Author Topic: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?  (Read 25021 times)

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Offline G-Roll

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #145 on: January 04, 2014, 12:11:56 AM »
The quoted text is not a statement; it is a series of questions.

You asked me a question following from questions about someone else's statement.  Thus, the only information I had to reply with was the information on which I was basing my questions: GIA's statements.
Well there you go..

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Ah, but I did answer your question directly with the best information I had.
I see that now and I stand corrected my bad.

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I answered the question you asked, not the question you may or may not have secretly been intending to ask.
Pfft... You don’t know anything about my secret question. I didn’t want to ask you the secret question anyway.

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So what I find amusing is that you only think I fulfilled the topic of "Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?" because you in fact fulfilled the alternate topic of, "Why is it so hard for nonbelievers to ask a direct question?"
What I find amusing is that you didn’t bother to say you merely asked questions about someone else's statement. Why not just say this from the start?
In my defense if my question was anything it was direct. Based on faulty assumptions sure. But direct.

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the answer you wanted, but the answer you wanted would not be the answer that reflects reality because the answer you wanted required both of us to make the same faulty assumptions.
The answer I wanted? If there was an answer I wanted you to give I would have assigned it to you and perhaps announced it if I wanted to discuss it. I wouldn’t bother asking you a question if there was an answer I wanted you to give me.

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So instead, I answered the question you asked quite directly, and the irony of it is that you are so far lost in your own faulty assumptions that you thought I was dodging when I failed to give you the not direct answer that you erroneously thought was direct.
So rather than just clarifying everything you decided to play a game? Eh, well done I guess.

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This course of action would have likely led you to Reply #128 words 10-23,[1] which would have given you the information necessary to ask a direct question.
I'll be damned it's right there huh? Again I apologize for my mistake. Still a simple explanation for my dumb ass could have saved you the time of typing this post.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #146 on: January 04, 2014, 03:23:24 AM »
understandable,thanks...how do you wrap your head around Christians who label God as having conditions?
Again, it is not a sentiment I am used to hearing from Christians. With groups like Westboro I just usually write them off as fanatics.

Now we're all chums again.....  ;D

Taking Westboro as an example.  Suppose we challenged their views, and they were unable to articulate why they were positive that their view was correct, but insisted that it was an experiential process, and the best they could do to help us understand was to try to guide us like children towards the correct answers. 

Would there be any significant difference between Mooby saying "I reject that answer as it does not fit my experience", and Anfauglir saying "I reject Moobys answer as it does not fit with MY experience"?  And if so, what IS the difference?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Greatest I am

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #147 on: January 04, 2014, 12:18:12 PM »
The only thing I imply is that if there is more than one final destination for all of us after death, then God cannot love us all unconditionally because he will only separate us for conditions unmet.

Right?
Yes, that does indeed seem to be what you are implying.  And, as I mentioned before, you have not shown how one follows from the other.

It follows quite logically that if all are equal then God would not do as scriptures say and send the vast majority to hell and just a few to heaven.

Regards
DL
How does loving two things equally equate to them necessarily being equal?

If you love two equally, how do you decide which to love forever and which to torture or kill?

Do you just flip a coin?

And why put so many in torture of death and so few in heaven to be loved?

At best it should be a 50 50 split yet God chooses to kill or torture the majority.

Explain please.


<<edit -fixed quotes>>
« Last Edit: January 04, 2014, 02:37:43 PM by Anfauglir »

Offline Mooby

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #148 on: January 04, 2014, 08:42:02 PM »
Pfft... You don’t know anything about my secret question. I didn’t want to ask you the secret question anyway.
I know everything about your secret question.  Jesus told me all about it while he was taking his shirt off and gyrating.  (He said that there's no market for hand-made carpentry anymore.[1])

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What I find amusing is that you didn’t bother to say you merely asked questions about someone else's statement. Why not just say this from the start?
Were you unable to glean this from the fact that I had quoted someone else's statement and asked two questions starting with, "So you're . . . ?"

Also, I was illustrating a point.  Namely, that an answer is only as good as the question asked, and at least in my experience on forums theists are not asked very good questions.  Quite often, I see them asked questions based on an assumption made from their posts rather than what the person is actually saying, and often on this forum that's immediately followed by several posts creating a side conversation about the person's straw man position before they ever get a chance to respond. 

As I said earlier in the thread:
I've found that when I do give a simple, direct answers, atheists tend to not accept them because they're not the answers they were looking for, and they keep asking more convoluted questions to get the answer they want until the answers become convoluted as well.
Regardless, I have far too often seen internet atheists insist on buying the fake and selling what's real in discussions with Christians (I've even had atheists tell me that if I'm a Christian I must necessarily be a Young Earth Creationist, despite YECs being a minority of Christians.)

What better way to illustrate this than to give direct answers to the questions actually asked of me?  After all, it should not be my responsibility to make sure you have read the text you're quoting.  And that's not just me who feels this way: MTO in particular gets very upset when she feels people are not making an effort to respond to her posts.[2]

However, I digress.  My point is that a direct answer is not always a good answer, and a good answer is not always a direct answer.  Often when my answers are not direct it's because I am spending my time hedging against a hasty assumption that the other person has made or appears likely to make, which often results in them making said assumption anyways.[3]

In short, communication is a two way street.  I highly disagree with this thread's attempts to set atheists up as the arbitrators of discussion, and then sitting back and insisting theists are unable to measure up.  My objections so far have generally been met with, "Well you're usually ok, Mooby," which entirely misses the point.  So I opted to give in and provide accurate answers to the questions asked, without wasting any time hedging or explaining or any other standard tactic that makes my answers less than direct.  I didn't respond with, "Yes but that's not my view," or "Yes and no, you see it's really like this..." or any other dirty theist tactic.  I simply answered the questions asked of me, to the minimal degree required to answer them, with the most straightforward response I knew to give.

