New Pope elected! Francis I from Argentina.

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Postby 2dimes on Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:54 pm

PLAYER57832 wrote:
2dimes wrote:
Religion is either a group of people sharing beliefs or teaching them. Just like any club or organization.

This is really a matter of debating a definition, not substance.

Religion can be used to mean a specific organized group. It can also be used more generally to mean a core belief system. Often we use the term religion to mean more than one person having similar ideas and faith to mean specific ideas or specific individual beliefs, but that is not always true.

Sure, but if you're a monk that sits In silence never even writing your thoughts, your religion is internal and no longer relevant to this or any other conversation.

More than one person having similar beliefs was the "sharing" example.
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Re:

Postby PLAYER57832 on Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:19 pm

2dimes wrote:
PLAYER57832 wrote:
2dimes wrote:
Religion is either a group of people sharing beliefs or teaching them. Just like any club or organization.

This is really a matter of debating a definition, not substance.

Religion can be used to mean a specific organized group. It can also be used more generally to mean a core belief system. Often we use the term religion to mean more than one person having similar ideas and faith to mean specific ideas or specific individual beliefs, but that is not always true.

Sure, but if you're a monk that sits In silence never even writing your thoughts, your religion is internal and no longer relevant to this or any other conversation.

More than one person having similar beliefs was the "sharing" example.

A monk alone still has religion.. as do some peoples who have no specific set religion.
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Re: New Pope elected! Francis I from Argentina.

Postby thegreekdog on Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:03 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:
thegreekdog wrote:
crispybits wrote:Not "any other religious organisation" but I'll skip that point as it's largely a tangent.

Saying "you didn't oppose this lot doing those bad things so why do you oppose that lot doing these bad things" is invalid. It's like saying "you didn't say anything here about the Norway mass shootings, so you're not allowed to comment on Sandy Hook". I'm allowed to comment on whatever I want to comment on, and the hypocrisy you imply would only exist if, when asked a direct question about something similar I took a completely different stance without good justification for that or failed to condemn it at all.


It's perfectly valid. It's not valid to use it as a counterpoint to your argument that the church has done bad things. I acknowledge that the church has done bad things. What it is perfectly valid to use is as a way to show hypocrisy. I'm showing that you're a hypocrit. You will criticize the Catholic Church's history and demand that it do something, but you will not criticize a country and demand that it do something.

It's like if you said "Bill should go to jail for rape." And then I said, "I agree."
Then I said, "Should Jim also go to jail for rape?" And you respond, "No, I don't hold Jim to the same standards as Bill." That's hypocritical.


At least the Catholic Church doesn't send an army of goons after you when you don't pay your annual "voluntary contributions".


Hmm... they kind of do.
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Re: New Pope elected! Francis I from Argentina.

Postby thegreekdog on Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:09 pm

crispybits wrote:
thegreekdog wrote:
crispybits wrote:Not "any other religious organisation" but I'll skip that point as it's largely a tangent.

Saying "you didn't oppose this lot doing those bad things so why do you oppose that lot doing these bad things" is invalid. It's like saying "you didn't say anything here about the Norway mass shootings, so you're not allowed to comment on Sandy Hook". I'm allowed to comment on whatever I want to comment on, and the hypocrisy you imply would only exist if, when asked a direct question about something similar I took a completely different stance without good justification for that or failed to condemn it at all.


It's perfectly valid. It's not valid to use it as a counterpoint to your argument that the church has done bad things. I acknowledge that the church has done bad things. What it is perfectly valid to use is as a way to show hypocrisy. I'm showing that you're a hypocrit. You will criticize the Catholic Church's history and demand that it do something, but you will not criticize a country and demand that it do something.

It's like if you said "Bill should go to jail for rape." And then I said, "I agree."
Then I said, "Should Jim also go to jail for rape?" And you respond, "No, I don't hold Jim to the same standards as Bill." That's hypocritical.

