Sunday, May 12, 2013

Does Hell exist? And if it does how do you feel about your loved ones being sent there? One woman's response might shock you.

The video below is from the BBC program "The Big Questions" which is a remarkable program with the kind of format that we in the states cannot seem to pull off effectively.

I must admit that I am somewhat addicted to the program and have watched numerous episodes, many dealing with religion, Atheism, the bible, and many of the types of controversial topics that I like to discuss here on IM.

In the one below they are talking about he existence of Hell and have a variety of experts representing various religions, faiths, and the nonreligious to discuss the topic. There are also a couple of regular church members included as they also are asked to provide their opinions.

This woman, Liz Weston, who has already established her belief in Hell, is asked at the 3:50 mark how she could enjoy heaven knowing that many of her loved ones are being tormented in hell.

Her response is so bizarre and irrational to me that it makes my head ache. Here take a listen:

Wow! Here is what she says, in case you also cannot believe it:

Weston: "No, it won't. Because I will be with Jesus."

Host: "But the people that you love.."

Weston: "The person that I love the most is Jesus."

Host: "But what about the people you love in your life?"

Weston: "But I don't love them as much as I love Jesus. That's the point."

The rest of the conversation is well worth watching and I encourage you to do so, but it is this one back and forth that quite literally caused me one or two sleepless nights.

Simply put I have NO frame of reference to understand how somebody could look forward to living for eternity while believing that the people she one loved are punished in the most excruciating manner possible, simply because she will be in the presence of a person that she has never met, and has no reality based relationship with.

Essentially, despite what she might believe, everything that she believes is admirable about Jesus, and worthy of her love, is something she read in a book or was told by a representative of the religion named in his honer.

She has NO actual relationship with Jesus, and yet gaining access to HIM after her death is more important than what will happen to the people who have loved her all her life, and those she has laughed, cried, and struggled beside for her entire existence.

It makes me wonder if she is able to really form relationships here on earth, if she is always thinking of how much more fulfilling the one she has after she dies will be? I mean is it possible to truly love, when you care more for the possibility to a perfect love that lays behind death's door than you do about the ones you are having as a mortal on this tiny rock in space?

I am anxious to hear what you have to say, because in my nonreligious brain this feels like the very definition of insanity.


  1. Anonymous4:26 AM

    Wasn't it Mark Twain who said "Go to heaven for the climate, and to hell for the company"?
    My concept of hell is spending an eternity with people like Liz Weston.

    1. Anonymous5:11 AM

      All the cool people will be chilling in the afterlife, has nothing to do with man-made concepts of Heaven or Hell.

    2. Anonymous7:27 AM

      Well said 5:11
      I used to love to tell the JW's there is NO HELL!
      You know the best thing to tell the troll?
      Go to hell!
      It freaks them out!
      I don't bevel in HELL!
      However I do believe that during the "life review" you get to experience for example if you are Sarah Palin, you get to experience the Pain and suffering you inflicted on others. If that is hell then yes they will experience the HELL they put others, people & animals (that caribou that was shot for show?)

      And you know god is DOG also,too!

    3. Um, JWs don't believe in hell. At all. Not that you would want to hang out with one, but they would not have minded you agreeing with them that there is no hell, lol.

    4. Anonymous9:58 AM

      Well funny that they were so shocked them isn't it?
      Who else comes trolling at your door if it ins't JWs?

    5. Mormons. (LDS) right?

    6. Right. They love to talk some hellfire.

  2. MissSunshine4:30 AM

    The main trouble with this response is that it comes from a self-centered jerk.

    Ms. Jerk believes that in Jesus, she will have finally found her perfect IMAGINARY love, free of all the flaws that annoy her so of common humans people.

    She and her perfect Jesus will be able to look down from the comfort of their fluffy cloud-pillow-thrones to the poor, struggling ant-people beneath their feet.

    At last the her so-called "loved ones" will realize how VERY RIGHT she was, and how very wrong they were, and they will suffer for their sins as she flies above them with her big white wings while they grovel, wingless, BELOW HER FEET.

    This is very much a power "superior/inferior" fantasy.

    1. Anonymous5:45 AM

      I think you've got her number, MissSunshine. She's one nasty piece of work. I wonder if she always has that sanctimonious smirk on her face.

