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The Forum > Article Comments > The loss of the eternal > Comments

The loss of the eternal : Comments

By Peter Sellick, published 5/1/2018

Nihilism has become the order of the day. Death, the enemy of the eternal, has become the final and omnipotent power.

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Unmitigated nonsense all the way down!

What is the message and calling of death? Or, put in another way what does death require of us?
http://www.easydeathbook.com/purpose.asp

http://www.beezone.com/death_message.html

And what is eternal? Consciousness of course, or more correctly Consciousness and Light which is the Energy of Consciousness.

http://www.consciousnessitself.org

Plus this essay titled The Dual Sensitivity

http://www.beezone.com/da_publications/dualsens.html
Posted by Daffy Duck, Friday, 5 January 2018 8:52:33 AM
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He's right on. widespread nihilism seems to lead to the most boring societies with how theyre usually characterised by gender dysphoria, alcohol, drugs, sport obsession, huge debts and gambling. Whereas a Carolingian-style society would be quite amazing especially if it had a 5% corporate tax rate, no income tax, and private social security and live symphonic music.
Posted by progressive pat, Friday, 5 January 2018 9:13:31 AM
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In a book, Life after life, an eminent researcher examined numerous subjects under hypnosis, to see if any could recall memories of past lives? Tested those memories, by asking for newspaper headlines etc on particular dates. That could then be verified by a search of dusty archives.

Given numbers of incidents, far distant historical records confirmed recalled under hypnosis accounts! Given no other possible credible explanation?

Reasonable to assume these memories were probably real?

Makes perfect sense out of, so as you sow, so also shall you reap; and countless examples of a hostile world, dispensing justice to innocent children?

And, verily verily (truly truly) I say unto you, to reach unto the kingdom of heaven, ye must be born again!

Recorded out of body experiences, invariably explained as hallucinations occurring in an injured brain? Given that's only one possible explanation? Suppose however, the experiences were literal remembered experience.

Finally and as the most convincing evidence for a life beyond this physical experience?

A widely reported case of a young Australian man, rendered comatose for several years. Although never ever having been ever exposed at any time, or in any setting, to Asian culture, people or their languages!

Woke up one day speaking fluent mandarin, the most complex and difficult language on earth to learn!

Another reported example, had a man waking up from similar circumstance, able to play the piano rather well. Even though never have taken a single lesson or even owned a piano ever.

This is evidence?

Whereas the case for, it all ends with the day with draw our last breath? Has nothing more than unfounded supposition to support it! Nothing!

I say this as someone who has opened death's door on three separate occasions and returned to bear witness!

Be warned, Hell is a very real unimaginably brutal and totally terrifying, ETERNAL place! And you never ever want to go there!

Or make a deal with the incredibly powerful evil entity that presides over it!

What shall it benefit a man that he should gain the entire world and lose his immortal soul!
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Friday, 5 January 2018 9:32:35 AM
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One doesn't have to belong to organised religion to believe in a Creator or a life after this one!

And possibly helps and truly independent, critical thinking/analysis, if he/she doesn't?

Given the endlessly conflicting messages and the POLITICAL contest for devotees! And where an IQ roughly equal to the ambient temperature, invariably assists with the brainwashing form birth belief, that then sticks, as in the conditioning of Pavlov's salivating on cue, dogs!

If an unquestioned life is hardly worth living? Then so also ,an unquestioned belief system not worth following or even the time of day!
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Friday, 5 January 2018 9:44:46 AM
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Whilst I respectfully accept and Peter's role and understanding within his Christian church, I reject the truth of much of his dogma. He does not seem to consider moral or ethical explanations from philosophers from outside his own faith; not that I believe that he should accept them in a realm so full of potential conjecture as spirituality, but that he should consider other points of view. It is a challenge for scientists and philosophers to define life, partially because life is a process, not a substance. Nor is it acceptable to limit one's reasoning to the existence of some supreme being. All of us create the conditions of our own existence by consciously deciding on our own thoughts, speech, and actions... as one poster stated "as you sow, so shall you reap". How very true but not the deliberations of some Divinity, just the factuality of cause and effect. To me, therefore, it is important to understand deeply the outcomes of our own behaviours in moulding the current life which we and all other sentient beings live. It is also important to realise that our attitudes in this world will impinge on any new existence after death ...a sort of shaping of our next existence by the outcomes of our previous one. Death is certainly nothing to be feared (or enjoyed!). It is just the progression from one state of being to another. A bit like the hour hand on a clock approaching midnight which, when it comes, ushers in a whole new day. Change is constant, progressive, and permanent. Accept it and cope in a positive spirit.
Posted by Ponder, Friday, 5 January 2018 5:43:42 PM
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The sad point of it all is death is not final as we tend to think it. Don't get yourself upset here because Death and the second death are not at all the same but both are awaiting he or she that will not bend the knee in worship and in love to the Messiah, the Christ. The troubling thing is man is not just the shell we are contained in. Nope, there is a spirit in everybody's body that contains the image of God and that, like God, is eternal and the Second Death is Eternal Death in the Lake of Fire, separated from the Creator God.

A thought worthy of consideration.
Posted by th1b.taylor, Sunday, 7 January 2018 8:23:58 AM
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Dear Taylor,

Man IS this shell, this body - which will surely die.

Yet You, who at present seem to dwell in this body, cannot die and cannot be separated from God because truly You ARE God.
Posted by Yuyutsu, Sunday, 7 January 2018 8:37:57 AM
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Yuyutsu writes: “Yet You, who at present seem to dwell in this body, cannot die and cannot be separated from God because truly You ARE God.”

