No Fault

How can one say it to friends?

It isn’t our fault.

It isn’t our fault if the people who raised us, and the people who raised them, were given bad information by other well-meaning but misled people. People like Ken Ham and Kent Hovind.

Or that you simply could not check out the legitimacy of information sources back then, at least not the way you can now.

In looking at Ken Ham, or the creationist who misled my own childhood (Carl Baugh), I cannot help but repeat the bottom line. For those who grew up under the same unfortunate information: it isn’t our fault gang. It is the fault of the false teachers, those who set themselves up as authorities without doing the work of actually being educated about the subjects in which they made their claims. People like Ham and Hovind and Baugh. And yes – people like the writer of Genesis. Pretenders, one and all, acting as though they knew things that they did not know. Granting themselves titles and positions. Posturing as the bearers of the True Light. And holding the mantra until everything in their wake has wound up being a distortion of truth and fact and right.

I don’t blame you for having been given bad information. And you shouldn’t blame yourself either. But we can do something about it now. We have access to hard-won knowledge about this world – in a way that our ancestors simply could not have had.

Its OK. Its OK to actually learn. Its OK to admit being wrong, and to want to be right.

And by all means, its OK to be mad at the charlatans – and to put the blame on them.

~~~

Comments

  1. archaeopteryx1 says:

    And to make matters worse, those who raised us were people we trusted, who told us what they did, because they sincerely believed it themselves, and so, if we loved them, we had no reason to doubt.

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    • That’s the thing: it isn’t true, but nobody is lying.

      That’s very hard to sort out in the head.

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      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        Especially if you’re a child. I have three grandchildren who believe the whole thing, because their mother has told them it’s true.

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        • That must be very tough on you, Arch!

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          • archaeopteryx1 says:

            I’m just open and honest with them, Ark – I don’t preach disbelief unless asked, but when asked, I tell them briefly, exactly what I think. On those rare occasions, when the Black Sheep of the family IS actually invited to dinner, I don’t join the hand-holding circle to thank an invisible man for food my daughter worked hard to buy and prepare. The older they get, the less gullible they are. I have faith in their intelligence.

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            • Fortunately, I have never had to go through that feeling of being ostracized by family as those that are religiously inclined are all Casual Christians.
              On the rare occasions I have been in an environment where grace is said at the table I always join in but thank the dirt and cow manure and the cook.

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  2. Great post, Jericho.

    For me, as a church member and a pastor for 25 years, I have a lot guilt over the things I taught others. I regret leading them astray and encouraging their ignorance. I did what my pastors did and what my professors taught me to do. I was sincere, but quite wrong. All I can do is own my past and try to undo the ignorance I peddled for so many years. A few former church members have contacted me to let me know they don’t blame me. From their perspective, I was just sincerely teaching what I knew. Wrong? Yep. As I have often said, when you are in the bubble it all makes sense. When you are finally outside of the bubble you shake your head and say, boy, I sure believed some bat s#*% crazy stuff.

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    • archaeopteryx1 says:

      Haven’t met you Bruce, but you seem like good people.

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    • Amen Bruce. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing. Good to know we’re not alone. I was never a pastor, but I sure knew what I was talking about, back when I was talking down to people, who turned out to know more than me. 🙂

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  3. niceatheist says:

    I’m a little embarrassed by how ignorant I am of anything “worldly” or “secular”. I think it’s scary that I was pretty “liberal” compared to most of the women around me when I was a Christian. I’d like to say that it’s “no fault” of my former spiritual leaders, but I now see how that kind of manipulation keeps the masses in check, especially my own gender.

    Being in the church from a baby until I was almost 40 years old really did a number on my brain and emotions.

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    • niceatheist says:

      It’s CHope, BTW. I don’t know why it’s saying “niceatheist”, I cancelled my blog a month or so ago.

