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Featured Dogma

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Heyo, May 27, 2020.

  1. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    Definition of dogma
    1 a : something held as an established opinion especially : a definite authoritative tenet
    b : a code of such tenets pedagogical dogma
    c : a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds​
    2 : a doctrine or body of doctrines concerning faith or morals formally stated and authoritatively proclaimed by a church
    -- Merriam-Webster

    So, dogmata are defining, authoritative positions necessary to be held to belong to a group, party, church. This keeps the group together and "clean" in their position. If someone states to be a member of a dogmatic group, I know exactly what position s/he holds. Therefore dogmata should be formulated and upheld.

    Dogmata can be, and often are, wrong (not in accord with reality). It may have been right or considered to be right once upon a time but holding on to an ancient dogma just makes the whole group wrong. Therefore dogmata should be discussed and, if found to be wrong, abandoned.


    What's your position on dogma? Examples? Reasons for or against?
     
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  2. Harel13

    Harel13 Am Yisrael Chai
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    Happy birthday @Heyo! :)

    Carry on with the thread.
     
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  3. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Excellent question!

    The way I figure it, there is a trade-off between group cohesion and intellectual advancement. Dogmas tend to promote cohesion at the expense of advancement. That is, the more robustly and rigorously a group's elites enforce the group's dogma, the more likely they will hamper or shut down efforts to update and adapt the group's beliefs to a changing world.

    At an extreme, this might lead to situations we are all too familiar with. Situations in which a group's beliefs are recognized as ridiculous by almost everyone except the more indoctrinated members of the group. A typical consequence of those situations seems to be that the members end up making themselves willfully stupid in order to cope with the fact their beliefs are absurd.

    I would ask whether there might be better and safer ways to secure the blessings of group cohesion than dogmas? In an age when group cohesion can be all but scientifically engineered through proven techniques of persuasion, it would seem to me that dogmas are a pretty crude and inefficient tool for it. Kind of like going to war on horseback in an age of tanks.

    But in the end, it's a value judgment, a matter of taste, whether or not they appeal to someone.

    Just my two Japanese yen.


    P. S. If I were to found a religion for some other purpose than to make money, I would focus on using proven techniques of social engineering to create shared core values and goals, rather than shared beliefs, as the heart of my religion.

    On the other hand, if I was going for the money, I'd focus on beliefs. Much larger market and the prospect of much faster growth.
     
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  4. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    Like a Catholic can never be a vegetarian and receive communion or an alcoholic can without danger.
    But that is only a minor problem for Catholics and most don't even think about it.
    It becomes a much bigger problem when heresy can lead to life changing consequences especially when the dogmatic group wasn't self chosen.
     
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  5. Vouthon

    Vouthon Dominus Deus tuus ignis consumens est
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    A Catholic can't be a vegetarian and receive communion, a piece of consecrated bread?

    (The second part of the sentence about alcoholism is unclear to me but I'd be grateful if you could explain if it's still in relation to your point regarding Catholics or not, thanks. One does not need to drink the communion wine, I haven't myself in years for hygiene reasons. Eating the bread alone or the wine alone is sufficient to have received the full host. In their absence, a person can attain the spiritual grace of the sacrament by desire alone, should it be impossible for them to physically partake, say for health reasons:

    Spiritual Communion - Wikipedia).

    Friend, have I misunderstood your post? There are no dietary laws or stipulations in Catholicism. We can eat whatever food we like, or believe to be moral, in accordance with conscience. A few of our monastic orders, such as the Carthusians and Cistercians, follow a strict vegetarian diet.

    For some Catholics, a vegetarian diet goes hand in hand with faith

    Ethical judgements with regards to meat-eating or drinking are a conscientious matter left to the discretion of the individual in most Christian churches.

    Happy birthday by the way! Many, many happy returns!!! :D
     
    #5 Vouthon, May 27, 2020
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  6. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't it Catholic dogma that bread and wine turn into body and blood of Christ? (Transubstantiation - Wikipedia)
    I.e. as a Catholic you must believe that you eat meat during communion. Thus you can't be a vegetarian and a Catholic at the same time.
    The same goes for the wine. You must believe that it doesn't pose a threat to an alcoholic as it doesn't contain alcohol.

