Atheism’s Fertility Deficit

christeningBack in high school biology classes, many of us learnt a little about F1 and F2 generations.  As I recall, F1 and F2 were not motor races, but the next generations of specially bred mice.  A key concept was that, if a new feature emerged in one generation of mice, it often remained prominent in the next (or F1) generation, but tended to be less prominent in the second (or F2) generation. Atheism has a similar “F2” problem.

Although militant atheists now take up much media time and have become secular saints, (revered for sporting or academic achievements and forceful proselytism, much as were muscular Christian athletes last century, whether future generations embrace atheism remains an open question. Will the atheists’ own children even take up the cause?  Possibly not.  The corollary of atheistic belief is that you should have a good time in this world, as there is no other, and no eternal penalty for mischief either.  YOLO is their mantra: You Only Live Once, so do what you like.  Like the soulful Edith Piaf, each of the F1 atheist generation may be comfortable avowing Je ne  regrette rien.

However, the F1’s own progeny, the F2 generation, will likely be small in number.  We see this already in countries that have abandoned religion over the last two generations, especially in once highly religious Europe. Birth rates among the F2 generation of atheists (whose own F1 parents were raised without any religion) are now too small to sustain their countries’ futures. They will continue to exist only if enough people immigrate (legally or illegally) from developing or war-torn countries, where — Surprise! Surprise! — religion is still highly prevalent.

A key feature of fundamental religion, whether orthodox Judaism, evangelical Christianity or Islam, is the exhortation to “go forth and multiply!”   As a direct result, rather than by mere repeated accident, families of eight or more children are not uncommon in the most religious regions of our planet.  Over time, even if many fall by the proverbial wayside, these highly religious families will multiply. Fundamental atheists, if they feel the urge, increasingly go forth and contraceive or “choose” to abort.

Without religion, almost everything becomes merely “recreational” — sex, drug use, learning, work, even raising the F2 generation. Look up the manifestos of dark-green groups and you will find many an exhortation not to reproduce. Humans are Gaia’s curse, they preach, so producing less of us is a boon to an over-populated planet. Atheistic greenies also claim that an ever-warming world will end in a conflagration of fire, which will be the fault of all us humans.  It is a notion surprisingly similar to the apocalypse that ancient religions saw coming. We learn from the greenies that it may be too late to flip back the switch on a fiery future that, if not hotter than Hades, will shortly see bare poles replace polar bears.  Hurry, there is yet time to buy the waterfront home of the future in the Blue Mountains!

So, what’s the point, atheists must ask, in having any more godless green progeny?  The world they inherit will not be worth inheriting. By such a reckoning their time on Earth will be short, uncomfortable and violent. Have another beer, or chardonnay, or spliff, and try not to think about it too hard, through the fog of aromatic smoke. Precisely because F1 atheists are disinclined to breed, sustainable inter-generational atheism may be very hard to achieve. Happy-clappy Christianity, on the other hand, longs for and celebrates each child that comes along.   There will be holy Baptism, flowing with water and anointing with oil.  Not only the extended family but also the entire congregation will be invited to loudly applaud its newest entrants. A couple of close friends or relatives will even be nominated to take the place of the parents – should the sad need arise – as responsible godparents.  (Often, they will  turn out to be only semi-responsible, forgetting their godchild’s birthday or showing up in January with unsuitable Christmas presents.) Three features of a religious upbringing — meaning, work and fellowship — we know from centuries of experience bode well for most children’s futures.

By contrast, in the atheistic world, everything about the next generation is a recurring question mark.  F1 atheists must ask themselves:  Should we even have children?  If so, should we keep it at one?  Should we put off having them until our house, careers and overseas trips are safely in the bag? If we do have a child, should we farm “it” out in high-security, eight-’til-late childcare?

An odd thing is that some atheists still preferentially send their children to church-run schools.  When pushed, one confided that he liked the “tradition” religious encouraged. But that’s the problem:  The same one biologists are up against once their mice reach the F2 generation– “reversion to type”, as it is known. The big worry for militant atheists is that their descendants may fall back into the old ways (or “tradition”) of religion.  If they do renounce the secular for the spiritual, those F2 generation will find a life which social scientists have found is often happier, slightly longer, and blessed with F3,4,5,6 … generations.

