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Chapter 17 - Reviewing the evidence about the Bible
In the last four chapters we have looked at dozens of Bible passages. We have found that God is a huge proponent of slavery, that God hates women, that God revels in the destruction of small children, and that God spells out detailed instructions for animal and human sacrifice. If you are a Christian, here is the important question that you should be asking yourself:
Do you believe that an all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful, prayer-answering God wrote these passages in the Bible?
This question is incredibly important because of this fact:
There is no reason for you to believe that you have a soul, or that you will have eternal life after death, or that there is a heaven and hell, or that God answers prayers, or that God wrote the Ten Commandments, or that Jesus is resurrected, and so on, unless you believe that God wrote the Bible.
If you insist that God wrote the Bible so that you can believe in the Ten Commandments or eternal life, shouldn't you also be a proponent of slavery and a misogynist? It is the same book in both cases.
The point is simple. Can you imagine God sitting on his magnificent throne in heaven saying this?
"As the all-powerful, all-knowing creator of the universe, I shall write a book for my creation, and I shall call it The Bible. Let's see, what shall I put in it??? Well, I want to be SURE to write about my absolute endorsement of slavery in both the Old and the New Testaments -- slavery is very important to me and I want people buying and selling slaves for thousands of years. And I want to be CERTAIN that the book shows how much I hate women in both the Old and the New Testaments. And I can NOT forget the parts about animal and human sacrifice, because sacrifices are an essential element of every proper religion. I want people slaughtering animals, splattering their blood and then burning the carcasses on a stone altar because the aroma is pleasing to me. And I want to make human sacrifice the centerpiece of my worship. And I CERTAINLY need to include the juicy parts about child massacre in both the Old and the New Testaments. Baby killing is something that I will emphasize throughout this book because it is very important to me."
Do you believe this? Of course not. Yet, clearly, if God does exist and God wrote the Bible, this is in fact what God said to himself. You have seen with your own eyes the numerous passages in the Bible where God displays these tendencies. Confirm them yourself by looking them up in God's word.
An all-knowing, all-loving God could not have written such appalling verses into the Bible. It should be obvious to you that primitive men wrote this book, not God.
What should the non-Christians make of this?
If you are a Christian, and if you insist that God wrote or "inspired" the Bible, then there is a second question that you may want to consider:
Why do you worship this God? And why do you publicly and openly admit it?
Think about the non-Christians who live next door to you. They can read the Bible. Wouldn't it seem logical for people outside Christianity -- for example, the Muslims, the Hindus, the Buddhists and so on -- to look at you as a monster for worshipping such a being? By worshipping this God, giving him your money, etc., you show that you yourself must believe in slavery, misogyny, animal/human sacrifice and baby-killing. Do you not? All of these passages are right there in the Bible. Anyone can read them. By stating that you believe the Bible, are you not endorsing these passages?
By worshipping this God, do you not show that you endorse his actions in the Bible? Why in the world would non-Christians want you openly spreading your messages from a slavery-condoning, woman-hating, sacrifice-loving, child-killing God?
A Christian would respond to this question with something like the following: "God is NOT a murderer! God does NOT kill babies! God does NOT hate women! God would NEVER do any of the things that you are talking about. God is LOVE. It says so in the Bible!" Such a person is ignoring the obvious. The slavery-condoning, woman-hating, sacrifice-loving, baby-killing verses are all there in the Bible plain as day. They would not be there unless God wanted them there. God is omnipotent. If God took the time to write the Bible, he would also take the time to protect its contents from corruption. If God wrote the Bible, then every word in it was placed there -- intentionally and purposefully -- by God himself.
It is not as though God has one slip of the tongue that might be misinterpreted as condoning slavery -- there are at least ten places in the Bible where God openly, unashamedly and absolutely endorses slavery. God does not "sort of hint" that he might dislike women -- God displays open animosity toward women in his words and deeds. God not only likes animal sacrifice -- he demands it, and gives explicit instructions for how it is to be done. God does not kill one or two children -- God openly massacres millions of children and admits it in writing.
This is the God of the Bible. This is the God that Christians worship.
Why is the Bible so irrelevant?
