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October 12, 2007

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I met a Buddhist monk that had a PhD in Buddhism and he loaned me his book he had written. In this book he stated that human life is not only worthless but disgusting.

At the Buddhist temple I spent a few days with the monks and I noticed a picture on the wall of all the head monks.

The only one smiling in the picture was you guessed it the very monk that stated life is worthless and disgusting.

Took a pass on their brand of Buddhism but enjoy my Zen meditation on mon nights.

There are two groups of people in this world: those that say they are afraid of death and those that lie about it. Thank you Brian for being one of the honest ones. That is truly being authentic.

But William,there really are people,I know of, they look forward for dead.
Maye they are scary about the way of dying,but dead in itself they look forward to,even when they are not sure what will happen to them.

William,

I can understand how viewing the impermance of life can lead to detachment and therefore to a greater state of joy. Just not sure if calling life "disgusting" is the answer.

My spirituality is moving toward honoring the divine wisdom that exists within the world and all life. This doesn't mean that life is a bowel of cherries.

What I am beginning to experience (sense, not know) is that perhaps within the high and lows of daily life, birth and death, etc. there is a "still" place (satvic priciple), an energetic source that holds all life together, and of which we are all a part. In other words, the "life force" is available here and now. It's not some remote "get when you die" type thing but a sense of "being" here right now.

That's about the best I can do at the moment to explain it. Hope this make sense.

Bob

Dear Brian,

Of related interest might be the following article: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19626252.800.

Robert Paul Howard

...which is an article by Anna Gosline, entitled: "Death special: How does it feel to die?" (dated "13 October 2007").

Robert Paul Howard

Sometimes, at death, great fear is present and the transition is not easy or pleasant psychologically, not to mention the agony of physical pain. This is natural. Everybody knows this. It goes without saying the survival instinct is strong in most of us. Despite all the reports of near-death experiences, out-of-body experiences, psychics, mediums, masters, avatars etc. nobody has truly died and come back to report on what it was like. Death is therefore scary, unknown, even terrifying.

However, for some, once the fight for survival ceases, a clarity becomes present in the absence of concepts and forms. Everything is simple, clear, peaceful. The ego subsides along with resistance and fear. All that is left is this empty awareness that is always present here now, but beomes concealed by the thoughts and phenomena of our lives. This emptiness is complete existence, the only thing that ever really is. Always present, it is never born and thus never dies.

The swirl of phenomena appears in this awareness as you, but as what you eternally are, you are not any sort of 'thing' even though I called it 'empty awareness'because some sort of terminology has to be used. In death it can be seen that you are eternity, fathomless space, the essence of the whole universe of universes. You are the sun, the moon, the stars, the animals, everything and simultaneously nothing at all. This is your real nature and there is nothing to die but an idea, an appearance in the ever-changing play of life.

I had an experience where all the concepts, memories, forms that constituted what I thought I was became "unglued". It all broke up into separate atoms, disjointed in space like millions of stars in the sky. "I" was no more because there was no reference point. Yet I was still fully present, not as form, but as essence/awareness. I saw that all those fragments weren't me, they were just mind stuff gathered at an assemblage point that sort of blew up. Once the initial shock and disorientation of this settled down, it was very peaceful and everything was crystal clear.

Bob not sure if you thought I was calling life disgusting it was a Buddhist monk with a PhD in Buddhism. I think if one does not believe in the evolution of the soul and does not see that the struggles of life often give us more compassion towards others and ourselves one could reach that conclusion.

Other wise I agree with every word you stated. That life force or essence at least to me is pure awareness. The more aware we are of reality the more we can experience that life force.

The mystics I believe have glimpses of that life force and see a different reality then we do. They cannot find words to define the bliss that they experience while in that state of mystical experience. My favorite story of a mystical experience is the one of many told in “cosmic consciousness” by Bucke and it was C.D.C’s mystical story. Very heartwarming to read; brings a tear to my eye every time I read it.

Actually people have told us what it is like on the other side. The problem becomes they tell us different things. It appears that our state of consciousness and/or vibrational level determines what our life is like on the other side.

They tell us like attracts like on the other side. In a way it is like this in our physical existence. Atheists hang out with atheists religious folks hang out with those that think like them, the rich hang with the rich, etc.

