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Sunday, March 25, 2007

"Mary Had A Little Lamb Its Fleece Was White As Snow"

" The Virgin Births"

"Mary had a little lamb its fleece was white as snow." But just how many virgin births were there? Virgin birth stories were fairly common in the ancient world. The pagan belief in unions between gods and women, regardless of whether they were virgins or not, is even more common. Many of the ancient gods were believed to be sons of divine fathers and human females. Why is this? In the ancient world, great men were often understood to be born of mortal women and divine fathers. But, apparently, mortal women were especially required to be virgins.

The ancient gods were often reputed virgin - born. The father- god supplied the human race with a saviour, his son, by impregnating a goddess or a mortal. This act, according to how the story goes, must not be regarded as actuated by lust. His purpose is the birth of a great saviour of mankind, and so the impregnation has to be effected without carnal intercourse.

How many gods or great men claimed to be born of a virgin? Probably thousands. Here is a short but incomplete list.

  • Krishna, (Indian), was born of Devaki, the radiant Virgin. His father was the god Vishnu. (3228 BCE)
  • Horus, (Egyptian) was born to a virgin who remains eternally virginal, Isis-Meri. (approximately 3000BCE)
  • Tammuz, (Assyrian), was born to a virgin, named Mylitta. (approximately 2800BCE)
  • Perseus was born of Danae, a virgin who was impregnated by the god Zeus’ shower of gold. (approximately 1600 BCE)
  • Dionysus, (Greek), was born of the virgin Semele. His father was the supreme god Zeus.
    (approximately 1440BCE)
  • Heracles, the divine hero, was born on to the virgin Alcmene. His father was the god Zeus.
    (approximately 1288 BCE in Greece)
  • Zarathustra was born to a 15-year-old virgin, Dughdhava the milkmaid.
    (approximately 1200 BCE in Iran)
  • Romulus, Rome's founder, was the Son of the God Mars, and Rea Sivia, a mortal Vestal virgin. ( 771 BCE in Italy)
  • Karna was born of the virgin Kunti. His father is the sun god Surya, the light of the Universe, who restores Kunti's maidenhood after the act of conception. (approximately 600BCE in India)
  • Lao Tzu was born of a virgin. (approximately 600 BCE in China)
  • Alexander the Great was the son Olympia and the God Zeus Ammon. (356 BCE in Macedon)
  • The Buddha was of royal descent. Born of the Virgin Maya, “the Queen of Heaven”.
    (approximately 563 BCE in Nepal)
  • Mithras was born in a cave, on December 25th, of a virgin mother. God, in the form of light, entered a virgin, Anahita. (approximately 200 BCE in Western Iran)
  • Augustus, the first Roman emperor, born of a union between Atia and the God Apollo and conceived by a holy-snake. ( 63 BCE in Italy)
  • Attis was born to the virgin Nana. (approximately 3 BCE in Greece)
  • Jesus is born of a virgin mother, Mary. Jesus's father was the Holy Spirit. (approximately 2 BCE in Israel)



Now, I am forever being told by religious people that they are as rational and as logical as anyone else. But, I am beginning to seriously doubt this. If it is possible for a virgin to become pregnant without the usual addition of human sperm, then it is equally possible that this process could have occurred many times prior to whichever virgin is your favourite one and just as many times after. The process, whatever that is, and most attribute a supernatural cause to the pregnancy, should be no more unbelievable in each claimed instance.

So, I do wonder how someone can have at least two disjointed and conflicting concepts of biology without internal psychological conflict. By this I mean, that I am assuming that even though theists intellectually know the processes of human conception, that 2 gametes fuse to become a zygote and continue on to form an embryo and then a foetus which is eventually born as a baby; that many of them manage to believe that a child was conceived without the need of male sperm. Not only do they manage to believe that a baby was born without recourse to human sperm, but they manage to believe that it ONLY occurred according to the tenets of whichever religion they follow.

As biology shows, in order for humans to have a baby, one needs to have the presence of male sperm (XY) added to (XX, and that it is the addition of biological sperm which accounts for the sex of the ensuing child. Now, I fail to see how an incorporeal being has sperm, or a penis for that matter. So, one of the alternatives I have to explain away this claim is that ancient people were basically ignorant about the processes of conception. That, and also that virgin birth stories were common in the ancient world. In the ancient world, great men were often said to be born of mortal women and divine fathers. In fact, the concept of a virgin birth was so popular, that no prophet or saviour-god could be considered a divine incarnation without one.

Now to me, this just speaks of ancient people’s ignorance about the processes of conception. It also speaks to me of the dislike and distaste they had for women who were NOT virgins. But more than that, it speaks of a superstitious world where to gain credibility, reverence and power, you had to be a male who was sired by a “superior male.” Which is why “great men” were supposedly born of virgins and sired by a “superior male.” - a male god. The doctrine of virgin birth can be interpreted as super-patriarchal, where the male god is viewed as so powerful he can impregnate without befouling himself by touching a woman, and women are nothing but vessels. They were consdiered as vessels for male sperm and "holy male sperm" because they didn't know that women produced ova. Therefore, it was male seed that provided the spark for life, whether it was mortal male seed, or supernatural male seed, the concept was the same.

The second century Christian Justin Martyr says of Jesus, “He was born of a virgin, accept this in common with what you believe of Perseus.” - First Apology. So, even Justin Martyr recognized that the concept of a virgin birth was prevalent. But his reasoning seems to be that if others had “virgin births” then so was Jesus’.

"To assert that the earth revolves around the sun is as erroneous as to claim that Jesus was not born of a virgin." - Cardinal Bellarmine (at the trial of Galileo)

They got that wrong too.

"One man's virgin birth is another man's myth." - Me

The Virgin Births

(Watch the video. I made it especially for you. Yes, you.)


Link

71 Comments:

Blogger Chris Bradley said...

*shifty eyes*

The difference is that with Jesus it was FER REAL.

*shifty eyes*

:)

25/3/07 1:02 pm  
Blogger Bruce said...