For many people, the last four chapters prove that God did not write the Bible. They prove it beyond the shadow of any doubt. It is painfully obvious: Primitive men wrote the Bible, not God.
But what if you need still more proof? If so, then here is a question: Why, when you read the Bible, are you not left in awe? Why doesn't a book written by God leave you with a sense of wonder and amazement? If you are reading a book written by the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving creator of the universe, wouldn't you expect to be stunned by the brilliance, the clarity and the wisdom of the author? Would you not expect each new page to intoxicate you with its incredible prose and its spectacular insight?
Instead, opening the Bible inevitably creates a feeling of dumbfoundment. Have you ever noticed that? Instead of brilliance, much of the Bible contains nonsense. The topics of the previous several chapters, where we discussed the Bible's advocacy of slavery and animal sacrifice, the Bible's misogyny and so on, are excellent examples. But they are just the tip of the iceberg. You can open the Bible to almost any page and find nonsense instead of wisdom. Here are several examples:
Judges Chapter 4
But Jael, Heber's wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died.
Genesis Chapter 19
Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave. One day the older daughter said to the younger, "Our father is old, and there is no man around here to lie with us, as is the custom all over the earth. Let's get our father to drink wine and then lie with him and preserve our family line through our father."
Genesis Chapter 38
Then Judah said to Onan, "Lie with your brother's wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother." But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother's wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother. What he did was wicked in the Lord 's sight; so he put him to death also.
Judges Chapter 3
Ehud then approached him [the fat king] while he was sitting alone in the upper room of his summer palace and said, "I have a message from God for you." As the king rose from his seat, Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king's belly. Even the handle sank in after the blade, which came out his back. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it. Then Ehud went out to the porch; he shut the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them.
Judges Chapter 19
But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight.
Joshua Chapter 10
When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. He said to her, "Get up; let's go." But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.
When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel. Everyone who saw it said, "Such a thing has never been seen or done, not since the day the Israelites came up out of Egypt. Think about it! Consider it! Tell us what to do!"
When they had brought these kings to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the army commanders who had come with him, "Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings." So they came forward and placed their feet on their necks.
1 Samuel Chapter 31
Joshua said to them, "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight." Then Joshua struck and killed the kings and hung them on five trees, and they were left hanging on the trees until evening.
Saul said to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me."
But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it. When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him.
Numbers Chapter 31
Moses was angry with the officers of the army-the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds-who returned from the battle. "Have you allowed all the women to live?" he asked them. "They were the ones who followed Balaam's advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the Lord in what happened at Peor, so that a plague struck the Lord 's people. Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man."
Deuteronomy Chapter 25
If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.
There are two things to notice in these quotes. First, they are all disgusting. Second, they all tell stories about men and women doing things that are utterly and completely irrelevant.
Why do you care about a woman killing a man with a tent peg, or a man cutting up his concubine and mailing her body parts around? Do you care about Moses telling his soldiers, "kill everyone, but save the virgins for yourselves"? If God is going to take the time to write a book that will last for millennia, why fill it with such useless material?
Another problem with the Bible is that it frequently contradicts the Standard Model of God. Here is an example from Leviticus 21:17:
Say to Aaron, None of your descendants throughout their generations who has a blemish may approach to offer the bread of his God. For no one who has a blemish shall draw near, a man blind or lame, or one who has a mutilated face or a limb too long, or a man who has an injured foot or an injured hand, or a hunchback, or a dwarf, or a man with a defect in his sight or an itching disease or scabs or crushed testicles; no man of the descendants of Aaron the priest who has a blemish shall come near to offer the LORD's offerings by fire; since he has a blemish, he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God. He may eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy and of the holy things, but he shall not come near the veil or approach the altar, because he has a blemish, that he may not profane my sanctuaries; for I am the LORD who sanctify them.
Doesn't it seem odd for an all-loving God to discriminate against people with handicaps and genetic problems?
Here is another example. In the book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 21:18, the Bible says:
If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.
Doesn't that seem to contradict the sixth commandment, "Thou shalt not kill"? And doesn't it seem just a tad harsh? If we applied this sort of philosophy today (as Christians should, since they proclaim the Bible and the Ten Commandments to be God's infallible word), millions of our teenagers would need to be stoned to death.
