Jump to content


◊ Platinum Patron ◊
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by Lerk

  1. "6. You never studied hard enough to understand the truth of Biblical teachings" They say the best way to make atheists is to get Christians to read their Bibles. Of course, many Christians do study their Bibles. I certainly did -- but I studied it in order to fine-tune what I already believed. I studied it with certain beliefs imposed upon that study, the first being that it was 100% consistent from beginning to end. If you start with that requirement, then you have to explain away all of the ways the authors' beliefs evolved from beginning to end. You have to just dismiss certain things by saying "this is a difficult passage" then moving on in order to live with the cognitive dissonance. But if you just read it (rather than doing some sort of directed study) you'll run across those same passages you thought were difficult and realize that in their context they're quite clear, and they say things that Christians don't believe.
  2. It sounds to me like what you're saying but trying to seem like you're not saying is that without the right kind of "experience" it's likely that we aren't "ex-" Christians, but were never really Christians in the first place. There's no way to say that in a way that isn't disrespectful. It's said that the best way to make atheists is to get Christians to read their Bibles. A whole lot of us here had that experience. We believed. We had believed our entire lives. We had things happen in our lives that we were convinced couldn't have happened without the god being behind it. And we had studied our Bibles our entire lives, but it was always with the goal of trying to understand a god that we just assumed was there. Why that assumption? Because our whole lives it was never questioned. But then, perhaps sitting in church listening to a sermon or participating in Bible class, something jumped out at us that made us realize that what we'd believed since we were old enough to believe anything at all was, actually, impossible. Your second-to-last question is important: "... what made you want to leave." While some people had bad experiences that made them start thinking maybe it wasn't real, for most it wasn't that they developed a desire to leave. Instead, we just realized we'd been believing in mythology. We'd believed in "one god" and somehow thought the book we were reading consistently painted a picture of this one god, when, in fact, the Bible reflects changing beliefs about gods over the time-span it covers. It starts out with the "Most High" god and his sons creating the universe, then transitions to a point where one of his sons, named Jehovah, becomes the god of Israel, and is much more powerful than his brothers (read the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32), and eventually the authors (and the people of the time) came to believe that Jehovah and the Most High was one and the same. There's even Psalm 82 where either the Most High or Jehovah (it doesn't say which) takes the other gods' divinity away from them! That's not what anyone believes, but it's what the Bible says. It's not impossible that there are such things as gods, but it's clear that the god/gods in the Bible are the product of people's speculation about what a god would be like, if there were any such things. And that time when my job situation turned out well when I was sure it was going to be bad, and I attributed it to this god? Turns out that some really good people were behind that. That period of months and months, maybe over a year in my life when I was really depressed and never went to a doctor because I was convinced that it was my situation, but I finally got over it? A god didn't fix that, either. Otherwise it would have happened suddenly and sooner instead of gradually over a long period. Job says "the Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." If there's any reason to disbelieve in this particular god, that's it -- either this god is impulsive and uncaring, or it just simply doesn't exist. The latter seems more reasonable. Nobody simply wanted to leave. We just realized that what we believed was wrong. For many, it felt like a great loss. For others, life suddenly made sense and we never felt any loss at all.
  3. I didn't even know that was there! Thanks for pointing it out.
  4. Yes! I never felt any sense of loss! There's a lot of stress involved due to family and societal expectations, but realizing it wasn't real was such a relief! I never felt like I had lost anything at all!
  5. I've read a little bit about stoicism, enough to know that it isn't what we think of (which would be "just don't get excited about anything, either positive or negative"). I need to read more about philosophy, though. Thanks for your input.
  6. But believers take those and say "therefore, everything else Paul said is commanded by the god." *sigh* It also makes me think Paul was a lot like people today who think their god is talking to him. He had thoughts and just assumed they weren't coming from his own brain?
