• _db
    Interesting article that summarizes twenty of what appear to be seen as the most promising arguments for the existence of god. I will post my reactions soon and hope there will be a discussion over this.

  • _db
    Alright, here we go!

    I particularly enjoyed the introduction, and how it highlighted how faith necessarily needs a rational basis. Not that I actually take faith to be a good thing or have faith in a deity, but I'll be charitable.


    "Nothing changes itself. Apparently self-moving things, like animal bodies, are moved by desire or will—something other than mere molecules. And when the animal or human dies, the molecules remain, but the body no longer moves because the desire or will is no longer present to move it."

    This is quite unscientific. These "desires" and "wills" come about from interacting molecules. Also, a chemical reaction occurring within a flask changes itself as the reaction goes underway. If we break down an object into its constituents, we might just find that some of them actually do change the overall consistency of the object. Granted, this seems like this requires an external catalyzing agent.

    "Briefly, if there is nothing outside the material universe, then there is nothing that can cause the universe to change. But it does change. Therefore there must be something in addition to the material universe. But the universe is the sum total of all matter, space and time. These three things depend on each other. Therefore this being outside the universe is outside matter, space and time. It is not a changing thing; it is the unchanging Source of change."

    I'm not convinced by the assertion that everything in the universe is under the influence of causality. Why is pantheism disregarded here? Why can't the causal agent be the universe itself?

    Furthermore, how can an unchanging entity outside of the universe act in such a way that causes change? Would that require this unchanging entity to change? Sounds like this actuality is actually just logical necessary; it could not fail to happen. Which kind of goes against certain conceptions of god.


    Keep in mind that causality is by no means an uncontentious metaphysical topic.

    "Existence is like a gift given from cause to effect. If there is no one who has the gift, the gift cannot be passed down the chain of receivers, however long or short the chain may be."

    Agreed, although all this means is that there has to be some kind of actuality. Why this cannot be part of the universe is never explained.

    "But notice: Given so many drunks, and given the steady ground beneath them, we can understand how their stumblings might cancel each other out, and how the group of them could remain (relatively) upright."

    Why can't the concrete ground be seen as the source of actuality? Why can't we hypothesize the existence of a type of substance in the universe that chugs out causality?

    All of these causality arguments are founded upon unsubstantiated claims of the the nature of the universe.


    This section seems to operate under the assumption that contingency is possible. The fact that we can imagine the universe not being the way it is is no argument for any kind of contingent modality.

    If we are to go the modality route, why not argue that all possible worlds exist? We can use David Lewis' modality, Derek Parfit's analysis, and possibly even modern physics to argue this.

    "So we arrange some things in terms of more and less. And when we do, we naturally think of them on a scale approaching most and least."

    A scale that depends purely on our own experiences. To say "dark" describes the "perfection of blackness" is disingenuous; there exist a huge spectrum of EM radiation outside of our vision.

    "Now when we think of the goodness of things, part of what we mean relates to what they are simply as beings."

    Why should we accept that "goodness" and "badness" exist objectively?

    "Why? Because we apprehend at a deep (but not always conscious) level that being is the source and condition of all value; finally and ultimately, being is better than nonbeing."

    Heh...I don't think that's exactly uncontentious.


    Just like any other teleological argument, this is just an argument from incredulity.

    "The universe displays a staggering amount of intelligibility, both within the things we observe and in the way these things relate to others outside themselves. That is to say: the way they exist and coexist display an intricately beautiful order and regularity that can fill even the most casual observer with wonder."

    No, it doesn't. In fact it exhibits a rather large amount of unintelligibility. Intelligibility stems from our own rationality, and it's quite obvious that our rationality is not exactly, well, perfect.

    "The first premise is certainly true-even those resistant to the argument admit it. The person who did not would have to be almost pathetically obtuse. A single protein molecule is a thing of immensely impressive order; much more so a single cell; and incredibly much more so an organ like the eye, where ordered parts of enormous and delicate complexity work together with countless others to achieve a single certain end. Even chemical elements are ordered to combine with other elements in certain ways and under certain conditions. Apparent disorder is a problem precisely because of the overwhelming pervasiveness of order and regularity. So the first premise stands."

    Bullshit. The argument fails to account for the great amount of time that the universe has been around for and can therefore exhibit "designed" tendencies through natural selection (both biological and non-biological).

