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Passions in Poetry

calling all atheists?

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Opeth
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25 posted 03-15-2004 08:01 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

"... I was genuinely puzzled as to how someone can do without that during the times we all have that can only be termed as "hopelessness."

~ Speaking for myself, I find strength within myself all of the time, especially when I need it most. Tapping that inner-strength, that is the key for me. And I should know, I have been doing it for various reasons all of my adult life.

"You sleep in the night yet the night and the silent water still so dark."

serenity blaze
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26 posted 03-15-2004 08:22 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Nodding here vigorously.

Me too.

Something in me just won't "give."

And consciously, I attribute that to a firm spiritual foundation, as well as just a genetic quality of "contrary."

But as I conceded earlier, I don't think that "will to live" is something conscious.
(and yes, feel free to debate that too)

So what I am wondering here is this:

Even if my spiritual beliefs are a program--do they not serve a purpose? If reality is a collective "hunch" and we are aware that it is, do we do a service or a disserve to humanity in the discussion of our beliefs? Are we free to "borrow" from reality?

and sigh..smile. Opeth, I said I wasn't coming back, but y'made me look and better? I felt compelled to answer.
Brad
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27 posted 03-15-2004 09:10 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Serenity,

I'm not sure you see what I mean yet. I'm not saying I appreciate a good cup of coffee, I'm saying that a good cup of coffee is a reason to live.

Inner strength? Sorry, guys, but that's just another way of stating a religious world view. The world is hard, difficult, and indifferent to us, I give you that, but asking a question that can only be answered ineffably, doesn't help.

Making it to work on time, that helps.

Opeth
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28 posted 03-15-2004 09:14 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

"Inner strength? Sorry, guys, but that's just another way of stating a religious world view."

~ Brad, according to your statement, I guess my religion is the belief and faith in myself. Anybody want to join me in my religous faith?

"You sleep in the night yet the night and the silent water still so dark."

Essorant
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29 posted 03-15-2004 09:18 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

How about a bit of inner strength and a good cup of coffee?

And a box of choclates

    
serenity blaze
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30 posted 03-15-2004 09:37 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Ess? I'm with you.

On those really bad days, it takes inner strength just to SWALLOW mine!

serenity blaze
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31 posted 03-15-2004 09:58 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

and Brad. Let me think a bit.

I suspect that we do agree--and I'd hate to miss that opportunity just because I typed something rash.

Fortitude in a cup of coffee?

nodding.

Sure.

Divinity in a doorknob too.

(and that was just the twelve step program!)



thanks again. I'm admiring the logic, and I'm not questioning the "rightness" of it for you--I'm just being curious me.

It's like this. If I see a way that looks good to me, I'll ask.

I want every tool that is available to me. Even yours.

(now that sounded naughty, forgive me) But I think you know what I mean.


Local Rebel
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32 posted 03-15-2004 10:36 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

(strumming my fingers)

And -- you WANT an essay?  I'm still considering...

My conclusion would be the last place anyone would look -- probably.
Brad
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33 posted 03-15-2004 10:55 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Ah, that was cute.

But, no, not fortitude in a cup of coffee.

It's the taste.

Or how about frozen strawberries or blackberries topped with sugar?

It's the taste.

What so often seems to happen in discussions of spirituality is a tendency to downplay the little details, to turn everything into a symbol for something else, higher, nobler, or whatever.  Now, if you want to say that these and many other little details are evidence for spirituality, I'm cool with that. I'll disagree, but at least we'd be on the same page -- or cafe.
    
serenity blaze
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34 posted 03-15-2004 10:55 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

exactly why I want it, Reb.

sigh...don't hold my typings against me.

show me what you mean.


Stephanos
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35 posted 03-16-2004 12:02 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Karen,


Of course you know I'm glad that you're inclined to see the need for Spirituality.  I know you wanted atheists/ agnostics in particular to respond.  But if I may comment on a couple of things ...


you said:  
quote:
I have read the arguments that salvation is a comfortable delusion, convenient to the mind, (even a virus) and I have argued for the favor of delusions, wondering what is the harm of that?
My general philosophy regarding personal beliefs/religions has been this:
"If it gives a person comfort, and helps them to be a better person? Then why not?"

