believe in personal freedom? freedom of religion? You're on the side of the opressors?

Quote:
At least they won't be reproducing and providing the world with another generation of unintelligent fools.


Most education and scientific advancement-at least intially- were due to christianity. Wind your neck in, you pompous idiot. I doubt you would have the balls to go to north korea or risk anything based on your beliefs- (if you had any) beyond your own self-gratification.


Tut tut. The fires of hell are licking at your arse as you read this. I suggest you repent, apologize and change your path.

https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/Matthew%205%3A22

Or are we in agreement that the bible is bullshit? If we are not in agreement, I strongly suggest you apologize. I hear your nasty, intolerant, vengeful little deity surfs the internet daily and if he sees your apology to me, maybe his divine and glorious rage will subside. (Can you imagine his friggin' blood pressure? I can just imagine Jesus trying to calm him down. "Dad, you're going to have a friggin' aneurism. It's not worth it, honestly...And, more importantly, if you croak then I have to be the heavy. And I have a reputation as a chill dude. A hippy, even.)

Anyway, at least one of the three gods you worship (sorry, the one god with three personalities) is a complete asshole. He's (yes folks, he has a gender) all knowing and knows that you called me an "idiot". He emphatically condemns such language (although St. Paul seemed to use it quite liberally in his letters... will the contradictions never end? Sorry I mean "apparent" contradictions.) Anyway, as far as I can see it, if you do not apologize for this transgression you're in for some cosmic ass whuppin. Your choice.

Oh, and this. http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/35wbnu

Repent muthahfuchah.


Why so offended by what someone else believes?

If christianity bothers you that much then you should at least learn the basics of what it actually is.
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FriendlyDaegu



Joined: 26 Aug 2012

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 11:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Two American tourists detained in North Korea Reply with quote

Julius wrote:
So you don't believe in personal freedom? freedom of religion? You're on the side of the opressors(sic)?


I was reading a Christian argument against the illegal immigration to the States a couple days ago. It boiled down to saying that Christians must follow the laws of the land unless the law is forcing you into a sinful act. They used the same reasoning to explain Paul's instruction to slaves of the Romans to 'be good'. No comments were allowed on that site so I couldn't ask them how that argument squares with the captured NK missionaries. How do you think they would answer?

Quote:
Most education and scientific advancement-at least intially- were due to christianity.


That's a bold one. I think education and advancement were around a long time before people starting converting to Christianity, and that in general religion tends to hold back advancement. I don't think we'll get anywhere arguing that one though unless you have some specific sources.
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Julius



Joined: 27 Jul 2006

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 3:22 am    Post subject: Re: Two American tourists detained in North Korea Reply with quote

FriendlyDaegu wrote:
I was reading a Christian argument against the illegal immigration to the States a couple days ago. It boiled down to saying that Christians must follow the laws of the land unless the law is forcing you into a sinful act. They used the same reasoning to explain Paul's instruction to slaves of the Romans to 'be good'. No comments were allowed on that site so I couldn't ask them how that argument squares with the captured NK missionaries. How do you think they would answer?


Sure, Christians are expected to basically be good citizens of whichever country they find themselves- work hard at an honest job, pay taxes, not commit crime etc.
Mans laws are secondary to Gods laws however so in the case of NK clearly Christians are called on to continue spreading the gospel even if it might get them killed or locked up.

Quote:
Quote:
Most education and scientific advancement-at least intially- were due to christianity.


That's a bold one. I think education and advancement were around a long time before people starting converting to Christianity, and that in general religion tends to hold back advancement. I don't think we'll get anywhere arguing that one though unless you have some specific sources.


Atheists currently hold the media and frame the discussion. So it is unsurprising that a generation or two have been taught to believe that christianity is some outdated backward superstition that blocks progress.

Nothing could be further from the truth. For example

Quote:
106 of the first 108 American colleges were started on the Christian faith. By the close of 1860 there were 246 colleges in America. Seventeen of these were state institutions; almost every other one was founded by Christian denominations or by individuals who avowed a religious purpose.

Harvard College, 1636 - An Original Rule of Harvard College: "Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life, (John 17:3), and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning."

http://www.tysknews.com/Depts/Educate/history_part3.htm


Korea is a similar story: many centers of learning were started by missionaries or chritians with the intention of improving society. That's before we even get onto hospitals.

When it comes to science..

Quote:
According to 100 Years of Nobel Prizes a review of Nobel prizes award between 1901 and 2000 reveals that (65.4%) of Nobel Prizes Laureates, have identified Christianity in its various forms as their religious preference.[9] Overall, Christians have won a total of 78.3% of all the Nobel Prizes in Peace,[10] 72.5% in Chemistry, 65.3% in Physics,[10] 62% in Medicine,[10] 54% in Economics[10] and 49.5% of all Literature awards.[10]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_thinkers_in_science
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FriendlyDaegu



Joined: 26 Aug 2012

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:38 am    Post subject: Re: Two American tourists detained in North Korea Reply with quote

I’ll do my best to keep this related to NK. A good number of the people they arrest are Christian, since proselytizing and practicing will get you swept up quick there.


