Friday, October 06, 2006

A FOOL'S RUSHLIGHT

I know that this may come as a surprise to many people but the 4th place position on the global classification chart of religions is held by human beings who are classified as NON-Religious. Surprisingly, 14% of all Earthlings, depending on the source, consider themselves, for lack of a better term, to be godless.

This hodge-podge group includes:
Dereligionized (sounds quite ominous) or Non-Religious Secularists such as Humanists & Agnostics, who are considered moderates and for the most part indifferent to religion, who account for 12%, and the remaining 2% are noted as Atheists.


It was interesting to discover that Israel has the 4th largest per capita collection of Atheists. Aside from some obvious (ex)Communist Countries Holland was 3rd, Britain 8th, and New Zealand 10th.

Just as the Christian category contains a diverse range of so-called adherents of the message of Yeshua bar Yusef, many of whom consider the others in the group to be heretical hell bent lunatics unworthy to be called true believers, so it is with this Non-religious group.

No matter how you slice it, individually people are either charming or tedious!

The majority of Non-believers are Agnostics, like myself, who are considered wishy washy, halfs-assed 'whatever' quitters by some of those hard-ass uppity know-it-all atheists. Just kidding, relax. My point being that in reality there isn't one big happy homogenous family to be found in any category. An uneasy truce exists in this pigeonhole just as it does in other groups. It makes it easier to make bar graphs.

The Non-Religious bunch is the fastest growing segment in NorthAmerica and now numerically represents about 14% of the population.

The present state of religious tension on the world stage has been provoked by the extreme fundamentalist elements on both sides. This can only increase the growing sentiments of many that religion has had it's chance (5,000 years) and can no longer function as the de facto and diagnostically untouchable moral governor and vehicle for developing charitable, temperate earthlings. WHO LET THE DOGMAS OUT

Here is a snapshot of the current religious status of the 6.5 Billion Earthlings:
+/- 2 Billion Christians
+/- 1 Billion Muslims
+/- 1 Billion Hindus
+/- 1 Billion Non-Religious
this accounts for roughly 5 Billion out of 6.5 Billion Earthlings.


add another Billion with the +/- 300 Million each: Chinese Traditionalists, Buddhists & Primal /Indiginous adherents.
that makes SIX BILLION PEOPLE.

Therefore the next largest groups all squeeze into the remaining 500,000,000 available spaces. These people are the adherents of Sikhism (23M) North Korean/ Juche (19 M) Judaism (14M) Jainism (4.2M) Shintoism (4M) Zoroastrianism (2.6 M) Rastafarians (600 K) Scientologists (500K) and so forth and so on.

Basically Earthlings are 86% Religious and 14% are not-so-much.
Demographers further assert that 54% of us are Monotheists, 20% Reincarnationists and 10% are miscellaneous ethno something or other.

Far be it for me to suggest what is true and what is not.
My personal foray into a walk of faith was handily obliterated by my inability to mesh the origin of our species with the plagarized Babylonian depiction of Creation that is inexplicably still presented as the truth in the Book of Genesis. However as a Secular Agnostic who prefers to be regarded as tolerant rather than wishy washy I am also a devout Integrationist.



This is of course very Politically Incorrect but I do not see any viable alternative. Historically we can see that Homo Escapeons tend to divide themselves into categories by Gender, Skin Colour and Religion. It has taken far too long to achieve a level playing field based on the simple genetic factors: Your ancestors goegraphic location determined your skin tone and your father's genetic material made you a male or a female. I remind you that all vertebrates begin as a female so it is interesting that

all of these gods are male!?

Personally, I find that blatant customary exterior displays of religion automatically establish an us or them menatlity. These situations create an uneasy in your face confrontational 'Go ahead make my day" scenario that is not exactly conducive to recognising that underneath that 'costume' is a 'naked ape' just like me.

Other forms of observing your faith may be less conspicuous. Circumcision for instance (You want me to snip my what?) is an interesting act of compliance that evolved into a cosmetic tradition. I found out how unpopular it is now when my sons were born OY YOY YOY! So before you get all snippy on me about about discarding our little turtlenecks you can see how personal this whole schmazola is.