Spiritualism and mediums have done the best and worst job of telling us about the other side. The best as mediums have been able to communicate with those on the other side through a variety of means, the worst when money entered the picture then fraud and mediums with low levels of psychic and medium abilities abound.

Society determines that if one medium is fake all are fakes kind of like if one politician makes impossible promises of something for nothing then all politicians do the same. Sorry not a good example.

Tucson: "Once the initial shock and disorientation of this settled down"

Would you mind to elaborate on this 'period'?

Thank you

Elephant,

If I were to write that again, I wouldn't use the word 'shock', but there was initially confusion and fear about what was happening. Confusion and fear also broke into fragments as this "disassemblage" occured. They just floated away sort of like idea bubbles that joined all the other fragmented idea bubbles that once composed what I conceived as 'me' and became irrelevant.

I make no claim to any special ability or status in perceiving this. I have spontaneous 'perceptions' from time to time that are not in my personal control. My everyday state is about the same as everyone else, just a slob on the bus, but the residual effect of such experiences does color my outlook and attitude. I often feel a 'sympatico' kinship with everything as a reflection of the reality we all really are. I find people say, "haven't we met before? Don't I know you? I think this 'sympatico' thing helps them to recognise something about themselves they have overlooked or forgotten. It's nothing I say, it's more an energy thing. Something we all share.

For you that want to be the sun, moon, stars, and empty awareness when you leave this physical world please raise your hand.

Whoops not many raised their hand. Why?

We somehow know that we are more than this body.

Even through religious beliefs nearly made me an atheist their explanation that we are here by chance did not do it for me. Plus the hostility most atheists’ exhibit who wants to be like them. Very poor role models.

The evidence is out there that we are more than our bodies but one has to look deeply. Popular media will not reveal it to you.

The book no living person could have known is a good start. Near death experiences may be helpful.

Ena Twiggs book is a good read as a trance medium. Leona piper was a good trance medium that impressed William James.

Ira Stevenson’s book on reincarnation is a good read. Fredrick Myers cross correspondence is a good read. It was his way of showing he survived death.

The open door is a good read of the mediumship of George Wright. Surprise ending. George and Nella Wright’s life story is heartwarming to read even if you are not interested in mediums.

For you that are still seeking these are good reads for you that have already made up your mind you know truth save yourself the trouble. Wasted time.

Getting back to the "I can't wait to die" attitude that I heard so often during my years in Sant Mat (I wrote the letter to Brian as stated in his post).

One of things that attracted me to Sant Mat many years ago (during Charan Singh's days) was the idea that a satsangi could "withdraw" his or her attention from the outside world, focus it within, and go through a similar experience of death while living. And, an added plus to this inner experience was "self-realization", or the direct experience or understanding of the nature of the soul and it's relationship to the "whole" or Source (the "Father" in Sant Mat).

But, the only thing the literature failed to explain is "don't count on having this experience any time soon!"

After some 25 years of ardent meditation, I never had even the slightest glimpse of a "realized state". And, I suspect that is the case for the majority of Satsangis, otherwise it wouldn't be so popular to look forward to permanent death.

So, IMO, Sant Mat is, for the most part, a path of "salvation" as opposed to "realization". "When I die, the Master will come and take me home". A fundamentalist Christian may say, "When I die, Jesus will come and take me home". What the hell is the difference?

Bob

Prove that there is such a thing as fear.

Hmmmm. . .dissatisfaction and discontent prevail everywhere. No one is happy in this world. I say it again, no one is happy in this world. One should seek a Perfect Master. . .for there is one somewhere. Seek and do not stop until one is found.

Hi Albert,

Your dialogue sounded like it originated straight from a RS "how to" manual.

Oh, how do you know that no one is happy in this world? BTW, I know a lot of unhappy satsangis.

Bob

William,

I find your points a little detached from reality at times.

You have stated atheists and 'these advaita types' are afraid of the possibility of no reincarnation (in another thread), and that's why they disregard the 'reality' of such things.

Then above you have implied above that if you don't believe in the evolution of soul, then it is possible you can think life is disgusting?

Seriously, I think you've got both of these points BACKWARDS, and any thinking person who simply have to agree.

I'm actually astounded that anyone can see this in reverse? People are scared of reincarnation, that's why they say there is no life after death? It's atheists who think life is disgusting, and NOT those who believe in evolution of 'soul' (evolution to a 'better' place?)