Hmmm... Zeus' Golden Shower? You think this part of the myth serves a mysogenistic function?

25/3/07 1:37 pm  
Blogger Bruce said...

"Misogynistic" rather, sorry :O

25/3/07 1:38 pm  
Blogger Greg said...

If more were aware of the commonalities of their "true faith" beliefs and "fictional" myths surely a lot of nonsense would be avoided. Love the Virgin Births video, thank you for making it for me. Yes me!

25/3/07 1:39 pm  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

Greg,

I doubt it, actually. I've tried at various times to point out that nothing that, say, Jesus said or did wasn't done by someone before him.

Most recently, the response was, very literally, "Except when Jesus did it was fer real." So, even when they are aware of it, it doesn't stop them from believing as they will.

Sorta like creationism or intelligent design. The evidence against creationism and ID is massive and easily available but insufficient in the face of rabid faith.

25/3/07 2:41 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

Born of a virgin?
Zoroaster? No. Buddha? No. Krishna? No. Hercules? No. Mars RAPED Rhea Silvia, so Romulus & Remus? No. Lao Tzu? No. (that's a new 1, BTW: taoism doesn't do the religious slant like the Westerners do).
This crap is mostly culled from Kersey Graves, who was debunked.
Sorry, beep.

25/3/07 4:16 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

I am unaware of Kersey Graves, but for the record, debunked by whom?

I am merely posting gods and "great men" from ancient history, who have been claimed to have been born of a virgin.

Which posits the question. How does one debunk the claim that someone was born of a virgin?

25/3/07 5:38 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

"There was talk that Lao Tzu*s origin was some kind of virgin-birth. The story was that his mother conceived him while she had dreamt that a bright star had flown into her mouth. Consequently he was further mythologized as a god."

http://www.taoism-truth.com/id6.htm

Also, I am not addressing the validity or invalidity of any philosophical positions espoused by any of the religions or philosophies mentioned.

I am only dealing with the concept that the claims of virgin births were well known in the ancient world.

Obviously, I think that the concept of a human virgin birth is a crock of "poopoo kaka", but that doesn't alter the fact that the claims for "divine powers" through a "divine entity" coupling in some mysterious way with a virgin, are well known.

And that those claims pre-existed those of Christianity.

But as soon as someone has a way, to test the validity of all or any of the ancient claims for virgin human births, I am willing to hear it. It needs to be a test which can be used across the gamut of virgin birth claims, not just for one specific instance.

Unless this test is available, it is as likely that Dionysus was born of a virgin as Jesus.

25/3/07 6:12 pm  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

Chris,
You misquoted me. Not surprising. I didn't say, "The difference is that with Jesus it was FER REAL."

I said:
For reals.

It was a saying we said in junior high. Obviously I could have elaborated and wrote some ginormous (that's another word I favored in junior high) comment but frankly, it would have been a waste of my precious time.
You kinda missed the joke.
Of course you would change it to say "Fer real" because that sounds more 'stoopider'.
Gafaw! Hic hic!
duuuuuuh.

Anyways, this is a really cool post because I've always read and re-read the account of Jesus' conception.
I know why it would make sense for Jesus to have been born of a virgin:

1. In order for Jesus to be sinless (because he was God but he was also man) he would have to have been removed from the inheritance of sin through the fall. When a child is born, naturally, they are imparted with inherited sin. The moment we are born, we are starting to die--it's the curse from the Garden. Also, we are born slaves to sin. Babies do not manifest this sin-nature until they begin to seek the pleasure in serving their flesh--like the terrible twos!

I used to debate Catholics all the time as to their emphasis of Mary--why they seem to worship her when the Bible is clear that only God is worthy of worship. They would always tell me that if it wasn't for Mary, God's salvation plan wouldn't have seen the light of day. Which of course is laughable if you believe in a Holy God that is all knowing because of course God's plan is going to happen exactly as he knew it would--if Mary would have said "no" to carrying Jesus in her womb, God wouldn't have used Mary--right?

Anyways, the virgin birth is very interesting to me and I'm still learning about it. Many people believe that the word "virgin" was not translated right--the word used, apparently, could also just mean "young woman" However, it doesn't change my opinion of the gospel. The message of salvation remains the same--all this other side doctrine created by the church is open for debate.

26/3/07 1:22 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

BBIM:
Which posits the question. How does one debunk the claim that someone was born of a virgin?
Okay, I used the wrong word.
Graves was shown to be incorrect.
http://www.answers.com/topic/the-world-s-sixteen-crucified-saviors
"Much of what is found in the book contradicts established facts about various mythologies mentioned, and several of the beliefs and traditions alleged to coincide with Christianity post-date Christianity's advent."

http://www.answers.com/Kersey%20Graves
"Graves' writings today are read by people seeking conspiracy theories, and remain popular in some circles strictly opposed to Christianity as a source of discredition of the claims of the faith. He is also a major source for Acharya S, author of The Christ Conspiracy. His writings even make a brief showing in The Da Vinci Code."
I am only dealing with the concept that the claims of virgin births were well known in the ancient world.
& so they were. I agree w/that. However, much of the list is incorrect.
I've studied Eastern religions & mysticism for many years prior to becoming an atheist, & thus far, it seems like only the atheists make these claims about Buddha. & I've been familiar w/a lot of strange Asian folklore, like Lao Tzu staying in his mother's womb for 80 years, all the weird stuff.

26/3/07 1:56 am  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

Sadie,

I didn't miss the joke. It wasn't funny. ;)

26/3/07 5:20 am  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

Technically the movie is very well done Beep.

How many of those folks made the claim that they and their Father was one... that before Abraham "I Am"... and that the purpose of the incarnation was so that a perfect sacrificial offering could be made of their person?

If you are going to make claims about how they had things in common then you should also clarify how they differ.

26/3/07 6:46 am  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

typo - they and their father "were" one... sorry 'bout that.

