Is There One Right and another Wrong? Christianity, the Red-headed Step-child...

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05 Nov 2017 02:46 - 05 Nov 2017 02:59 #305493 by Neaj Pa Bol
Dictionary:

re·li·gion
rəˈlijən/
noun
noun: religion
the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
"ideas about the relationship between science and religion"
synonyms:
faith, belief, worship, creed; More
sect, church, cult, denomination
"the freedom to practice their own religion"
a particular system of faith and worship.
plural noun: religions
"the world's great religions"
a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance.
"consumerism is the new religion"
Origin

Middle English (originally in the sense ‘life under monastic vows’): from Old French, or from Latin religio(n-) ‘obligation, bond, reverence,’ perhaps based on Latin religare ‘to bind.’

And associated with Religion is: Faith

Out of all religions all over the world, Christianity has been the most talked about, debated and scrutinized than any other religion.

Why? It is the most hated, disliked and broad spectrum of all the religions. Most often when Religion is placed into conversation, Christianity is the first to be blasted. "Don't want to hear it" I am a Christian you are Not in your fake religion" and so on... Is there truly a right and wrong. Personally I don't think so and that's MHO and I respect those who think different. I feel it is up to every individual as to what they believe and really, it's a personal matter that for some reason is the start of wars, hatred, disgust, violence and so on.

Faith is daring the soul to go beyond what the eyes can see...

Wanted to share this a last time, something that was written by one of our Original Masters in the Beginning Months of the Temple, Master Bri-Yinn Juud...

The Wisdom of Yoda
by Bri-Yinn Juud

As requested, below is the sermon I presented at the Unitarian Church of Montclair in Montclair, New Jersey yesterday, "The Wisdom of Yoda."

The audio recording of sermon will soon be posted at www.uumontclair.org/worship/sermons.shtml , and I will soon post the "script" to the full service.

Enjoy:


“For over a thousand generations the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic...”

“…The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.”

Those of us who heard Obi-Wan Kenobi deliver this information to Luke Skywalker in 1977 took our first step into a larger world. Three years later, we accompanied Luke to the Dagobah system, where we learned from Yoda, the Jedi master who instructed Obi-Wan as child.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Star Wars saga, you may be asking yourself, “What does Yoda have to say that’s so important? How do the teachings of Yoda compare to the world’s religions? What can we learn from Yoda that applies to our own lives?”

In Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope, our hero, Luke Skywalker, is introduced to a powerful magic. The “magic” that Luke learned, of course, was The Force. And in order for us to fully comprehend the basics of Yoda’s teaching, we too must learn the ways of The Force.

Yoda teaches us:

“A Jedi’s strength flows from The Force.”
“…a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us.”

George Lucas’s own mentor, Joseph Campbell, was himself a student of Heinrich Zimmer, an anthropologist who specialized in Indian studies. Zimmer described the Buddhist concept of Prana as “the all-pervading vital energy of the universe” which dissolves into Inward Bliss. In other words, Prana is an energy that is created by life and brings us toward understanding oneness with the universe. This is not too dissimilar from the concept of The Force.

Here in our own galaxy, one can observe certain forces in nature. We can easily see and feel the effects of magnetic fields, gravitational pull, inertia, wind, the tides of the ocean, and so on. Many of these forces have been explained in numerous ways in all of the world’s religions, usually associating these forces to a greater power, or some deeper understanding of the universe.

The sage Lao Tzu identified the force of nature as the Tao - or simply “The Way” of life. Monotheistic religions, such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam often view these forces as “acts of G-d,” or the Holy Spirit. New Age followers, Wiccans, Pagans, Native Americans and countless other nature-based religions, as well as astrologists believe the forces of the universe can affect seemingly unrelated situations. And even our own Seventh Unitarian Universalist Principle acknowledges “the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”

In the Star Wars saga we see that The Force enables the Jedi to perform several “magical” powers: most prominently telekinesis, clairvoyance, and the ability to affect the minds of others. These are powers that many believe humans can actually accomplish simply by studying the true nature of our universe. I once met a friend of a friend who simply read a few books on telekinesis, and through simple concentration and practice, learned how bend metal objects with his mind. A family friend of ours practices a hands-off Japanese healing art called Hojukai, through which she can manipulate molecules in the body in order to help heal whatever ails them. Another friend of mine practices a wider-known healing art called Reiki, which is a hands-on relaxation technique that promotes healing.