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      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        Because that’s how you’re registered with WordPress, you need to go back into WordPress and change your username. OR, if you’ve already done that, you need to log out of WordPress, delete the WordPress “cookie” on your computer, and log back in again to WordPress.

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      • Hi CHope. There are bad apples out there, and there are power hungry men in the pulpits. But I’ve known so many that were honestly trying to do their honest best. I keep telling people – these well meaning folks aren’t telling the truth, but they aren’t lying either. It seems to help those struggling with it all to separate people’s character from their incorrectness. They don’t have to be bad people to be dead wrong. Some of the most genuine people that I’ve known were the false prophets, completely delusional. It makes them effective – they don’t seem to be lying, because they aren’t. I suspect that Paul was one of those.

        But I also suspect that guys like Hovind are in it for what they can get. As are the mega church demigods.

        But a lot of folks are honestly just trying to live forever, don’t you think? We’ll drink anything if it comes with that label, or so it seems.

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        • niceatheist says:

          Hey Matt, my parents are from Pensacola and I lived there for a few years myself. I had spent a few hours in one day listening to Hovind. Since he was from the area, he spoke at the Bible School connected to my Church (Brownsville Assembly of God) at the time.

          I don’t think that Christianity bugged me as much as the fairy tale it pushed upon me. Jesus is my lover, my husband, my king and my friend. It was like Disney meets the Bible. Going back and forth between such extremities really messes with the brain. This kind of doctrine is especially encouraged among single woman, being that I didn’t marry until my early thirties, I stayed in this mindset for many years. This isn’t an isolated thought process encouraged for women, to some degree, it’s the norm.

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          • I used to live in Pensacola too (Pace, technically). I never visited Brownsville, but if you live in Pensacola, you certainly know about it. 🙂

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            • niceatheist says:

              Hey Nate, I have a sister who lives in Pace and another one who lives in Pensacola.

              Absolutely, “you certainly know about” BAG if you ever lived anywhere around there.

              My parents, sisters and I used to visit their revival services in the late nineties while we all still lived in southwest Georgia. Long story short, we ended up there at the end of 2000. Yep, a month or two before the big split between Brown and Kilpatrick at BRSM. It was my church until about the summer of 2003 when I moved to Hawai’i. I went on a missions trip with the school (I never studied there though, I have a sister who did. I graduated CFNI Dallas in 1993.). It was for a couple of weeks in England, October 2001. The year after that, I met up with one of their graduates from the US over there to minister for the summer of 2002. She and I pretty much spent most of my two months there apart.

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            • I can remember when we considered PCC for a university. I wound up going to John Brown U instead, much the same.

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              • Small world 🙂

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              • How many safe colleges are there inside the Bubble?

                I reflect on the fact that I very likely could have come to understand all of this a lot younger in life, if I hadn’t gone to JBU. It worked as a time-delay on discovery. But it is distressing – looking backward now – to realize that I got a science degree there without being exposed to anything about origins, etc. The engineering and math education were fabulous. But they cut the line with such precision, and what is left out is simply left out, and you are none the wiser. Literally.

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              • I didn’t go to a Christian school at all. All my primary and secondary education was in a public school, and I also went to public universities. I ended up with a business major, so I skirted the harder sciences that might have chipped away at my beliefs. I didn’t avoid them on purpose; it just wasn’t the track I chose.

                I’ve sometimes wondered how I might have figured this stuff out sooner, but I’m at a loss. Even though I was active in talking to others about religion, both in person and online, I just never really ran across a complete nonbeliever that had a good knowledge base. Almost everyone I encountered was just a different brand of Christianity. Considering the variety of beliefs one encounters online, it’s kind of amazing that I didn’t run across any atheists sooner.

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              • Interesting thoughts. I suppose that if a person doesn’t get deep into hard sciences, or comparative religion, it would be pretty easy for basic assumptions to go unchallenged.

                I was different, of course. Public school when I was young, then homeschooled for ideological reasons through high school, private Christian university, etc. And heck, just living down south in Texas.