And it earned me a healthy smite and your annoyance.  See what happens when you try to fulfill an OP?



Would there be any significant difference between Mooby saying "I reject that answer as it does not fit my experience", and Anfauglir saying "I reject Moobys answer as it does not fit with MY experience"?
No.



If you love two equally, how do you decide which to love forever and which to torture or kill?

Do you just flip a coin?

And why put so many in torture of death and so few in heaven to be loved?
Would you mind terribly if I abstained from answering your questions until after you have answered mine?

 1. Though come to think of it, that does seem a bit suspicious.  Isn't there at least a niche market?
 2. And her violent responses to this seems to be what gets her into trouble the most.
 3. And then I have to spend more time correcting it, and then I get accused of not answering the question.
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

Offline Greatest I am

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #149 on: January 04, 2014, 09:22:12 PM »
Answer mine and the answer gives you yours.

As you just said, sometimes direct answers are not the best.

In this case a direct answer to what I asked you is the best as it gets you to refute yourself.

Regards
DL

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #150 on: January 04, 2014, 09:26:47 PM »
As long as we are all getting down and dirty having fun mud wrassling with each other while dodging Mooby's intellectual laser blasts, how about an obvious question? First let me try to summarize some of the discussion so far.

Mooby says we might be able to understand faith and belief if we knew some ideas that perhaps most believers only understand superficially, because they never study the theology of their own religion. The theology is so complex that for god to explain himself to us would be like Stephen Hawking trying to explain quantum physics to a small child. Fair enough. I can't understand quantum physics beyond stories and metaphors.

But I would counter that just being really smart does not make someone a good teacher, and if I had some information that was life and death, I would figure out how to explain it. A really good teacher tries to explain things well, and maybe god is very smart, but not a very good teacher if most people can't understand him...

Also Mooby says that some things are subjective and cannot be adequately explained in words, but must be experienced.

Like why you love someone and not someone else. I get that. Before I had my daughter, I understood what it meant to love a child, but I did not know what it meant to love a child. (Maybe since I was abused rather than loved, I also realized that parental love was not automatic, but was also a choice...)  Other mothers said nobody can explain how much you will love your child, how you will be willing to die for your baby. This is all true-- there are things that you have to experience to understand.

So it is understandable that Jesus would use stories, parables and metaphors, etc. Okay so far.

But here is the problem: god made us this way, so lots of us will not be able for whatever reason, to experience faith. God made us too dumb for the universe, and then punishes us for being too dumb for the universe. Why make us humans so stupid that most of us cannot understand the basics, if that is what it takes to achieve salvation? And then there are all those people like Paul, who were struck magically with faith one day out of the blue. WTF is up with that? Like, some people get the answers to the test and the rest of us just have to fail?

It is like Stephen Hawking telling all his students to study for the exam, and then failing everyone but two of his students-- who he secretly gave the answers to his exam.

Sorry Mooby. Any way you go, the road leads back to god. The buck always stops on his big celestial desk.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline shnozzola

Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #151 on: January 04, 2014, 09:50:59 PM »
Hi Mooby,
   You are obviously very intelligent, a doctor I believe(?), and you spend so much time on several forums.  I have a direct question.  I guess you've answered it before, but I may not have understood it.   As a theist, what do YOU believe god is?
“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something."  ~ T. H. White
  The real holy trinity:  onion, celery, and bell pepper ~  all Cajun Chefs

Offline Mooby

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #152 on: January 05, 2014, 12:53:02 AM »
In this case a direct answer to what I asked you is the best as it gets you to refute yourself.

As a refresher, here are the claims you have made:


A)
  • [God says] Love, honor and obey me or burn in hell.
  • Those sound like conditions to God's love

B)
  • If he loves us all without conditions
  • we all end in heaven.

C)
  • if there is more than one final destination for all of us after death
  • God cannot love us all unconditionally
  • he will only separate us for conditions unmet.

D)
  • if all are equal
  • God would not do as scriptures say and send the vast majority to hell and just a few to heaven

Here are the things I claimed:
  • A2 does not follow from A1
  • A1 is not really an accurate description of my beliefs
  • C2-3 do not follow from C1

In addition, I asked you how you got C1 from B1 (4).  You replied with three additional questions that do not address C1 at all.  Likewise, you have not addressed my 1) and have inadequately addressed 3) by posting D, which is not even talking about the same question (C is about love while D is about equality.)


I will humor you, though.  Which of my claims in 1-3 do you intend your questions to refute?  And when will you get around to addressing my claims 1), 3), and question 4)?
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

Offline Mooby

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #153 on: January 05, 2014, 01:06:58 AM »
Why make us humans so stupid that most of us cannot understand the basics, if that is what it takes to achieve salvation?
On the contrary, you'll note in my post where I talk about the scope of infinite knowledge that I said I think most of us can understand the basics.  I contended that it's trying to understand in an inappropriate manner that causes the confusion.