Julius wrote:
Atheists currently hold the media and frame the discussion. So it is unsurprising that a generation or two have been taught to believe that christianity is some outdated backward superstition that blocks progress.


Sounds like you're talking about a particular country here. I think it's obvious that the media in a particular place will be religious or non to varying degrees according to who's pulling the strings there. And it's always changing. Probably true since the beginning of time. If Russia takes NK, the media will probably run Christian, whereas if China takes it, it'll be athiest. I guess that's the natural course of things as people and beliefs change.

I was taught that religions are superstitions, but that most of the world believes in something and nobody can agree and so they fight over it. And that there's been thousands of religions and there'll be thousands more, so there's no use in getting upset over it. My family realized that longer ago than a generation or two. If you're talking about the States, I agree that things are changing pretty quickly and that it's pretty crazy there these days.


Quote:
106 of the first 108 American colleges…


No argument there. Many esteemed colleges and hospitals of today were started by Christians. I'd assume, though, that if you asked a sample of people throughout the ages and places about religion and advancement, most of them would point to their own religion and the recent advancements of their time as owing to it.

I'm trying to think how I'd explain to a Buk-Han person that everything they have is not due to their Great Leader.. Sure, he may have founded this or that institution, but imagine a ball of advancement that grows and grows as the world moves on. All advancement is built on what came before, and the ball expands as people learn more and more about ourselves and the universe. The part of that ball making up the time of the Great Leader is on the outside, of course, and is what we see every day, but it is just a tiny, tiny thin sliver of the ball. And Great Leader worshipers make up just a percentage of that surface. The same goes for Christians, and all the other religions of today. A lot happened before we got here.. the ball was already pretty big.

I think people would advance faster without religion, but that's impossible to prove. Maybe someday we'll find a world of non-believing people who advanced faster than us. We won't know for sure until we find a thousand inhabited worlds and have enough data to study advancement vs. non-belief. I hope humans can make it that long to find out.
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On the other hand



Joined: 19 Apr 2003
Location: I walk along the avenue

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Canadian Christians detained in China, possibly NK-related...

Quote:
Shortly before 6 p.m. on Monday, Kevin and Julia Garratt went out for dinner with friends. The Garratts live in Dandong, a Chinese city that peers out over North Korea, where they are the Canadian proprietors of a popular local coffee shop. Their friends wanted to ask about their home country, where their daughter is preparing to study.

The Garratts invited their son Peter to come, but he had other plans. So when they tucked in to the food, Kevin sent a teasing text.

"You should come. Amazing dinner," he wrote.

"Take pictures for me. I can't come becaus [sic] of guests," Peter replied.

"Ya," said Kevin, in a text sent at 6:18 p.m.

But the pictures never came.

Six hours later, China's state-run Xinhua news agency sent out a short statement saying the couple are "under investigation for suspected theft of state secrets about China's military and national defense research."



The charges are murky, and there is some debate about the possible reasons for their detention(eg. retaliation against the Canadian government for cyberspying allegations). This may or may not be a clue...

Quote:
The Garratts profited from the location, both because it brought in customers and because it allowed Kevin to indulge a curiosity with the sometimes-illicit flow of goods moving into North Korea. An avid photographer, he made a hobby of documenting some of it. "There's all these restrictions on North Korea, but oftentimes you see a lot of restricted stuff going in, like luxury cars," Peter said. Once, Kevin sent pictures of a U.S. rice delivery to a Yahoo news site.

"He just likes taking pictures, and sometimes it's just funny – like, 'oh this [item] is blocked, but China is giving it anyways,' " Peter said. "But it's nothing to do with the military."



If I were in China, I would not be running around the North Korean border with a camera photographing the delivery of restricted items, military or otherwise.

link
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wishfullthinkng



Joined: 05 Mar 2010

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

should probably keep this about north korean instead of turning it into everyone vs. one religious idiot.
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Julius



Joined: 27 Jul 2006

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 7:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Two American tourists detained in North Korea Reply with quote

FriendlyDaegu wrote:
I was taught that religions are superstitions, but that most of the world believes in something


Lumping all belief systems together under the banner of "religions" and then assuming they're all the same is like saying all mammals, from whales to mice, are the same. Most of the time there is no comparison.

Quote:
No argument there. Many esteemed colleges and hospitals of today were started by Christians.


The church also held society together long before government welfare institutions were introduced. Which were themselves based on the work of churches- looking after the poor and sick etc.

My point being christian civilisation- from constantine to the United states- has been marked by rapid advancement. Its hard to understand then why anyone would try to argue otherwise.

Quote:
I think people would advance faster without religion, but that's impossible to prove.


Depends which religion. different religions have had vastly differing effects on the societies under their sway.

Quote:
Maybe someday we'll find a world of non-believing people who advanced faster than us.


Its already been done, the lessons of history are very clear. Atheistic policies produce terrible, oppressive societies that kill millions of innocent people. Pol Pot was another militant atheist for example.

