What if there's an afterlife but no God?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Magical Realist, May 18, 2013.

  1. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member


    That's a fair comment I suppose, but does nothing to add to, or correct my point. It is purely your opinion which is no more valid than mine

    But they still put forward opinions and arguments that support their comprehension of it.
    I'll believe you when the subject matter is of no interest to you to the point of not commenting on it.

    Then why comment on it at all?

    Actually I'm more inclined to ask why it matters to them, why they have enthusiasm about
    discrediting it.

    I don't think they are apathetic at all, and the fear is probably due to a lack of understanding of what the scriptures are. Maybe they think that if they try and understand it, they may have to accept them meaning they would have to think differently.

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  3. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member


    It depends on your definition of religion.

    A lot of things that MR said is consistent with scripture, and all scriptures are consistent with regard to real religion. The mistake I think you make is to assume that ''religion'' is Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, etc...., instead of these different organisations are individually part of a whole (religion).

    I don't see it like that. No scriptoral texts talks about ''collectively evolving into a god'', at least non that I know.
    To understand ''religion'', one doesn't need to understand each and every aspect of it, so while you're right in that I am not familiar with Jain religion, I am quite familiar with religion in general (as it pertains to scripture), and can converse. The same with Abrahamic religions. They may seem different in a cultural sense, but the actual ''religion'', the object of the religion is non different. So what needs to be comprehended is the religion itself, not the culture.

    Are you sure it's the ''religion'' you know more about, or the culture?

    I've been wanting to discuss scriptures for years now.
    I'm not sure why you've accused me of trolling people.

    The particular writing that I want to discuss is ''scriptures''. To me, they're all the same, differing only according to time, place, and circumstance. The reason why I want to discuss ''scripture'' is to show that they are indeed saying the same thing, meaning ''religion'' is one thing that individuals take from at their particular conscious developmental stage.

    I'm not interested in people accepting them, I'll leave that to them.
    I don't need to provide any reason why I think scriptures are authoritative, they only need to be authoritative to me.
    I don't have to prove them, they speak for themselves far better than I could.
    We are in a religion forum. The majority of people take for granted that the scriptures we written by people who couldn't explain natural phenomena, even though the scriptures themself don't give any reason to think this.

    I think it is up to the deniers to provide reason's why they think the way they do.

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  5. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    There was no attempt to correct your point, other than to show how your comment does not support the claim. It is an irrelevancy, as it speaks only to one's conviction, not the truth of the tenets of that conviction. I could say that tomorrow is Thursday, but while true (as of this moment) it is also irrelevant.
    Some do - but not the vast majority, and I was talking generally. When you refer only to members of this site you are talking to people who do have an interest - whether that be an intellectual interest either in the religions or in the thought processes behind peoples' choices, or even perhaps a "fear". But those people would need to respond on an individual basis - as in general I see no fear.
    Many reasons other than fear of the religion - including a comfort in their own position and a dislike of having religions (or any beliefs that they may not hold) being part of the infrastructure that runs their lives.
    Maybe you only converse with religious people or those on sites like this who do have an interest. But the vast majority are not fearful. They are apathetic. They also don't know enough to know whether they should be afraid or not. How can they fear what they don't have any real comprehension of?

    Do you fear all subjects that are of no interest to you?
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  7. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member


    I ;didn't make a claim to MR.

    The comment made by me was more sarcasm than an argument. If I was going to make an argument for God, I wouldn't use that. It's simply not my style.

    But regarding Jesus, the point you made might be a good one except that the point of his existence has already been stated, which means we are left with a choice, either we believe it is correct or not. So again, your point of view is only an opinion (which goes against the account), and is less valuable than mine (which goes with the account).

    What other type of dialogue could be produced given the OP?

    I was referring to the ''some'' that do (and all the similar mindsets).

    Most people here aren't interested in real conversation about scripture, religion, and God. They are only interested in discrediting it. They aren't interested in any explanations that go against the preset responses that you will find on countless atheist sites, or videos.

    But fear is also a reason. Right?