From what I have observed even with my own eyes, the ability to tap into extraordinary powers indeed exists. It is simply a part of life. It is what we can call, for all in tense and purposes, The Force.

Almost all world religions refer to stories of people with magical powers. Often these powers are referred to as “miracles.” Very advanced Buddhism teaches that through long and careful meditation one can learn the true nature of all things, and achieve supernatural powers such as the ability to read minds, the ability to become invisible, pass through solid walls, fly through the air, walk on water and swim through dry land.

The Buddha forbade his disciples to use their powers for the purpose of showing off. This was because the powers themselves were merely by-products of understanding. The true purpose for religious study and meditation was freedom from the “three poisons” considered to be the root of our continual rebirth into lives of pain and suffering. Those three poisons are ignorance, desire and hatred.

And thus we learn that there is a Dark Side to the forces of nature…

Yoda taught:

“Beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of The Force are they.”
“If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.”
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

How many times have you chosen the quick and easy path, giving in to hate, anger, fear and aggression? How many times have you felt the seductive power of your own dark side? How many times have you felt a loss of control of your own emotions, and subsequently, your actions?

I know in my own life, I have been forced to confront my own dark side many times. I have said and done things out of anger, almost always with a sense of regret in its aftermath. And as Yoda observed, I too have come to the conclusion that, more often than not, the pathway to this dark side is indeed fear…

Fear itself is a natural reaction. Fear can be defined as the anticipation of an undesirable outcome. It is nature’s way of alerting you from a possible danger. However, when the object of fear is unknown or perhaps trivial, the reaction may be inappropriate and exaggerated, and the loss of calmness and self-discipline can become overwhelming. Over time, this fear can manifest as anger. And if you maintain anger towards something or someone, the result can translate into perpetual hatred. The actions taken under the influence of hatred is aggression.

Aggression is often accompanied by a very strong sense of power, which is often created physically by the rush of adrenaline. Actions taken with aggression are often effortless, and can result in the suffering of many.

Thus, fear, anger, and hatred lead to suffering.

Another source of fear is attachment.

Yoda taught:

“Attachment leads to jealousy. The shadow of greed, that is.”
“The fear of loss is a path to the dark side.”
“Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”

How often do our own attachments cloud our judgments? How often has our attachment to another person prevented us from understanding who they really are? How many times have we selfishly avoided helping others in need in order to preserve our own possession of material things or our time?

Attachment is what led to the downfall of Luke’s father, Anakin Skywalker. Anakin was so attached to his wife, Padme, and was so troubled by his fear of losing her, that he chose to turn to evil in order to gain the power to save her life. Before long, the evil he practiced consumed him, and he became Darth Vader, the Dark Lord of the Sith.

Learning to live without attachments is not an easy process. Much of Yoda’s teaching is comprised of instructions on how to face and conquer the Dark Side. It is a series of lessons in perception, attitude and self-discipline, and its final result is knowledge.

Yoda taught:

“Control, control! You must learn control!”
“A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind.”
“Adventure…Excitement… A Jedi craves not these things.”

When we give in to our emotions, we give up control of our own better judgment. In order to resist temptation to the Dark Side, we must practice and exercise control of our bodies, our hearts and our minds. We must learn to practice self-discipline.

Meditation is a tool used in many religions as a way to train and strengthen our minds to remain focused. In order to meditate, one must be calm and at peace. Through meditation, we learn to quiet our minds from distraction, and become attuned to our own inner selves and our place within the universe.