In conclusion it may be stated that all religions were invented by 'some guy' regardless of whether you view their source as being divinely inspired or psychologically motivated. Many religious ideals extend from the sublime to the ridiculous but perhaps anything that can inspire people to be kinder to others is worth accepting all of the other stuff...does it really matter WHY people are being kind to others?

It certainly does matter if it is the reason WHY humans are killing other humans!

How you ACT towards others is far more important than what you THINK, though in the end they may be inseperable. We are going to be having this discussion until the final Mushroom cloud clogs the atomosphere with radioactive debris that will encircle the globe for ten thousand years.

What do we do until that happens????

38 comments:

  1. I tend to fall in your subgrouping - whatever subtlety in the allegory and analaogy of many religions is lost upon the masses, who take the mythology and allegory literally and seriously.

    We're all looking for some guidiing principle or force in our life. Isn't looking at a child or a group of people happy, healthy and not killing each other guidance enough?

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  2. Very interesting trivia. Now where do I fall in here?

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  3. " being divinely inspired or psychologically motivated. "

    You left out politically movitivated - it's a troika.

    If you haven't seen it: Evangelicals Fear the Loss of Their Teenagers.

    "Outside the arena in Amherst, the teenagers at Mr. Luce’s Acquire the Fire extravaganza mobbed the tables hawking T-shirts and CD’s stamped: “Branded by God.” Mr. Luce’s strategy is to replace MTV’s wares with those of an alternative Christian culture, so teenagers will link their identity to Christ and not to the latest flesh-baring pop star."

    “The uniqueness of the evangelical situation is the fact that during the 80’s and 90’s you had the Reagan revolution that was growing the evangelical churches,” Mr. Key said.

    Today, he said, the culture trivializes religion and normalizes secularism and liberal sexual mores."

    They are trivializing themselves and real faith in general. Perhaps the kids sense they're being "branded" and are disillusioned and walking away.

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  4. grumblate3:39 PM

    Damn straight, Skippy! Folks seem to understand that a teaspoon of sand or sawdust won't mix very well in the morning coffee, but the
    idea that politics and religion are a nasty potion eludes us, no
    matter how hot or how many scoops we add in. Removing free will from
    the equation is a bass-ackwards way
    of trying to cram the intellectual genie back into the lantern- as if
    the old primordial decision-making process was any real picnic.
    I have less of an issue with the idea of an omnipresent God, even though I'm immersed in technology. I see few signs that
    humans are somehow the last word in sentient, compassionate creatures- surely, there's GOT to be a more highly balanced conscience than we've developed, over the last couple of thousand years, somewhere in the food chain?

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  5. repeating myself here, just in case...
    *urrAAP*
    mmm...cucumbery.

    have you checked and seen just how far that meme you invented has gone????
    (the 'how i see me, how other see me' one)

    if not, i think you better go looking!
    well fricken done!!!!!

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  6. btw, thought that top picture was Cthulhu until i scolled it down a little.

    crap.

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  7. frontier editor,
    Happy, healthy and not killing each other would be a great start.
    I think that we in the West are so far gone and numb from being bombarded with all of the horrors afflicting the developing world. Even looking at starving children or bomb victims on the TVNews barely registers now. We have been innundated with horrific images from those 'godforsaken' countries since the 50s and it hasn't improved one iota...in fact some people would argue that it has steadily degenerated.