The average Christian does not need to concern themselves with the role epigenetics played in the Incarnation; understanding that Jesus died for their sins is usually enough.  I think that you and I have a very different notion of "basics."

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And then there are all those people like Paul, who were struck magically with faith one day out of the blue. WTF is up with that? Like, some people get the answers to the test and the rest of us just have to fail?
I don't know.  It's never happened to me.

As a theist, what do YOU believe god is?
I posted that here.
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

Offline ralonx

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #154 on: January 07, 2014, 09:51:16 PM »
I'm sorry if I devert off of a topic, but it is only to reply to the originally posted question:

This is my first post on this forum as a new member. I am going to open with the fact that I am a Christian and I believe in the total deity of Christ in His entirety. So please understand that having said that, everything I say and read will likely be filtered through that lens, as I would expect everyone else's reading of my post would be filtered through the lens of what they believe. Also, I would like to extend an invitation to anyone who would like to email me, my email is posted on my account (presumably) and you are free to do so, I will not "dodge questions" as it was stated, or I will try not to. I just find it easier to post and well thought, intelligent response over email. I know it's the same as posting on a forum, I'm just silly that way.

Now, down to business. Why is it hard for us to answer a direct question. I'll tell you. Here it is.....Because believers are scared, intimidated, human beings like everyone else on the planet. Unfortunately I will be the second to admit that even I know little about God and that I am a pathetic, sorry excuse for a human being. Even Paul said that in 1 Corinthians 2: 3-5

"I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power."

I wouldn't say that it is because we think "Our God is bullcrap" it is just that most people dont know the answer and don't want to screw it up. Fact is there is alot we dont know about God, or maybe I only speak for myself, but the pursuit of faith and knowledge of God is a lifelong journey. The day I believe that I have all the answers is the day that I know nothing.

As for me, I won't dodge a question. I may give the wrong answer, or I may give you an answer that is you don't want to hear. Bottom line is, I'm weak. But I find that okay because God exalts the weak because it is through them that he can show his power. And I know I will get nasty emails relating back to "Then why doesn't God heal amputees if He shows His power through weakness" I will be glad to answer that question via email or another post perhaps, I think this one is getting a bit long though. And I promise I won't redirect to another video done by someone else to show my point.

Keep in mind, on forums like these, you get alot of fanatical, hateful people on both sides of a discussion. I want to press out the point that I do not hate anyone, and anything I say is said out of love, and no it's not because "My God is Love" either. On a side note, that is something often said that is scriptural, but only in the original Greek usage of the work "Agape." The term "love" in the English more refers to a junk-drawer-definition of feelings. Like I love my wife, my dog, my God, and my taco. I really don't mean the same thing for all four. It leaves out the inseparable reality of wrath being a very true and harmonious part of love. Think about it, you can only have wrath if you really love something. If you didn't have wrath when something you loved was abused, well then you never really cared about it. And yes, God does have wrath towards wrong doings and He is just as wrathful as He was in the Old Testament. God's wrath is a building wrath though, and will one day be unleashed in its totality upon the world. The book of Revelation is entirely devoted to it. But that is yet another topic.

As I said, email, please. I would like to help find some answers as best I can.

Thanks
Sorry about the length
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Offline Traveler

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #155 on: January 07, 2014, 09:59:40 PM »
ralamx, hello and welcome. I have to say, though, that this is a discussion board, and private discussions pretty much get in the way of that. I strongly suggest that you discuss your views publicly. If you begin to feel overwhelmed with responses you can issue a request for a one-on-one debate or to post in The Shelter, where the rules are much more tuned toward a gentle environment.
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Offline Star Stuff

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #156 on: January 07, 2014, 10:02:58 PM »
....I am a pathetic, sorry excuse for a human being.

I remember regurgitating that same impoverished, unhealthy and untrue nonsense when I was a christian.  It was fed to me from the pulpit, and as a defenseless child, I didn't have a developed mind to see that it was BS.  "Sin is an imaginary disease invented to sell you an imaginary cure."


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Even Paul said that in 1 Corinthians 2: 3-5

So what?  What's so great about Paul?  There is material you can read which strongly suggests that he was likely more of a nutcase, if you were to take a moment and look at your beliefs critically.
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Online ParkingPlaces

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #157 on: January 08, 2014, 01:33:40 AM »
Keep in mind, on forums like these, you get alot of fanatical, hateful people on both sides of a discussion. I want to press out the point that I do not hate anyone, and anything I say is said out of love, and no it's not because "My God is Love" either. On a side note, that is something often said that is scriptural, but only in the original Greek usage of the work "Agape." The term "love" in the English more refers to a junk-drawer-definition of feelings. Like I love my wife, my dog, my God, and my taco. I really don't mean the same thing for all four. It leaves out the inseparable reality of wrath being a very true and harmonious part of love. Think about it, you can only have wrath if you really love something. If you didn't have wrath when something you loved was abused, well then you never really cared about it. And yes, God does have wrath towards wrong doings and He is just as wrathful as He was in the Old Testament. God's wrath is a building wrath though, and will one day be unleashed in its totality upon the world. The book of Revelation is entirely devoted to it. But that is yet another topic.

Welcome raylonx

Gee, our first disagreement. And it is over wrath.

I don't quite see the connection between wrath and love. As a being who loves but who isn't wrathful, I'm pretty sure the connection isn't a requirement. Let alone normal.

Wrath comes from having unmet expectations. And if I don't bother coming up with unmeetable expectations, I'll have nothing to be wrathful about.