In Islam, the concept of Imaan is belief based upon correct perception and subsequent action. The root of the word Imaan in Arabic is "a-m-n" which means calmness in one's heart; to be protected from fear, anxiety and uncertainty; trustworthiness and truthfulness. Therefore, once one has the correct belief and removes fear and anxiety, one can take the correct action.

When we learn to develop the right mind-set, we can begin to understand our own true potential.

Yoda taught: “Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

I’d like show all of you a little exercise. Look at something close by and pick it up. (Go ahead, pick it up.) That’s clearly “doing.” Now put it down, and put your hand on top of it, but don’t pick it up. That’s clearly “not doing.” Now “try” to pick it up. You can’t! If it’s picked up, it’s picked up. If it’s not picked up, it’s not picked up. It’s either one or the other. There physically is no try!

In Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda moves Luke’s ship out of the water with minimal effort. He allowed the Force to flow through him, acting in peace and harmony with his surroundings, with the universe. There was no effort. There was no try.

When Luke tells Yoda that he cannot believe what he has just seen, Yoda simply tells him, “That is why you fail.”

Why is it that most of us do not seem to posses “superhuman” powers, when others have expressed how simple they are to learn? Why is it that so many of us don’t achieve the goals we set out for ourselves? Why is it that so many of us are unhappy in life, always looking for more?

Very often it is because we believe too strongly in our self-imposed limitations. We have all heard that little voice inside of ourselves that says, “I can’t.” It is a voice that we have learned all our lives. Obviously there are limitations to everything, but unfortunately it is all too easy to underestimate our limitations and diminish our true potential.

The difference between can and can’t almost always exists only in your own mind. If you believe you can’t do something, and you tell yourself over and over that you can’t do it, then you will be right! But if you tell yourself you can do something, and you maintain a steadfast faith that the task can be done, then eventually you will be able to do it!

Ultimately Luke Skywalker learned this lesson more so than Yoda and Obi-Wan could have realized. In order to become a Jedi, Luke’s final trial was to confront his father, Darth Vader, and defeat him without giving in to the Dark Side. But Luke protested – he could not kill his own father, and instead he became determined to find the good that Luke believed was still inside of him.

When Luke did finally confront Vader, he indeed was tempted to destroy him, allowing his hate to make him powerful. Realizing the fatal mistake he was about to make, Luke tossed away his weapon and resisted the temptation.

In retaliation to Luke’s refusal to turn to evil, Vader’s master, the Emperor, attempted to destroy him… and Luke called out to his father to help. Vader’s compassion for his son triggered an emotional change of heart, and he destroyed the Emperor in order to save his son. Luke had therefore succeeded in redeeming his father, simply because he refused to lose faith in his father’s inherent goodness.

Then, when Luke tells his father that he has to save him from the soon-to-be destroyed battle station, the redeemed Jedi tells him, “You already have, Luke. You were right. You were right about me.” And with that, Anakin Skywalker drew his final breath.

It seems that in comparing almost all religions, a universal theme emerges – that theme is taking the right courses of action in life so that one will somehow benefit after death. And thus, Yoda teaches us a few things about life and death:

“Luminous beings are we. Not this crude matter!”
“Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them, do not. Miss them, do not.”
“Twilight is upon me, and soon night must fall. For that is the way of things, the way of The Force.”

In A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi tells Darth Vader, “If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” After Kenobi’s death, his spirit remains as a mentor to Luke Skywalker, first as a voice, and later as a full apparition. At the end of Return of the Jedi, Luke sees the images of Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and his father, Anakin. To the Jedi, death does not necessarily mean the end of existence!

Many religions believe in some form of energy or existence that continues on after human life expires, either in some new form of life, or as a “ghost,” or as a “soul” in some other realm of existence like Heaven or Hell. Some believe that life is itself an energy that has always been - something keeping us reborn again and again. Most religions generally agree that there is something more than physical to our existence.

