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Passions in Poetry

Free-Will.

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Kaoru
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0 posted 09-06-2004 01:13 AM       View Profile for Kaoru   Email Kaoru   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kaoru

This question is for anyone, not just those of the Christian faith. Since I know that many people who are not have read the bible, and of course with a different veiw. However, the words are still the same in the minds of everyone.

My question is this, and it may just be one of the most common questions debated amongst christians and the etc.

Do you believe that God gave humans free will? Tell me why?
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1 posted 09-06-2004 01:06 PM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

I had this conversation with a friend last night.

His words:
quote:
depends on how you define it [free will].  Our will is as free as your nature (either sinful or after being saved) allows and it must always be within God's will since He is the only truely soverign being.  

It's a big argument that there's any conflict between free will and a pre-determined universe, of course.  If everything is only going to happen in one definite way, how can any decision we make be free?

The answer is that, while God may know what's in store for us, we don't.  Our free will is in our ignorance of the future.  Our decisions, because we don't know what they're going to be ahead of time, are up to us.  Ultimately, each one of us will only make one decision---but that's not to say we aren't accountable for those decisions.

Free will is something like a variable that was put into the pre-determined order... in the end, God knows what it will add up to, but we don't, so all we can do is try and make the best choices as they present themselves to us.
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2 posted 09-06-2004 01:36 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

To be truly free, in my opinion, it would have to be free from any outside influences of any kind, either from our circumstances or from God, so in the strictest sense, no I don't believe that we have a "free" will, even though to us it seems like we do. I believe that our wills are subject to various influences, most of which we may not even be consciously aware, and that supreme over all those influences is the sovereignty of God. For example, I may determine to do this thing or that thing, but how many preceding things have conditioned me to come to that decision or to make that choice, and in the final analysis, I won't be doing anything unless it is allowed by God anyway. Not such a far-fetched concept given that even each breath that we take is a gift from God and no one knows if the next breath will be given or not.
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3 posted 09-06-2004 08:15 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
If everything is only going to happen in one definite way, how can any decision we make be free?

And God said, "Let there be Heisenberg!"

quote:
To be truly free, in my opinion, it would have to be free from any outside influences of any kind

It seems to me you're confusing freedom with isolation, Denise. Shakespeare and Dickens have both influenced my writing greatly, but I've yet to have either of them offer to pen a short story for me. And if they did offer? It would still be my decision to accept or not.

Influence doesn't negate choice, because influence is a result of choice.
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4 posted 09-06-2004 10:19 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I agree, Ron, influence does not negate choice, but the choices that we make can certainly be conditioned by those influences, making our will a bit less autonomous than it sometimes seems. If you had not been exposed to Shakespeare and Dickens you may not have discovered your love of writing and may never have picked up a pen to give it a try for yourself. But you were and you did (and I'm very glad that you did, by the way). Your choice, of course, but those influences played a role in your decision, consciously or subconsciously.

I don't agree that influence is always a result of choice, personal choice at least. Some influences in people's lives are the results of other's choices.

I suppose a better example might be the people who are abused as children, and subconsciously are, more often than not, attracted to people who are also abusers. They are "free" to choose whomever they will, but seem to be overwhelmingly,  inexplicably, drawn to something in that type of person, and often don't even realize that the person is an abuser until they are entrenched in the relationship and only then realize that they have made yet another bad decision.
  
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5 posted 09-06-2004 10:56 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Denise,

While you might note that we don't have absolute autonomy (being creaturely as we are)... I would also note that neither are we subject to absolute determinism, being caught in a fatalistic cause and effect ride, without choice.


If that were not so, then "sin" or "immoral" or "virtuous" are meaningless terms.


Stephen
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6 posted 09-06-2004 11:49 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I agree, Stephen, absolutely.
Kaoru
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7 posted 09-07-2004 12:13 AM       View Profile for Kaoru   Email Kaoru   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kaoru

Well, questioning whether or not we do actually have free will is a start.

According to the bible, man was not given the knowledge to know that he was naked. When he ate the fruit of the forbidden tree, he was given that knowledge, therefore he felt shame, and clothed himself. For this, he and the woman were punished. Were they punished for having knowledge, or were they punished for eating the  fruit? Both? I guess we'd have to ask God for that answer.