  • Rob Brighton

    Religious belief is hardly transmitted sexually; its form of insanity is transmitted contextually.
    Contextual in the sense that had you been born in the middle east the odds are you would believe that Allah is the bee’s knee’s despite all evidence to the contrary provided by those that claim to represent him, as far as family sizes go you have a good point if you compare the family sizes from the Muslim belief systems to your own.
    A more accurate comparison would be to compare birth rates between those cultures that boast modern economies with high level of education against those that do not, in Australia and the UK the “happy clappers” are breeding at the same rate as their neighbour who sleeps in on Sundays, despite attempts to demonize contraception.
    The hypocrites are scoffing their daily pill and begging forgiveness on Sunday; everyone knows this but as Christian religion has mellowed over the years nobody really pays that much attention.
    Preening over your yet to come success by following the words in your book in this regard seems pre-emptive at best.
    The inane conflagration between atheists and dark green is a hellva straw man only surpassed in its inanity by the view that a child born to a religious couple is in some way more “celebrated” than one born to those who do not get their belief structure from a book written by ignorant bronze age camel diddlers.
    You would do much better directing this sneering article at those whose belief systems would both pick your pockets and break your bones. Here is a tip, it isn’t Atheists.

    • The Antiquarian

      ‘this sneering article’? Have a look at your own language: ‘insanity’, ‘hypocrites are scoffing their daily pill’ ‘preening over your yet to come success’ ‘inane conflagration’ [did you mean ‘conflation’?], ‘ignorant bronze age camel diddlers’. As usual, the sneers – and lack of civility – are coming from just one side of this debate.

  • Jody

    For me the real ‘religion’ which has replaced conventional Christianity – and it is a religion – is a cocktail of sport, mediocre entertainment and rampant consumerism. These are followed slavishly as some metaphysical antidote to a life of inner emptiness; looking for that good feel on an industrial scale. “Shop till you drop”, the incantations at soccer matches, as well as the legions of drug addicts we now have all suggest that something big is missing. The Romans knew about bread and circuses and the modern generations seem to have succumbed to that spectacle very willingly indeed. Meanwhile, the inner life of the vast majority is MIA.

    I’m not religious per se, but I attend mass (Hochamt) in Vienna periodically because it affords me the opportunity to partake in a wonderful ritual, with deep roots in the past, as well as experiencing some of the must sublime music ever written, played by a world class orchestra. And it’s free.

  • [email protected]

    This is a very strange article, somewhat surprising that the editor saw fit to publish it. The author assumes religious equality, much as multicultuarists assume cultural equality. There is no denying that spirituality is a vital aspect of a fulfilling human life and that without it life tends to be superficial, devoid of genuine meaning. However, ignoring the fact that some fervently held religious beliefs are anathema to most others is a serious omission. The most prolific reproducers are Muslims, particularly in the less developed countries and they are swamping western countries by the millions. Given that Islam claims the devine right to conquer the world by whatever means it might take, it is hardly a blessing to other religions, or, for that matter, to atheists. Further, in developed western nations not only the irreligious curtail their breeding but the majority of the religious also do likewise. All in all, it is a confusing read.

  • MickL

    I am a militant atheist and I’m not worried at all about my son (who is attending an Anglican College) ending up being a Christian.
    As a Christian I don’t know if Michael Copeman can imagine this, but I am really happy for my child to make his own decisions. On sexuality, politics, religion I would be happy whatever he chooses and happy to discuss any issue at length with him. I don’t feel that my life decisions or self worth are in any way diminished by my son making his own choices. In fact, the inverse is true.
    Compare this with a militant Christian who has just found out they have a gay son. Or a Muslim who’s child wants to leave the religion.
    Atheism is not threatened by religion, of course the reverse is what this is really about. Religion is in deep decline, the theist is left with an ever decreasing list of things that religion can explain and so Mr Copeman is really grasping at straws here to attribute birth rate to it.

    • Jody

      You make some important distinctions here between secular freedoms and Christian ‘hegemony’. The majority of people would not suggest that something is lacking in an individual who eschews religion, but for many it does provide an anchor – a ritual and sense of belonging to a ‘community’. This latter is sorely missing in today’s society, but I’m at the tail end of my life so it little concerns me now.

      But I would make one statement about the importance of Christianity for western cultures; there’s greater difficulty in understanding the great texts, art and music in the canon without an understanding of Judeo-Christianity. With its myriad tropes and references informing much of these works it reduces reading and understanding them to a rather monochromatic experience. A pity, when there is much more richness to be had from additional understanding. I wouldn’t rob any of my children of that, no matter what.