    2. Leland7:16 AM

      It makes ME wonder how much she really loves her "loved ones".

      On the other hand, she sounds as though she could be an insufferable bitch when it came to proselytizing, so I guess everyone is better off with her having this attitude.

      Since she obviously doesn't give a DAMN (pun intended) about those around her she probably keeps her jesus to her selfish SELF!

      I sincerely hope she KEEPS it that way!

    3. Anonymous9:32 AM

      Who would want to be her loved one?

  3. You said, "...this feels like the very definition of insanity."

    Yes, it is. It's why not one of my friends is religious or insane. I can't connect with either."

  4. Anonymous5:09 AM

    Gryph - come on - haven' t you heard about the saints and nuns who actually have ORGASMS thinking about jesus? Didn't Joan of arc and Therese of Avila report this?
    Face it - these are chicks who were too afraid or repressed to take a chance with men on earth, so they cling desperately to their boyfriend in heaven. Poor things.
    Sometimes the day or two after people I know die, I think about what, if anything, their being may be going thru, when there is no god as they believe...and they learn they didn't use their intellect and evolve as they were supposed next go around they have to try again...or they lose in the game that this world is and they go back to whatever they were in a far advanced galaxy and have to clean toilets or something.
    Do you ever think that we chose to come here in a game and bet our family and friends on planet Hubixux 3 that we would not die indoctrinated, but would figure it all out? And then when we die we have memory of both experiences and are like ...shit!!!!! I fell for it. Here ya go, here's your ten-spot Xenia.

  5. Anonymous5:10 AM

    If she thinks this magical relationship with a mystical being is going to give her an incredible afterlife (she's not worthy of a better afterlife than anyone for many of the reasoning you listed above) I've got a bridge to nowhere to sell her (if Sarah hasn't sold it ten times over already that is.)

  6. Anonymous5:15 AM

    The logic is so backwards! There HAS to be a hell because people are bad so if God's a just and loving God then there has to be punishment for these people and that's hell...but the only thing you have to escape hell is accept Jesus Christ and then you get into heaven, even if you were a terrible person and deserve to go to hell... But if you were a good person who lived a just life devoted to the poor but you didn't believe in Jesus -- like, say...the Dalai Llama -- then you go to hell to suffer eternally because God is a just and loving God???????

  7. They’re always followers.

    They’re always hypocrites (yes).

    They do love certain family members, but will turn on those members if they refuse religion. Religious indoctrination trumps everything. Tribal?

    They have normal biological urges and jealousies; they know they fall short of the glory of God, but Jesus is their guaranteed redemption. That’s the best I can explain them, based on my vast experience with them. I think MissSunshine is onto something as well.

  8. MissSunshine hit the nail on the head - that's exactly what it's all about.

    OT - Considering this is Mother's Day, Gryphen, you should see this video, starring Sarah Palin and the victims of Sandy Hook.

    1. Anonymous5:43 AM

      I can't watch that wench.

  9. Anonymous5:38 AM

    Scare them into giving you money. Reward the transaction by making them feel they, and only they, are worth loving.

  10. Anonymous5:45 AM

    It's selfish. They value their own beliefs over other people's lives, that is what ultimately matters to them. It's more important that they get to spend their own 'eternity' with Jesus than with their loved ones. Every man for himself, I guess.

    How else could someone kill to prevent abortions, or go to war to kill for religion?

    There is so much we don't know about our origins, and there could very well be a fantastic explanation, but I'm thinking it's far more scientific than magical. Hell, even if our souls do go somewhere, it could be just another of nature's mysteries, like a worm that morphs into a flying insect.

    Who knows? But to try to convince a whole planet that you exist by writing a book containing all the instructions humans are supposed to live by, well, that just sounds insane. Why not use magic and pop onto our TVs and convince us once and for all?

  11. Anonymous6:42 AM

    It seems to me that I should be "good" (kind, compassionate, trustworthy, etc.) because doing so is the "right" thing to do (I am happy and I am making the world a better place). I think being "good" is its own reward, not getting some prize like "heaven" or some punishment like "hell".

    Jesus didn't die to save me. There was nothing wrong with me when I was born. And through my life, the "sins" I have committed (and, like all people, I've done my share) are my fault, and it is my job to rectify them.