    Complete disregard for any other explanation, sticking like glue to their own well beaten ideas. Only using scriptoral injunctions they think back up their position, not prepared to examine the text (ie.. the originial language and context), corroboration with other scriptures and commentaries, constant ad-hominems, mocking, taking for granted that their hive ideas are correct, and so on, add up to fear, in my book.

    MR used ideas that come from religion, but he trashes the religion or the many scriptoral sources one could find that concept, and carries on as though religion itself is nonsense.
    This is common.

    Then why bother comment on it?
    Why not learn from people who take it seriously?

    I don't comment on subjects that are of no interest to me.
    And if I did, I would listen to what was said by people who were interested, not just wade in with my own ignorant point of view. In that way I would be eventually able to comment using my own mind instead of plugging into, and trusting a hive-mind.

  8. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    It could be an effort at threat aversion: ie. a person feels threatened by something or someone, and then tries to avert the threat in one way or another. Some sometimes do so by fleeing, some sometimes by fighting, some sometimes freeze, and some sometimes try to deal with the threat by tending and befriending the source of the threat. These actions can be performed mentally, verbally or physically, or as a combination of these.
  9. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    You don't understand.
    You don't have the scope to have the evidence presented to you since the very questions you are trying to approach are situated well beyond the parameters of what you could even theoretically hope to achieve (unless of course you modify your value system) ... just like topics of temperature are well beyond the grasp of persons who reject thermometers in favour of tape measures.

    It was more your use of the word "satisfying" that paved the way - IOW you are talking about value systems ... and not so much about the system of being rational.

    At this stage it doesn't really matter if there is an alternative system or not - epistemological limitations are not broken merely because there may or may not be an alternative

    Once again, there is no point going into details if you can't even understand how the problems you are trying to address are not even theoretically possible for you.

    On the contrary, I think its you who doesn't understand what it means to be rational.
    A statement is rational given a range of premises or fields of information.
    The problem is that you are dealing with fields of information that are not even theoretically accessible to you, while simultaneously advocating that you are rational.
    This, of course, is highly irrational ....

    The problem is that you are using information in a retrograded manner (eg : placing god on par with a living entity for the sake on analyzing the phenomena of enlightenment/revelation) so you are not being logical or consistent at the onset.

    As a detail, this is how value systems go - Namely value systems establish which data is and isn't applicable and then a conclusion can be critiqued or promoted to the degree that it is ir/rational ... which is why so many so-called atheist criticisms of religion amount to nothing more than preaching to the converted since they operate (as you do) with a perverted definition of god at the onset.

    IOW all your talk about how you have the moral high ground because you are rational is nothing more than talk about your value system (that requires standard terms be discredited before so-called rationality begins ... which of course isn't such a terribly effective manner to hold the moral high ground ...)
  10. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Yet at least people are able to explain how thermometers are the tool to use.
    To explain the principles behind the tool etc.
    In your school analogy you are like the teacher who blames the children for not wanting to learn.
    Then when they ask you questions you tell them they are incapable of learning.
    Yet at no point do you even try to explain your position.
    You just keep telling them their current tools won't work.
    No, I was talking about being rational.
    But apology accepted.
    So you come to claim the existence of god but refuse to justify your claims.
    And rather than acknowledge any limitation in your own position, you claim limitations in those not willing to accept what you say.
    And rather than try to explain your thinking you accuse them of not having the right value system.
    Why you bother being here?
    You do know that one person's irrational action could be another person's rational action, due to the different premises on which they act?
    Of course you don't know that, or you wouldn't make such silly comments.
    So when I say that for me to believe in god would be irrational, it is not saying that belief in god is irrational for everybody.
    What is rational and irrational is dependent upon the individual and their knowledge / premises.
    So it doesn't matter that there are "fields of information that are not even theoretically accessible to" me...
    My ir/rationality is determined by how I act in accordance to what I know... not to what I don't know.
    It is why I do not believe in god.
    It is why I also do not believe that god does not exist.
    Not at all.
    If I start with the premise that god "works in mysterious ways" (for want of a better phrase) then all discussions of god become moot from the outset.
    Anything and everything can be ascribed to god.
    God becomes a redundancy through inability to separate god from anything else.
    If we assume god is outside of our understanding then it begs the question of how we can know god.
    How we can be sure that what we are told with regard god is the truth or not.
    And how can we do that if not through testable, repeatable activity.
    And how can we know that this is actually god rather than someone merely convincing us that it is?
    You have yet to put anything on the table.
    You merely say we are not capable.
    Not "theoretically" able.
    And my definition of god is...?
    I'll happily go with yours.
    If you'll provide one?
    I have made no mention of any moral high-ground.
    It is you who seeks it...
    You claim my value system is inadequate.
    You claim fields of information are theoretically inaccessible to me.
    Such a lofty elitist ground you feel the need to speak from.

