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Old Nov 30, 2012, 02:58 AM   #1
Sydde
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Bill has a cunning plan

Facing off against David Silverman on the topic of the war on December, O'Reilly at one point in the discussion declared, "Christianity is not a religion, it's a philosophy."

Odd words coming from a staunch Catholic. Yet, there appears to be a devious strategery here. To start with, the First Amendment states that the government cannot endorse any religion, yet it says nothing about philosophies, so the "philosophical" principles of christianity should be acceptable. O'Reilly then goes on to say that Methodism is not ok, because that is a religion. So the plan here is to separate christianity from all of its denominations. Those are all religions, so they can keep their tax exemption, but christianity itself is a philosophy, so the government is allowed to endorse that.

Oh, and atheists are fascists, he says. Whatever that means.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 03:20 AM   #2
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The issue here is quite complex and that is because half of the concept of "democracy" is derived from the Old Testament's take on "duty" and "service". So government has, since the very beginning, had an attachment to Christianity that has never quite been broken. And I would argue that is a good thing in some cases and bad in others...but it makes some certain things quite difficult to determine...

His point about 'christmas' trees being a secular symbol I agree with...it only becomes religious once you call it more than a tree to incorporate beliefs or you decorate it with religious memorabilia. I know a lot of people that put up a tree who aren't Christian and sometimes aren't even religious at all.

With that said, the point that government should not favor religion is also a good point. Christianity is not a philosophy; it is an Abrahamic and monotheistic religion. And while I see no logical reason that one should object to a paid day off work, I also am amazed that Bill couldn't have shown a bit more empathy rather than agression. The whole labeling someone as dangerous when you don't agree with them gets old fast, and if anything, it hurts your own cause.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 03:27 AM   #3
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Well, that video brightened up an otherwise boring Friday morning.

Bill O'Reilly? Who is that guy?

He's either really, really thick - or he thinks the general public are.

(As they say - a word from the wise - we're laughing at you mate, not with you)

Edit:

The Christmas tree thing is interesting (there's no way it's secular (Wrong again Bill!) but I'll give you it's not Christian) - it's an old pagan religious tradition. The bringing of evergreen boughs into your home around midwinter. It used to be Yew and mistletoe (the old druidic favourites). It amuses me to think there might be fundamental Christian Fox News presenters enacting a pagan fertility rite by kissing under the mistletoe. (Don't do it Freya - we don't want more of them!). Bringing in fir trees came from Germany when Queen Victoria married into the German royal family. Again a pagan tradition.

So much of the Christian 'philosophy' (ho ho) symbolism, metaphor and iconography has been taken from elsewhere that aside from the memory of Jesus (which should be what Christianity actually is - I guess) one wonders if anything of it was an original invention.

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Old Nov 30, 2012, 03:56 AM   #4
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Scholars say that the accounts in the gospels indicate that jesus was probably born in September, so if christmas was not a sort of theft of the pagan Yule holiday, what is being celebrated? Some sort of holy copulation?
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 04:08 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by jeremy h View Post
Well, that video brightened up an otherwise boring Friday morning.

Bill O'Reilly? Who is that guy?

He's either really, really thick - or he thinks the general public are.

(As they say - a word from the wise - we're laughing at you mate, not with you)
He's sort of a pundit, but consider his words as a form of light entertainment for old people.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 04:10 AM   #6
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Scholars say that the accounts in the gospels indicate that jesus was probably born in September, so if christmas was not a sort of theft of the pagan Yule holiday, what is being celebrated? Some sort of holy copulation?
An awful lot of Christian stuff comes from Rome - Saturnalia is probably the best contender. (I think there was a fair bit of copulation and they even ran around with red pointy hats on)

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He's sort of a pundit, but consider his words as a form of light entertainment for old people.
Ah, that's why I found it entertaining then I guess...
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 06:53 AM   #7
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The issue here is quite complex and that is because half of the concept of "democracy" is derived from the Old Testament's take on "duty" and "service". So government has, since the very beginning, had an attachment to Christianity that has never quite been broken. And I would argue that is a good thing in some cases and bad in others...but it makes some certain things quite difficult to determine...
How can democracy be derived from the old testament when it was conceived by a polytheistic culture half a millennia before Christ?
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 08:20 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by NickZac View Post
The issue here is quite complex and that is because half of the concept of "democracy" is derived from the Old Testament's take on "duty" and "service". So government has, since the very beginning, had an attachment to Christianity that has never quite been broken. And I would argue that is a good thing in some cases and bad in others...but it makes some certain things quite difficult to determine...
You're confusing democracy with theocracy, one is by the people, the other by a God.

