Reclamation of the idea of "Faith"

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Re: Reclamation of the idea of "Faith"

Post by DJ Droood » 07 Oct 2010, 17:17

wolf560 wrote:Atheists have faith that there is no Deity and that the world has its own thing.


That is a common misconception spread by theists. Athiests (or anyone else for that matter) don't need "faith" that something doesn't exist, they can simply refuse to accept the claims the "believer" is making, if they lack proof. We all do it all the time....expecting that every claim that everyone makes is true, with no backing evidence, is absurd. That is why we have jails and mental hospitals. It is up to the theist (or anyone with a faith-based claim) to offer up some proof, if it is important for them to be taken seriously. So far...nothing. Athiests certainly are under no obligation to "disprove god". In fact, most atheists probably find no more interest or importance in that question than proving or disproving that kryptonite makes Superman weaker. It simply doesn't matter. Most of the time the theist's claims are harmless, especially when they don't belong to the "dominant paradigm". The only time it really becomes an issue is when theists try to force everyone into conformity with their "faith-based" claims...homosexuality is a sin, you can't draw a picture of their storybook character with a bomb strapped to his head, god only wants us living here, etc.

Theists base this argument on the logical error that "all opinions are equal", which I agree is their right.
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Re: Reclamation of the idea of "Faith"

Post by wolf560 » 08 Oct 2010, 21:53

DJ Droood wrote:
wolf560 wrote:Atheists have faith that there is no Deity...
That is a common misconception spread by theists. Athiests (or anyone else...) don't need "faith" that something doesn't exist.
Hello DJ
I agree (and disagree)...LOL


For almost five years I was a self-avowed Atheist. I required "proof" in my own universe for everything and "Deity" offered none. I, as an Atheist, had a confident belief in this truth as I saw it; that there was no 'Supreme Deity or set of Deities'. I have since changed my mind, although not completely.

An Atheist can have... as their "Faith"... a belief in the truth that there is no "Deity".

Faith, as defined by 'FreeDictionary'...
1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.
3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters.
4. often Faith Christianity The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God
5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
6. A set of principles or beliefs.
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Re: Reclamation of the idea of "Faith"

Post by DJ Droood » 08 Oct 2010, 22:17

wolf560 wrote:Faith, as defined by 'FreeDictionary'...
1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.
3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters.
4. often Faith Christianity The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God
5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
6. A set of principles or beliefs.
I suppose another way of looking at it is you can be an atheist...have no gods....and never rationalize or define it, or even be aware of it at all. So the question of having an active belief that something doesn't exist, and rationalizing it and thinking about it over your espresso, isn't necessarily the case.

I can choose to actively disbelieve in UFOs. I'm not sure if there is already a term for this, but let's call it aufoism. So I can be an aufoist and join a club and write for their newsletter..really put a lot of "faith" into the idea that there are no UFOs.

Or, i could never really form an opinion at all, and as long as the ufos weren't zapping my house, it wouldn't cross my mind.

So yes, perhaps a bit of faith is required to not believe in something, but not nearly as much as to actively believe in a whole complex of absurdities , imo...
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Re: Reclamation of the idea of "Faith"

Post by wolf560 » 09 Oct 2010, 00:26

DJ Droood wrote:So yes, perhaps a bit of faith is required to not believe in something, but not nearly as much as to actively believe in a whole complex of absurdities , imo...
I agree..... for me it came down to how much 'flak' I got for not believing. Probably not the best way to go about being a "non-believer'...(LOL)

All of that was repeated when a local group of Pagans found out I was Druid.
They had no idea what that was and I found myself defending my views all over again.

One day we won't have to defend our views to anyone and we'll all get along, right?
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Re: Reclamation of the idea of "Faith"

Post by DJ Droood » 09 Oct 2010, 00:34

wolf560 wrote:One day we won't have to defend our views to anyone and we'll all get along, right?
hope so! :shake: Nice thing about this forum..nobody is under attack, so no need for defense..just stimulating debate!
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Re: Reclamation of the idea of "Faith"

Post by wolf560 » 09 Oct 2010, 00:45

I could not have said it better myself..!!!