    "If all this order is not in some way the product of intelligent design—then what? Obviously, it "just happened." Things just fell out that way "by chance."

    "By chance" is seen as like the Boeing 747 gambit. Except it's completely wrong. Nothing just appears like this, it undergoes refining over a massive amount of time.

    "In no way does it—can it—account for the ubiquitous order and intelligibility of nature. Rather, it presupposes order."

    This screams of incredulity.

    "Question 2: Maybe it is only in this region of the universe that order is to be found. Maybe there are other parts unknown to us that are completely chaotic—or maybe the universe will one day in the future become chaotic. What becomes of the argument then?
    Reply: Believers and nonbelievers both experience the same universe. It is this which is either designed or not."

    Incredulity. And perhaps this is only one of many possible universes.


    "1Whatever begins to exist has a cause for its coming into being.
    2The universe began to exist.
    3Therefore, the universe has a cause for its coming into being.
    Grant the first premise. (Most people—outside of asylums and graduate schools would consider it not only true, but certainly and obviously true.)"

    Then perhaps the common sense reasoning is flawed. #1 may be argued against by quantum mechanics. #2 is unfounded: the "causality-dependent" universe "began" to exist, there's nothing to say that the "non-causality-dependent" universe was always around.

    Therefore #3 is not necessarily true.

    "Is the second premise true? Did the universe—the collection of all things bounded by space and time—begin to exist? This premise has recently received powerful support from natural science—from so-called Big Bang Cosmology."

    This misunderstands the Big Bang theory of cosmology.

    "It must somehow stand outside the limitations and constraints of space and time."

    I'm not entirely sure how uncontentious this is. But it seems to me that we can postulate the existence of abstract objects that don't exist in the spatio-temporal world, and yet are still seen as "part" of the universe.


    "Therefore, what it takes for the universe to exist must transcend both space and time."

    Why is has to be a god is not clear. Why a thing of pure actuality must be a god and must be "outside" of the universe is not clear.

    "Question 1: But why should we call this cause "God"? Maybe there is something unknown that grounds the universe of change we live in.
    Reply: True. And this "unknown" is God. What we humans know directly is this sensible changing world. We also know that there must exist whatever it takes for something to exist. Therefore, we know that neither this changing universe as a whole nor any part of it can be itself what it takes for the universe to exist. But we have now such direct knowledge of the cause of changing things. We know that there must exist a cause; we know that this cause cannot be finite or material—that it must transcend such limitations. But what this ultimate cause is in itself remains, so far, a mystery."

    Oh, I see. Not really, though.

    "But at least we would know what path of questioning to pursue; at least we would know that someone did it."

    NO! At least, not necessarily. Again why this has to be a "someone" is not made clear. Screams of anthropomorphism to me.

    I found this to be a little confusing. But I still got the incredulity-vibe from it. Discussion over this would be appreciated.


    "After all, to call some happening a miracle is to interpret it religiously. But to interpret it that way demands a context or setting which invites such interpretation. And part of this setting usually, though not always, involves a person whose moral authority is first recognized, and whose religious authority, which the miracle seems to confirm, is then acknowledged."

    What if you reject moral and religious authoritarian figures?

    "But miraculous events exist. Indeed, there is massive, reliable testimony to them across many times, places and cultures.
    Therefore their cause exists.
    And their only adequate cause is God.
    Therefore God exists."

    What a load of garbage. There are far more miracles attested in the past that ended up as being purely natural phenomenon.


    "When we experience the tremendous order and intelligibility in the universe, we are experiencing something intelligence can grasp. Intelligence is part of what we find in the world. But this universe is not itself intellectually aware. As great as the forces of nature are, they do not know themselves."

    Asserted but not justified. Surely a conscious universe is just as "crazy" as the existence of a god.

    "Either this intelligible universe and the finite minds so well suited to grasp it are the products of intelligence, or both intelligibility and intelligence are the products of blind chance."


    The incredulity is becoming incredulous.

    " If naturalism is true, Lewis argued, then it seems to leave us with no reason for believing it to be true; for all judgments would equally and ultimately be the result of nonrational forces."

    Incredulity once again. Our opinions of how our thought works has no influence on how it actually is. It's not as if our thought is a simple reaction, either.


    "Our limited minds can discover eternal truths about being."

    Can they?