    Thanks.
     
  7. Vouthon

    Vouthon Dominus Deus tuus ignis consumens est
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    With sincere respect but that is not our doctrinal stance at all.

    This misunderstanding has been addressed many times - including by posters who are not Catholics - but we are not metaphysical cannibals:

    Eucharist

    In his book Font of Life (2012), Garry Wills correctly notes how the church father St. Augustine of Hippo (354 – 430 AD) "ridiculed" the idea that the eucharist was the literal body and blood of Christ. "Augustine repeatedly says," writes Wills, "that Christ cannot be chewed, digested, and excreted."

    As you will know, there is a great deal of diversity in Christian interpretation of the import of the Lord's Supper and its sacramental character. This ranges from the purely symbolic 'memorialism' of denominations like Baptists, Anabaptists and non-denominational churches; the real and effective "spiritual presence" viewpoint espoused by traditional Calvinists; the most widely shared cross-denominational perspective, that of the "real presence" of the sacramental blood and body of Christ in the communion wavers and wine as believed by Anglicans and Lutherans among others (to varying degrees) and finally the most extreme versions, that of metousiosis (change of essence or inner reality) adhered to by Eastern Orthodox and the transubstantiation affirmed by Roman Catholics.

    In none of these interpretations, including the last two, is there any insinuation that Jesus is 'eaten, chewed, digested and excreted' in a cannibalistic or theophagic manner. Using Scholastic philosophical language and its conceptual framework, the Catholic Church distinguishes between substance and species in the consecrated eucharistic bread and wine. The accidents of bread and wine (size, weight, taste, texture) do remain.

    So the body and blood is not consumed under the form or properties of flesh and blood (such that no scientific analysis would ever conclude that it is, physically speaking, anything other than bread and wine), but under the sacramental signs of bread and wine.

    The sense in which it is "Christ's glorified body and blood" is not perceptible by the senses (i.e. if you tested the consecrated host in a lab, it would be comprised of just any old particles of wheat and flour) but must be discerned and experienced spiritually.

    I freely concede that transubstantiation is a peculiar - even outrageous sounding - doctrine to those outside the church. But as weird as it might be, one does need to keep a sense of proportion and not exaggerate its meaning to a ridiculous degree.

    The idea that Christians gathered to commit acts of ritual cannibalism was, of course, the accusation of many contemporary Roman era writers - I guess, understandably - but it was a gross misinterpretation and slander that led to much social distrust and state repression of the early Christian movement.
     
    #7 Vouthon, May 27, 2020
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  8. Vouthon

    Vouthon Dominus Deus tuus ignis consumens est
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    As I noted in my previous posting, Catholics are under no obligation to physically partake of the wine. For those physically partaking of the sacrament, communion under one kind is the standard, time immemorial practice:


    CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Communion Under Both Kinds

    Not only, therefore, is Communion under both kinds not obligatory on the faithful...


    In cases where a person or people as a whole, for health or conscientious reasons, cannot physically digest either the bread or wine, spiritual communion by desire comes in:


    Those unable to receive Eucharist can have spiritual communion | DOLR.org


    What is spiritual communion? St. Thomas Aquinas described it as “an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the most holy sacrament and lovingly embrace him” at a time or in circumstances when we cannot receive him in sacramental Communion.

    The Catechism of the Council of Trent devoted a special section to spiritual communion in its program of renewal in the late 16th century. In the past, instruction manuals gave as the most familiar situation, the need of a mother to stay home from Sunday Mass to care for a sick child, thereby missing the opportunity for Communion.

    In such cases, the mother could make an act of spiritual communion, uniting herself with the Mass in her parish church and receive the spiritual benefit of Communion.


    The grace of the sacrament can still be conveyed in cases where it is not possible to physically partake, through communion by desire or spiritual communion. Its efficacious.

    Baptism by explicit or implicit desire is also part of the church's doctrinal teaching.
     