I would agree with Brad (somewhat) on this one, granted his premise were correct.  His supposition is that religion is a false hope.  And IF it is a false hope ... a delusion and nothing more, then it will inevitably produce poor results.  His charge against believing delusions is based on the same reasons that Doctors do not typically hide a diagnosis of cancer from a patient.  The most healthy thing is to face the facts head on ... not to bury one's head in the sand.  But again, I believe his premise is wrong.   My defense of "faith" would be somewhere along the lines of explaining, showing, confirming that it is not a delusion ... that God is real and is not antithetical to science or reason.  Whereas your approach, in conceding that it might be a delusion after all, would have to involve defending the merits of retreating into fantasy.  I think that in order to ultimately hold on to faith (or the Theistic view) as a valid and real comfort, you will have to come to the conclusion that it is no chimera, but an accurate description of the human condition and of the world in which we live ... in short that God is real.



On your other points, I'm in agreement.  I of course think that until the revelation of our dependence upon God breaks through, people in general are basing their confidence in their current emotions, or the temporal things of life.  There is truth to the saying that there are no atheists in foxholes.  What will we do when all our props are gone?  And though Brad asserted that if a certain atheistic view of death were right then there is "no experience of death" ... the thing he (and others) fail to see is that if that same description is right then there is also no experience of life.  Because a sleeper who doesn't wake up, is separated from his waking moments by an uncrossable chasm.  Atheism really does render our lives of no meaning.  Spectres and ghosts who claim meaning aren't really convincing.  


For me atheism really does pave the way for nihilism.  Of course it seems that some, like Brad, claim to be comfortable with accepting a certain spectral existence as final.  But even he has admitted in former posts a vague awareness that there must (or should) be something more.  


It reminds me of a quote about a quote (in bold):

quote:
... we philosophers and 'free spirits' feel ourselves irradiated as by a new dawn by the report that the 'old God is dead'; our hearts overflow with gratitude, astonishment, presentiment and expectation.  At last the horizon seems open once more, granting even that it is not bright; our ships can at ast put out to sea in face of every danger; every hazard is again permitted to the discerner; the sea, our sea, again lies open before us; perhaps as never before did such an 'open sea' exist'  (Nietzsche, The Joyful Wisdom)

Nietzsche's starting point is the non-existence of God.  Man is therefore left to fend for himself.  Since God does not exist, man must devise his own way of life.  Admittedly, Nietzsche found it necessary to shout from time to time at those who still believed.  And the reader of the above passage may discern a certain wistful note among the more jubilant strains.  For if God no longer exists, man must go it alone.  While this brings a certain sense of relief, it also brings anxiety about the future.

(Colin Brown, Philosophy and the Christian Faith)



Stephen.
Essorant
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36 posted 03-16-2004 12:57 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I don't think the beliefsystem of any is based around NOT believing in God.  The word atheism though refers to one by what one does not believe in; and therefore is ignorant of what the person does believe in.  One may do the same thing with believers in God, then.  Believers in God, or Gods, often don't believe in this other God, or this other religious thing.  And Christians also don't believe in things.  They don't believe in polytheism from what I understand.  When they decide to call disbelievers in their God atheists therefore if we judge them by the same mean, we see that they may be called atheists as well, as I showed earlier, not believing in Gods other people believe in.  Why should we call a Christian an antiodinist, an unnaturalist, or polyatheist (for not believing in Polytheism). It will seems absurd to most.  But then why is it right to refer to someone who doesn't believe in God or Gods by what they don't believe in??
Life and Being continues beyond the belief of God, and so does believing.
Stephanos
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37 posted 03-16-2004 01:12 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ess,

I was using Nietzsche (as one of the more consistent atheistic thinkers) as an example.  If you read his works, the non-existence of God was indeed the basis of his views of the world, morality, and life in general.