    The Televangelists declare "It's because of their demonic religions"
    "It is because they aren't christians and they are worshipping the devil"....ugh!

    gautami,
    You tell me..you don't have to tell me. You can add some insights that we laissezfrickin-faire westerners overlook...
    or anything that you want to.

    laura elizabeth,
    Sorry I guess that political/military/commercial/
    monetary/sexual or any other type of power over another individual or group followed a psychological agenda.
    You are right SOME fundies have taken all of the FUN out of FUNdamentalism. For me the crash and burn fiasco of the 80s featuring Swaggart/Baker/Roberts put the icing on the cake and I figured that it would take another 100 years to rebuild the spectacle of the TV Preacher....nope, wrong again.

    grumblissimo!,
    Bonobos are having more fun than we are!
    Politics and the R word are an explosive combination that isn't supposed to be happening because of the CONSTITUTION!!!!!!!
    However your President, the most snake handlin' tongue talkin' rascal in White House history has no friggin clue...NONE.

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  8. Agnostic/(la vey) satanist.
    Agnosism is hardly wishy washy, it involves a lot more thought. How can one proclaim knowlege of what is intrinsically ineffable.

    My reasons for believing that a god exists runs as follows...

    There is no objective truth. This statement is self contradictory, as it is an objective truth in its self. In saying this there must a be a "truth" which is objective and real, of which we can have no understanding.

    (clarifying) The truth cannot be subjective, any description of the nature of god being subjective (beard, sandals and all round nice guy are subjective).

    God is real but we are at a loss to what it is...killing each other will not make it happy as we have no idea what will.

    Btw sorry i havnt been very active in the blog world, life is crazy:)

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  9. first nations,
    HUH the top mixyure was seetoodaloowhat?

    The meme,
    I have only seen,
    when on chaucers been.

    I fuzzed out the image on purpose to make it more interesting. I did that thing probably 20 years ago so I am tired of it and wanted to make the creation look a little more solar with the edges flaring a bit...
    I guess it didn't work?! Oh well.
    I'm sorry but I don't know what all of your glyphs mean?


    east of aidan,
    HUH... What is up with the anton disciple of satan levey reference? Oh yes.
    I am much lazier..I just think that it is simply impossible to know or prove if there is or isn't a youknowwho...and if we are the pinnacle of creation I would be more depressed than ever.

    ReplyDelete
  10. sorry stating my religious side.
    :) satan on a symbolic level, someone who questions, lucifer means the bringer of light (roman). no i do not sacrifice babies or virgins (the second being very difficult to find around here).

    Humans as pinacle of creation is a depressing thought, although it is well known the we are the third most inteligent beings on earth, dolphins being number 2 and the mice as number one.

    That they (the mice) have been experimenting on us for a long period of time to work out the ultimate question of life the universe and everything to which the answer is 42.

    ReplyDelete
  11. At his core, Anton Lavey was a poseur and flim flam man who probably couldn't have stirred up a dust devil with a fart.

    Agnosticism, in my lowly view, is probably a quite intellectually honest position to take since an agnostic is questioning the mysticism posed within a religion and not necessarily dismissing out of hand the possibility of a supreme entity or force or impulse.

    Has anyone stopped to consider that science is also trying to explain our existence through some kind of unified field theory - a mathematical representation of matter and energy and everything inbetween and outside? I may not be as current in scientific thought as I'd like, but that's one equation that might be mentioned among Nobel ponderers if it was nailed down.

    Yeah, we're all looking for the meaning of existence.

    I think I'm going to have another nosebleed.

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  12. aidan
    HA! 42 eh?
    Yes poor lucifer was numero uno, the bright star of the morning.
    Hubris Incarnate.
    I still cast my vote for Bonobos.

    I was on a big Dolphin kick in the 70s (like everybody else) until I found out that males gang rape females that they kidnap from other pods...
    I still like them but their status as some sort of a parrallel intelligent species who left the harsh terra firma for a cosmic gravity free watery heaven is over for me.
    Orcas are the largest Dolphin..if people realised that they kill adult Great White Sharks just to eat their big juicy livers (40% of their body weight) they probably wouldn't be out swimming around with them.