Here is another example. On the day Moses comes down from Mount Sinai with the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments, he discovers that the Israelites have created a golden calf. To punish the people, Moses gathers a group of men and takes the following action in the book of Exodus, Chapter 32:
"Then he [Moses] said to them, "This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.' " The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died.
So... one minute we have God carving into stone, "Thou shalt not kill." Then the next minute we have God telling each man to strap a sword to his side and lay waste to thousands. Wouldn't you expect the almighty ruler of the universe to be slightly more consistent than this? 3,000 dead people is a lot of commandment breaking.
Some Christians try to find an out for all of this irrelevance and contradiction by saying, "Well, I don't believe the Old Testament. God sent Jesus to cancel it out." But that really is not the case. If God wrote the Bible, then God fully intended for the Bible -- the entire Bible -- to be a timeless book. In Isaiah 40:8 God says, "The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand for ever." In Matthew 5:18 Jesus says, "For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished." When Jesus says "the law" what he is talking about is all of the laws that God lays down in the Old Testament. Those laws include everything that God says about slavery, misogyny, animal sacrifice, stoning teenagers, cutting off hands and all the rest.
Here is an experiment for you to try. Pick up any handy Bible. Open the book to a random page. Read it. You tell me -- is this a book that amazes you? I am trying this experiment this morning as I write this book. Here are the five random quotes that I came upon:
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Say to the people of Israel, When any man has a discharge from his body, his discharge is unclean. And this is the law of his uncleanness for a discharge: whether his body runs with his discharge, or his body is stopped from discharge, it is uncleanness in him. Every bed on which he who has the discharge lies shall be unclean; and everything on which he sits shall be unclean. And any one who touches his bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening. And whoever sits on anything on which he who has the discharge has sat shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening. And whoever touches the body of him who has the discharge shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening. And if he who has the discharge spits on one who is clean, then he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening. And any saddle on which he who has the discharge rides shall be unclean. And whoever touches anything that was under him shall be unclean until the evening; and he who carries such a thing shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening.
Can you imagine every doctor and nurse following God's law?
1 Kings 8:
Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the fathers' houses of the people of Israel, before King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion. And all the men of Israel assembled to King Solomon at the feast in the month Eth'anim, which is the seventh month. And all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark. And they brought up the ark of the LORD, the tent of meeting, and all the holy vessels that were in the tent; the priests and the Levites brought them up. And King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, who had assembled before him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered.
Yes, so? How is this at all relevant? Why would God write this?
A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite. I will sing of thy steadfast love, O LORD, for ever; with my mouth I will proclaim thy faithfulness to all generations. For thy steadfast love was established for ever, thy faithfulness is firm as the heavens. Thou hast said, "I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant: 'I will establish your descendants for ever, and build your throne for all generations.'" [Selah] Let the heavens praise thy wonders, O LORD, thy faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones! For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD? Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD, a God feared in the council of the holy ones, great and terrible above all that are round about him? O LORD God of hosts, who is mighty as thou art, O LORD, with thy faithfulness round about thee? Thou dost rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, thou stillest them. Thou didst crush Rahab like a carcass, thou didst scatter thy enemies with thy mighty arm.
Again, how is this relevant?
The next day, as they were on their journey and coming near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. And he became hungry and desired something to eat; but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heaven opened, and something descending, like a great sheet, let down by four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat." But Peter said, "No, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean." And the voice came to him again a second time, "What God has cleansed, you must not call common." This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven. Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision which he had seen might mean, behold, the men that were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon's house, stood before the gate and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there.
And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery. And another portent appeared in heaven; behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, that he might devour her child when she brought it forth; she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which to be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
Are you amazed by these passages? Are you inspired by their brilliance and insight? Do they leave you with a sense of wonderment? Do they have any bearing at all on you, or your life? After reading them, do you find the Bible to be a book that you would want to continue reading? Most importantly: Do these passages leave you with the impression that they were written by an all-powerful, all-knowing God? Or was this book written by primitive men? Try the experiment yourself and see what you find. Think about what you are reading in the context of an all-knowing God.
