Figuring Out Religion

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Mountaineer
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Re: Figuring Out Religion

Post by Mountaineer » Fri Dec 21, 2018 2:28 pm

GREETING FROM TIM

On the night of Jesus' birth, an angel began what we've come to call "discipleship." That angel made a divine pronouncement of Jesus' birth and gave explicit directions on how to find this newly born savior. The shepherds heard this pronouncement as just what the angel said it was: "Good News!" Among themselves they chattered, "Let's go! Let's go see! Let's go see what has been made known to us!" Off they went to Bethlehem. Once there, they located the holy family and found the baby... the Messiah... the very Son of God... God himself. Those shepherds had gotten themselves in the presence of Jesus Christ and they were "discipled." In the presence of the Christ-child, manger-laid and well-swaddled, those shepherds knew the truth of the Good News announced by the angel and sung by the heavenly host. Back they went to their darkened hillside and shadowy sheep, but their return was filled with the praise and glory of God because their savior... their Christ... their Lord was truly theirs in the flesh and come to meet them in their lowly estate.

You, too, have an angel... a messenger. This person brings the announcement of where you will be discipled-that is, where you will be in the presence of your savior... your Christ... your Lord. This messenger may be a family member, a neighbor, or your preacher. Whoever that messenger may be, he or she will point to the time and place-a worship service at a local church-where Jesus Christ will be present for you. You may decide or not whether you will "go and see" what has been made known to you. Once there, you will hear that Jesus Christ, your Savior and Lord, comes to meet you at the baptismal font, at the pulpit, and at the Lord's Table. You will have gotten yourself into the presence of Jesus Christ and you will have been "discipled." In the presence of the Christ, no longer a child but died and resurrected, you will know the truth of the Good News announced by your particular messenger: This Jesus is "for you!" At the singing of the final hymn, when the last candle is extinguished, you will-as the shepherds did-return to home and work. That return will be filled with the praise and glory of God because your savior... your Christ... your Lord is truly yours in the flesh and come to meet you in your lowly estate.

The blessings of Christmas rest upon you and yours,


Rev. Timothy J. Swenson
Dean of Chapel
Institute of Lutheran Theology
The world removes God; the Word gives Christ.
The devil accuses us; the Word sustains faith.
Sin says live for self; the Word says live for others.

The right-hand statement gives fortification against the unholy trinity of the left-hand statement.
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Re: Figuring Out Religion

Post by Cortopassi » Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:28 pm

Mountaineer wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 2:03 pm
Cortopassi wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 1:29 pm
Xan wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:44 am
Just trying to get an honest discussion about the nature of right and wrong. The belief in absolute right and wrong is inconsistent with atheism. That doesn't (by itself, necessarily) mean that atheism is not the correct worldview! Just that you can't have both atheism and absolute right and wrong.
There is no absolute right and wrong. How I just convinced myself was thinking about the "peak" statement by mountaineer, but maybe in a different way.

I used to step on ants and squash lightning bugs when I was a kid, just for fun. Now I purposely go out of my way to not kill most bugs, unless it is a spider and my wife needs me to. I don't think twice, usually, that I just killed a living thing, simply because of the scale difference between me and the bug.

As you get to bigger bugs, it's much harder, because they squish/crunch, and you can feel them.

I recall having a BB gun as a kid. Shot a rabbit. But only wounded it, still bleeding. Needed to get my Dad to finish the job. Harder still to take a small animal life.

Can't imagine killing a dog, cow, horse, etc. or a human for that matter.

But back to scale, if you recall Men in Black, how we are all in a universe inside a pendant on some alien. What would it take for that alien to crush the universe and not care? Nothing. not wrong in their view, no big deal. That alien is in effect God.

Does that make me an atheist?
Cortopassi, why do you want to know?
Easy answer, I am an engineer. I like to understand things. "Faith" that an electronic device I designed is going to work doesn't usually work out well.

Harder answer, I grew up Catholic. Some small part of me wants to believe, but always loses out to the bigger part.
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Re: Figuring Out Religion

Post by Mountaineer » Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:38 pm

Cortopassi wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:28 pm
Mountaineer wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 2:03 pm
Cortopassi wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 1:29 pm


There is no absolute right and wrong. How I just convinced myself was thinking about the "peak" statement by mountaineer, but maybe in a different way.

I used to step on ants and squash lightning bugs when I was a kid, just for fun. Now I purposely go out of my way to not kill most bugs, unless it is a spider and my wife needs me to. I don't think twice, usually, that I just killed a living thing, simply because of the scale difference between me and the bug.