    And which standard terms do you think I discredit?
  11. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Apologies, Wynn, only just seen this post of yours.

    It is a passive position of sorts.
    But not as you see it.
    I am certainly not placing responsibility for my beliefs on to someone else.
    I am putting the responsibility on others if they want to change my beliefs.

    My interest is not in believing in god per se, although if that comes out, somehow, of things I read, learn, discuss then so be it.
    My interest is in seeing how people justify their position on the matter.
    Whatever position it is.
    And I do this with religion because it seems to offer the most polarised positions with the least actual information.
    Does my position have limits?
    Does that mean I should let people hide their justification in such limits without question?
  12. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    Not to a person who rejects them

    the "learning" is not simply about information assimilation - its about values that establish one's attitude to assimilating the information
    And I already explained why that would be a waste of time

    " IOW, as it was said earlier, passively sitting around for the express purpose of waiting for someone duke it out against one's value system is a good way to discredit anything that can't be successfully communicated via animalistic grunting."

    Sure - it doesn't require the introduction of any challenging value systems since epistemoligical limitations are consistent regardless whether there is or is not alternatives at hand.


    I am talking about how your claim that rationality lends itself to atheism is simply an attempt to obscure the value systems that is really being kowtowed by such statements

    Once again, epistemological limitations are consistent regardless of alternatives.

    Once again, it doesn't really matter whether I have alternatives or not.
    Your system is limited, period.
    It doesn't require the introduction of any other value systems to acknowledge this point

    you mean statements like this:

    Surely it pivots merely on not being logically fallacious with appeals to authority?

    Then this certainly is the first time you have qualified your statements in such a manner ....

    hence you only run into issues when you try and paint your value system over the top of another one (such as giving opinions on how religion defaults to irrationality) or try to negotiate claims that with a value system that cannot even theoretically approach it.

    However when you start with the premise that revelation/enlightenment is simply an aspect of communication, then all subsequent ruminations become moot from the onset for an entirely different set of reasons (namely your working with corrupted definitions)

    Slow down there ... one corrupted term at a time if you please ...

    already explained all this earlier

    given your explanation of revelation being a sub-category of communication, someone just like you, except a little bit more powerful.

    You baled the moment revelation/enlightenment was mentioned, and immediately attempted to apply a retrograded definition ... hardly evidence of happily going there IMHO ...

    inasmuch as one can talk of acting purely as the consequence of rationalism ... unlike other poor unfortunate misguided people

    actually I am claiming that you are obscuring your value system and instead pretending that your value system is "simply being rational"

    Unlike you, I don't require to borrow from another value system in order to establish limits.
    IOW one can quite comfortably talk about what the empirical model can and cannot accomplish without having to leave the field of empiricism.