Only very few Jedi were able to attain a spiritual existence after death, and while this ability certainly proved to be powerful, the Jedi did not emphasize the promise of any post-life reward as main motivation for living a good life. To the Jedi, righteousness is performed solely for the sake of being righteous.

As Unitarian Universalists, Which Bri-Yinn Juud (Brian) is, they understand and celebrate the common themes found in the all of the worlds’ religions and philosophy. Likewise, we can see that the wisdom of Yoda differs little from the wisdom of any wise teacher, sage, priest or prophet.

Perhaps we could boil down all wisdom – from this galaxy or any other galaxy – to one simple concept: Do what is right… just because it is right.
Last edit: 05 Nov 2017 02:59 by Neaj Pa Bol. Reason: spelling
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09 Dec 2017 03:27 #307921 by Areion
Is there one right and one wrong? That depends on who you believe and what sacred text you subscribe to. I subscribe to The Holy Bible aka The Word of God. In it He plainly states in Isaiah 45:18 Thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the Earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.

I believe that YHWH plainly states in this text that He is the only true God. So unless He's a liar, then He is the only God. All others are false.
This God YHWH however cannot be limited or put in a box for He is beyond our comprehention. In the New Covenant writings we see three separate manifestations of this God in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

The Son, which is an extension of the Deity, stated in John 14:6 I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no man cometh to the Father but by me.

This is a matter of fact statement. So either he is the only way to get to God or he lied. What else is the Way, Truth and life? The Torah aka Law of God which Yeshua/Jesus the Son walked out perfectly while on Earth.

If these statements are true then yes. There is only one way and all others are wrong. Even Solomon (?) said that there is a way which seemeth right into a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Proverbs 14:12.
That is not to say that there aren't slivers of truth to be found in all religions.

Wishing I was in a galaxy far far away

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03 Jun 2019 21:22 #339199 by Omhu Cuspor
I am not of the school believing that there is one and only one way to advance our understanding of a transcendent Reality, and our relationship with him/her/it.

Of course each of us as individuals can have different perspectives on this topic. One factor that always hangs me up about the "only one way" point of view is that it tends to be required within an unquestionable assertion within either a selected text or the words of a specific individual - but we have no convincing standard other than personal choice to determine whether that text or individual is credible as a source of inerrant guidance.

When it comes to Christianity specifically as the sole revelation of Deity, one of the most foundational phrases relating Biblical principal is, imo, "God is love." If that is the case - if God and love are synonymous - I cannot conceive that God would accept the events of a non-Christian's seventy-odd years of human life as full settlement of his/her destiny for an infinitely long existence, with no further opportunity for any necessary learning, guidance, or redemption. Such a perspective, to my eyes, adjusts the referenced Biblical passage to "God is love - but maybe not for you."

Then there are the documented stories of non-Christians who have, despite their alternative faith, embodied in their lives the sort of spirit that Jesus endorsed. Muslims, Jews, and Christians have been known to protect one another in times of prayer within populations antagonistic to the prayers' faith. Gandhi was a Hindu, yet displayed enormous compassion and faith - essentially embodying both of Christianity's Great Commandments. Members of various 12-step groups, representing a wide variety of spiritual perspectives, freely provide one another active support to maintain sobriety. These are ideals aligned with Christianity, but do not require those who hold them to be Christians. I cannot conceive that either truth or eternal life is denied to such people just because of the religion with which they affiliated.

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04 Jun 2019 02:16 #339212 by Uzima Moto
The Truth of "Christ" is the truth of reality..

There is One God and Father, who is above all, through all, and in us all..

Only by being in The Father as he was in The Father would one be able to get to him. At-one-ment..

Christianity is a Philosophy of Reconciliation to The Force..

TPTB want us confused and animalistic. Makes us easier to steer..

Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem
By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty.
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04 Jun 2019 04:04 #339215 by steamboat28
I say this as a Christian minister: all religions are inherently man-made. They're attempts by faulty men at speaking the ineffable, describing the unknowable, and putting labels on things that can't be labeled. They're ladders reaching to Heaven; some are closer than others, but not one of them reaches all the way.
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04 Jun 2019 05:03 #339216 by Carlos.Martinez3
I often state if you put all religions in one room the only argument you will find is credit and where to put it. Truthfully , in my own practice ( I’m not a Christian) when you relay the Abrahamic faith , what you find is people finding hope and straight and love and ways that they can rid themselves of ... themselves. Many paths choose this route and the selfless path has many different ways to get there. If one can find what they need by the example of Jesus and Christ and the sacrifice given in this path... who am I to deny that type of character? Who can deny the testimony’s of modern day Christian people who GIVE that type of love away? There are zealots and extremist in every faith and in every path. Free will gives us as humans the right to be selfless or - selfish. Christianity takes a bad rap - a lot. I second what Steam says as most religions are man made- most paths are man made - Jedi ism is defiantly man made... yet - we can all feed the poor. We can all give love unconditionally- regardless of example or choice - we can all become some form of selfless. We can all practice compassion and forgiveness more and more. That’s the part of faiths that no one will argue about but the more common seem to get more attention than the actual ... ebb and flow of the purpose of a faith or idea or way or path. If ya wanna argue - one can find almost anything to argue about. Color of skin - color of shirt - location of birth - choices we make ... in almost anything can be argued and are all the time. For some - the sacrifice presented and form of Christianity is solid and useful to them and they become a bit more than just lost sheep but have a focus point. It’s their faith. I say hoo-rah and carry on! Keep it up. There is so much more to argue about than where one puts their focus on ... so much more ...

Contact The Clergy
Pastor of Temple of the Jedi Order
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The Block
Build, not tear down.
Nosce te ipsum / Cerca trova
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04 Jun 2019 14:14 #339229 by ZealotX

steamboat28 wrote: I say this as a Christian minister: all religions are inherently man-made. They're attempts by faulty men at speaking the ineffable, describing the unknowable, and putting labels on things that can't be labeled. They're ladders reaching to Heaven; some are closer than others, but not one of them reaches all the way.


It's not often that I find myself impressed by a Christian minister, but this post impressed me. Thank you. And I only say this because most pastors are inherently dishonest; claiming, with faith, to know things they do not know and even claiming to have communication with a personified Creator. However, what they have personified is superstition which is our lame attempts to know the unknowable so that we can be comfortable. We don't want to die so we imagine a universe where death is not the end and we can keep going on. Any issue we run into that goes against our eternal survival we simply find beliefs that circumvent our reality. Global warming? Nah, it's just the signs of the times and the last days and God will remake the Earth anew. We're so busy tuning into false realities like TV shows that we don't know what it is to even turn the TV off and go outside and experience our world, naked, as innocent children and the "firstborn" of creation.

I am also convinced that religion is extremely dualistic, especially about ego. I'm convinced that at least 99% of believers don't really care about God. Why? When you love someone you want to know about them. You want to know where they came from and a million other questions. No one knows where God came from because no one cares to know. If they did the bible would have a made up story about that. Most people don't even know what God's name is. They just say "God" as if that's a name. So I don't think people really care. I think they say they do because they're afraid of the consequences. I think they want to "be saved". They want eternal life. They want whatever it is that they believe God can give them if they do what he wants in return. They're simply willing to go to church, pay money, sing praises, pray, and worship, in pursuit of eternal life and whatever else they believe to be in the bargain (mansions, streets of gold, sea of glass, pearly gates, ie. all forms of material wealth that interest humans but wouldn't mean anything to a spirit).