26/3/07 6:47 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

There was talk that Lao Tzu*s origin was some kind of virgin-birth.
'There was talk'? Who? I've gone hunting about - this is all I can find:
http://www.sacred-texts.com/tao/salt/salt03.htm
I'm sorry, still not buying it.

sadie:
1. In order for Jesus to be sinless (because he was God but he was also man) he would have to have been removed from the inheritance of sin through the fall.
But the virgin birth automatically negates the Davidian lineage.
Many people believe that the word "virgin" was not translated right--the word used, apparently, could also just mean "young woman"
That's pretty much the non-prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 - the word (if memory serves) was 'betulyah', which is Hebrew for virgin, & almah (the actual word used) meaning 'young woman' (same word to describe ladies in Solomon's harem).
The Greek word for virgin is parthenos. Hence the word parthenogenesis, which is only observed in the natural world via lower orders of animals. Reptiles like those Komodo lizards who laid eggs while never having been exposed to male lizards.
Of course, there's a 3rd option...but I won't go into that unless requested. (Hint: it's pretty much in the "Ewww!" category.)

26/3/07 7:15 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

gadfly:
If you are going to make claims about how they had things in common then you should also clarify how they differ.
I hope you're not going to pull what I call the 'Miller manuever' here (i.e., "Either they took EVERYTHING, or it don't count.")
By applying the concept of syncretization, it becomes quite clear that the ancient Israelites borrowed heavily from other cultures. The creation myth, the flood, a variety of others.
This is how cultures exchange concepts.
Mithra, fr'ex, was imported from India to Persia, then from the latter to Rome, undergoing changes as per society.
That's what people do. They borrow what they need, & toss what they don't.

26/3/07 7:24 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

Oops, 'syncretism', not 'syncretization'. My bad.

26/3/07 7:26 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: KA

" I've been familiar w/a lot of strange Asian folklore, like Lao Tzu staying in his mother's womb for 80 years, all the weird stuff."

One of the other sources for Lao Tzu was that he was "born an old man." Of course taken literally this sounds ridiculous, but taken figuratively, may have just meant that he was wise.

So, there are conflicting opinions about who was born of a virgin, who had a miraculous birth, who had an unusual conception etc etc.

I am more of the persuasion that none of these accounts were meant to be taken literally. Unfortunately, human beings read and accept these accounts as literal events, rather than looking at the philosophical content of these stories.

The Greco-Roman mysteries are to me, examples of the philosophical cultures in which they were written. The jesus accounts, I see as the same thing. They may as well have been Platonists and Neo-Platonists using the medium of the Greco-Roman Mysteries to explain their philosophies of dualism, the metaphor of the divided line, the metaphor of the sun and the allegory of the cave.

I think we have all been conned by "The Noble Lie." Does that make me a conspiracy theorist? It probably does when it comes to religion.

26/3/07 8:14 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE sadie:

There is conjecture about the translation of the word used to "virgin." Now, to me, the story makes more sense, but not enough so as to make me a christian, if the virgin claim is not meant to be literally true.

It was common to assume extraordinary, unusual or miraculous births for many male leaders in the ancient world.

It was so common, that it became part of the checklist for a "great man."

1. Virgin birth or miraculous birth? (check)
2. Mortal woman with a male god? (check)
3. Grows up to save his nation, people, from the bad guys? (check)

I am not buying it.

Abraham born to a mother who was 130 years old? I am not buying that either.

Why aren't there the multitudinous examples of women having miraculous or highly implausible births? Why aren't there many examples of women being born to virgin women?

My opinion? Because patriarchy got to write its own myths. I see the ancient religions and the modern ones which sprang forth from them as essentially "penis cults" where the god is essentially male who has the ability to fertilize females at will. To me, this just mimics what was known of biology at the time. Men contained the "holy seed" and women were the vessels for this "holy seed." And the belief that mortal man got his "holy seed" from a superdooper male who created everything.

I can't buy any of it.

26/3/07 8:39 am  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

I think we have all been conned by "The Noble Lie." Does that make me a conspiracy theorist?

Yeah, it does. I don't say this in a mean sense -- I feel that way, too, now and then. That they must know the truth and are intentionally lying to us, right? It's so obvious. Religion is so stupid, on whole.

But all of this stuff is rooted in our prehistory. Back in the Day, believing in gods made a lot more sense than it does, today, because they had a lost less information. And it was those people -- those ignorant, short-lived, gullible people -- that founded civilization, that enshrined specific beliefs that came, over time, to be untouchable.

(Not just in religion. Politics, too. It is extremely difficult to discuss the democracy or capitalism as being reasonably crude. They are accepted by most people as being the best possible systems imaginable. This mimics the way people discussed mercantilism, monarchy, imperialism, feudalism, so forth and so on. The faith that people have in democracy and capitalism is akin to the faith they have in religion -- which is part of the reason why fundie Christians tend to be politically conservative. They accept, as an article of faith, that our current political system is best not just for here and now but into perpetuity.)

We're still living the decisions made by stone age teenagers. And one of those decisions was religious faith.

26/3/07 8:43 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE gadfly

"How many of those folks made the claim that they and their Father was one... that before Abraham "I Am"... and that the purpose of the incarnation was so that a perfect sacrificial offering could be made of their person?"

Well, Ancient Egypt has a lot of myths which parallel the christian ones.

And you have no idea how much I find the words "a perfect sacrificial offering culd be made of their person" to be appalling.

Now, if it is the "sacrifice" of the sun as it traverses the sky through the solstices and the equinoxes, I don't find that nearly as appalling.

The idea that a god would create himself in order to kill himself, when he can't die in the first place, just seems absurd.

26/3/07 8:45 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE chris

I blame Plato. Read enough Plato and being a conspiracy theorist when it comes to religion, is easy.

26/3/07 9:06 am  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

Well the theory about the 130 year old woman giving birth--you'll notice that people lived longer in the Bible.
Probably due to the fact they ate organic? And the air was cleaner?
I mean, it's not that unusual, scientifically, for people to have lived longer than we do now.

