The Varieties of ATS Religious Experience; or, Variations on a Theme

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posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 10:18 AM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


I consider myself from the minor sect, nothing to do with the core of Christianity. I know why Christianity was created and do not adhere to the different philosophies it teaches. I understand they do not accept it. Its another reason why I denounced myself as a "christian".


I'm free to read and interpret and think all on my own with guidance from my spirit. It allows me to see the light that is hidden by the darkness.




posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 10:25 AM
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reply to post by MamaJ
 


That's fine, I just wanted to clarify that the Sixth Century thing was as regards pre-existence of the soul, not reincarnation.



posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 10:33 AM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


A person doesn't need all three, but, in my mind, they help to keep most people "out of trouble", because a person who says "I'm spiritual but not religious" (having just that first piece) can pretty well convince themselves of anything. Want to believe in Zeus? Well, there's no theology to support that, and essentially no rational religion, but if one dismisses those as irrelevant, then Zeus worship is on the table.


I disagree with this premise...that "spritual but not religious" is a cop-out and allows too much leeway for ego-gratifiers. Not so at all, in my experience.
In addition, reincarnation arguably HAS been part of Judaism and Christianity both, though it's no longer included in the "canon" - just because the RCC founders omitted it doesn't mean it wasn't ever discussed or taught.

For the purposes of this thread, I am a wee bit dismayed that you would assume "most" people who do not follow religion, but claim to be, and feel they are spiritual, are going to screw up. Many many people without "religion" have a very astute, and acute, sense of the unseen and the eventual consequences of counterproductive behavior.

It might be more accurate to say, "I have an inner moral compass, and I am responsible for what I do with this life; no one is going to save or condemn me except myself." Having internal rules of conduct can be much more powerful than externally imposed rules....

I realize you said "most," and were careful to add "not all", but I would present that many people who have turned away from religion actually have MORE of a relationship with themselves and their "higher self" - or soul. More importantly, perhaps, we (I do count myself among them) feel MORE responsible, because we don't slough off "cause and effect,", nor do we place "blame" on 'God', and we realize our own choices will ultimately continue to shape our "destiny" No invisible parent or prison warden, only our own accountability.

But, that's just my take on it, I wanted to add my perspective. Reincarnation and karma make the BEST SENSE of all the unknown, bizarre, seeming-miraculous, mysterious explanations and justifications, for me, and does not dismiss the Ultimate Reality - or God - but embrace it in all its gloriousness.
edit on 25-2-2013 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 10:58 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 



I disagree with this premise...that "spritual but not religious" is a cop-out and allows too much leeway for ego-gratifiers. Not so at all, in my experience.

Well, that's not what I said -- I don't see it as being a cop-out, so much as a likely untenable position.

You might be assuming that I mean "organized religion" in that second tier, and that's probably the majority case, but instead think of it as a basis that one can point to that demonstrates the legitimacy of the faith position.

If I just make up a belief that has no basis, what is the likelihood that my belief is correct? I'd say zero. But let's say that I form a belief based on observations, or insights gained through meditation, or something. What's the likelihood that my belief is correct? I'd say something more than zero.

So don't think of it as me saying "spirituality requires organized religion" so much as it's "the quest for truth has to include something apart from one's own imagination."



posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 11:17 AM
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Originally posted by adjensen
"the quest for truth has to include something apart from one's own imagination."

Thus I have read/am reading the New Testament ... St. John of the Cross ... St. Edith Stein ... Swami Amar Jyoti ... Hindu Vedic texts ... the Diamond Sutra .... etc etc etc .... At least, that's what I do. I read up ... see what makes sense and what can be tossed out ... keep what is sound. (and I've tossed out a whole lot of bunk over the years!
)



posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 12:12 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


Ok, finally getting back to this thread. The OP story is great. I also love hearing of how people come to walking the paths they walk. Reading this thread is like watching one of those multi-protagonist movies like Steel Magnolias or Playing by Heart where you think it is just a smattering of unconnected stories until you zoom out and see the actual tapestry quilted masterfully in front of your eyes.

Anyway, I wasn't sure how deep and how personal I wanted to make my entry so I decided on a compromise. I will go deep but keep this as parsimonious as possible.