      • MickL

        Christianity as a philosophy is distinctly lowering one. The idea that we are here to do and think that we are told and always to worship Him, and if we get that right then we win the opportunity to worship Him forever in heaven. I, like most militant atheists, and unlike most Christians, have actually read the bible cover to cover and there is certainly a lot of racist, sexist, genocidal dross to pick thru to find the nuggets of gold.

        I think the real issue is that we as a society haven’t replaced Christianity with an enlightened humanist base. We as a society have certainly outgrown the sinister fairy tales of Chrisitanity, but we haven’t continued that evolution beyond the nada that lies at the end of the path away from Christianity. The real learning starts when you realise that the cup of religion is empty, the emperor has no clothes, you are the emperor and you better dress yourself in a philosophy quick before people start laughing at you or you become a nihlist. That or embrace your nihilism I suppose.

        The atheist humanist values life far more than the Christian, we understand it’s a one shot deal and our duty to each other is clear and far more noble than being told to be good by God on fear of eternal damnation.

        Our schools are far more interested in teaching kids about how evil the invasion of Australia was, and how the poor indigenous people had their stuff flogged etcetera rather than having deep discourse on life, love and reason. So we have to ensure our kids are getting that at home, we can’t expect the system or the government to fix it.

        • Jody

          Your final paragraph is pertinent. Christianity is about to become extinct in state schools and it is considered non-PC to raise the issue; I tell this from bitter experience. As I said in an earlier post, consumerism and entertainment are the new religions – along with victimhood. People literally worship at its altars, but it’s a bogus ideal. When I tried to discuss these things with bright kids I was howled down by other kids who actually rehashed what they’d been told in their ‘scripture’ classes elsewhere. It was the resistance to further thought which frightened me the most, but I was not cowed by teenage retaliation – especially when I realized just how conservative young people are these days!!

          It’s a good discussion to have, sans rebarbative swipes and condescension.

          • MickL

            It’s funny how young people are critically very conservative (unwilling to be critical) and yet their values are largely progressive (socially, economically etc). They have all too often been trained into these positions, taking advantage of their naïveté and immaturity, rather than reasoned there.

            The great irony of your observations, and my paragraph above is that this precisely how religious education works in religious families and in religious primary school. I would pose that not a single child would ever find God given opportunity to get there by reason.

            Now that the wholesale takeover of the state schools by the left is complete exactly the same tactics have been deployed to make sure the group think is perpetuated into the next generation. It’s a smart tactic I suppose, it has worked for thousands of years.

  • en passant

    I really tried to believe that there was a sky dragon (or god, if you prefer) guiding our lives, after all my primary school teacher told me so. By the age of 12 I was over it. None of it made sense. At 18 I committed my reasoned analysis to paper. That series of articles written over 50 years ago still sits on the shelf behind me as I write this – and no evidence has ever come to light to contradict it, though much evidence continues to support it. Let’s subject Michael’s jigsaw of inconsistencies and unsupportable assertions to a mild Inquisition …
    Let’s play god (choose which one you want to be from the supermarket of dead, dying and ascendant gods). So, now I am omnipotent, I know everything, etc. So, let’s look at my top three mistakes, which I cannot make, so they must be intentional. How is that for a circular internally inconsistent, straightforwardly consistent argument?
    1. I feel the need to ginger up the people as my message (which I gave to a tiny slice of the world population seems to be becoming stale). Note that other gods had grabbed their share in America, China, India, but this is my territory in the semi-desert of the Middle East. So, who would I choose and how would I do it? Well, if it were me I would invent Facebook and tell everyone directly by telepath. But what do I do? I pick an illiterate carpenter who records nothing, but gathers around him some disciples who cannot record the story correctly. Jeez, that is incompetent.
    2. I then sit back while they screw it up with human interpretations, but I do nothing to correct any wrong they commit by guiding them to the true path. Nah! Far easier to have other righteous just kill the heretics (read the tragic history of the Cathars). That borders on psychopathic.
    3. Despite the confusion, factions, feuds and fighting among the Christians (at least they are supporters of the right god), as god I allow a genuinely psychopathic usurper to begin his own rival muslim religion through the sword and slaughter (which this new god’s messenger’s followers continue to use as they kill and conquer to this day). Guess what, Mohammad was illiterate too, so the message gets screwed up again. What another great choice for producing confusion and not clarity. If your god cannot even sort out a succession plan what else did he get wrong? At least it slows down the Sunnis, Salafists, Shia’s and Allawites from bothering the rest of us while they kill each other and mutilate their women.
    Nos 4 – 999 I will leave for the moment.
    I notice that Michael is long on religion and belonging, but never uses the word ‘god’ once. As I have had pointed out to me by two godly, but non-church-going believers (though this mild and fairly harmless psychosis of theirs is incurable) belief in a sky dragon and religious beliefs are as different as dementia and being a psychopath.
    So, is my life empty? Not yet as I am alive and reading Quadrant and so are many people whose company I enjoy. As the years go by more depart and are not replaced, but that goes for the religious too. The unfortunate part is that it is often the wrong people exiting Stage Left and not my preferred list. Such is life. Michael, if there is an emptiness and lack of meaning in your life, buy a dog, join a Club and drink more red wine, that combination in the right mix will fulfil you. Whatever you do, do not take up a belief in demented myths and psychotic sociopaths in the sky.
    Finally, my parents produced three children. Those three (and their partners) produced only five children and those five children produced only four offspring between them. It was nothing to do with ‘Me! Me!’ or the other selfish things by the parents. In fact it was the opposite and a conscience decision to limit the next generation so we could provide them with a better start, more ongoing support and a more fulfilling life with less struggle. Why? I heard a voice in my head that told me it was the right thing to do.