26/3/07 9:58 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

sadie:
Probably due to the fact they ate organic? And the air was cleaner?
That's the 'noble savage' myth. Most people don't realize, that folks living in a more primitive environment usually are just as prone to pitfalls, such as high mortality rate, exposure to predators, etc.
I mean, it's not that unusual, scientifically, for people to have lived longer than we do now.
Actually, it's extremely unscientific. Unless you can point me to some archaeological findings that prove that 1 group/tribe/nation of people were long-lived.

BBIM:
Why aren't there many examples of women being born to virgin women?
That's a stronger point. Parthenogenesis tends to favor female birth anyways.

So, there are conflicting opinions about who was born of a virgin, who had a miraculous birth, who had an unusual conception etc etc.

Well, a thought's occurred to me: if they lay w/a god, then technically they COULD be considered virgins, no? That is, of course, if they hadn't known mortal men. I'll have to re-think that.
I'll still stand firm on the Buddha/Krishna/Lao Tzu thing, as I'm firmly convinced that the VB thing was a recent addition w/them.

26/3/07 10:59 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE KA:


RE KA:

On the claims of a virgin birth for buddha-

"Saint Jerome (4th century CE) mentions the birth of the Buddha, who he says "was born from the
side of a virgin". Also a fragment of Archelaos of Carrha (278 CE) mentions the Buddha's virgin-birth."

"To come to the Gymnosophists of India, the opinion is authoritatively handed down that Budda, the founder of their religion, had his birth through the side of a virgin."

Against Jovinianus (Book I) St Jerome (342-420 CE)
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/30091.htm

Needless to say, I consider all the virgin claims to be crapola anyway.

26/3/07 1:29 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

The only point being that the claim of Buddha being a virgin birth was known to St Jerome according to one of his writings.

26/3/07 1:33 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: "Well, a thought's occurred to me: if they lay w/a god, then technically they COULD be considered virgins, no? That is, of course, if they hadn't known mortal men. I'll have to re-think that."

I just spent a few hours searching throught the writings of St Jerome. He was obsessed with the concept of virginity and if you want to find out a bit about how the early church viewed virginity and what was a requirement for someone to be called a virgin, that is a good but tedious place to start. Basically, I think the dude had psychological problems. A total obsession with virginity..

According to him, if I read it correctly, widows could also be seen as virgins.

26/3/07 1:38 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

St Jerome basically meanders off into the idea that there are no "real virgins" unless they are virgins in christ. That is, virgins of flesh and of the spirit of christ. To be considered a "true", one must be a virgin in the flesh and also in the spirit of christ. He thereby tries shuts the door to any pagans who considered their gods or great men to have been born of a virgin. Apparently, they are not REAL virgins.

The "no true scotsman fallacy" was alive and well in the 4th century. lol

26/3/07 1:46 pm  
Blogger L>T said...

Wow, beepbeep. You just keep knocking the Jesus myths down! This Information is so great. I love hearing about how Christianity mirrors some of the other ancient religions.

I would also love to see Christian Churches be honest anough to tackle these issues, too.

When I was a Christian & had questions, I was very unsatisfied with answers & explainations I got from the Church. The church did not encourage me to think for myself in a logical or reasonable way.(Not any church's I went to, anyway)
I'd always felt my own Intellectual honesty was so very important & frankly, this is one place the Church falls short.

People like Sadie lou are at least open-minded anough to consider different points of veiw & try to put things into context.

26/3/07 2:49 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

BBIM - okay, I'll give you the Buddha.
Don't forget - if you meet him on the road, you have to kill him.
Or St. Ioasaph, as the Catholicked church calls him.

26/3/07 3:31 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE LT

I think that what happens is when a religion sees itself as having a monopoly on god and the wishes of god, that they are not very good at accepting that other religions had or have similarities.

They see them as competitors and consequesntly they do their utmost to defame them. Not all relgiious people are as obvious as this, but it is there, under the surface, lurking.

Religions in this sense seem to be just competitors in a team sport where instead of playing with a ball, they play with the emotional and psychological aspects of the participants.

They become like political parties waging war to see who will own "the ring" to rule them all. (I had to throw in a reference to "Lord of the Rings."

It is what bothers me most about the religious mentality, the concept that only they can be right. Which is why I also see them as being intellectually dishonest. An intellectually honest person allows room for being wrong.

I might be wrong. There might be a god or many gods. Not many religious people are willing to say that they might be wrong as they would see that as doubting faith and they are taught that to doubt faith is a sin in itself.

But in my opinion, if one cannot contemplate the concept that they might be wrong, the person has chosen the intellectually dishonest position.

26/3/07 3:36 pm  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

I mean, it's not that unusual, scientifically, for people to have lived longer than we do now.

Modern people living in advanced Western nations are easily the longest lived people that have ever lived, as a group.

Neanderthals lived to be 20.

Upper paleolithic to about 33.

Lower paleolithic to about 20.

Bronze age to about 18.

Classical Greece and Rome to about 28.

Medieval Britan to about 33.

At the end of the 19th century to about 37.

Nowadays? To about 66. More if you happen to live in an advanced industrial nation, like the US.

So, no, they didn't live longer than we do. And at times they didn't live very long at all. When I say that civilization was invented by a bunch of teenage boys, I'm not joking.

26/3/07 3:42 pm  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

I think that what happens is when a religion sees itself as having a monopoly on god and the wishes of god, that they are not very good at accepting that other religions had or have similarities.

I seriously think that this has poisoned a lot of Western history and archeology. The hesitation with which scholars make Invictus Sol-Jesus connection confuses the hell out of me . . . tho' this same group of people seems to feel comfortable saying that Uranus was the Greek Varuna.

26/3/07 3:45 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE KA

Gees, I don't wanna have to kill anyone. Can't I just offer him a cup of tea instead? Or a coke?

(Not aware of that part of the "Cattletick Church" - as the sacrelgious lot in australia call them.)

As for the Protestants, their deal was to whine about everything the Catholics, the Jews, the Hindus and the Muslims taught. They were, and still are whining about something. They might call it "protesting" - I call it finding fault in every other religion, except their own.

26/3/07 3:50 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE chris:

Preserve your own faith by annihilating anyone elses, has been part of the creed from the get go.

