Losing your religion

Clearly, Pinball, you're not new to this. Why act like yo are? Or, have you not, in all this time since the '70s, grown beyond the basic talking points?
The thread was really just a “why did you lose/keep your faith?
A personal journey, that is what James gave I thought, sincerely, it would be nice to hear yours too.

When you say “new to this” new to what? Discussing faith/ lack of? God?
When I talk to theists online the discussions tend to be about the Bible and the theory of Evolution/Abiogenesis not whether a god exists.
If I discuss religion, I highlight the negatives only to give a reason why I think overall it not good for humanity.

That would be another thread though, Is religion good for humanity?
 
Losing my religion would be inaccurate for me, even as a drifter from the norm. I guess when I became more of a detective than a convert or confirmed, I developed into what I am now. It was a gradual change and various life realities lead to my "departure" from the norm.

First, I came to question validity but with intent to reconcile my doubts. Second, I looked at other cultures and similarities, third I began to acknowledge importance of the term "true" and my obligation ( as a Christian) to honor truth as a guide and as a vehicle for reconciliation of my doubts. All this lead to a very new religious view that seemed more ancient than what I grew up believing.
 
I think I may have found what’s bugging Tiassa about JR’s take on gods.
Here’s how Tiassa would like to go about it…
From one of Tiassa's links on this thread.
Tiassa talking to Arfa brane and James gets a mention.
One way of looking at it starts with thinking about any number of ways you or I might discuss religion, God, and perceptions thereof, and it will range through history, anthropology, psychology, and even art; we've had discussions like that, before. But we can also wonder what those discussions are to anybody else, in this case, James. And this is the next thing.
Because those discussions aren't really what he does. Rather, we might recall something I say more generally°, about letting people we know are wrong set the terms of discussion. James is a particular sort of example; the detritus is littered all over the subforum.
my bold above.
JamesR, next time you see a picture, sculpture or admire the beauty of Nature, peoples relationships to each other and ‘psychology’ think of a greater than human intelligence behind it all.
Then have a good old natter from that angle, along with throwing in some old sacred text quotes from some religion.
That JR is so uncouth. I can now see why JR is often saying to Tiassa "you do you and I'll do me."
Pinball, sorry for diverting your thread.
 
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A lot of the time, on this forum, I respond to what people bring here for discussion. Every now and then, I'll start a thread of my own, but far more often I'm replying to threads started by other people, on topics they have chosen.

When it comes to religious discussions on this forum, it seems like a lot of our visitors want to talk a lot about atheism. They want to talk about why the atheists have got it all wrong. I'm happy to have a discussion to correct their misconceptions on such matters. True, sometimes that is not the kind of discussion they were expecting. Still, if you come to a forum like this one, where the proportion of sciency types and atheists is higher than the average you'll find on your local Christian forum (or Muslim chat site, or Wiccan support group), it's the kind of discussion a lot of forum members are going to be interested in having with you. You might even learn a thing or two.

Tiassa is correct that there are number of ways religion can be discussed. Theoretically, Tiassa could start threads on religious art, or religious history, or religious psychology, or whatever, but in practice he never does. Instead, he mostly complains about the discussions that other people are choosing to have.

It seems that Tiassa imagines that I'm wrong about religion. Presumably, he thinks that he has the goods on whatever it that I'm wrong about. But he's not telling.

Discussion about religion is not really what Tiassa does. For that matter, Tiassa rarely discusses anything. He's all about the meta-discussion: the discussion about how the discussion ought to be had, were it ever to be had, hypothetically. Sure, he'll spend pages and pages telling everybody who is engaged in an actual discussion all the ways why they are doing it wrong and all the ways in which, if given half a chance, he would do it better. But the obvious fact before us is that Tiassa has had decades to show us all how it should be done, but instead he spends almost all his time complaining instead of showing.
 
Perhaps it's just a question of priorities.

Like your thread about talking to God↗; you couldn't grasp any other context than a Christian pretense fashioned in your image. Or the "one thread to rule them all".......
So to summarize.

"As it says on the tin, if you are now a non believer how did you lose your faith?

One incident?

A gradual decline? Or a specific series of events?

Also if you kept your faith despite set backs how did that happen?

Atheists and theists welcome."
 
