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 Post subject: Is Christianity's poor construction an advantage? PostPosted: 2008-04-15 01:00pm
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I was thinking about this a while ago, and it occurred to me that Islam is a much better-constructed religion than Christianity, in the sense that it contains a lot more practical advice. In theory, you could actually live by the dictates of Islam.

The same is not true for Christianity. Fundies may dispute this, but I've read the Bible and you simply cannot follow all of its principles simultaneously. Nor can you live like Jesus and expect to prosper, either as an individual or as a nation. Jesus (or at least the idea of Jesus) may have been a great inspiration to others in a vague "I can never live up to his example" way, but even those who claim to worship his name and his teachings don't actually live by them. Who actually throws away all of his worldly possessions to go around the world preaching Christ's word? Who actually turns the other cheek when struck, or passively lays down to die? Nobody, so Christians learn to habitually disobey their own religious teachings when convenient.

So here's my idea: this might be an advantage, relative to Islam. If Christianity were a better-constructed religion, then perhaps it might actually be possible to live by it, in which case Christians would not have become accustomed to disobeying whichever parts of the Bible got in the way of practical living. But it's not, so Christians did get in that habit, which made it possible to be more flexible about what they did or did not believe. Darwin, after all, had an education in the divinities before becoming the father of evolution theory. Could this have happened if Darwin was a Muslim? Is it possible that there actually was a reason that the modern scientific revolution began in Christian Europe, rather than historical happenstance, and that this reason was Christianity's utter inability to function as a practical system in the real world?

I've seen Christians trying to prove some major difference between Islam and Christianity for years, usually because they want to prove that they're completely different from their enemies. In most cases, they are not; the basic mindset is certainly similar. But could it be that the lousy construction of Christianity is the key difference they're looking for? Unfortunately, for them, it may not be the difference that they want.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-04-15 01:18pm
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It can be argued that this is a natural progression of a religion: they eventually become so complicated that even those that claim to be its followers do not live by it.

Christianity is also a bit older then Islam, if I remember my history correctly.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-04-15 01:22pm
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Zixinus wrote:
It can be argued that this is a natural progression of a religion: they eventually become so complicated that even those that claim to be its followers do not live by it.

It's not a matter of being complicated; it's a matter of being so incredibly, ridiculously impractical that no one could ever possibly live by it. We're not talking about fine details here; Jesus' entire way of life was completely useless as a guide for any remotely practical person.
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Christianity is also a bit older then Islam, if I remember my history correctly.

Yes, its origin was something like 8th century IIRC.

It seems to me that Islam is a "reboot" of Judeo-Christian mythology, regarding the older scriptures as divine in origin, but distorted.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-04-15 01:23pm
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Given that I'm no theologian, is it not possible to show that an equal amount of Muslims disobey or ignore the teaching of their own religion where appropriate to their own personal or political ends, despite Islam being more practical?

And given that I'm no historian, is it possible that secularism fosters progress, and that secularism increases wherever religious authorities are weak, rather than where cohesive religious rules are weak?



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-04-15 01:37pm
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It's not a matter of being complicated; it's a matter of being so incredibly, ridiculously impractical that no one could ever possibly live by it. We're not talking about fine details here; Jesus' entire way of life was completely useless as a guide for any remotely practical person.


Perhaps that's exactly its charm? The priesthood can certainly use his image extort money from the nobles by bringing up Jesus whenever they wanted. His words can be so well interpreted in so many ways when looked from far enough (metaphorically speaking) that any holy edict or order can be fabricated from it. For the purpose of the the Church, Jesus was great tool.

But I was referring to Christianity as a whole: it basis itself on the Jew religion. Mixed with Jesus's and co's teaching and the old Jew rules, it is impossible to follow.

As for living by it, if looked at other religions more closely, some of quite impossible to follow on a practical level. Can someone really pray five times a day according to precisely defined ceremony? Sure, allot of people might be able, but not all.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-04-15 01:39pm
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It was a common criticism of Judaism by the early Christians, that it demands too much from its followers, so it can't be followed. On the other hand, there might be an advantage in the religion making its followers live by it in all aspects, they may get used to obeying the rules, and living a righteous life.