    #8 Vouthon, May 27, 2020
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  9. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    Funny how such a rumour can persist over such a long time - or how the Catholic church wasn't able to explain it in an adequate manner.
    But that isn't the only "weird" dogma of the Catholic church and like the transubstantiation they are usually preached as fact to the laity and "explained" to the critics.
    The explanations become more sophisticated over time and keep up with the science (within a few decades) but the dogmata don't really get addressed.
    And the lag can get pretty dangerous for the believers. (Prohibition of condoms in the time of AIDS)
     
  10. Vouthon

    Vouthon Dominus Deus tuus ignis consumens est
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    A perfectly legitimate criticism of the church's moral teaching in that case (although, as I noted, the Eucharistic equation with cannibalism was quite flawed and has been since St. Augustine countered it in the fourth century IMHO).

    To be fair, though, when you write in the above that "they are usually preached as fact to the laity and "explained" to the critics", the doctrine of the Eucharist that I've expounded to you above is thoroughly Thomistic and was explained in the same way by St. Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century (i.e. species / accidents distinction using Aristotelian philosophical categories), whilst spiritual communion in the absence of physical partaking has been a doctrine of the church since forever.

    On the condom point, while that is a perfectly valid criticism, there is some nuance:


    Catholic Church and HIV/AIDS - Wikipedia


    Pope Benedict XVI pointed out that when a prostitute uses a condom "with the intention of reducing the risk of infection, can be a first step in a movement towards a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality."[16][17] He said that the concern for others suggested by this action is laudable, but does not mean that either prostitution or condoms are in themselves good.[18][19][17]

    Intention is considered important and as such mitigating circumstances according to conscientious judgement apply in innumerable cases. If a person, through material adversity for example, must solicit themselves sexually to eat, of course in the process of doing so it is laudable and correct that they should protect both themselves from infection and the other people who are soliciting their services (to take just one example of many, many many particular situations) through the use of barrier methods.

    So, while the church might still disagree "objectively" with the practice and lifestyle, subjectively it is a moral necessity for that individual, even a laudable one.

    In his 2016 apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis said the following:


    Amoris Laetitia - Chapter 8 - Amoris


    A pastor cannot feel that it is enough simply to apply moral laws to those living in 'irregular' situations, as if they were stones to throw at people's lives. This would bespeak the closed heart of one used to hiding behind the Church’s teachings, sitting on the chair of Moses and judging at times with superiority and superficiality.

    Along these same lines, the International Theological Commission has noted that “natural law could not be presented as an already established set of rules that impose themselves a priori on the moral subject; rather, it is a source of objective inspiration for the deeply personal process of making decisions”.350 Because of forms of conditioning and mitigating factors, it is possible that in an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end.

    Hence it can no longer simply be said that all those in any 'irregular' situation [from the standpoint of Catholic doctrine] are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace
    . More is involved here than mere ignorance of the rule. A subject may know full well the rule, yet have great difficulty in understanding “its inherent values”, or be in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act differently and decide otherwise without further sin...

    By thinking that everything is black and white, we sometimes close off the way of grace and of growth, and discourage paths of sanctification which give glory to God.
     
    #10 Vouthon, May 27, 2020
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  11. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Dogma is not necessarily 'wrong', it's just unproven to be right.
     
  12. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    Yep. Explanation/adaptation of a dogma without addressing the dogma itself, decades behind the times.
    But the Catholic church is a behemoth and not to be expected to change course quickly. I'm glad it is changing at all and usually into the right direction. The future will tell if the changes are fast enough to keep it alive.
     
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  13. Vouthon

    Vouthon Dominus Deus tuus ignis consumens est
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    It should be remembered that "development of doctrine" happens to be dogmatic in Catholic theology.

    As the decree of the Second Vatican Council explained:


    The tradition which comes from the apostles develops in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down.

    This happens through the contemplation and study made by believers, who treasure these things in their hearts, through a penetrating understanding of the spiritual realities which they experience, and through the preaching of those who have received through episcopal succession the sure gift of truth.

    For, as the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her


    (Dei Verbum 8)

    This is the Catholic way of being, as Cardinal and saint John Henry Newman noted in the nineteenth century: "a true development retains the essential idea of the subject from which it has proceeded" (241)

    Tradition is organic, it grows from the same and eternal source which is it's seed. If I may quote St.Vincent of Lérins who wrote concerning doctrinal development in the fifth century:

    Therefore, let there be growth and abundant progress in understanding, knowledge, and wisdom, in each and all, in individuals and in the whole Church, at all times and in the progress of ages, but only with the proper limits".