    None of this argument makes any sense. Why truths cannot just reside in a temporary mind as beliefs is beyond me.


    "This idea could not have been caused by ourselves, because we know ourselves to be limited and imperfect, and no effect can be greater than its cause."

    I beg to differ about perfection. Rubbish. How are we measuring "greater than"? A little firecracker can produce a brilliant explosion.

    And let's be honest here, the conception of god does not stem from "ideas of perfection". It stems from not knowing what the hell something is, and then rationalization take place afterwards.


    I can safely say (as the authors themselves do in the introduction) that this is a very flawed argument. It's not taken seriously today.


    The authors claim that if ethical subjectivism is proven false, then this argument succeeds in the first premise. Not only is this a simplification of what I see to be the entire field of ethics, but their argument against ethical subjectivism isn't even that compelling.:

    "(Many think they are, and say they are—until they suffer violence or injustice. In that case they invariably stand with the rest of us in recognizing that certain things ought never to be done.)"

    Quite anecdotal, not to mention that perhaps this isn't what would happen all the time?

    The argument is begging the question.


    The authors assert that ethical subjectivism is popular today. I was not aware and don't know of any references that could help me with this. In fact, I thought it was rather unpopular.

    "How can I be absolutely obligated by something less than me—for example, by animal instinct or practical need for material survival?"

    VERY EASILY: see, empathy and the survival of a group of animals.

    "If we are the products of a good and loving Creator, this explains why we have a nature that discovers a value that is really there. But how can atheists explain this? For if atheists are right, then no objective moral values can exist. Dostoyevsky said, "If God does not exist, everything is permissible." Atheists may know that some things are not permissible, but they do not know why."

    Sounds like the Euthyphro Dilemma to me. Why is god seen as good? Why is whatever god does, good? And why is the Dostoyevsky quote seen as a "bad" thing? Again, it is begging the question.

    "The only source of absolute moral obligation left is something superior to me. This binds my will, morally, with rightful demands for complete obedience."

    ayy, that's scary stuff right there.

    "Morality exists only on the level of persons, spirits, souls, minds, wills—not mere molecules."

    I was not aware of this. Nor do I find it convincing.


    "Therefore there must exist something more than time, earth and creatures, which can satisfy this desire.
    This something is what people call "God" and "life with God forever."

    This implies that god programmed us to be obedient and wanting his companionship. Which is quite ridiculous and scary.

    I like Zapffe's theory that the universe is unable to provide for the existential needs of a human being. We literally became too smart for our own good and our reality became a shambled, desolate desert.

    Also, I would be willing to bet that if someone were in bliss, they might not care about god.

    I will contend though that this is one of the arguments that made me think a little. But again, it's basically just incredulity and sourced from an inflated ego.

    " This denial may take two forms. First, one may say, "Although I am not perfectly happy now, I believe I would be if only I had ten million dollars, a Lear jet, and a new mistress every day." The reply to this is, of course, "Try it. You won't like it." It's been tried and has never satisfied. In fact, billions of people have performed and are even now performing trillions of such experiments, desperately seeking the ever-elusive satisfaction they crave. For even if they won the whole world, it would not be enough to fill one human heart."

    So, Buddhism or Schopenhauer. Neither affirm the existence of a god.

    This desire can be explained by the hedonistic treadmill, that resulted from evolution.

    Furthermore, many of tried the whole "god thing" and found it unfulfilling.




    "It is inconceivable that so many people could have been so utterly wrong about the nature and content of their own experience."

    No, it's not. All it shows is that humanity has a history of bad rationality.

    Once again, incredulity at the fact that our religious experiences are caused by temporal lobe lesions.

    "You cannot say ahead of time how it will affect you. But it is evidence; it has persuaded many; and it cannot be ignored. "

    Many people have experienced ghosts...this does not mean ghosts exist.


    "True enough, it is conceivable that this side of our nature is doomed to frustration; it is thinkable that those millions upon millions who claim to have found the Holy One who is worthy of reverence and worship were deluded. But is it likely?"


    "It seems far more likely that those who refuse to believe are the ones suffering from deprivation and delusion—like the tone-deaf person who denies the existence of music, or the frightened tenant who tells herself she doesn't hear cries of terror and distress coming from the street below and, when her children awaken to the sounds and ask her, "Why is that lady screaming, Mommy?" tells them, "Nobody's screaming: it's just the wind, that's all. Go back to sleep."