Only if you say that religion and government are the same thing. In many ways they are similar, but they are not the same and holding them to different standards isn't hypocritical as long as the standards you hold them to are cogniscent of their different natures. A better analogy would be:

"should Bill, a trained cop, go to jail for raising his gun and deliberately pulling the trigger and shooting a 4 year old." Yes
"should Jim, a 4 year old who thinks the gun in his hand is just like any of his toy guns, go to jail for raising that gun and deliberately pulling the trigger and shooting another 4 year old?" No

And besides, as I already said, I will criticise countries. But this is a topic regarding religion. Did you miss the bit where I said that both the UK and US have done shitty things? Did you miss the bit where I said I think they should do everything possible to make reparations for them? I'll add that we should all be working towards changing the nature of the governments to ensure shitty things are not done again.


crispybits wrote:I do not believe the church is necessary at all. I believe that if the church, if all the churches everywhere along with all their screwed up fairy tales, if they all disappeared right now and left nothing but a vaccuum, then society would continue to function. In fact I believe that society would function a whole lot better without them.


Right. So your argument is not just that the Church has done bad things. Your argument is that the Church has done bad things plus you don't like what it stands for (apart from the bad things) and you don't like what it believes in and you don't like its effect on society (apart from the bad things). And that is why I said above that your motivations for your criticism of the Catholic Church go beyond "they supported Nazis." It is inclusive of "they do/say/preach things I don't agree with and think are stupid (and do more harm than good... which we can address in the course of where I think this conversation is going)."

No, again you're not actually reading what I'm writing, just putting words in my mouth contrary to what I'm actually saying. Yes it's true that I don't like religion, but that isn't what makes it different to anything else, because very often I don't like government either. The difference isn't like / dislike, it's NECESSITY. I think we NEED government to have the kind of society that works best, I do not think we NEED religion for that at all. I can quite easily picture a society with no religion that works just fine. It's an optional extra that if it worked properly would be beneficial, but which always seems to get corrupted and converted into something damaging. As an optional extra it can be discarded.

crispybits wrote:So what do I want the church to do? I want it to do exactly what Jesus said, sell everything it owns, give up every shred of political, financial and wordly influence and power, and stop doing harm to the world with it's BS stories about some ultimate absolute truth it can't even demonstrate but which it claims gives it the right to spread harmful messages like "don't wear condoms" to the most AIDS ravaged continent in the world, or "abortion is murder" to societies that then outlaw abortion leading to the deaths of women when pregnancies go wrong, or extra children being put into the system because the parents either can't or don't want to cope with them, or a million other disguting "moral teachings" that do more harm than good. I want every religious person on earth to start spending the time and money they spend on being righteous and pious to actually help people. I don't care if they do it because they think they'll get a reward after they die even, they can carry on believing that all they want, but all the time and energy and money people spend on religion would go a million miles towards actually making this world more just, and kind, and fair, and good. THAT's what I want.


Very impassioned. Again, my question is why the Catholic Church (or any religion) and not the United Kingdom and the United States?

Hopefully now I've said it twice you understand my position, if not just say so

crispybits wrote:For religion to just disappear. Now.


This is a separate item which I've argued with about others before. Unlike in other threads (heh), I'll post my thoughts now (incomplete though they may be). I believe that too much emphasis is placed on the role of religion in prior atrocities and wars. It's like how too much emphasis is placed on race in achieving entrance at university. The real motivation behind wars and atrocities is not religion, it is power and money. With some very limited exceptions, atrocities committed in the name of the religion would have, in my opinion, been committed without the religion existing. Any war or atrocity you bring up I could point out the non-religious motivation behind the war or atrocity.

You could also point out the resistance to gay marriage or abortion as being religious tendencies, but that also isn't entirely based on religion. Gay marriage proponents can also be religious (e.g. Andrew Sullivan... e.g. me). And gay marriage detractors can also be atheists.


