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Old 11-19-2008, 07:28 PM
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There are religions worshipping Satan and other "evil" powers (definition of evil in this case being that which is taken as evil or wrong by society). but I do hope most of you agree with me when I say that "Satanism is bad"
To be fair, Satanism isn't about worshipping an evil power. They just interpret the Bible differently than others, and are generally good people. Satanism is in fact more about respecting and "worshipping" the self. Of course, just like Christians, some "Satanists" misinterpret the teachings-or, should I say, just have their own interpretation that the majority wouldn't agree with. Besides, there's so many types of Satanism.. what do you think of LaVeyan Satanists?

Consider that more people have been killed in the name of God than in the name of Satan.

*cough*

Why do you say that Satanism is inherently "bad"?

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I've heard this often, but I've never seen it backed up. Certainly Religion wasn't the cause of the American Revolution, nor was it the cause of the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, the Mexican Amercian war, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, or Desert Storm
Before I say anything else, consider that all the wars you cited are American and that there are wars constantly going on throughout the world that we rarely hear about in the mainstream media or even in schools.

So, besides those wars, there were many others that most DEFINITELY were caused by religion... among the more well-known... the French Wars of Religion; the Second Sino-Japanese War; the First through Seventh Wars; the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre; the Thirty Year War; the Wars of the League; the Saxon Wars, etc. etc.

And of course, the Crusades should probably be mentioned... and what about inquisitions? What about current conflicts such as between Palestine/Israel? There are many wars being fought this day in the name of religion.

Even when religion isn't the motivating factor for war, religion often has a place... the Pope would send his blessings to the commanders, and even bless battleships. (of course, ALL religions often play a part, but this is just an example).

You could even argue that religion is the source of all war, because people go to war based on their morals...

So, no, your teachers aren't trying to force an Atheist agenda on everyone. Religion has certainly be the source of MANY, many wars, and many, many deaths.

But religion isn't inherently bad... almost always, it's people that twist its message for their own desires, or cherry pick certain passages.

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Elsewhere, there was indeed a religious component to the Crusades, but I submit that religion was more of an excuse, just as religion is an excuse in the middle east today (the fighting there has never ceased even from a time before there was a Jewish religion), and in Northern Ireland (the English and Irish were fighting from a time before Christianity was brought to the British Isles).
Even so, is that not just as troubling? I wouldn't say an excuse so much as JUSTIFICATION. Without religion, how would it have been justified to the people? What would they have done without religion? Certainly religion hasn't DETERED war...

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Do you agree that without religion, those killings would still have occurred?
No, I don't. Certainly some would have, but not all (or perhaps even most). Religion provided moral justification, and without it, what reason would they have had? If it's "for God" or "by His will," and therefore for morally just reasons, it makes it that much easier and that much more likely. Just as if Bush had said "We're going to war with Iraq for oil!" that never would have flied, but he justified it by telling the people it was being done for good.. hell, some have even justified it with religion. With religious justification, there is also unquestioned obedience... at least with other forms, it can be logically challenged by people rather than blindly followed.

Last edited by Somnilocus; 11-19-2008 at 10:03 PM.
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old 11-19-2008, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Somnilocus View Post
To be fair, Satanism isn't about worshipping an evil power. They just interpret the Bible differently than others, and are generally good people. Satanism is in fact more about respecting and "worshipping" the self. Of course, just like Christians, some "Satanists" misinterpret the teachings-or, should I say, just have their own interpretation that the majority wouldn't agree with. Besides, there's so many types of Satanism.. what do you think of LaVeyan Satanists?
...
Why do you say that Satanism is inherently "bad"?
Fair questions. Satanism is traditionally one of these:
1) A worship of Satan, a supernatural being defined as the archetypal incarnation of evil (e.g. Satan, Baal-Zebub, Loki, Hel, Baphomet etc.) as opposed to an archetypal good incarnation (e.g. God, Allah, YHVH, Buddah, arguably Zeus, Odin, etc.). In this type of example, Satanists are worshiping and following a negative archetype which society, in general, sees as evil or bad.
2) A non-supernatural following of a "dark force" in each of us (such as in LaVeyan Satanism) where self, and the power within, is what one follows. The focus tends to be on enjoyment of the moment, a disregard for consequence and a tendency towards hedonism. There is no aspect of responsibility to others, generosity or value of society, peace, etc. Instead, this type of Satanism, being focused on perfecting the self, treats the individual as ultimate. Generally speaking, society sees this level of self-ism or selfishness as a negative.
Certainly there are many spin offs that don't follow either of these basic ideas to the letter, but these are the traditional definitions. Certainly Theistic Satanism, being a following of an "evil" deity is going to be classified as "bad" without further comment. LaVeyan Satanism, while not necessarily expressly harmful, can take the concept of the "ultimate self" to a disregard of the value and lives of others. If self is the ultimate, then it follows that all others are lesser. The Christian "Golden Rule" which asks the Christian to treat others kindly as a default is disregarded in Satanism and replaced by the statement "Do unto others as they do unto you." which results in the Satanist, at best, mirroring the worst of anyone they encounter (not the best idea in society, but passable for a hermit, otherwise, inevitably, injury or death will result).