    Sucks to be the ones who don't get to experience this great god, huh?

    "This is not really a naturalistic explanation of religious belief. It is no more than a statement, dressed in psychological jargon, that religious belief is false. You begin from the assumption that God does not exist. Then you figure that since the closest earthly symbol for the Creator is a father, God must be a cosmic projection of our human fathers. But apart from the assumption of atheism, there is no compelling evidence at all that God is a mere projection.
    In fact, the argument begs the question."

    The irony!


    I'll admit it, this is the most convincing "argument" for god. Basically, believe in god to save your own ass or get a cool reward after you die.

    " If there is a God of infinite goodness, and he justly deserves my allegiance and faith, I risk doing the greatest injustice by not acknowledging him."

    If god wants my obedience, he can ask for it. Nobody deserves that, though. Not with suffering.

    "The Wager cannot—or should not—coerce belief. But it can be an incentive for us to search for God, to study and restudy the arguments that seek to show that there is Something—or Someone—who is the ultimate explanation of the universe and of my life."

    Key word: Something. Not necessarily someone, and most definitely not anything that is worthy of worship.

    Alright, cool, that was fun! It sure looks like most of these arguments are either begging the question or arguing from incredulity, or both.
  • Michael
    I'll admit it, this is the most convincing "argument" for god. — darthbarracuda

    Really? Because the article you cite even says "One (Pascal's Wager) is not an argument for God at all..."
  • Thorongil
    Every single argument here is for deism and has been swatted down long ago. And the sheer number of them signifies desperation, not the strength of the claim.
  • _db
    Whoops, I meant to say that Pascal's Wager is the most convincing argument to have a belief in god.
  • Agustino
    Belief in God cannot be disturbed by argument, because one does not believe because of arguments in the first place... How do you justify the presumption that belief is based on argument?
  • _db
    That is an interesting point. If we had unfallible arguments for the existence of a god, faith would not be a requirement. I suppose these arguments could be used as a complement to faith to act as a basic structure (but not prove).
  • Agustino

    But if belief and faith are not based on argument, what is the point of complementing faith with arguments? What is the point of combatting faith with arguments? All this becomes nonsense.

    Hume identified that the cause of our beliefs is habit - education, culture, language. Reason comes into play not in a vacuum, but in the presence of an already existing way of being (worldview, which contains many basic beliefs).
  • _db
    Perhaps faith is not the blind fideism we typically attribute it as but rather a rational confidence.
  • Agustino
    Fideism cannot be blind because reason could not be applied to it even in principle. We can only talk about blindness in contexts where it can exist.
  • BC
    But if belief and faith are not based on argument, what is the point of complementing faith with arguments? What is the point of combatting faith with arguments? All this becomes nonsense.Agustino

    I agree that faith does not depend on argument. By definition (at least in a Christian context) it is a grace, a gift. Or from a psychological point of view, it is acquired very early and is trained in by example and teaching and becomes part of the person. Whether by grace or acculturation, argument isn't part of the process. No one changes their native language on the basis of argument either. No Frenchman was ever convinced by reason that English would really be better. And visa versa.

    Certain faith (faith without any doubt) is likely impervious to efforts to convert or destroy it. People can shift their faith, though, like many Germans did at the time of the Reformation, from Roman Catholicism to Lutheran Catholicism, or from Roman Catholicism to Anglican Catholicism, and so on.

    From a secular point of view, faith can be sought. Argument can, perhaps, derail seekers who are looking for a faith to adopt. (Some people without faith desire faith -- of some kind.) People can be fairly easily be persuaded to study French and not Russian for instance, or Mandarin rather than French, and so on (an analogy). A seeker might be persuaded to consider Buddhism rather than Hinduism or Islam.

    Is the faith of seekers who set out to find a faith as authentic as someone converted by the efforts of a preacher? Don't know.
  • Agustino
    Do you think we find a faith, or do we rather get trained in a faith? I think since faith is a way of life, then surely it is less about finding it, than about learning a certain way of relating to the world successfully.
  • BC
    Oh, certainly most people (everywhere) are taught, trained, and led into faith. A small number of people make a decision to move from atheism to some sort of religious belief, or change from one religious system (like Judaism) to another (like Buddhism). It does happen, but not frequently.