As you get to bigger bugs, it's much harder, because they squish/crunch, and you can feel them.

I recall having a BB gun as a kid. Shot a rabbit. But only wounded it, still bleeding. Needed to get my Dad to finish the job. Harder still to take a small animal life.

Can't imagine killing a dog, cow, horse, etc. or a human for that matter.

But back to scale, if you recall Men in Black, how we are all in a universe inside a pendant on some alien. What would it take for that alien to crush the universe and not care? Nothing. not wrong in their view, no big deal. That alien is in effect God.

Does that make me an atheist?
Cortopassi, why do you want to know?
Easy answer, I am an engineer. I like to understand things. "Faith" that an electronic device I designed is going to work doesn't usually work out well.

Harder answer, I grew up Catholic. Some small part of me wants to believe, but always loses out to the bigger part.
I am an engineer also. My short answer to your question (Does that make me an atheist?) is if you ask that question, you are not. Perhaps your small part is bigger than you think. 8)
The world removes God; the Word gives Christ.
The devil accuses us; the Word sustains faith.
Sin says live for self; the Word says live for others.

The right-hand statement gives fortification against the unholy trinity of the left-hand statement.
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Re: Figuring Out Religion

Post by Cortopassi » Fri Dec 21, 2018 8:55 pm

Mountaineer wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:38 pm

I am an engineer also. My short answer to your question (Does that make me an atheist?) is if you ask that question, you are not. Perhaps your small part is bigger than you think. 8)
Could be. I am open to anything. I've told my daughter at Notre Dame, if religion and theology classes click with you, I am perfectly fine with her going in that direction.

I am sure a lot has to do with the Catholic upbringing. In the few times I have been in other churches (Methodist? Lutheran?) the services and everything about them were much more appealing, and if I was brought up in one of those, I am sure I could have ended up a religious guy.

I would pose Elon Musk's thoughts, that we are all a simulation. If the sky opened up tomorrow and a big guy or some being peered down and said "Ok you guys, I didn't program you to kill yourselves all the time and I have half a mind to pull the plug if you don't shape up..." is that big guy God? If not, why not?
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Re: Figuring Out Religion

Post by Mountaineer » Sat Dec 22, 2018 8:35 am

Cortopassi wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 8:55 pm
Mountaineer wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:38 pm

I am an engineer also. My short answer to your question (Does that make me an atheist?) is if you ask that question, you are not. Perhaps your small part is bigger than you think. 8)
Could be. I am open to anything. I've told my daughter at Notre Dame, if religion and theology classes click with you, I am perfectly fine with her going in that direction.

I am sure a lot has to do with the Catholic upbringing. In the few times I have been in other churches (Methodist? Lutheran?) the services and everything about them were much more appealing, and if I was brought up in one of those, I am sure I could have ended up a religious guy.

I would pose Elon Musk's thoughts, that we are all a simulation. If the sky opened up tomorrow and a big guy or some being peered down and said "Ok you guys, I didn't program you to kill yourselves all the time and I have half a mind to pull the plug if you don't shape up..." is that big guy God? If not, why not?
.


God - the source of your meaning, identity and security is your god (definition by Robert Kolb).

Thus, if you saw an opening in the sky with a big guy/being that said those words "OK you guys, ...." and you derived your meaning, identity and security from that big guy/being, I'd say it was your god. If that big guy happened to be Jesus returning on the Last Day to judge the living and the dead (i.e. He pulled the plug after having given everyone a chance to repent and turn to the Lord) and your source of meaning, identity and security is Jesus, I'd say that the big guy is the God. I think I'll trust the God for my eternity as he is the only person that has been resurrected from the dead. Meanwhile, back to the Matrix? ..... ;)

.
The world removes God; the Word gives Christ.
The devil accuses us; the Word sustains faith.
Sin says live for self; the Word says live for others.

The right-hand statement gives fortification against the unholy trinity of the left-hand statement.
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Re: Figuring Out Religion

Post by jacksonM » Sat Dec 22, 2018 4:40 pm

Mountaineer wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 8:35 am
Cortopassi wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 8:55 pm
Mountaineer wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:38 pm

I am an engineer also. My short answer to your question (Does that make me an atheist?) is if you ask that question, you are not. Perhaps your small part is bigger than you think. 8)
Could be. I am open to anything. I've told my daughter at Notre Dame, if religion and theology classes click with you, I am perfectly fine with her going in that direction.