Yet, somehow this ‘You’ (capital ‘Y’), can change unrecognisably because of what happens to the brain in the sack of meat in which it resides. Doesn't sound to me like there is a separate ‘You’ at all.
Posted by AJ Philips, Sunday, 7 January 2018 10:04:44 AM
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Hi, AJ Philips, It may help if you regard "Y"ou as an expression of innate spirituality. It transcends bodily death and influences future existences in whatever form these may occur.
Posted by Ponder, Sunday, 7 January 2018 10:43:38 AM
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Once upon a time an Anglican priest would have believed and quoted Jesus when it comes to heaven hell and eternal life. Peter would be far better going to the words of the One who rose from the dead assuming he still has some sort of faith.
Posted by runner, Sunday, 7 January 2018 10:44:07 AM
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Ponder,

Yes, I did consider that possibility. However, I have been reading Yuyutsu's posts for many years now, and, from my understanding of his theology, this 'You' of which he speaks should (ideally, at least) be doing what it can to "come closer to God" (while somehow, at the same time, being God). Therefore, it seems to me that this 'You' encompasses more than a mere inate spirituality, and extends into the conscious realm - which is where my point becomes a problem for it.
Posted by AJ Philips, Sunday, 7 January 2018 12:13:43 PM
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One of the things that is eternal is the mighty irrefutable truth, If you can believe in nothing else, believe in that.

If you believe it you'll see it. And you don't have believe in a higher power or creative force! Just yourself and a common dream backed by the power of truly positive, [it's possible,] thinking!

And if you want a better world for yourself?

Work to make it better for all. After all, the entire universe is just energy in this or that transmuted form, including you and I.

And given energy can neither be created or destroyed. It follows that energy is eternal as is everything in the unified field of energy, we call the universe.

Can the universe think, feel or dream?

Well you and I can and we are an integral part of it and together unified in one positive, for good purpose, we have unimaginable power!

If any part of this world is improved in any way at all, it benefits all of humanity, either directly or indirectly, sooner or later.

As proof I give you China and any number of raggedy ass communities, where the leaders have actively worked to improve the common lot.

How much better could we do it, with uncorrupted parliaments, entirely independant courts and an us first, cooperative capitalism paradigm/approach?

Politicians, one and all. Stop with divide and rule crap. Real leaders unite their people behind common purpose.

People. Use your power as a unified group to dream a better world for all with positive visionary dreams that are both lucid and creative.

Then do what is physically possible (your part) to realise it, bring it into reality!

What do you have to lose? Me, me, me? Doom and gloom? Negative, it can't be done thinking?

A happy and prosperous new year to all and from the bottom of my heart.

Pete: If you wish an injection of something for me? Make mine bismuth 2/13, with a dash of antibodies!
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Sunday, 7 January 2018 5:49:00 PM
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Afterthought. Who knows what impossibilities we could see with our own eyes/in our lifetime, with the power of COMBINED YES WE CAN, thinking.

Why man might even do impossible things like flying, breaking the sound barrier or walking on the moon. All once absolutely impossible!

As is a thorium powered/drought proof Australia, where prosperity and abundance is the norm and poverty extremely unusual!
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Sunday, 7 January 2018 5:58:15 PM
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It seems strange to me that both nihilism (belief in emptiness, nothingness, and death) and in reincarnation are growing perspectives that challenge Christianity. Both seem to really with authority but are opposite of each other. Nihilist say "after all everything comes to an end, and everything dies," and they say it with such authority that it makes sense. Then those who believe in reincarnation say the opposite. Saying something like, "energy never dies just changes form, we are reincarnated and do the same." With again the same no nonsense this is how it is approach as the nihilist.

There are stories of past lives and memories of earlier lives that are reported, to give a foundation to reincarnation. Then there are the observations that lead to the conclusions of everything dying. Even our sun to die. Yet these are opposites beliefs concerning death and dying. Can they both be right? That everything comes to an end and nothing matters; as well as nothing ever ends but is reborn in the same world suffering the same sorrows and sharing the same joys.

I am happy to find out God is real, because His promise of eternity is much better then both nihilism and reincarnation. Search for God to see if He is real, and if He is real, be over joyed. His promise of one day earth being made new without the war and death we have now, and His promise of eternal life, not just just eternal reincarnation, are promises to be very happy about.

I would recommend anyone else too seek and look for God too. If you seek Him you'll find Him. Not because of belief only, but because Heis real. If I'm wrong though, and you don't find God, then go decide on whether to believe in the other two options. Search for God first though. His promises are better then the other two options, and are worth the search to see if they are right.
Posted by Not_Now.Soon, Sunday, 7 January 2018 7:52:26 PM
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I admire Peter Sellick for his persistent defence of the Christian religion, and its “way”.

Globally, populations adhere consistently to many and varied religious beliefs, and only in the West, is religious affiliation in slow decline.

But, as China enters the world from its dark cave, religion is seeping into its anxious make-up. Globally, atheists are an insignificant minority with little to offer but cynicism: that is not attractive as an alternative to humanly encompassing world religions. There is no threat!

There is no threat, but there are losers, so let Atheists lose, who cares: In the Christian religion, God does care about that, and Peter toils-on against the rising tide of unbelievers the West produces, to its own detriment!
Posted by diver dan, Sunday, 7 January 2018 8:50:19 PM
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I believe there is a creative force and opposite forces for good and evil. Both of which indisputably exist!

Whether or not this creative force is that which we call God I don't know. I do know it is everywhere and has created all life by becoming part of it.

And so he created man in his own image In his own image did he create him. Meaning He/she are not separate from us but are part of all there is and everywhere present. even in every breath we take.

We feel this power when we express love, in every act of kindness and in the kindness of strangers.

I believe this is so, every time I hear a baby cry or touch a leaf or see the sky.

Believing in God does not, never ever has equated to believing in organised religion!

Particularly those who allegedly confer the power to kill this or that subgroup of humans, for any reason other than self defense.

No man or woman speaks for God! Nor does any belief system.