    Did you forget?
    enlightenment/revelation of course.
  13. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Then the question: why bother?
    Irrelevant what you regard it to be.
    You tell them they are incapable.
    You put the onus on them to change to be able to understand you, or to accept what you say.
    But that just is a case of believing to believe.
    Then the same question as earlier: why do you bother?
    So you are saying your value system is as limited as you perceive mine/others to be?
    If this is not what you mean, please explain further.
    It is you who is incorrect.
    In that I am not saying necessarily rationality lends itself to atheism.
    I am saying that my attempts to be rational led me to atheism.
    Rationality is a subjective thing in as much as we all start from different knowledge, experience and premise.
    There maybe error in any of these, but if the person is unaware then they can remain rational despite the error.
    So your tack is merely to repeat how limited my system is yet not promote what you see as the alternative necessary to see your point of view?
    Much like criticising humans for not having four hands...
    Only having Two hands is so limited, after all.
    I.e. you have yet to demonstrate in anyway how there exists a more suitable alternative.
    Did I need to?
    I thought it was obvious?
    Usually I don't expect people to jump to unwarranted assumptions.
    But I'm still learning.
    First, I do not opine that religion defaults to irrationality.
    Merely that it would be irrational for me (ie at this moment) to be religious.
    Second, if you make claims that you feel others cannot even theoretically approach, then the onus is on you to help them understand it.
    Otherwise you come across as nothing other than one who makes unsubstantiated claims.
    I.e. you put any interrogation of your claim beyond the scope of inquiry.
    Which again begs the question: why do you bother?
    Is your intention merely to sit on your pedestal and tell everyone how you can know god and they can't, yet refuse to answer their questions since they are "theoretically incapable"?
    That is how you come across.
    No, you are just looking for reasons not to respond.
    You make assumptions that one considers it "simply an aspect of" rather than just a convenient descriptor.
    You hide behind such tactics.
    If revelation is not in some way a communication, then what do you consider it to be?
    Saying you explained it does not mean you did.
    And you didn't.
    You said some things but there was no explanation.
    You are funny.
    I have not explained revelation as being a sub-category of communication.
    That is merely you jumping to conclusion about what I consider a deity to be.
    If you think I consider god to be as you think I do, then yes, what I wrote would indeed imply what you say.
    But I don't consider a deity to be as you think I do.
    And so what I wrote does not imply what you think it did.
    So don't jump to assumptions.
    Maybe you should stop jumping to assumptions and then trying to argue against those assumptions.
    Surely things would go much smoother?
    Half of your posts could be cut out and save you much time if only you stopped doing so.
    It's actually an interesting philosophical question as to whether people can act irrationally at all.
    My rationality leads me to agnosticism and from there to atheism.
    No, you claimed it was inadequate.
    How else am I to interpret your claims that there are fields of information that I "can not theoretically access" (or words to that affect) other than as my value system being inadequate?
    So now I borrow value systems?
    How does that even work?
    You must surely then know what my underlying value system is?
    And then which parts i have subsequently borrowed?
    And how does your point in any way address the issue other than reiterating your own (unsubstantiated) claims that my value system puts your claims "theoretically inaccessible" to me?
    Ah, back to your jumping to assumptions, as previously highlighted.

    Apologies for long post.
    Perhaps if you cut down on making unwarranted assumptions?
    And next time I'll try to be more concise in responding.
  14. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Those two are functionally the same.

    Why are you interested in that?
    What do you hope to gain?
  15. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Maybe there is some ambiguity.
    But i see them as being far from the same.
    The first is acknowledgement that my beliefs are a result of my thought processes and my conclusions of what I know.
    That I am not merely following someone else's beliefs through a sense of their authority, reverence etc.
    That they are not merely telling me what to believe.

    The second is making those who want to change my beliefs responsible for providing me with sufficient to evaluate their claims.
    I.e. if they want to change my beliefs then the onus is on them to strive to do so.
    I will not (unless I want to) take on the responsibility of proving or disproving their claims.

    Insight into the way different minds work on the subject.
    I can read books on the matter but they generally tell one side at a time.
    And usually a rarefied viewpoint.
    These forums throw you into the maelstrom of how more normal people think.
    But even then it is usually only those who have an interest in such.
    And how normal can we be?

    I am also researching for possible novel (aren't we all!).
    Whether to include philosophical and/or religious angle.
    Offering means of friction between protagonists, and/or antagonist.
    Not to take sides but to show validity in all, even if I personally don't agree.
    So would help to understand justifications on such issues.
    But that's a way off.
  16. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    But do you want to have your beliefs changed?
    Is it your deepest heart's desire to meet people who will desire to change your beliefs?

    You probably don't want to be robbed, assaulted or fired. And when a person comes along who seeks to rob you, assault you or fire you, you probably don't say "Alright, I will let you rob/assault/fire me, if you can give me a good reason why I sould do so."
    In a similar manner, you probably don't want that someone would really change your beliefs, much less in radical ways.