I am sure a lot has to do with the Catholic upbringing. In the few times I have been in other churches (Methodist? Lutheran?) the services and everything about them were much more appealing, and if I was brought up in one of those, I am sure I could have ended up a religious guy.

I would pose Elon Musk's thoughts, that we are all a simulation. If the sky opened up tomorrow and a big guy or some being peered down and said "Ok you guys, I didn't program you to kill yourselves all the time and I have half a mind to pull the plug if you don't shape up..." is that big guy God? If not, why not?
.


God - the source of your meaning, identity and security is your god (definition by Robert Kolb).

Thus, if you saw an opening in the sky with a big guy/being that said those words "OK you guys, ...." and you derived your meaning, identity and security from that big guy/being, I'd say it was your god. If that big guy happened to be Jesus returning on the Last Day to judge the living and the dead (i.e. He pulled the plug after having given everyone a chance to repent and turn to the Lord) and your source of meaning, identity and security is Jesus, I'd say that the big guy is the God. I think I'll trust the God for my eternity as he is the only person that has been resurrected from the dead. Meanwhile, back to the Matrix? ..... ;)

.
I've been watching Planet Earth 2 on Netflix ( Highly recommended - and I think I posted a link to a youtube video before with one small segment).

What I can't help but wonder while watching the fascinating videos of what other creatures on the planet have to do survive is 1.) How in the heck did they ever film this? and 2.) The Bible says that nature declares the glory of god so I have to ask what kind of god would it be that designed a world like this?

I know that in Christian theology it is all blamed on the sinfulness of man but how that lets God off the hook is beyond me. What kind of god makes all of creation suffer just because two human beings ate a forbidden fruit?

I am open to the idea that there may be an intelligent designer of the universe but for the life of me I don't see how anyone can look at nature and declare that "God is love" or that he even cares that much about his creation. Maybe if you were smoking pot somewhere in a beautiful location you could do that but how can you actually look at the utter cruelty and indifference of nature and make that claim?

If there is an intelligent designer, aka god, then I think it would be better to think of him like someone doing a science experiment, letting things go as they may and checking on the results later.
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Re: Figuring Out Religion

Post by jacksonM » Sat Dec 22, 2018 5:02 pm

Mountaineer wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 2:28 pm
GREETING FROM TIM

On the night of Jesus' birth, an angel began what we've come to call "discipleship." That angel made a divine pronouncement of Jesus' birth and gave explicit directions on how to find this newly born savior. The shepherds heard this pronouncement as just what the angel said it was: "Good News!" Among themselves they chattered, "Let's go! Let's go see! Let's go see what has been made known to us!" Off they went to Bethlehem. Once there, they located the holy family and found the baby... the Messiah... the very Son of God... God himself. Those shepherds had gotten themselves in the presence of Jesus Christ and they were "discipled." In the presence of the Christ-child, manger-laid and well-swaddled, those shepherds knew the truth of the Good News announced by the angel and sung by the heavenly host. Back they went to their darkened hillside and shadowy sheep, but their return was filled with the praise and glory of God because their savior... their Christ... their Lord was truly theirs in the flesh and come to meet them in their lowly estate.

You, too, have an angel... a messenger. This person brings the announcement of where you will be discipled-that is, where you will be in the presence of your savior... your Christ... your Lord. This messenger may be a family member, a neighbor, or your preacher. Whoever that messenger may be, he or she will point to the time and place-a worship service at a local church-where Jesus Christ will be present for you. You may decide or not whether you will "go and see" what has been made known to you. Once there, you will hear that Jesus Christ, your Savior and Lord, comes to meet you at the baptismal font, at the pulpit, and at the Lord's Table. You will have gotten yourself into the presence of Jesus Christ and you will have been "discipled." In the presence of the Christ, no longer a child but died and resurrected, you will know the truth of the Good News announced by your particular messenger: This Jesus is "for you!" At the singing of the final hymn, when the last candle is extinguished, you will-as the shepherds did-return to home and work. That return will be filled with the praise and glory of God because your savior... your Christ... your Lord is truly yours in the flesh and come to meet you in your lowly estate.

The blessings of Christmas rest upon you and yours,


Rev. Timothy J. Swenson
Dean of Chapel
Institute of Lutheran Theology
Explicit directions for finding the Christ child were also given to the wise men who visited from the east. They simply followed a star which apparently gave exact co-ordinates like a GPS.

For some reason however, the star first led them to Jerusalem so it could become known to Herod that the savior was born in Bethlehem. And then he went and had all the babies in Bethlehem under the age of 2 killed (I mean Herod, not god, though it's hard to figure what god must have been thinking).