Heaven waits for us all and knows what's is in your heart! Which is all that matters! Not slavishly following some words in some ancient Book. Men, who cannot possibly know, tell you is the literal word of God!

Even when they spout completely contradictory versions both of which cannot be simultaneously true, nor necessarily either!

If the Author were to walk on water or cause the dead to rise, as you watched, there could be a convincing argument.

But telling someone/anyone to disbelieve collected and collated evidence or eyewitness accounts, because it contradicts authorized script, is just not on!

Just more of the ritualist brainwashing that divides families, sets brother against brother etc/etc, and therefore, inherently evil!

As is a child raping paedophile!
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Sunday, 7 January 2018 10:28:26 PM
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I don't know that Peter should be so sweepingly denying "the eternal" or the "supernatural". There are many things we know now which we could not conceive in the past. From the origins of our universe, to invisible spectrums (or dimensions) of light and shadow , even to the fact the world is not flat! Yes there are problems with assuming (literal) eternity for humanity. The Sun will go Red Giant and then Dwarf Star long before the Universe succumbs to entropy. But we're talking billions of years ; and civilisation has only existed around 4000 years at most. I wouldn't 100% deny humanity may "find a way". But the more immediate question is whether there is "a second life" ; and there are many reasons I wouldn't rule it out. As I said in an earlier article, how can we explain free-will and consciousness without reference to the 'transcendental'. And if the 'transcendental' exists ; perhaps in dimensions currently invisible to us - who is to say "Death is the end"? It depends whether the 'essence of humanity' is merely in our bodies ; or in something transcendent (spiritual) which animates us...

I still believe in God ; but I do worry at the Sadduces' materialism back in ancient times, for instance ; but also there is the question: what is meant in scripture by "we are made of dust ; and to dust we return"? Is eternal life compatible with this? Yet God imparts the spirit and the breath of life - which returns to God. Personally , I still have hope. I think it's premature to deny *any* kind of second life ; effectively to dismiss "the spirit" and "the breath of life". How can we be Christian if we deny an eternal God?
Posted by Tristan Ewins, Monday, 8 January 2018 11:42:54 AM
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Alan B.

Nice to see you've dropped out nicknamednick, and stopped arguing with yourself.

I like your opening line:
*...I believe there is a creative force and opposite forces for good and evil. Both of which indisputably exist!...*

I read recently, a lively imaginative book on this subject, with a theory based in scripture, as it's grounding.

"Archon invasion: the rise fall and return of the Nephilim"
Rob Skiba

If you get hold of it, you'll be riveted.

His is a long historic view of exactly the forces operating between good and evil. It is the perpetual struggle depicted in scripture.

I'm also reading a juxtapositional account of why Stephen Pinker believes human civilisation is in its most peaceful moment in history.
That notion is about to be trashed, according to Skiba.
Posted by diver dan, Monday, 8 January 2018 7:48:33 PM
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.

Dear Peter,

.

You wrote :

« … nothing stands, even the closest love of child, country, husband, wife, all will pass … »

I beg to disagree. Child, country, husband and wife will pass … but not love. Death cannot alter love. It can only stop its expression. Love persists. It is eternal.
.

As for truth, truth is not reality.

I see truth as information which has not been voluntarily deformed at the time of emission. Or, should I say, it is whatever version of reality, thought, ideas, qualia, dreams, or imagination, a particular individual is capable of experiencing and subsequently transmitting without voluntarily deforming it.

This, of course, does not exclude the involuntary deformation of information concerning the object of truth. The information that is emitted by somebody may be totally erroneous but perfectly truthful.

There are as many truths as there are observers and each one may be completely different from all the others, though each observer may be telling the truth from his or her particular perspective. I see truth as a perfectly subjective notion.

Our initial perspective may be false. We may incorrectly interpret what we perceive. Shock or prejudice may prevent us from correctly registering what we perceive. We may suffer a lapse of memory at the time of transmitting the information. We may not employ the correct expressions or be sufficiently precise in relaying the information. Our body language may be inconsistent with our oral expression, etc. All these and many other factors may possibly result in the involuntary deformation concerning the object of truth.

The star we claim to see may have disappeared from the heavens millions of years ago. That does not alter the fact that we are telling the truth in claiming to see it. The reality is different.

And unless there are other living species, which I ignore, capable of deliberately deforming the information they transmit regarding their perceptions and experiences I consider that truth is a concept that has no existence beyond humanity.

Perhaps you would be kind enough to let me have your definition.

.
Posted by Banjo Paterson, Wednesday, 10 January 2018 12:05:26 AM
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.

Dear Tristan Ewins,

.

You wonder :

« … how can we explain free-will and consciousness without reference to the 'transcendental'»

That’s easy. Simply by explaining that “free will” means “autonomy” and “consciousness” means “awareness”.
.

You then enquire :

« How can we be Christian if we deny an eternal God ? »

That’s easy too. If you are a Christian, you have been baptised, and baptism is not rescindable. Once a Christian, always a Christian.

Most Christian denominations remain silent on this question. Not surprisingly, there is a plethora of information on how to become baptised but nothing about how to cancel it. Here is the only explanation I managed to find on the internet :

« It [baptism] is eternal and unchangeable in nature. It cannot be cancelled or changed by God or man. It is a part of your eternal security. No renunciation; no sin, human good, or evil; no moral or immoral degeneracy can cancel this ministry of the Holy Spirit » :

http://www.gracenotes.info/documents/topics_doc/holyspirit_baptism.pdf

.
Posted by Banjo Paterson, Wednesday, 10 January 2018 2:11:46 AM
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.

Dear Peter,

.

I would like to enlarge on the point I made about love because I think it is not only pertinent to your mythopoetic meditation on the eternal, but more importantly, I think it is paramount.

But before doing so, I should add that I did not fail to notice the prudent manner in which you presented David Szolay's Latin quotation “Amemus et non pertura” - which, I think you will agree, is nonsensical - and which he interprets as meaning “Let us love that which is eternal and not what is transient”.