It is so nice to just talk with other people :yay:
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Re: Reclamation of the idea of "Faith"

Post by echoe » 18 Dec 2010, 04:29

aye yi yi. Dare I jump into this topic?

well a couple of things, stating that a thing is, (such as "right") does not automatically induce the fact that all other than that thing is the direct opposite. The "right path" was not defined, so one can only ask what that person meant by the "right path" rather than jump to the immediate conclusion that the person is intimating that all others' paths are wrong. There are infinite possibliites left in the "right path" statement. There could be several right paths, there could be personal right paths, there could be simple and basic right paths (one such for all humans is to eat healthy natural foods or the body won't be physically supported as well as it can be, it will not endure what it could endure if sustained properly) there could absolutely be an underlying meaning that there is only one right path and an effort to persuade all others to follow that one person's ideal, but there are more than just that possiblity. There isn't just an opposite side to every coin, there's the edge of the coin, there's a middle to the coin, and there's all outside that coin as well. Engaging in a conversation about the meaning intended will usually elicit far more accuracy in perception.

Then, somewhere someone stated they'd had experiences with muslims who made statements opposing the facts, that israeli commandos hit the World Trade Centers. Okay, well, hate to say this, but they're not the only buffaloed society. When I moved to New Zealand, the entire rest of the world was plastering in its newspapers (and NZ ) how Ronnie Reagan was involved in illegally selling arms to the Mid-East. Yeah, not a peep in American papers until AFTER he was actually found to be doing that. And even then, Americans all swept it under the rug. I was horrified not that he'd done it, so many stupid leaders have done worse, but that it was so well hidden from the Americans and kept out of the news on television and in newspapers and off radios. Yeah, ummmm I find it unsettling how many Americans are unaware of the absolute power that Israel has over governing Palestine and how they commit the atrocities of denying water access to Palestinians while having swimming pools in their own backyards, how they literally steamroll entire neighborhoods that the Israeli goverment will decide in a few short hours is now Israeli property with total disregard to those families who have lived there for generations, how they'll hold up at checkpoints the trucks of farmers trying to sell their goods at external markets until the products are rotted and can no longer be sold, which means the farmer now has to figure out a different income source for that time period to feed his family. And the wonder is why some Palestinians attempt suicide bombings. When a person has nothing left to lose, well they tend to make a grand exit. That is true also of many cultures. In the Mideast, many people starve. Many people are placed in jeopardy by western idealization. Let's not forget that the Taliban was purely American fault. We helped Afghanistan fight off the Russians with promise of aid in the aftermath. Well, we didn't aid them after the war was won, we pulled out saying our job was solely to get rid of the Russians which we'd done. That left a huge void and it would have been probable that a dictatorship would fill that void. It would have been either an extremely powerful and strong GOOD person (highly unlikely) or a group of fearmongers and gangs that filled that void. The U.S. paid for, gave arms to, and fully supported the freedom fighters led by Osama Bin Laden during the war against Russia. We trained him in fighting. The man was smart. When we left Afghanistan the first time, we left many, many families trying to figure out how to compete with world prices on grain (yeah, we flood the markets with CHEAP so that no other nation can compete with our prices and no other nation can sell anything without a loss) so they had to turn to opium, a non-competetive product to make enough to feed their own families. No other country helped them either. And we wonder why Bin Laden grew so angry towards The U.S. and westernized cultures?

Also realize that to admit to having committed a terrorist act is punishable by DEATH in many muslim cultures. The men you worked with were possibly VERY aware of who committed the acts, but could not have spoken of it. You're in a society where anyone and everyone will turn you in and you can never know who your true friends are. That is their centuries of tribal systems. They aren't able to trust a friend at all. At all. (Rat Race Wall Street here I come!)