"Atheist" is a term used to identify what kind of worldview a person holds.  Even Brad said earlier, "yeah I'm an atheist".  Atheist doesn't denote that someone doesn't believe in a certain kind of God, it means they really don't believe in a God at all.  In short, a true atheist is a strict naturalist.  Mechanistic nature is all there is.  Though you're not a Christian, I wouldn't call you an atheist.  Usually among those who don't believe in a supernatural personal God above the universe, atheist does not hold a negative connotation.  At any rate, I don't think the word usage is an issue right now.  To make it an issue only detracts from the aim of the thread.  Serenity's post was titled "calling all atheists".  And if some are willing to respond and wear that description with no problem, why should a problem be made of it?


respectfully,

Stephen.
serenity blaze
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38 posted 03-16-2004 01:27 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Now stuff like this is what makes me appreciate Brad--at least he's not prejudice--he's sure we are all deluded:

" would agree with Brad (somewhat) on this one, granted his premise were correct.  His supposition is that religion is a false hope.  And IF it is a false hope ... a delusion and nothing more, then it will inevitably produce poor results.  His charge against believing delusions is based on the same reasons that Doctors do not typically hide a diagnosis of cancer from a patient.  The most healthy thing is to face the facts head on ... not to bury one's head in the sand.  But again, I believe his premise is wrong.   My defense of "faith" would be somewhere along the lines of explaining, showing, confirming that it is not a delusion ... that God is real and is not antithetical to science or reason.  Whereas your approach, in conceding that it might be a delusion after all, would have to involve defending the merits of retreating into fantasy.  I think that in order to ultimately hold on to faith (or the Theistic view) as a valid and real comfort, you will have to come to the conclusion that it is no chimera, but an accurate description of the human condition and of the world in which we live ... in short that God is real."

Stephan? You and I tend to part ways with what I perceive to be your conviction that your belief system is the only way. After that? Discussion seems a bit condescending to my taste:

"Whereas your approach, in conceding that it might be a delusion after all, would have to involve defending the merits of retreating into fantasy."

Not necessarily. No more than yours, m'friend, and I think that is what Brad and others have been saying all along. The fact that I am willing to concede the point for argument's sake doesn't make me any less believable than, um, with all due respect, YOU, for instance.

A belief in bookworm faeries can be backed up by faith, and with a bit of history of mythology too.

The basis of it all still boils down to, that if I am to be made exempt from faith by scientific proof, then I personally feel there is no "levelizer" of a moral playing ground. The doubts start gaining on me quickly and it is a very cruel world.

So, although Brad answered my question, I'm still having trouble in conceiving the answer, because I know, cups of coffee are soon over with, and the effects of caffeine are short-lived. And yes, when the grounds boil down, I want something else...to get me through this, "semi-calm" kind of life. Baby.

Grin?

And I promised to think too...sigh?




Essorant
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39 posted 03-16-2004 01:58 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephen,

Thank you for clearing that up.
I lost sight of the nature of using that word.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (03-16-2004 03:24 AM).]

Essorant
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40 posted 03-16-2004 04:18 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

[deleted by Essorant].
hush
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41 posted 03-16-2004 12:15 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

As an agnostic, I don't have trouble coping with things on the metaphysical level- the physical, tangible world of crap happens is another story... I grew up in a secular household, and while I still wish my mom had explained to me the merits of secularism (rather than toss me unprepared to the hounds of true believers who would cry out with disbelief "You haven't been baptized??") I still carry that with me...

I still honestly believe that if I do my best to live as a good person- if I try not to harm people and even, sometimes, try to help... everything's going to turn out the right way. I believe that with the same caliber of conviction that most Christians believe in Christ... because it's what makes sense to me, in my worldview.

That being said... I used to have a problem with people using the "crutch" or delusion of religion. But in the last couple of years I think I've found that we all have a crutch... me? I bottle my feelings and then I demolish a nice-sized steak, or I indulge in some chocolate or, say, and entire pint of Ben & Jerry's. I'm not stupid. I know it's only going to make me weaker in the long run (by adding pounds and reducing my resolve) but sometimes people just need to use coping mechanisms, I'm convinced of that.