Also, in the beginning Christianity demanded very little from its followers for a very simple reason. Paul wanted to spread the faith among the Jews, and the numbers were not sufficient. So, he decided to spread it to all the others. Since things like circumcision were not that likely to be accepted by Hellenistic civilization, he gave a big discount. The business went well, you must admit.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-04-15 01:52pm
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Not sure if this is what you are looking for by way of response. but I think the fact that Christianity is so poorlu constructed and clodged together is part of it's selling point because it allows people to pick and choose and say things like "Oh no, that's just an allegory" or "Well, yes that worked for ancient man to keep them safe."

Effectively it allows people to ignore large swaths and STILL claim to be closer to god than their neighbors by pointing and saying that THE are ignoring wrong part whereas WE are ignoring the proper ones. It's like a built in superiority and simultaneous guilt complex.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-04-15 02:10pm
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Islam was founded largely in reaction to the total clusterfuck of doctrinal clarity and theological backflips that went into making it work. One must remember that our idea of Christianity being continuous from Christ is one mostly of propaganda from Christians, them having burned or otherwise eliminated the story of the gnostics and various monophysite churches from existence. I think the internal theological weaknesses of Christianity strongly bred heresy as a matter of course; just by the Renaissance, they had a bunch of works of science and logic and mathematics to claim as heresy, instead of bullshit disputes over what "of two natures" means.

As for Omeganian, don't we have a standing rule against political screeds embedded into signatures? Especially when they violate the IvP moratorium?



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-04-15 02:22pm
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Illuminatus Primus wrote:
Islam was founded largely in reaction to the total clusterfuck of doctrinal clarity and theological backflips that went into making it work. One must remember that our idea of Christianity being continuous from Christ is one mostly of propaganda from Christians, them having burned or otherwise eliminated the story of the gnostics and various monophysite churches from existence. I think the internal theological weaknesses of Christianity strongly bred heresy as a matter of course; just by the Renaissance, they had a bunch of works of science and logic and mathematics to claim as heresy, instead of bullshit disputes over what "of two natures" means.

As for Omeganian, don't we have a standing rule against political screeds embedded into signatures? Especially when they violate the IvP moratorium?


Gnostics? Monophysites? No need need to look for such a big difference, just look at the Donatists, for which the only difference was the very question of continuity. Yet the struggles were fierce

P.S. I consider my signature nothing but a nice quote from a nice speech. Of course, my mind can be insufficiently corrupted...



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 Post subject: Re: Is Christianity's poor construction an advantage? PostPosted: 2008-04-15 02:36pm
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Darth Wong wrote:
The same is not true for Christianity. Fundies may dispute this, but I've read the Bible and you simply cannot follow all of its principles simultaneously.

But remember that the Fundies are a subset of Christianity. The Catholic Church, to my knowledge, does not insist that all rules written in the Bible (just the ones the Pope thinks relevant). Even the most extreme Jews don't follow all the dictates of the Old Testament (most notably, they no longer practice animal sacrifice in the temple and seem to disregard that bit about going outside the "camp" to defecate) because under their belief system God does occasionally change His mind. Fundy God is not only cruel and random, He's also a very static God.

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Who actually turns the other cheek when struck, or passively lays down to die? Nobody

Well, actually the Amish do. That has a lot to do with why they were exterminated in Europe. They exist in North America largely because others are willing to defend them when necessary. Then again, while the Amish strive to live simply they do NOT give away all their worldly goods nor to they proselytize to outsiders, so are another example of Fundamentalist Christians being choosy in their practices.

But the OP does bring up an interesting line of thought.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-04-15 02:42pm
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Omeganian wrote:
P.S. I consider my signature nothing but a nice quote from a nice speech. Of course, my mind can be insufficiently corrupted...