Really, I'm not sure how much your points hold water?

PS, there is in mystical practice a point where you face the death of your ego, your identity. Personally, I think this is more terrifying than the possibility of facing your physical death, as your conceptual beliefs may give hope of something 'after death'.

The death of ego is the death of all such concepts.

If you go through this (very real) stage in the mystical process, then I truely believe there is no possibility of the fear of death.

It becomes a game, an intoxicating play. Both existence and non-existence hold no fear, and you tread a a fine line between the two......eternal emptiness.

People can believe this or not, or label it conceptual or not.

But the reality of this is know by many.

I hope Brian doesn't mind me posting this from Jack Kornfield's excellent 'After the Ecstasy, the Laundry'. It is a recollection from a meditation teacher Jack interviewed.

I think it relevant to Brian's latest blog, and the comments here?

This is beautiful, and contains many hints at deeper truths, imo.

"My meditation had always been very difficult. There was usually a great deal of tension and pain that I carried in my body as as my heart. As an environmentalist I had struggled for years with the suffering of the world, and all these images and sorrows would come flooding past as I sat. It was as if I was in the midst of the rain forests being burned and bulldozed. I saw warfare and pollutions, all the images of what we were doing here on earth. I sat and wept, but I stuck with it even when it got intense. I did not believe in running away from the world. I had to face it, go into it. Then a shift happened.

I was in the ashram, practicing with a small number of senior students. I had felt a lot of phsyical pain in the past few weeks, but I just sat in the midst of it all, unmoving, and my mind became very focussed and still. My thoughts became fewer until they almost dissapeared, and my consciousness dropped to the centre of my heart. When any sound or sensation or thought would arise, I would feel it immediately as a subtle vibration moving through the space of my heart. That's all I felt. It's as though the stillness in my heart expanded until it was the world. All experience became like tiny vibrations, waves subtly mving through this vast, peaceful heart.

Then somehow I let go even further and entered the deepest peace imaginable, without even the slightest sound or sensation. It was utterly silent and empty. I didn't feel my body or mind at all, just pure consciousness. My whole identity dropped away. It was breathtaking, fantastic, beyond bliss. I knew I could never fear death after this because it is only this timeless, unborn consciousness that is real.

I felt that nothing of this world could compare with this peace. Any sight, sound, or thought, no matter how pleasurable, was a disturbance, was painful compared to this silence. When I came back I could feel what the Buddha meant about suffering; how every birth leads to death, how the struggle of opposites - night and day, joy and sorrow, all that arises and passes - is inherently painful.

I remember that shortly afterward walking down the road in India I saw a lamb being born. It just knowcked me over, seeing the struggle of birth as the lamb came out. I realised that any identification with this life - holding on to the process of birth, ageing, death - is suffering. I just stood there and wept for the suffering of this world. I could feel it with so much compassion. I knew I'd never forget it.

But it's amazing how strong desire is too, the roots of wanting pleasure and stimulation. In a few months I was back in the West looking for music and fine wine. ........But still I have followed my spiritual practice too, because some part of you always knows when you see the truth; somehow you can't forget."

Manjit,

Very moving words.

Thank you,

Bob

Manjit,

I enjoyed Kornfield's words as well. Thanks.

I notice you have been interacting with William. In case you missed Tao's parting remarks:

http://hinessight.blogs.com/church_of_the_churchless/2007/10/better-to-be-tr.html#comment-85800056

Edward, you asked for proof that there is such a thing as fear. Here it is (sort of):
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7041164.stm

Bob
I spent a lot of time and effort on the idea of self-realization. Do we even have an operational definition of what it is? Will effort alone allow it to happen? My observation has been that effort alone will not make it occur. I suspect it will happen when it is ready to occur in one consciousness. Effort may only be one of many significant variables.

I think that is why we see so much frustration from people that put in much effort but come away disappointed.

And I suspect there are a lot of people claiming self-realization but do that out of ego gratification not true realization. I think the biggest misconception out there is that self-realization is the end of the soul’s journey. From my point of view it may be the very beginning of a journey.

Hard to imagine when one looks at the ignorance and suffering in the world but we are gods in the making. The key to understanding this is to see the evolution of consciousness occurring in the world and in individual consciousness.