Now this doesn't include extremes, like someone running into my car. Which still doesn't get me wrathful, though I'll admit I wouldn't be very happy about it.  I'm talking here about relationship level wrath. Love level wrath. Which neither I nor those I love ever experiences from me.

Now I've gotten it from others. But they set expectations that were either undefined, unreasonable, unstated, and/or unagreed upon. Sometimes they were indeed reasonable, but unstated, so I couldn't know that I was doing the wrong thing. At other times they were stated but not something I agreed to. But even those scenarios have been rare in my life, mostly I think because I am not one to wildly express anger at every opportunity. But in any case, wrath is of little use if it isn't needed. And people wise enough to be careful with their expectations have little use for it.

So wrath, to me, comes into play not as a natural opposite to love, but rather as a byproduct of unstated or unagreed upon or just plain clumsy expectations that are not met.

Nobody in my life experiences wrath from me. If anyone ever saw me wrathful they would immediately suggest I get checked for brain tumors. I avoid getting angry because I don't expect people to do everything I wish they would. I have my preferences, but not my demands.

And it works. So if I can successfully negotiate life without being pissed, your god should be able to do far better.

Of course, since he doesn't exist, it is the people who say he does that are doing the getting mad. Because they expect to be believed and they expect power and when they don't get it they let us know they are unhappy. That is the source of biblical wrath; selfishness.

I do wish you could see that.
Jesus, the cracker flavored treat!

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #158 on: January 08, 2014, 03:44:11 AM »
Now, down to business. Why is it hard for us to answer a direct question. I'll tell you. Here it is.....Because believers are scared, intimidated, human beings like everyone else on the planet.

True enough....to a point.  And yet those fearful, scared Christians seem to be on every street corner talking about their god, and brave enough to come to a forum full of atheists to tell us their god exists.  Doesn't sound very fearful to me, but maybe I'm missing the point.  Christians have no fear trumpeting the god they are positive exists, but are afraid to answer questions about the detail in case they got it wrong, is that it?

It leaves out the inseparable reality of wrath being a very true and harmonious part of love. Think about it, you can only have wrath if you really love something. If you didn't have wrath when something you loved was abused, well then you never really cared about it. And yes, God does have wrath towards wrong doings and He is just as wrathful as He was in the Old Testament. God's wrath is a building wrath though, and will one day be unleashed in its totality upon the world. The book of Revelation is entirely devoted to it. But that is yet another topic.

Couple things I don't understand here - perhaps you could walk me through them?

1) You say your god is wrathful when the things he loves are abused.  You are correct, if I saw my loved ones in danger I would step in and help them.  But we see all manner of bad things going on in the world, and your god does not intervene, preferring to sit back and "build his wrath" instead.  Is that a method you would advocate  in response to abuse of the people you or I love?

2) I love my daughter.  If she does something that makes me mad, then because I love her I try to explain, over and over again if necessary, what it is I believe she should be doing.  I do not sit in the next room, fuming and tutting until I just explode and beat her, "unleashing my fury in its totality".  From what you are saying, my constant involvement and discussion and presence in my daughter's life is not the best strategy, and it would be more loving to just keep getting madder - is that correct?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #159 on: January 08, 2014, 03:56:36 AM »
Most of the last five pages of this thread moved onto the subject of Naturalism, so I have split them off.

Naturalism as a means of establishing reality
.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2014, 04:03:18 AM by Anfauglir »
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Ataraxia

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #160 on: January 08, 2014, 06:42:21 AM »
...I am a pathetic, sorry excuse for a human being.

I don't believe that.

Try something - rack your brains and make a list of all the things you deem to have been good deeds that you have done, say since the turn of the year. Then make a list of all the things you deem to be bad deeds. Now take these two lists and envisage where your god would put each deed. Do you expect there to be any shifting of deeds between the good and bad categories? If yes, then ask yourself why god would consider something good/bad which you consider the opposite. If no, welcome to SPAG.
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Offline harbinger77

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Re: Naturalism as a means of establishing reality
« Reply #161 on: January 08, 2014, 09:27:35 AM »

Paul may have been a nut case... hmmm.  I've read false apostle and wolf in sheep's clothing before but never nut case... Is this just unsubstantiated conjecture again? Is there a link you can post for us to "look at our beliefs critically?" I for one am always interested in reading things like these. Thank you.

Here. (post #87).  I think it was translated from French, and the translation isn't great, but you'll get the gist:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,1262.msg25740.html#msg25740

Interesting.. Well written... imaginative. I can see how this may be convincing for someone who is unfamiliar with Paul's writings. We could go through the whole of the entry you have submitted and discuss each point in light of what paul wrote if you would like? This is pure fantasy on the authors part. Before you start to break down your evidence and show me how and where even half of this fits with Paul's writings, maybe you can answer my very first question....
How is a french philosopher qualified to make such medical diagnoses?
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Offline Star Stuff

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Re: Naturalism as a means of establishing reality
« Reply #162 on: January 08, 2014, 11:37:11 AM »
Interesting.. Well written... imaginative. I can see how this may be convincing for someone who is unfamiliar with Paul's writings. We could go through the whole of the entry you have submitted and discuss each point in light of what paul wrote if you would like? This is pure fantasy on the authors part. Before you start to break down your evidence and show me how and where even half of this fits with Paul's writings, maybe you can answer my very first question....
How is a french philosopher qualified to make such medical diagnoses?
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Onfray

I'd like to raise your awareness of something.  Note the scepticism, doubt and critical thinking that you employ and apply to that body of text, but you do not employ those same tools to the text of the bible.  Why is that?
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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Naturalism as a means of establishing reality
« Reply #163 on: January 08, 2014, 11:45:24 AM »
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Onfray

I'd like to raise your awareness of something.  Note the scepticism, doubt and critical thinking that you employ and apply to that body of text, but you do not employ those same tools to the text of the bible.  Why is that?