Muslims do it too. They totally destroyed those ancient hilltop images of the buddha. Wiped out their existence with dynamite.

Photos document destruction of Afghan Buddhas
http://archives.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/asiapcf/central/03/12/afghan.buddha.02/

26/3/07 3:56 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

BBIM:
Gees, I don't wanna have to kill anyone. Can't I just offer him a cup of tea instead? Or a coke?
It's an old Zen koan - "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him."
It's counter-intuitive on the surface: the Buddha's a goal, not a person.

Chris:
When I say that civilization was invented by a bunch of teenage boys, I'm not joking.
It sure explains a helluva lot.

26/3/07 4:37 pm  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

Beep
Re:
The idea that a god would create himself in order to kill himself, when he can't die in the first place, just seems absurd.

Not surprising to me at all.
1 Corinthians 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,...

NT has some interesting things to say about foolishness, what truly is and what isn't.

However it is prudent not to ridicule what one doesn't understand.

RE: Well, Ancient Egypt has a lot of myths which parallel the christian ones.

Really, which ones? There was a time when the Egptians toyed with monotheism and they had some notions of an after life, but how do you substantiate the statement that they had "a lot of myths which parallel christian ones"?????

26/3/07 10:18 pm  
Blogger L>T said...

The idea that a god would create himself in order to kill himself, when he can't die in the first place, just seems absurd.

But the idea that a religious fanatic that thought he was a god would willingly sacrifice himself to reach his goals...happens all the time, doesn't it?

if one cannot contemplate the concept that they might be wrong,... this was my downfall as a Christian, some things that I was asked to accept at face value, I could not. Like the virgin birth for example. I had no problem accepting logical explanations for these things. I was willing to even put some things in a symbolic context. What I saw was that no "good" Christian was willing to even consider that certain accepted interpretation of the scriptures, might be wrong.
That I don't understand.

Is Christianity so tenuous that it can't hold up under examination?
I mean so what if Mary wasn't a virgin? Is Christianity a house of cards, that if you pulled one out the whole thing would fall down?

27/3/07 12:21 am  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

I>t
Re: Is Christianity so tenuous that it can't hold up under examination?
I mean so what if Mary wasn't a virgin? Is Christianity a house of cards, that if you pulled one out the whole thing would fall down?

If I may offer a comment.
Christianity can certainly hold up to examination if one accepts certain presuppositions. If one believes that miracles are indeed possible, that there does exist a spiritual dimension to the universe that is not subject to scientific demonstration, and that within this spiritual dimension there exists an all powerful sovereign God who is directing the course of history.

The world makes a lot of sense when viewed from that perspective.

27/3/07 3:19 am  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

Christianity can certainly hold up to examination if one accepts certain presuppositions. If one believes that miracles are indeed possible, that there does exist a spiritual dimension to the universe that is not subject to scientific demonstration, and that within this spiritual dimension there exists an all powerful sovereign God who is directing the course of history.

Yes, it is easy to believe in Christianity if you engage in circular thinking and worship authority.

I think it's important to note that's what it does take to believe in most religions, bad reasoning and submission to authority. It isn't like the presuppositions required to believe in Christianity are value neutral. They aren't. They're pretty daft.

27/3/07 3:54 am  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

Chris said...Modern people living in advanced Western nations are easily the longest lived people that have ever lived, as a group.

That's not true. Japan has tons of people recorded as living past 100 years old. China too.

KA said...
That's the 'noble savage' myth. Most people don't realize, that folks living in a more primitive environment usually are just as prone to pitfalls, such as high mortality rate, exposure to predators, etc.

There has to be something said of the fact that Adam and Eve were given instruction to eat green plants--not animal flesh. Also, there was said to be a firmament in the atmosphere--like a blanket of moisture--maybe blocking out harmful UV rays and such. There's just plenty of Biblical reason for the patriarchs to be healthier than we are today but we can't find the ark so how am I going to provide you Abraham's bones?

People like Sadie lou are at least open-minded anough to consider different points of veiw & try to put things into context.

That's mainly why I keep coming back and I also like to squelch popular stereotypes.

27/3/07 4:24 am  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

That's not true. Japan has tons of people recorded as living past 100 years old. China too.

There is no meaningful response I can give to this, hehe, other than to repeat you're wrong. But when a person demonstrates their ongoing willingnss to be wrong in a particular way, it's clear that no argument will enter their mind. Such is the power of belief, I guess.

27/3/07 5:20 am  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

Are you serious? Prove to me Japan hasn't had a higher longevity than the West.

27/3/07 5:44 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

sadie:
That's not true. Japan has tons of people recorded as living past 100 years old. China too.
Asian do have a better longevity record - but that's due to diet & exercise. Plus, they learned the efficacy of hygiene centuries prior to Western man. It's usually less than a 100 years, & I'd not say TONS - it's enough of a rarity to make the news.
There has to be something said of the fact that Adam and Eve were given instruction to eat green plants--not animal flesh.
There's nothing to be said of this, as most of us don't believe this ever happened. The evolutionary record says otherwise.
Also, there was said to be a firmament in the atmosphere--like a blanket of moisture--maybe blocking out harmful UV rays and such.
Got proof? Link? The bible may be many things, but scientific ain't 1 of them.
There's just plenty of Biblical reason for the patriarchs to be healthier than we are today but we can't find the ark so how am I going to provide you Abraham's bones?
Well, 1st off, you can't prove that w/o the bible, 2nd, the Deluge has been proven to be historically non-existent, & 3rd, it was Noah, not Abram.
Again, we have piles of fossil evidence to say that the bulk of this is untrue.

27/3/07 6:06 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

There are always individuals who live longer than others. This has probably always occurred throughout history. But when people are discussing longevity, they are usually referring to average lifespans.

The average lifespan in the ancient world was less for a number of reasons.

1. Maurading animals
2. the instances of incurable disease (no penecillin, no headache tablets for that matter either; no sophistocated surgery - no way to cure the innumerable diseases for which we have cures for today, or the means to increase the lifespan.)
3. wars, conflict, skirmishs
4. poverty, starvation
5. dying in childbirth was common
6. archeological evidence suggests a much lower lifepsan than what we expect today in the modern world.