    ReplyDelete
  13. What amazes me is that the more rabid, the more "fundamental" a religeous zealot is, the less they seem to notice that they come in about 387 flavors. How anyone can equate "agnostic" with worshiping satan or not "being religeous" is beyond me. I mean, agnostics have so much going for them: not attempting to declare themselves THE chosen ones, while being the only onces with enough guts to admit it's a bad idea to speak for God, the almighty, one who, I think logic dictates, is quite capable of speaking for himself. Also, agnostics are ANYTHING but "quitters". Atheiests are quitters, they gave up all hope and went with the science, which, ironically, can't rule OUT divinity. It simply can't prove it, no more than religean can, but at least science is looking for the answers while dogma rots in it's assumption it has the answers, no matter how patently stupid those answers might be.

    ReplyDelete
  14. The memes, it seems, will merely make you scream.

    "Atheiests are quitters, they gave up all hope and went with the science...."

    One does not have to be an Empiricist to be an athiest. I just think the entire concept of an uberbeing is so unlikely as to be safely discarded.

    Gautami, if I may, you fall in wherever you are comfortable in doing so. You decide.

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  15. Mice 42 and what not are from the hitch hikers guide to the galaxy. this is my 5th of 6th reading:)
    Douglas adams at his finest.

    ReplyDelete
  16. THE michael,
    Agnostics settle on the basic premise that some questions are unanswerable. I completely understand where Atheists are coming from and understand why they might feel disappointed with other non-religious types for taking what they perceive as the next logical step.
    That being said the existance of a supreme being is a very personal matter that many people never even research for themselves.

    That is what I find perplexing...how some choose to accept somebody else's answers and place them in a blind trust. Why not decide for yourself?

    There are no real winners in an unwinnable circular debate though we are now finally getting around to atleast probing into the previously untouchable reign of the powerful religious organization's grip on public policy.
    The thing that instigated this post was an apologetic defense of religion in TIME magazine by Andrew Sullivan. It followed an astonishingly bold move by TIME to publish a feature article on Human Evolution...How We Became Human, Oct9,2006.
    I felt that 'When Not Seeing Is Believing' was somewhat of a make-up article to balance out their decision to openly discuss our evolutionary roots which is a flashpoint in the ongoing debate with fundamentalists and their staunch defense of the biblical version of Creation.

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  17. First, I'm glad you have confessed to that brilliant image on your blog being your own creation.

    Second, how many hundreds of times have you and I contemplated these kinds of questions and discussed them?

    Or, this specific question. As recently as two days ago.

    You have done your research, as you pledged you would. The figures are astounding and informative.

    And your reference to your past "religious" life is revealing, and gives you more authority and experience to make the incredibly common-sense points you make.

    So now you call yourself a "devout integrationist." And a "secular Agnostic."

    I agree entirely with you that there is no viable alternative. And that's reinforced by every religion's mantra that their way is the only way.

    What a bunch of hooey. This is a cool expose that's based on objectivity and the facts.

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  18. hey breakerslion,
    I am onboard with Science explaining to me the WHO WHAT WHEN WHERE HOW and WHY we humans are like we are...but when I get to the nanoseconds before the Big Bang I have nowhere to go..that is my perimeter of reasoning.
    Analyzing the history and origins of our religions is a very scary venture...that is why I say that if you are overly Diagnostic about it..you will Die Agnostic.
    But that's just me and I may very well be wrong. It's where I ended up.

    aidan,
    I confess that I have never read The Guide but I am aware that millions of people were totally taken by it. The only books that I have ever read 5 or 6 times are...

    Crikey!
    I have never read any book 5 or 6 times.

    ReplyDelete
  19. within,
    At the heart of the matter is exactly what fronty wrote in his response...'we're all looking for some guiding principle or force in our life'...it is mind boggling that we humans think that we are so
    special.
    ..and yet all of the amazing things that we collectively as a species have accomplished and our (limited)conquest of the natural world demands an explanation. The mere fact that we lucked out seems inadequate and improbable.
    There have been several extinction level events that have replaced the reigning species and set the stage for a new winner. We still have simple viral life right on our heels and it would be so astonishing to see our reign ended by such a simple organism but....

