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Author Topic:   Christianity is Morally Bankrupt
Jazzns
Member (Idle past 2813 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


(1)
Message 8 of 652 (693995)
03-21-2013 10:14 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by GrimSqueaker
03-20-2013 4:29 PM


4 - Freedom of Choice.

It is not just an issue of being compelled to believe. In some versions of Christianity, your salvation is pre-ordained. Essentially, some Christians believe that God created some people for the sole purpose of being eternally punished.

I came to appreciate some of Hitchen's arguments after I had become an atheist and one in particular sticks with me. This is of course once you dispense with the nonsense that is young earth creationism. Mankind in its mostly modern form has been on the earth for perhaps hundreds of thousands of years. In that time we have suffered, died, lived in ignorance and fear of the unknown for the vast majority of this time. All that time a God in heaven looked down upon his creation and did nothing. Then in the only the last few thousand years, when humans had only the most rudimentary and error prone methods of recording information, that THEY developed with massive trial and error over this expanse of time, only then does God finally say, "enough is enough, we need to do something about the salvation of humans."

It makes me think back to some young earth claims that once you include deep time, that it destroys the foundation of their religion. I used to think that they were just being sticklers but now that I think about it, they might be right.


If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers. --Carl Sagan

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by GrimSqueaker, posted 03-20-2013 4:29 PM GrimSqueaker has not yet responded

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Jazzns
Member (Idle past 2813 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


(1)
Message 83 of 652 (694527)
03-25-2013 10:57 AM
Reply to: Message 71 by NoNukes
03-24-2013 6:30 PM


I accept that the sun is going to become a red giant and will likely incinerate the entire inner solar system. Before that, the sun's aging will have erased all terrestrial life. I claim that those are the consequences for even those who worship Apollo and believe he will prevent such things. I don't accept that my belief in such a horrible thing is morally bankrupt.

But you are not attributing any agency or intent to that action. It is hard to talk about morals but at the very least in our justice system, intent is something that we recognize is important. That is pretty much the only distinction between crimes such as manslaughter versus murder.

A volcano erupting and forcing an island of native people to flee is not morally wrong but forcibly evacuating a native people to test your nuclear weapons is. A volcano, the sun, do not have agency therefore your belief in their eventual catastrophic emanations doesn't say anything about its or your morality.

God on the other hand, commits genocide when he very certainly does not have to and does it with clear intent. Again with the caveat that morality is a loose thing to begin with, I think that sympathizing with the idea of a God who would intentionally murder an entire society simply to clear off a piece of land is immoral.

The main point is, that such a belief is inherently different from the belief that the sun will one day destroy the earth. It says nothing about what you are willing to believe other than that you accept rational predictions based on evidence.


If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers. --Carl Sagan

This message is a reply to:
 Message 71 by NoNukes, posted 03-24-2013 6:30 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 84 by GrimSqueaker, posted 03-25-2013 1:12 PM Jazzns has responded
 Message 86 by NoNukes, posted 03-25-2013 1:24 PM Jazzns has responded
 Message 87 by NoNukes, posted 03-25-2013 1:31 PM Jazzns has responded

  
Jazzns
Member (Idle past 2813 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 85 of 652 (694547)
03-25-2013 1:19 PM
Reply to: Message 84 by GrimSqueaker
03-25-2013 1:12 PM


Welcome
Yea, no problem.

I don't know if you are aware of the personal messaging system on the board. If not, consider yourself now aware and see if you can find it at the top of the page. You should have a message from me.

Welcome to EvC.


If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers. --Carl Sagan

This message is a reply to:
 Message 84 by GrimSqueaker, posted 03-25-2013 1:12 PM GrimSqueaker has not yet responded

  
Jazzns
Member (Idle past 2813 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 89 of 652 (694568)
03-25-2013 6:52 PM
Reply to: Message 86 by NoNukes
03-25-2013 1:24 PM


I would have provided a different answer if GrimSqueaker had addressed his question to God's morality or even to the morality of worshipping such a being. But he did not do so. Instead he has talked about the Christian mindset, and and Christian's personal moral responsibility for God's judgment on someone who isn't a Christian. I am curious as to why he does this, but so far I haven't seen him pose the question you ask here.

Well, I don't think he is communicating very well on that point. At the same time, I think this debate has gotten bogged down on some technicalities.