  7. Thanks, TABA. I logged in and was wondering what all of the notifications were!
  8. I am reading a blog post on Patheos by an Evangelical author, Philip Yancey, called "A Time to Doubt" here. The post doesn't allow comments, which is not unexpected given the subject and some of the things he says. The comments section could easily get out of hand and really would serve no purpose, but I want to comment on the article on my own blog, so here goes: One paragraph says "Often seems silent." I would have worded it this way, also, when I was a Christian. Jehovah often seems silent. But eventually I realized that those times he seems silent are the times I'm expecting an answer. All of the times I'm expecting an answer. The times you don't notice Jehovah's silence are the times you're not expecting anything. In other words, the reality is that there's never actually a word from Jehovah. When I was a believer I didn't actually go through many periods of doubt that Mr. Yancey is describing here, because I didn't actually need anything. And when I first deconverted, it had nothing to do with Jehovah's silence, but shortly afterward I realized the truth -- that (as Annie Laurie Gaylor says) nothing fails like prayer. As a Christian, convincing myself that "God's will is always done" was pretty easy, and so when any struggles didn't actually get resolved (simply delayed for later) I accepted the caveat that it wasn't the god's will, and that it would make me stronger, or more patient, or some such. Only afterward did I realize the obvious -- that nothing magical or supernatural ever actually happens. Life is just life. Yancey writes about the Jews who had escaped from Egypt: Of course, the author of the books of Exodus and Numbers are writing many years later of the legends passed down to them, not about current events. For the most part, historians doubt that the descendants of Jacob were even in Egypt. But even if they were, go back and read the accounts in the Bible! The Bible says these people doubted even though they'd seen obvious signs of Jehovah helping them. I can't help but think that this is the author's perspective, passed down to him through many generations, and specifically related to him by a believing elderly relative. The more likely conclusion is that the people who doubted never actually saw any evidence. If anything like the events recorded as the Exodus actually happened, the people caught up in it very likely saw nothing that made them think this god of theirs was real. Further in the article, Yancey says Again -- proof within the Bible itself that the evidence isn't actually there, and wasn't there during the time the events were supposedly happening. And there's the real evidence against there being any such being as Jehovah. The people alive at the time weren't convinced. The writers who came along later claim that the evidence should have been enough to convince anyone alive, yet they admit that those living at the time didn't actually find it to be convincing! It's only by asserting, after the fact when no actual witnesses to the time are alive, that all of the miracles happened, that people can be convinced. The people who were alive at the time saw only life as usual with nothing supernatural going on. Yancey makes the typical objection that we were all taught to make as Christians: It's nothing but a "get out of jail free" card for Jehovah. The truth is that the Bible makes specific promises about what this god will do. When those things don't happen, Christianity has evolved the mechanism of accusing the accuser -- of saying "you have no right to 'test' God". That came along early, too -- before Christianity even -- in the book of Job, where the god basically tells Job he's just a stupid human and has no right to question the god. A paragraph further on, in his outline of an article, is entitled Now here, Yancey is correct! The famous statement in Hebrews about faith ("faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen") makes it clear, if you pay attention to what the author is actually saying, that faith is a substitute for substance and evidence. As a Christian, I'm not sure I ever had faith. I was most certainly a believer -- a true Christian! But I thought there was evidence for my beliefs. Faith is what happens when you just assume something to be true without evidence. It's belief for no reason other than that someone told you so or you read it. Yancey then makes a blatantly false assertion: No. "Unbelief" is honesty. "Doubt" is the path to unbelief and honesty, but that path is often not traveled due to the fear instilled by the religion itself. The meme of Christianity has evolved to continue to exist by overtly stating that doubt is caused by external, evil forces -- by a powerful being (somehow not credited as being an evil god) who has the power to literally plant thoughts in people's heads. "Reason" is of the Devil, Christianity asserts. The moment you start to wonder whether the god is real, your Christian indoctrination makes you think that doubt has been implanted in your head by the evil god Satan. But that's not what's happening. The god Satan isn't real. The gods Jehovah and Jesus aren't real. You're doubting because you can plainly see that the claims of the Bible about Jehovah and Jesus are simply untrue. Yancey then talks about Mother Teresa: She knew! She knew it wasn't real! She knew Jehovah wasn't there, doing anything at all on the Earth. Yancey goes on: She conducted her life in order to help people, "despite her doubts". I would say, "despite her eventual coming to terms with the fact that her faith was baseless". In the end, she was good without god, as we all are, really. People are generally good -- no gods required.