    But one sin I have never committed is assuming that a sizable portion of all the humans alive today and in the past deserve eternal torment. That fact that some religions relish the concept of eternal torment horrifies me. In a way, it makes me wish there really was a hell, so they could go there.

    1. Leland7:31 AM

      6:42, you are so right! I live by the five words most important to me and the way I interact with people. (At the risk of sounding redundant, they are: love, understanding, compassion, forgiveness and tolerance.) I live by them because they seem right!

      Why should I need a reward to live that way?

      Of course, the xtians have an answer for that, too! "You can't get to heaven through good deeds alone."

      Tell me something, please? How can these fools think they are going to go to heaven simply because they "believe" in a man when that man is supposedly all-knowing? Being all-knowing, of course, means he can see into their hearts and tell they were claiming belief only because they felt it the "safe" thing to do?

      In cases like that, who is more deserving of Hell? The person who did their best to succor and support his fellow Man or the one who is dead certain they are going to heaven because they believe in a man who can cleanse them of all sins BECAUSE they claim belief?

      Arrogance is also a sin. It's just too bad there are so many people who can't even SPELL it, let alone understand the meaning of the word!

    2. "But one sin I have never committed is assuming that a sizable portion of all the humans alive today and in the past deserve eternal torment. That fact that some religions relish the concept of eternal torment horrifies me. In a way, it makes me wish there really was a hell, so they could go there."

      ...until today

  12. our lad6:52 AM

    Just stupid and scared. I live in the bible belt and these yahoos surround me. Dumbass after dumbass marching to the Walmart in lockstep. What fucking happened to this country? When did it hop on the short bus?

  13. Anonymous7:19 AM

    One way or another she may be in for a big surprise.

  14. Anonymous8:22 AM

    They think they know so much about heaven and hell. They've got all the rules!

    There were a lot of fireworks after I told my school nun that I had opted out of the bible's heaven/hell in favor of the one described in the bible on the planets in the Alpha Centauri system. Worth every bit of punishment the nuns and parents thought up.

    1. Leland9:16 AM


      DAMN! That took BALLZ!

  15. I have a long time, very religious friend whose son shot himself years ago. He was always a very insecure but nice guy who kind of got shuffled onto the sidelines because that couple was always doing good works for others. Being as suicide is one of those things her church (and mine at the time) preached as a hell bound act, I often wondered but never asked how she reconciled that with her faith. I didn't want to bring up a painful subject for her, and I also didn't want to hear that she figured he was burning in hell either.

    Personally I always figured we were as close to it as we ever would get right here on earth. Seeing the suffering around us, I could never imagine a person being punished eternally for the hell they were already in.

    1. Anonymous9:10 AM

      Hey Lynne, sounds like you are ex-RCC? did you ever read any of the Eddie Ryan trilogy books (by John R. Powers ) about growing up RCC on the south side of Chicago? One was made into a play - "Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?" But the best one IMO, was "The Unoriginal Sinner and the Ice Cream God." One line, IIRC was that we are all choosing our own afterlife type here on earth. If we are miserable here, then our afterlife will be a misery, if we laugh and are happy... well, you get it. It seems the Ice Cream god is pretty loving and logical - gives people what they demonstrate in their behavior; it shows what they really value.

  16. Anonymous8:32 AM

    That was an interesting discussion. I do believe in God, that is simply a matter of faith. The truth is no one really knows what happens to any of us after death. I hope for a better afterlife because this world is pretty rotten at times. Peace!

    1. Anonymous9:06 AM

      I believe in keeping my opinions about god to myself, what possible interest could they be to anyone else.

    2. Anonymous10:22 AM


  17. "In order that the happiness of the saints will be more delightful...they are permitted perfectly to behold the suffering of the damned...The saints will rejoice at the punishment of the damned...which will fill them with joy." - St. Thomas Aquinas

    1. Anonymous9:38 AM

      "As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active power of the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of a woman comes from defect in the active power." - St. Thomas Aquinass.

    2. hedgewytch10:30 AM

      Thomas Aquin-Ass - should have never been made a "saint" - he was a homophobic, woman -hater, misogynist who did everything he could to vilify and marginalize woman.