It's not separate, that's the whole point. Without religion we would still have debates about ethics and whatnot, removing the religion doesn't change anything except that nobody has the fallback "well my magic book says so" and everyone is forced to argue based on real principles and real consequences. Without religion we would still have charities. Without religion we would still have communities. Taking out the "saving an immortal soul" angle, because it's not proven that there is any such thing and especially that any given religion has the answer to that question, is there anything that religion gives to society that is not also given by secular sources?


Just for future reference - I hate the blue. I know some people hate the bifurcation of posts, but I prefer that to the blue.

I definitely understand your point (or maybe not, see below).

So, some follow up questions and points -

- Why do you hold religion (a fascist organization) to a higher stnadard than representative governments?
- I do understand where you've critcized governments. It doesn't have the same vehemence and I certainly don't see any other posts on your critiques. How did the UK handle itself prior to World War II, for example? You were quick to point out the Catholic Church's failings in this thread, which had nothing to do with Nazi Germany. Again, the answer is that you hate religion. And that's fine. I'm fine that you hate religion. But you're masquerading your hatred of religion with this idea that it should be held to a much higher (not higher, much higher) standard than governments.
- What difference does it make if you need government and don't need religion? You don't need governments to kill Native Americans right? I mean, this is pretty straightforward stuff my man.
- I definitely do not understand your position as you've indicated twice that I've misinterpreted your position.
- There is nothing given by religion that is not given by secular societies. So?
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Re: New Pope elected! Francis I from Argentina.

Postby AAFitz on Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:24 pm

thegreekdog wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:
thegreekdog wrote:
crispybits wrote:Not "any other religious organisation" but I'll skip that point as it's largely a tangent.

Saying "you didn't oppose this lot doing those bad things so why do you oppose that lot doing these bad things" is invalid. It's like saying "you didn't say anything here about the Norway mass shootings, so you're not allowed to comment on Sandy Hook". I'm allowed to comment on whatever I want to comment on, and the hypocrisy you imply would only exist if, when asked a direct question about something similar I took a completely different stance without good justification for that or failed to condemn it at all.


It's perfectly valid. It's not valid to use it as a counterpoint to your argument that the church has done bad things. I acknowledge that the church has done bad things. What it is perfectly valid to use is as a way to show hypocrisy. I'm showing that you're a hypocrit. You will criticize the Catholic Church's history and demand that it do something, but you will not criticize a country and demand that it do something.

It's like if you said "Bill should go to jail for rape." And then I said, "I agree."
Then I said, "Should Jim also go to jail for rape?" And you respond, "No, I don't hold Jim to the same standards as Bill." That's hypocritical.


At least the Catholic Church doesn't send an army of goons after you when you don't pay your annual "voluntary contributions".


Hymn... they kind of do.


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Re: New Pope elected! Francis I from Argentina.

Postby crispybits on Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:28 pm

Well when dealing with a complex subject like this where every paragraph turns into a back and forth it depends how lazy I am, generally I do try and split it down in quote mrks but sometimes... anyway that's kinda irrelevant.

- Why do you hold religion (a fascist organization) to a higher stnadard than representative governments?

Because religion claims to be the answer to all the moral questions, or at least a lot of the religions tend to hold themselves up as the answer to a lot of the questions if you object to the broader generalisation. If I claim to be an expert on, say, the Miami Dolphins, then my knowledge of the Miami Dolphins should be judged by a higher standard than someone that say they only occasionally watch football on TV.

- I do understand where you've critcized governments. It doesn't have the same vehemence and I certainly don't see any other posts on your critiques. How did the UK handle itself prior to World War II, for example? You were quick to point out the Catholic Church's failings in this thread, which had nothing to do with Nazi Germany. Again, the answer is that you hate religion. And that's fine. I'm fine that you hate religion. But you're masquerading your hatred of religion with this idea that it should be held to a much higher (not higher, much higher) standard than governments.