    This is not a new-fangled phenomenon in Catholicism. As St. Thomas Aquinas wrote in his 13th century Summa:

    https://www3.nd.edu/~afreddos/papers/st1-2-q19-aa5-6.pdf

    For it is not only what is indifferent that can take on the character of goodness or badness per accidens; it is likewise the case that, because of reason’s apprehension, what is [objectively] good can take on the character of badness and what is [objectively] bad can take on the character of [subjective] goodness. For instance, abstaining from fornication is a certain good, and yet the will is not directed toward this good except insofar as it proposed by reason.

    Therefore, if it is proposed as something bad by reason when reason is mistaken, then an act of willing will be directed toward it under the notion of badness. Hence, the act of willing will be bad, since it wills something bad—not, to be sure, something that is bad per se, but something that is bad per accidens because of reason’s apprehension. Similarly, believing in Christ is per se good and necessary for salvation, but an act of willing is directed toward this good only insofar as it is proposed by reason. Hence, if believing in Christ is proposed as something bad, then an act of willing will be directed toward it as something bad—not because it is bad in its own right, but because it is bad per accidens in light of reason’s apprehension


    This is an excerpt from the volume 1 of the four volumes work on moral theology by Germain Grisez. Joseph Boyle, John Finnis, and William E. May were some notable figures who helped Grisez in the making of his book entitled The Way of the Lord Jesus. Grisez was a key figure in the drafting of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor.

    He writes:

    2. According to common Christian teaching, one must follow one’s conscience even when it is [objectively] mistaken. St. Thomas explains this as follows. Conscience is one’s last and best judgment as to the choice one ought to make. If this judgment is [objectively] mistaken, one does not know it at the time. One will follow one’s conscience if one is choosing reasonably. To the best of one’s knowledge and belief, it is God’s plan and will. So if one acts against one’s conscience, one is certainly in the wrong (see S.t., 1–2, q. 19, aa. 5–6).

    Thomas drives home his point. If a superior gives one an order which cannot be obeyed without violating one’s conscience, one must not obey. To obey the superior in this case would be to disobey what one believes to be the mind and will of God (see S.t., 1–2, q. 19, a. 5, ad 2; 2–2, q. 104, a. 5). It is good to abstain from fornication. But if one’s conscience is that one should choose to fornicate, one does evil if one does not fornicate. Indeed, to believe in Jesus is in itself good and essential for salvation; but one can only believe in him rightly if one judges that one ought to. Therefore, one whose conscience is that it is wrong to believe in Jesus would be morally guilty if he or she chose against this judgment.


    συνείδησιν δὲ λέγω οὐχὶ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ ἀλλὰ τὴν τοῦ ἑτέρου. ἵνα τί γὰρ ἡ ἐλευθερία μου κρίνεται ὑπὸ ἄλλης συνειδήσεως

    "Why should my freedom be determined/judged by someone else’s conscience?"

    (1 Corinthians 10:29)

    According to St. Paul, conscience is a principle of freedom and freedom should not be subject to the judgement of another person's conscience. For this would amount to allowing another person's scruples to undermine our own personal liberty. Elsewhere, he says that we must each live according to whatever convictions we hold before God.

    IMHO it is possible for a religion to have dogmas without being dogmatic about those dogmas, as applied to complicated individual ethical situations and judgements in a world which deviates far from our ideals (just as the church itself often deviates far from it's ideals, being run by flawed people), because the duty of the church is to walk with and support people in the formation of conscience, not to replace their consciences.

    Pope Francis expressed this well his 2015 exhortation Amoris Laetitia:


    https://w2.vatican.va/content/dam/f...sortazione-ap_20160319_amoris-laetitia_en.pdf


    It is reductive simply to consider whether or not an individual’s actions correspond to a general law or rule, because that is not enough to discern and ensure full fidelity to God in the concrete life of a human being. Discernment must help to find possible ways of responding to God and growing in the midst of limits

    We have been called to form consciences, not to replace them...