  18. Sleepless nights? because people whose belief structures differ would, when debate turns to the differences, not be able to agree?

    (as a corollary, rationality, as I understand the term, refers to consistency of thought and action within a belief structure....i.e. the same view can be both rationally held and rationally disputed by different people)

    Has "belief" become such a charged word that its meaning has become obscured in many minds? and differences thereof now almost certain to invite accusations of insanity?

    Even in the "hard sciences" like Physics, there are differences in belief. Is "space" real? Is time a mental construct? Can time run backwards? Is the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics true? Is string theory true? Will man ever uncover the Theory of Everything? Is nature qualitatively infinite?

    **none of the above is intended to suggest I agree with the heaven and hell believing woman in the video (I don't)....I simply don't think she's insane or even irrational

    1. Anonymous10:51 AM


    2. and Gryphen wonders why Science seems to be losing popular appeal

    3. Anonymous1:59 PM

      The appeal of science is just fine - it's your pseudo-intellectualism that is boring.

    4. If those questions (and reminder of the meaning of rationality) are pseudo-intellectualist pursuits, what do you believe real science is about?

    5. Anonymous5:02 PM

      I didn't say anything you said was pseudo-intellectual, I said "YOUR pseudo-intellectualism". It's YOU. You, Dave are a boring pseudo-intellectual. You are insecure and hide behind other people's thoughts and ideas. You throw out names and think everyone should be impressed. Maybe it works on some people, but not on me.

      You see Dave, I work at a major University. One that has made major contributions in the fields of medicine, aeronautics (including the space program), geology, archeology, robotics, genetics and others. We have published professors, scientists who have made major discoveries and a Nobel Prize winner on staff. I've heard a lot of brilliant people over the years and one thing I can tell you is that they don't have to throw around their intellect or academia when talking to everyday people and they certainly don't have to drop names to impress anyone. And unless they are presenting at a symposium they talk just like everyone else.

      If you really wanted to have a discussion with those whom you consider to be at your intellectual level, there are tons of them available online, yet you come here to IM to bless us all with your pompous ass pedantry. I think you know that any real intellectual would wipe the floor with you, but here you think you can bluff your way into legitimacy.

      I won't engage you any further, Dave, not because you debate like a seventh grader (that would be a step up) and not because you turn every encounter into a pissing contest (and no one out-pisses Dave Lewis), but because I really don't like speaking unkindly to people. I made an exception in your case. I find you especially annoying.

      I will leave you to the last word because your personality disorder demands it.

      Grow up.


    6. Anonymous5:22 PM

      Dave needs to talk to the Lipstick Mystic, AKA Media Insider, they seem to have something in common:

    7. you win...I won't return

    8. Anonymous12:03 PM

      @ 5:02 PM

      LOVED your rant/smackdown of that little pea brained fake. And obviously you effectively shut him down since he's taking his toys and going someplace else to pedal them. It's always so shocking when mental masturbation is met with a swift kick to the ass!

      Keep keepin' 'em honest in the sea of BS we float in.

  19. Anonymous9:05 AM

    "...just a bunch of stories made up by rich people to stop poor people hitting them on the head with a stick and taking their money."

    Lloyd, from Undeclared, on the bible

  20. Anonymous9:09 AM

    There's a reason why psychosis often has a religious bent.

  21. Anonymous9:09 AM

    This post makes me want to rewatch the movie, Saved.

  22. deebee9:25 AM

    Actually we ARE in heaven. This existence is our reward for doing such a good job with our prior lives. Enjoy it while you can!

  23. Anonymous9:28 AM

    Most of the "so-called"fervent " right wing christians are nuts. And they have no idea what being a christian involves. I'm a proud atheist and I am more christian than they ever could be.

    1. Leland12:54 PM

      AMEN! (pun intended)

  24. Anonymous10:19 AM

    Just saying... No one is born a Christian, Jew, Muslim or any other known religion.. You must be brainwashed into believing it with the threat of a fictional place called hell to keep those believers in control.

    1. Leland12:41 PM

      You have to be brainwashed to believe ANY of it - including hell.