Thanks for that, Pinball1970. It's useful to remind some posters, now and then, what the thread topic is supposed to be about, since people so often want to take things off on a tangent of their own devising.
 
The thread was really just a “why did you lose/keep your faith?
A personal journey, that is what James gave I thought, sincerely, it would be nice to hear yours too.

I just came across an old version; think of it this way, I've had time for that story to evolve, a little. For instance, there are a couple paragraphs, ca. 2007↗, and while we should note they are in the middle of a discussion with familiar subject matter, we might as well be having the same discussion today. But, like I said, I've had time for the story to evolve a little. Compared to that old explanation, the idea of Apathism emerged, and apparently it's really hard for people to wrap their heads around; it's imporant if you get caught up in the detail of the old post, some of which has changed—developed, advanced, evolved, refined—over time. A 2017↗ version covers that difference, but it's also true that post, ten years later, still carries certain issues that were afoot in 2007, and, yes, they're still afoot today, and part of a discussion that dates back to 2003↗, at least.

Anyway, it's true, I do weary of finding new ways to repeat myself, since it's generally futile:

2007: I was raised in a holiday-Lutheran family; e.g., we made it to church on Easter and Christmas Eve, and my brother and I are confirmed into one or another Lutheran organization, but we have escaped the simplistic and weak trap of faith by which we were tempted. I even endured three years at a Jesuit high school, though I can't complain too greatly; in college, I wrote papers for friends of mine who had graduated from public schools with Advanced Placement credit. The Jesuits were not nearly as difficult as many outsiders and critics might suggest, and one thing they did do was teach us how to do things like read, write, and communicate.

But Christian faith never stuck. It fought a hard fight, to be sure, but not even IHVH can win every round. I've traveled the road through Christianity, Satanism, High Magick, Witchcraft, atheism and its attendant nihilism, a passing fancy for Sufism, and eventually settled on the nondescript theism that allows me to speak to believers according to their rhetoric without actually believing any of it. If someone asks what God wants, and I respond by theorizing about what God wants, it's an artistic leap for me, one of metaphor in which the word "God" suffices in consideration of the number of words required to make the point without it. And, in the end, I have decided that it is more important to be able to communicate with the sick and deluded than it is to get an ego rush out of castigating their misfortune.​

Did you catch it, the part that needed development and refining? See, it's also a really long citation if I try to include the points that, "it's as useless to attempt to deny the existence of God as it is to demand that God be what we want it to be", and, "My description of God acknowledges that God is a human invention, and posits that the invention is intended to represent something; it is that something that I will acknowledge as God." And over the years, I've had plenty of opportunities to refine. As you're aware, 2017 isn't the first iteration of apathism, but it's concise enough for the moment:

2017: I use the word "Apathetic" to describe my outlook on God; I am neither theist nor atheist nor agnostic, and I literally do not care if God exists because it is just a word, and in the monotheistic framework describes an abstraction; this notion is not any pioneering work of my own, but something I learned from reading really smart people giving their best historical analyses to notions they personally didn't believe.​

And, 2003? Well, take a look at what our neighbor Foghorn said↗. And did you see what he did? He actually went back and read through one of the links; it's unclear how often people actually do that, around here. For instance, here is something I had occasion↗ to say to someone, once: "Well, think of it this way: in my post, I linked back over a decade to discussion of those experiences; additionally, a subsequent paragraph makes the point, and a subsequent post in the series explicitly enumerates, and with all that right there in front of you, your response is to ask for what is already right in front of you." In one form or another, it's possible to say something like that on a regular basis.

Irony: I sometimes razz Foghorn because he should not be taken seriously↗, and in the moment it's worth observing that he made that point in a similar context to his post above.

You'll find that among atheists at Sciforums, threads like your Jesus discussion↗ will only go so far because this community has cultivated an aversion to anything more complicated than pretending confusion about Sunday school basics. (And just so you don't have to ask, my contribution to your Jesus discussion could easily be a 2019↗ post in re, "What was Jesus like?")

But that's the thing. 2003? Okay, so, it's over twenty years, now, and, really, the problem Foghorn refers to in our moment remains the same: It's a matter of priorities.