I hope his writing has improved since the only thing that I read by him was "The Atheist Manifesto" and it was rambling, unstructured laundry list of abuses by primarily the Catholic Church, some other Christian denomintions, and a light sprinkling of other religions. It was singularly the worst book on atheism I've read, reminding me of stuff I wrote in high school when I was a Deist....but at least I had the excuse of being 16.
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Offline wheels5894

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Re: Naturalism as a means of establishing reality
« Reply #164 on: January 08, 2014, 12:33:18 PM »

Paul may have been a nut case... hmmm.  I've read false apostle and wolf in sheep's clothing before but never nut case... Is this just unsubstantiated conjecture again? Is there a link you can post for us to "look at our beliefs critically?" I for one am always interested in reading things like these. Thank you.

Here. (post #87).  I think it was translated from French, and the translation isn't great, but you'll get the gist:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,1262.msg25740.html#msg25740

Interesting.. Well written... imaginative. I can see how this may be convincing for someone who is unfamiliar with Paul's writings. We could go through the whole of the entry you have submitted and discuss each point in light of what paul wrote if you would like? This is pure fantasy on the authors part. Before you start to break down your evidence and show me how and where even half of this fits with Paul's writings, maybe you can answer my very first question....
How is a french philosopher qualified to make such medical diagnoses?
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Onfray

Now there's an interesting question, Harbinger - possibly you most insightful yet. What does make a person qualified to speak on a topic? Well, for one thing, it is a person who has studied the matter in hand and, maybe, has academic qualifications in that area. Yet what area do we need? A biblical scholar would have a different set of questions to ask of the text than, say, a systematic theologian. Yet neither of these really are equipped to look at the case in point, was Paul suffering form anything?

We know that he complains about a problem but he, annoyingly, never tells us what it is. Various people have had a crack at this with varying results. personally, I have wondered if he might have been gay - given his outspokenness on sexual matters. Yet what Onfray gives us is an account of a possible psychiatric disorder that might have been Paul's problem. He gives us enough detail and he explains a lot of theology that is not so easy to explain in others ways. I ma not as convinced by him as others, probably because I don't think Paul was the figure the church claims he was. I don't think he existed in the time frame given to him and I see these letters of his as having been penned late - into the 90s CE on the grounds of the theology and lack of independent evidence of his travels and communities he was supposed to have started.

Nonetheless there are some serious problems with Paul that need some explanation and Onfray gives us some of these. Critical is the way Paul - who never heard or saw Jesus - produces hard and firm instructions on matters that Jesus had little to speak about. His outspokenness on sexual matters and marriage is in sharp contrast to Jesus more of less silence? How do you account for that, Harbinger?

Then again, Paul has a much more developed Christology than even John's gospel, the last to be written. How do you account for that? If Paul wrote before Mark, how come Mark never heard about Paul's Christology or even his new Adam ideas on recapitulation?
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Re: Naturalism as a means of establishing reality
« Reply #165 on: January 08, 2014, 01:25:57 PM »

Paul may have been a nut case... hmmm.  I've read false apostle and wolf in sheep's clothing before but never nut case... Is this just unsubstantiated conjecture again? Is there a link you can post for us to "look at our beliefs critically?" I for one am always interested in reading things like these. Thank you.

Here. (post #87).  I think it was translated from French, and the translation isn't great, but you'll get the gist:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,1262.msg25740.html#msg25740
Interesting.. Well written... imaginative. I can see how this may be convincing for someone who is unfamiliar with Paul's writings. We could go through the whole of the entry you have submitted and discuss each point in light of what paul wrote if you would like? This is pure fantasy on the authors part. Before you start to break down your evidence and show me how and where even half of this fits with Paul's writings, maybe you can answer my very first question....
How is a french philosopher qualified to make such medical diagnoses?
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Onfray

I'd like to raise your awareness of something.  Note the scepticism, doubt and critical thinking that you employ and apply to that body of text, but you do not employ those same tools to the text of the bible.  Why is that?


The answer to your question is of course I do. I would note you knowledge base is limited on the subject of how I study my bible. On what basis do you make this claim? What about my other direct question? You didn't answer that...
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Offline Star Stuff

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #166 on: January 08, 2014, 01:38:17 PM »
If you mean this:

"How is a French philosopher qualified to make such medical diagnoses?"

I would say that he is suggesting very real possibilities, not asserting absolute certainty.  The fact is, nobody can know what the Paul character was really like, in the same way that you nor anyone else can know what the Jesus character was like or what he might have done or said, for it was all written by others decades after his "alleged" life.  The only reason you view Paul, Jesus, and other content of the bible with such reverence is that you have been born into a time & place (and possibly family) where the bible is revered by many other individuals.  You have truly succumbed to the bandwagon effect, for if Christianity never did take off (thanks to Constantine), and vanished along with all of the other cults, you would not be so hypnotized by the bible or its characters & stories.  You would view them as just what one would expect to find coming from primitive desert people.