    While it may be fair to say that many people are in fact looking for some kind of savior, for a prince on the white horse, for a Dickensian good stranger, I think very few people actually enter interactions with other people with the desire to be converted, to have their beliefs changed by the other person.

    Do you really think that people of substance post much at such forums?

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    No, not everyone is researching for a novel.
  17. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    No, I have no desire to have my beliefs changed.
    (I'm not sure why you would think such?)
    But nor do I close myself off to the possibility.
    I consider it part of life that beliefs might change over time depending upon one's experiences.
    I once believed in Santa...
    Now I don't.
    I take responsibility for no longer believing.
    But had my parents wished to convince me, those many years ago, that Santa did not exist then it would be their responsibility to provide the necessary evidence etc for me to change my mind.
    One can not, in my view, tell someone that their belief/non-belief is false and then require them to prove it for themselves.
    Some may choose to do so.
    But the responsibility is on the one trying to get them to change.
    Depends how you judge people.
    I think people at these sites are normal people who have an interest in the subject they post on.
    As I said, I can read books to understand the rarefied opinions of scholars or "people of substance".
    What you get in these forums is more normal people discussing the topics.
    A lecturer once said that life was just one big research project for a great novel we could all write.
    And some are lucky enough to get to write more than one.
    But no matter.
  18. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    What do you think that "real religion" is?

    I use the word 'religion' in the way that it's used in academic religious studies. That's not a mistake, even if you happen to disagree with it.

    MR speculated that there might be an afterlife, even if Christianity isn't true. You attacked him (and seemingly the rest of us along with him) because he/we didn't cite what you called "scripture". You didn't define the word 'scripture' and you didn't specify which particular religious writings you were referring to.

    Of course your whole objection might have been poorly conceived since MR was seemingly wondering about the possibilities of an afterlife even if NO religious traditions, and their associated 'scriptures', happen to be true. (He stated his first post in terms of Christianity, but I expect that he'd agree with my broadening of his thesis to include other traditions as well.)

    There are certainly religions that imagine human beings eventually evolving into a god-like state. (In religious studies that's called 'deification' and the idea isn't uncommon.) The Jains are an example. As I understand it, the Jains don't imagine these evolved individual selves eventually merging into a single entity. Instead, they form kind of a heavenly society of omniscient beings. They imagine the universe (not just our physical universe but all the higher and lower planes as well) in the form of a giant cosmic human body. As selves evolve or devolve, they rise or fall in this cosmos. So the most highly evolved deified selves end up rising all the way into the cosmos' head, and form what Jains apparently literally imagine to be the cosmos' collective godhead.

    The Jains have their own canon of writings that we can call 'scriptures'. Actually it's complicated, since there are at least two different varieties of Jains and there are significant differences in the contents of their canons. But anyone interested in the Jain take on the the afterlife and on the ideal destiny of human selves, would probably be best advised to consult the Jains themselves (there are some very good Jain websites for a start) and if the inquirer wants to get scholarly about it, to consult the Jain writings themselves. (I'm not sure how many have been translated into English.)

    What you are describing there seems to be what religious studies calls 'syncretization'. It's the tendency to combine what were originally distinct religious traditions into one. The so-called 'pagan' religion of the ancient Roman empire was famously syncretistic. When the Romans took over places like Celtic Gaul, they simply identified the various Celtic gods worshipped there as culturally different versions of their own gods. When strange gods from the east (Isis, Serapis etc.) appeared in Rome, many people simply worshipped them as if they were new additions to the Roman pantheon. Some historians speculate that this 'it's really ultimately all the same' syncretistic tendency helped early Christianity gain a foothold in the empire. (Of course the Christians never accepted syncretism and emphasized the other extreme: we have the one true religion and everyone else is an idolator.)

    Another place where a similar ancient syncretistic tendency existed and where it's survived down to the present day is India. Today's Hinduism is kind of a grab-bag of ideas and deities that probably had separate origins but over the centuries were rolled together and combined into one larger tradition. The Upanishadic Brahman, Vishnu, Shiva, Krishna, Shakti, Kali, you name it. Personal gods, impersonal cosmic principles, monotheistic deities, polytheism, and many strands of often inconsistent religious philosophy.