    • Jody

      en passant, I could really relate to some of the things in your last paragraph. The choice to reduce the number of offspring one has is entirely sensible if your goal IS providing them with as high a quality standard of living and life expectations as possible. I had 4 children, and my husband already had a daughter before we married. My reasons for having 4 had nothing to do with religion, even though I was raised RC. Honestly, I never gave a single thought to either religion or economics; I just wanted a large, happy family. We lived in a stable of biblical proportions during the early lives of our first 2 kids as we were trying to establish an intensive farming enterprise which might succeed or fail miserably. It succeeded, not by divine providence but because of extraordinary teamwork between my husband and myself; but I have to tell you that economic considerations did not enter our minds when building our families; the same applied to our peers and friends, many of whom also had 4 or 5 kids.

      In the 1950’s, pre The Pill, Catholic families were large and this ensured the church pews would be swelled for at least the next generation. Today, of course, we are more enlightened and generous – I have to say. In our decisions to limt family planning, we make way for other cultures, eg. Muslims, who want to reproduce much larger families. In coming generations these same people will eventually see the sense in limiting their own numbers, and in our over-populated world others will come to fill the void.

      The more things change the more they stay the same.

      The rest of your article was aggressive and mean, frankly. And absolutely snobbish to suggest that an ‘illiterate carpenter’ could not positively influence the human race. I know plenty of well-educated people and I’d trade some of them tomorrow for their salt-of-the earth compatriots.

  • [email protected]

    Once again the god-haters are true to form, proselytising for their “religion” of atheism, out to prove with considerable vehemence that their attitude to life is the only real and sensible one, that all other versions are ridiculous, superstitious nonsense. In the light of their earnest enthusiasm endeavouring to convince the rest of us of the indisputable validity of their stance, the trite but useful question comes to mind: Whom are you trying to convince, us or yourselves? Or put another way: Are you trying to prove a point or trying to reassure yourselves? Either way, could it be – heaven forbid – that they are driven by a latent feeling of insecurity?

    • Rob Brighton

      Hello Bill, You misunderstand atheism, in its simplest form it is a non-belief in god, how can one hate something that does not exist?

      If one describes atheism as a religion then one must describe not collecting stamps as a hobby.

      Nevertheless, my early response was to the inanities included in the article not a denigration of your belief systems just the stupidity that those belief systems sometimes engender as is evidenced by the words in that article. You are welcome to believe in sky fairies, your doing so has no affect on me, which is as it should be, right up until stipid claims are made to bolster the religious viewpoint of smug superiority.

      At that point it is reasonable to call out the BS for what it is.

    • MickL

      Accusing me of hating your imaginary best freind is absurd. How could I hate something that doesn’t exist? It would be like hating a unicorn or leprechaun.