Have you ever wondered why God did that? The Bible says it was so some obscure passage in the Old Testament about Rachel weeping for her children could be fulfilled.

Say what?
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Re: Figuring Out Religion

Post by Mountaineer » Sat Dec 22, 2018 7:09 pm

jacksonM wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 5:02 pm
Mountaineer wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 2:28 pm
GREETING FROM TIM

On the night of Jesus' birth, an angel began what we've come to call "discipleship." That angel made a divine pronouncement of Jesus' birth and gave explicit directions on how to find this newly born savior. The shepherds heard this pronouncement as just what the angel said it was: "Good News!" Among themselves they chattered, "Let's go! Let's go see! Let's go see what has been made known to us!" Off they went to Bethlehem. Once there, they located the holy family and found the baby... the Messiah... the very Son of God... God himself. Those shepherds had gotten themselves in the presence of Jesus Christ and they were "discipled." In the presence of the Christ-child, manger-laid and well-swaddled, those shepherds knew the truth of the Good News announced by the angel and sung by the heavenly host. Back they went to their darkened hillside and shadowy sheep, but their return was filled with the praise and glory of God because their savior... their Christ... their Lord was truly theirs in the flesh and come to meet them in their lowly estate.

You, too, have an angel... a messenger. This person brings the announcement of where you will be discipled-that is, where you will be in the presence of your savior... your Christ... your Lord. This messenger may be a family member, a neighbor, or your preacher. Whoever that messenger may be, he or she will point to the time and place-a worship service at a local church-where Jesus Christ will be present for you. You may decide or not whether you will "go and see" what has been made known to you. Once there, you will hear that Jesus Christ, your Savior and Lord, comes to meet you at the baptismal font, at the pulpit, and at the Lord's Table. You will have gotten yourself into the presence of Jesus Christ and you will have been "discipled." In the presence of the Christ, no longer a child but died and resurrected, you will know the truth of the Good News announced by your particular messenger: This Jesus is "for you!" At the singing of the final hymn, when the last candle is extinguished, you will-as the shepherds did-return to home and work. That return will be filled with the praise and glory of God because your savior... your Christ... your Lord is truly yours in the flesh and come to meet you in your lowly estate.

The blessings of Christmas rest upon you and yours,


Rev. Timothy J. Swenson
Dean of Chapel
Institute of Lutheran Theology
Explicit directions for finding the Christ child were also given to the wise men who visited from the east. They simply followed a star which apparently gave exact co-ordinates like a GPS.

For some reason however, the star first led them to Jerusalem so it could become known to Herod that the savior was born in Bethlehem. And then he went and had all the babies in Bethlehem under the age of 2 killed (I mean Herod, not god, though it's hard to figure what god must have been thinking).

Have you ever wondered why God did that? The Bible says it was so some obscure passage in the Old Testament about Rachel weeping for her children could be fulfilled.

Say what?
Have I ever wondered why God did that? Sure, but Scripture (the revealed Word of God) does not really say and we are not to question the hidden side of God, or want to know what God has not revealed (the original sin which got us into our mess that we currently experience and is culminated by temporal death which did not exist prior to that original sin). My take on Matthew 2:16-18 is: The focus is God did whatever it took to assure that his plan to save mankind would come to pass: thus, Jesus and his family escaped to Egypt which enabled Jesus to ultimately fulfill his mission to save us by dying for our sins on the cross and rising from the dead to assume his position at the right hand of God the Father from whence he will come to judge the living and the dead on the Last Day. The males under the age of two that Herod had killed were the first martyrs according to some; thus, they are likely spending eternity with God which is the ultimate goal for humans who believe - they just got there quicker than you and I may think is appropriate. God never promises believers a life of happiness, just the opposite. Persecution has happened to believers since the get go and will continue to the Last Day. Some of us die at birth, or even months before, and some of us live a long life relatively trouble free. Who knows why. My take.
The world removes God; the Word gives Christ.
The devil accuses us; the Word sustains faith.
Sin says live for self; the Word says live for others.

The right-hand statement gives fortification against the unholy trinity of the left-hand statement.
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Re: Figuring Out Religion

Post by Cortopassi » Sun Dec 23, 2018 8:02 pm

Mountaineer wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 8:35 am
If that big guy happened to be Jesus returning on the Last Day to judge the living and the dead (i.e. He pulled the plug after having given everyone a chance to repent and turn to the Lord) and your source of meaning, identity and security is Jesus, I'd say that the big guy is the God.
I love these discussions, I miss my big family get togethers talking about these things and yelling across the table.