I can't for the life of me ever understand how a western civilization came to believe that a democracy, a political system from ancient Greece, has ever had ties to any religion. Religion is more closely tied to monarchies (chosen by God to rule) and if my history books are right, most western civilizations have either abolished or taken the religious laws out of them.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 01:48 PM   #9
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Well then that means they lose tax exempt status correct?
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 01:52 PM   #10
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Well then that means they lose tax exempt status correct?
Nah. There's a loophole. The tax exempt status is for the churches which are not Christian but Catholic, Methodist, etc. But I like the way you think....
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 02:04 PM   #11
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How can democracy be derived from the old testament when it was conceived by a polytheistic culture half a millennia before Christ?
The western notion of what we know as modern democracy comes from a combination of the Greek intention to be 'happy' and the Old Testament notion of duty.



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You're confusing democracy with theocracy, one is by the people, the other by a God.

I can't for the life of me ever understand how a western civilization came to believe that a democracy, a political system from ancient Greece, has ever had ties to any religion. Religion is more closely tied to monarchies (chosen by God to rule) and if my history books are right, most western civilizations have either abolished or taken the religious laws out of them.
That's the problem. They inherently overlap. Democracy is value-driven and American democracy came at a time when non-theism was unusual. Value implies ethics. Values are linked with morality. Morality is linked with original Old Testament values as seen in the Ten Commandments. Modern democracies have adopted derivatives of 2 (US), 3, 4 (US), 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 as reflected not only in modern law but in guiding documents, such as the US Constitution. The separation of church and state therefore becomes more difficult. I'm not saying that it is a bad thing...I believe there needs to be a strong distinction. But historically, there has been a link. I've studied this for quite a while. Some scholars assert democratic origins are pagan, and I am not disagreeing. However, there is also a religious influence that has existed through this day. A dollar bill is proof to that...

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Well then that means they lose tax exempt status correct?
That's long overdue. One of the functions of religion is that it IS a business.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 06:21 PM   #12
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Morality is linked with original Old Testament values as seen in the Ten Commandments. Modern democracies have adopted derivatives of 2 (US), 3, 4 (US), 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 as reflected not only in modern law but in guiding documents, such as the US Constitution.
Couple of flaws with that reasoning. In the first place, I have read Exodus 20: Moses did not bring down Ten Commandments, he brought down at least 47 (I counted). There is no real indication that the 37 additional edicts, which were carved on the stone tablets, carry any less divine weight than the first ten. So, rules about shellfish and mixed fibres and the treatment of slaves do not logically deserve less attention. And that tenth one, that is really problematic: how would our consumerist economy thrive without lots of coveting?

The other problem is this guy:

Thumb resize.

That is an image in the US House Chamber of the Babylonian dude who wrote up nearly 300 clauses of civil code and posted them on a stone stele in the city center. As king, he declared his code to be of divine origin, should we discount his claim or give it less weight than the laws of Moses (who I believe is absent from the capitol), which were drafted more than a millenium later? How about Shari'a? Is that somehow less credible than Torah law (which is ultimately not significantly less barbaric in its raw form)?

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That's long overdue. One of the functions of religion is that it IS a business.
Well, I disagree with that basic ethos. Religion should not be a business. Religion is about transcendent, ethereal matters. Things not of this world. Why should that be a business? Why should we allow trade in non-worldly, non-material things? Religion belongs in the place of worship, not in the marketplace.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 06:55 PM   #13
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Well, I disagree with that basic ethos. Religion should not be a business. Religion is about transcendent, ethereal matters. Things not of this world. Why should that be a business? Why should we allow trade in non-worldly, non-material things? Religion belongs in the place of worship, not in the marketplace.
He was saying that churches are run as businesses today. The religion itself doesn't have to be a business. These congregations are run as businesses dedicated to the belief system. Today their primary purpose is tax shelter. I'm surprised Apple hasn't tried that one, given its cult like fan base.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 07:02 PM   #14
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That's the problem. They inherently overlap. Democracy is value-driven and American democracy came at a time when non-theism was unusual. Value implies ethics.
The Founding Fathers were far from homogeneous in their religions beliefs (or lack there of).

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Values are linked with morality. Morality is linked with original Old Testament values as seen in the Ten Commandments.
Values and morality predate the Old Testament and are not exclusive to Judeo-Christian theology.

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However, there is also a religious influence that has existed through this day. A dollar bill is proof to that...
"In God we trust", as well as "under God" in the pledge of allegiance, were added during the Red Scare in the 50's and the Treaty of Tripoli explicitly states that "...the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,..."


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That's long overdue. One of the functions of religion is that it IS a business.
Isn't there a story in the Bible about Christ chasing the traders and merchants out of the temple?
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 08:42 PM   #15
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The Founding Fathers were far from homogeneous in their religions beliefs (or lack there of).