Basically, I was raised by a father who swore like a sailor, held to the ideas of Jehovah's Witnesses, and at the same time, was bitter about not fitting in with them because of his irreverence for their god and for his epic beard. My mother was raised as a Christian of some sort but, as my mother, she believed pretty much in angels and a pantheon of vagueness. If you were to ask them back then, they would have said they were Christian yet they never spoke of it other than my father talking about Revelations and we never went to church. My brother was a Pecti-Witan and I was always interested in eastern mythology as a child. So between all of us, I had a lion's share of books covering many sorts of religions. Buddhist, Taoist, Christian, Pecti-Witan, Hindu, etc.

I sunk into Pecti-Witan and grew up in that vein as much as a preteen and teen could with only books. Religion wasn't in the forefront of my life nearly as much as philosophy was (I was a Taoist, as well) but, when I did need to refer to faith, it was from a Pecti-Witan perspective. So I think "agnostic with an interest in Scottish mythology" would have been more accurate in describing my teenager faith.

When I got married to a Christian woman, I converted to her faith. I tried. I really really tried. I wanted to learn and live "as the Romans do" (the Christian Romans, mind you) and did so for a few years. I studied the bible and tried on every perspective I could. However, nothing the church told me was able to shake my even greater faith in personal ethics which meant that I could never concede to notions that homosexuality was a sin or that war was what conservative Christians should support or that the god who commanded armies into genocide and directed others to wipe out entire civilizations could possibly be this god of mercy and love that everybody thought they were worshiping. I could never reconcile the many incompatible thoughts that were required of me to attend church. My wife quickly opened her eyes and saw many of the things I did and we stopped going to church and started tithing to charities in stead of to the church. In retrospect, I think we were more "Christian" than any of our friends that attended church. All in all, I was very grateful for my excursion into Jesus land because it did make me come to terms with my hatred towards Christianity. I no longer hold any ill-will towards Christians. I think that makes me the only person who likes Christians more after being one.

Anyway, after a few years of that, my wife had an epiphany of sorts and started looking into more extra-biblical answers. This opened up my freedom as well and we both began to explore, honestly, our paths. Now years into that and now my wife is a believer of good and of spirits as well as being an accomplished numerologist. I am a witch. The transition into becoming a witch again is a long story. One with many many divine confirmations that led me to my deities. I have a close and very personal relationship with divinity that blows away anything I ever felt before.

Since touching upon my goddess, it is as if some floodgate has been burst open and I feel roots being tapped that I never even suspected were there. Feelings of ancient swells and primal love and even a species of fatalistic melancholy that strangely makes me content and happy. It transcends time and space and for the first time, magic is a practical thing for me and not just some perspective.

The evolution of my path from the day I rediscovered it to what it is now is a story that takes up more than one post and cannot be done before I have to leave this morning. But, in short, that is my story and how I came to my path.



posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 12:15 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


Well, that's not what I said -- I don't see it as being a cop-out, so much as a likely untenable position.

You might be assuming that I mean "organized religion" in that second tier, and that's probably the majority case, but instead think of it as a basis that one can point to that demonstrates the legitimacy of the faith position.

If I just make up a belief that has no basis, what is the likelihood that my belief is correct?

Okay, let's deconstruct this, then. I had "developed", independently, so I guess you could say, "made up" a belief in reincarnation and progressive soul growth before I knew it was believed by others. It was only through study and inquiry that I discovered I had not been alone in "making it up"......

I'm sorry, adj, but I don't understand what you mean by "untenable". Would you mind being more descriptive for me? Please?


In my experience and personal journey, I've developed a method. If I have an idea that I've not come across from others, I FIRST explore whether or not it has ever been presented by others. If not, then I might discard it as a "flight of fancy", but at least I file it in the "my imagination" section of my brain.

But, if later, by investigation, I discover that others have had the idea, and that it is not unique to me, I will reassess the idea, in effect thinking, "Hmm, maybe I was onto a common - or at least not unheard of - idea, and just haven't been exposed to it before."

If it's an idea that I particularly "like" (and trust me, there a plenty of ideas I've had that revolted me!), I will be more likely to pursue it further, for that elusive "agreement".....


I'd say zero.
I wouldn't, though. A difference in our way of approaching things..... I'd say "I wonder if anyone else ever thought of this. I think I'll ask. Or research to find out."


But let's say that I form a belief ibased on observations, or insights gained through meditation, or something. What's the likelihood that my belief is correct? I'd say something more than zero.

What, exactly is the diff? Imagination and meditation are very, very close cousins.


So don't think of it as me saying "spirituality requires organized religion" so much as it's "the quest for truth has to include something apart from one's own imagination."
Well, okay, but isn't that the thought process of philosophers? We see a pattern, we 'analyze' it, or at least 'recognize' it, and see that others have 'absorbed' it....
then we say, "okay, what if.......?"