I mean people could die from a simple knife cut. It didn't need to puncture any vital organs or even cause a great loss of blood. They died from massive infections that set in. People died from tooth decay and the infections that could result from it.

If you go to some site like nationmaster, for example - you can see that it is still the case. Nations which have a lower life expectancy are usually poorer than others. This is why the nations in africa take up the bottom rungs in the comparison.

Sierra Leone: 40.22 years
Zambia: 40.03 years
Mozambique: 39.82 years
Liberia: 39.65 years
Zimbabwe: 39.29 years
Angola: 38.62 years
Lesotho: 34.4 years
Botswana: 33.74 years
Swaziland: 32.62 years

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/hea_lif_exp_at_bir_tot_pop-life-expectancy-birth-total-population

And remember, the claim in the bible is that Abraham was born to a woman who was 130 years old. DING! DING!

This is not just a claim that someone lived to 130, which is highly unlikely, this is a claim that a woman lived to that age and was still fertile!

27/3/07 7:21 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: "Really, which ones? There was a time when the Egptians toyed with monotheism and they had some notions of an after life, but how do you substantiate the statement that they had "a lot of myths which parallel christian ones"?????

Osiris, Isis, and Horus are the principal trinity of the Egyptian religions. God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit is the Christian trinity. Dr. Inman affirms the Egyptian roots of the Christian trinity "The Christian trinity is of Egyptian origin, and is as surely a pagan doctrine as the belief in heaven and hell, the existence of a devil, of archangels, angels, spirits and saints, martyrs and virgins, intercessors in heaven, gods and demigods, and other forms of faith which deface the greater part of modern religions" (Ancient Pagan and Modem Christian Symbolism, p. 13).


Egyptian religions didn't put up a great deal of resistance to the spread of Christianity. This is sometimes explained by claiming that Jesus was originally a syncretism based predominantly on Horus, with Isis and her worship becoming Mary and veneration.

"For thirty centuries the Egyptians had been familiar with the conception of a triune God. There was hardly a city of any note without its particular triads. Here it was Amum, Maut, and Khonso; there Osiris, Isis, and Horus" (Intellectual Development, Vol. I, p. 191).

There are at least two stories connected with Horus that are analogous to stories found in the Old Testament. The hiding of the infant Horus in a marsh by his mother parallels the story of the hiding of the infant Moses in a marsh by his mother.

When Horus died, Isis implored Ra, the sun, to restore him to life. Ra stopped his ship in mid-heaven and sent down Thoth, the moon, to bring him back to life. The stopping of the sun and moon by Isis recalls the myth of the stopping of the sun and moon by Joshua.

27/3/07 7:52 am  
Anonymous ted said...

Beep:

"So the Sun stood still,
and the moon stopped,
till the nation avenged itself on its enemies,

as it is written in the book of Jasher" - Josh 10:13 (NIV)

Perhaps even the book of Joshua suggests it wasn't actually Joshua?

27/3/07 8:58 am  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

Sadie,

Well, if you insist.

In that document, on page 4, there is a chart that measures the life expectancies of a lot of places -- including Japan and China.

So, we learn that in China between 1300 to 1880 the life expectancy was between 28 and 33. In rural Japan from 1776 to 1815, it was between 33 and 37.

You are confusing the current Japanese longevity (not Chinese, I should note; you and I will probably live longer than folks in China, right now) with historical longevity.

On average, as I have repeatedly said, people in the pre-modern times lived very short lives.

27/3/07 8:59 am  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

Chris might I remind you...
...Modern people living in advanced Western nations are easily the longest lived people that have ever lived, as a group.

It's just not true.
But you can rest in your belief fully satisfied. It makes no difference to me either way.
KA said...
Plus, they learned the efficacy of hygiene centuries prior to Western man. It's usually less than a 100 years, & I'd not say TONS - it's enough of a rarity to make the news.

Well Chris was talking about modern westerners and I was talking about ancient Japan--so before news reports, obviously.

Deluge has been proven to be historically non-existent, & 3rd, it was Noah, not Abram.

Now we're crossing conversations because I was talking about Abraham with Beep and I mentioned the ark off the cuff.
Sorry for the confusion but I just want you to know that I know who built the ark.
;)
Beep,
Sarah, Abraham's wife was old when God told Abraham that she would soon be with child and she laughed to herself--quite the reaction you're having now. Which is why God rebuked her in private for not having faith...so you're right--in a way--about it seeming impossible or absurd for her to get pregnant at her age.

27/3/07 11:53 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Sadie:

I find your desire to believe impossibles to be quite disturbing.

27/3/07 12:12 pm  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

It's just not true.

Sadie, you asked for proof and I delivered it. What's your proof that people back in the day lived longer than people today? I put up. Your turn. :)

27/3/07 1:04 pm  
Blogger Dikkii said...

Sadie, Chris, et al.

I don't care what you say. Japan's "Western".

Deal with it. They're about as "Eastern" as me. And I'm a white anglo-celtic centrist skeptical agnostic small-a anarcho-capitalist disestablishmentarian and diehard Swans fan.

27/3/07 1:29 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Yes dikki, and you are about as mad as I am.

(mutters under breath - "bloody australians.."

27/3/07 2:16 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE ted:

The book of Jasher. Hmmm. I have a feeling you have a story to tell. ;)

27/3/07 2:26 pm  
Blogger L>T said...

gadfly
Christianity can certainly hold up to examination if one accepts certain presuppositions.

You are right.
Well, that's where I fell short, for sure.

27/3/07 4:01 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

sadie:
It's just not true.
Saying so don't make it so. Do provide some evidence please.
Well Chris was talking about modern westerners and I was talking about ancient Japan--so before news reports, obviously.
Okay, please support this. I'm more than passing familiar w/a great deal of Asian mythology, & fish stories. Are you talking about the Taoist immortals? Japanese samurai? All of them in general?
Sorry for the confusion but I just want you to know that I know who built the ark.
Oh, I do too. Nobody.
gadly:
Christianity can certainly hold up to examination if one accepts certain presuppositions.
But it topples w/o them. That's not a good sign.