As above, also I engage with religious threads more than I do with political ones, because I tend to do my political arguing in other places, more often than not in the really real world. Here I am a minority part of a forum that is primarily American, and then after that spread throughout the world. If I want to chat UK politics I will either do that in person, or if I do do it online I will do it in UK based forums where everyone is more informed about the individual issues within the appropriate cultural context (not to say Americans don't know politics, but generally Americans don't know British politics beyond the surface issues, just like the Brits don't know American (or German, or Chinese, or whatever) politics below the surface issues, with the obvious exception of international politics geeks)

- What difference does it make if you need government and don't need religion? You don't need governments to kill Native Americans right? I mean, this is pretty straightforward stuff my man.

The difference comes from the fact that if there is something that is easily corruptible and harmful, but we need that thing, then that's worth spending serious time and energy on improving and trying to make the best version of itself possible. If there's something that's easily corruptible and harmful, but we don't need that thing, then unless that thing can be shown to bring great amounts of good that couldn't be brought by other means (see the answer to the last question too here), then it is more beneficial to society to just scrap it and use those other avenues to achieve the same result, whilst closing off the opportunities for corruption and harm that don't need to be there.

- I definitely do not understand your position as you've indicated twice that I've misinterpreted your position.

We'll get there, and for the record if I misrepresent your position at any point feel free to flag it up as despite having fairly strong opinions on things my intention on all threads is to have an honest debate unless my counterpart is obviously either trolling or not being honest themselves (neither of which I'm accusing you of)

- There is nothing given by religion that is not given by secular societies. So?

That point was to illustrate why religion is an optional extra, rather than a necessity. If society can get something from 2 sources, then a proper evaluation should be done to calculate which of those sources is most efficient, that is to say has the lowest cost to society per unit of benefit (whatever that is). I think religion has a low efficiency value, because of the amount of time, money and energy that must be devoted to it over and above good works, whereas doing good works for the sake of doing good works does not carry this fixed cost in time, energy and money, and much, much more of the resources expended actually go towards real benefits.
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Re: New Pope elected! Francis I from Argentina.

Postby BigBallinStalin on Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:31 pm

thegreekdog wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:
thegreekdog wrote:
crispybits wrote:Not "any other religious organisation" but I'll skip that point as it's largely a tangent.

Saying "you didn't oppose this lot doing those bad things so why do you oppose that lot doing these bad things" is invalid. It's like saying "you didn't say anything here about the Norway mass shootings, so you're not allowed to comment on Sandy Hook". I'm allowed to comment on whatever I want to comment on, and the hypocrisy you imply would only exist if, when asked a direct question about something similar I took a completely different stance without good justification for that or failed to condemn it at all.


It's perfectly valid. It's not valid to use it as a counterpoint to your argument that the church has done bad things. I acknowledge that the church has done bad things. What it is perfectly valid to use is as a way to show hypocrisy. I'm showing that you're a hypocrit. You will criticize the Catholic Church's history and demand that it do something, but you will not criticize a country and demand that it do something.

It's like if you said "Bill should go to jail for rape." And then I said, "I agree."
Then I said, "Should Jim also go to jail for rape?" And you respond, "No, I don't hold Jim to the same standards as Bill." That's hypocritical.


At least the Catholic Church doesn't send an army of goons after you when you don't pay your annual "voluntary contributions".


Hmm... they kind of do.


"kind of" != backtaxes + sheriff knocking on your door with a gun

:D
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Re: New Pope elected! Francis I from Argentina.

Postby PLAYER57832 on Thu Mar 14, 2013 7:19 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:"kind of" != backtaxes + sheriff knocking on your door with a gun

:D

For a person with faith, threats like time in purgatory might matter more.
I know a few who would say so.

On a somewhat related track...Did you know that the mafia had its own priests, specifically so they could put their souls at ease without worrying about word "getting out"... kind of twisted, but hey.
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Re: New Pope elected! Francis I from Argentina.

Postby BigBallinStalin on Thu Mar 14, 2013 7:59 pm

Oh right, I forgot that people still believed in that.

When comparing the perceived threat of coercion (purgatory/hell) and the actual threat of coercion (police enforcement for failing to pay taxes), then we should be able to see the difference here.
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Re: New Pope elected! Francis I from Argentina.