See what I mean?
This is so interesting...I'm so keen on knowing how everyone else's brain works - each in its own way.



edit on 25-2-2013 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 12:26 PM
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reply to post by Cuervo
 


Yay!!
I'm so glad you came back (missed you!)

It is fascinating, isn't it? How each of us, with enough effort, are capable of finding the one thing that rings "truest" of the options. I was a witch for years....I guess once you've declared it, you always are....
but I have lapsed in "practicing", while still holding on to the ideas.

Thanks so much! Sorry for interrupting the thread with our "side-bar" - you were typing while I was, I guess.

Never heard the term Picti-Witan before, but I've studied ancient British faiths as well, and they have certainly impacted me.
Happy late Imbolc.



posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 12:38 PM
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reply to post by FlyersFan
 


At least, that's what I do. I read up ... see what makes sense and what can be tossed out ... keep what is sound. (and I've tossed out a whole lot of bunk over the years! )

Yup!
Me, too. Read up. Can't get enough of reading up! I'm a reader-bee much more than a worker-bee.
Just seems, as I get older (nudging 55! ack!) that there's simply not enough time! Not enough time in one lifetime to learn and absorb it all - all the things I'm interested in. boo
But, I'll keep it up til I draw my last, I'm sure!!



posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 12:54 PM
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Originally posted by wildtimes
reply to post by adjensen
 


Well, that's not what I said -- I don't see it as being a cop-out, so much as a likely untenable position.

You might be assuming that I mean "organized religion" in that second tier, and that's probably the majority case, but instead think of it as a basis that one can point to that demonstrates the legitimacy of the faith position.

If I just make up a belief that has no basis, what is the likelihood that my belief is correct?

Okay, let's deconstruct this, then. I had "developed", independently, so I guess you could say, "made up" a belief in reincarnation and progressive soul growth before I knew it was believed by others. It was only through study and inquiry that I discovered I had not been alone in "making it up"......

I'm not sure how that's possible. A mature sense of reality isn't going to be possible until we're a certain age, and had a certain amount of exposure to the outside world, and by then, how can you be certain that you weren't exposed to those concepts unknowingly?


I'm sorry, adj, but I don't understand what you mean by "untenable". Would you mind being more descriptive for me? Please?

Let's say that I decide for myself that God is a lovely radish growing in my garden. You ask me why I think that, and I say "because that's what I think, prove me wrong" and you say "Okay..." and locate the nearest exit.


A difference in our way of approaching things..... I'd say "I wonder if anyone else ever thought of this. I think I'll ask. Or research to find out."

But what you're not seeing is that you're agreeing with me. The "I think I'll ask. Or research to find out." is that second (or possibly third, depending on how deep you go) tier. The people you ask, and whom have similar ideas are your "community of believers", and the evidence that your research turns up is your "scripture" or "tradition." You're just referring to it in different terms.

Let's say that you came up with a novel idea (like "God is a lovely radish in my garden", lol) and went and did some research as to whether anyone else had come up with something similar. Would it change your convictions if no one ever had? Would it change them if others had, but had looked into it and found evidence that it wasn't true?



posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 01:12 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


I'm not sure how that's possible. A mature sense of reality isn't going to be possible until we're a certain age, and had a certain amount of exposure to the outside world, and by then, how can you be certain that you weren't exposed to those concepts unknowingly?

I was 12.
I've described my upbringing.
At 12, I'd never heard of such a thing (or at the very least, not been consciously aware of it). Sure, perhaps somewhere a seed got planted and I don't recall from where, or through whom, but.....

Now I'm 54 and a half. I've come across many things that "reinforce" what seemed to me to be an original idea.

But, if you want to go that direction, okay. How do you discern "meditative intuition" from "imagination"?

The people you ask, and whom have similar ideas are your "community of believers", and the evidence that your research turns up is your "scripture" or "tradition." You're just referring to it in different terms.

All right, yes, if I find something to shore it up, great. But.... I also willingly investigate the OPPOSING ideas, to see if it's been shot down by someone who I can respect or not.

Thus, if I also investigate - with an open mind - the gainsayers' and naysayers' opinions, does that give it more ballast to float? I think so.

For me, at least, it did.

This actually is one of my foremost concerns. It's a difficult line to determine, in my opinion.

edit on 25-2-2013 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 01:37 PM
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Originally posted by adjensen

I'm not sure how that's possible. A mature sense of reality isn't going to be possible until we're a certain age, and had a certain amount of exposure to the outside world, and by then, how can you be certain that you weren't exposed to those concepts unknowingly?