I suggest you go into N&P, we have an Israel vs. Palestine moratorium, and a speech making a statement on whether "Zionism is racism" may qualify. And we've had people banned for sound-byte arguments placed on signatures. Probably just ask a mod if it qualifies.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-04-15 02:58pm
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Whew, good thing the mods are all over that sig issue. Oh...wait!


Anyway, OT;

Quote:
I was thinking about this a while ago, and it occurred to me that Islam is a much better-constructed religion than Christianity, in the sense that it contains a lot more practical advice. In theory, you could actually live by the dictates of Islam.


Could one make an argument that the old testement and Islam were more about control where Jesus was basically a hippie who wanted no control? Granted, didn't turn out that way, as we all know, but the original intent?

Early christians were persecuted for not worshiping at the alter of Roman Emperors, each congregation practiced a slightly differenet version etc... In it's original form, christianity was a decentralized religion, rather than the structured, ritualized forms of religion that was available.

Come mediaval times it was more a goverment organization, than the hippie religion anymore. Kind of like the 'new age' wicca shit is more bussiness today than a grass roots, get away from the man religion people were grasping for back int he 60's 70's.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-04-15 03:46pm
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Illuminatus Primus wrote:
Omeganian wrote:
P.S. I consider my signature nothing but a nice quote from a nice speech. Of course, my mind can be insufficiently corrupted...


I suggest you go into N&P, we have an Israel vs. Palestine moratorium, and a speech making a statement on whether "Zionism is racism" may qualify. And we've had people banned for sound-byte arguments placed on signatures. Probably just ask a mod if it qualifies.


The parts in my signature have nothing to do with the Israeli-Arab conflict. They only concern a certain controversially viewed organization. Besides, if you wanted me to change the signature, you would have sent a private message. As it is, with the arguments in public, changing it can cause nothing but some confusion for future viewers.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-04-15 03:54pm
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I assumed that Christianity's rather loose definition of follow its tenants was a positive in some sense as it allows even the most hateful, worthless, venomous worm to pledge fealty to it if they so wish.

I mean, it's a religion where you can claim to follow it, be regarded as following it and be praised as a good follower of it, without having to do almost anything laid down in its holy texts. In most religions, you actually have to abide by something. In Christianity, you can manage to get a free pass for almost everything anyway.[/u]



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-04-15 04:03pm
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This is a really interesting idea, one I've never heard before. I've always said that Christianity is very well-equipped for success in the Darwinian sense of outcompeting other faiths...perhaps this is another reason.

I'm not sure how it tracks with the great success of the Ottoman Empire and Muslim Spain in a time when "Christendom" was really quite backward in comparison. However, this is before the Scientific Revolution so it may not be a valid argument.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-04-15 04:28pm
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One of the reasons that the Christianity was so successful was that at the time, the Hellenistic world was already for a long time suffering a heavy crisis - the collapse of the polis system. People were looking for self definition beyond the now meaningless citizen - and Paul gave it to them, in a way fitting for everyone, not just the philosophers.



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 Post subject: Re: Is Christianity's poor construction an advantage? PostPosted: 2008-04-15 04:47pm
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Darth Wong wrote:
I was thinking about this a while ago, and it occurred to me that Islam is a much better-constructed religion than Christianity, in the sense that it contains a lot more practical advice. In theory, you could actually live by the dictates of Islam.

The same is not true for Christianity. Fundies may dispute this, but I've read the Bible and you simply cannot follow all of its principles simultaneously. Nor can you live like Jesus and expect to prosper, either as an individual or as a nation. Jesus (or at least the idea of Jesus) may have been a great inspiration to others in a vague "I can never live up to his example" way, but even those who claim to worship his name and his teachings don't actually live by them. Who actually throws away all of his worldly possessions to go around the world preaching Christ's word? Who actually turns the other cheek when struck, or passively lays down to die? Nobody, so Christians learn to habitually disobey their own religious teachings when convenient.

