I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby Jikan » Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:50 pm

Is it really so surprising that you'd find some (obviously not all) Buddhists taking positions that are not in keeping with the teachings of the Buddhist tradition?
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Jun 14, 2012 6:19 pm

What's not in keeping with the teachings of the Buddhist tradition? Cause and effect? I mean there is no punishment or punisher in Buddhism. Actions have outcomes. You jump off a cliff you break every bone in your body. What makes it more tolerant is that nobody is going to judge you for your behaviour. Oh, okay, some will judge you but ultimately it is you that will be the judge of your behaviour.
jundo cohen wrote:My question is more regarding how far people take their belief in the details and descriptions of the Naraka hells, the literalness of "hungry ghosts", and the like.
How far do you take your belief regarding the literalness and reality of your current existence? That's exactly how real and literal all the other realms are too (for me). I mean it feels pretty bloody real doesn't it?
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby Ikkyu » Thu Jun 14, 2012 6:53 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:What's not in keeping with the teachings of the Buddhist tradition? Cause and effect? I mean there is no punishment or punisher in Buddhism. Actions have outcomes. You jump off a cliff you break every bone in your body. What makes it more tolerant is that nobody is going to judge you for your behaviour. Oh, okay, some will judge you but ultimately it is you that will be the judge of your behaviour.
jundo cohen wrote:My question is more regarding how far people take their belief in the details and descriptions of the Naraka hells, the literalness of "hungry ghosts", and the like.
How far do you take your belief regarding the literalness and reality of your current existence? That's exactly how real and literal all the other realms are too (for me). I mean it feels pretty bloody real doesn't it?
:namaste:


How can you follow a religion which, while describing fear as a defilement, instills people with it by saying karma is the ultimate judge? Also, how can you, as a reasonable, logical human being, believe in the existence of realms where people are punished with physical, real torture for their negative karma? That seems very illogical. What evidence is there to suggest that this is the case?
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby Ikkyu » Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:06 pm

From the Devaduta Sutta, Buddha describes Hell:

"Then the warders of hell give him the fivefold binding. That is two hot iron spikes are sent through his two palms, and two other hot spikes are sent through his two feet and the fifth hot iron spike is sent through his chest. On account of this he experiences sharp piercing unpleasant feelings. Yet he does not die, until his demerit finishes. Next the warders of hell conduct him and hammer himOn account of this he experiences sharp piercing unpleasant feelings. Yet he does not die, until his demerit finishes. Next the warders of hell take him upside down and cut him with a knifeOn account of this too he experiences sharp piercing unpleasant feelings. Yet he does not die, until his demerit finishes. Next the warders of hell yoke him to a cart and make him go to and fro on a ground that is flaming and ablaze On account of this too he experiences sharp piercing unpleasant feelings. Yet he does not die, until his demerit finishes. Next the warders of hell make him ascend and descend a rock of burning ambers On account of this he experiences sharp piercing unpleasant feelings. Yet he does not die, until his demerit finishes. Next the warders of hell throw him upside down into a boiling, blazingpot of molten. Therehe is cooked in the molten scum, and he on his own accord dives in comes up and goes across in the molten pot.On account of this too he experiences sharp piercing unpleasant feelings. Yet he does not die, until his demerit finishes.Next the warders of hell throw him to the Great Hell. The square Great Hell has four gates and is divided in two, Enclosed by iron walls, is closed with an iron lid. The floor spreads for seven hundred miles, And it stands there everyday."

How peaceful. What a relief from suffering! I'm sorry, but I just can't take this sutta literally. Either the Buddha was lying or this simply isn't true.
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby Jikan » Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:11 pm

Ikkyu wrote:How can you follow a religion which, while describing fear as a defilement, instills people with it by saying karma is the ultimate judge?


I don't. The Buddhism I practice isn't about intimidation or fear-mongering.

Also, how can you, as a reasonable, logical human being, believe in the existence of realms where people are punished with physical, real torture for their negative karma? That seems very illogical. What evidence is there to suggest that this is the case?