Be honest with yourself. Does the Bible strike you as a book filled with brilliance, or with nonsense?
Think about what you are reading
What do I mean when I say, "think about what you are reading?" Let's use Leviticus 15, from the previous section, as an example. The passage is discussing "discharge." Why doesn't God in Leviticus 15 say:
"There are 47 different types of abnormal discharges that I have inflicted on the human body when I created it. They are, in order of frequency of occurrence: 1) Discharge from an infected skin lesion, normally caused by some sort of cut or puncture wound. What is happening here is a bacterial infection. First off, whenever you get a cut or puncture wound, you should wash it carefully with an antiseptic solution to kill the bacteria, and then cover the wound with a sterile dressing to keep bacteria out. Also, make sure that your tetanus vaccination is up to date. These steps will prevent 98.7% of all infections. But if the wound does become infected, what you should do is incise and drain the wound. This will be painful, but it is important because if you allow the pus to build up..."
God should know all of this stuff -- according to Christians he is all-knowing. When reading Leviticus 15, any normal human being asks questions like these:
Extending on these ideas, why doesn't God use the Bible to explain metallurgy, chemistry, biology, physics, manufacturing, mathematics, medicine, engineering, etc. to these primitive people so they can dramatically accelerate their development?
- Why didn't God transcribe a useful medical guide into the Bible for these primitive people, rather than transcribing rituals that accomplish nothing?
- Why doesn't God explain how to manufacture antiseptic solutions, sterile dressings, tetanus vaccines and antibiotic creams?
- Even better, why not explain how to build a Star Trek Tricorder to instantly heal the wound?
- Even better, why didn't God design the human immune system to prevent all infections in the first place and eliminate the discharges completely? Why would God intentionally inflict human beings with all of these different types of abnormal discharges?
Why, in other words, is the Bible so useless? Why does the author of the Bible, who is supposed to be God, who is supposed to be all-knowing, know so little? Why is the knowledge of the author limited to the knowledge of the primitive men who wrote the book? If you think about what you are reading in the Bible in the context of an all-knowing God who supposedly wrote it, none of it makes any sense. But if you think about the Bible as being a book written by primitive men like you would find in the remote regions of Afghanistan today, it makes complete sense.
After reading the Bible passages in this section, what is your common sense telling you about the Bible? Do these passages from the Bible match up with your view of what an all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful being would write down in his book? Does it make sense to you that a book created by an all-knowing God would contain so much nonsense? Are you left agape as you read the Bible, or are you dumbfounded by its utter stupidity?
If you think about what you are reading in the Bible in the context of an all-knowing God who supposedly wrote it, none of it makes any sense. But if you think about the Bible as being a book written by primitive men like you would find in the remote regions of Afghanistan today, it makes complete sense. This tells you everything you need to know. The Bible was written by primitive men, not by God.
Weigh the evidence. Does it seem more likely that the Bible was written by God, or by a bunch of primitive men?
Proving it to yourself
It is easy to prove to yourself that God did not write the Bible. We can do it in the following way.
I challenge you to go on national TV with me. We are going to go on a major, nationally broadcast show with a major host like Oprah, Larry King, Bill O'Reilly, etc.
Here's all that you have to do. You are going to read for 30 minutes from the New International Version or the New American Standard Version (your choice) of the Bible. This should be a dream come true for you -- here you will have the chance to spread the power of God's word directly to the nation.
There is only one thing that I ask. I want you to let me choose the verses that you will read.
Would you take the challenge? Of course not. If I pick the passages, I can make you look like a total idiot on national television. I can have you read verses about slavery, misogyny, animal sacrifice, child massacre, sliced up concubines, tent pegs and all the rest. No one in their right mind would take this challenge.
This is how we know, without a doubt, that God did not write the Bible. If an all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing creator of the universe actually wrote this book, it would not be filled with so much idiocy. Slavery, misogyny and child-massacre are abominations and we all know it. The reason why the Bible contains this material is because primitive men wrote the Bible, not God.