So here's my idea: this might be an advantage, relative to Islam. If Christianity were a better-constructed religion, then perhaps it might actually be possible to live by it, in which case Christians would not have become accustomed to disobeying whichever parts of the Bible got in the way of practical living. But it's not, so Christians did get in that habit, which made it possible to be more flexible about what they did or did not believe. Darwin, after all, had an education in the divinities before becoming the father of evolution theory. Could this have happened if Darwin was a Muslim? Is it possible that there actually was a reason that the modern scientific revolution began in Christian Europe, rather than historical happenstance, and that this reason was Christianity's utter inability to function as a practical system in the real world?

I've seen Christians trying to prove some major difference between Islam and Christianity for years, usually because they want to prove that they're completely different from their enemies. In most cases, they are not; the basic mindset is certainly similar. But could it be that the lousy construction of Christianity is the key difference they're looking for? Unfortunately, for them, it may not be the difference that they want.


Yes. If you look at religions as vehicles to deliver value sets, then having a flexible religion is good, not just for the people holding the religion, but also for the religion. By having a varied and contradictory set of doctrines, Christianity is highly adaptable, it allows its followers to adapt their religious beliefs to varying environments, and allows the religion to appeal to converts, which increases its ability to transmit horizontally.

It is basically religious phenotypic plasticity. In a religiously homogenous environment where there is intense external pressure such as pre-vatican 1 europe fighting off muslim hordes? Then become intolerant theists of destruction. Jesus and God hate the infidel! Living in a pluralistic society with less external threat? Become eccumenical anglicans... Jesus and God embrace the unbeliever....

Need converts? Here, we can certainly incorporate your cultural traditions.... etc etc etc.... Of course this also makes the religion prone to splitting and the resulting internal conflict...

Of course the other religions have their own advantages and costs.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-04-15 04:50pm
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Ghetto edit:

To put it another way, christianity is so fucking flexible that it can be used to justify any value set and can be used as a vehicle to deliver it. Many other religions are less flexible and can only be used to deliver one or a couple value sets.

In a way, christians tie their pre-existing value set to their religion. Muslims (for example) tie their value set to their pre-existing religion.



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 Post subject: Re: Is Christianity's poor construction an advantage? PostPosted: 2008-04-15 05:06pm
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Darth Wong wrote:

Quote:
Could this have happened if Darwin was a Muslim? Is it possible that there actually was a reason that the modern scientific revolution began in Christian Europe, rather than historical happenstance, and that this reason was Christianity's utter inability to function as a practical system in the real world?


I'm not sure I fully comprehend this, someone correct me if I'm wrong, but the Muslims were on the fast track to a scientific revolution during their strongest periods, then willingly pulled back from more rationalisim. If I understood what happened precisely, their philosophers basically gave up the idea of merging god and rationalism, and decided god was more important. :?



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 Post subject: Re: Is Christianity's poor construction an advantage? PostPosted: 2008-04-15 06:08pm
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Ace Pace wrote:
Darth Wong wrote:
Quote:
Could this have happened if Darwin was a Muslim? Is it possible that there actually was a reason that the modern scientific revolution began in Christian Europe, rather than historical happenstance, and that this reason was Christianity's utter inability to function as a practical system in the real world?

I'm not sure I fully comprehend this, someone correct me if I'm wrong, but the Muslims were on the fast track to a scientific revolution during their strongest periods, then willingly pulled back from more rationalisim. If I understood what happened precisely, their philosophers basically gave up the idea of merging god and rationalism, and decided god was more important. :?

Yes, the Muslims were the leading centre of scientific advancement during their heyday. However, none of their discoveries spit in the eye of theology, which evolution does. The question is: could they have made that leap?



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 Post subject: Re: Is Christianity's poor construction an advantage? PostPosted: 2008-04-15 06:17pm
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Darth Wong wrote:
I was thinking about this a while ago, and it occurred to me that Islam is a much better-constructed religion than Christianity, in the sense that it contains a lot more practical advice. In theory, you could actually live by the dictates of Islam.