Describe the reality of those realms in Buddhist terms. are you familiar with the teaching of emptiness?
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby Josef » Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:29 pm

Ikkyu wrote:From the Devaduta Sutta, Buddha describes Hell:

"Then the warders of hell give him the fivefold binding. That is two hot iron spikes are sent through his two palms, and two other hot spikes are sent through his two feet and the fifth hot iron spike is sent through his chest. On account of this he experiences sharp piercing unpleasant feelings. Yet he does not die, until his demerit finishes. Next the warders of hell conduct him and hammer himOn account of this he experiences sharp piercing unpleasant feelings. Yet he does not die, until his demerit finishes. Next the warders of hell take him upside down and cut him with a knifeOn account of this too he experiences sharp piercing unpleasant feelings. Yet he does not die, until his demerit finishes. Next the warders of hell yoke him to a cart and make him go to and fro on a ground that is flaming and ablaze On account of this too he experiences sharp piercing unpleasant feelings. Yet he does not die, until his demerit finishes. Next the warders of hell make him ascend and descend a rock of burning ambers On account of this he experiences sharp piercing unpleasant feelings. Yet he does not die, until his demerit finishes. Next the warders of hell throw him upside down into a boiling, blazingpot of molten. Therehe is cooked in the molten scum, and he on his own accord dives in comes up and goes across in the molten pot.On account of this too he experiences sharp piercing unpleasant feelings. Yet he does not die, until his demerit finishes.Next the warders of hell throw him to the Great Hell. The square Great Hell has four gates and is divided in two, Enclosed by iron walls, is closed with an iron lid. The floor spreads for seven hundred miles, And it stands there everyday."

How peaceful. What a relief from suffering! I'm sorry, but I just can't take this sutta literally. Either the Buddha was lying or this simply isn't true.


Maybe you just don't like Buddhism.
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby ClearblueSky » Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:35 pm

Whether these realms are literal or not is a mystery to me, but perhaps the thing about it that has almost baffled me the most is how much worse the results seem to be than the action. Sure I realize that an action can lead to far more negative results than we may realize at the time, but this? They're literally talking about having a drink to celebrate with friends. To me it seems more logical that if in your human life you held a few people down and poured acid on their face, or something equivalent in nature, you might have a rebirth where people hold you down and pour acid down your throat for 10,000 years. But drinking alcohol, and that leading to a rebirth where you have acid poured on your face for a huge amount of years? I don't see the logic in that.
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby Josef » Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:37 pm

ClearblueSky wrote: But drinking alcohol, and that leading to a rebirth where you have acid poured on your face for a huge amount of years? I don't see the logic in that.

Neither do I.
I think they are parables, nothing more.
But then again, I don't really dig Sutra's.
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby Ogyen » Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:37 pm

Buddhism isn't about threatening people with Hell, the way surfing isn't about threatening people with wipeouts. Waves... however... can hurt, maim, even kill nonetheless... In the same way that the waves of consequences created by our actions can put us in hellish states of mind/being. Ever been in a real bad karmic spot? I was born... that was bad enough for me... :rolling:

I don't know what this video is. :shrug:

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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby Ikkyu » Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:42 pm

Josef wrote:
Ikkyu wrote:From the Devaduta Sutta, Buddha describes Hell:

"Then the warders of hell give him the fivefold binding. That is two hot iron spikes are sent through his two palms, and two other hot spikes are sent through his two feet and the fifth hot iron spike is sent through his chest. On account of this he experiences sharp piercing unpleasant feelings. Yet he does not die, until his demerit finishes. Next the warders of hell conduct him and hammer himOn account of this he experiences sharp piercing unpleasant feelings. Yet he does not die, until his demerit finishes. Next the warders of hell take him upside down and cut him with a knifeOn account of this too he experiences sharp piercing unpleasant feelings. Yet he does not die, until his demerit finishes. Next the warders of hell yoke him to a cart and make him go to and fro on a ground that is flaming and ablaze On account of this too he experiences sharp piercing unpleasant feelings. Yet he does not die, until his demerit finishes. Next the warders of hell make him ascend and descend a rock of burning ambers On account of this he experiences sharp piercing unpleasant feelings. Yet he does not die, until his demerit finishes. Next the warders of hell throw him upside down into a boiling, blazingpot of molten. Therehe is cooked in the molten scum, and he on his own accord dives in comes up and goes across in the molten pot.On account of this too he experiences sharp piercing unpleasant feelings. Yet he does not die, until his demerit finishes.Next the warders of hell throw him to the Great Hell. The square Great Hell has four gates and is divided in two, Enclosed by iron walls, is closed with an iron lid. The floor spreads for seven hundred miles, And it stands there everyday."