Do you think that free will has anything to do with knowledge?

My question isn't a vehemence against Christianity in any form, I hope it doesn't come off as that. However, I'd like to know whether or not we would have this supposed free will had man not eaten from the tree? And if so, would we have the devil to thank for our ability to learn and know what we do know? Would we still be living as subserviant, unknowing sheep had we not eaten the fruit? Is it better to die free than as a slave to God?  And do you believe that having faith in God, or anything else, is your will?

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8 posted 09-07-2004 07:05 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Were they punished for having knowledge, or were they punished for eating the  fruit?

Actions have repercussions. Stick your hand in a fire for a couple of minutes and it might seem the fire is "punishing" you, when in fact, your burns are a direct result of your own choices. Don't like the pain? Stop sticking your hand in fires.

quote:
However, I'd like to know whether or not we would have this supposed free will had man not eaten from the tree?

Adam and Eve were told to not eat from the tree. That they nonetheless did so is proof of free will.
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9 posted 09-07-2004 01:57 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Ron:

But it is not proof that free-will of the sort described by the Genesis narrative continued beyond the Fall.  If anything, the Fall marks the death of free-will, and the will's subsequent bondage.  But rather than absolving the fallen from future wrongdoing (as some determinists or anti-determinists might suggest), it condemns the fallen to a final judgment of limited choices (i.e., without Divine initiative, we can no longer choose God) and the resulting consequences.

But I suppose one's opinion on the matter depends on one's view of how far (or even whether at all) man has fallen.

Jim
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10 posted 09-07-2004 02:59 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
it condemns the fallen to a final judgment of limited choices

Seems to me, Jim, that opportunity isn't necessarily a prerequisite for freedom. Having choices doesn't mean having infinite choices. More specifically in terms of this particular discussion, every choice inevitably limits choices that can branch from the one being made. Had Adam and Eve chose to not disobey God, their remaining choices would still have been finite and limited. I don't think that should be seen as a diminishment of free will, but rather the result of free will.


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11 posted 09-07-2004 04:07 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

So if we limit the scope of our question to the choices available after the Fall as they pertain to relationship with God, can a will with only one choice be considered "free" or is it more correct to describe such a will as "bound"?

I don'tdispute, by the way,  that we have some measure of liberty to make choices in the general sense.
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12 posted 09-08-2004 12:15 AM       View Profile for Kaoru   Email Kaoru   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kaoru

Good point Ron, however, if God meant for them to have free will, why would he punish them for using it?

Was it his intention for them to be curious? It was "Satan" who got Eve to try the fruit of the forbidden tree. He convinced her that God was denying them (the race of man) the freedom that they so deserve. And so he was, being that he punished the two humans for eating the fruit. Was it God's mistake in his creation of man to let them have doubts? Is this why God was so vehement against man's decision to disobey him?

Was it God that was mistaken in his creation, or was Satan stronger than God in his ability to give man the curiousity to try the fruit?
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13 posted 09-08-2004 02:23 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
if God meant for them to have free will, why would he punish them for using it?

You're assuming, first, that the Fall was a punishment rather than a repercussion. Okay, let's say for sake of argument you're right. Why does any parent punish a child?

Each of us, I think, wants our children to become responsible adults, able and willing to think for themselves. Yet, we inevitably punish them when they think for themselves in ways we know are unacceptable or harmful. Why? Maybe because we know they will never become responsible adults, able and willing to think for themselves, unless we set boundaries and impose consequences for crossing those boundaries. Discipline is not an instrument of hate or indifference, but rather of love.