Values and morality predate the Old Testament and are not exclusive to Judeo-Christian theology.

"In God we trust", as well as "under God" in the pledge of allegiance, were added during the Red Scare in the 50's and the Treaty of Tripoli explicitly states that "...the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,..."

Isn't there a story in the Bible about Christ chasing the traders and merchants out of the temple?
1. The founding fathers were NOT diverse in religion.
“Lambert (2003) has examined the religious affiliations and beliefs of the Founders. Of the 55 delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, 49 were Protestants, and two were Roman Catholics (D. Carroll, and Fitzsimons). Among the Protestant delegates to the Constitutional Convention, 28 were Church of England (or Episcopalian, after the American Revolutionary War was won), eight were Presbyterians, seven were Congregationalists, two were Lutherans, two were Dutch Reformed, and two were Methodists.”

How is this not homogenous???


2. I never meant to imply that values or morality existed or did not exist prior. Duty is what is derived, and submission to authority, out of concepts of moral values. It is almost certain that morality predated religion, but that isn’t important for the sake of this discussion IMO.


3. The timing of the addition of the “God” terminology was used to show the separation between church and state still does not exist today.


I would recommend Gawthrop’s Public Service and Democracy: Ethical Imperatives for the 21st Century, as it takes a comprehensive view at the roots of democracy as well as the meaning of democracy when it was founded in the US and how religion did and did not impact the crafting of government.



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Couple of flaws with that reasoning. In the first place, I have read Exodus 20: Moses did not bring down Ten Commandments, he brought down at least 47 (I counted). There is no real indication that the 37 additional edicts, which were carved on the stone tablets, carry any less divine weight than the first ten. So, rules about shellfish and mixed fibres and the treatment of slaves do not logically deserve less attention. And that tenth one, that is really problematic: how would our consumerist economy thrive without lots of coveting?

The other problem is this guy:

That is an image in the US House Chamber of the Babylonian dude who wrote up nearly 300 clauses of civil code and posted them on a stone stele in the city center. As king, he declared his code to be of divine origin, should we discount his claim or give it less weight than the laws of Moses (who I believe is absent from the capitol), which were drafted more than a millenium later? How about Shari'a? Is that somehow less credible than Torah law (which is ultimately not significantly less barbaric in its raw form)?

Well, I disagree with that basic ethos. Religion should not be a business. Religion is about transcendent, ethereal matters. Things not of this world. Why should that be a business? Why should we allow trade in non-worldly, non-material things? Religion belongs in the place of worship, not in the marketplace.
How is what Moses brought down relative? My point in listing the numbers were to show how the notion of 'duty' and 'obligation' are derived. As far as how the economy goes, I intended more to the sense of democracy.

And how is religion not a business? They employ people. They sell things. They take a collection. They provide basic services. They allocate resources. They have a self-governing body that works in a hierarchical fashion. If you are going to argue that because they do not provide non-material things, then does that mean all knowledge base and knowledge management should not be considered in economic terms either?
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 11:40 PM   #16
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How is this not homogenous???
From what I've read there is much back and fourth about how religious, or unreligious, people like Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams, etc., were. Deism, secular humanism, atheism... not uncommon terms used to describe some of the founding fathers.

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3. The timing of the addition of the “God” terminology was used to show the separation between church and state still does not exist today.
That's one way of looking at it. I always saw it more in terms of revisionist history. Similar to how we think of Thanksgiving today vs how Thanksgiving really was.

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I would recommend Gawthrop’s Public Service and Democracy: Ethical Imperatives for the 21st Century, as it takes a comprehensive view at the roots of democracy as well as the meaning of democracy when it was founded in the US and how religion did and did not impact the crafting of government.
Can't recommend something that comes in eBook format, huh?

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And how is religion not a business? They employ people. They sell things. They take a collection. They provide basic services. They allocate resources. They have a self-governing body that works in a hierarchical fashion. If you are going to argue that because they do not provide non-material things, then does that mean all knowledge base and knowledge management should not be considered in economic terms either?
Just because some people have turned religion into big business doesn't mean that religion inherently is a business.

Can a person's religious beliefs influence them? Of course, but that's not the same thing as basing governmental policy on said beliefs. A nation full of Christians is not the same thing as a Christian nation.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 12:25 AM   #17
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Democracy has very, very little to do with religion. Greek democracy has a lot of the most vital elements of modern democracy. And even when they do not practice it, it appears that their ideas were not very far off.

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A nation full of Christians is not the same thing as a Christian nation.
Incidentally, that's my biggest problem with Israel. It declares itself a "Jewish state", which makes it discriminatory by design.