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Originally Posted by Somnilocus
Consider that more people have been killed in the name of God than in the name of Satan.
Addressed above (looks like you are cherry picking). Killing 'in the name of' God is still killing and God is primarily an excuse. Historical evidence points to power or other motivations as the primary driver, not God, and even in the rare cases where 'the name of' God is the primary driver, most of those cases involve a (intentional) misinterpretation of faith. Has anyone killed in the name of God where he truly believed that God wanted the killing? Sure, it has happened many times. Does God indeed want the killing to occur, there are very, very, few documented cases of this (depending on one's belief in Scripture). Is it therefore the case that killing in the name of God is simply a misinterpretation (intentional or otherwise) of one's beliefs. Almost all of the time this is the case.

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Originally Posted by Somnilocus
Before I say anything else, consider that all the wars you cited are American and that there are wars constantly going on throughout the world that we rarely hear about in the mainstream media or even in schools.

So, besides those wars, there were many others that most DEFINITELY were caused by religion... among the more well-known... the French Wars of Religion; the Second Sino-Japanese War; the First through Seventh Wars; the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre; the Thirty Year War; the Wars of the League; the Saxon Wars, etc. etc.
Actually in my post, I stipulated these facts (cherry picking again). My argument is that by saying "most", one is asserting that religion is the cause of greater than 50% of wars. Typically, as I posted above, there are many causes and religion is often used as an excuse, but is not typically the primary cause of the war.


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Originally Posted by Somnilocus
And of course, the Crusades should probably be mentioned... and what about inquisitions? What about current conflicts such as between Palestine/Israel? There are many wars being fought this day in the name of religion.
I also covered these above (got a bucket of cherries though). The "name of religion" in these cases is an excuse (again see my comments above unless you REALLY need me to restate them).

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Originally Posted by Somnilocus
Even when religion isn't the motivating factor for war, religion often has a place... the Pope would send his blessings to the commanders, and even bless battleships. (of course, ALL religions often play a part, but this is just an example).
Religion has a place. Interesting. Banking also has a place. Someone is holding the money and cashing those paychecks. For that matter, the spoils of wars are often used to prop up failing economies and more than one war has been fought over commodities. Perhaps we can blame wars on banks (actually money is a far greater motivator towards war than religion ever has been). How about farming? Farming has a place. Farmers make huge profits when governments buy their produce to feed soldiers. A farmer who can sell to the army does quite well as opposed to having to deal with the vagaries of the market. Pick your industry and you can make the same argument, they all have their place.
The fact is that when a government goes to war, any number of excuses can be used. Religion is simply one of those.

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Originally Posted by Somnilocus
You could even argue that religion is the source of all war, because people go to war based on their morals...
Morals are not necessarily religion. Atheists have morals, but no religion. The same is true (perhaps even more so) with Agnostics. Morals are simply our individual definition of what is "right" and "wrong", so any of us who have such archetypal ideals have morals regardless of what (if any) religion we follow. So again, religion is an excuse, at best.

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Originally Posted by Somnilocus
So, no, your teachers aren't trying to force an Atheist agenda on everyone. Religion has certainly be the source of MANY, many wars, and many, many deaths.
I stipulated this as well in my arguments above. Sure, religion has been the cause of wars and deaths, but is it more than 50%? I'm not close to convinced by your arguments.

