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> What is God?
Shawn
post Sep 16, 2003, 03:49 AM
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I'm curious to hear other people's conceptions and definitions of God. Realizing that God is a term with multiple diverse meanings, it still may be useful to see whether there are any organizing principles underlying the various definitions.

I promise to post my own definition and conception of God today, after some more reflection.

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Laz
post Sep 16, 2003, 03:58 AM
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I'm coming round to the idea that everything is God.

After reading the Philosophy of Yoga my idea of God has changed from being an old guy with a beard sat up in the clouds who created me at some point, and will destroy me at some other; to idea that everything everywhere is god.

I am God, you are god, the plant on my window sil is God, regardless of our view of conciousness. I have been reading Calros Casteneda recently and I am finding that it is very complimentary to Yoga with a lot of similar views.

He says to talk to plants, and if you listen carefully you will hear them reply, or God/Yourself reply.

Yoga does have a traditional God; Ishwara, but i feel that is a bit of a cop out.
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Timothy_417
post Sep 16, 2003, 05:09 AM
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For me, nothing is God. God is a meaningless anthropocentric term that can't really be given objective value. On the surface this appears to be the exact opposite of what Laz believes but I'd wager most of our disagreement is a matter of semantics.
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Timothy_417
post Sep 16, 2003, 05:35 AM
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I'm posting this response to Shawn in this thread so we don't have to have the same discussion in two separate threads:

Shawn wrote:

[quote]hi Timothy,

I don't know why God should convey the idea of a personal and intervening creator. It's sounds like you have an anthropomorphic conception of God, and that when you say you're atheist, you're saying that you don't believe in anthropomorphic conceptions of God. But what about non-anthropomorphic conceptions of God[/quote]

I actually just posted there before reading this. We are on the same page I think. I reject the idea of an anthropomorphic being. I have never really been able to form a non-anthropomorphic conception of God so in either sense the term is rather empty for me. Perhaps it's my upbringing but causal, intelligent agency seems to be an essential attribute for any meaningful definition of God. It is the subtle difference between will and force.

I guess I just don't understand the distinction between God and Nature if God is not something supernatural. Why make a distinction at all?
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Laz
post Sep 16, 2003, 06:38 AM
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[quote]On the surface this appears to be the exact opposite of what Laz believes but I'd wager most of our disagreement is a matter of semantics. [/quote]

[quote]I guess I just don't understand the distinction between God and Nature if God is not something supernatural. [/quote]

I don't think we dissagree at all on the first issue, our positions cancel eachother out, God/No God = same Ball Park.

Where we label things differently is when we come to describe consciousness. I just chose to explain conciousness as God (an Unknown), whereas you will have an awful lot of explaining to do.
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Dan
post Sep 16, 2003, 07:48 AM
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'God' has usually been a reference to a mental condition, where one feels that there is another 'greater' One who ultimately is in control and to whom one must acquiesce. Sort of like your dad when you were a kid...... >:(

anyway, my new definition of 'God' is rather selfish; I am 'God'! ;D . 'God' is also everything and everywhere; which is to say that everything and everywhere are unified in a fundamental sense that we can understand as 'God'. This kind of ties into my conception of the connection between the subjective and the universe, where 'subject' is a 'property of' and not an 'object in' the universe; the 'subjective' represents fundamental 'connectivity' thus the 'subject' IS God. All 'subjects' in the universe are really just 'the Subject' which is only believing that there are other 'subjects' when there are really none. You are it.

8)
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Laz
post Sep 16, 2003, 07:56 AM
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Hey, I'm God too. Nothing selfish about that wink.gif
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Timothy_417
post Sep 16, 2003, 09:13 AM
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What's the point in commandeering an ancient religious term to describe something so novel (at least in Dan's case.) Why not call it Godizzle Nizzle or something.

Here's a another question. If you believe in God, however you choose to define it, what spiritual significance does that concept hold for you?
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Jatava
post Sep 16, 2003, 09:57 AM
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God is the uncreated and the creation.

The question, to me, is better answered, however, by asking as "Who am I?" To which I would say,

I am that part of God that God purpously forgot so that God could experience the "Wow" of finding God again.