Knowing you will be obligated to punish your child and will surely bring them many years of relative misery (talked to a teen lately?), would you still bring them into the world? Sure you would. Because you know the pain is fleeting, minor, and, instead of being just a price we're willing to pay for immense love and satisfaction, is actually the stepping stones to that goal.
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14 posted 09-26-2004 08:43 PM       View Profile for Arnold M   Email Arnold M   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Arnold M

Ron, I think you made a wonderful statement: "discipline is not an instrument of hate or indifference, but rather of love."  And if this is true for a loving parent, isn't it moreso for a loving God?  I believe Adam and Eve were created with insatiable curiosity and when they could eat of the fruit of every tree in the garden, except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they did. And there must have been vegitables too.  And they chose to eat what they would, including, I believe, the tree of life.  Unfortunately, Eve was beguiled, but Adam deliberately ate of the forbidden fruit.  Why? Because, I surmise, he knew the consequences that dying would result for her and he loved her too much to be parted.  There obviously was a psychological change in them, for whatever glory or radiance covered their bodies was gone, and they knew they were naked, and for the first time they were afraid of the Lord God.  They lost that close intimate fellowship with Him, and it has continued to this day, apart from being a New Creation in Christ.

But, was God surprised, was He caught off guard?  No, of course not.  For God to show His overwhelming love for all humanity, to be their Redeemer, Saviour, the Fall was no surprise.

As to free will.  I believe that our descisions seem that we freely make them, but some day we'll see that God was shaping every one.

Thank you, Arnold
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15 posted 09-28-2004 05:35 AM       View Profile for Kaoru   Email Kaoru   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kaoru

Okay, so let me get this straight. If I mix up the last two comments from Arnold and Ron..

Arnold says in his comment that god was not surprised that Adam and Eve ate the fruit. I take this as he knew they would, he was completely aware of this. That, I understand. Ron has stated that God is much like any parent to his children, there must be punishment for wrong-doing and deliberately disobeying the rules.

When I think about this, I come to this thought each time... If God knew that Adam and Eve were going to eat the fruit eventually, why did he punish them? I kind of think of it like, a mother putting out a cookie in front of her child, telling her that she is not allowed to eat it, then leaving her alone with the cookie for 10 minutes. The mother KNOWS she's going to eat it, she put that temptation in front of her child, and was well aware of what would happen. Now, to me, it would be wrong to come back to an eaten cookie and then punish the child. It just seems blatently cruel to do something like that. As a parent, wouldn't you keep the temptation out of the way in the first place? Protect your child from that desire? Keep in mind, the child is young, and still very ignorant..The child doesn't really know too much about temptation, or even right and wrong. I would compare the child to Eve, and to Adam. They were given a lifestyle that was built for ignorant bliss. Nothing to worry about, everything handed to them. They were children, and they knew no better. So knowing that, as a parent, and giving that temptation to a child, then spanking or putting them in time-out for it, would seem unfair. I would think that if you're going to go to such great lengths, it would seem as if you WANT to punish your child.

If God knew that his creations were going to eat the fruit, he could've easily kept the fruit protected from them. If he did not want to punish them for their temptation, he would've made it to where the fruit could not be penetrated. It would've been very simple.

So would you consider this a favor from God? I think not. If God had given us free will and temptation, why would he punish us severely for expressing it? It almost seems like a fallacy or hypocrisy. The whole story makes no sense. This is why the bible is so hard for me to read, it constantly contradicts itself.

Alas, it was written by several different people, none of which were God to begin with. You also get a sense of when it was written when you read about the women inside of it. Most of which are servile and blamed for the punishment of man. Makes no sense to me, but whatever floats your apple.
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quote:
As a parent, wouldn't you keep the temptation out of the way in the first place?

Nope. I don't think you do anyone any favors by doing everything for them. I might be able to protect my child from temptation for a few years, but I won't be there to shield them forever. The only real way to protect someone you love is to teach them to protect themselves. And just like learning to walk, it won't always be an entirely pleasant experience.

Being a parent isn't all smiles and giggles. A large part of it is deciding what pain is necessary in order to avoid a greater pain later.
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17 posted 09-28-2004 12:05 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Alas, it was written by several different people, none of which were God to begin with.



But what difference does that make?  The Church has always held that God chose humanity as the instrument by which his Revelation would be given and preserved.  If I want to say something to a person who is Chinese, I'll best accomplish that through a translator who is Chinese.


quote:
You also get a sense of when it was written when you read about the women inside of it. Most of which are servile and blamed for the punishment of man. Makes no sense to me, but whatever floats your apple.