Postby thegreekdog on Fri Mar 15, 2013 6:49 am

BigBallinStalin wrote:Oh right, I forgot that people still believed in that.

When comparing the perceived threat of coercion (purgatory/hell) and the actual threat of coercion (police enforcement for failing to pay taxes), then we should be able to see the difference here.


Really it's about paying money for services. For example, if there are two parishes to choose from: the first parish has a brand-spanking new church, excellent priests, a great elementary school, and a cool name; the second parish is run down, has a 90 year old priest, a crappy school, and a crappy name... you're going to try to get in the first parish. And it helps, I think (my wife disagrees) if you are an upper middle class family of two attorneys.
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Re: New Pope elected! Francis I from Argentina.

Postby thegreekdog on Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:03 am

crispybits wrote:- Why do you hold religion (a fascist organization) to a higher stnadard than representative governments?

Because religion claims to be the answer to all the moral questions, or at least a lot of the religions tend to hold themselves up as the answer to a lot of the questions if you object to the broader generalisation. If I claim to be an expert on, say, the Miami Dolphins, then my knowledge of the Miami Dolphins should be judged by a higher standard than someone that say they only occasionally watch football on TV.


If religion makes that claim and you don't believe in the religion, you should not care that religion makes that claim. To borrow your analogy, if you're an expert on the Miami Dolphins you should be held to a higher standard than the fairweather fan; but if the person providing the standards doesn't watch football... in fact vehemently hates football, the judger shouldn't give a whit about the Dolphins and the analyst's expertise. You don't believe in God (I am assuming), you don't believe in any religions, you don't believe in most of the moral values, so why do you care what the religion says? Why do you hold it to a higher standard? Frankly, you should hold it to a lower standard.

In the context of governments, you don't really have a choice (if you live in that country). You are subject to that country's laws and history. So you are required to be a Miami Dolphins fan.

crispybits wrote:As above, also I engage with religious threads more than I do with political ones, because I tend to do my political arguing in other places, more often than not in the really real world. Here I am a minority part of a forum that is primarily American, and then after that spread throughout the world. If I want to chat UK politics I will either do that in person, or if I do do it online I will do it in UK based forums where everyone is more informed about the individual issues within the appropriate cultural context (not to say Americans don't know politics, but generally Americans don't know British politics beyond the surface issues, just like the Brits don't know American (or German, or Chinese, or whatever) politics below the surface issues, with the obvious exception of international politics geeks)


Interesting. I would read British political threads (and have) and try not to comment (and have been successful not commenting). I also used to be successful in not commenting or reading religious threads, mostly because I know what goes on there and I hold a special dislike in my heart for both sides (the premios of the world and the militant atheists of the world).

crispybits wrote:The difference comes from the fact that if there is something that is easily corruptible and harmful, but we need that thing, then that's worth spending serious time and energy on improving and trying to make the best version of itself possible. If there's something that's easily corruptible and harmful, but we don't need that thing, then unless that thing can be shown to bring great amounts of good that couldn't be brought by other means (see the answer to the last question too here), then it is more beneficial to society to just scrap it and use those other avenues to achieve the same result, whilst closing off the opportunities for corruption and harm that don't need to be there.


I think I get it now. You don't need religion so we should do away with it because it is harmful to society. I'm not going to be able to convince you that you're incorrect (nor should I try), so I think we can move on. Suffice it to say, of all of the ills in society over the course of history, I do not believe organized religion is at the top of the list. I would argue that you don't need government either (or at least you don't need government in the form you currently enjoy), but that's a different topic altogether that would invoke a lot of things that are not religious at all.

crispybits wrote:That point was to illustrate why religion is an optional extra, rather than a necessity. If society can get something from 2 sources, then a proper evaluation should be done to calculate which of those sources is most efficient, that is to say has the lowest cost to society per unit of benefit (whatever that is). I think religion has a low efficiency value, because of the amount of time, money and energy that must be devoted to it over and above good works, whereas doing good works for the sake of doing good works does not carry this fixed cost in time, energy and money, and much, much more of the resources expended actually go towards real benefits.