I used to believe in the age thing as the path to maturity, but I'm not so sure anymore. You see 500 years ago life was experienced much more gradually by children. In today's TV, technological age information is streamed to our mind continuously. At a young age children have already experienced more, sex, drugs and rock and roll through the media than a full grown adult would have been exposed to just a few hundred years ago.

My daughter, I never babied her. I always talked to her in my words, gradually increasing my vocabulary with her understanding. By the time she was 5 I no longer had to hold my language back for her, she would simply ask what a word meant if she could not grasp the concept by the context.

At the age of 5 my daughter started to grasp the concept of God. Not the Sunday school, "Jesus loves you version." She is 7 now and will very plainly tell you that God talks to her. She will even give you examples of questions that she has asked or situations that she has been in and she will tell you how God instructed her.

She will even rebuke me when I have said something that is inappropriate. I do believe that she can see a much more mature version of life than she could have without the information. I don't know if this is good or bad, probably a bit of both, but we send our children out in the world woefully unprepared.

Everyday my daughter knows that God walks with her, why doesn't every child feel the same way. We all need to feel loved at all times. And the only way to always feel love is to plug into the source. My daughter is plugged in and it brings her great joy.

In our house we strive to overcome sin. When we fail we ask God for forgiveness and everyone hugs acknowledging that love and forgiveness are the only victory in sin.

I did not post this to taught my daughter, although I think she is the world
, quite honestly I think most if not all kids have the same ability to learn that she has. I just don't think we teach the right lessons. We teach how to survive, when we should teach how to love and leave the survival up to God.

edit on 25-2-2013 by sacgamer25 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 01:46 PM
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Originally posted by wildtimes
But, if you want to go that direction, okay. How do you discern "meditative intuition" from "imagination"?

Hey, you're the psychologist, not me


From a personal perspective, my experience has been that insights I have while praying or meditating are rarely things that I would dream up because either a) they're something that's in opposition to my personal beliefs or desires or b) they are reinforced by something that I experience outside of prayer or meditation.



The people you ask, and whom have similar ideas are your "community of believers", and the evidence that your research turns up is your "scripture" or "tradition." You're just referring to it in different terms.

All right, yes, if I find something to shore it up, great. But.... I also willingly investigate the OPPOSING ideas, to see if it's been shot down by someone who I can respect or not.

Thus, if I also investigate - with an open mind - the gainsayers' and naysayers' opinions, does that give it more ballast to float? I think so.

For me, at least, it did.

This actually is one of my foremost concerns. It's a difficult line to determine, in my opinion.

I agree, 100%, and that's exactly what I was talking about -- the need for something outside of ourselves that validates (or invalidates,) at least to some extent, our personal belief.



posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 01:59 PM
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reply to post by sacgamer25
 


She will even rebuke me when I have said something that is inappropriate. I do believe that she can see a much more mature version of life than she could have without the information. I don't know if this is good or bad, probably a bit of both, but we send our children out in the world woefully unprepared.

Everyday my daughter knows that God walks with her, why doesn't every child feel the same way. We all need to feel loved at all times. And the only way to always feel love is to plug into the source. My daughter is plugged in and it brings her great joy.

Sac! This is awesome. Thanks for the disclosure.
So, considering your daughter's "inordinate" wisdom and depth as a child....
do you find it possible that she is an "old soul" who has been round the block a few times before, and has come into your life now for reasons you may not be aware of, but orchestrated before your arrival?



posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 02:05 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


With God all things are possible. I don't give it much thought but she is something special in a spiritual sence.

To be specific I don't believe in reincarnation myself. But the bible does speak of two resurrections, possibly more. The more I realize that most of the concept of heaven and hell are tied to our current emotional state the more I could accept that the second resurrection is reincarnation. The important thing is to understand the first resurrection is of the soul during our natural lives. The second resurrection comes at the end of our natural life. About the second resurrection not enough is said that reincarnation can be refuted by the bible.

Again I don't believe in reincarnation but I am open to the possibility and I believe the bible leaves the possibility open.
edit on 25-2-2013 by sacgamer25 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 02:15 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


From a personal perspective, my experience has been that insights I have while praying or meditating are rarely things that I would dream up because either a) they're something that's in opposition to my personal beliefs or desires or b) they are reinforced by something that I experience outside of prayer or meditation.

whoa. I gotta take a few to digest this.