  9. " those evangelicals who are enraged at Christianity Today for calling out Trump’s abuses of power aren’t enraged because they think Trump’s good outweighs his bad. They’re enraged because they think he is all good. " If I believed in spirits and demons and gods and such, I'd think that the evangelicals had literally sold their souls to Satan. The god wouldn't give them the judges they wanted, so Satan came along and said "I'll give you more judges than you ever thought possible! You just have to let me pick the president! Oh, and you have to be completely loyal to whomever I pick. Oh, and you go to Hell when you die. But you'll get your judges!" It's almost enough to make me a believer! (Okay, not really, but I've been really tempted to post something like this on facebook where nobody actually knows that I'm an atheist.)
  10. Interesting, but it seems to me that any such document would have a stamp of some sort. Checks get cancelled. Legal documents get notarized or stamped in some other way. Ever since 2000, I've written out the full year anyway, so I guess I'll just keep doing it! The hardest thing for me to wrap my head around this year is that the Y2K hysteria was TWENTY YEARS AGO!
  11. I'll be 60 next week, Weezer. I'm an old guy at work, but pretty young on bulletin boards of this sort! Younger people are on tumblr. I'm in okay health. I have a tachycardia condition that is fixable, but I don't like the fix (they go in and kill some nerve endings), so they gave me a beta-blocker to help control it. It's something that happens only a few times per year, anyway. But my sister died of MS almost 2 years ago, and my brother found out that he has a tumor on his liver and another on his lung. Surgery number 1 is next week. Our mother is still hanging in there. She's 91, and has been on hospice about 7 or 8 months, but the condition that sent her to the hospital a couple of times in the spring (which is why she chose hospice -- no more hospitals) has been under control since then. I find myself wondering if she's going to outlive a second child. Anyway, the mortality is right in front of us. I"m actually more afraid that I'm going to live 25 years beyond my wife and siblings. Truth is, I'm done. A year ago I wanted to see my grandchildren grow up, but somewhere in the last few months I've quit caring how long I live. But, like you, I realize that I'm not at all worried about it. I cannot imagine life after death -- that we merely cease to exist seems rather obvious to me. The "mind" is an emergent property that requires a physical brain. A few years ago I had my gallbladder removed. As I lay there waiting for them to start the anesthesia I realized that I wasn't the least bit worried. I thought I was supposed to be, but I just wasn't! Maybe that's a sign that I don't have much of an imagination.
  12. When I was a Christian I bought into the idea that the Old Testament pointed to the New Testament, as Paul said, "the law was a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ." So I believed that the Jews had been the god's chosen people, but that the promises of "forever" came with a caveat -- as long as they were obedient. So, when they disobeyed, the god sent them off into captivity. When they repented, the god let them go home. When they rejected the messiah, the god rejected them as a nation and within 100 years there was no more Israel. I believed that people of Jewish descent could go to Heaven just like anybody else in the world -- they just had to become Christians! I believed that Evangelicals were fighting against the god when they facilitated the return of Jewish people to Palestine in the mid- and late-20th century. I thought they were trying to help the god out just like Abraham had when he fathered Ishmael. I did not believe that Jesus was going to establish an earthly kingdom. Anyway, overall I guess I was ambivalent about Jewish people. They were just like anybody else. It still confuses me that many Evangelicals are still trying to help Russian Jews immigrate to Israel and want the US to support Israel, and other Evangelicals are very anti-Semitic.