What it all means
If the Bible really were the error-free word of an all-powerful God, it would be profound, meaningful, timeless, fascinating, and enlightening both at the spiritual level and at the technological level. It would tell us things that we did not already know. It would stun us with the brilliance of the author. We would look at the words in the Bible in awe.
Instead it is clear that God had nothing to do with the Bible. Simply open the book up and read it. The Bible is the work of primitive men who lived 2,000 or 3,000 years ago, without a hint of guidance from the "all-knowing creator of the universe." The previous chapters clearly demonstrate that beyond the shadow of any doubt.
If you are a Christian, this leaves you with two choices:
Once you accept that the Bible is a book written by primitive men rather than God, it is a very powerful realization. It has many implications:
- You can continue to proclaim that the Bible is the Word of God. You do that knowing that it is a lie. Quite clearly an all-knowing, all-loving God cannot also advocate slavery. Nor can he be sexist.
- You can make a rational decision based on clear evidence: you can reject the Bible. You can accept that the Bible is the work of primitive men and is therefore completely irrelevant to us today. You can reject the Bible's authority, and you can reject all the people who claim that the Bible is a message from God.
The Bible clearly is not the word of God. The slavery passages in Chapter 13 provide more than enough evidence to prove that. When you think about it and truly let that fact sink in, the full implications are enormous. Once you eliminate the Bible, it is amazing what you eliminate with it.
- The Bible claims that Jesus is the Son of God. Now that you know that the Bible is the work of men rather than God, you can see reality -- Jesus was a man like anyone else.
- Both Christianity and Judaism are invalid as religions, having lost the Bible as a theological foundation.
- The Bible can no longer be used under "God's authority" as a tool of oppression. For example, take the Bible's position on women. In 1 Corinthians the Bible says: "As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church." That's about as oppressive as you can get. Or look at the way the Bible discusses homosexuals. Leviticus 20:13 states: "If a man lies with a male as a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them." Conservative Christians are quite fond of these passages, and use them whenever they wish to justify their prejudice against women and homosexuals. They do so, in their minds, with God's blessing. Since it is quite obvious that the Bible is not the word of God, we can see that people who quote these verses are simple bigots rather than God's messengers. The next time you hear people try to marginalize or degrade anyone using the Bible, you are able to completely ignore them.
- The Bible's story of creation is irrelevant, so we can completely ignore "creationists" and the proponents of "intelligent design". God did not create human beings as described in the Bible -- the entire creation story is a mythological legend written by primitive men. The concept of "original sin" and the concept of mankind's divine creation are invalid.
- You have no soul and there is no eternal life after death. See Chapter 27 for details.
- An amazing 59% of the American population believes that the Bible's book of Revelation will actually come true. Now it is easy to see that the Book of Revelation is a work of pure fiction.
- And so onů
As intelligent people, what do we do with the Christians -- millions of them -- who insist that the Bible is the word of God? Let me answer that question with another question: What do we do with people who believe in astrology? You know the people I am talking about -- they believe in horoscopes, and they believe that the alignment of the planets affects our lives on earth today. What do we do with them? We ignore them. We do not take them seriously. We exclude them from reasonable public discourse and debate.
If a presidential candidate were to stand up and say, "the alignment of the planets indicates that in foreign policy, we should follow a path thatů," or if he/she were to end a speech with "Jupiter bless America," we would not vote for this candidate.
People who believe in the Bible are in the same boat. Why would we listen to anyone who believes in slavery, hates women and supports a God who is a flagrant baby-killer? Do we want people like that holding public office, sitting on our courts, running our corporations or teaching our children?
The Bible is clearly the work of primitive men, many of whom were insane. Anyone with common sense can see that. Exodus 21:20-21 alone is enough to prove it. When people insist that the Bible is the word of God, we should ignore them and exclude them from public discourse. It's a free country, and people have a right to their superstitions in the privacy of their own homes. But no one is required to take them seriously in a public forum.
Simply look back through Chapters 13, 14, 15 and 16. The Bible is so wrong in so many places. What are we thinking when we quote from this book? Why do intelligent people allow this book to be referenced in public discourse? It is amazing when you consider how much evil this book harbors. See Chapter 28 for additional details.
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