Cheers!


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Joesus
post Sep 16, 2003, 10:39 AM
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QUOTE
Yoga does have a traditional God; Ishwara, but i feel that is a bit of a cop out.


Ishwara or Ishvara means the manifestation of the christ.
Isha-(male) the christ, a state of awareness or consciousness that is self aware. Not Jesus the man although he was a man who embodied the Christ consciousness.
wara- or vara -(feminine) brought forth from... manifest from or of.

In the Western tradition it is represented by the cross,
The vertical part of the cross is the standing presence of the unmanifest. It is everpresent and always stable, it is or has been labeled as the male aspect, the strength.
At its center is what is called the bindhu point where activity is created when the intelligence meets the stillness and spreads outward laterally as the manifest. This is the feminine principal, the intuitive Unconditional loving principal that supports all of creation no matter what the form.

The copout is only the misinterpretation and the egoic battles that take place on the level of duality to define "all that is" into "something" or to put it in a box.
In the teaching of Yoga the intellectual misconceptions are in taking the highest vibrational meanings and limiting them to concepts that must fit into the boxes that the mind holds into place as reality. Fortunately it does not necessarily impose upon the nature of God the lesser realities or definition. God is everything so even the man in the sky is God.
For what the limited mind holds as truth is truth, for that mind, but for one who has expanded beyond definition, what that mind holds as truth, is also true for that mind.

The highest truth is Truth that cannot be defined but applies to all lesser definitions and concepts.
Experiences of that can be described and alluded to.
Again one of the pitfalls of Yoga translation is the literal meanings given to these descriptions, and then the dogma associated with it.
Even the Vedic Stories of manifestations like Indra, Shiva, Shakti, Brahma and Visnu are the experiences of mind in relation to the creation of the universe that have been twisted by the ones who have heard these descriptions from the conscious and then taken and literally projected into truths.

God is and isn't. It doesn't matter what you call it or don't call it for the names given to it have varied over the millenia. One name is the divine principle. The word God in its original conception and intent was a vibrational description of the movement of the un-manifest.
The Aum is the vibration of the active absolute, or consciousness. Where the pure silence and stillness of the unmanifest consciousness is the nature of isness, it is also never still for part of its nature is activity or "it" as it thinks so to speak, and creates. This is the intelligence in action and its resonance is at a vibratory "being" and it has been experienced and labeled as the Aum/Om.
God is the impetus behind all action, thought and manifestation. There is no thing that is not full of its presence.
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Timothy_417
post Sep 16, 2003, 10:55 AM
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Here is another set of questions.

What if...what if the idea of God is just a concept we use to convince ourselves that we really are special after all. A crutch or delusion, sure, but so what. We all choose our delusions anyway, right. Perhaps the need to feel special is part of our nature, and if so, the God concept is just as good something else, right, so long as it doesn't cause us to be close-minded and intolerant?

If you agree with that, then would you agree with me that the actual definition of God is arbitrary so long as it gives life some sort of meaning?

If you disagree with the idea that God is a sort of feel-good idea and would argue that the term has some objective basis, do you think that it is necessary or beneficial for other people to see things as you see them? Why or why not?

I ask because, like most people, I would like to believe in God, but somewhere along the road I lost my faith--my ability for belief--and there seems to be no going back.

(Don't bother writing a sermon Joe...you know I won't read it.)
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Dan
post Sep 16, 2003, 11:39 AM
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yeah, 'God' is a loaded word; perhaps I should instead refer to Godizzle Nizzle my Shizzle.

yet, people seem to have some degree of common understanding of the fundamental problems of existence when referring to 'God' so I feel it still posesses merit
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Joesus
post Sep 16, 2003, 03:42 PM
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[quote]What if...what if....Posted by: Timothy_417 [/quote]
If you don't know and you are unwilling to take anything in then I would say you know or have an idea that you can agree on and might possibly be looking for support.
I which case the only reason for approaching this subject is not in any interest to expand what you know but rather continue to box and condemn what is out there as within your reality and concept.
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Shawn
post Sep 16, 2003, 05:21 PM
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In thinking about how to define God, I see that, in a way, it's like defining Truth..... it's one of those nebulous concepts that can easily elude one's intellect and it's mode of verbal communication.