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              • Yeah, living in the south has a lot to do with it. I’ve only ever lived in central Alabama and the panhandle of Florida. I think that’s why it took so long for me to run into anyone who wasn’t a Christian.

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              • Yeah, Alabama probably has a low, low percentage of professed non-believers. I live in Austin, which is certainly higher, but I still don’t know that many people (yet) of such persuasion.

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              • I’ve heard very good things about Austin. That’s a city I’d definitely love to visit one day.

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                Kind of trying to find a non-Jew in Israel, isn’t it?

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              • Indeed!

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          • I like your observations – I’d never seen the Disney angle before. But you’re right. The Bride of Christ thing was always sort of… weird.

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            • All of that started in my life as a young girl. I think my mom started praying for my husband while I was still eight years old. My parents didn’t care much for my sisters’ and mine well being, but being a godly mother and wife was way up there on their list for all seven of us. They outed my atheism to all of my sisters and their families over Christmas and dad believes I need deliverance (Pentecostal version of an exorcism.)

              When I went to CFNI (“Brides” for the Nations) I often saw great emphasis on sexual purity, modesty and training to be a good Proverbs 31 lady. Church after Church pushes this mentality on women. I also heard much about being a “lady in waiting” while I was a Christian.

              The whole Bride of Christ thing is quite odd. I found it more unnerving when comparisons were made between the Church (the Bride of Christ) and Christ with that of Solomon and his lover in the Song of Songs. It bothered me because Solomon supposedly had hundreds of wives, lovers and I’m pretty sure, slave girls at his call for companionship and sex. That aspect always bothered me. Then Song of Songs was also the “go to” book for Christian marriages. Again, strange for the same reasons.

              Now when I think of the song “Yes, Lord, we’ll ride with you” I’m a bit freaked out. It was the song that was sung the most while I attended Brownsville Assembly of God. It’s all about Christ’s return and Christians being the bride of Christ, dressed in white, riding along his side. After all, he’s the ultimate Prince Charming, kicking everyone’s ass to grab his bride and take her away. As weird as a concept it is, it’s in the Book of Revelation.

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    • archaeopteryx1 says:

      Stockholm Syndrome.

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      • niceatheist says:

        Thanks, Arch, I may leave it as is, I’m not on here too much.

        Stockholm Syndrome definitely.

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        • archaeopteryx1 says:

          Well, there are an awful lot of other WordPress sites out there too. It shouldn’t be that difficult, I think that if you click on your own avatar, it will take you to your WordPress Personal Profile page, where you can make those changes. Matt probably knows more about WP than I do.

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          • niceatheist says:

            I think it somehow repaired itself, Arch. Thanks for the advice though, that was kind of you.

            There’s just too much on the mend in my life right now for me to keep up with a blog. I had more re-blogs than my own entries after a while.

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  4. Excellent post. As my wife says, the cycle stops here. When I think about some of the kids that I used to teach in Bible class, I hope they reach a point where they begin to question it all too. The internet has helped open so many doors in doing the necessary research — I’m really curious to see how it affects the numbers of believers vs non-believers in the next decade or so.

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    • Thanks Nate. The internet has changed the game. I’m actually planning to add a series of YouTube playlists… YouTube has been a major resource during all this. Funny, I’m actually listening to an Alan Guth lecture right now. And my humility has been recalibrated accordingly.

      The cycle stops here.

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    • Nate, while I have you here: you’re a saint. The patience you have shown to Diana is to be commended and held up as an example.

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      • @John
        You ole smoothy… 😉
        And what’s with calling Nate a saint? Did he really deserve that? He ditched that stuff and now you have to rub his nose in it, poor bloke. Sheesh, you Australians. ( And don’t mention the test…the fifth wicket just fell.)

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        • There’s a test on?