  • en passant

    Jody, et al:
    So my comments were mean and aggressive, were they? That requires a rebuttal.
    Firstly, who is doing all the really aggressive killing and conquering these days now that Communism is mouldy and Green? The ultra-religious, not the atheists.

    Secondly, my point was that if I were god, I surmised about how would I pass along my message. Would I choose some illiterate people to talk to a few others around me or would I use telepathy? Which do you think is better? Why would you choose a few ‘messengers’ when better options are available? Would you behave like the Wizard of Oz or would you find a way to get it right? The fact that there are so many interpretations of ‘god’s’ message surely means that the message or its means of communication are flawed – or has god screwed up the design of the recipients?
    Frankly, the concept of any god selecting a few demented psychopaths to pass on the most important message ever delivered is, well, psychopathically demented. God (or the gods) should either get involved and straighten out this worldly mess or leave altogether and take no active part – as is currently the case.
    After 911 I received an email from a believer about the people their god had saved by making them miss their bus (arriving at work too late to be killed by the ultra-religious), or had suddenly decided to make a detour to Starbucks, etc. I bet the author that I could find just as many people who chose the wrong time to be in the buildings when they were destroyed. For example the tourists who chose to visit the viewing deck in time to be killed. Where was their god?

    Please note that those of us who have commented on this article are only doing so because Michael published his bizarre assertion in the first place. We are REPLYING to an attack on us and our views, we did not initiate the exchange. However, you could do us all a really big favour by settling one of those small issues that bother both the believers and the atheists: from the pantheon of sky dragons (Zeus, Vishnu, Isis, Thor, Yahweh, Allah, etc.) which is the right one I should select from this supermarket? The One or many True Gods. Your advice would be appreciated.

    Finally, let me add to Michael’s list of errors by pointing out that he has joined the Fallacious and Specious Arguments Society by confusing that hoary old statistical myth “Correlation does not imply Causation”. Just because the civilised are breeding less in lockstep with declining attendance at myth centres does not imply that the two are linked. Next thing I know you’ll be causing me to laugh out loud by telling me that CO2 causes global warming! Despite the irrationality of the hypothesis apparently many people do. Can you believe that, or is one sky dragon at a time enough?

  • [email protected]

    Criticism of the term “god-haters” is a valid point. The question remains, however, why atheists seem to be so very keen to stress the validity of their non-belief and the absurdity of all other attitudes? They sound not unlike the fervent evangelical preachers expounding the virtues of believing in God, only in reverse. Okay fellows,(the busiest ones seem to be always males) we get it: You are happy, satisfied and blissfully fulfilled in your lives. No need for banging on about it.

    • Rob Brighton

      Hello Bill, I would cheerfully accept the request to cease “banging on” about it if only those who’s belief system includes evidentially elusive sky fairies would cease having a crack at my world view in a manner that presupposes they (laughably) hold the truth and are therefore superior beings because of it.

      I recon you are missing my point, The problem most atheists have with religion and using the non stamp collection analogy is fairly simple to understand.

      If stamp collectors demanded that people who don’t collect stamps obey their stamp collecting rules, suggested that non stamp collectors don’t love their kids as much as stamp collectors do, claimed that non-stamp collectors lacked moral judgment, then non-stamp collectors probably would criticize stamp collectors in the way atheists criticize many religious people.

      In short articles like the one above are deserving of ridicule and whilst these articles continue to treat me is such a shoddy manner I will continue to call BS.

      • [email protected]

        As beauty – and indeed ugliness – is in the eye of the beholder, it is also true for the interpretation of the meaning in an assay. The above article is rather strange and confused but while it certainly favours the belief in God, it does not deprecate, let alone attack, those of a different mindset.

        • Rob Brighton

          Hello Bill,

          In the article Mr Copeman offers a juxtaposition between his perception (wildly inaccurate if my life is anything to go by) of atheist hedonistic uncaring lifestyle and Christianity celebrating each child that comes along (smug level 10).

          He conflates deep green with atheism, unless one was here as a “GetUp” inspired deep cover agent is clearly an attack on those atheist who hold a conservative political viewpoint. You see, you don’t have to believe in god to despise rentseeking windmills, SHY and the lamentable performance of labors parliamentary members.

          It may be said that Mr Copeman has done this unwittingly but that would not seem a particularly helpful defense.

          A concur completely that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and maintain my view that this article, to quote Terry Pratchet, has a face like that of a bull dog licking vinegar off a thistle”.