How peaceful. What a relief from suffering! I'm sorry, but I just can't take this sutta literally. Either the Buddha was lying or this simply isn't true.


Maybe you just don't like Buddhism.


No. I'm ust a skeptic. I question everything. Buddhism is a great philosophy which has helped many people. Many people benefit from some of the Buddha's teachings. I just don't understand how an enlightened being could describe or purport something obviously false. The Buddha described the Narakas as being underground. We know this is a lie. The earth's crust only extends so far before reaching the mantle. There are no caverns of torture underneath the earth. How is an omniscient/all-knowing being saying these things?
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby Ikkyu » Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:44 pm

ClearblueSky wrote:Whether these realms are literal or not is a mystery to me, but perhaps the thing about it that has almost baffled me the most is how much worse the results seem to be than the action. Sure I realize that an action can lead to far more negative results than we may realize at the time, but this? They're literally talking about having a drink to celebrate with friends. To me it seems more logical that if in your human life you held a few people down and poured acid on their face, or something equivalent in nature, you might have a rebirth where people hold you down and pour acid down your throat for 10,000 years. But drinking alcohol, and that leading to a rebirth where you have acid poured on your face for a huge amount of years? I don't see the logic in that.


Neither do I, which is precisely why I'm positing this issue.
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby Ikkyu » Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:46 pm

Josef wrote:
ClearblueSky wrote: But drinking alcohol, and that leading to a rebirth where you have acid poured on your face for a huge amount of years? I don't see the logic in that.

Neither do I.
I think they are parables, nothing more.
But then again, I don't really dig Sutra's.


For a parable, this seems pretty graphic, specific and detailed.
I know you don't dig sutras, but they ARE Buddhavacana, even among the Vajrayana. As a Buddhist don't you have to accept them as true?
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby Ikkyu » Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:47 pm

Ogyen wrote:Buddhism isn't about threatening people with Hell, the way surfing isn't about threatening people with wipeouts. Waves... however... can hurt, maim, even kill nonetheless... In the same way that the waves of consequences created by our actions can put us in hellish states of mind/being. Ever been in a real bad karmic spot? I was born... that was bad enough for me... :rolling:

I don't know what this video is. :shrug:

:tantrum:


I don't understand how it is "karmic" that having a drink with friends lets people pour acid on your face. Is this the Buddha's compassion?
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby Ikkyu » Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:49 pm

Jikan wrote:
Ikkyu wrote:How can you follow a religion which, while describing fear as a defilement, instills people with it by saying karma is the ultimate judge?


I don't. The Buddhism I practice isn't about intimidation or fear-mongering.

Also, how can you, as a reasonable, logical human being, believe in the existence of realms where people are punished with physical, real torture for their negative karma? That seems very illogical. What evidence is there to suggest that this is the case?


Describe the reality of those realms in Buddhist terms. are you familiar with the teaching of emptiness?


Sunyata or not, driving nails through someone's hands is pretty specific.
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:04 pm

Ikkyu wrote:How can you follow a religion which, while describing fear as a defilement, instills people with it by saying karma is the ultimate judge?
Nobobdy said anything about karma being a judge. If you pour water on a slope it runs downhill. Does it run downhill because it is condemend to run down hill?
Also, how can you, as a reasonable, logical human being, believe in the existence of realms where people are punished with physical, real torture for their negative karma? That seems very illogical. What evidence is there to suggest that this is the case?
Hell realms are not physical realms like the realm we are conscious of (can sense with our physical organs). If it was a physical realm then it would all be over pretty quickly wouldn't it?
Ikkyu wrote:I don't understand how it is "karmic" that having a drink with friends lets people pour acid on your face. Is this the Buddha's compassion?
This statement betrays a complete lack of understanding of who/what the Buddha is and the previous statements betray a complete lack of understanding of the workings of karma. I reccomend you vist accesstoinsight.org and do a site search on the term "kamma".
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby dharmagoat » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:16 pm

Ikkyu, I am with you on this one.

That video was quite clearly an attempt to manipulate the gullible by instilling fear. If that represents skillful means as taught by the Buddha, the I too have to question the value of the original teachings.