Interesting. If we ignore the intangible benefits of religion (for me, it would be that I feel better.. endorphines or whatever... after praying or going to church... for some people it's "I'm going to heaven... yay!"), we would focus on the tangible benefits (charitable work and morality). Let's take morality first. I think I would be moral regardless of my religion, so we can throw that out as a tangible benefit that religion provides, especially considering that religious people tend to have the same moral problems as laypeople.

As for charitable work, I would like to think that I would volunteer time and money if I wasn't Catholic, but my moral compass with respect to volunteering is and was heavily (I would say 90% or more) influenced by my religion. I've done loads of volunteer work and donated loads of money over my short life and most of that has been through the Catholic Church. The only exception I can think of is the volunteer college preparation program I work on for inner city kids. That's through a non-religious non-profit. But all the rest (monetary and non-monetary) is done through the Catholic Church. The question becomes, and is something I can't measure for myself, so I probably can't measure it for the world, if organized religion did not exist would there be a downtick in charity or a measurable difference in peoples lives? You would likely respond no, based on your belief that people would volunteer anyway. I would likely respond yes, based on my belief that religion forces (for lack of a better term) people to volunteer time and money.
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Re: New Pope elected! Francis I from Argentina.

Postby Crazyirishman on Fri Mar 15, 2013 8:00 am

They are having a fuckin field day down here in Sur America

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Postby 2dimes on Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:40 am

PLAYER57832 wrote:
2dimes wrote:
PLAYER57832 wrote:
2dimes wrote:
Religion is either a group of people sharing beliefs or teaching them. Just like any club or organization.

This is really a matter of debating a definition, not substance.

Religion can be used to mean a specific organized group. It can also be used more generally to mean a core belief system. Often we use the term religion to mean more than one person having similar ideas and faith to mean specific ideas or specific individual beliefs, but that is not always true.

Sure, but if you're a monk that sits In silence never even writing your thoughts, your religion is internal and no longer relevant to this or any other conversation.

More than one person having similar beliefs was the "sharing" example.

A monk alone still has religion.. as do some peoples who have no specific set religion.

Sure and especially in the case of a Roman Catholic monk it comes from his club/organisation. His "core belief system" has been taught to him.
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Re: New Pope elected! Francis I from Argentina.

Postby BigBallinStalin on Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:02 am

thegreekdog wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:Oh right, I forgot that people still believed in that.

When comparing the perceived threat of coercion (purgatory/hell) and the actual threat of coercion (police enforcement for failing to pay taxes), then we should be able to see the difference here.


Really it's about paying money for services. For example, if there are two parishes to choose from: the first parish has a brand-spanking new church, excellent priests, a great elementary school, and a cool name; the second parish is run down, has a 90 year old priest, a crappy school, and a crappy name... you're going to try to get in the first parish. And it helps, I think (my wife disagrees) if you are an upper middle class family of two attorneys.


That's interesting to know, but how is this related to voluntary v. involuntary exchange?
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Re: New Pope elected! Francis I from Argentina.

Postby BigBallinStalin on Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:12 am

tgd wrote:The question becomes, and is something I can't measure for myself, so I probably can't measure it for the world, if organized religion did not exist would there be a downtick in charity or a measurable difference in peoples lives?


Most important question ITT. The great thing about nearly all religions is the effects of their marketing on volunteer/charity, which is complemented by their various doctrines.

We do know that mutual aid societies and their insurance policies, volunteer services, and general communal help have been crowded out by the expanding welfare state, regulations over insurance markets, and competition from non-fraternity societies (e.g. insurance companies). Note: the regulations may have tipped the scales of controlled competition to the favor of insurance companies.

Given these consequences over time (largely beginning in the 1920s and 1930s), and given that state welfare is generally less efficient (knowledge problems, political/bureaucratic incentives), then what would a society look like without religious organizations? Given the past trend, I can't say that there would be an increase in charitable donations and all that.
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