To blame their faith is to assume they accept it. One can labor under rules they do not necessarily agree with. (we do in every single country not agree with or obey all laws. Tell me no one has broken the speed limit?) It is also true that they speak with hidden meanings. They could well have been warning you not to talk of it, or if you were caught in an unprotected area, you might have been prosecuted for saying treasonous things. It's wise to listen to what isn't said as well.

I'm not trying to lambast any one country in particular, nor any religion in particular, I'm just trying to point out that a quick judgment on the sliver in someone's eye makes it easy to miss the beam in our own. No government is above covering up facts. BUT, the lesson is also found in that two wrongs don't make a right. We failed Afghanistan, we failed Bin Laden, but his answer to the failure was equally collossal. Please don't immediately judge all Muslims or all Mid-Easterners by what you were told by the few.

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Re: Reclamation of the idea of "Faith"

Post by wolf560 » 18 Dec 2010, 05:13

Wow.....

You had a lot to say, so here goes... (LOL)
Opium is something the British Empire and the East India Trading Co. exported all over the world from its bases in India. Afghanistan was a small player in this originally but has grown to be the number one producer now with the Taliban controlling much of it (see"Opium Wars" http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Opium_Wars.

I spent eight years over there; Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan just to name a few. I did not "talk to just a few" but led as many as 500 at a time in one mission after another (humanitarian as well military.)

I supplied First Aid and Medicine to the Pakistanis in the Himalayas in 2005 as well as concrete and steel for bridge building in Iraq in 2006-2007. I air dropped Eid Mubarrak, Eid-al-Fitr,and Ramadan presents as well as Christmas teddy bears into literally hundreds of villages in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007.

I lost 27 Mulsim drivers to roadside bombs and ambushes and raised money for their surviving widows and families even though we were repeatedly told by their Arabic company owners that these drivers "were beneath contempt and not deserving of anything because Allah had willed their deaths upon each of them obviously...".

I lost dozens of very good friends and as many brothers in arms to one ambush after another and did everything I could to keep those I could alive. I not only heard about but actually watched both women and men pleading for their lives as they showed up at our gates with IED vests strapped onto their bodies. A common practice in Iraq was to hold a child hostage until one of the parents allowed a bomb vest to be strapped onto their body. We rescued some of them and failed to rescue dozens of others..... we just cold not get to them all in time to get the vest off before it blew them to pieces. In answer to your unvoiced question; the Al Qaeda operatives used remote detonators to make sure the bomb vests exploded rahter than get defused after awhile.

I personally watched "good Muslims" robbing Pakistan Earthquake victims of food and medical supplies for a local warlord or Taliban leader. I had to have a armed security detail because I went after these monsters personally to retrieve the medical supplies and deliver it to the UNHCR refugee camps in Muzzafrabad, Pakistan. I later learned that the Taliban warlords had a price on my head because of these incidents but that the locals held me in high regard because I stood up to these monsters.

Short but sweet....
I have walked the long road that these stories and experiences come from.
Do not believe all of what you see on any of the TV news broadcasts, most of the reporters wanted "one good story" so they could get on a plane a leave as soon as they could. Many of them never left the safety and security of the Green Zone, some of the stories were "enhanced" so they could hopefully get a ticket home early. In my eight years overseas I saw less than five reporters actually leave the Green Zone to get the story.... less than one a year.... that in itself says a lot.

If you have any Muslim friends around ask them a question for me....
What does the phrase "In Shallah" really mean?
You'll be amazed at the answer......
...then ask them what it (unfortunately) is used for now.
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Re: Reclamation of the idea of "Faith"

Post by echoe » 18 Dec 2010, 05:53

I admire you deeply for the things you've accomplished. You've walked a very challenging road and hopefully one that gave you some satisfaction in your successes.

I'll have to ask my friends the In Shallah. It'll take me some time, as they are at a distance now, so interenet connections aren't daily.