          Thank you for the reasoned discussion Bill.

          • [email protected]

            It certainly is important to maintain the reasoned nature of all dicourse and to avoid maliceous sarcasm.

  • Rob Brighton

    Hello En Passant,
    Your question is fallacious as I suspect you well know. It would appear to me as a false dichotomy that you somehow have to choose when you clearly don’t. It is not a honest method of argumentation and one that is right out of religions playbook.

  • Jody

    I think some people on these pages are acolytes of Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens. That’s as may be, but there are other really intelligent people – even scientists like the Theoretical Physicist Paul Davies – who believe in a higher being. In fact, I remember a significant interview between Philip Adams and Paul Davies where the latter said his experience of Theoretical Physics only drew him further to the idea of a grand creator. This isn’t something I personally believe, but I certainly listened with great interest when he discussed his feelings.

    That Muslims and the early Christian Crusaders used violence, justifying it in terms of religion, speaks about those groups rather than religion per se. Madmen like Hitler didn’t need to invoke religion for his murderous rampaging. And the internecine wars in Ireland were framed in terms of a religious paradigm but, as with most of these instances, these acts of violence are usually all about who gets what.

    • Rob Brighton

      Hello Jody,
      During my journey from religious education and home to atheist I have indeed read many if not most of Mr Dawkins fine books and one or two of Mr Hitchens, I commend them to those who have not yet read them and would add Sam Harris, Bill Nye and A C Grayling are worth looking into as well.

      Other people “feeling” like there is a big guy upstairs does not bestow any right to tell me how to live, what to eat or wear, with whom I can have sex and in what position. Just because he holds that world view does not mean that he should be ignored his pronouncements on physics are not effected by his “feelings” about his ephemeralness.

      I would beg to differ on the point regarding violence, to a greater or lessor extent Judea christian books are replete with calls to violence in one form or another, we in the west choose to skip over all of that and settle under the comfortable gentle religion we now enjoy, to pick a point up from Mr Hitchens we should not forget what they were like when they had power.

      I guess Godwins Law has finished this conversation.

    • MickL

      “God with us” was on every nazi belt buckle.

      Hitler repeatedly makes reference in Mein Kampf to the Devine influence on his anti Semitism.

      Anyone who thinks Nazi Germany was atheist or irreligious has listened to too many theists.

  • Jody

    You obviously missed my point ‘it’s all about who gets what’. Just as ‘prophesied’ in “the meek shall inherit the earth” (ideal/convenient if you are a feudal landowner), the violence in the bible was exploited as one-shoe-fits-all philosophy to unify/inspire people who probably had nothing more in common than their need – just as we see with the present Left – to reclaim, seize or destroy those things they didn’t have – thus preventing those who DID have it from keeping it. The more things change the more they stay the same.

  • Rob Brighton

    Hello Jody, Your right, I did miss your point, and it is a interesting one worthy of serious consideration. The question is how does one view it, thru what lense if you will. Thank you for view, I shall give it thought.

    • en passant

      I cannot parse (or make sense of) this Oracle you blogged:
      “Your question is fallacious as I suspect you well know. It would appear to me as a false dichotomy that you somehow have to choose when you clearly don’t. It is not a honest method of argumentation and one that is right out of religions playbook.”

      The following question is not fallacious and it is not a trick question = unless every god is valid and equal. If they are not (and my experience is that every believer thinks he has bet on the right horse, with the possible exception of the current Pope) then a choice must be made as some god’s are false (and probably all but one of them, so I ask you again: “from the pantheon of sky dragons (Zeus, Vishnu, Isis, Thor, Yahweh, Allah, etc.) which is the right one I should select from this supermarket? The One or many True Gods. Your advice would be appreciated.”

      • Rob Brighton

        I thought it was fairly clear, your question is a false dichotomy thereby not a properly constructed question.
        Why would one have to select from that list or indeed any list, you may as well add fairies and gnomes to the list.
        I understand the argument you are proposing and its useful as far as it goes but it is a rhetorical trick in the end.
        If one accepts that other peoples belief structures are their own business (as I do) it matters not a jot if they worship Odin or Athena providing they neither pick my pockets or break my bones.
        Only when they use their particular brand of delusion to infer my world view is lacking because theirs is superior as it is based on the writings of bronze age camel molesters do I comment, otherwise it is none of my business what others choose to delude themselves about.

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