I think the fundamental point is simply that it is the ideas expressed in a common reading of the Bible are immoral. This is very easy to see in the idea of God as expressed in the Old Testament such as in my example. I submit that it is also easy to see in the items in the OP if you are generous enough to overlook the way the issues were posed.

The idea of vicarious redemption is immoral. That is a very defendable position to hold. The fact that some Christians get by with a nuanced version of faith that doesn't contain vicarious redemption is irrelevent to the notion that many, perhaps even most, do.


If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers. --Carl Sagan

This message is a reply to:
 Message 86 by NoNukes, posted 03-25-2013 1:24 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 97 by NoNukes, posted 03-29-2013 9:02 AM Jazzns has responded

  
Jazzns
Member (Idle past 2813 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 90 of 652 (694569)
03-25-2013 6:59 PM
Reply to: Message 87 by NoNukes
03-25-2013 1:31 PM


I suspect that there are far more people that believe that the sun will become a red giant than there are who can actually defend that believe based on the evidence. Is that actually evil in some way?

This has nothing to do with my point about agency or intent. If someone had a random belief that the sun will turn into a red giant without ever having heard any evidence then my point actually still holds.

It is simply the counterpoint to a belief by faith that many people's understanding of the ultimate fate of the sun are in fact guided at least somewhat by the evidence even if it is filtered by an imperfect spread of science literacy. My point did not depend on that at all, it is simply strengthened by it.


If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers. --Carl Sagan

This message is a reply to:
 Message 87 by NoNukes, posted 03-25-2013 1:31 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 91 by NoNukes, posted 03-25-2013 8:58 PM Jazzns has responded

  
Jazzns
Member (Idle past 2813 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 94 of 652 (694583)
03-25-2013 11:47 PM
Reply to: Message 91 by NoNukes
03-25-2013 8:58 PM


Missing the point
I don't see any distinction between that and how people decide that God's judgment is inevitable other than that you don't believe the latter.

God's judgement is imbued with the agency of God. That is the point that you are completely missing. My last sentence talked about using evidence and it absolutely doesn't matter. I certainly would call evidence based beliefs moral but that is not required to state the Bible based beliefs are in fact immoral. This situation is not a dichotomy.

I'll speak about the points in the OP that I agree with. I already mentioned one, vicarious redemption is immoral. We do not allow whipping boys in our society. Its wrong and there is no, "the sun is going to blow up" analogy for you to hide behind. It is precisely wrong because it is an idea that comes from the immoral agency of God's so-call judgement of mankind. Without that agency, the notion that we even NEED redemption falls down completely.

The idea of heaven and hell is another good one. Which one you go to is solely determined by the agency of God! You can draw a similarity between hell and the Earth engulfed by the sun but the sun is not making a choice between burning the Earth or between burning some people on the earth for eternity.

It is an immoral concept because immorality can only come from things with an agency to decide to be immoral. When a person throws a stone, it is not possible for the stone itself to be immoral.


If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers. --Carl Sagan

This message is a reply to:
 Message 91 by NoNukes, posted 03-25-2013 8:58 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 95 by purpledawn, posted 03-29-2013 6:28 AM Jazzns has responded
 Message 96 by NoNukes, posted 03-29-2013 8:54 AM Jazzns has responded
 Message 107 by GDR, posted 03-29-2013 6:44 PM Jazzns has responded

  
Jazzns
Member (Idle past 2813 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 98 of 652 (694824)
03-29-2013 10:42 AM
Reply to: Message 95 by purpledawn
03-29-2013 6:28 AM


Still missing the point
I assume we aren't really addressing moral bankruptcy anymore.

Why would you assume that? What part of the discussion was not talking about the morality of the ideas involved in Christianity?

Nothing in your reply addressed the issue of agency. You quibbled about whether Jesus really counts as vicarious redemption and whether the whole heaven/hell selection was any different from a normal justice system. Those are examples I am using to support a larger point.

My point was originally, and remains, that our ability to judge the morality of these beliefs versus random acts of nature rests in the agency and intent embedded in the belief.

The reason we can even address the issue of morality on the question of vicarious redemption is because the redemption in this case is in the eyes of a particular agent. The reason we can do the same for the heaven/hell concept is because an agent is the arbiter of eternal torture versus eternal bliss.