I don't think people who believe other than the way I believe are necessarily using a coping mechanism- a lot of people are very educated about their faith, and stick with it because it makes sense, not just out of fear or a need to sleep at night. So really, who am I to condemn anyone for their beliefs?
Stephanos
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42 posted 03-16-2004 01:33 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Serenity:
quote:
The fact that I am willing to concede the point for argument's sake doesn't make me any less believable than, um, with all due respect, YOU, for instance.


I have conceded for arguments sake that were Brad's premise right, then so are some of his conclusions.  That IS for argument's sake.  My stance is that there is no real defense of Christianity or any other kind of supernaturalism if it is wrong.  It seems that what you are preferring me to do is to rescind what I know to be true, in argument, and still be able to defend some kind of benefit or hope from a supernatural belief.  When I don't see how it can be done, how can I do that?  After all, you've never once said that you only concede "for argument's sake", and that in reality you believe in a transcendent personal God.  I take your arguments (and all arguments here) to be somewhat reflective of real beliefs we hold.




quote:
A belief in bookworm faeries can be backed up by faith, and with a bit of history of mythology too.


Belief in faeries as mythology and imagination can certainly be backed up with history, literature, etc ...  But the idea that they are real independent entities has little defense.  I don't believe that Christian theism falls under the same category.  Though it has been claimed to be, and attempts are made often to mythologize the faith.  I will appeal the the evidentialist in Jim at this point...   There is enough evidence to place Christianity in a category far removed from creative mythology.  And this in addition to the weight of philosphical and experiential testimony.



quote:
The basis of it all still boils down to, that if I am to be made exempt from faith by scientific proof, then I personally feel there is no "levelizer" of a moral playing ground. The doubts start gaining on me quickly and it is a very cruel world.



Exempt from faith by scientific proof ... means what?  Do you think that faith is contrary to scienctific discovery?  Or that it is merely based on something deeper than scientific discovery?  There is a vast difference between these two notions.  If science (that which is truly confirmed beyond reasonable doubt) is truly at odds with faith, then faith is mistaken.  I just happen to believe that such a Kierkigaardian split does not exist in reality.


My whole point is that if your "faith" is really contrary to valid science, then you are hard pressed to hold on to it as faith, or to defend it in the eyes of others.  



Stephen.      
Stephanos
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43 posted 03-16-2004 01:55 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Hey Hush.

BTW How'd your project turn out?


quote:
I still honestly believe that if I do my best to live as a good person- if I try not to harm people and even, sometimes, try to help... everything's going to turn out the right way. I believe that with the same caliber of conviction that most Christians believe in Christ... because it's what makes sense to me, in my worldview.



I think Serenity's rhetorical question of "Why bother?" has some relevence here.  What is the "right" way in a universe with no "right way"?  Is your worldview clinging to a moral superiority without an overarching standard ... a moral law without a lawgiver?  Is the final analysis of right living versus wrong living merely human preference ... a human who was just a blink in the cosmic storm?  I would like to ask what you consider your moral convictions to be based upon?  This is the kind of thing that Nietzsche spoke about ... the holding of an ethic when there is no base for it.  "The New Morality" he proposed was basically a description of humanity waking up to the fact that our traditional ethics have no anchor point at all ... of course all of this came from making God's funeral his foundation of thought.  



Stephen.
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44 posted 03-16-2004 02:09 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

For many early peoples Spirit and Nature seemed conterminous and interwoven: always part of the same fabric, a microcosm wherever you look, smaller things of larger, and larger things of smaller, spiritual things of natural things, and natural things of spiritual things.  You might not avoid Spirit for a natural path, or Nature for a Spiritual path, for either was still always in the path of the other.  
That is one of the worldviews I admire most because it suggests a continuation of Spirit and Nature always in each other; and even in impersonal and "inanimate" things, energy that is still derived from Spirit and Nature, not just one or the other.  Why may not modernists converge a bit closer into views like our ancient ancestors had instead of being now almost as seperate sects?
I don't think Religion and Science were ever so distant as they are now forced by modernism.    Scientists and Spiritualists now seem fixed on segregation of Spirit and Nature and treating them as if Religion is the bridge to the Spirit, and Science is the bridge to Nature.  Really I don't think either are a "bridge" to either or away from either, because  both Spirit and Nature are always right HERE.  You can't miss them      


[This message has been edited by Essorant (03-16-2004 06:03 PM).]