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  20. I am Hindu. Hinduism teaches tolerance for all religion. The caste system came long after that by very core of division of labour. And that made a mess of the whole concept of this religion. The so-called advisors of so-called rulers advocated this system. And we are still shackled by those. Sometimes I fail to understand how can there be a difference between human beings becos of caste, colour, creed, religion etc etc. Maybe Iam simplifying things. But why can't it be so simple? If each us asked ourselves these questions then I think the leaders---religious or otherwise---can never influence us in anyway. That's something they can't have. Their very existence will fall apart. They thrive on the hold they have on the minds of people by the name of religion. They act as if they are messiah of GOD. Or they? Do they know God? Do I know God? Does anyone? We believe in the power of God for our own sanity. But is it sanity? I think I have started to ramble...

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  21. gautami,
    Hinduism has been around in one form or another for atleast 55oo years so there should be a glut of near perfect people clogging the top of the chain...

    I think that it is interesting that Reincarnationism and Monotheism both give mankind a second chance at redemption from different angles..

    one thing is certain people apparently need second chances.

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  22. "The Non-Religious bunch is the fastest growing segment in NorthAmerica..."

    really? are you sure? a few years ago it was the mormons, followed closely by muslims. are the "godless" finally out-pacing both of them??? if that's true, that is THE BEST NEWS i have heard in YEARS. thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I am surprised that only 2% are atheist. How can it be that low?

    I've made my feelings on religion known in the past, so I won't again.

    How you ACT towards others is far more important than what you THINK, though in the end they may be inseperable.

    I think that's 100% true. While they may be vaugely connected, I think ultimately, you can be the biggest asshole in the world - the biggest bigot, racist, ect - but as long as you keep those thoughts to yourself, you're still OK.

    You know what I mean? We all have thoughts we shouldn't have about people. But whether we act on those thoughts is what's most important. I think.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Very informative. I agree with Chaucer's bitch, that is great news.

    Hope you're enjoying your weekend. It's a beautiful fall day here.
    Oh, I saw this and thought of you... ;)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a15KgyXBX24&eurl=

    ReplyDelete
  25. grumblestiltskyn6:30 PM

    I've got nowhere near the insights
    that this hombre had, but I figured you might find this of some
    interest:

    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. "

    -Blaise Pascal

    My first reaction was a blistering
    (or was it, blustering?) tirade against polireligiopsycho leaders,
    but their power and prestige has
    little to do with THEM swallowing
    their own "teachings". Nothing quite like reality, as a filter, eh? On the other hand, we're out
    of the "accountability/culpability"
    business, so there's little danger
    of getting hung by the toes, or...
    whatever.

    ReplyDelete
  26. chaucer's beeotch,
    Who really knows everybody is trying to give their side some spin and polls schmolls!
    I would suspect that by and large more and more people are becoming less enamored with the staus quo and throwing their hands up in the air.
    One would estimate that this trend was inevitable because of all the abuses of power at the top of organised religion. Most people get along fine with neighbours, family or friends who are honest sincere pratictioners.
    In any event anything that forces us to solve our own manmade problems is a positive step.

    infamousblogger,
    We are all such a bizarre combination of various programming that it is a wonder that we function at all...some of our reactions come from out of the blue and we think WHOA..self control no what do they calll it now self mastery is a wonderful thing...too bad we can't bottle it!

    christine,
    You are a doll..I don't even have to post anymore...I simply must learn to make these shorts they really make much more of an impact...thank you thank you thank you...

    it was gorgeous here today too..have a great weekend.

    grumblicious,
    You are preachin' to the choir brother!
    Thanks I remember ol Pascal...it goes well with the old

    Do as I say and not as I do!

    Grfish...Please do not hesitate to let 'er rip next time that you git a hankerin'

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  27. Gautami raised a rather insightful point about institutional religion. I'd like to add the point that the King James Version of the Bible was, first and foremost, a governmental committee project.

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  28. Agnosticism is about knowledge. Before one can declare oneself an agnostic one has to define what it means to know something. When is one justified to say, "I know"?