That is what makes these ideas different from the sun blowing up, or a volcano erupting. Morality is a property of (im)moral actors of which the sun, a volcano, are very obviously not.

Edited by Jazzns, : I mixed up who I was replying to. I changed some stuff that seemed to suggest I was talking to Nukes.


If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers. --Carl Sagan

This message is a reply to:
 Message 95 by purpledawn, posted 03-29-2013 6:28 AM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 99 by NoNukes, posted 03-29-2013 10:58 AM Jazzns has responded
 Message 106 by purpledawn, posted 03-29-2013 2:01 PM Jazzns has responded

  
Jazzns
Member (Idle past 2813 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 100 of 652 (694828)
03-29-2013 11:06 AM
Reply to: Message 96 by NoNukes
03-29-2013 8:54 AM


Ideas can be immmoral
I don't use 'sun blowing up' for every argument. But whipping boy is a poor description for God himself coming to earth and creating a way for us to escape consequences of our own making.

Whipping boy may have been a bit hyperbolic, but the main point is the issue of redemption, the need for a redemption, is only necessary due to the judgment of the actor who is God defining those "consequences of our own making." That whole notion that there are even consequences needing redemption is the basis for why the idea vicarious redemption can be judged as immoral.

It is an immoral concept because immorality can only come from things with an agency to decide to be immoral.

Exactly. I don't decide what the rules on judgment day are, I just believe the rules as I understand them are the rules. I don't act in fear of the rules, because judgment is not the point of Christianity anymore than is a speaker's plaque the point of giving a good speech. Christianity ultimately is about living a life patterned after Christ's life on earth. I'm not aware of anything Christ did in his 30 or so years on Earth that I find immoral.

A lot of other replies in this thread have gone down this path of trying to say that one idea or another from the OP is or is not "Christianity". You say that you don't find anything Christ did to be immoral but I would push back on that to ask if you know of ANY modern concept of Christianity, any belief system that is only based on what Christ supposedly did? It is in fact not a stretch to say that many of the ideas in the OP are in fact part of the dogma of many popular and influential forms of Christianity apart from the actual actions of Christ.

Finally, it is not only about what Christ DID but what he was selling as truth. Christ himself (if we just assume the bible is accurate for the moment) believed in hell as a place of fiery torment and he said that he was the arbiter of who would go there. If immorality is the property of an agent, Christ is in fact the agent in the case of this idea of torture by fire (I don't recall if Christ ever said it would be eternal but still....). To say that nothing that Christ DID offends your sense of morality is one thing, to say that the ideas listed in the OP that can in fact be attributed to Christ are therefore of no consequence is frankly disingenuous.


If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers. --Carl Sagan

This message is a reply to:
 Message 96 by NoNukes, posted 03-29-2013 8:54 AM NoNukes has not yet responded

  
Jazzns
Member (Idle past 2813 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 101 of 652 (694829)
03-29-2013 11:14 AM
Reply to: Message 97 by NoNukes
03-29-2013 9:02 AM


Elsewhere I address vicarious redemption, but I think it does matter that some beliefs are not inherent to Christianity because Christianity is what is blanketly being called immoral.

I think it is both wrong to:
1. Say that the the ideas in the OP apply to all of Christianity as a monolithic belief system.
2. Say that therefore it is impossible to speak about Christianity in a general sense where many if not most of actual instances of Christianity in our modern world DO IN FACT hold those beliefs.

Perhaps the statement should be changed from "Christianity is Morally Bankrupt" to "Many Foundational and Common Christian Beliefs are Morally Bankrupt".

I think we had a problem both of Grim not being too precise and others being too pedantic.


If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers. --Carl Sagan

This message is a reply to:
 Message 97 by NoNukes, posted 03-29-2013 9:02 AM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 109 by NoNukes, posted 03-29-2013 8:03 PM Jazzns has responded

  
Jazzns
Member (Idle past 2813 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 102 of 652 (694832)
03-29-2013 11:27 AM
Reply to: Message 99 by NoNukes
03-29-2013 10:58 AM


Re: Still missing the point
Again, the question addressed by my argument was a Christian's attitude towards the fact of having to face judgment and not whether God was an immoral actor.

And again, that belief is immoral because of the agency of God. That IS what makes it different from belief that the sun is going to blow. You seem to be focusing on the point that both people believe that the respective end games are inevitable. My point is that you can speak about the morality of the first idea but not the second because an agent, an actor with the choice to be moral or not exists in the first one.