I'd like to rephrase to make sure I understand:
Insights you have while praying/meditating are rarely things you would dream up.
Is that correct insofar as it's paraphrasing?

(Perhaps we have vastly different "imagination" structures?)

Then: These are rarely things you would dream up because:
1) they are in opposition to your 'taste;
or...


Okay. So, you think authentic "imagination" is always going to agree with and promote your tastes according to your conscientious thinking, then?
And if it does not "agree" with what you THINK you think or desire, it is invalid as 'imagination'?

...2) they are reinforced by something you've experienced outside of said praying/meditation

So, then, the 'results' or ideas you have during prayer/meditation you think come from external experience, and if they have not happened outside of the state of p/m they are invalid as 'imagination'?
Am I close? (hehehe, this is like a puzzle. fun.
)

I'm sorry, really, I'm trying to get a grasp here...
edit on 25-2-2013 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 02:34 PM
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reply to post by sacgamer25
 


Definition of the "second resurrection"...


Revelation 20:12-13 identifies those comprising the second resurrection as the wicked judged by God at the great white throne judgment prior to being cast into the lake of fire. The second resurrection, then, is the raising of all unbelievers; the second resurrection is connected to the second death. It corresponds with Jesus’ teaching of the “resurrection of damnation” (John 5:29).

The event which divides the first and second resurrections seems to be the millennial kingdom. The last of the righteous are raised to reign “with Christ a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4), but the “rest of the dead [that is, the wicked] lived not again until the thousand years were finished” (Revelation 20:5).


Read more: www.gotquestions.org...



posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 02:47 PM
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Originally posted by wildtimes
reply to post by adjensen
 


From a personal perspective, my experience has been that insights I have while praying or meditating are rarely things that I would dream up because either a) they're something that's in opposition to my personal beliefs or desires or b) they are reinforced by something that I experience outside of prayer or meditation.

whoa. I gotta take a few to digest this.

I'd like to rephrase to make sure I understand:
Insights you have while praying/meditating are rarely things you would dream up.
Is that correct insofar as it's paraphrasing?

With the caveat that "insight" is a specific, and highly infrequent, experience, yes.


Okay. So, you think authentic "imagination" is always going to agree with and promote your tastes according to your conscientious thinking, then?

I think that maybe "imagination" is more involved in this conversation than it should be. If you haven't had the experience, I don't know that I can explain it well enough, but it is effectively, the act of attempting to align oneself with God's will and receiving some sense of what that is.


So, then, the 'results' or ideas you have during prayer/meditation you think come from external experience, and if they have not happened outside of the state of p/m they are invalid as 'imagination'?

Not necessarily, but if there is no external reinforcement, I'll usually forget about it, because I'm a pretty absent minded person. But there have been sufficient experiences that I've had to tell me that, if I ignore something that is in God's will, I'll be reminded of it until I follow through. I take the story of Jonah as a fable associated with this sort of thing.



posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 03:17 PM
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reply to post by sacgamer25
 


Originally posted by sacgamer25
At the age of 5 my daughter started to grasp the concept of God. Not the Sunday school, "Jesus loves you version." She is 7 now and will very plainly tell you that God talks to her. She will even give you examples of questions that she has asked or situations that she has been in and she will tell you how God instructed her.

Your daughter sounds very similar to Gregory Smith the famous child prodigy.

My theory is that genius may actually be divinely inspired.

Greg Smith's mother once asked him why he was so smart:


His answer: "I go up into the sky and sit at the feet of God, who tells me everything he knows."

"I said, "Oh, really. What does God look like?' " Janet Smith says, smiling as she recounts her son's reply. "He said, "I don't know. I've never seen God. I only sit at his feet."

- He was memorizing and reciting books at 14 months.

- He passed his mother and father intellectually at age 5.

- He went from 2nd grade to 9th grade in 1 year.

- He started college at age 10 and finished at 13.

- His I.Q. cannot be measured because it is off the charts.

- He was nominated for 4 Nobel peace prizes.

This is him reciting presidents as a baby:





edit on 25-2-2013 by Murgatroid because: I felt like it..



posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 03:20 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


Hey Ad, I just want to jump on Murg's band wagon for one sjee !




The very LAST thing I want is to hurt or offend others so if I have done that please forgive me.


Goes for me as well, I realize sometimes days later, that I might have offended someone. I know I can be brutal when it comes to the Catholic Church abroad and even more so the Vatican. Those feelings abruptly end when it comes to parishioners. I just see a Christian.

Yes please forgive, Randy





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