Since this part started with my discussion with James, let's take a look at a couple things he has said:

"These days, I'm more informed about the enormous burdens and costs that religion of all kinds has placed (and is placing) on believers and non-believers alike." (2024↑)

"I do take issue with them at the point where their unsupported beliefs start having detrimental impacts on other people, however." (2020↑)​

On the surface, one might think that James and I share common ground having to do with the burdens, costs, and detrimental impacts of religion; even I fell down that hole. However, when it comes to what we might do to mitigate that harm, and reduce the social influence and authority of that religion, his discursive criteria are much more personal. It's not unusual, around here, nor should it be after twenty years of Administrative prerogative shaping the discourse, but in the end, most atheistic discourse around here is about the empowerment of judgment and pursuit of ephemeral emotional satisfaction. Please understand, we're well past the threshold of atheists inventing religious believers to criticize.

And for reactionary atheists like that, it isn't so much a question of losing their religion as having found a new one. Inasmuch as some of us might seem to share common ground having to do with the burdens, costs, and detrimental impacts of religion, we might also observe who is seeking solutions and who is just looking for a fight. Vis à vis that harm, those burdens, costs, and detrimental impacts of religion, deliberately reinforcing religious people's prejudices about atheists actually only makes things worse.

And a "personal journey", sure, but I've already noted the brochure gloss; after you see it a few times, well, it's true this version tells a little more detail than the last time↗ I saw it, but there must be reasons certain details remain mysterious, and it occurs sometimes to wonder whether even he knows what those details are. And that, for instance, is a reason why the brochure gloss stands out, or why the line about the burdens and costs reads sterile; 'tis a fine pitch, except it's not a pitch, it's just a sentence and anyone else is wrong to suppose its meaning. Sure, burdens and costs, and not convinced it's a net good, but if we take the moment to wonder why he cares, it's only because we might observe his preferred manner of inquisition is solipsistic and seems more about roughing up theists; that is to say, its main effect is to affirm religious people's stereotypes about atheistic hostility and unreasonability.

And, sure, we can joke that maybe that's the point, but the thought of James R as a Christian agent provocateur who hasn't come up for air in over twenty years is ridiculous. Moreover, it's not just James, and it's not just Sciforums. Toward your thread title, we could say that atheism is one of the religions I "lost" along the way.

Cosnider, it's kind of like you: I get that you weren't looking to go after Jews, specifically, but neither did you stop and consider what you were saying, because as an atheist you just don't think you need to. I have no use for that kind of fallacy, because compared to the harm religion does, such contributions only make things worse. Thing is, part of my personal story of religion includes certain failures of "atheism" over thirty years of experience: The part where people complain about religion is easy enough; the part where people do better than what they complain about is apparently too much to ask.

And, I get it. They think they've found a circumstance that licenses gratification at the stations of hate. But that's just something I can't take part in. They're wrong; it's hate. And the things that would make it not? Apparently that's just so unfair to atheists.
 
You regularly complain that I don't discuss religion the way you'd prefer me to discuss it - whatever that way might be.

James, I think the expectation that you might post whatever you want at a discussion board, and others should just shut up about it is petty and unrealistic.

For instance, you noted your own advice from 2022↗, but I already answered you, then—

• I know on some level it feels good to have at someone like that, but it seems like it would probably be better to do so when the point actually applies. I mean, there is the thread on discussing religion↗, compiling resources and perspectives; or maybe that other thread about religion itself↗; I might even try to have some fun↗ with the study of history; or maybe contribute↗ usefully↗ to↗ other↗ people's↗ threads↗; even when I disagree with someone, it's easy enough to include relevant↗ historical↗ analysis↗.

That's just a quick list. "Jump in and show us all how it ought to be done!" probably sounds better when there isn't an extant record to point to. Comparatively, it's not a matter of saying I think I already posted something↑; it is not at all uncommon that I can point↗ directly↗ to what I said, just like I was able to find what I said over a decade ago.​

—and you didn't see fit to respond, then, but you want to try to recycle it now, and I probably shouldn't be surprised. This might be the third time we've done this part of the discussion. Oh, and then you did it again, too. Imagine that. True, though, you used to issue infractions for that behavior—recycling talking points while refusing to address—but only to people you didn't like.

You also used to pretend to be an educator, so please do excuse anyone who somehow thinks that means you're smart enough to understand the stuff you talk about. Think of the record, James; when it gets more complicated↗ than jellybean make-believe↗, you get all confused and hostile↗.