  13. That's my definition of "religion": Speculation about what a god might be like, if there were such things as gods.
  14. Remember the story where Paul started a fight between the Pharisees and Sadducees? It's in Acts 23. He used the fact that the Sadducees didn't believe in a resurrection to get them into an argument and get himself out of a jam. There are a number of passages in the Gospels and in Acts that make it clear that the Sadducees didn't believe in any sort of afterlife. It's presented as strange, and just plain wrong, but why? Because by the time of the NT most Jews did believe in such things. So why not the Sadducees? The answer is simple: It was unscriptural! Christians today look at the NT and impose it on the OT, but in the 1st century there was no NT! The Sadducees read their Bible, which is, in general, what we call the Old Testament, and there was nothing in there about Hell, and nothing about people going to Heaven or anywhere else when they died. Heaven was where the god lived, and that's it. This makes it obvious that the Jews had picked up the idea of life-after-death sometime "between the testaments." It's proof that Judaism evolved, and Christians just started with 1st century Judaism and mixed in other things. My point is this: Among the things that make it clear that the Bible isn't some perfectly consistent book, but rather, and assemblage of beliefs about a god/gods, is this total lack of any belief in life after death in the Old Testament. It's all speculation, and none of it is real. Jehovah isn't real. Jesus, if there ever was such a person, wasn't a god. There's no Holy Spirit that can be "blasphemed." And there's no such thing as Hell that people should be afraid of it. If I understand correctly, the original thinking of the Jews was that their oppressors would go to Hell. Christianity turned it into a place a person would wind up, not if they were bad, but if they merely didn't believe the right things. That belief is a big part of Christianity's success as a meme, so it's no surprise that you would have the fear -- but don't! It's bogus. You only have to take one step back to see that there's no such place, in exactly the same way there are no such things as ghosts, spirits, angels, demons, gods, or any other sorts of minds without bodies. The speculation about a place of eternal torment is a very powerful mental device, but that's all it is -- a scare tactic that evolved organically and helped a religion to survive. Hope this helps.
  15. I love Psalm 82! i don't know if it was intended to, but taken as part of a certain context it seems to be explaining how the other gods lost their powers! Only thing is that it doesn't say whether it's supposed to be El or Yahweh talking. If it's El, then Yahweh isn't around anymore. I like thinking of Jesus as El's grandson (Yahweh being Jesus' dad), but maybe El killed all of his original sons and spawned Jesus later. Oh, no, wait, John says that Jesus was around for creation. Of course, in John, Jesus is the Logos, which is the Greek god that replaced the Greek pantheon. It's all so confusing! It's like a work of terrible fiction!
  16. Hat-tip to Bob Seidensticker at Cross Examined for inspiring this post with one entitled More Damning Bible Contradictions: #25 Was Jesus Crazy or God? Did you ever wonder what was up with Jesus' mother, Mary, in Mark chapter 3? Mary and Jesus' brothers show up where he's been preaching to his followers, and they're wanting to take him away because they think he is, perhaps, mentally ill. (Well, they thought he had an unclean spirit.) But we know the stories! The angel told Mary about the immaculate conception! When Jesus stayed behind talking to the elders, at age 12, with the wisdom of an adult, she "kept these things in her heart!" (Luke 2:19). How could Jesus' own mother, who knew better than anyone that he was the "Son of God," now be wondering what's wrong with him. I remember wondering that when I was a believer, but the answer didn't occur to me until I read Bob's post today. The gospels are different stories. We have studies in "the harmony of the gospels" in order to try to gloss over the contradictions. This story wouldn't normally be included because it isn't one that shows up anywhere besides in Mark, but in hindsight the reason is obvious. In Mark, the oldest gospel, there's no story of Jesus' birth and no story of his childhood. He starts off preaching and right off the bat his family is worried about him. By the time the other gospels were written, stories of his birth had been imagined and these writers included them, as they were now part of the narrative. But with stories about Mary knowing her child is the "Son of God" now as part of the narrative, Mark's much older story of his mother and brothers' worry made no sense, and so the later authors left those out (even though they copied from Mark a whole lot!). This is just one more of those things that I once thought curious but never bothered to pursue, which now from the outside seems obvious. And just one more bit of evidence that the Bible isn't inspired by a god. When you think it all has to be consistent it's impossible to answer the questions you might have, but when you're able to step back and see the stories for what they are, there's not even anything to be curious about. But the Bible is a lot more interesting now!