The same is not true for Christianity. Fundies may dispute this, but I've read the Bible and you simply cannot follow all of its principles simultaneously. Nor can you live like Jesus and expect to prosper, either as an individual or as a nation. Jesus (or at least the idea of Jesus) may have been a great inspiration to others in a vague "I can never live up to his example" way, but even those who claim to worship his name and his teachings don't actually live by them. Who actually throws away all of his worldly possessions to go around the world preaching Christ's word? Who actually turns the other cheek when struck, or passively lays down to die? Nobody, so Christians learn to habitually disobey their own religious teachings when convenient.

So here's my idea: this might be an advantage, relative to Islam. If Christianity were a better-constructed religion, then perhaps it might actually be possible to live by it, in which case Christians would not have become accustomed to disobeying whichever parts of the Bible got in the way of practical living. But it's not, so Christians did get in that habit, which made it possible to be more flexible about what they did or did not believe. Darwin, after all, had an education in the divinities before becoming the father of evolution theory. Could this have happened if Darwin was a Muslim? Is it possible that there actually was a reason that the modern scientific revolution began in Christian Europe, rather than historical happenstance, and that this reason was Christianity's utter inability to function as a practical system in the real world?

I've seen Christians trying to prove some major difference between Islam and Christianity for years, usually because they want to prove that they're completely different from their enemies. In most cases, they are not; the basic mindset is certainly similar. But could it be that the lousy construction of Christianity is the key difference they're looking for? Unfortunately, for them, it may not be the difference that they want.


You've hit the nail on the head. Islam is a religion that contains a systematic, efficient method for organizing society in which all commandments in the Quran can be followed without dispute, and the Quran explicitly says this is required for you to go to Paradise, whereas Christians can receive forgiveness for violations. It is the very flawed nature of Christianity which has permitted science to blossom in Europe and the perfect nature of Islamic which has caused it to stagnate in the Arab world. When Osama, etc, talk about an Islamic state--they're dead serious, and it's entirely possible. A Christian theocracy would (and has before) rip itself apart over doctrinal disputes. The Quran is a guidebook for the organization of a whole society; the Bible is a bunch of random stories shoved together.



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 Post subject: Re: Is Christianity's poor construction an advantage? PostPosted: 2008-04-15 07:09pm
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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-04-15 07:42pm
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If the Byzantine Empire was of any guide, doctrinal disputes can be so fierce that some provinces might secede over the whole issue. That itself played a huge part in the Arab conquest of Eygpt and Syria.

Also, wasn't Christianity, in the sense they finally got above ground, in the 4th Century under Constantine?



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-04-16 05:44am
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Christianity has a built-in dismissal for any contrdictions that may arise - "It is a Mystery."

How can God be A and also B, where B seems to suggest notA? Why is character C beloved by God even though he acts in horrible ways? It is a Mystery, and therefore true.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-04-16 11:28am
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Axiomatic wrote:
Christianity has a built-in dismissal for any contrdictions that may arise - "It is a Mystery."

How can God be A and also B, where B seems to suggest notA? Why is character C beloved by God even though he acts in horrible ways? It is a Mystery, and therefore true.


Yes, the famous Credo quia absurdum. It is interesting to note in comparison, that according to one Talmudic legend, there was a case when the sages came to a conclusion by logic, and stood their ground not only despite the arguments of a single sage, not only despite the miracles he brought to support his arguments, but despite the God Himself who spoke from the Heavens to announce him right. Why? Because Torah says; The Law is not in Heavens. It's here. Well, according to the Christiand their God came to Earth in the flesh, yet the law seems to be there.

Oh, BTW, I remembered a trivia question I read. During the persecutions against Christians, one of them learned he was reported to the government. So, believing that Martyrdom will will wipe clean all his sins, he decided to hold a huge party, with drinking and women. How come he didn't get into Heaven?


Answer: The next day, after all the drinking, he was in such a state that he couldn't tell the court "I am a Christian". And according to Roman law, a Christian was only executed if he announced and held to his superstition



Q: How are children made in the TNG era Federation?

A: With power couplings. To explain, you shut down the power to the lights, and then, in the darkness, you have the usual TOS era coupling.

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