Once I also thought self-realization was the end of the journey but now with further research it appears it is only the beginning. The good news is that the human condition is usually the worst of it and it appears there are better things to come as our consciousness “expands” in awareness, vitality, and intelligence.

The most common mistake in the world is to confuse intelligence with intellectual capability. At this stage of our human journey we have very little intelligence and know very little about the universe.

manjit
“You have stated atheists and 'these advaita types' are afraid of the possibility of no reincarnation (in another thread), and that's why they disregard the 'reality' of such things.”

Please quote me where I made such statements. If you take out the word “no” in front of reincarnation then I may have made such a statement. I believe you have misquoted me and this may be why you are confused by my above statement.

Also the possibility exists that I put a no in front of reincarnation and that would be a misstatement or typo on my part.

William has made a number of statements:

"I spent a lot of time and effort on the idea of self-realization."

--That's part of your struggle...the idea.

"Do we even have an operational definition of what it is?"

-- What if you just think there is a possible definition and there isn't?

"My observation has been that effort alone will not make it occur."

--What would 'it' be if we don't have an operational defintion? On that basis, maybe we're already there and don't know it? Or maybe 'it' doesn't exist at all?

"I suspect it will happen when it is ready to occur in one consciousness."

--Again, what is it that can occur if you don't even know what it is?

"Effort may only be one of many significant variables."

--Now you are saying there are variables of something and you don't even know what it is for there to be variables of.

"And I suspect there are a lot of people claiming self-realization but do that out of ego gratification not true realization."

--Finally you say something that makes sense.

"I think the biggest misconception out there is that self-realization is the end of the soul’s journey. From my point of view it may be the very beginning of a journey."

--Now you're back in the quagmire again. Deep doo doo..maybe your 'point of view' is an idea bubble floating in an eternity of idea bubble possibilities. Try being without idea bubbles, if you like, and see what is there.

"Hard to imagine when one looks at the ignorance and suffering in the world but we are gods in the making."

--This is just a fantasy in your mind. You could just as accurately say we're all destined to become green rabbits on the planet Drevok.

"The key to understanding this is to see the evolution of consciousness occurring in the world and in individual consciousness."

--That we are evolving to become green rabbits on Drevok?

"Once I also thought self-realization was the end of the journey but now with further research it appears it is only the beginning."

--I know what you mean, but really, if it is only the beginning, what have we been doing so far during the past eternity?

"The good news is that the human condition is usually the worst of it and it appears there are better things to come as our consciousness “expands” in awareness, vitality, and intelligence."

--What if you're wrong and this is it, right now? You like to cite authorities. I can give you many that say exactly that. Try Buddha for starters. Besides things being relatively good or bad, what are they absolutely?

"The most common mistake in the world is to confuse intelligence with intellectual capability."

--I think it's to think you know something when you don't..but I'm not sure about that.

"At this stage of our human journey we have very little intelligence and know very little about the universe."

--How do you know that what 'we' know is little or much, or how much relative intelligence 'we' have? Who knows more? How do you know they really know it? What if they don't?

Just throwing some ideas out there ;)



A personal experience regarding comments made above.

I died and came back from a drug overdose when I was very young. My girlfriend was sitting by my side at the time and to whom I am married to now. As I explained the experience to her, she did her best to understand. For seven days, after they brought me back to life, I was not sure if I would live or die. This beautiful girl stayed with me the entire time and showed me much love. I have kept this experience personal; as I am sure, you can understand.

I only want to comment on this event in my life generally. There are evolved souls in this world who have seen what is beyond and it sounds like they know. I am afraid to offend them and feel compelled to listen to them carefully since I am homeless and understand only a little.

Skepticism can become quite the disease. Do we feel the need to convince anyone of anything? What for, there “may” be nothing to figure out. The pursuits of the mind appear to be perfectly accurate, fascinating indeed, spinning in circles, three cheers to “peace of mind” someday!

Do we find ourselves humored at what we are doing sometimes and wonder why?


Bob & Tucson, thanks for your kind words. It's a nice book full of similar stories, I really enjoyed it. Down to earth mysticism without all the BS :-)

William - sorry, I must have misunderstood you. Also, I apologise if I've offended you in any way recently. Aye, an arrogant fool am I :-)

Peace.