« Last Edit: January 08, 2014, 02:57:35 PM by Star Stuff »
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Offline ralonx

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #167 on: January 08, 2014, 05:50:29 PM »
...I am a pathetic, sorry excuse for a human being.

I don't believe that.

Try something - rack your brains and make a list of all the things you deem to have been good deeds that you have done, say since the turn of the year. Then make a list of all the things you deem to be bad deeds. Now take these two lists and envisage where your god would put each deed. Do you expect there to be any shifting of deeds between the good and bad categories? If yes, then ask yourself why god would consider something good/bad which you consider the opposite. If no, welcome to SPAG.


Okay, well said. And I thank you for your concern about my health and how I consider myself. What I meant to communicate in that statement was not what came through. I do not consider myself a "waste of space" or anything like that. I have done many "good deeds" but the questions is: Does that equate to, or cancel out all the bad things I have done?

If you eat a high calorie food like refined sugar, then eat salad, does it cancel out? Well no, you just don't take a large amount of calories in your second meal, correct? I would conjecture that our life in response to good deeds and bad deeds works the same way. Good deeds don't make us any less guilty, just gives us times when we could have made ourselves more guilty and didn't. They may turn someones eyes to see our good deeds and wave off the bad ones, but a good judge would not let a murderer go just because they helped grama across the street right?

So having said all that, we must look at a scale of good and bad. What defines a "good" person, and who's definition matters? To people, it is our own standard that matters. This is why you can go to a country like Canada or United States where theft will result in a fine or jail time, or you can go to Sierra Leone where you will get your hands chopped off. To God, and in extension Christians, it is God's standard that matters. This would be the Ten Commandments. By that standard, we have all fallen very short.

The next question now is: Does a white lie deserve hell? Well sin (or a wrong deed, however you would like to word it) all matters who it is committed against. If one was to lie to me, well then who cares really right? Is that going to cause them jail time or anything? No. However, you lie to a federal judge: That's Purgery brother. Jail. If you lied to a Persian king hundreds of years ago (or any king really, I just picked Persian out of my head)....well you wouldn't have to worry about what hat to wear, cause you wouldn't have a head to wear it on.

So does a white lie really matter? Well if one does not believe in God, then why argue about it cause it shouldn't matter right? If you even have the slightest thought that God might exist, then you realize that a sin against the creator of all things is a big deal. Does a white lie matter, yes of course it does.

When we line up all the questions like: "Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?" or "Why would God send a good person to hell?" We have to evaluate what "good" means right? By God's standard, the only good person that ever lived was Jesus. Therefore the only hope we would have in the eyes of God would be to accept Jesus as our saviour. By humanities standard? Well then the answer to that question would really change depending on who you asked.


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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #168 on: January 08, 2014, 06:13:31 PM »
Now, down to business. Why is it hard for us to answer a direct question. I'll tell you. Here it is.....Because believers are scared, intimidated, human beings like everyone else on the planet.

True enough....to a point.  And yet those fearful, scared Christians seem to be on every street corner talking about their god, and brave enough to come to a forum full of atheists to tell us their god exists.  Doesn't sound very fearful to me, but maybe I'm missing the point.  Christians have no fear trumpeting the god they are positive exists, but are afraid to answer questions about the detail in case they got it wrong, is that it?

It leaves out the inseparable reality of wrath being a very true and harmonious part of love. Think about it, you can only have wrath if you really love something. If you didn't have wrath when something you loved was abused, well then you never really cared about it. And yes, God does have wrath towards wrong doings and He is just as wrathful as He was in the Old Testament. God's wrath is a building wrath though, and will one day be unleashed in its totality upon the world. The book of Revelation is entirely devoted to it. But that is yet another topic.

Couple things I don't understand here - perhaps you could walk me through them?

1) You say your god is wrathful when the things he loves are abused.  You are correct, if I saw my loved ones in danger I would step in and help them.  But we see all manner of bad things going on in the world, and your god does not intervene, preferring to sit back and "build his wrath" instead.  Is that a method you would advocate  in response to abuse of the people you or I love?

2) I love my daughter.  If she does something that makes me mad, then because I love her I try to explain, over and over again if necessary, what it is I believe she should be doing.  I do not sit in the next room, fuming and tutting until I just explode and beat her, "unleashing my fury in its totality".  From what you are saying, my constant involvement and discussion and presence in my daughter's life is not the best strategy, and it would be more loving to just keep getting madder - is that correct?

Hey! Thank you for responding :) Maybe moderators respond to things all the time in this forum, but on alot of forums they just hang out and no one hears from them. Thank you for taking interest :)

1)In short no you didn't get it wrong. Most Christians will gladly say they are a Christian, but crumble when we are confronted about it. It's sad, and I do it too. My God deserves much more than I give Him. It's one thing to identify yourself with Christ, it is another to share in his sufferings.

I'm not trying to say anything about you, or Atheists per-say by saying this, but I would rather be punched in the mouth then face the hate and threats I have had dished out to me by anti-God people. It's like all the hate and anger they feel towards God, is then turned to me. It is easier to say, "I don't deserve that" and walk away. Which is what alot of Christians do. Unfortunately, sometimes we walk away from good hearted people who just want answers, because we think they want to rip our heads off. So I hope that sheds a little more light on it.