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Originally Posted by Somnilocus
But religion isn't inherently bad... almost always, it's people that twist its message for their own desires, or cherry pick certain passages.
Agreed, in fact that is largely my point in the discussion above.


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Originally Posted by Somnilocus
Even so, is that not just as troubling? I wouldn't say an excuse so much as JUSTIFICATION. Without religion, how would it have been justified to the people? What would they have done without religion? Certainly religion hasn't DETERED war...
How would it have been justified to the people? You must be kidding, right? As I mentioned in prior posts, long before there was Catholicism and Protestantism in England, the Irish and English have been fighting (the same is true with most border wars which is the vast majority of wars in history). Justification was at various times money, land, some perceived insult, freedom, oppression, tyranny, kidnappings, murders, food, etc. The fact is that prior to the modern era (circa 1800), nobody had to justify wars to the people because the primary forms of government were monarchies, empires and feudal systems. A peasant didn't get a justification because the peasant would simply be killed by his lord/master/emperor if he did not fight. There weren't free people that would require a justification prior to going, one simply obeyed the nobiilty, clan leader, etc.
As to deterrence, that I also covered above (see my notes on Attila The Hun above). Religion has been used as a tool of peace just as it has been used as an excuse for war (it just isn't well reported). Probably not as often, I'll agree.
If you speak to most religious leaders, they will agree that their religion's aim is not war, and thus it follows logically that if the religious leaders don't seek war, and religion is considered part of the cause, that in fact, someone who was not a religious leader used religion as an excuse.

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  #33 (permalink)  
Old 11-19-2008, 10:22 PM
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Oops, forgot your last piece, so...

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Originally Posted by Somnilocus View Post
No, I don't. Certainly some would have, but not all (or perhaps even most). Religion provided moral justification, and without it, what reason would they have had? If it's "for God" or "by His will," and therefore for morally just reasons, it makes it that much easier and that much more likely. Just as if Bush had said "We're going to war with Iraq for oil!" that never would have flied, but he justified it by telling the people it was being done for good.. hell, some have even justified it with religion. With religious justification, there is also unquestioned obedience... at least with other forms, it can be logically challenged by people rather than blindly followed.
So you don't believe that without religion, the Conquistadors would have killed Aztecs? How about gold? There was plenty and the Conquistadors took it, they didn't need religion for that. In fact, that was the primary motivation for their subjugation of the Aztecs, they certainly weren't trying to convert them (which would be the case in a religious war).

You don't believe that medieval knights would have killed for land, treasure, ethnicity or some other reason? You might want to take a look at history, because those were primary motivations for them given that they all tended to have the same religion, so religion couldn't be used as an excuse.

Again, you look for justifications. The need for justifications assumes that the people have a choice. Only since 1800 has justification even been necessary for war in the vast majority of cases. Still, justifications abound. As I said before, money, land, food, retaliation, growth, etc. are all valid justifications that exist without religion and are used as often or more so (espeically when, as is common, neighboring countries share the same religion).

Your example about Iraq is somewhat flawed. First, because again you are relying on justification, something not necessary in most of human history, and second because all of religion was not part of any justification for the Iraq conflict. Have some (very, very few) people tied religion to Iraq, of course, but as in other cases above, it was neither the primary or even an important cause or driver of this war. In fact, if President Bush had said that we were going for oil, he would have been lying (we have yet to take any oil from Iraq for domestic use and until the current economic crisis, oil prices rose more rapidly during this war than at any time since President Carter).

Many religions teach that nobody should obey in an unquestioning manner. Christianity, for instance, requires its adherents to question the messages that they hear and compare them to scripture and use that as a basis for determining right and wrong. If a church leader came to me tomorrow and tried to say that God wanted me to go to war for some religious excuse, I'd call him a liar because the scriptures don't support such a message. There is nothing unquestioning about it. Certainly some people would not question, and some faiths don't allow questioning, but that doesn't mean that all (or even most) religious people are going to follow a religious motivation in an unquestioning fashion.

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  #34 (permalink)  
Old 11-20-2008, 04:39 AM
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Fair questions. Satanism is traditionally one of these:
No, Satanism is stereotypically one of those. Very few actually worship Satan as an "evil" deity. Generally they feel that he is either not accurately depicted in the Bible, feel that he is in fact Jesus, or don't worship him at all but worship the self.