While it is a con, essentially, there are good ways and bad ways to use this con. Preachers can positively affect the morality and character development of their congregation. They can help people deal with guilt or pain from tragedy. There are psychological benefits but there's also great potential for exploitation: marrying children, multiple wives, getting people to give a bunch of money that may do more to help them in their own hands, separating family members, causing people to lose faith in themselves and humanity, building superiority complexes, turning their version of the bible into legislation, slavery, the dark ages, the holocaust, serial killers, mass suicides, military compounds, segregation, etc.

But I can't say that things would be better without Christianity. Humans have an amazing capacity for both good and evil.
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04 Jun 2019 22:22 - 04 Jun 2019 22:28 #339252 by Eleven
I'm a Christian minister or I should say hold a license to do so. I believe the messages of Christ I really do...his message in it's raw and unaltered form. He had a message.

To say there is only one way is up for debate depending on the individual. Imo is there only one way? No. I think through the force each of us are drawn to one or the other. I think it's in our very nature to pick one over the other whether were talking brands, labels, ECT. Wars and political agendas have been fought in this arena over the monotheism (One way)belief versus the polytheism (multiple ways) is one right over the other? No. Imo. We all knock on one of those universal doors whether religion or belief you choose.

Some of us like me who were once devout to one most of their lives find themselves doing the unthinkable and changing that path all together. Opening that door and walking out which, brings shock to pastors, mentors, admirers of your faith, family, friends, ECT. And go back to that hallway of decision opening once again a new do it and a new path mine being jediism.

Is it scary at times? Yes, is it a path of uncertainty? For some yes but, I encourage anyone to be open minded to all things no one sided and dogmatic about things. As a Jedi I don't think it's good to so rigid or, closed off to other faiths or religions...interfaithism I think a Jedi should be open to and accepting. You don't neccarily have to agree with everything but, be respectful and kind.

One thing I don't accept about all religions and I think we can all agree is hate crimes or malicious intents or behavior toward other religions or faiths.
Last edit: 04 Jun 2019 22:28 by Eleven. Reason: Not done

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04 Jun 2019 23:35 #339253 by Adder
The body of Christ as right, perhaps. To partake, embody and exemplify the experience of it.... as distinct from the spirit of it, being the conceptualization of it as extension beyond self. Getting that backwards seems the norm, which dilutes the immanent love and compassion. Return to the light luminous being and realize your mission... sort of thing :side:

Jou ~ Deg ~ Vlo ~ Sem ~ Mod ~ Med
TM: Grand Master Mark Anjuu

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15 Jun 2019 14:42 #339761 by MJRyder209

Eleven wrote: I'm a Christian minister or I should say hold a license to do so. I believe the messages of Christ I really do...his message in it's raw and unaltered form. He had a message.

To say there is only one way is up for debate depending on the individual. Imo is there only one way? No. I think through the force each of us are drawn to one or the other. I think it's in our very nature to pick one over the other whether were talking brands, labels, ECT. Wars and political agendas have been fought in this arena over the monotheism (One way)belief versus the polytheism (multiple ways) is one right over the other? No. Imo. We all knock on one of those universal doors whether religion or belief you choose.

Some of us like me who were once devout to one most of their lives find themselves doing the unthinkable and changing that path all together. Opening that door and walking out which, brings shock to pastors, mentors, admirers of your faith, family, friends, ECT. And go back to that hallway of decision opening once again a new do it and a new path mine being jediism.

Is it scary at times? Yes, is it a path of uncertainty? For some yes but, I encourage anyone to be open minded to all things no one sided and dogmatic about things. As a Jedi I don't think it's good to so rigid or, closed off to other faiths or religions...interfaithism I think a Jedi should be open to and accepting. You don't neccarily have to agree with everything but, be respectful and kind.

One thing I don't accept about all religions and I think we can all agree is hate crimes or malicious intents or behavior toward other religions or faiths.

Thank you for this post. I couldn't have said it better myself. It may sound corny but I try to live by WWJD? Would be hate , shame, or persecute? He would love, teach, guide even if he didn't agree. " Go in peace and sin no more".

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