    The obvious question this raises is whether it's really possible to smear religious traditions together that were originally separate, without losing some of those religions' most basic tenets. For example, we can smear Judaism, Christianity and Islam together, but can we preserve the unique divinity and salvational role of Christ when we do it? If we try to incorporate the trinity, can we preserve the unique monotheism of Judaism and Islam? My point is that while we might create a viable new religion if we combined Judaism, Christianity and Islam, that new religion wouldn't be Judaism, Christianity or Islam. It would be something new.

    Then do it. Start a thread and introduce your new topic. I'm not sure whether you want to discuss particular scriptures, the concept of 'scripture' itself, or what. It might be an interesting thread.

    Your arrival in this thread was an attack on the rest of us for ignoring 'scripture'. (Despite the fact that 'scriptures' are irrelevant to the topic of the thread, which was essentially what if an afterlife exists even if the various religious scriptures aren't true.) Then you added your little kicker about how the rest of us are 'afraid' to study 'scripture'.

    That was just your attempt to get people going emotionally because you like to play empty back-and-forth games, and I called you on it.

    Then start a thread devoted to that subject. I'll be there to disagree with you. I don't think that religious 'scriptures' are all saying the same thing. There may or may not be a common core to human religiosity, but if there is, I'd locate that at the level of religious experience, not in the contents of religious writings.

    Believe anything you want, I don't care. But if this all just private to you, then why were you attacking the rest of us for thinking about other possibilities? As soon as you do that, you are implying that your 'scriptures' aren't just authoritative to you, but also that they should be authoritative to the rest of us as well. And that much stronger claim needs to be defended.
  19. Rav Valued Senior Member

    Indeed. Please do start such a thread. Backing up fundamentalist Christian exclusivism with properly contextualized biblical quotes is ridiculously easy. I reckon we could have all kinds of fun.
  20. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    I used to think so too, but over time, I realized that this is still putting oneself in a victim position.

    Someone who goes to the length of telling you that you should change something so private and personal to you as your beliefs - I think that with such a person, there are only two mutually exclusive options: you either unquestioningly subject yourself to them, or avoid them like the plague. The moment someone presents themselves as the necessary intermediate between you and God or enlightenment, is the moment two-way communication is over, and the other person's monologue begins. And then you either listen, or leave.

    It's far easier and more prosperous to be proactive and work on changing one's beliefs oneself.

    Or just explore their neuroses ...
  21. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    I don't see it as being in position of victim as long as one remains in control of one's actions/reactions.
    If necessary one must avoid, sure.
    If you see this as being a victim, then okay.
    I don't.
    IF one wants to change their belief.
    I don't.
    But I don't discount the possibility that it can happen.

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  22. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Many people do want to change your beliefs, though. It's pretty much a given that sooner or later (or maybe even daily) one will be met with people who want to change one's beliefs. People want to change one's beliefs directly (in person) or indirectly (in that they produce media). Mass media are a constant pressure on us to change our beliefs, for example.
    So what I said earlier applies. If one would require that everyone who wants to change one's beliefs would justify their point (and their desire to change one or one's beliefs), one would spend and awful amount of time and energy on those people. And that's just not feasible.

    As for forums being a place to explore one's neuroses: Indeed, and I also think that the reasoning processes one gets to see here are not adequate or accurate accounts of the person's reasoning process. Justification of one's beliefs involves a concern for where, toward whom and why one tries to justify one's beliefs. And so in different circumstances, the same person could offer different justifications for the same belief. Which makes it doubtful whether there is much point in pursuing people's justifications for what they believe.
  23. kx000 Valued Senior Member

    Knowledge of all things denotes knowledge over all that is imagined. Knowledge and the imagination are more like ying and yang. I know about dinosaurs, and sea turtles, now imagine them. I imagined a giant sea monster, I know, it was a turtle.

    I know greater than. How imagine greater than knowldge? I imagine greatness, but better know it. I imagine my self king, I know I am king. Knowledge is stronger by a hair.

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