          Nate deserves the praise. Diana, as you well know, is a special case. There’s something terribly peculiar about her, and its not just her devotion to things unseen. She’s not dumb, she’s not innocent, so whatever is going on inside her head is deliberate; a defensive mechanism. Nate handled her perfectly, and exited at precisely the right moment.

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          • Aussies v SA.
            Aussies batting..363 for 7. Ist innings.

            I always get the feeling that Crispyans are talking down their nose at Nate, merely humoring him. which grates me no end, because he knows his stuff as I’m sure you have sussed.

            Maybe we should send Nate after PRFaust? 🙂

            Did you see the list of historians he provided?
            It included Stephen Pfann.

            Sigh…what is to be dine with these nutters?
            Did you read he was adamant that he would proselytize to children as he is ‘called’ to do by god.

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            • I just checked it out. Reply posted.

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              • I thought of doing that and did Google a few names and turned up what you found – the dentist!! WTF Yeah I had to blink a couple of times when I read. LOL.

                However, when I saw Pfann, I couldn’t resist and somehow suspected you might give his list the ”works”. Well done!

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              • Apologists just love the appeals to authority, don’t they. As you pointed out, they don’t, however, use this tactic when discussing the OT and the overwhelming consensus staring them in the face. Odd people.

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              • They use the tried and trusted formulaic apologetic and avoid questions such as , How did Jesus go to heaven?

                It is easier to build a case a la EP Sanders re the resurrection and then state the Probability Argument while ignoring all the peripheral stuff, like the dead rising and going walkabout etc.
                Obfuscation is the key, and in the case of Nazareth…well, it’s simply all about money and politics these days is it not?
                Big money…

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          • archaeopteryx1 says:

            I unsubscribed from her blog because she would never publish my comments, but that sounds like it deserves a second look – shoot me a URL to Nate’s comment, if you would, and I’ll check it out. She definitely has a lot of anger, that’s obvious.

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            • It’s the thread in my latest post. It’s quite long, but the juicy bits are down toward the end.

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                Oh, she posted on YOUR BLOG? I didn’t know she ever strayed far from the security of home base. At least she can’t monitor comments that way.

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              • I think she stalks my blog.

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                Ah, lucky you! Sounds like a major crush to me! Heading over there now.

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              • Thanks for the compliment! I didn’t see it right away, but I appreciate it. I like to think that people like Diana simply aren’t familiar with the information, and if that’s the case, I completely think that patience is the way to go. But as her comments came in it became clear that her knowledge of this stuff has gotten really twisted along the way. And I guess she must believe that the Bible is completely unassailable, which makes all conversation rather moot. It’s a priori for her, and I don’t know how to talk to that…

                But thanks again for the compliment! I felt bad just ending the conversation, but I simply don’t have the time for that kind of thing right now.

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              • Don’t feel bad. For better or worse, she’ll be back.

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                John, I went through all of the comments on two of your entries, though evidently not the right one – send me a link, Ah’m beggin’ ya —

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              • This one

                http://thesuperstitiousnakedape.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/a-better-jesus-a-republican-jesus/

                Diana starts around 3.41pm, but the threads gets a little tangled. Diana, though, takes up much of the middle sections. The wacky YEC stuff is toward the end of her conversation with Nate.

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              • What evidence can one present to someone who will not accept evidence?

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  5. Great post, Matt. From a determinist perspective, the teachers were somewhat wired to believe that way. I think we are evolving out of our need to believe.

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    • Thanks Deborah. One thing that seems irreversible in all of this: information availability. Once used car salesmen are exposed for the fakes they really are, their fiefdoms are never the same again. Bring in the daylight… 🙂

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  6. Do you think that the writer of Genesis thought people would use it as an actual science and history book? If the writer intended it as allegory how would they feel about how it’s being used now? Would they laugh at how silly the notion is that people actually believe the world was created in six days?