Spinoza's God: one substance, whose essence necessarily involves existence, and who has infinitely many attributes and modes (of which consciousness and extension are but two modes). Spinoza's God is the God that Einstein professed to believe in (though Einstein's authority alone should not be sufficient grounds for accepting Spinoza's God). Spinoza's God is not an anthropomorphic-conception, but rather constitutes a physical/metaphysical Totality of which everything that exists, or can exist, must be a part of.....

.... It is this notion of God as Totality that I believe in. Not only does it satisfy my intellect, but also satisfies my more spiritual side. Whether this Totality is a Totality of Being, a Quantum Mechanical Totality, a Totality of Consciousness (or Absolute Mind), or any other Totality, is rather a moot point. Evidently, consciousness comprises at least part (and is probably involved with all) of that Totality.

Through the experience of transcendental/mystical/expanded states of consciousness, we enter into higher modes of Being and into a more complete Totality.... thus do we obtain knowledge of the divine firsthand, by entering into it, by becoming it.

Those lacking such divine experiences usually try to explain them away as hallucinations or delusions. Those having such experiences require no further explanation and already know where I'm coming from.

This vast immeasurable Totality, we are all a part of it. We do not yet see or experience this Totality in it's entirety, but there is a time for that.... or at least that is one of the ideals I aspire to.

This Totality is Truth, and insofar as we experience this Totality, thus do we experience Truth directly. This direct experience of Truth is of a higher sort than of the descriptive 3rd-person types of truth found elsewhere. There is nothing wrong with the latter, and indeed, this type of truth is very useful for many things and in satisfying our intellects (or at least for giving it toys to play with), but the superiority of the former (Truth) is obvious insofar as it allows us to become Truth, instead of just talking about truth.

What is God? God is many things, infinitely many things. You cannot tie God down with words.... you cannot define that which transcends all definitions. What I've written above concerning God, I have not exhausted, and can not exhaust, since God is an infinitely deep abyss for me. No verbal description will ever exhaust, nor describe, God. The best we can do is experience It directly.

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Laz
post Sep 17, 2003, 12:09 AM
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I'm 100% with Shawn on this one, nice description smile.gif


I Do have a question for you though...

You said:
[quote]The best we can do is experience It directly.[/quote]

The It you describe here, can this possibly be everything? It seems to me that each experience will reveal a side/facet of God, a hint at the whole. Can one experience ever reveal the whole?
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Jatava
post Sep 19, 2003, 12:07 PM
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Here is a little poem from Rumi that might fit in here.

Define and narrow me, you starve yourself of yourself.
Nail me down in a box of cold words, that box is your coffin.
I do not know who I am
I am astounded lucid confusion.
I am not a Christian, I am not a Jew I am not a Zoroastrin,
I am not even a Muslim
I am the life of life
I am the cat this stone, no one
As one, one, always one
So what do I have to do to get you to admit who is speaking?
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Shawn
post Sep 22, 2003, 06:09 PM
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that was a nice contribution from Rumi. As Nietzsche once said (perhaps in his madness, perhaps not), "I am everyone who has ever lived!"

Laz, about your question of whether one experience can ever reveal the whole or just a facet of the whole, I don't really know how to answer that, but would say that, to the extent that the One is in all (i.e., immanence, omnipresence) and the whole contained in the part, so too can we, as a "part", experience the whole.

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Joesus
post Sep 22, 2003, 06:55 PM
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[quote author=Shawn link=board=5;threadid=2694;start=0#msg14052 date=1064282949]

that was a nice contribution from Rumi. As Nietzsche once said (perhaps in his madness, perhaps not), "I am everyone who has ever lived!"

Laz, about your question of whether one experience can ever reveal the whole or just a facet of the whole, I don't really know how to answer that, but would say that, to the extent that the One is in all (i.e., immanence, omnipresence) and the whole contained in the part, so too can we, as a "part", experience the whole.