Numerous nations have tried to snuff out Christianity over millenia. Its hardly a novel concept. In recent times the USSR spent nearly a century attempting to liquidate christianity, killing many millions of christians in pursuit of the same ideology you now hear western atheists (such as are on daveseslcafe) have.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Christians_in_the_Soviet_Union

Quote:
Militant atheism, according to Harold J. Berman, a Harvard specialist in Soviet law, was the state credo of the Soviet Union. The militant state atheism of the Bolshevik Revolution owed its origins to the Marxist-Leninist dictum that religion was the opium of the masses. As such, the goal of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was the liquidation of religion and the means to achieve this goal included the destruction of churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, religious monuments, as well the mass deportation of believers to Siberian forced labor camps, which is commonly referred to as the Gulag. Many of these houses of worship were converted into bath houses, granaries, and museums of atheism, the latter of which were constructed in order to proselytize the masses into accepting atheism. In addition, atheistic and antireligious carnivals were frequently held in order to promote the mockery of the religious and the beliefs that they held sacred.

Under the Soviet doctrine of separation of Church and state, detailed in the Constitution of the Soviet Union, churches in the Soviet Union were forbidden to give to the poor or carry on educational activities. They could not publish literature, since all publishing was done by state agencies. Churches were forbidden to hold any special meetings for children, youth or women, or any general meetings for religious study or recreation, or to open libraries or keep any books other than those necessary for the performance of worship services. Furthermore, under militant atheist policies, Church property was expropriated. Moreover, not only was religion banned from the school and university system, but pupils were to be indoctrinated with atheism and antireligious teachings. For example, schoolchildren were asked to convert family members to atheism and memorize antireligious rhymes, songs, and catechisms, while university students who declined to propagate atheism lost their scholarships and were expelled from universities. In addition, scientific theories, such as the Big Bang, which implied a creator God, were suppressed in favor of theories which were thought to support atheistic materialism.



the same process is underway in the west.
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FriendlyDaegu



Joined: 26 Aug 2012

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"the west is changing, blah, blah.." Of course it is.

"atheists have done terrible things, blah, blah.." They sure have.

"Christians have done great things, blah, blah.." No question!

You keep debating points and citing examples that nobody is refuting. A debate where the two parties keep bringing up examples, ignorant of counter-examples, is a stupid thing.

Quote:
My point being christian civilisation- from constantine to the United states- has been marked by rapid advancement. Its hard to understand then why anyone would try to argue otherwise.


Nobody is arguing otherwise. That would be a modification of your first point, removing the bits that I took issue with:

Quote:
Most education and scientific advancement-at least intially- were due to christianity.


I'm glad we came to some kind of agreement..


Last edited by FriendlyDaegu on Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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wishfullthinkng



Joined: 05 Mar 2010

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

he just conveniently failed to mention that religion was also the cause of many mindless wars and situations, many of which are still going on.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_war

and apparently he knows nothing of pol pot and the khmer rouge. pol pot's tyranny was not based on religion, it was to try and eradicate colonists and vietnamese because he harboured massive disdain for those groups. after he came to power he did categorize people by religion as he thought they were dangerous groups, but his campaign itself was not one inherently rooted in religion.

http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2014/03/03/a-great-myth-about-atheism-hitlerstalinpol-pot-atheism-atrocity/

did religion help the world? sure to a degree. does it and did it do more harm than good? it's hard to say in any quantifiable way but it's very likely that that is the case, and in a very extreme way. it's become so deep rooted that you can just look at all the religious nutjobs in the usa/isreal/middle east/etc. right now and feel bad for humanity.
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Julius



Joined: 27 Jul 2006

PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FriendlyDaegu wrote:
You keep debating points and citing examples that nobody is refuting.


Actually I was counterbalancing your claims that e.g. "civilisation would advance further without religion" (Christianity has been a prime cause of advancement) or that fighting is a result of religion (in some cases yes but in many others atheism has caused far greater crimes.

Congratulations however. You're one of the few atheists on here that has shown civility, honesty and rationality, I didn't think it possible from an atheist.
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FriendlyDaegu



Joined: 26 Aug 2012

PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Julius wrote:
FriendlyDaegu wrote:
You keep debating points and citing examples that nobody is refuting.


Actually I was counterbalancing your claims that e.g. "civilisation would advance further without religion" (Christianity has been a prime cause of advancement) or that fighting is a result of religion (in some cases yes but in many others atheism has caused far greater crimes.

Congratulations however. You're one of the few atheists on here that has shown civility, honesty and rationality, I didn't think it possible from an atheist.


Well, that's awkward.. when this post first showed up it was under a different name, not 'Julius'.. it had a different timestamp, too. And the text was slightly different.. the first one said, "civility, logic and rationality". Then this version popped up. Color me confused.. I just went and edited my post up there to see if I could figure out how you did that. No idea. Maybe some Dave's bug that happens if you're signed in under different names at the same time? Don't worry, I won't tell anyone your other name.
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