The belief that a guy on a throne has the ability to ETERNALLY torture you for the choices you made in an 80 year lifespan is an immoral belief.


After all, would not a Creationist believe that God is responsible for creating a sun with a finite store of hydrogen?

Presumably yes. In that case it is actually possible to apply the moral question once you insert the agency of the creator God. If it is actually in God's purvue to destory the earth, it doesn't matter the means by which that is accomplished, we can still judge it to be immoral.

To further clarify, the question of if the belief that the sun will eventually blow up is a moral belief is a non-answerable. Its not possible to apply morality to the sun because the sun does not have agency. Once you insert God, you CAN ask the question because the morality of the situation now applies to God, not the sun.


If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers. --Carl Sagan

This message is a reply to:
 Message 99 by NoNukes, posted 03-29-2013 10:58 AM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
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Jazzns
Member (Idle past 2813 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 112 of 652 (694863)
03-29-2013 11:28 PM
Reply to: Message 106 by purpledawn
03-29-2013 2:01 PM


Re: Still missing the point
Because the originator didn't even know there was a definition to moral bankruptcy (Message 78) and moral bankruptcy is about action, not ideas.

The originator picked a phrase. He perhaps should have picked a different phrase but how he described what he meant made it reasonably clear to a reader that was he was talking about is the quality of the ideas. In particular, the negative quality of the ideas.

Ideas can in fact be judged and ideas can in be moral or immoral.

I'm not really sure how you're using the word agency.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/agency

quote:
3: a person or thing through which power is exerted or an end is achieved

Moral bankruptcy is about actions of the living, not beliefs.

And you are being overly pedantic.


If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers. --Carl Sagan

This message is a reply to:
 Message 106 by purpledawn, posted 03-29-2013 2:01 PM purpledawn has not yet responded

  
Jazzns
Member (Idle past 2813 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 113 of 652 (694864)
03-29-2013 11:41 PM
Reply to: Message 109 by NoNukes
03-29-2013 8:03 PM


So if many, but not most do hold those beliefs, according to your statement it would still be okay to make general statements and apply them to all Christians or to Christianity in general. That implication at least seems wrong to me.

Well, I mean is it not possible to talk about the category of people who do hold those beliefs? How specific must we be before we can talk about a genuine set of beliefs that our neighbors do actually hold to in part or whole by their very own admission?

Some of us think that these beliefs are destructive. How do you propose we talk about them in a rational manner?

You can generalize as much as you want. But a perfectly good response to a generalization is to simply point out the generalization is false.

Nobody is trying to use a generalization to hide anything. If there was a simple word that meant, a large body of people that hold to many of these beliefs in varying degrees, we would use that word. But there is a somewhat common understanding that many people who call themselves Christian do in fact profess some of these ideas. You don't have to go very far at all to find examples of people warning about the dangers of hell or extolling the wonders of Jesus's sacrifice for humanity.

And these people call their religion something, they call it Christianity.

Edited by Jazzns, : changed the ending a bit


If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers. --Carl Sagan

This message is a reply to:
 Message 109 by NoNukes, posted 03-29-2013 8:03 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 117 by NoNukes, posted 03-30-2013 4:10 AM Jazzns has responded
 Message 121 by purpledawn, posted 03-30-2013 6:03 AM Jazzns has responded

  
Jazzns
Member (Idle past 2813 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 114 of 652 (694865)
03-29-2013 11:48 PM
Reply to: Message 110 by NoNukes
03-29-2013 8:06 PM


Re: Still missing the point
Forget heaven, hell, salvation or all of the other stuff that have actually been brought up. You can find God evil for only giving sol 9-10 billion years worth of hydrogen. I find that idea laughable.

If he is doing it because a girl and a guy ate an apple from the wrong tree a long time ago, yea it is still evil.

My kids are eventually going to die. It was not immoral of us to bring them into the world because we don't have any control over how the leave it.

God presumably does have control and the reasons why he exerts that control matters. Thats the point.


If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers. --Carl Sagan

This message is a reply to:
 Message 110 by NoNukes, posted 03-29-2013 8:06 PM NoNukes has acknowledged this reply

  
Jazzns
Member (Idle past 2813 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 115 of 652 (694870)
03-30-2013 12:08 AM
Reply to: Message 107 by GDR
03-29-2013 6:44 PM


I never mind you butting in, but I think the issues you are raising are somewhat tangential to the point I was trying to make.