Perhaps he misread the inscription which may possibly have been “Amemus et non perturba” (“Let us love and not make trouble”). However, whatever it was, is neither here nor there. To me it is a clear indication of the poor quality of the individual whom, for some reason, you present as the author of a “fine collection of short stories”.

« So what is eternal ? » the author asks himself.

“Nothing” thinks he, and you add : « Our problem, our unease, our existential dilemma is that we now know that nothing eternal exists »

That is where I differ. In my view, it is the other way round. It is because of the individual’s “existential dilemma” that the thought “that nothing eternal exists” is unsupportable. People cling desperately to the belief that there must be an afterlife and that by faith alone they will be saved. Faith may or may not get them to heaven, but, at least, it alleviates their “existential dilemma”.

However, irrespective of whether we suffer from “existential dilemma” or not, the fact remains that as we can see neither a beginning nor an end to the cosmos and everything it contains, I consider that the eternal does, indeed, exist - until proof to the contrary.

I am less affirmative about life. But there is no doubt in my mind that love is eternal.

Either love is or it is not. If it is not, it never was. If it is, it always will be.

.
Posted by Banjo Paterson, Thursday, 11 January 2018 4:16:37 AM
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Banjo.

Define your version of love! So far it makes little sense to your critique.

You need to expand in that one little word a lot, since you have an argument that hangs on it!
Posted by diver dan, Thursday, 11 January 2018 11:18:14 AM
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.

Dear diver dan,

.

You wrote :

« Define your version of love ! »

It seems there is no universal definition. The OED indicates no less than 25, the first of which is “an intense feeling of deep affection”, but that is only part of the story and, in my view, not the essential part.

The biological anthropologist, Helen Fisher, suggested that " Love may be understood as part of the survival instinct, a function to keep human beings together against menaces and to facilitate the continuation of the species".

I, personally, like the definition of that well-known Australian biologist, Jeremy Griffith: "unconditional selflessness". This, to me, is the essence of the word - to which all sorts of lace and frills and other fioritura may be added.

I also like Aristotle's definition, which was later adopted by Thomas Aquinas: "to will the good of another", though it lacks the notion of "selflessness" which, to me is an indispensable feature of "love". Perhaps it is a vestige of my Christian education, but I cannot conceive of "love" without some form of personal engagement, the "giving of oneself", an element of self-sacrifice.

And, as I indicated in my previous post, either love is or it is not and if it is not, then it has never been. In my mind, there is no such thing as temporary or partial love. Either it is total, eternal and indestructible or it is not.

I’m afraid I have to reveal something of my personal life history in order to illustrate why I have arrived at this conclusion :

.

(Continued …)

.
Posted by Banjo Paterson, Thursday, 11 January 2018 10:58:47 PM
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.

(Continued …)

.

I met my wife in Paris and we have been through many years of stormy weather but we somehow both managed to cling to the mast and survive. Now the fire in me is no more than a gentle simmer and it's all smooth sailing. Nothing and nobody could come between us now. We are on our way to oblivion, hand in hand, headed for eternity.

As I see it, love is unconditional. Even death has no power over love. If my wife were to die before me, it would not alter my love for her. And what can anybody or anything do to our love when we are both dead ? It will remain unaltered for eternity.

In my humble opinion, most of those who think they love somebody do not. They mistake love for feelings, affection, sentiments, sex, liking, sympathy, admiration or some other basic impulse or self-serving urge.

Some seem to fall in love with their own image. They even look alike.
.

My brother and I adopted a stray puppy that wandered through the front gate one day and we grew up with him. He was like a third brother. We went through all sorts of battles and adventures together. He defended us against our cousins and saved the chickens from drowning during a flood by swimming around and picking them up in his mouth and putting them on the roof of the fowl house. He risked his life in the raging flood waters.

Does that qualify for love, "unconditional selflessness" ?

Nobody asked him to do that and he got no reward for it. He had never been trained to do it. We never trained him to do anything. We treated him as a brother, not a dog. My uncle took him to the vet when he was fifteen, half blind and could hardly walk and had him put out of his misery.

That was about half a century ago now. I don't think his death or the passing years can do anything to change that.

.
Posted by Banjo Paterson, Thursday, 11 January 2018 11:08:26 PM
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Dear Not_Now.Soon,

«Yet these are opposites beliefs concerning death and dying. Can they both be right? That everything comes to an end and nothing matters; as well as nothing ever ends but is reborn in the same world suffering the same sorrows and sharing the same joys.»

Reincarnation does not mean that nothing ever ends, only that it might take longer than the arbitrary lifetime of a physical body: our suffering, sorrow and joys (more accurately, all joys that depend on situations) will all eventually end, but that will only occur once our individual perspectives are lost, rather than as soon as our current physical bodies happen to perish.

So long as we identify with a finite "individual", we suffer. It might take trillions of incarnations along with incredible suffering, but eventually all individual perspectives will pass away and suffering will end. The good news is that with a combination of effort and divine grace, we can hasten the process and reduce the number of incarnations and their ensuing suffering.

«and His promise of eternal life, not just just eternal reincarnation, are promises to be very happy about.»

You will attain eternal life, definitely, but that individual/person which you falsely believe yourself to be must first die. Not just a partial and temporary physical-death, but the ultimate death of your separate individual existence.

---

Dear Tristan,

«Yes there are problems with assuming (literal) eternity for humanity»

For sure, but who ever assumed so?

«But the more immediate question is whether there is "a second life"»

Although there is but one life, it can encompass many bodies and even many worlds.

«who is to say "Death is the end"?»

Death is the end of life, but the physical death of a body is not yet death of individual life.

«what is meant in scripture by "we are made of dust ; and to dust we return"?»