Only a precursory glance gives us that idea.  God himself placed most of the liability on Adam for what happened in the garden.  The "Fall of Man" and original sin has mostly been attributed to Adam by the Jews and the Church too, even though Eve was decieved and helped him along.  Who is more foolish, the one who is decieved, or the one who knew and still ate?  The former was Eve's sin, the latter was Adam's.  It was through him that sin and death entered the world.


Stephen.  
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18 posted 09-28-2004 03:22 PM       View Profile for Kaoru   Email Kaoru   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kaoru

I guess the difference is that some people put their faith completely in what was written by man. The bible alone should not be what you verily choose to believe, should it? If God has a powerful part of your life and yourself, what do you need the bible for?

I guess one of my biggest confusions is the bible to begin with. There's so much that I don't seem to understand about how it was written. It repeats itself, and not only that, it does so and changes things about itself depending on who wrote a certain part of it.

Maybe what I mean is this, inside of you, you know who God is.. you know what he expects of you. Faith in God or anything at all is dependent upon what's in your own heart.

Now, if I were of the Christian faith, that's how I would feel about it, personally. I would question the books, preachers, priests, etc. I would feel that I were doing a favor to myself by using what was given to me to find out what I feel is right to believe in. As humans, we're capable of finding our own morals and beliefs. That is how we're blessed.
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19 posted 09-28-2004 11:33 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Karou
quote:
I guess the difference is that some people put their faith completely in what was written by man. The bible alone should not be what you verily choose to believe, should it? If God has a powerful part of your life and yourself, what do you need the bible for?


That's a complex question.  One key to answering it, is thinking of our nature and God's nature.  If God chose to give a revelation through humanity, in written form, It must be needed.  Because I know that God is all-wise, omniscient and all of that, I don't see him doing something needless.  That's one argument from God's nature.


Now just a few arguments from our nature:


-Language and writing are an intrinsic part of who we are.  Writing, speech, and definite ideas communicated with words, influence us profoundly.  Just think about how many ideas, or how much ideology you've accumulated through reading, or through spoken words.  


-Throughout history people have felt that important events, ideas, and truths should be recorded in written form, for posterity, and for the benefit of study and learning.


- We are moved by all different kinds of writing. Ranging from poetry to history ... from love songs to predictions of the future ... from philosophical truths to practical epigrams.  The Bible contains all of these and more.


- A revelation of God's truth cannot be trusted to come from our minds "naturally", or God wouldn't have had to do anything through history in the way of communication, or miracles.  We have a tendency to believe what we want to, making truth into "our truth".  The Bible afforded that God's truth would be communicated in more definite terms, tangible enough to correct our thinking when we mistake our arbitrary musing for God's voice.  There was a prophet, Jeremiah, who wrote "The heart is decietful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?".  That's why individual intellect, feelings, and sentimentality cannot be the foundation of divine revelation.   We're just too apt to change the truth.  Can you do that with the Bible?  Certainly, but it's harder than without it.  And if we do, we have less excuse.  


quote:
I guess one of my biggest confusions is the bible to begin with. There's so much that I don't seem to understand about how it was written.



You should try reading Josh McDowell's "Evidence that Demands a verdict", especially the section about the Bible.  There are also lots of other works describing the origin of the books of the Bible.  If you ever have any questions that I can personally help you with, also, I'd be glad to try.  Though I'm only a lay-person, the origin and canonization of scripture is one of my pet interests.


quote:
It repeats itself, and not only that, it does so and changes things about itself depending on who wrote a certain part of it.



It does repeat itself in many instances.  And as any child educator will tell you, repitition is invaluable in the learning process.  As to "chaning things about itself depending on who wrote a certain part of it", I don't exactly know what you mean.  Could you explain that better, or maybe give me an example?
  

quote:
Maybe what I mean is this, inside of you, you know who God is.. you know what he expects of you. Faith in God or anything at all is dependent upon what's in your own heart.



There's a lot of truth in what you're saying here.  But as I said above, we also need more than just our own "heart" to judge by.  Something to measure our subjectivity against.  If you worshiped a God who saw everything in the same way you do ... who felt the exact same way you do about everything, wouldn't you be a bit suspicious?  Another good reason for a written revelation.
  

quote:
I would question the books, preachers, priests, etc. I would feel that I were doing a favor to myself by using what was given to me to find out what I feel is right to believe in.