But in regards to your comments concerning LaVeyan Satanism, they are just entirely untrue. You say that they follow the "dark force" in themselves, but as if it's synonymous with "evil force." It simply means a carnal instinct. They "worship" nature, they indulge in earthly pleasures.

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There is no aspect of responsibility to others, generosity or value of society, peace, etc.
That's entirely untrue and I'm not sure where you're getting it from. They feel that if someone is unfair or cruel to them, that they shouldn't waste their time on them, and that people deserve to get what they give out basically. Almost like... karma. Yet, karma seems fair and just but you take their practices to be bad and evil. They COULD be used to do harm, but if you look at the Bible, there are quotes that can certainly be taken that way as well.

In fact one of the Satanic Statements specifically says that Satan represents kindness to those who show it mutually.

Consider some of their Rules:

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When in anotherís lair, show them respect or else do not go there.
Do not harm little children.
Do not kill non-human animals unless you are attacked or for your food.
What makes you say that they aren't for peace, kindness, generosity etc? They just believe that indulgence in carnal pleasure is the way to live one's life, rather than repenting for being human and living a mundane existence. Not sacrificing your own happiness and wellbeing on a regular basis does not mean you're not generous... it means you understand that you are important too, and can't help others if you don't take care of yourself first. They do place themselves first, but they don't do things deliberately at the expense of someone else. Christians have done just as many selfish things in their long history, at the expense of not just one person, but numerous minorities. The same things could be argued of both Satanism and Christianity, so let's not get into it. Satanism is no more "bad" or "evil" than Christianity in the hands of the wrong person.

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LaVeyan Satanism, while not necessarily expressly harmful, can take the concept of the "ultimate self" to a disregard of the value and lives of others.
Again, I could argue the same of most religions, including Christianity.

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The Christian "Golden Rule" which asks the Christian to treat others kindly as a default is disregarded in Satanism and replaced by the statement "Do unto others as they do unto you."
Ultimately, it's the person who decides what to do. Christians (and other such religions) are currently denying gay people the right to marry because of their own personal beliefs, once again justified by the Bible... whereas a Satanist would generally not oppose it, as it does not affect them or harm anyone and benefits others. You cannot deny that Christianity has been used to harm, intentionally or unintentionally.

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Addressed above (looks like you are cherry picking).
Oh please, how is that cherry picking? In the Bible itself, more people were killed by God/in the name of God than by/in the name of Satan. How often do you hear of people doing something in the name of Satan?

Just to reiterate, this isn't to say that GOD IS BAD. This is to say that history frankly shows that more people have been killed in the name of God than in Satan's.

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Killing 'in the name of' God is still killing and God is primarily an excuse.
Yes...?

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Historical evidence points to power or other motivations as the primary driver, not God, and even in the rare cases where 'the name of' God is the primary driver, most of those cases involve a (intentional) misinterpretation of faith.
Does this really matter? The whole point is that it's being used as an excuse, thus the statement "most wars are started in the name of religion" is true. Whether or not that is TRULY the driving cause is irrelevant. The statement is true. I entirely agree that it's often the result of misinterpretation, deliberate or not. But that's not what we're talking about.

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Actually in my post, I stipulated these facts (cherry picking again). My argument is that by saying "most", one is asserting that religion is the cause of greater than 50% of wars. Typically, as I posted above, there are many causes and religion is often used as an excuse, but is not typically the primary cause of the war.
Well if you would like to tally up every single war ever fought, then by all means... I will stick with "a good number of wars are fought because of religion" if it will make you happy. Again, I don't care what the true cause was, because the fact is these people justified it through religion, and that is what we're talking about.

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Religion has a place. Interesting. Banking also has a place. Someone is holding the money and cashing those paychecks. For that matter, the spoils of wars are often used to prop up failing economies and more than one war has been fought over commodities.
Now, if you read what *I* said, you'll notice that I never denied that. But those are issues of greed, not moral justification. Without religion, would it be justified to start a war over money? No, people wouldn't allow, they'd oppose it. It's when fear is created, or when it's allowed "by God," that people will agree to it. People don't WANT to go to war... people need a reason to say "yes." Most people would not say a war over land or money is a justified war.