It's a lesson in humility, rather than a factual description.

«Is eternal life compatible with this?»

Eternal life is incompatible with life as a separate individual/person/human. One must first die to gain eternal life.
Posted by Yuyutsu, Friday, 12 January 2018 12:16:39 AM
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Dear Banjo,

I am truly impressed by your excellent definition:

«I see truth as information which has not been voluntarily deformed at the time of emission. Or, should I say, it is whatever version of reality, thought, ideas, qualia, dreams, or imagination, a particular individual is capable of experiencing and subsequently transmitting without voluntarily deforming it.»

There remains, however, the difficult problem of our responsibility for our subconscious delusions. Is it truly possible to be completely truthful? Some monastic traditions believe that it isn't and therefore observe silence.

Your definition of Love is also spot on.

It is a paradox: how can anyone love (put first) that which they perceive as another, other than themselves? Even when one is not voluntarily dishonest, one often acts out of a subconscious element of belief in some gain accruing from loving.

To be able to love even without at least some such subconscious element of belief in gain, is a miracle!

Anything less than that is not worthy of the name "love".

So either:

1) Love doesn't exist, we are selfish to the core and only seem to love due to conscious and/or subconscious assumptions (these could be instinctual as in the case of the dog; believing that it would produce nice feelings; or perhaps lacking the intellectual ability to distinguish between one's person and another person).
2) Love exists, whereby individual A puts individual B first without perceiving any gain from it, and this is an unexplained miracle.
3) Love is a logical impossibility because there are no separate 'A' and 'B' who could love each other. Since the seemingly two, lover and beloved, are in fact one and the same, what seems to be "love" is actually just self-help.

The miracle of love is in fact the same miracle of finding God in oneself, consequently seeing God in others as well. Both miracles require this leap of discontinuity or transcendence: once realising that you and I are both God rather than separate entities, putting the other first is no longer seen as a self-sacrifice, but rather a simple and logical step.
Posted by Yuyutsu, Friday, 12 January 2018 2:22:56 AM
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.

Dear Yuyutsu,

.

You ask :

« … how can anyone love (put first) that which they perceive as another, other than themselves ? Even when one is not voluntarily dishonest, one often acts out of a subconscious element of belief in some gain accruing from loving »

If, as you suggest, it is “a subconscious element”, I am afraid that, by definition, neither I, nor you, nor anybody else, has any way of knowing. However, supposing, for the sake of argument, that one did exist – “satisfaction”, for example – it seems to me it would be largely counter-balanced by “an element of self-sacrifice” which I consider characterises “an act” of love.

If anything is done, purely for personal gain, or if the prospect of personal gain exceeds self-sacrifice, or is the sole motivation, then, obviously, it is not an act of love. Anybody who presents such an act as an act of love is either a fraud and a swindler acting out of deceit, or he is kidding himself and doesn’t know what love is.

You declare :

« To be able to love even without at least some such subconscious element of belief in gain, is a miracle ! »

I think that is an exaggeration, Yuyutsu. As I indicated in my previous post : “… most of those who think they love somebody do not. They mistake love for feelings, affection, sentiments, …”. But, happily, in my view, there remains a significant minority of our fellow human beings who are perfectly capable of loving and do so in their daily lives. As somebody wisely observed : love makes the world go round !

You conclude :

« The miracle of love is in fact the same miracle of finding God in oneself, consequently seeing God in others as well »

I think you are jumping the gun on that one, Yuyutsu. Mounting logical arguments on the foundations of faith is like building castles in the sky :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZn2wK3tErI

.
Posted by Banjo Paterson, Friday, 12 January 2018 10:29:57 PM
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Banjo Patterson

Since Christianity is a sect with Jewish heritage, we could safely translate the meaning of love from the Hebrew.

The word love in Hebrew is “Ahava”. It consists of three basic letter forms. The meaning of the two letter base, is to “give”; the third letter is a modifier.

“The preceding modifier “Alef” enlarges the meaning of love to include “to give”.
I give, and as a consequence, I love!

So “giving”, is the intertwined meaning of love in the Christian Bible. So if you truely love, you will generously give!

The application of love by a Christian, raises more questions than answers.
Obviously the love for family you describe, is one aspect of the giving process; but isn't the love of family entirely selfish?
You love a family since they are yours. Like you love a new car because, for you it is the best. How does that form of love describe love in the true scriptural sense?

Love thine neighbour as thine self. Therein lies true love. And you love thine neighbour by giving to that euphemistic neighbour, to balance an injustice. It must have a personal “cost” in the giving process, to be correctly classified as true love!
Posted by diver dan, Saturday, 13 January 2018 10:24:21 AM
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Dear Banjo,

Satisfaction, no doubt, can motivate for actions that look like love; and it doesn't necessarily even need to be subconscious.

I agree that there are cases of people who put others first despite their expected satisfaction (if any, or any other gains) being lesser than their sacrifice. Yet how they manage to do so is beyond me, hence I consider it a miracle.

As for "castles in the sky", what I meant is that there are two situations when one sees no difference between oneself and others: BEFORE one perceives themselves as separate from others (e.g. animals, babies and the intellectually-retarded) and AFTER one ceases to perceive themselves and others as separate (e.g. realised souls who are united with God, hence with all others).

When that's the case, seeming acts of love are rather like one limb sacrificing itself for other limbs (for example when one slips and hurts their knees and elbows in order to prevent falling on their head), which is a fairly logical act rather than an act of love.

It is the ability to love while at the stage between those two, which is a mystery, which I consider a miracle.

---

Dear Dan,

Hebrew roots cannot be meaningfully broken into their constituent letters.

Love - "Ahavah" comes from the root "A-H-B(V)" while "give" ("Hav") is an acceptable shorthand of "Hav'e", of the root "B-V-A" (which includes the words "come" and "bring") and is actually an instruction - "Give/bring me" (which doesn't normally indicate loving kindness, except as in "give me your burdens").