Thanks for setting me straight again! Glad to know that you see many perspectives too. It is indeed frustrating when tribal systems work the way they have in the Mideast for thousands upon thousands of years with little or no change. It's also why I have little faith in the "democracy" set up in Iraq.... how do you erase that depth of culture and habit? It'll take far more than just a few years. Shoot, West Germany had to be re-educated and they'd only been out of the loop for what? less than 40 years?

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Re: Reclamation of the idea of "Faith"

Post by echoe » 18 Dec 2010, 06:01

oh, and wanted to add that I most certainly do not believe all I see or hear in the news. that was my first harsh lesson in going to live in another country overseas... that Americans are not above whitewashing or terrorwashing the news, either. But every other country I've lived in does much the same. You won't hear Germans speak much of WWII. Nor will the French talk about their own contributions to slavery as they lambast the U.S. for discrimination, it kind of goes all around. Makes it one of the reasons I just like to sit down, and enjoy a hearty conversation with people in general. Gives me a different perspective than what a news journalist would tell me.
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Re: Reclamation of the idea of "Faith"

Post by wolf560 » 18 Dec 2010, 06:04

echoe wrote: It's also why I have little faith in the "democracy" set up in Iraq.... how do you erase that depth of culture and habit? It'll take far more than just a few years.
Thanks :tiphat:

Most of my friends do not honestly believe we will ever erase that depth of culture and many would say that was never our purpose in the first place. Most of my Iraqi friends (yes, I still talk to a few of them) say they miss the Ameriki's because the 'gangsters are running wild now'. But they all agree that is FAR better than Saddams nightmare ever was.

Afghanistan is another matter altogether and I wish the current administration luck as they try to wrangle this monster in. I truly have no answer for that drug addled, corrupt, tribal driven culture..... we need to teach them to farm something else but it is the Warlords that control everything (so good luck....)

My fondest memories are still playing soccer with a bunch of Pakistani refugee children in the ruins of Muzzafrabad Pakistan in 2005. We had just come out of Skinkiari military base and had a few hours to wait for our heavy escort to arrive. We passed out some Halal meals and they spotted my soccer ball on the dash of my unarmored escort truck. For just a few hours, the horror of the Earthquake was put aside as almost 50 kids played soccer against me and my ten guards (we lost miserably, LOL).

P.S. I agree with the Germany statement.. I lived in Frankfurt for ten years back in the 80's and they were very reluctant to say anything about WW2.
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Re: Reclamation of the idea of "Faith"

Post by echoe » 20 Dec 2010, 01:37

I have a question...

Why does it take "less" faith to be a non-believer than it does to be a believer? I find it equally as easy to believe in extra-terrestrial as I do in not believing in extra-terrestrial. Barring evidence, a thing can just as easily be as it can not? No?

I mean, well, (some will kick me for saying this, but I don't mean to belittle anyone's experiences in life that lead them to the contrary!) There isn't evidence that a God or Gods exist, but there isn't evidence that he/they don't either. Why is it harder to believe?

I hope I'm not putting words in anyone's mouth by suggesting that maybe you mean it's harder to believe because people are setting up "rules" of belief? In which case, the "rule" of non-belief would be easier. Then we're talking about believing what organized religion tells us, not in belief itself.

Am I on the right track? I find it EQUALLY as easy to believe there is/are a deity/s as to believe that there isn't/aren't. Then there are personal life experiences that have led me to believe the former. From there, all else I believe is personal/guesstimating conjecture.

What I find highly curious, is how humans have passed down the ritualistic traditions and talked of God for such a long time, and yet it hasn't died out, but become more magnified. With so many cultures that have split off, languages that have been built up, you'd think there would be huge and vast areas of population with atheism. Not trying to diminish atheism at all, nor diminish the number of them, but it's just a curiosity of mine that I wait for answers to in world observances. Even among agnostics there are many believers. And I don't see fear behind most of it either... Buddhism doesn't operate on fear, Christianity does and doesn't, Islam does and doesn't, but fear isn't behind the majority of belief.