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Morals are not necessarily religion. Atheists have morals, but no religion. The same is true (perhaps even more so) with Agnostics. Morals are simply our individual definition of what is "right" and "wrong", so any of us who have such archetypal ideals have morals regardless of what (if any) religion we follow.
Indeed, everyone's religious to an extent. You don't have to believe in a god to be religious. I wasn't talking about the following of traditional religion...

I stipulated this as well in my arguments above. Sure, religion has been the cause of wars and deaths, but is it more than 50%? I'm not close to convinced by your arguments.

So in closing: many wars have been caused directly through religious conflicts or misinterpretation of holy scriptures. Many wars, perhaps most, have been justified by religion, whether or not it was the actual cause. If religion is not influential in dictating those wars, then why was it involved at all? If the didn't need that justification to do it, why didn't they just go ahead? It certainly has a LARGE role, and I BELIEVE there would be less war/conflict if traditional religion was done with. Religion often makes war "easier."

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How would it have been justified to the people? You must be kidding, right? As I mentioned in prior posts, long before there was Catholicism and Protestantism in England, the Irish and English have been fighting (the same is true with most border wars which is the vast majority of wars in history).
I was more referring to current times. I wasn't implying that the kings used to go and ask the peasants their opinion on going to war. Certainly there ARE other forms of justification, although I do not believe people now would find money/land justification for killing (look at Iraq), but you can't deny that religion is often cited.

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A peasant didn't get a justification because the peasant would simply be killed by his lord/master/emperor if he did not fight. There weren't free people that would require a justification prior to going, one simply obeyed the nobiilty, clan leader, etc.
Thank you for the basic civics lesson, but I never said that. Please see above.

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If you speak to most religious leaders, they will agree that their religion's aim is not war, and thus it follows logically that if the religious leaders don't seek war
And again, you've put words in my mouth. I never said the religious leaders are the ones who've started these wars.

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Your example about Iraq is somewhat flawed. First, because again you are relying on justification, something not necessary in most of human history
You don't think the general public's opinion on the war matters in Iraq's case? It's finally being taken into consideration. Of COURSE justification was needed, and Bush gave it to the people, and they gobbled it all up. No one would have supported the war otherwise. Even Hitler set up certain events that would "justify" the war.

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and second because all of religion was not part of any justification for the Iraq conflict.
Ok, seriously, stop putting words in my mouth. I didn't say that either. I know that it wasn't cited as the reason he went to war, although Bush has certainly said things that suggest he believes it's what God wants... this quote was widely reported: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan. And I did, and then God would tell me, George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq. . . . And I did.' It wasn't widely used as justification to the people in the case, but it apparently was justification for Bush.

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There is nothing unquestioning about it.
And where did I say that ALL people follow religious leaders without question? Let me tell you something about myself: I don't make statements where I lump all people together like that based on the actions of a few, so please stop assuming that of me.

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In fact, if President Bush had said that we were going for oil, he would have been lying
Ahahaha. Funny, funny boy.

I also find it amusing that you talk as if people are referring only to Christianity when they speak of this. :\

*hand shake*
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Old 11-20-2008, 02:40 PM
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I beg to differ with this very generalized bit of wishful thinking.

While it is true that most of the mainstream religions being practiced today are all based on the notion of promoting peace, enlightenment, wisdom, love, and redemption, and allowing for the fact that religion attempts to be a positive force in the world, it's also been one of the most destructive and divisive innovations ever.

Earth's bloodiest conflicts have always been religious-based. Don't believe me? Consider - the Crusades....the War of Reformation, the Thirty Years War, The Hundred Years' War, the Irish struggle between Catholics and Protestants, the Hindu-Muslim schism that led to the rift between India and Pakistan, the European conquest of the Americas, and today's Arab-Israeli Wars and our own War on Terror. All these were/are caused in some fashion by religious motives.
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Old 11-20-2008, 06:35 PM
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I believe all religion which has a belief and love for God is good. There are religions that don't believe in Him. If you love God and love your neighbor; you are on the right track.
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Old 11-24-2008, 06:29 AM
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Religions are ways through which we can reach the soul of God. There are so many paths taken by a river to reach its ultimatum of SEA. So i consider that religions are the ways through which we can sail and reach the ultimatum. There is nothing wrong in following any religion. But follow the rules and its preachings.
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