27/3/07 4:57 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE gadfly:

"The world makes a lot of sense when viewed from that perspective."

Actually, for me, the world made a lot more sense when I accepted that I didn't believe in the existence of gods.

27/3/07 5:02 pm  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

RE: Osiris, Isis, and Horus are the principal trinity of the Egyptian religions.

I'll grant the similarity with the story of hiding among the bull-rushes - but the comparison of Egyptian triads with the Christian Trinity is absurd.

First of all - the doctrine of the Trinity was 2000 years later and when adopted by Christians it served to be the primary source of their problems and persecution by the Jews.

Jesus was hated in his time "because he made Himself equal with God." (Jn. 5:18) Early on the Jewish race was the primary field of evangelism. For Christians to adopt this doctrine because it was similar to the so-called Egyptian triads is ridiculous.

The Egyptian gods never were considered "of one substance" and they certainly did not reveal themselves as "one God" (Deut. 6:4,the "Shema", the foundation of Jewish confession).

The argument that the Trinity derives from or is related to the Egyptian religious schemes, no matter how distinguished the professor, is ridiculous.

27/3/07 10:33 pm  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

Okay, I'm sorry this was just an obnoxious joke that wasn't coming across very well online. At first I was talking about Okinawa compared to the West because Chris said...
Modern people living in advanced Western nations are easily the longest lived people that have ever lived, as a group.

to which I said...
Are you serious? Prove to me Japan hasn't had a higher longevity than the West.

And I'm still talking about Okinawa--

To which KA says...
Asian do have a better longevity record - but that's due to diet & exercise. Plus, they learned the efficacy of hygiene centuries prior to Western man. It's usually less than a 100 years, & I'd not say TONS - it's enough of a rarity to make the news.

Now, I know for a fact that Okinawa is called "The island of Longevity" the hold longevity conferences. They have been home to at least 600 people that have lived to be 100 or older.

I was going to go with this until Chris started this...
You are confusing the current Japanese longevity (not Chinese, I should note; you and I will probably live longer than folks in China, right now) with historical longevity.

On average, as I have repeatedly said, people in the pre-modern times lived very short lives.


Is THAT the statement we were qualifying here? Because I thought the statement I took issue with was...

Modern people living in advanced Western nations are easily the longest lived people that have ever lived, as a group.

To which Chris, with his own words says...
You are confusing the current Japanese longevity

He's qualifying my initial argument where I said Japan has the west beat but if he wants to make my opposition about something I never intended it to be so I just got obnoxious about it...
Whatever.

28/3/07 12:04 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

Gadfly:
I'll grant the similarity with the story of hiding among the bull-rushes - but the comparison of Egyptian triads with the Christian Trinity is absurd.
There are some major similarities in Egyptian mythology - for instance, Atum-Ra is the god who 'created himself'.
Then there's the Hindu Triune - Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva. Actually there's a LOT of Triumvirates in Hindu.

sadie:
Now, I know for a fact that Okinawa is called "The island of Longevity" the hold longevity conferences. They have been home to at least 600 people that have lived to be 100 or older.
Can you PLEASE start providing links to your claims?
I'm not inferring you're making it up, but everyone makes mistakes, including myself. Which is why hearsay is usually not accepted in court.

28/3/07 5:23 am  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

KA--
Sorry, I thought Okinawa was common knowledge...
Okinawa Official Statistical
Data in Japan

Has the highest rate of living centenarians per 100,000 population.

Has the lowest death rates from top 3 killer diseases: cancer, heart disease and CVA.

Has the highest life expectancy for both male and female 65 years old and older.

Okinawan female has the highest life expectancy in all age categories: 0,20,40,65 years old and older, ranked # 1 in all of Japan.


http://www.oic-longevity.wwma.net/

28/3/07 5:50 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: gadfly

I think what needs to be remembered is that there is no calim that godheads are identical. There are similarities however. There are also similarities in the babylonoan flood story and the christian one.

The concept of "birth, death and rebirth" deities is not new as has been discussed previously. The concept of a godhead of 3 is not unusual either.

The concept of one god, according to Zoroastrianism is not unheard of either. So, I am not saying, nor do I think anyone else is either, that the christians purloined their god concept in its entirety from one other culture.

My position would be that like all philosophical, scientific, or religious concepts, a process of evolution takes place. More modern god ceoncepts have evolved from previous god concepts and along the way, if you look closely enough, they reflect their common origins.

No one had to re-create the wheel when they decided to make a motor-bike. They were able to use concepts and ideas which preceded them. In this same way, I think that the "gods" did not occur in a philosophical or religious vacuum.

28/3/07 6:57 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Sadie: but not one mentioned who gave birth to a baby @ 130?

28/3/07 6:59 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

(Reminds herself - never type something before coffee in the morning.)

More typos and spelling mistakes than I can poke a stick at.

28/3/07 7:00 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

sadie - I'd actually read an article in the SF Chronicle that discussed this. Okinawans exercise more, only eat till approx. 80% full, etc.
China's had a # of stories about centenarians, but seeing how there were no censuses till recently, & a distinct lack of written records (the Cultural Revolution was pretty ruthless about trying to bulldoze the past), it's not really a good factor in the equation.
As I understand it, Asians tend to be EXTREMELY clean (2-4 showers a day), & as any survivalist'll tell you, staying clean is integral to good health. Whereas Westerners only started good hygiene around the 17th-18th CE.

28/3/07 7:06 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE KA:

Read st jerome. He was all for virgins not bathing. Bathing was seen as an opportunity to have a peek at one's private parts I suppose.

Ancient religions that had strong sexual taboos, and that promoted virginity, had a problem with bathing.

Really. It is fascinating to read what some of these old weirdos thought and believed.