Why such a pervasive sense of belief in the divine?

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Re: Reclamation of the idea of "Faith"

Post by wolf560 » 20 Dec 2010, 03:23

echoe wrote:Why does it take "less" faith to be a non-believer than it does to be a believer?

What I find highly curious, is how humans have passed down the ritualistic traditions and talked of God for such a long time, and yet it hasn't died out, but become more magnified.

Why such a pervasive sense of belief in the divine?
Two questions here that I see....
I feel that it takes just as much "Faith" to do either since it is my contention that "Faith" should not be limited to just the people who believe in 'Christians'. Unfortunately I see that too many people see the word "Faith" and somehow immediately assume the Christian/ Islamic/ Jewish link and skip all the rest of the worlds population.

I have a theory on the "pervasiveness of God"...
Everyone feels that there is 'something' out there and seeks an understanding of it.
Some people like to be on the forefront and do not mind exploring
Many people would rather follow someone else.

This leads to large flocks of people that are comfortable doing what others tell them to do.
This leads to cases like the Crystal Cathedral where a large group can do very good things.

In some cases this also leads to groups BLINDLY following the leadership.
That leads to incidents such as Jonestown, Waco Texas, and Heaven's Gate...

As in all things human, sometimes it is good and sometimes it is bad.
I like to say that sometimes it is a case of "Intent versus Impact"
You might believe you are doing a good thing while in fact causing more harm than good.
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Re: Reclamation of the idea of "Faith"

Post by echoe » 20 Dec 2010, 07:08

Cool thoughts. I was asking the first question because it was stated earlier in this thread that it was easier to not believe than it was to believe. Just wondered why that person thought it.

You put the second question into good perspective. Geez, I think I am the nutty professor these days. My thoughts will come uncluttered again I'm sure, going through a rough patch medically but not too bad. You say things very well Mark, very clearly and organized. Thanks!

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Re: Reclamation of the idea of "Faith"

Post by Melhael » 20 Dec 2010, 10:00

echoe wrote:Why does it take "less" faith to be a non-believer than it does to be a believer?
Not believing doesn't require faith. Doing nothing requires no effort. :)
echoe wrote:I find it equally as easy to believe in extra-terrestrial as I do in not believing in extra-terrestrial. Barring evidence, a thing can just as easily be as it can not? No?
Interesting example, and no. :)

Belief in the existence of extraterrestrial life doesn't rely on faith. There are ample proof that life exists, that it is resilient and aggressive. We now know for a fact that it does not rely only on carbon, water, oxygen, etc. but can incorporate other elements in its DNA—even here on Earth, we have now found different type of life, although we had always thought there was only one (here). So, it's a reasonable assumption. (I'm not trying to convince anyone there is alien life out there. I'm just pointing out that the probability exists. There could be no life outside of the Earth, though at this point I think most will admit it is unlikely.)

There has never been any hint, not even the slightest, that the divine may exist (the only hints we ever got were when we misinterpreted signs around us—like the apparent complexity of Nature, that is now easily explained by science... but wasn't always). There's no reason to assume there are gods, other than our (sometimes strong) desire for them to exist.

In a way, it's a pity because we miss something by clinging to the traditional idea of the divine. I think we should embrace the truth, admit that our view of the divine is outdated and embrace its real nature, its real level of existence: fiction.

Fiction is a wonderful, powerful thing. Gods have the same level of existence as the Doctor, Buffy, Superman, Santa and just about any iconic character out there. And it's not sad or trivial. The heroes of our stories help us do good, they remind us how great it is to achieve something good and positive and beautiful. They empower us to be heroes ourselves. Fiction is one of the few things that make us truly Human. It's not murder and rape: animal do that too (meet our nasty cousins, the chimpanzees). It's not even laughter. Rats laugh (yeah, I know, sort of scary that one). It's STORIES.