--How would you know if that big guy is Jesus? If it is an advanced enough civilization that has been following our history and knows all the right things to say, couldn't they mimic Jesus? They could do what we'd consider miracles, they could cause the end of the world, etc.

I see some percentage looking up at this apparition thinking it is a government conspiracy, another percentage thinking it is the second coming, and another group thinking it is some aliens screwing with us, or coercing us to do what they want.

How do you know? You can't.
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Re: Figuring Out Religion

Post by Mountaineer » Mon Dec 24, 2018 6:14 am

Cortopassi wrote:
Sun Dec 23, 2018 8:02 pm
Mountaineer wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 8:35 am
If that big guy happened to be Jesus returning on the Last Day to judge the living and the dead (i.e. He pulled the plug after having given everyone a chance to repent and turn to the Lord) and your source of meaning, identity and security is Jesus, I'd say that the big guy is the God.
I love these discussions, I miss my big family get togethers talking about these things and yelling across the table.

--How would you know if that big guy is Jesus? If it is an advanced enough civilization that has been following our history and knows all the right things to say, couldn't they mimic Jesus? They could do what we'd consider miracles, they could cause the end of the world, etc.

I see some percentage looking up at this apparition thinking it is a government conspiracy, another percentage thinking it is the second coming, and another group thinking it is some aliens screwing with us, or coercing us to do what they want.

How do you know? You can't.
I too enjoy these discussions; they are an opportunity to test my beliefs and why I hold those beliefs in ways I might not have thought of on my own. Your questions: "How do you know? You can't." You are possibly correct, if you limit yourself to only reason / the cognitive. I do very much agree reason applied to temporal matters is important. For example, how do you know George Washington existed? How do you know who raised your great-great grandmother or what she ate for breakfast on her 6th birthday? How do you know Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon? How do you know water will come from the spigot when you turn the handle and not cyanide? Faith in something external to yourself - e.g. eye witness accounts, authors, evidence, a good track record, past predictions that have come true. In the end, all we have to answer those types of questions is evidence - and faith. How do we know we are not in the matrix? You could be right. Will you have faith in an alien? Will you have faith that your eyes will not deceive you? Will you have faith in something else? What are the consequences of faith in the "wrong" entity? We each pay our money and take our chances.

In the mean time, have a wonderful Christmas Eve and enjoy your friends and family - if that is who they really are and not some critters from Men in Black! Movies and books that explore the questions you pose are plentiful. Do you have faith that they are all wrong, or all right, or partially some of each? ;) Seriously, have a great Christmas Eve and Christmas!

Scripture is clear that Satan, the great deceiver, the father of lies, has been trying to separate us human creatures from our Creator for a very long time and will continue to do so until the Last Day.

I like these verses:

John 20:30-31 (ESV)
The Purpose of This Book
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Mark 13:21-23 (ESV)
21 And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. 23 But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand.

1 John 4:1-3 (ESV)
4 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

1 Corinthians 1:21-23 (ESV)
21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,
The world removes God; the Word gives Christ.
The devil accuses us; the Word sustains faith.
Sin says live for self; the Word says live for others.

The right-hand statement gives fortification against the unholy trinity of the left-hand statement.
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Re: Figuring Out Religion

Post by jacksonM » Mon Dec 24, 2018 10:25 am

Mountaineer wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 7:09 pm
Have I ever wondered why God did that? Sure, but Scripture (the revealed Word of God) does not really say and we are not to question the hidden side of God, or want to know what God has not revealed (the original sin which got us into our mess that we currently experience and is culminated by temporal death which did not exist prior to that original sin).
In other words, pay no attention to that man behind the curtain because the great and powerful Oz has spoken.

I call this "Heads God wins, tails you lose" theology. It works well in North Korea where they regard their dear leader as a god.

(As an addendum - if there was no death on earth before the "original sin" of Adam and Eve then where did all the fossil fuels come from? And how would Adam and Eve have even known what dying was? I think this idea only works if the multiverse theory is true and the Bible story is talking about a different universe than the one we find ourselves in.)
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Re: Figuring Out Religion

Post by Mountaineer » Tue Dec 25, 2018 5:44 am

A very Merry Christmas to all!
The world removes God; the Word gives Christ.
The devil accuses us; the Word sustains faith.
Sin says live for self; the Word says live for others.

The right-hand statement gives fortification against the unholy trinity of the left-hand statement.
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