    Most people who call themselves agnostics say that the reason they are not atheists is because they cannot prove that there is no god. What they usually imply is the lack of an absolute proof of god's nonexistence. Because, they say, there is always a possibility, even if in theory, that there is something out there, it would be foolish to say that we know that there isn't. Their standard of knowledge is therefore an absolute certainty.

    The difficulty, of course, is that they don't apply this same standard to the rest of their positions. When you ask an agnostic if she believes in Santa Claus she doesn't usually reply with "I don't know." Nor is she uncertain about whether she goes to a church on Sundays. An agnostic does not say, "I don't know who my parents are because it could be that the whole world is just a product of my imagination and I am just a brain in a vat."

    There is a double standard of what it means to know. The standard for not believing in a god is raised to a such an absurdly high level that one can't help but suspect that it is for the sole purpose of avoiding what seems to be the only logical conclusion: there is no god, there never was and there will never be one.

    Certainties, absolutes, and gods are just abstract concepts that have no basis in reality. All we have are degrees of certainty, gray areas and the beautiful Universe around us.

    With that said, there are many people who consider themselves "agnostic atheists", for they see agnosticism as the reference to what they claim to know, while atheism is a statement of their belief. An agnostic-atheist might say, "I don't know for sure that there is no god, which makes me an agnostic, but from everything that I know so far I don't believe that there is a god and that makes me an atheist." Conversely, one can be an agnostic-theist: one that does not know for sure, but thinks that it is more likely that god does exist. One is the statement of knowledge; another is the statement of belief.

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  29. fronty,
    Yes indeed, hence the portraits of Yeshua are the spitting image of ole King James himself...
    co-inkydink..
    Methinks not.

    SH,
    Thank God somebody knows what they are talking about!
    All kidding aside thank you for your thoughtful explanation. I never realised the point that you raised about there being a double standard.

    I suppose that because our culture abhors anything that goes against the grain that you must be considered a bad machine if you don't comply.
    It is true that people sort of sigh when you say that you are a disbeliever..it exasperates them..why can't you just get in the program...what's wrong with you anyway?
    Thanks again SH, I knew that you would come through..well done.

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  30. Oh no, you must post! Your posts have more of an impact. I saw the "Dance monkeys dance!!!" and I thought of you. You're right about one thing, I am a doll! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  31. **How you ACT towards others is far more important than what you THINK, though in the end they may be inseperable.


    thats right. Thoughts are hard to stop from being born. But actions can be stopped.


    Keshi.

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  32. I used to be a god-follower, then I came to believe he was evil, and then I stopped believing at all.

    I read a blog that said this earlier, and it is EXACTLY the road I traveled to Atheism. I still don't believe that Atheism should be a term that anyone uses to describe a lack of belief in a god. I don't believe in tarot cards either, and I don't follow the stars to tell me how to live my life. I don't do tea leaves, and I don't believe in a Giant Spaghetti Monster who flies around. I don't need a special designation for that.

    ReplyDelete
  33. An apple a day keeps the doctor away x

    ReplyDelete
  34. christine,
    OK...and yes you are a doll!

    keshi,
    I hope that I didn't scare you with my ghost story..wait a second there is a girl at the door ..OMG she's holding a bouquet of flowers..AAiiiieeee!
    Ok she is gone now,
    You are right getting control of your mouth is probably the greatest thing that one can do to stay out of the hospital.

    tidalgrrrrl,
    Hey I like the giant green spaghetti monster theory!
    We ex-believers are the worst..like ex smokers lecturing on smoking when they are dying to have a drag.

    benjamin,
    Cryptic my friend, Cryptic.
    I am on my way to the frifge to get an apple right now.

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  35. lol HE cmon now ur teasing me abt that ghostess ha? :):)

    booooooooooooooooooooo!

    Keshi.

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  36. keshtar,
    No way! If you saw a ghost then you saw a ghost. Seeing is believing..but believing something doesn't mean that it is true for others...does that make any sense.

    ReplyDelete
  37. it sure does. Keshtar loves ya ;-)

    ReplyDelete

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