These days people are educated in the ways that certain behaviours can be harmful, not frightened stupid.
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby Will » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:22 pm

Mind shapes everything, so if one can only accept a 'non-literal' hell (whatever that means) fine. Just be glad you are not in the mind of an asylum inmate or a serial killer etc.

Further, traditional Buddhists have been to the Hell realms and experienced them just like the sutras describe. Was their hell-view shaped by their belief in the sutras or is hell an objective place? Irrelevant question to me - the suffering is totally real.

There is a Tibetan term (delog) that describes a person who can get into some sort of samadhi-like condition and go exploring the deva and hell realms. Anyway, these stories have been recorded in at least one book.

Here it is: http://www.amazon.com/Delog-Journey-Rea ... 1881847055
Last edited by Will on Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:30 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby AlexanderS » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:23 pm

Ikkyu wrote:
jundo cohen wrote:Well, yes, my Soto corner of Zen has certainly threatened folks with hell fire at times in its history, and I think the same of many Mahayana and Vajrayana (if I may speak as an outsider) schools ...

I have seen the "hells" and "heavens" that folks make for themself, and those around them, in this life. I do not know if there are literal "heavens" and "hells" which await us after we die, but I have seen people create real bits of heaven and hell in this life, for themselves and those near them, by their actions.

Just a few of the many Buddhist Hells (Naraka) found in Mahayana literature are the following (although I know that folks here will correct errors in details of the following descriptions) ...


* Arbuda – the "blister" Naraka. This is a dark, frozen plain surrounded by icy mountains and continually swept by blizzards. Inhabitants of this world arise fully grown and abide life-long naked and alone, while the cold raises blisters upon their bodies. The length of life in this Naraka is said to be the time it would take to empty a barrel of sesame seed if one only took out a single seed every hundred years.

* Nirarbuda – the "burst blister" Naraka. This Naraka is even colder than the one above, and here the blisters burst open, leaving the beings' bodies covered with frozen blood and pus.

* Saṃghāta – the "crushing" Naraka. This Naraka is also upon a ground of hot iron, but is surrounded by huge masses of rock that smash together and crush the beings to a bloody jelly. When the rocks move apart again, life is restored to the being and the process starts again. Life in this Naraka is 10,368*1010 years long.

* Raurava – the "screaming" Naraka. Here beings run here and there looking for refuge from the burning ground. When they find an apparent shelter, they are locked inside it as it blazes around them, while they scream inside. Life in this Naraka is 82,944*1010 years long.


Here some images of so-called "Buddhist Hell" from an amusement park in Singapore (although I have seen similar images in some temples in China, Japan, Tibet and Korea when visiting there) ... images that would make even a Fire & Brimstone preacher in the Bible Belt faint ... here are some. Just like in the West, images of "hell" like this were often used by Buddhist preachers to get people to "be good".

Image
By longdogs3 at 2008-06-18

Image
By longdogs3 at 2008-06-18

Image
By longdogs3 at 2008-06-18

Image
By longdogs3 at 2008-06-18

Although the above images are from an amusement park funhouse, very similar images are found in serious artwork in many temples across Asia, including here in Japan.

Image

Who knows, could be. I will take my chances, focusing on avoiding the hells of this world.

Gassho, Jundo


Wow. I was under the impression that Buddhism was a peaceful religion. Stuff like this is why I still have yet to take the precepts after a year and a half of study with a Sangha. I left Catholicism due to the doctrines set forward in which one is required to worship a God who punishes people with torture for their sins. Now, while I realize that in the Buddhist tradition karma is what determines rebirth, doesn't it seem just a little f*cked up that so many Buddhists think that if you get drunk you're going to Hell? I guess I'm going to the Blister Naraka, considering that I get wasted from time to time at parties. Yeah, I'm not going to lie. I do. Now does this mean I'm going to Hell? If so, why the hell (no pun intended) is this religion somehow considered more peaceful and tolerant than Christianity or Islam?

I mean how can people ACTUALLY believe -- using logic and reasoning -- that there is ACTUALLY a place where you go after you die and you suffer horrible physical agony in such gory, explicit and specific detail? It smells like bullshit to me.

I'm not trying to be rude. I'm just dissapointed. I left Christianity because it was, for me, a bunch of fear-mongering and illogical drivel. I went to Buddhism because I thought it was really about ending suffering. How does fearing a very long, painful torture end our suffering? Isn't fear a defilement in Buddhism to begin with?