Brad
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45 posted 03-16-2004 06:49 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
So, although Brad answered my question, I'm still having trouble in conceiving the answer, because I know, cups of coffee are soon over with, and the effects of caffeine are short-lived. And yes, when the grounds boil down, I want something else...to get me through this, "semi-calm" kind of life. Baby.


It's precisely because the cup of coffee is short-lived that you should enjoy it. Value comes from the ephemeral, not the ineffable. Earlier, I mentioned that certainty is not something we need or should want, certainty has a companion that also needs to disappear, eternity.  

It's a long time.

The irony is that most people look for coping with the mundane and trivial by wanting the same and wanting it eternally. From my point of view, you're just asking for more of the same disease. What most people are asking for is a moment in time that extends forever, but that's not us, that's a happy photograph. I don't mean you're looking at a photograph, I mean that the picture of salvation is being in the photograph. Think about it, you don't grow old, you don't judge, you no longer have to worry about being judged, you don't have to act, make decisions, be sad, remember or regret the mistakes you made, you don't have to be human anymore.

You can't enjoy that cup of coffee anymore.

Ah, but you smile, yes, you smile for eternity.

The dream of many spiritual folks is my nightmare.  
Brad
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46 posted 03-16-2004 07:27 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Thinking about Stephan's presuppositions. If there is a God, I would ask him to take the chosen away, give them what they want, but put them on another earth (the universe is big enough and God can do anything afterall), but don't send the rest of us to a fiery pit, let us be.

And you know what, the chosen can even come back if they want to (Though it's unclear to me if they could still want).

Curious, is there compassion in Heaven?
Local Rebel
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47 posted 03-16-2004 09:23 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

I'm not holding anything against you Blazey -- I just can't imagine why you would WANT an essay in the middle of what's a decent, fun, conversation.  Maybe another thread another time...  

Brad is getting close to what I would be saying -- at least partly -- our agnosticisms aren't identical though -- when he talks about uncertainty.

This would be one of my themes -- security and idolatry vs. insecurity/uncertainty and truth (that we can know).

This would tie into my main point in that the best 'coping' tool for dealing with the pains of life is -- the pain itself.

The fact is -- I haven't self-terminated.

Here's a question though -- why do people WITH faith systems commit suicide?  (it's not a trick question)

quote:

[Atheism] believes that truth for truth's sake is the highest ideal and that virtue is its own reward.
-- Joseph Lewis

[This message has been edited by Local Rebel (03-16-2004 10:27 PM).]

Denise
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48 posted 03-16-2004 10:10 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

People? I really am enjoying your banter for the most part, but would you all mind just using the word suicide instead of what you have been using? It touches a little too close to home with me and drags me back to that horrible moment as if were happening all over again. I'm not angry or anything, just asking for a bit of sensitivity because you really can't imagine just how painful it is to hear that term unless you've had a loved one who did it. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who has experienced losing someone that way. Okay?
serenity blaze
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49 posted 03-16-2004 10:17 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

My apologies for the insensitivity. I understand completely.

As I said, I have much to learn about "tact".

And Reb, that is a fair enough question, and one that I have asked myself at a few memorial services. I could only assume at that time, that their faith was not what I assumed it was--and in one particular instance, it was perversely more than I'd expected. My friend assumed that because she was "saved" her sins were forgiven before she committed them--including her suicide.

sigh.

Now excuse me while I go edit, with my humblest apologies to Denise and anyone else offended by my poor choice of language.
 
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