  25. Anonymous10:47 AM

    If there is a perfect and just god who loves people and we are taught by his supposed history book, written long after his death by writers who never knew or witnessed him personally, to honor and take care of our parents etc. etc. etc. then how can he be a perfect loving god if he allows all the horrendous suffering to those little ones who have done nothing to cause it? Subjecting all those parents who must watch their infants die of starvation and murder because there are not resources for saving themselves, no matter how hard they try is the work of a loving god? In whose dreams?

    You want me to worship a supposed omnipotent entity who permits, for centuries now, the undeserved, relentless suffering and pain to individuals he supposedly creates? That is for me insanity - and I am not a youngster but an old, old lady who has spent her life and career caring for those sick and disabled individuals, most of whom through no fault of their own have been stricken with illnesses that are indeed an experience of the ravages of hell here on earth.

    Common sense, or morals, has taught us that parents who beat their children or starve them must be punished. That alone tells me that an omnipotent, loving being would tend a flock with caring and love, not with hatred, pain and threats of being cast into a fiery furnace.

    No one has the answers, and unfortunately I do not even read or hear of someone with the right questions to prove their theory. Faith doesn't pay the light bill or put gas in the car so.......

    1. Readers might not agree with the following, but it is a response to your request for an answer: What might God’s reason be for allowing evil and suffering to occur? Alvin Plantinga (1974, 1977) has offered the most famous contemporary philosophical response to this question. He suggests the following as a possible morally sufficient reason:

      (MSR1) God’s creation of persons with morally significant free will is something of tremendous value. God could not eliminate much of the evil and suffering in this world without thereby eliminating the greater good of having created persons with free will with whom he could have relationships and who are able to love one another and do good deeds.

      (MSR1) claims that God allows some evils to occur that are smaller in value than a greater good to which they are intimately connected. If God eliminated the evil, he would have to eliminate the greater good as well. God is pictured as being in a situation much like that of Mrs. Jones: she allowed a small evil (the pain of a needle) to be inflicted upon her child because that pain was necessary for bringing about a greater good (immunization against polio).

      Leibniz too offered an answer: (i) Human minds are only only aware of a small fraction of the universe. To judge it full of misery on this small fraction is presumptuous. Just as the true design–or, indeed, any design–of a painting is not visible from viewing a small corner of it, so the proper order of the universe exceeds one’s ability to judge it.

      (ii) The best possible universe does not mean no evil, but that less overall evil is impossible.

      (iii) Similarly to the previous argument, and in the best Neo-Platonist tradition, Leibniz claims that evil and sin are negations of positive reality. All created beings are limitations and imperfect; therefore evil and sin are necessary for created beings (see Discourse on Metaphysics, §30).

    2. Anonymous10:53 AM

      I've read and re-read your contribution and thank you for it.

      However, I challenge the fact that the mentally ill used free will to willingly contract their condition. I challenge the idea that the suffering used free will to be born in a country or a family where starvation reigns.

      I challenge the idea that the dark skinned folks chose to be colored so they could suffer at the hands of the racists and slave owners.

      If free will supposedly was crucial criteria for creating humans then there is something inherently wrong with the idea.

      None of us would knowingly make, design or choose something that was flawed from the get go and would not work appropriately.

      Can't find relevance or common sense in this dissertation - and given our ability for world wide news today if the above statements were true then we would need to hope that our earth represented the very dregs of the universe, given all the hatred, harm and wars.

  26. Anonymous12:27 PM

    Being a person never exposed to religion except in college theology courses, it simply is not nor has ever been a part of my life.

    I don't get it, I never will understand it, but it's not for me to judge or really even pay that much attention to. If JW's or Mormons show up at our door, despite our Posted and No Trespassing signs, we are polite, tell them we don't engage in ANY faith based system and shake their hands and they go away.

    I'm not a fan of proselytizing or evangelizing and there was a time in my life where I was very vocally and rabidly opposed but I came to realize that most times these folks mean no harm and even the ones that are blatantly hypocritical, well, their belief system will punish them for their bad behavior. They might not really "go to hell" but the internal struggle with what some finally realize is behavior not in agreement with their faith will be something they must come to terms with.

    I've seen people make themselves physically ill because they know they've behaved in a manner not consistent with he teachings of their faith. They fast, they pray, they engage in self-harming, and nothing changes unless a conscious choice is made to change. That's the cage they live in and either they've chosen it or the choice was made for them as children. It's a very hard system to escape and I feel some compassion for those whose free will has been stolen by indoctrination. However, those who come to it as adults have no one to blame but themselves.