[/quote]

Ditto smile.gif
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Joesus
post Sep 23, 2003, 10:04 AM
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Does that understanding come from a thought or a knowing?
For you, is there a difference?
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martin
post Sep 23, 2003, 10:51 AM
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one of my favourite arguments for the existence of God was that of the perfect being, if we feel or expereince perfection to be present within the world, physically or subjectively, there must exist a perfect entity in which perfection itself is defined, and let's call this thing, God, it's circular, i know, but so is time / space.

God as a concept has changed as the human consciousness evolved, each person / sentient being, as an indivudual contributes to this evolving universal conciousness, through belief and action, yet is still, a fraction of a sentient entity composing the complete space / time continuem or region.

i believe that "God" is a belief in a larger entity, which is a very really thing, even if it is belief in the small things that compose your world.

i know that when i'm on top of a mountain, have boards strap to my feet and it's it's snowing, i worship the snow gods, when i'm sitting in a boat, it's sunny, i have a beer in my hand and a fish on my line, i worship the fish goods, i usually spend sometime each day addressing the directions, norht being my favourite, i feel it's good to center yourself each day within your world, it seems that the directions help, especially when start to ramble and wandering on, the mother earth, "Gaia" if you will, is a very self sufficeint being, region, entity, with help for the sun of course, so i try to show them as much respect as possible, good people, then there's the one, creator and creation, unseperated, objective and subjective, totality, usually pretty tough to grasp, so we keep trying.

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Joesus
post Sep 23, 2003, 12:44 PM
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[quote author=Dianah link=board=5;threadid=2694;start=0#msg14078 date=1064345423]
Joesus

My understanding comes from a knowing. And for me there is a difference between thought/intellect, and knowing.
[/quote]

I'm all ears, (so to speak) I'd really like to hear you put it in words.
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v3d4
post Sep 23, 2003, 01:33 PM
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me too, partly becuz every time i wanted to express my knowing i felt like i utterly failed.
joe says those who have eyes see and those with ears will hear, so im curious to kno if i will see and hear ya.
still tho, to me that ears and eyes thing amounts to saying that those who kno what im talking about kno what im talking about. kinda frustrating for me when i wanna share with somebody who doesnt seem to kno (or remember)
this seems like a fundemental prob when we're talkin about God.
sorry if ive gone off thats just where my head is at.
Dianah and martin im glad you guyz are here wink.gif
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Joesus
post Sep 23, 2003, 03:00 PM
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I would say reflections are interpretive of self rather than Self.
The Vedic descriptions of a sage or a Brahman is one that seems to walk about in a daze, seemingly oblivious to what the "normal" thinking person sees and interprets as the world.
Once one is full of the one than all reflections are of the one and nothing else. No matter what the shape, taste or feeling it is still the One.
When the mind is free of interpretations there is stillness. Stillness in thought, stillness in motion, stillness in feeling.
What does a child think of when its mind isn't filled with experience?
Possibly silent being, pure innocense in reflection of the world as being pure potential and nothing of a threat or of expectation.
Western philosphy paints the picture of returning to that innocense of a child, to praying without ceasing.
What is prayer?
A request for something from a distant deity, or communion with God or the Self.
No experience can be described in its entirety of thought, feeling and how it fits into a persons life of experiences, neither can God really be described to contain all of what God is but God can be experienced.
When the mind is in the pure isness of God there really is no mind only the isness of God but God is just as connected to creation as creation is connected to God and at different layers of cognisant experience God is manifest. each manifest experience contains the essence of God but no expression is the totality of God if you look at it from the outside. Follow it back to its source, its point of conception and there you meet God.