†​

Here, let us try a practical example, and since you recalled the thread about talking to God, we'll use that one.

• "Do you talk to God?" — Some of our discussion pertains a certain manner of addressing God; e.g., Tiassa at #181↗ and your reply at #190↗: "How does one know that God is at the house?" might suit your manner of inquisition, but it's actually beside the point. I even told you, in #240↗, I was describing a doctrinal dispute, pointed out that the actual doctrine remains inchoate, and pointed out its sexist result. In #254↗ you went with, "I don't think you have established that men or women are 'divine' in the required sense, yet", and even suggested, "Maybe your standards for determining what counts as divinity are less strict than mine". And inasmuch as your standards preclude other people's standards, well, right, that's your standard; there's a reason you don't care which religion I was describing—your manner of inquisition doesn't seem to care about such details. It becomes important, though.

• "CRT: Critical Race Theory as Bogeyman" — see Tiassa at #2↗ in re George on Critical Race Theory:

The ABA article goes on to discuss "Education and CRT", including a tale running through Detroit amid the Great Migration, ca. 1940, on into the twenty-first century and the Gary B litigation resolved [in 2020], but George's narrative ties that story to the landmark Brown v. Board of Education … The thing about Brown, though, is that the tale in Detroit leads to Milliken v. Bradley, twenty years later.

• CRT/Bogeyman (redux): see James R at #102↗: "I hope it isn't just political rhetoric, intending to enrage those of a non-Republican political persuasion, to claim there are laws forbidding the mention of race/racism etc."​

Perhaps it seems a strange collection. The dipsute listed in the first point isn't intended to indict your performance, but, rather, to illustrate a point: There is an historical story, much larger than you and I, that runs through all three of those points. And while it's hard enough to tell, most days, it becomes nearly impossible if we can't discuss certain parts of it.

Now, it's true that, from half a world away, certain things might not be apparent. But if, for instance, we consider, the effect this odd corner of religion on American language and culture, the tale starts to show its significance, even if it looks, at first, superficial. But when you hear Americans, even the white folks, using certain words and phrases, this is where it comes from. Start with, approximately, words and phrases associated with "rap",

For instance, we Americans have a word called, "word", and most days it's the same word anyone else would expect, same dictionary definitions, &c. But it also has a colloquial context that has rooted itself in American culture. When someone like Vanilla Ice says, "Word to your mother", it's a stylistic imitation. When most Americans say, "Word," as an affirmation or agreement with another, it's a stylistic thing picked up along the way. But it has a meaning, and that meaning doesn't just come from black people, but is invested in a small, reactionary corner of the Black American experience, and, weirdly, rose to its place in American culture because white people bought enough rap albums and thought it was cool to talk that way. So, when you hear Americans say, "Word", in that way, or call each other "Dog" or "G", they're actually borrowing from that inchoate doctrine.

Maybe that seems like a long explanation for such a small point. But as long as your prerequisites for divinity, &c., are your priority, that part of the story will remain aloof. Still, if you want to know if you've got the right house, sure, you can always ask, though it's also true there are usually signs and symbols. These years later, there might be a generational question, but, still, if you encounter enough of the symbols, and hear enough of the talk, then at the very least the attitudes are likely present even if they aren't card-carrying members of the organization.

Which comes back to the obvious point: Compared to the actual challenges facing NGE communities, it's true, the prospect of establishing what is "'divine' in the required sense" is nonsense. (It was pretty much nonsense in any context.)

To tie those elements together: Consider your political takes on Trump voters↗, vis à vis what is a mystery to you↗ from half a world away. While, certainly, we can pretend to feel smart while saying stuff about establishing what is divine in the required sense, there are other aspects to this story of this influential splinter sect. From what came up out of the Deep South to Detroit during the Great Migration, a story with active lines running through the history and politics we've discussed here, woven through the tale of what Florida conservatives, for instance, oppose, and your concern that "it isn't just political rhetoric, intending to enrage those of a non-Republican political persuasion". You're never going to understand this part of American history if you can't move past your standard inquisition. And in a broader context, yes, the same applies to the rest of history: If you can only scrutinize what is so unlike you by demanding first that it become somehow like you, then you will not be able to understand it.

And in the context of the cultural "blind spot"↗, to which your note on Trump voters responds, it's part of what gets overlooked. And, sure, it's a small part compared to other issues, but it's one we have at hand, which is kind of convenient.