  27. Leland12:53 PM

    I have only one thing I would change about what you said, 10:47, and the first is you are forgetting the old testament which brags about this having been going on for MILLENNIA. And apparently he was doing it with glee!

    One of my favorite statements concerning exactly what you bring up is: "If god exists he sure be charged with child abuse!"

    But then again, the believers have an answer for you question: free will.

    Can you say COP OUT?

  28. Lidia176:13 PM

    Oh they are insane, all right…

    My now-Rapture-Ready™® sister has had a somewhat troubled marriage, and her new church has only made it worse. She's communicated to me her ABSOLUTE AGONY that now, instead of being sad that her husband doesn't love her [a lot/enough/at all/as much as she loves him, etc.] now her criterion has gone to infinity and beyond: Her husband doesn't love her AS MUCH AS CHRIST LOVED THE CHURCH!!! That's how much the Babble says he should love her, and well, he just doesn't meet up to that expectation. I told her no-one could; that even if you believe in a God or Jesus it's pretty stupid to expect a mortal to be their equal.

    But no, no… the Babble sez the husband must love the wife with the height, depth, breadth, and intensity of JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF, and nothing less will do.

    These people, deep down, do not WANT to be happy, is all I can figure… 

  29. Anita Winecooler6:42 PM

    Why do I have a sudden yearning to watch Monty Python's "Life of Brian"?

  30. Anonymous11:39 PM

    I love your posts on religion, Gryphen, to me they are the most interesting. Your political posts are a close second. Lots of stimulating ideas and discussion. The Palin posts are just cheap entertainment, an ongoing real-life soap opera that is irresistable because it is real-life while being so insanely unbelievable.

    Anyway, thanks for posting this BBC video. I wish I could play it for my tiny church here in New Zealand. This is exactly the kind of discussion I would like to have with the other members of that church. I am not a professed Christian - I am going to this little church to try and understand how Christians think and feel. (I prefer Buddhism) But after about a year listening to the pastor and debating with him (presenting other viewpoints that is, which I do by email) I am no closer to understanding the basic tenants of Christianity as preached by churches. The main tenant that bothers me is that unless you confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and died on the cross to save you from your sins you have no hope of going to heaven. And you have to confess this before you die, because after death there is no second chance. My church never talks about hell, but the inference is always there: if you are not one of the chosen by believing in Christ, instead of eternal life you are condemned to eternal damnation.

    It all seems so 'made up' to me. I really am seeking to gain spiritual belief, but I can't wrap my head around Christianity and possibly more important to me as a female, I can't wrap my heart around it. My Dad brought me up reading the bible, but we always interpreted it symbolically, not literally. Dad always scoffed at the idea of a virgin birth. After all sex (procreation) is a huge part of God's creation. There is nothing unholy about it. Or is the weirdness in the idea of a bodiless spirit inpregnating a woman...or God himself impregnating a woman so that He could be born as a man???? --With the purpose of dying (as Son of God) so as to save us sinful mortals from our sins and give us eternal life. !!!!!
    Wow! Could phantasy get any more fantastical?

    I don't believe in the Christian religion. I don't believe in any other religion but I do like Buddism. The 8 steps to enlightenment: Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Conbsentration.

    I do blieve in God. I believe in God as the universal force of life that permeates all of creation, every life form, in this incredible universe that science discovers more of each and every year. How could I not believe in something miraculous and all-seeing when I remember that there are no 2 snowflakes alike, no 2 fingerprints, no 2 of anything, and yet there is such an incredible diversity of creation!!! Incredible to me defines my sense of worship. How can anyone look upon the wonders of this world alone (this our tiny rock in space) and not feel the sense of wonder that is what I call worship. Be buggered all the religions that try to place worship in a box. We the little specks of humanity are here swimming amongst the little specks of the plants and the animals and the stars, all part of the Big Picture where there is equality. No heaven and no hell.

    C.L. from New Zealand

    1. Anonymous5:16 AM

      C.L., you are not alone on that boat of confusion about Christianity.

      M.S. from Alaska


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