Here is a story I recently posted on my own website

A student who loved his Teacher was told by the Teacher that he was to go out in the world and be amongst the people to live what he had learned.
He established himself in a small village a weeks journey from the monastery.
Every once in a while the Teacher would send a messenger to visit the student, and to bring back information as to how he was doing. The student would tell of his experiences and the stories would be brought back to the Teacher.
All reverence was given to the Teacher as his voice was always the voice of God speaking. Whatever the teacher said was taken seriously.
The students never questioned or argued with the Teacher and they never broke their respect for the voice that was Gods voice.
One day the Teacher said to the messenger,"tell my student I am coming to visit and to make room for me."
The messenger went to the student and returned with his reply, and in front of all of the students he said,"tell me of your visit with my student, did you give him my message?"
The messenger quickly replied with all seriousness, " Yes master, his reply was to tell you that he has no empty space for you."
The students gasped and waited for the proverbial axe to fall in anticipation of some kind of reaction to this response.
Again he said to the messenger, "Tell my student I am coming and to make space for me to come."
Again the messenger returned after delivering the message and he gave the same reply, "Master the student is being disrespectful and refuses to make room for your visit, again he insists he has no room for you."
The Teacher tells his disciples to prepare for a journey and they leave to visit the student.
When they arrive they meet together, all of the students are waiting for the Teacher to thrash the student for his blatant disrespect. The Teacher says to the student, "I have been told prior to my coming that you have said you have no room for me."
The Student replies, " Master, you fill every space in my heart so that there is no room for anything else."
The master smiles and turns to his expectant students and says, "all of you judged what this boy had to say to me because you did not understand what he was saying. When only God fills your heart there is no room for anything else. Let this be a lesson to you, in what you perceive, for things are not always what they seem."

The story tells of the student who has nothing left in his heart but the experience of God. Imagine if you do not have that experience what that would mean.
No room for fear, no room for doubt no room for illusion, no duality and no separation.
This is the goal of human life.
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martin
post Sep 23, 2003, 03:36 PM
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i feel the story to be a valid analogy, but for me, not being overly religous in any sense, God is not a teacher, not a master sending me advice and inspiration, for me to know and believe in something i have to accept it with my mind, i do feel inspired and deeply moved, into awe, through many experiences but to me the heart is a cardio-vascular organ that pumps blood throught the body that my mind controls, for me, to grasp, a concept of God, is a difficult concept indeed.

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Joesus
post Sep 23, 2003, 06:28 PM
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[quote]to me the heart is a cardio-vascular organ that pumps blood throught the body that my mind controls[/quote]

Considering the next quote I took from your first post I would say you have another understanding of what the heart is.

[quote]i know that when i'm on top of a mountain, have boards strap to my feet and it's it's snowing, i worship the snow gods, when i'm sitting in a boat, it's sunny, i have a beer in my hand and a fish on my line, i worship the fish gods, i usually spend sometime each day addressing the directions, north being my favourite,[/quote]
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martin
post Sep 23, 2003, 11:36 PM
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ahhh, two chez, i know what you mean, there is passion in this world, there is awe and beauty and experiences that touch a place that thought and reflection seldom reaches, there is a body attached to this mind, which often gets tangled in words, definitions and situations, there is love, worship love, if you love god, worship god with love, if you love rippin up an untracked line, bless the day it comes, and reflect on the beauty of a fufilled heart, and of course, sweet, sweet turns.

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Joesus
post Sep 24, 2003, 10:49 AM
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You are waking up.
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ShoutTTL
post Oct 03, 2003, 10:57 AM
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I find it interesting to see so many different opinions on the subject of God. And I’m guessing that each of you are thinking that you’re correct. But have you ever considered the possibility of opposite to your beliefs? Probably not, that would shake up your whole system of your beliefs, your life.

Your attitude towards life and other people is simply because of how you see things based on your assumptions and as you have been conditioned by your past. Your knowledge on God not as it is, you see things not as they are, but as you are conditioned to see it.

Life without God doesn’t make sense...
Who is God?
Somebody who is responsible for our existence. You want your life to make sense, to have a meaning? Find out why you were created.
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Joesus
post Oct 03, 2003, 11:03 AM
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Instead of looking at it as opinions, look at it as expressions. That way you won't separate yourself from the others that you percieve and judge as not your opinion. wink.gif
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ShoutTTL
post Oct 03, 2003, 02:02 PM
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What’s the difference? ???
I just read your story of a teacher and student. I like it, interesting
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