But it is also woven through generations of American history, and if you can't get past your shoebox inquisition, you're going to keep getting the story wrong. Furthermore, despite the gravity fo such a warning, this movement really should just be one tile in a complex mosaic, and the actual story, compared to your general disdain for religion, is enlightening, entertaining, and sometimes even hilarious.

In the end, you're missing out on a lot, and even hurting yourself along the way.
 
Let's go ahead and take a moment for this:

When you say “new to this” new to what? Discussing faith/ lack of? God?

Precisely. You're not new, so what's with the the newbie games?

Here, I'll show you:

• It's not that what you said is wrong or inaccurate: "Atheists that began as theists reject their god first because it is easier. We know about Jesus we don't know so much about Allah … It took a lot less effort to reject the claims of Mohammed. Why? Because I had not grown up in an Islamic dominated environment." Rather, it's just that you quoted something↑ I said, and responded with something that was already accounted for in the post you were quoting; that's why I said↑, "To reiterate." That is, I had already covered that part, e.g., "It's one thing if reactionary atheism tends to focus on familiar aspects of religion", "It's not just the tendency toward familiar foundations", but that the "inquisition is particular and proximal, nearly intimate. It's also insistent and largely unchanging."​

Look, having observed a generalization, I then established that I was referring to something more particular; you, in turn, pointed back to the generalization. Running around that circle really is kind of a simplistic game. And insofar as you've only been here a little less than a year, perhaps your decision makes sense to your experience, but it's pretty much standard fare around here, and not just in discussion of religion.

In and of itself, any given occasion is whatever it is. But, still, that's why I asked.

†​

We should probably also take a moment for this part:

The thread was really just a “why did you lose/keep your faith?

So to summarize.

"As it says on the tin, if you are now a non believer how did you lose your faith?

Thanks for that, Pinball1970. It's useful to remind some posters, now and then, what the thread topic is supposed to be about, since people so often want to take things off on a tangent of their own devising.

It's one thing if threads don't stay within such clearly demarcated boundaries; James already knows this; he's just complaining because it's me. Here, take a look:

• In the thread on Religion and State, James R↗ posted a childish two cents seeking to change the subject to his preferred inquisition. So I tried to turn that point back toward the thread topic↗. You then chimed in↗ with an inflammatory change of subject. Moreover, what you'll find in your posts from that exchange is that you keep coming back to simply asserting your moral judgment: #6↗, Scripture according to your judgment, Jesus doesn't meet your expectation, certain soteriology is nonsensical. It's not that I disagree that certain soteriology is nonsensical↗, but compared to the thread it was in, that was newbie-grade, and a change of subject. #9↗ is similarly about your own expectations and judgment, and for all you say about the Hebrew Scriptures, it remains unclear what that has to do with the Christianity in question. #11↗ was about your judgmetn of Speaker Johnson: "Not my ideology." And then #12↗, your judgment of Pavlovitz: "He comes across as a Christian I could get on board with." And starting at #15↗, you wanted to judge my views (#17-19↗. Ironically, my response to you (#20↗) overlaps with this thread.​

Insofar as that episode is what it is, in our moment, here, we can observe the continuing variation of discourse in that thread.

Meanwhile, turning back toward the idea of losing one's religion, what if they never did?

That sort of discussion, of course, will run afield. And if there remains a question of what anyone has learned over the period, it's part of change, and part of the story of what it means to lose religon.

And, Pinball, I included James R's statement because it kind of makes a point: Here's a thread called, "On Religion"↗; it comes up along the way (cf. Foghorn, #36↑ above). Here's another one, called, "On Discussing Religion"↗; I've already noted that James R's contribution was to complain↗, "Is this thread a cut-and-paste from Tiassa's blog? Is there some point to these musings?" You can decide for yourself what James means by "discussion about religion"↗, but at this point, he's recycling stuff he can't answer ("discussion about religion is not really …") and answers he already has ("decades to show us all how it should be done") but doesn't want to acknowledge. (Do I really need to reach↗ back↗ decades to make the point?) And, again, it's not just James, but still, compared to what anyone means by "discussion about religion", the thread called "Scholar Says"↗ is a mixed bag showing what happens when a little bit of fun simply goes over people's heads; the post, therein, on Pagels and Russell↗ tells a story about nearly sublime coincidence, but is of little value to other people's "discussion about religion".