  17. I'm late to the party, but I'll reply to the original post. When I realized that fundamentalist beliefs were absolutely wrong, I thought that maybe there was something to liberal Christianity, so I investigated. What I realized was the liberal theology is less honest than fundamentalist theology. Fundamentalists say that the Bible is 100% true and 100% consistent from beginning to end, and that's due to inspiration. They say (I don't know about all of them, but I always heard) that if you find one error or inconsistency, you might as well throw the whole thing out. Liberal theologians admit all of the errors and inconsistencies. They teach that revelation is continuous, and that the bad stuff in the Old Testament is the result of the authors' not understanding what the god really was trying to tell them. If you want to believe, there's a great appeal to that. "God never wanted slavery, it just took him until the 19th century to get that across to people!" Well what kind of a god is that? What I ultimately realized was that the god Christians believe in, the gods the ancient Jews believed in ("gods" plural, if you carefully read your Old Testament), and all of the other gods people believe in today or have ever believed in, are the result of speculation about what a god would be like if there were such things as gods. But there's absolutely zero evidence that such things exist! So why would I go for something like New Age religion, that's even more speculative. It's all just people thinking stuff up and following through on their imaginations for way, way too long, so that they convince themselves and others that what they've thought up could be and probably is real. But developing hypotheses that you never bother to test is not the way to know anything. I don't believe in anything beyond the physical because nobody has come up with a compelling argument for the existence of such, much less any evidence to back up their hypotheses.
  18. I think younger preachers in fundamentalist denominations are starting to learn more. In the past they went to a "Bible college" (or no college at all -- just interned under an older preacher), and they studied writings almost exclusively from within their denomination. I was raised in the "non-institutional" Churches of Christ in the US. They were (and still are, mostly) separated from the mainline Churches of Christ, but the younger generation doesn't know the history. And the funny thing is, a lot of mainline CoC folks are joining NI churches and don't really know the differences. But anyway, these younger preachers are learning things. They'll get advanced degrees from Harding and Pepperdine that are closer to actual seminary degrees than before. I still attend a NI-CoC (as a semi-closeted atheist), and the youngish preacher (about 35?) a couple of weeks ago mentioned how Matthew basically cribbed some older language about Julius Caesar when writing about Jesus. He knows! There has to be a lot of cognitive dissonance going on. These guys are going to have a really hard time when they eventually deconvert, having trained to do nothing else in their lives. And I'm almost positive that a whole, whole bunch of them will deconvert in the next 10 years. There's just too much information available for them to be able to stay in their bubbles!
  19. I very much appreciate your article. Although you and I have very different backgrounds and experiences, your conclusions look very much like mine. And while all of the arguments you make resonate with me, your concluding paragraph is the thing that really does so: That is very much my position. I was 52 years old when I realized I'd been practicing mythology most of my life. When I realized that my fundamentalist beliefs were untenable I wondered whether liberal Christianity was more correct, but I didn't consider it long. It seemed to be merely speculation about what a god would be like, if there were such things as gods. It treated the Old Testament as myths and legends, and yet expected us to treat the New Testament as history. And what of the even more liberal theologians who reject eternal torment but accept the resurrection and the need for salvation? Well, I've read their positions and they seem fairly well argued, but their argument in a nutshell is that Hell doesn't make sense. While true, that leaves us with Christianity being based on nothing more than legends and speculation, and there's no reason to believe any of it. It only took me about a month to completely deconvert. Though it isn't what got me started (that was realize that there was no Satan in Genesis 3), further study made me realize that the authors of the older parts of the Hebrew Bible were henotheists, not monotheists. The Song of Moses explains how "the LORD" came to be the god of Israel (it was his portion, bequeathed to him by his father, the Most High God), and it goes on to proclaim that he's a better god than all of his brothers, who are the gods of the other nations. Once I realized that, there was no going back. Anyway, thanks for sharing your story. I very much enjoyed reading it.