    This is not a 'gradualness of law' but rather a gradualness in the prudential exercise of free acts on the part of subjects who are not in a position to understand, appreciate, or fully carry out the objective demands of the law
     
    #13 Vouthon, May 27, 2020
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  14. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Meghalayan Ape

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    Surely there are certain dogmata (is that even a word?!) that essentially define a faith or party and so cannot be discarded wihout negating the very existence of the faith or party?
    Do you believe in God? No? Well you are not a Catholic.
    Do you believe in public ownership? No? Well you are not a socialist.
     
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  15. bobhikes

    bobhikes AntiRepublican
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    Personally I don't agree with Dogma but I believe that is true of many people belonging to the groups. Dogma is a term I believe created by believers in a group to show disagreement with the rule. Usually its a practitioner stating that something is dogma. A person outside the group would generally say it is wrong or bad.
     
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  16. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    "plural dogmas also dogmata\ ˈdȯg-mə-tə, ˈdäg- \" - Merriam-Webster
    Dogmata is the Latin plural form.
    That is an interesting distinction. Some characteristics are defining. I think I wouldn't even call them dogma. And then there are characteristics that go beyond the definition. A bachelor is an unmarried man by definition. That doesn't prevent him from living with a partner.
     
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  17. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    At an extreme it can lead to religious tyranny, repression and war.
    Excellent question!
    Two Minutes Hate? Perpetual war? Team sports?

    The problem is, we don't seem wired for cosmopolitan or large group cohesion. Anything beyond Dunbar's number seems to need some artificial strategem to cohere. As Jonathan Haidt points out, we're wired both to unite into teams and to unite against other teams. Cohesion seems to require some sort of threat; some Other.
    Huxley proposed such a scientifically engineered society in Brave New World, and Skinner touched on it in Walden Two -- both interesting reads.
     
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  18. rational experiences

    rational experiences Well-Known Member

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    In reality we eat food and have to drink because our spirit life/body was sacrificed and had the spirit of the heavenly mass removed from it.

    The water put into the ground to cool God fusion irradiation conversion in nuclear science Temple pyramid technologies and today nuclear.

    Many humans believe by memory that once we never needed to eat, a water holding the bio microbial energy food was in water mass, as the body and the blood sustenance of life....and when water was split in 2 and had to go with God in the heavenly radiation illuminated gas burning of the spirit of our Saviour, then it is what it quoted.

    We have to partake of the flesh and the fruit to survive....actually and it was a stated holy ritual of remembering the very reason why humans had to become animalistic in their spiritual life when once we never need to partake in the killing of anything else.....rationally.

    Service and memorium is and always has been a part of the dogmatic socialising condition that humanity accept.
     
  19. Erebus

    Erebus Well-Known Member

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    The potential benefit that I can see for dogmata is that they may end up providing a solid system by which adherents can live a fulfilling life without causing harm to others. However, it seems incredibly rare for this to happen in practice. As such, I'm a firm believer in adopting the beneficial and discarding the harmful which is an approach that runs counter to the very nature of dogma. Viewed from that perspective, it may very well be that dogmata are more useful for those looking in from the outside than for those within the dogmatic system.

    Even so, I tend to favour the more flexible doctrines which may not necessarily even qualify as dogma. An example of this would be the Wiccan Rede, "If it harms none, do as you will"* This certainly has issues as what constitutes harm has a lot of grey areas and subjectivity. I personally also make a distinction between harm to self and harm to others. However, when treated as a general rule of thumb it works well in most circumstances. Furthermore, its inherent ambiguity is as much a strength as a weakness since it doesn't present a rigid and unyielding set of traditions which may not be suitable for modern life.

    With all that said, I'm not a Wiccan and have no desire to be one. While Wicca is certainly a diverse religion, the variations of it typically include one or more elements that I don't find useful. An example would be the coven structure some forms of Wicca take. That can sometimes be as benign as a group of friends getting together for celebrations. In their strictest form though, covens essentially amount to small, secret societies operated on a hierarchical basis. If reading that sets off some alarm bells for you ... yeah, I agree.




    *I prefer to avoid thees and thous. I also don't spell magic as magick.
     
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  20. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Meghalayan Ape

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    I agree. Those that are nondefining are potentially open to change.

    (I learnt a new word!)
     
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