    I agree: having a faith is a way of life. If the training has been thorough and has taken, one's thinking about life is heavily inflected by one's religious ideas.

    Of course, it is also the case that religious ideas can be learned, and not make a great deal of difference. Joseph Stalin was educated by Jesuits. It doesn't seem to have done him much good.
  • Cavacava
    I think any narrative ought to be internally coherent within the bounds of that discourse. So yes, reasonable but reasonable only within sets of beliefs that comprise the narrative, not reasonable from outside of that discourse.
  • Janus

    I think that's true, Cavacava, narratives, faiths or argument should be consistent and coherent within the ambit created by their premises.

    Any argument is only as good as its premises or axioms, and within any system of ideas, any narrative or any faith there are things which are taken to be axiomatic, which are not 'reasonable', in the sense that they do not follow from the argument or narrative, that is they are not entailed by the system itself, but on the contrary groundlessly underpin it.

    From this fact, does it follow that all axioms are equal, or that there are no unreasonable axioms? To assert that would seem absurd. No narratives, arguments or faiths are hermetically sealed from the rest of human experience, so the reasonableness of their axioms will be measured against different conceptions of the coherence of the totality of human experience; including science of course, since it is by far the best candidate discipline (it could be claimed it is the only candidate discipline), whatever its actual shortcomings, for approaching an objective view.
  • Cavacava
    Reason is tyrannical, it dominates our life because it is pragmatic, useful for obtaining what we desire, but I don't think it can encompass all that we experience in life. I think narratives always intersect. The singularities which comprise narratives may interact, change, respond to other discourses. It is only at a meta level that reason comes into discourse. Reason discriminates what makes sense from its opposite, and in that process we lose something.

    How can any hierarchical ordering provide adequate explanation of love. Love does not make anything better, but it does make life more intense, it differentiates, we see new connections, which may not be reasonable, but are significant, meaningful in our life. I don't think there is an axiomatic system which can capture "I love you".
  • swstephe
    Re: Pascal's Wager

    You can sum up a lot more simply. The author simply plagerizes many other religious philosophers without giving them credit, (the first 5 are obviously St. Augustine). Most of the arguments are circular or self referential, (there is a thing I believe in called "miracles", which I define as something done by God, therefore, God exists).
  • Janus

    No, I agree that many of the greatest things in life are not explicable by reason, and are not amenable to axiomatisation, either; but when it comes to what we assert about what is the case, or what is real, I would say such assertions necessarily come under the rubric of reason, and that we must think there is good reasoning and bad reasoning, just as there is good art and bad art, good motivations and bad motivations, and so on.
  • Cavacava
    Doesn't the implication of "what we assert about what is the case, or what is real" not apply to love. How does love, (or art) come under "the rubric of reason", they are, they exist, they are "real" or...
  • Janus
    What kinds of rational assertions about art or love would you see as being appropriate? My point is not that love or art are unreasonable or irrational, but that they are not, as many of our propositional attitudes are, based on reason.
  • Cavacava
    The only rational assertions about art or love or faith that are appropriate are those that occur within the narratives that these experiences generate. They express a life, being lived, in a certain manner, artistically, lovingly, religiously. If what they say has only to do with a way of life then how can reason encompass them. A scientist can be rational and still believe in god. There are many narratives, none have superiority over the other, in themselves as narratives.

    Does art exist, does love exist, does god exist. I think these experiences exist and trying to overlay rationally on them loses their essential characteristics. Their internal consistency or lack thereof, must be experienced from within, not from without.
  • Janus
    I think we are talking about different things. I certainly agree that experiences of love, and of profound intimations of God, eternity, beauty and so on, happen to people. And such experiences can be deeply transformative. They are not 'reasonable' or 'unreasonable' experiences, though. They do not fall under the ambit of reason. To say they do would be like saying that examples, or experiences, of art, poetry or music are reasonable; it doesn't make sense, it is some kind of category error.
  • Cavacava
    I agree with you last statement. :-|
    , that's a pretty good list of 20 proofs, thank you.

    I did not see the prime mover in that list, so adding it makes 21.

    Remember the ancient and Medieval philosophers looked up in the skies and noticed the Sun, Moon, planets, comets, and meteors moving through the skies, presuming the Earth to be motionless and at the Universe's center.