That's how I can call myself a Pagan and an Atheist. I now realise I was a Pagan decades before I even new about modern Druidry. I have always believed in my Heroes. They helped me make it through life, they inspired me. Of course, if I'm attacked in a dark ally, they won't fly down and save me. They're not that sort of real. But they might help me through it, still.

So, I have faith in Humankind. I have faith in Humankind because we made the heroes, the gods. We invented them: better versions of ourselves towards which we strive. I have faith in me and my ability to achieve my dreams (because that's real faith... if I were to go with the statistical evidence on this one, I'd be screwed... ;)).

But no, saying there's no magic and no gods doesn't require faith. It does not require anything. Except maybe the will to suppress our own desire for something we are not going to get that way (but can get some other way).

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Re: Reclamation of the idea of "Faith"

Post by treegod » 20 Dec 2010, 10:35

*Like* @ Melhael

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Re: Reclamation of the idea of "Faith"

Post by DJ Droood » 20 Dec 2010, 13:57

Melhael wrote:
echoe wrote:Why does it take "less" faith to be a non-believer than it does to be a believer?
Not believing doesn't require faith. Doing nothing requires no effort. :)

I have a sliding scale of faith....if my co-worker tells me she bought me a coffee and it is on my desk, I will have "faith" it is there, even before I take a look. If she tells me she borrowed $20 from the office petty cash to buy pens, I would "believe" her, but want to see the receipt. If she tells me a psychotic, homophobic, omniscient, divine jew created our office and contols everything that happpens in it, I would point out that I think our boss is Anglican, and I would have to look into her claims further. (then I would call security.)
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Re: Reclamation of the idea of "Faith"

Post by Melhael » 20 Dec 2010, 14:16

DJ Droood wrote:I have a sliding scale of faith....if my co-worker tells me she bought me a coffee and it is on my desk, I will have "faith" it is there, even before I take a look. If she tells me she borrowed $20 from the office petty cash to buy pens, I would "believe" her, but want to see the receipt. If she tells me a psychotic, homophobic, omniscient, divine jew created our office and contols everything that happpens in it, I would point out that I think out boss is Anglican, and I would have to look into her claims further. (then I would call security.)
What you are describing is trust, not faith. Trust is how you assess the reliability of a person. Faith jumps in if your colleague tells you: "I assure you, there's a thing called 'coffee'. It's brown and liquid. I've seen it with my own eyes." :P

(edit: on second thought, my example's terrible. It also describes a trust situation...)

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Re: Reclamation of the idea of "Faith"

Post by DJ Droood » 20 Dec 2010, 14:29

Melhael wrote:
DJ Droood wrote:I have a sliding scale of faith....if my co-worker tells me she bought me a coffee and it is on my desk, I will have "faith" it is there, even before I take a look. If she tells me she borrowed $20 from the office petty cash to buy pens, I would "believe" her, but want to see the receipt. If she tells me a psychotic, homophobic, omniscient, divine jew created our office and contols everything that happpens in it, I would point out that I think out boss is Anglican, and I would have to look into her claims further. (then I would call security.)
What you are describing is trust, not faith. Trust is how you assess the reliability of a person. Faith jumps in if your colleague tells you: "I assure you, there's a thing called 'coffee'. It's brown and liquid. I've seen it with my own eyes." :P

(edit: on second thought, my example's terrible. It also describes a trust situation...)

hmmmm....in that case, this "god" character has never brought me a coffee....never promised to get me a coffee....in fact, seems to not be involved at all in my morning coffee ritual, so what use is it, I ask?

I suppose the theists will claim god "made" the coffee, (in which case, I say well done god, but one more scoop tomorrow morning, please) or perhaps He "grew" the coffee....Juan Valdez himself might even claim this....(what is it called when one fictional character is used as a witness for another fictional character?)
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Re: Reclamation of the idea of "Faith"

Post by Melhael » 20 Dec 2010, 14:47

DJ Droood wrote:(what is it called when one fictional character is used as a witness for another fictional character?)
It's called a plot twist. :whistle:

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