2)So I'll try to walk you through what i meant with wrath. I only used the analogy of harmonious wrath in context of loved ones being abused to show how love and wrath cannot be separated. In the context of God's wrath, he reoccuringly comes to the defence of those who call on him. He did that totaly in the act of sending his Son Jesus to die for our sins.

To put it a little differently, it would be like someone beating your daughter, you going to try to save us, and then your daughter pulling out a gun and threatening to shoot you if you helped her. What would you do? I would stand there dumb founded for a couple seconds at the situation. I really don't know what I would do. In the context of God's wrath and saving his loved ones, he did that. All to often however, we reject his help and tell him to bugger off.

If you put it in the context of physical need, for example, Why doesn't God heal amputees? God is above our realm and sees things in a different light than we do. He sees eternity, we see present. Again, let me explain. Your daughter, when she was really young, I'm sure she stubbed her toe. It hurts like a bugger and I know when I was young I would cry and cry and say I need to go to the hospital. What did my Mom do though? Kissed it and comforted me and told me to keep going. To us, these things seem big, to God, he thinks your eternal life is more important than your physical. I know I'm gonna get hate mail for saying all that, and I am not saying that amputees have nothing wrong with them. That is a tragedy!!!!! I would never wish someone to loose a limb, but in perspective of eternity? Jesus said in Matthew 16:26 "What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?". God's perspective is on your eternity.

 

Offline ralonx

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Re: Naturalism as a means of establishing reality
« Reply #169 on: January 08, 2014, 06:16:55 PM »
I see no credentials that would suggest anything other than bias. Is this the answer to my question?

Paul had poor eyesight as the scriptures indicate this was his "thorn."

Sorry, again not to butt into a convo, but do you have a scriptural reference for that? I don't believe I remember reading that he ever defined his "thorn". Most think it was a spiritual battle. This is a man who was beaten and stoned. I don't think he would pray that God would take away his bad eyesight? I just want to know where you read that, cause I never did, but maybe I missed it?
« Last Edit: January 08, 2014, 06:19:09 PM by ralonx »

Offline SevenPatch

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #170 on: January 08, 2014, 06:31:21 PM »
So does a white lie really matter? Well if one does not believe in God, then why argue about it cause it shouldn't matter right? If you even have the slightest thought that God might exist, then you realize that a sin against the creator of all things is a big deal. Does a white lie matter, yes of course it does.

A white lie can potentially affect people though (positively or negatively), so yes it does matter without a god.  Every individual has to make these evaluations and decisions in their lives and how they affect others.  Our actions have consequences regardless of a god.
"Shut him up! We have a lot invested in this ride - SHUT HIM UP! Look at my furrows of worry! Look at my big bank account, and my family! This just HAS to be real!" - Bill Hicks

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #171 on: January 08, 2014, 10:00:58 PM »
Thanks for the thoughtful replies, ralonx. On the subject of god not healing amputees, I think you have gotten yourself into a bind there. You say that god sees the eternal, so the missing limb is not that important in terms of eternity. Okay, let's accept that. You are saying that god does not heal any physical ailments or conditions because he sees things eternally, right?

But there are tons of Christians (and Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists) who say that they were healed of cancer, of drug addiction, of drinking, of adultery, of gossiping, of you name it. Do you believe that god healed those people? We have a Christian poster on this site right now who says that his god cures people of drugs and so forth literally overnight.[1]

So, god apparently does pay attention to some physical complaints. Mainly things that are treatable with medicine, or that sometimes get better by themselves. Just not the physical problems that would be obvious impossible miracles, like growing back a severed leg, reversing senile dementia, curing a baby's Down's syndrome or a soldier's traumatic brain injury.
 1. From my perspective, either they are lying or they are mistaken-- their cancer got better temporarily and then they got sick again and died, or were mid-diagnosed and never had the condition at all. As for the rest, they were ready to quit the drugs themselves or they got help--but that does not make for as compelling a story. People's memories are very selective when it comes to mysterious healings.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline ralonx

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #172 on: January 08, 2014, 10:40:57 PM »
Thanks for the thoughtful replies, ralonx. On the subject of god not healing amputees, I think you have gotten yourself into a bind there. You say that god sees the eternal, so the missing limb is not that important in terms of eternity. Okay, let's accept that. You are saying that god does not heal any physical ailments or conditions because he sees things eternally, right?

But there are tons of Christians (and Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists) who say that they were healed of cancer, of drug addiction, of drinking, of adultery, of gossiping, of you name it. Do you believe that god healed those people? We have a Christian poster on this site right now who says that his god cures people of drugs and so forth literally overnight.[1]

So, god apparently does pay attention to some physical complaints. Mainly things that are treatable with medicine, or that sometimes get better by themselves. Just not the physical problems that would be obvious impossible miracles, like growing back a severed leg, reversing senile dementia, curing a baby's Down's syndrome or a soldier's traumatic brain injury.
 1. From my perspective, either they are lying or they are mistaken-- their cancer got better temporarily and then they got sick again and died, or were mid-diagnosed and never had the condition at all. As for the rest, they were ready to quit the drugs themselves or they got help--but that does not make for as compelling a story. People's memories are very selective when it comes to mysterious healings.

Thank you "nogodsforme" on your kind and respectful address at the beginning I appreciate your thoughtful replies as well :)

Thank you for bringing that up, I write so much in the posts sometimes that I miss a detail or don't expand on something the way that I should. I apologize.