Anyway, discussions rarely stay within clearly demarcated boundaries. Furthermore, there is also a question comparing the boundaries we demand to those we accept and abide.

And, as I frequently refer to my history and experience, you can probalby discern it would have been hard to stuff all that into one post, for you.
 
You'll find that among atheists at Sciforums, threads like your Jesus discussion↗ will only go so far because this community has cultivated an aversion to anything more complicated than pretending confusion about Sunday school basics. (And just so you don't have to ask, my contribution to your Jesus discussion could easily be a 2019↗ post in re, "What was Jesus like?")

I appreciate your detailed reply.
I am understanding you a little better, hopefully.

I realize my title is rehashing old debates, I have come a long way since those early days of first ditching Christianity.

The thing that stands out for me, for during the final months and weeks of being a theist was just wanting to know if it was true, that's it. I had not got as far as, "Is Christianity correct, Catholicism? Is it good for the planet? The poor? What about the non-religious? Buddhism? How does this tie into my politics? What should my ideology be?”

I was not bothered about philosophy or ideology or religion for that matter. If it was not real, then none of that mattered now.

I wanted to know if god was real and if Jesus was the son of god.

I was alone in the loft, in the summer with the Bible, a notebook and armed with ZERO scholarship techniques I came to conclusion it was not god given.

Prematurely probably even though I thought I put some effort in at the time.

I do not think I used the term atheist for quite a while, but I remember telling my family which did not go down well.

The “atheist religion” you mentioned did hit and it hit hard. THAT made sense, religion is bad, go after it and your new gods are Dawkins Dennet and Hitchens!

I joined the BHA, the RDFSR (Dawkins site) I read all the books, watched all the debates..

So guilty as charged there at least for some of the time, I have to admit that now. Reason? Frustrated I had wasted so much time on religion, study, attending mass, worrying about the state of my soul. Annoyed I was such an idiot to have gone along with it for so long.

That angry part subsided luckily but not the aftereffects. I got involved in debates with creationists online, Islamic extremists were illustrating how destructive religion could be in Europe.

Right wing Christians were demonstrating how hateful and unscientific they could be in the West, vindicated! The world must be changed and its people educated!

God is not great and is indeed a delusion…

I met some lovely theists in the process, some I am still friends with, Creationists, Ex services, Bible belt!

I discovered Bart Ehrman during this time because I eventually asked the question, ”So if it is not real, what was it? Completely made up? Some kernels of truth? Who the hell was Jesus? Who did he think he was”

I became interested in what the experts had to say on the matter and that journey is still continuing. I wish it would have been the first journey I took rather than the devotional one I was pushed into as a young boy or jumped out of as angry young man.
 
Meanwhile, turning back toward the idea of losing one's religion, what if they never did?
Another reminder from the opening post of this thread:
Pinball1970 said:
As it says on the tin, if you are now a non believer how did you lose your faith?
One incident?
A gradual decline? Or a specific series of events?
Also if you kept your faith despite set backs how did that happen.
Atheists and theists welcome.
Answer your question?
 
Cosnider, it's kind of like you: I get that you weren't looking to go after Jews, specifically, but neither did you stop and consider what you were saying, because as an atheist you just don't think you need to.
Yeah my post was probably heavy handed. The OT is heavy duty in places and it was a reference to that.
Noted though.
 
Their is no God unless their is a devil. You have to honor the sins, and falls, if you want to get at goodness.
That doesn't really track. Plenty of religions believe in a profusion of gods, without any kind of a devil figure. Even if you believe the divine is the source of moral goodness, that doesn't imply a separate figure actively countering it. For instance, some kinds of Neoplatonism saw "evil" as not really anything that "exists", but is rather just the relative lack of the presence of The Good.
 
That doesn't really track. Plenty of religions believe in a profusion of gods, without any kind of a devil figure. Even if you believe the divine is the source of moral goodness, that doesn't imply a separate figure actively countering it. For instance, some kinds of Neoplatonism saw "evil" as not really anything that "exists", but is rather just the relative lack of the presence of The Good.

There is a devil, just in our lives. It’s this thing that has power over the way we feel, and it must be real.
 
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