I basically agree with this ... with a caveat or two.


1) Don't confuse angry cross examination with questioning.  Sometimes it's easy to do.


2) Question yourself at least as much as you do the preachers and books.  Sometimes it's very hard to do.


  


quote:
As humans, we're capable of finding our own morals and beliefs. That is how we're blessed.



To a degree.  God has given us a conscience.  But how often do we repress it, doubt it, and bury it in a corner, until it only gives a whimper?  To me the Bible is a spade, that allows me to dig up what in my sinful tendencies I always manage to bury.


And even if we could find the right set of morals on our own, we can never live up to them.  Thus we need the forgiving, redeeming God whom the Bible points us to.  But that's true of us all, me as well as you.



Stephen.


  
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20 posted 09-29-2004 02:04 AM       View Profile for Arnold M   Email Arnold M   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Arnold M

HI Stephen.  What you put forth in your latest input was marvelous.  So well said.  
Karou, I agree, the bible can be confusing.  Once you get through the early chapters of Genesis to the account of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and his 12 sons, the beginning of the Hebrew nation, it really can be their boring history. I would suggest to start reading in the book of Romans in the New Testament.
Stephen, what do you think?
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21 posted 10-01-2004 09:57 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Arnold:
quote:
Once you get through the early chapters of Genesis to the account of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and his 12 sons, the beginning of the Hebrew nation, it really can be their boring history. I would suggest to start reading in the book of Romans in the New Testament.
Stephen, what do you think?



The stories about the patriarchs, I would call anything but boring.  But, you're right in saying that reading the New Testament would be helpful to understanding.  Actually the Old helps us to understand the New and Vice Versa.


(P.S. I shouldn't be to hard on you about the "boring" remark.  I feel much the same way about the Geneologies of the Bible.  Ron begat Jim begat Stephen begat Arnold .... etc. [Yep that's probably pretty good chronology, age-wise ] Though they were very important to the Jews.)


Stephen.

  
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22 posted 10-02-2004 07:02 PM       View Profile for littlewing   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for littlewing

Definitely!  

I am living proof . . .

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23 posted 10-03-2004 02:59 AM       View Profile for Arnold M   Email Arnold M   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Arnold M

Hi Stephen.  I guess I should have said "some of it can be boring."

Karou, it's true there were many writers of the Bible, and from a human perspective one would think there were many contradictions.  I used the word "writers" because I'm convinced there is only one Author, God Himself.  There is much internal evidence as well as external for this, that I'm sure Stephen could point out better than I. Never the less, maybe a rough outline of the bible would be of use.

The Bible is a collection of 66 books, written over a span of more than 1500 years, with at least 40 different writers from different countries, social strata, and occupations.  Yet this book has a unity and cohesiveness that leads to only one logical explanation:  GOD IS THE TRUE AUTHOR OF THIS BOOK.

The Old Testament was written originally in Hebrew and some Chaldean. It is primarily the history of God's chosen people, Israel.

From the fall of Adam, sin and death entered the human race.  But God wasn't taken off guard.  Yet, we reason that if He knew they would eat the forbidden fruit, why didn't He prevent it?  Because God wants us to know what real love is.  As our saviour, He had already planned to give His only Son to be our redeemer. In the ages to come and beyond, hearts will be made right and the love and fellowship through Christ will be beyond anything we can imagine.

It is getting late. More to come. Arnold  
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24 posted 10-03-2004 06:53 PM       View Profile for Arnold M   Email Arnold M   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Arnold M

Hi Karou. God's plan for the redemption of mankind was planned before the ages began.
1 Peter 1:20 tells us that Christ was a lamb foreknown, indeed, before the foundation of the world.  

Since the Bible is a book of redemption both for Israel and the nations some scholars have put it this way:
   The Old Testament: Someone is coming
   The New Testament Gospels: Matthew, Mark,
   Luke and John: Someone is here
   The rest of the N.T. letters: Someone is
   coming again.

I'll sign off for awhile. Arnold
 
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