Please understand that though I would like to think that I am knowledgeable of God's ways, I really only know the surface of a vast ocean of things to know about God and the way He works. Not to mention that I am only 23 so I have alot of years of learning yet to do ;)

God DOES care about our physical ailments, and I apologize if I made it sound like He doesn't. I only meant to say that in the grand scheme of how God works, He is MORE concerned about eternity than he is about physical things. Our physical and situational griefs are serious to us! So therefore they are serious to God as well. Does He perform medical miracles that cannot be explained by any other means than God? Yes He has, and He does. I'm sure you have heard accounts in present time, and we know of recorded incidents in the Bible. He cares as much for the problems that affect us as much as we would care for the problems that affect our own children. But why God does not heal EVERY case of illness, well that is something that truly is left to mystery and I would not presume to know how or why He works on a person to person basis. Really if He was going to heal every case, then He probably would have just killed Adam and Eve and started over with a clean slate. I mean God wants us to follow Him because we want to, not because we have no other choice. If He healed every case, well, would you have a choice to believe in Him? That is my opinion on why he doesn't heal every case, take that for what it is, don't take that as theological truth. I will say, that it has little relation to who deserves it more or not. In Psalm 73, the Psalmist records that those who are opposed to God can often prosper as much or more than those who follow Him. In fact Jesus Himself promised that to follow Him was to suffer. Luke 9:23-24 ("pick up [your] cross daily and follow me") He promised persecution, suffering, and at times, death. But He also promised life. Eternally and abundantly. He also promised the joy that can only be found through knowing Him as saviour. Not happiness, but joy and contentment. This is not to say that the Christian walk is devoid of happiness or blessing, but it is to say that with one comes the other. I for one don't mind it, and in fact as James 1:2-4 says, I count my trials as joy, as they produce faith, which produces perseverance, which produces maturity (the first recording of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger"). Let it also be said that that was said in the context of being a believer, not the generalized "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger". But I get off topic.

God does care about our physical ailments and sufferings. But as I said earlier in my previous posts, if we are defining what a "good" person is by God's standards, then the questions has to be asked: Instead of why doesn't God heal us, we need to ask why hasn't God wiped us out if we are so evil (going back to my previous reference of God wiping out Adam and Eve and starting fresh)? Valid question isn't it? As soon as you word it like that, we are left with God's grace and unfathomable love and mercy in the giving of His Son Jesus. The fact that God hasn't wiped us out and has, in turn, held back His wrath (which I talked about in my previous posts) and given us the freedom to choose Him, and escape the wrath of God, and spend eternity with Him. Why did he do that? Because of love. And that very thought and statement is the hope of all Christians, the lifeblood if you will. That is the greatest promise ever given, and without that, there really isn't any point of following God. The promise of eternal salvation is what keeps us, sustains us, and keeps our eyes on heaven day to day. I love God, not because I have to, but because I choose to. And that, my friend, is a beautiful thing.

I hope that helps define what I meant a little better. Please, if something doesn't make sense, ask me to clearify, I miss things alot. I REALLY appreciate your responses. Trust me, I don't do this to hear myself talk :) or type rather. Keep 'em coming, and I'll do my best to refine God's truth a little more.

God Bless!

Oh and the name is Timothy, or Tim. You don't have to call me "Ralonx". That is just a screen name. So impersonal.



« Last Edit: January 08, 2014, 11:11:43 PM by ralonx »

Offline Angus and Alexis

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #173 on: January 08, 2014, 10:55:22 PM »
I only meant to say that in the grand scheme of how God works, He is MORE concerned about eternity than he is about physical things.

If said God is not able to help us physically, then he is not all powerful.
If he does not want to, then he is not all good.
If he is both, why call him god?

Does He perform medical miracles that cannot be explained by any other means than God? Yes He has, and He does.
[/b]

No he hasn't, and never will.

But why God does not heal EVERY case of illness, well that is something that truly is left to mystery and I would not presume to know how or why He works on a person to person basis.

God works in mysterious waysTM.

I will say, that it has little relation to who deserves it more or not. As Psalm 73 records, whose who are opposed to God can often prosper as much or more than those who follow Him.

Wow its like...as if there is no god...and that everything is natural.

God does care about our physical ailments and sufferings.

Obviously not enough, look at Africa, and the lack of any form of magic healing.

But as I said earlier, if we are defining what a "good" person is by God's standards, then the questions has to be asked: Instead of why doesn't God heal us, we should ask why hasn't God wiped us out if we are so evil?

Because.
A: Humans are not evil.
B: Sin does not exist.
C: Because humans are not extinct, and that god is fictional, god must be written as a deity who has not destroyed humans.

Valid question isn't it?

I find it no more valid that "Yeah, well why didn't Darth Vader kill Luke Skywalker in episode 5?"

As soon as you word it like that, we are left with God's grace and unfathomable love and mercy in the giving of His Son Jesus.

No, we are left with a 2000 year old book written by questionably retarded middle easterners, and the fictional character known as "god" who is loving, yet shows many non-loving traits, and activities.

Why did he do that? Because of love plot shields. And that very thought and statement is the hope of all Christians, the lifeblood if you will. 

Fixed.

I wish I had more answers. I hope that helps define what I meant a little better. Please, if something doesn't make sense, ask me to clearify, I miss things alot.

I wish you had less standard theist answers that have not been used many times before.
Saying "god is loving, you can see the love because of this" is not going to cut it...
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