Indeed, the level of state-sponsored discrimination they face is absolutely shameful. For a brief, brief overview: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_ci...litical_status

It permeates to the judiciary. I remember reading a case a few years ago where a Jewish woman slept with a man she met at a night club. The man was eventually convicted of rape for not telling her first that he was Muslim (even though not practising, obviously).

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Old Dec 1, 2012, 01:05 AM   #18
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From what I've read there is much back and fourth about how religious, or unreligious, people like Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams, etc., were. Deism, secular humanism, atheism... not uncommon terms used to describe some of the founding fathers.



Just because some people have turned religion into big business doesn't mean that religion inherently is a business.

Can a person's religious beliefs influence them? Of course, but that's not the same thing as basing governmental policy on said beliefs. A nation full of Christians is not the same thing as a Christian nation.
That is true that some of the founders did embrace a few different ideologies. I guess my look at diversity is so different today than it was then that I look at it by default as a homogenous group of old white male Christians.

And that does make sense given it seems some religions act like a business more than others.

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Democracy has very, very little to do with religion. Greek democracy has a lot of the most vital elements of modern democracy. And even when they do not practice it, it appears that their ideas were not very far off.



Incidentally, that's my biggest problem with Israel. It declares itself a "Jewish state", which makes it discriminatory by design.

Indeed, the level of state-sponsored discrimination they face is absolutely shameful. For a brief, brief overview: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_ci...litical_status

It permeates to the judiciary. I remember reading a case a few years ago where a Jewish woman slept with a man she met at a night club. The man was eventually convicted of rape for not telling her first that he was Muslim (even though not practising, obviously).
The development of "common good", "natural law", certain altruistic acts, and "organic morality" are not derived as much from Greek democracy as many people claim.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 01:20 AM   #19
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That is true that some of the founders did embrace a few different ideologies. I guess my look at diversity is so different today than it was then that I look at it by default as a homogenous group of old white male Christians.
Yeah, in terms of gender and race there wasn't a whole lot of diversity in leadership going back then, lol.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 03:07 AM   #20
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1. The founding fathers were NOT diverse in religion.
“Lambert (2003) has examined the religious affiliations and beliefs of the Founders. Of the 55 delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, 49 were Protestants, and two were Roman Catholics (D. Carroll, and Fitzsimons). Among the Protestant delegates to the Constitutional Convention, 28 were Church of England (or Episcopalian, after the American Revolutionary War was won), eight were Presbyterians, seven were Congregationalists, two were Lutherans, two were Dutch Reformed, and two were Methodists.”

How is this not homogenous???
For you (and me) it may sound like it's all the same religion but between the denominations there still is a vast difference that only members thereof can tell you. There was a time even in our grandparents' time where they couldn't marry.

The main goal for the American colonies to split from the Crown was to live independently financially and religiously from the Empire which was associated with the Church of England up to the King. There was a clear distinction between church and state and the freedom of speech, religion and whatnot. It was only until the 20th century when religion (AKA Christianity) came back into politics when the godless commies became a threat. In the meantime local priests were the "moral conscience" in their respective communities.

"Under God..." was never part of the original pledge of allegiance.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 10:27 AM   #21
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Bill has a cunning plan

Damn, I thought for a moment that this thread was about the Bill called Clinton.

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Incidentally, that's my biggest problem with Israel. It declares itself a "Jewish state", which makes it discriminatory by design.
So, when Egypt finally declares itself a Muslim State, Israel will be OK with that.

Right??
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 10:36 AM   #22
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Well then that means they lose tax exempt status correct?
Good idea.

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1. The founding fathers were NOT diverse in religion.
There is more than one form of 'Protestant', and not all of them are mutually compatible. Also, I seem to recall a lot of skirmishes among adjacent colonies due to religious differences. Perhaps that was mostly over by the late 1700's?
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 11:29 AM   #23
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He was saying that churches are run as businesses today. The religion itself doesn't have to be a business. These congregations are run as businesses dedicated to the belief system. Today their primary purpose is tax shelter. I'm surprised Apple hasn't tried that one, given its cult like fan base.
He was implying that business is and should be a natural function of religion. To me, that is comparable to saying that we should countenance the meth trade and dog fighting. After all they are businesses (which, IMAO, contribute just as much value to society as religion).
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 11:48 AM   #24
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The western notion of what we know as modern democracy comes from a combination of the Greek intention to be 'happy' and the Old Testament notion of duty.
What?

The greeks had their own notions of sense of duty....
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 12:18 PM   #25
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So, when Egypt finally declares itself a Muslim State, Israel will be OK with that.

Right??
It doesn't look like that's the kind of state Egyptians want. They also have a large Christian population.

I don't agree with religious states in principle. Jewish, Muslim or Christian.
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