  20. "Penal substitutionary atonement" refers to the doctrine that Christ died on the cross as a substitute for sinners. God imputed the guilt of our sins to Christ, and he, in our place, bore the punishment that we deserve. This was a full payment for sins, which satisfied both the wrath and the righteousness of God, so that He could forgive sinners without compromising His own holy standard. (Explained in this article on theopedia.com.) There are many objections to the doctrine, as noted in the article, not the least among them being that the concept is unjust. Yet proponents have adequate scripture to show that this is how the Christian god was able to forgive sins. I heard a story that illustrates the concept some time ago, and was able to find it on the Internet. It goes like this: The story, even though it's just a story, is repulsive. It's easy to point out why: First, the prescribed punishment is the same regardless of the crime. Second, even if all of the "crimes" were the same, the prescribed punishment is way out of proportion to any of the infractions that it's supposed to apply to. And, finally, although Big Tom is the certainly to be commended for his actions, no justice is done by punishing him. Hence the argument from many theologians that penal substitutionary atonement can't be how Jesus' sacrifice works, because it wouldn't result in justice. But that argument is based on today's sensibilities. Of course you can't punish one person for another's crime! It's not like there's some cosmic imbalance that simply needs to be satisfied -- a crime was committed and the universe won't be right until some punishment has been exacted. We know better than that. The problem is that those who turn to scripture to teach this doctrine are correct. That's actually what the Bible teaches. The linked article mentions these passages (among others): 2 Corinthians 5:21 - "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." Galatians 3:13 - "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us -- for it is written, Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree." And while objectors come up with other hypotheses about how Jesus' death saved people from sins, they have to jump through a lot more hoops to make their points using the Bible, and they have to claim that certain Bible passages don't really mean what they say. But well they should object! As in the illustration about the Virginia school, it isn't only that penal substitutionary atonement is unjust, it's that the "wages of sin" in the Bible far, far exceed any crime that could ever have been committed. In the Bible, one lie told by a 12 year old merits infinite torment -- a literal never ending Hell. It's easy to see that this punishment is unjust, yet when I was a Christian these concepts were just assumed to be obvious. I never heard anyone question them, because just like from childhood we were told that it's obvious the Christian god is real, we were also told that everyone actually deserves to go to Hell. But rather than argue, as some theologians dp, that these concepts can't really be what the Bible is getting at, this is another case where we should just accept the obvious: This is mythology. Some ancient people actually believed these things, they got written down, and due to changing political climates and 2000 years of evolution of the religion which has allowed it to hang on despite humanity's advancement, people still believe them. Because they describe these things as being "just," and we understand today that they are horribly unjust concepts, it should be obvious to us that they aren't true -- that the Bible is obviously not the word of any sort of god.
  21. I think the idea is that blood, or some other type of punishment, is required to correct a wrong, is some sort of ancient idea about things balancing out. With "substitutionary atonement" you have a wrong supposedly being committed ("sin" by each person) and a supposedly "just" god having no choice but to require that punishment be doled out, but it doesn't have to be the guilty party being punished -- it just has to happen to restore balance to the cosmos. Of course, Christians today wouldn't describe it that way, but practically speaking, that's what it is. I don't know exactly how ancient people would have viewed this idea, but today it's repulsive. No matter how much I may be willing to go to prison to pay for the crime of a person I love, that can't happen. Everyone today knows that's wrong, and that justice would not be done if that were allowed. But the claim that Jesus died and paid for the sins of every one who would accept his grace is exactly that -- a "crime" was committed and someone had to be punished; it didn't have to be the guilty party -- it just had to happen. The thing that's so special about Jesus is that he was supposed to have been completely innocent of all crimes or sins, so his complete innocence makes him eligible to stand in for unlimited people all at once. When I was a believer we talked about this requirement that somebody -- anybody -- be punished, as if it just made perfect sense, as if "of course it works that way!" I never heard anybody ask how it served justice. All one has to do is take one step back to see that it makes no sense at all.
  22. Lerk


    You win the "it's never too late" award! Seriously, the meme has evolved over 2000 years to capture and keep adherents. If it weren't for the Internet, it wouldn't be falling apart even today. Hopefully it'll die before it's able to evolve further.
  23. Lerk


    Welcome aboard! You did better than I did. Became a Christian at age 11, believed for 41 years, and have been an atheist for 7.
  24. I don't necessarily disagree with the idea that "the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil." There's a big difference between having enough to be comfortable (and not distressed) and in accumulating money at the expense of other people. The wealthiest people are often (usually?) hoarders. They aren't spending that money on building businesses that produce goods and pay wages -- they simply use their money to make more money, often at the expense of productivity and people. "Trickle-down economics" seemed like a good hypothesis, but when it was tried, the money that wealthy people got to keep in the form of lower taxes never made its way back into the economy. But that doesn't describe the average person who's just trying to get ahead a little bit. Getting ahead a little bit is about security, not greed. And not trying to get ahead a bit turns out to be really irresponsible in the long run. Some day you won't be able to work due to age! Some day you may be out of a job for some time, and will need some savings to survive that period! Of course, as you've discussed before , you're aware that your feelings aren't logical, but you seem to be asking for help overcoming them. I hope my comments have been helpful.
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.