For the difference, see:

http://he.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D7%90%D7%94%D7%91_(%D7%A9%D7%95%D7%A8%D7%A9%29

and

http://he.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D7%91%D7%95%D7%90_(%D7%A9%D7%95%D7%A8%D7%A9%29
Posted by Yuyutsu, Sunday, 14 January 2018 1:30:18 AM
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All including Yuyutsu,

Your interpretation of the Hebrew “Ahava”, sounds like a Capitalists version of love, “to take”.

My version goes like this:

There are three basic letters in the Hebrew “Ahava”. Meaning love. Broken into two parts gives the modified (by the first letter of the three characters), as meaning “ I give therefore I love”.
That interpretation is ticked-off by my able Hebrew teacher this morning, as correct.

How English “has been castigated” by the 1984 antiestablishment ideologues, has come to include the word “love”.
And I can tell your eyes are glazed over, when you reference the word Yuyutsu!

Just to prove the point in dramatic terms. Yesterday I bought a pack of toilet rolls, with an extended plastic carry-handle carrying a continuous imprint of the word “Love”, circling the entire pack. I felt so proud and included-in, as I walked out the door of Coles.

We are living in dangerous times! Nothing can be trusted, especially English translations!
The word “gay”, is another one I will avoid, just in case any criticism of its current usage, lands me in jail!

So in conclusion, I cringe when I hear Christians blandly stating, we must “love”, to prove our dedication! Must I also be “gay” as well? New speak now cunningly combines the two in our imagination; “gay lover”.

Thanks, but no thanks
Posted by diver dan, Sunday, 14 January 2018 11:28:30 AM
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.

Dear diver dan,

.

You suggest :

« Since Christianity is a sect with Jewish heritage, we could safely translate the meaning of love from the Hebrew »
.

It seems, indeed, that Christianity commenced as a Jewish sect but was elevated to the rank of religion in 312 when the Roman Emperor, Constantine, had a vision and ordered his troops to adorn their shields with a Christian symbol (the Chi-Rho), and won the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, a bridge over the Tiber river.

Constantine’s Nicene Christianity became the state church of the whole of the Roman Empire with the Edict of Thessalonica in 380 AD, when Emperor Theodosius I made it the Empire's sole authorized religion.

Today, Christianity is the world’s largest religion, though it is predicted that Islam will become the number one in 2050 – not because people convert to it, but because of the higher birth rates in Islamic countries. People do not choose their religion or adopt it because they believe in it, they simply inherit it from their parents. Fertility rate – not faith – is the determining factor in the evolution of religions.
.

As for “translating the meaning of love from the Hebrew”, I think we need to take a more holistic approach to the question.

My understanding is that love is a faculty of nature that has been developed by a number of animal species to facilitate the mating process and stabilise the relationship for the survival of the species. As we human beings are the most highly developed and sophisticated form of life on earth, the nurturing period of our offspring is extremely long compared to that of most other species. Hence the need for a longer period of parental stability, facilitated by our natural faculty of love.

Mankind distinguishes himself from all other animal species, not only by his superior intelligence, but also by his greater propensity to cooperate and coordinate his activities with others. Sociobiologists point out that similar behaviour is displayed by other primates in relation to specific activities such as
.

(Continued …)

.
Posted by Banjo Paterson, Sunday, 14 January 2018 12:03:03 PM
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. (Continued …) . allomothering (foster mothering), cooperative foraging, and mutual protection. Mankind and other primates are also capable of self-denial, altruism and reciprocal kindness, to varying degrees. In his article on Biological Altruism for the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy (winter, 2009 edition), Samir Okasha indicates: "Altruistic behaviour is common throughout the animal kingdom, particularly in species with complex social structures. For example, vampire bats regularly regurgitate blood and donate it to other members of their group who have failed to feed that night, ensuring they do not starve. In numerous bird species, a breeding pair receives help in raising its young from other ‘helper’ birds, who protect the nest from predators and help to feed the fledglings. Vervet monkeys give alarm calls to warn fellow monkeys of the presence of predators, even though in doing so they attract attention to themselves, increasing their personal chance of being attacked. In social insect colonies (ants, wasps, bees and termites), sterile workers devote their whole lives to caring for the queen, constructing and protecting the nest, foraging for food, and tending the larvae. Such behaviour is maximally altruistic: sterile workers obviously do not leave any offspring of their own — so have personal fitness of zero — but their actions greatly assist the reproductive efforts of the queen". Okasha warns, however, that contrary to human altruism, biological altruism does not constitute a conscious, voluntary act on the part of the benefactor. Religion integrated this compassion for others, or altruism, into its doctrine, associating it with so-called divine love. The Ancient Greeks identified four forms of love: kinship or familiarity (in Greek, storge), friendship and/or platonic desire (philia), sexual and/or romantic desire (eros), and self-emptying or divine love (agape). Two philosophical underpinnings of love exist in the Chinese tradition, one from Confucianism which emphasized actions and duty while the other came from Mohism which championed a universal love. When speaking of love, Bertrand Russell invoked the importance of tolerance if humanity is to survive : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kg8YXVs4N_A .
Posted by Banjo Paterson, Sunday, 14 January 2018 12:08:35 PM
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.

(Continued …)

.

allomothering (foster mothering), cooperative foraging, and mutual protection. Mankind and other primates are also capable of self-denial, altruism and reciprocal kindness, to varying degrees.