    I certainly get the sentiment “It isn’t true, but nobody’s lying.” I found it difficult to be angry with the people who taught me creationism. They aren’t intentionally misleading others; they really believe it themselves.

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    • archaeopteryx1 says:

      “Do you think that the writer of Genesis thought people would use it as an actual science and history book?”

      Not really, because they knew quite well that their audience had no knowledge of science or history, and likely, they had very little themselves. Neither do I believe it was intended as an allegory – largely, I believe it was an effort to control an ignorant, uneducated and fearful population, and, since it (the OT) was written primarily by priests, they likely also had their own job security in mind.

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      • True, but they did have practical life experience. Most Jews readily accept evolution and, even in it’s earliest conception, didn’t find it incompatible with the Torah. I’m not making excuses. I’m just positing that maybe it wasn’t intended as an exhaustive history.

        I’m in agreement about it being intended to control a largely ignorant population. They had no better explanations of their existence, so that was easily accomplished.

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        • archaeopteryx1 says:

          “They had no better explanations of their existence, so that was easily accomplished.”

          Exactly. Don’t we all look to the “Magi,” the wise men of our era, for explanations of why things are? For me, it’s Hawking and Tyson, Krause and Kaku and Darwin, but can I prove what they say is true? No, if I were that well-informed, I wouldn’t need to rely on them, I simply trust that it is, as quite likely, did those in the Bronze Age.

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          • …”but can I prove what they say is true? No, if I were that well-informed, I wouldn’t need to rely on them, I simply trust that it is,..”

            Sometimes when I think too hard about all of this it makes my head want to explode. 🙂

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            • archaeopteryx1 says:

              Maybe, but when you don’t, you limit yourself to what IS, and lose sight of all that was, and can be.

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              • Oh, I was simply agreeing with you about having to trust what those more well-informed than I have to say on a multiplicity of subject matters, though not blindly. It is much easier to trust when the evidence can be verified.

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                And I was just explaining that sometimes you have to endure an exploding head, in order to gain a better perspective of the Universe. Why, my head has exploded dozens of times, which, I’m told, explains a lot.

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              • Oh, so I’m not alone, then? That makes me feel much better. 🙂

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    • Well, I don’t think the writer(s) of Genesis had any idea what would or wouldn’t qualify as science. But they do seem to think that it was historical in some sense… the genealogies include Adam, as though he was as real as Moses.

      Additionally, Genesis proposes to explain where pain, suffering, and death come from… and it gets the cause wrong, even if we allow for the allegorical stretch room in the text.

      In the end, it doesn’t matter much what they intended. They don’t appear to have had the Red Telephone hotline to the creator.

      Yep, they believe it themselves. So pyramid-ish, which is ironic, given the anti-Egyptian sentiments throughout the text. 🙂

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      • Sometimes I get generous when dealing with these issues because I feel like such a tool for having believed it. 🙂

        I was a tool because I believed it and a tool because I was put to work for the cause of it. And what a tool I was helping to build those pyramids.

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        • Its a load, hefting stone like that. But if it doesn’t break your back, it makes you stronger. Sadly, I think it does break some backs. Glad that’s not the case for we, the commiserating (and recovering) free.

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  7. An important message.

    Was reading your exchange with Roy over on Praysons blog. He’s an odd one, is he not?

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    • John,

      Yeah, Leroy is an odd one. But I’ve known many like him. I found him talking down to Nate, if I recall correctly, and when you’re talking down to somebody over a post as transparent as Nates – loss of faith, death of brother, etc. – you deserve a thumping. Then he picked up the Red Telephone, which was a mistake.

      There is an end to my patience, I’ll admit that. And Leroy found it.

      Like

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  1. […] My previous points have been that this indoctrination psychologically stunts these children and many of them, especially if they don’t attend secular universities, never question the doctrines that were fed to them when they were children. These adults that are designing these programs for children fully believe what they are teaching these children as truth. No one is lying; but no one is telling the truth. […]

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