    Thus a Prime Mover is required to put all these into motion. This is God.

    Thanks again for the list. I'll need to study these more closely.
    Well if you think they are all begging the question (affirmation of the consequent) then they are not very good are they?

    First Cause is NOT begging the question. The issue is origin. The paradox is between finite origin versus infinite origin.

    Prime Mover is NOT begging the question. The issue is again origin, only the focus is now on the origin of the movement of the heavenly bodies which we can tell move. We now know in these latter modern times that all heavenly bodies including the stars also move. So it would seem this knowledge therefore enhances even further this argument.

    Artistic Artificer is NOT begging the question, it is also an issue of origin but this time the object of origin is beauty and symmetry.

    I would say those are the 3 strongest arguments. So maybe the other 17 are indeed straw men.

    You seem to think they are all straw men. Is that you speaking or is it Lucifer speaking through you?

    If you are jogging on a long empty beach and you see fresh footprints in the sands ahead of you going in the same direction as you are going, would you still conclude that you are completely alone? I know this could go either way, but ostensibly there is evidence of a sort that you are not alone at all.

    First Cause, Prime Mover, and Artistic Artificer are philosophical informed speculative logical evidence.
  • Walter Pound
    Nothing changes itself.darthbarracuda

    Briefly, if there is nothing outside the material universe, then there is nothing that can cause the universe to change. But it does change. Therefore there must be something in addition to the material universe. But the universe is the sum total of all matter, space and time. These three things depend on each other. Therefore this being outside the universe is outside matter, space and time. It is not a changing thing; it is the unchanging Source of changedarthbarracuda

    I think that they mean the 3 following points:
    1. If X changes, then X was caused to change by something that is not X.
    2. If X changes or has the metaphysical ability to change, then X's metaphysical nature consists of potential to change.
    3. All things that change possess a metaphysical nature that consists of potentiality and is static (unchanging) unless something that consists of a non-changing metaphysical nature (something without any potentials at all) causes their potential to be realized.

    Thus, this argument seems to follow:
    Premise 1. There are things that consist of potentiality and are having their potentialities realized.
    Premise 2. Things that consists of potentiality cannot cause their own potentiality to be realized (aka: things cannot cause themselves to change).
    Conclusion: Therefore, all things that consist of potentiality and are having their potentialities realized are caused to have their potentials realized by a thing without any potential in its own metaphysical nature.

    Explanation of Premise 1: A baby has the potential to be fed and the baby is then fed; thus having its potential realized.

    Explanation of Premise 2: So the person feeding the baby could cause the potential in the baby to be realized, but that person also has potentials of their own that need to be realized.

    Explanation: Thus, something exists that is without any potentiality to be realized, in its metaphysical nature, which is what made those things, with potentiality in their metaphysical nature, realize their potentialities. If there are things with potentiality in their metaphysical nature, then there is a change causing thing without any changeability in its metaphysical nature

    The first issue is if this argument relies on essentialism. I think that if essentialism is false, then this argument loses much of its grip since if essentialism is false, then there are no things with essences and if there are no things with essences, then there is no potentiality in those non-existent essences.

    Next, there does not seem to be a real distinction between potentials that need to be realized and the thing that is the realizer of those potentials. The potential of the baby to be fed and the potential of the parent to be the feeder are satisfied when the baby is fed and when the parent does the feeding. There is no sequence of "potentiality of a thing" and "potentiality realized by potential realizer" since potential and potential realizer are interconnected. This makes me wonder if "potentiality" is only a linguistic illusion without any metaphysical connotation.

    In any case, even if everything in the universe changed, the fundamental nature of the universe still remained unchanged. The fundamental nature of the universe is spatial and while the things in the universe changed, the spatial nature of the universe remains unchanged. Thus, space itself may be the unchanged changer.

    This is just a review of the first argument, but I would like to know if anyone can help me understand if I got something wrong.
  • JerseyFlight
    Every single argument here is for deism and has been swatted down long ago.Thorongil

    There you have it. Kreeft can't get no Jesus-Trinity from here.
  • dimension72
    From 9. The Argument of Miracles

    " Many years ago, at an otherwise dull convention, a distinguished philosopher explained why he had become a Christian. He said: "I picked up the New Testament with a view to judging it, to weighing its pros and cons. But as I began to read, I realized that I was the one being judged." "
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