I've been asked to kill my child. They've tried to convince me, tried to help me see the light. And each time that I stand before them, struggling to make them understand the value of a human life as I see it, to understand that what makes a human being so precious to God is not only his capacity to do, but also to simply to be, to exist, I meet with a dead end.

We're not on the same page, those doctors and I. Theirs is a world of glitter where one is lauded for his accomplishments and booed for his failures, where the loss of independence is tantamount to death and where one's perceived "quality" of life is the deciding factor in matters of life and death. In today's world the sanctity of life is irrelevant; if you can't produce, you don't deserve to live. And if you are in possession of your faculties, you are probably expected not to want to live.

Before the accident had happened, I remember listening to a tape by a renowned speaker as my husband and I were driving in the car. The tape was entitled "Quality of Life versus Sanctity of Life." It was fascinating. The lecturer spoke eloquently, explaining to his audience the value of a human life, even a life with nothing to contribute -- a life dependent on society and seemingly void of all meaning. I remember being moved almost to tears. The tape had a great impact on my husband and me. We identified with it, felt almost as if he was talking directly to us. And he was. Only we didn't know it yet.

The Accident

It was early in the evening on a hot summer's day when the call came in; the call that would change our lives and shatter our dreams forever.

It was a mistake. An accident. Our little daughter choked and had a cardiac arrest as a result. It took 25 minutes to start up her heart again, but by then it was too late. The horrific damage had been done.

We sat in the ICU, machines constantly beeping, lines tracing around and around on the monitors indicating stability, or God forbid the opposite. We sat in shock. Our daughter laid there unmoving, unseeing, in a world completely of her own. We spoke to her, we begged her to wake up, but she never moved.
I suppose you could always pray for a miracle, but you can't expect one.

They tried to be gentle when they broke the awful news. We had suspected it already; the diagnosis only confirmed our fears. The brain was nearly dead. She'd never wake up again unless we had a miracle. I suppose you could always pray for a miracle, but you can't expect one.

I remember sitting with my daughter one morning when a lovely young volunteer entered the room with her little girl. She had come on a "mission of mercy;" she was bringing food to those unfortunate souls such as I who stood vigil by their sick ones' bedside. Almost proudly she informed me that she too, knew all about what it meant to be in the hospital with a child, as her daughter (and here she indicated her beautiful, perfectly healthy looking, little girl) had been in the hospital as a baby with some sort of GI complication.

I stared incredulously. I tried to understand her and met a brick wall. Surely she could not think that I would be comforted knowing that her daughter had had surgery of the stomach and had, thank God, survived intact. Surely she understood what it meant to have a child who would never wake up again.

Yes, anytime a loved one requires hospitalization there is a great degree of stress, even sadness, especially if the hospitalization is for a serious reason, but couldn't she understand what it meant to have -- literally -- no hope? Apparently not. She continued to talk all about her daughter while I stood next to where mine lay, comatose, hanging on to life by a thread as her swollen brain threatened to herniate into itself at any given moment.

A New Reality

Later I understood. Some things are just too painful, too incomprehensible for the average human mind to handle. Unless they are forced to stare the harsh reality in the face, that is. The young woman would hopefully never understand. She couldn't know what the word "forever" meant. Only I could, because I had to. I felt invigorated suddenly; prepared to face life head on. I understood a reality that she never would, and I was facing it.
I struggled to comprehend the meaning of a life in a persistent vegetative state.

So I thought. I struggled to comprehend the meaning of a life in a persistent vegetative state, a life that would know neither joy nor sadness, neither comfort nor pain; a life of existence in its most primitive form. It was hard work coming to terms with it. Even within our own framework of Judaism, we are always raised to try to do -- to accomplish -- as much as we can while still on this earth. We are always taught that "the day is short and there is much work to be done" (Ethics of Our Fathers 2:20). So we must gather as large a pile of good deeds as possible before we are called upon to present ourselves before the Heavenly Throne. What then could be the purpose of a life where there is no collection of good deeds, no chance for the soul to move itself, even in some minute way, closer to God?