In his article on Biological Altruism for the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy (winter, 2009 edition), Samir Okasha indicates:

"Altruistic behaviour is common throughout the animal kingdom, particularly in species with complex social structures. For example, vampire bats regularly regurgitate blood and donate it to other members of their group who have failed to feed that night, ensuring they do not starve. In numerous bird species, a breeding pair receives help in raising its young from other ‘helper’ birds, who protect the nest from predators and help to feed the fledglings. Vervet monkeys give alarm calls to warn fellow monkeys of the presence of predators, even though in doing so they attract attention to themselves, increasing their personal chance of being attacked. In social insect colonies (ants, wasps, bees and termites), sterile workers devote their whole lives to caring for the queen, constructing and protecting the nest, foraging for food, and tending the larvae. Such behaviour is maximally altruistic: sterile workers obviously do not leave any offspring of their own — so have personal fitness of zero — but their actions greatly assist the reproductive efforts of the queen".

Okasha warns, however, that contrary to human altruism, biological altruism does not constitute a conscious, voluntary act on the part of the benefactor.

Religion integrated this compassion for others, or altruism, into its doctrine, associating it with divine love.

The Ancient Greeks identified four forms of love: kinship or familiarity (in Greek, storge), friendship and/or platonic desire (philia), sexual and/or romantic desire (eros), and self-emptying or divine love (agape).

Two philosophical underpinnings of love exist in the Chinese tradition, one from Confucianism which emphasized actions and duty while the other came from Mohism which championed a universal love.

When speaking of love, Bertrand Russell invoked the importance of tolerance if humanity is to survive :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kg8YXVs4N_A

.
Posted by Banjo Paterson, Sunday, 14 January 2018 12:11:10 PM
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Dear Dan,

I had no intention to join this discussion about Christianity and Judaism and how they relate to love. However, while I was discussing something else with Banjo, I happened to see your comment and as I know my Hebrew I couldn't let your inappropriate letter-play go by.

I don't attempt to interpret the word "Ahavah" (love), but only to analyse it grammatically.

If this is what you Hebrew teacher told you, then I need to have a word with your teacher.

All Hebrew verbs have a root, which is almost always 3-lettered (except for a few late-comer 4-letter roots due to Greek influence or in modern Hebrew for verbs that did not exist at biblical times, such as "electrified"). Roots are inclined into verbs according to prescribed rules.

The root for "to-love" is A-H-B(V). For example:
"Ahav" - he loved.
"Tohavna" - they (female) will love.
"Ehavu" - you (plural) should love.
"Le-ehov" - to love.
"Ahavah" - [the condition of] love.

The root for "to-give" is N-T-N. For example:
"Natan" - he gave.
"Titena" - they (female) will give.
"Tnu" - you (plural) should give.
"Latet" - to give.
"Netinah" - [the act of] giving.

The root for "to come(direct)/bring(indirect)" is B-V-A. For example:
"Ba" - he came.
"Hevi[a]" - he brought.
"Tavona" - they (female) shall come.
"Tavena" - they (female) will bring.
"Bo[a]u" - you (plural) should come.
"Haviu" - you (plural) should bring.
"Lavo]a]" - to come.
"Lehavi[a]" - to bring.
"Biah" - coming.
"Havaah" - bringing.

Now "bring" and "give" are sometimes interchangeable and this must be where your teacher got the false connection between "Hav" (you should give/bring, or the order "bring [me]!") and "Ehav" (you should love, or the order "love [such-and-such]!"). As soon as you take these verbs to the plural or to future-tense, for example, you can see that they become quite different:

"Ehavu" - you (plural) should love.
and
"Haviu" - you (plural) should bring/give.

"Yohav" - he will love.
and
"Yavi[a] - he will bring/give.
Posted by Yuyutsu, Sunday, 14 January 2018 1:30:49 PM
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Banjo Paterson.

It's seems to me I'm making an obvious point by defining the meaning and the sense in which the word “love”, is intended to be understood by Christian teaching.

What throws the stick in the spokes, is Christ's command, he be loved above all else on earth, by his followers.
There can be a huge price to pay for this love he implies, by stating; a love for me, will possibly sow seeds of discord among families, dividing family members and creating a fault-line in family relationships. So what love does Christ mean, when commanding love from believers, prioritised above all else?

So one could conclude from that, the love referred to that a Christian must exhibit, is not a familial one. It is a love with definite priorities.

Quite frankly, it is hard to find two Christians agreeing on the same interpretation of the meaning of love, in a Christian sense.
And the commandment to love thine neighbour as thine self is sketchy at best, if the highly confusing and vague English word “love” is to be given legitimacy.

What think you?

Yuyutsu,

Maybe we should be discussing the Greek interpretation of love, since it was written in Greek.

So, the New Testament was written for the followers of a Jewish Hebrew sect, which spoke Jewish Palestinian Aramaic, with a Galilean dialect, in Greek, and reinterpreted into English.

I've yet to be satisfied of anything believable and coherent, postured as an interpretation of the word “love”, which fits the bill.
Posted by diver dan, Sunday, 14 January 2018 8:17:59 PM
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Dear Dan,

While I know my Hebrew too well, whatever thou sayest about Greek, I can only nod and you can twist me on your little finger in that regard because it is Greek to me.
Posted by Yuyutsu, Sunday, 14 January 2018 9:19:57 PM
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.

Dear diver dan,

.

You ask :

« Quite frankly, it is hard to find two Christians agreeing on the same interpretation of the meaning of love, in a Christian sense … What think you ? »

I think it’s no secret that what is commonly termed “the scriptures” – the Christian Bible, [ i.e., Old Testament (Jewish Torah) and New Testament ], and the Muslim Koran – are all rife with contradictions. Jewish, Christian and Muslim theologians are all ingenious and highly skilled intellectual acrobats. They are second to none in interpreting “the scriptures” to fit their purpose. They pick and choose and make them say what they want.

But not many choose this example of Divine love :

« And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God ! … It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God » (Mark 10:23,25).

I’m not rich, by anybody’s standards. I don’t own anything apart from my clothes and a little old second-hand car – but what Mark reports Jesus as having said certainly doesn’t sound very charitable to me !