I wonder if the girls at the "purity balls" are instructed not to bathe? ;)

I would consider that would ensure their chastity above and beyond most other things. lol

28/3/07 9:40 am  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

Re:
So, I am not saying, nor do I think anyone else is either, that the christians purloined their god concept in its entirety from one other culture. My position would be that...a process of evolution takes place. More modern god ceoncepts have evolved from previous god concepts and along the way, if you look closely enough, they reflect their common origins.


If you look closely enough you would see that the Christian concept of the Trinity has nothing in common with other so called God triads other than the number 3.


The point is that the deity of Jesus was the main point of contention right from the very start. There was no evolution in this thought. Jesus' maintained that "I and the Father are one!". People claiming to be the Messiah were a dime a dozen in those days and were generally tolerated until they got killed by the Romans. Jesus was different. The idea of Him being One with the Father did not evolve, it blazed into history like a super-nova.

28/3/07 10:03 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: "There was no evolution in this thought. Jesus' maintained that "I and the Father are one!".

Sure there was an evolution. Religious beliefs don't appear in a vacuum unless you care to dismiss all of history before your religious belief wandered onto the horizon. Or should I say "appeared like a glowing sun on the horizon."

The jesus story, as far as I am concerned is just a rehash of everything that came before it. Sun worship, virgin births, the concepts of heaven and hell, the concepts of an afterlife, the concept of baptism, the concept of 12 apostles or disciples which mirrors the concept of the religious study of the babylonian and jewish celestial horoscope, the concept of salvation, the concept of sins being washed away - these ALL predate christianity.

Even the hymn to Osiris is mimicked by Psalm 23.

Where do you think the word, "amen" comes from but from the Egytian god Amon, Amun, Amen. Sometimes Amon-Ra, Tuntankamun.

Amen (Amon) and Amen-Ra, King of the Gods, and the Triad of Thebes
http://www.touregypt.net/amen.htm

The word or root amen, certainly means "what is hidden," "what is not seen," "what cannot be seen," and the like, and this fact is proved by scores of examples which may be collected from texts of all periods. In hymns to Amen we often read that he is "hidden to his children, "and "hidden to gods and men," and it has been stated that these expressions only refer to the "hiding," i.e., "setting" of the sun each evening, and that they are only to be understood in a physical sense, and to mean nothing more than the disappearance of the god Amen from the sight of men at the close of day. Now, not only is the god himself said to be "hidden," but his name also is "hidden," and his form, or similitude, is said to be "unknown;" these statements show that "hidden," when applied to Amen, the great god, has reference to something more than the "sun which has disappeared below the horizon," and that it indicates the god who cannot be seen with the mortal eyes, and who is invisible, as well as inscrutable, to gods as well as men.

THE LEGEND OF RA AND ISIS.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/ebod/ebod07.htm

From the attributes of God set forth in Egyptian texts of all periods, Dr. Brugsch, de Rougé, and other eminent Egyptologists have come to the opinion that the dwellers in the Nile valley, from the earliest times, knew and worshipped one God, nameless, incomprehensible, and eternal.

In 1860 de Rougé wrote:--

"The unity of a supreme and self-existent being, his eternity, his almightiness, and external reproduction thereby as God; the attributing of the creation of the world and of all living beings to this supreme God; the immortality of the soul, completed by the dogma of punishments and rewards: such is the sublime and persistent base which, notwithstanding all deviations and all mythological embellishments, must secure for the beliefs of the ancient Egyptians a most honourable place among the religions of antiquity."

Ask yourself why you have an egyptian pyramid and the all seeing eye of horus on your bank notes.

So these things did NOT just pop into existence with the concept of christianity.

28/3/07 11:22 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

gadfly:
So, I am not saying, nor do I think anyone else is either, that the christians purloined their god concept in its entirety from one other culture. My position would be that...a process of evolution takes place. More modern god concepts have evolved from previous god concepts and along the way, if you look closely enough, they reflect their common origins.
Well, DUH, & obviously. I see you almost managed to squeeze in the 'wholesale adoption' crap.
If you look closely enough you would see that the Christian concept of the Trinity has nothing in common with other so called God triads other than the number 3.
Obviously, you haven't looked closely at all:
"The triad of gods consisting of Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer as the three highest manifestations of the one ultimate reality.
The Trimurti itself is conceived of as a deity and artistically represented as a three-faced human figure. Brahma is no longer as relevant as He once was in Hindu writing; some would say that focus on the aspect of the all-in-one Devi or of Shakti, the Divine Mother or God's Power personified, has replaced focus on the Source/Creator as Brahma."

"According to the Trimurti belief, these three personae of God are simply different aspects of the one and the same God. In this manner, such beliefs are similar to some interpretations of the Christian Trinity such as Sabellianism, though hinduism is much older."
The point is that the deity of Jesus was the main point of contention right from the very start. There was no evolution in this thought. Jesus' maintained that "I and the Father are one!".
Oy gevalt, we gots us a trinitarian & a propounder of the filioque to boot.
Do found your own local chapter of Allegories Anonymous soon.
People claiming to be the Messiah were a dime a dozen in those days and were generally tolerated until they got killed by the Romans.
Oh, so they weren't tolerated after their demise? Guess they wouldn't care much post ex facto then.

28/3/07 1:32 pm  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

For what it is worth, about the "who lives longer" thing, Sadie is changing the goal posts. We were NOT talking about who lives longest NOW (admittedly, I should have said advanced industrial nations and not advanced Western nations), we were talking about how long people lived historically. She said:

I mean, it's not that unusual, scientifically, for people to have lived longer than we do now.

What I have contended all along is, as a group, modern people have lived much longer than people in any other age. And she knew it. We were discussing stuff like if Rachel gave birth at 130.

Everything is is smokescreen.

28/3/07 4:58 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

I find it extremely difficult to accept that people, according to the bible, lived a couple of hundred years. I also find it difficult to accept that women gave birth when they were 100 years old or older.

The possibility of those things, I think, is near to zero.

28/3/07 10:09 pm  
Blogger aarthy saravanan said...





Thanks for sharing, I will bookmark and be back again





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