I started to work on understanding the general purpose of a human being on this earth. I drew on things that I'd been taught, and of course, on those life-giving words heard a while back about the sanctity of life. I realized that every person has a specific job that he is put on this earth to accomplish. For most of us, it involves doing all sorts of good deeds, making our mark on this world in some fashion. But for others the job is unknown. God created every human being b'tzelem elokim, in the image of God, so by their sheer existence they are fulfilling a heavenly mission.

Human life has inherent value. In fact, it is so valuable that one may not touch a person about to die, even to hold his hand or close his eyes, for he may bring on death a moment earlier. Maimonides explains that a person about to die is like a flickering candle; if you touch it, you may extinguish it (Laws of Mourning). And the Talmud says that if you bring on death even one moment earlier it is considered as if you have murdered (Shabbos 151:2). Obviously, every second of life is precious to God, even those from the life of a person about to die anyway. This comforted me.

When they stood there again the next day, that pack of doctors, attempting to convince me with gentle persuasion, coercion, and even thinly disguised threats, I was ready. "You know, if you take her off the life support, she will die," the neurologist helpfully pointed out to me.

"Yes, I know," I answered calmly. "But I don't intend to do that. I don't want to kill my child. I don't make these kinds of decisions. God will decide when it's time for her to go."

"But she's in pain. How can you, in good conscience, keep a child who's in pain alive?"

"I thought you said she cannot feel anything. Her brain cannot process the fact that she may be in pain. I thought you said her brain can't process anything."

The neurologist looked nonplussed for a moment. But she quickly regained her composure and answered, "Oh, but the absence of any joy is pain. Her life has no meaning. It is not a life worth living."

"I'm sorry to disagree with you, Doctor," I replied. "But you see, as religious Jews, we believe in the inherent value of human life, even a life that has no 'quality' to it. So we won't be stopping the life support."

Later when I had time to think more, I began to realize that even a person in a vegetative state could bring about so much goodness in the world just simply by existing. I thought of my daughter. How so many volunteers did such kindness by visiting her, by bringing food to the hospital, by giving rides when we were too tired to drive, by praying on her behalf...she'd probably brought about more good deeds in her few short years on this earth than I'd managed to gather in ten of them!

We won't be stopping life support any time soon, Doctor. And when the time comes for our daughter to rejoin her creator near the Heavenly Throne, we'll be comforted to know that she's fulfilled her job on this earth in the best possible way. You can't make us take that away from her.

hi there,
i belong to an east indian satsangi family and in fact i have just returned from seva after 10 days there.

i have heard so many first hand experiences by satsangis that i have no doubt about the whole "god in flesh" thing.
and you dont have to rely of rssb's words about the status of a master.
if you read what saints have been saying for thousands of years (regardless of religion od geographical status) ,you'd probably realize.
see how bulleshah,saint kabir,saint john or any other realized soul has explained this path.

brother if ur initiated, you will be taken home by the master doubtlessly and regardless of your views about him.
even through this blog you remember him no matter in what context.

god bless, brother. :)

My dearest brother Gurdas,

Please be so kind as to relate any of the first hand experiences you have heard from satsangis that have given you such confidence in the "God in flesh" thing.

Om Hari Bol Shivaya,

Deva Ram

My dearest brother Gurdas,

Please be so kind as to relate any of the first hand experiences you have heard from satsangis that have given you such confidence in the "God in flesh" thing.

Om Hari Bol Shivaya,

Deva Ram

Gurdas,

You said: "i have heard so many first hand experiences by satsangis that i have no doubt about the whole "god in flesh" thing."

-- So what. Thats merely your opinion. Just because YOU have "no doubt" and you believe in the 'God In Human Form' (or GIHF) myth, does not make it so. Thats what amazes me about people like you. You have no proof, yet you expect your fantasies to be accepted as truth. Thats not very intelligent.

"...about the status of a master.
if you read what saints have been saying for thousands of years, you'd probably realize."

-- Realize what? I realize this: That you are nothing more than a blind believer in the religious hype of so-called "saints" and the myth and illusion of "a master".

"bulleshah,saint kabir,saint john or any other realized soul has explained this path."

-- There is no evidence or proof that these persons that you name are so-called "realized soul(s)", and it is irrelevant what they may supposedly have said so long ago. There is no proof of that either.


"brother if ur initiated, you will be taken home by the master doubtlessly and regardless of your views about him."

-- What a crock of shit of religious dogma and nonsense.


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