Lewis writes:

All that are in Hell, choose it.

It really is hard to think of an idea, that is MORE pathetically evil than this idea.

Absolutely. Again, it is about where our hearts are. Are we motivated by selfishness or do we genuinely care for others as we do for ourselves.

I wasn't talking about the morality of people. I am talking about the morality of ideas held by Christians and why we should be allowed to judge those ideas.


If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers. --Carl Sagan

This message is a reply to:
 Message 107 by GDR, posted 03-29-2013 6:44 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 116 by GDR, posted 03-30-2013 1:42 AM Jazzns has responded

  
Jazzns
Member (Idle past 2813 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 184 of 652 (695004)
04-01-2013 10:54 AM
Reply to: Message 117 by NoNukes
03-30-2013 4:10 AM


Equivocation
If you want to toss around accusations that people are evil, perhaps you should be accurate about who you mean to address.

Have I called the people evil? I don't believe I have. Perhaps you could point to where I called a person evil so I could appologize.

I am talking about the ideas. Christianity is not a person, it is a belief system, a set of ideas. It is those ideas that I believe deserve the criticism and the label of evil.

Pretty much all of the stuff you describe is simply not central to Christianity.

Can you really, with a straight face, say that the concept of heaven and hell is not central to many Christians? I have myself been a member of a variety of churches who DO believe in heaven and hell and vicarious redemption (just to take the 2 I have focused on).



Southern Baptist
www.sbc.net/aboutus/basicbeliefs.asp

God the Son
Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ, He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. ...He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross, He made provision for the redemption of men from sin.
...
Salvation
Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification.
...
Last Things
God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. ...Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly...the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell. ...The righteous... will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.

North American Baptist
www.nabconference.org/about-us/our-beliefs


We believe God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring all things to their appropriate end and establish the new heaven and the new earth (Ephesians 1:9-10, Revelation 21:1). The certain hope of the Christian is that Jesus Christ will return to the earth suddenly, personally and visibly in glory according to His promise (Titus 2:13; Revelation 1:7; 3:11; John 14:1-3). The dead will be raised, and Christ will judge mankind in righteousness (John 5:28-29). The unrighteous will be consigned to the everlasting punishment prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25-41, 46; Revelation 20;10). The righteous, in their resurrected and glorified bodies, will receive their reward and dwell forever with the Lord (Philippians 3:20-21; II Corinthians 5:10; I Thessalonians 4:13-18).

United Penecostal
http://www.upci.org/about-us/beliefs


About Sin and Salvation

Everyone has sinned and needs salvation. Salvation comes by grace through faith based on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. (See Romans 3:23-25; 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9.)

...

About the Future

Jesus Christ is coming again to catch away His church. In the end will be the final resurrection and the final judgment. The righteous will inherit eternal life, and the unrighteous eternal death. (See I Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 20:11-15.)

I was only somewhat surprised to find very little about these things in a brief lookup of Methodist statements of belief. In my experience as a Methodist they certainly were a lot less forceful about the whole fire and brimstone. Nevertheless, heaven and hell and the concept of Jesus as a sacrifice were certainly a part of life as a Methodist in my church.

These are of the few churches I belonged too but I certainly could go on, my point though is not that NOBODY can create a set of beliefs that rejects these ideas and still call themselves Christian. If someone wants to come in here and say that they are a Christian and they don't believe in heaven or hell, they don't believe in Jesus as a sacrifice, etc, thats fine. If there was a word to describe the difference between that person and other Christians who OBVIOUSLY DO believe in those things, I would use that word and have encouraged Grim to use that word too.

But we don't have that word. It doesn't exist. That is why I encouraged Grim to focus on the ideas and not the labels. But to suggest that in a common understanding of Christianity, that these are ideas that have no popularity among the vast variety of Christians out there is just plain wrong. A charitable reading of the OP would understand what Grim meant when he talked about "Christianity" with respect to those ideas. Instead what we have had is an unecessary exercise in equivocation to avoid talking about the actual ideas themselves and their value or lack of value.


If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers. --Carl Sagan

This message is a reply to:
 Message 117 by NoNukes, posted 03-30-2013 4:10 AM NoNukes has not yet responded

  
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