There are probably many other examples in a similar vein if you care to go to the trouble of digging them out.

Here are some definitions of love according to “the scriptures” :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love#Religious_views

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/

.
Posted by Banjo Paterson, Monday, 15 January 2018 1:14:21 AM
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Banjo Paterson.

And among all your links, here is the closest representation of the word love, in the Christian sense, from Buddhists, who's view on love, is even more encompassing than the Christian view.

“…The Bodhisattva ideal in Mahayana Buddhism involves the complete renunciation of oneself in order to take on the burden of a suffering world. The strongest motivation one has in order to take the path of the Bodhisattva is the idea of salvation within unselfish, altruistic love for all sentient beings…”

Moving the comma behind “salvation” adds more sense:

… of salvation, …“within unselfish altruistic love for all sentient beings…”

Would John Calvin cringe? He held some controversial views on Gods love.

Basically, Christians are Jews, separated by the return of a prophet.
And since the early Christians left behind scant written evidence of their beliefs and existence, ( I suspect, since it was a religion of the poor and illiterate), the memory code faded, until its resurrection by the Romans, who breathed into it a sophistication of the literate.

And really, it makes sense, in the rebranding process of Christianity at that time, expunging the unsuitable for the Church of State it was to become, who knows what the truth is?

Best to rely on the Jewish interpretation of love. I'll go with that one!

Yuyutsu,

Since Christianity has its roots in the Jewish religion, and you are the exposed expert on Hebrew, ( and as a consequence similar on Jewishness?). Do you admit a confusion in the use of the word “love” between the two?
Posted by diver dan, Monday, 15 January 2018 11:07:15 AM
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Dear Dan,

Yes, I wish language could be more precise, with a clear one-to-one mapping between word and meaning, but this is not the way languages evolve.

English distinguishes between LIKE and LOVE, but despite this distinction, many tend to mix the two. This particular distinction only entered the Hebrew language at a later stage (perhaps around 300-400 B.C.), so the word "like" (or "fond of") does not appear in the old testament, not even in the Song of Songs, thus "love" ('ahavah') and its many derivatives is used to describe quite a few different emotions which ought not be related.

In an attempt to sort this out, the scholars of the Hebrew Mishnah distinguished between two types of love - quoting "Ethics of the Fathers", chapter 5, teaching #16:

"Any love that is dependent on something—when the thing ceases, the love also ceases. But a love that is not dependent on anything never ceases. What is [an example of] a love that is dependent on something? The love of Amnon for Tamar. And one that is not dependent on anything? The love of David and Jonathan."

(this was written in the 2nd century and both examples are biblical, from the book of Samuel)

- http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/682520/jewish/English-Text.htm
Posted by Yuyutsu, Monday, 15 January 2018 2:28:57 PM
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.

Dear diver dan,

.

You advised :

« Best to rely on the Jewish interpretation of love. I'll go with that one ! »

In your post on the bottom of page 5 of this thread, you indicated the Jewish interpretation of love as follows :

« There are three basic letters in the Hebrew “Ahava”. Meaning love. Broken into two parts gives the modified (by the first letter of the three characters), as meaning “I give therefore I love”.

That interpretation is ticked-off by my able Hebrew teacher this morning, as correct »
.

I think you will recall that I indicated on page 4 of this thread :

« Perhaps it is a vestige of my Christian education, but I cannot conceive of "love" without some form of personal engagement, the "giving of oneself", an element of self-sacrifice »

A good illustration of the importance of not just giving but of "giving of oneself, an element of self-sacrifice”, is the manner in which my ex-son-in-law assumes his role as the father of my two little granddaughters.

He turned out to be a swindler, a con-man and a crook. My daughter divorced him and has been paying off the mountain of debt he left her ever since. The divorce judge condemned him to pay € 12,000 (Aust. $ 18,500) a year alimony for the two children – which he has never paid. He runs his own companies but nothing is in his name. He doesn’t have a bank account, drives a Mercedes and lives a life of luxury. He doesn’t even have a fixed address. He’s a very smart, professional crook. Officially, he has no job and no income and lives off the dole – and has all the papers to prove it. He doesn’t have social security and has no taxable income.

In addition, the children complained that he had been sexually caressing and fondling them on several occasions, at times when they were alone with him.

.

(Continued …)

.
Posted by Banjo Paterson, Monday, 15 January 2018 11:57:57 PM
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.

(Continued …)

.

My daughter and granddaughters have not seen him for the past few years, but he delivers the latest laptop computers, smart phones and other extravagant gifts to their apartment for the children for their birthdays, Christmas and Easter, each time with a sealed envelope containing a brief note and the equivalent of about Aust.$ 90 for each of the two girls.

Need I add that none of his gifts are ever in their original presentation boxes or packaging. There are never any instruction manuals with them. He probably buys them on the black market or knows somebody who can supply him with stolen goods.

To arrive at this point, my daughter went through ten years of court cases. Her ex-husband did everything he could to be awarded the custody of the girls. He still considers that they are his property and that he has the right to do what he likes with them because he is their father.

I am sure he would agree with the Jewish interpretation of love that you indicate, diver dan : “I give therefore I love”.

As a matter of fact, he said to me one day, long before all this blew up, that he suffered a lot during his childhood from the strict upbringing of his mother who was a fervent Catholic. He saw little of his father who was an engineer who spent months on end on different construction sites all around the country.

I am willing to believe that he thinks he loves his children, but I am afraid he doesn't know what love is. He seems to think that love means possession. That was his attitude to my daughter. He had difficulty accepting the divorce because he thought he owned both her and the children.

He spent ten years in and out of court claiming full respect of his rights, never acknowledging that he might possibly have some duties.

Mind you, perhaps he does love the girls if we accept the Jewish definition of love.

.
Posted by Banjo Paterson, Tuesday, 16 January 2018 12:27:37 AM
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