Why don't you go to Somalia or North Korea and try and sugar coat the reality there with whatever religion floats your boat.
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby Ikkyu » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:42 pm

AlexanderS wrote:
Ikkyu wrote:
jundo cohen wrote:Well, yes, my Soto corner of Zen has certainly threatened folks with hell fire at times in its history, and I think the same of many Mahayana and Vajrayana (if I may speak as an outsider) schools ...

I have seen the "hells" and "heavens" that folks make for themself, and those around them, in this life. I do not know if there are literal "heavens" and "hells" which await us after we die, but I have seen people create real bits of heaven and hell in this life, for themselves and those near them, by their actions.

Just a few of the many Buddhist Hells (Naraka) found in Mahayana literature are the following (although I know that folks here will correct errors in details of the following descriptions) ...


* Arbuda – the "blister" Naraka. This is a dark, frozen plain surrounded by icy mountains and continually swept by blizzards. Inhabitants of this world arise fully grown and abide life-long naked and alone, while the cold raises blisters upon their bodies. The length of life in this Naraka is said to be the time it would take to empty a barrel of sesame seed if one only took out a single seed every hundred years.

* Nirarbuda – the "burst blister" Naraka. This Naraka is even colder than the one above, and here the blisters burst open, leaving the beings' bodies covered with frozen blood and pus.

* Saṃghāta – the "crushing" Naraka. This Naraka is also upon a ground of hot iron, but is surrounded by huge masses of rock that smash together and crush the beings to a bloody jelly. When the rocks move apart again, life is restored to the being and the process starts again. Life in this Naraka is 10,368*1010 years long.

* Raurava – the "screaming" Naraka. Here beings run here and there looking for refuge from the burning ground. When they find an apparent shelter, they are locked inside it as it blazes around them, while they scream inside. Life in this Naraka is 82,944*1010 years long.


Here some images of so-called "Buddhist Hell" from an amusement park in Singapore (although I have seen similar images in some temples in China, Japan, Tibet and Korea when visiting there) ... images that would make even a Fire & Brimstone preacher in the Bible Belt faint ... here are some. Just like in the West, images of "hell" like this were often used by Buddhist preachers to get people to "be good".

Image
By longdogs3 at 2008-06-18

Image
By longdogs3 at 2008-06-18

Image
By longdogs3 at 2008-06-18

Image
By longdogs3 at 2008-06-18

Although the above images are from an amusement park funhouse, very similar images are found in serious artwork in many temples across Asia, including here in Japan.

Image

Who knows, could be. I will take my chances, focusing on avoiding the hells of this world.

Gassho, Jundo


Wow. I was under the impression that Buddhism was a peaceful religion. Stuff like this is why I still have yet to take the precepts after a year and a half of study with a Sangha. I left Catholicism due to the doctrines set forward in which one is required to worship a God who punishes people with torture for their sins. Now, while I realize that in the Buddhist tradition karma is what determines rebirth, doesn't it seem just a little f*cked up that so many Buddhists think that if you get drunk you're going to Hell? I guess I'm going to the Blister Naraka, considering that I get wasted from time to time at parties. Yeah, I'm not going to lie. I do. Now does this mean I'm going to Hell? If so, why the hell (no pun intended) is this religion somehow considered more peaceful and tolerant than Christianity or Islam?

I mean how can people ACTUALLY believe -- using logic and reasoning -- that there is ACTUALLY a place where you go after you die and you suffer horrible physical agony in such gory, explicit and specific detail? It smells like bullshit to me.

I'm not trying to be rude. I'm just dissapointed. I left Christianity because it was, for me, a bunch of fear-mongering and illogical drivel. I went to Buddhism because I thought it was really about ending suffering. How does fearing a very long, painful torture end our suffering? Isn't fear a defilement in Buddhism to begin with?


Why don't you go to Somalia or North Korea and try and sugar coat the reality there with whatever religion floats your boat.


What do you mean? I'm talking about the afterlife. Not issues here on Earth.
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby seeker242 » Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:02 pm

Ikkyu wrote:
I mean how can people ACTUALLY believe -- using logic and reasoning -- that there is ACTUALLY a place where you go after you die and you suffer horrible physical agony in such gory, explicit and specific detail? It smells like bullshit to me.



Not all beliefs are based on logic and reasoning. :smile:
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