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End Times Prophecy


Randi
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All of this talk aof unrest in the middle East always brings the crazies out of the woodwork. People inevitably start to tak of fulfillment of Biblical prophecy and the tribulation, etc. I have a confession: It makes me incredibly uneasy. It quite frankly scares the shit out of me. What if we're wrong and suddenly the rapture does occur? I know this is a scare tactic to bring people to "salvation" but just thae fact that people I know and love believe this to be my fate makes me fearful. Anyone else deal with this? Keep in mind that I'm only 3 months out of the faith. Please tell me it gets better with time.

 

 

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Randi, fear is one of the only weapons the church has, since they can't call on reason or fact. Fear of hell, fear of punishment, fear of death.

 

The middle east has been in a state of turmoil, well, since it's been the middle east! Earthquakes and wars have certainly been around since we got upright.

 

The only difference is now we are instantly connected to any event anywhere. But the church points to this as "prophecy fulfilled."

An astute ten year old could make those "predictions" with internet access.

 

Chill. It's just made up drama.

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it does.

 

I read the left behind books up to Assassins, I refuse to call them novels. I even read his book are we living in the end times?" Then I discovered that LaHaye got his start as an astrologer and tarot reader...I think. After that I realized he was a moneygrubbing FRAUD. So, this began my questioning of ALL end of the world predicitions.

 

I think the biggest thing to remember is: There is always unrest in the middle east.

 

The only times in history that the Mid-east has been "stable" is when there is burtal and authoritaran regime in charge. Persians, Babylonins, Hittites, Turks, Ottomans. All other times the region falls into what is essentially clan warfare. Most of Jewish history in the Old testiment

 

The other thing to keep in mind is that first the rapture isn't in the bible. It was invented whole cloth by an end times nut in the 1800's US. Additionally, John of Patmos was writing from cave on a secluded island and had little human contact and HATED the Romans. Most of his writing can be attributied as critisism of Nero, or at least that is my provincal understanding.

 

Finally, the world has been through cycles of destruction and rebirth many times since humanity began. It will again. While this body will die, the human race as survived far worse natural disasters without bringing an imaginary god into it.

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It did back when I was a Christian. Study the parts of the NT where Jesus talks about his return. He says that his return would happen before that current generation passed away. So even Jesus didn't know what he talking about. In one of pastor's messages last fall, it was hilarious (to me) listening to him try to explain away those verses.

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Unfortunately, this is the ONLY religious issue that I cannot seem to get completely worked through. However, my entire religious experience revolved around endtime issues, so for me, I really have a hard time with separating fact from fiction. While I know that just about everything is complete bunk, I do get put on edge--only because I have had these fears for so long and heard so many things during my fundamentalist days, that I cannot just dismiss things as easily as someone who was not raised in this type of environment.

 

The one thing that seems to be somewhat helpful to me is working through the human aspects of these so called endtime prophecies-- could this so-called prophecy be fulfilled by humans making it happen-- as way to validate it, for example? An example of this is that endtimers like to bring up Israel rebuilding their temple as some sort of prophecy that the end is near. Number one, there is nothing in the bible that even mentions a third temple being built at any point. Any references to the temples are related to existing temples at the time of the biblical writings-- and mistranslations of those scriptures. If Israel decides to build a temple, it would be as a result of humans deciding to take this action--with a great deal of pushing by the very endtimers who say that this would be verification of the end being near. So, the truth is that while this is not a fulfillment of any actual bible prophecy, in their eyes it would be a fulfillment of THEIR prophecy. The reality of this is that there would now be a temple in Israel, but that does not mean that Jesus is going to return or anything else. So, in the end, there would just be one more building in the world that is likely to cause mideast tension, and new prophecies will come about when no rapture takes place, no antichrist shows up, etc.

 

I do this exercise on as many of these types of prophecies that I can, as a way for me to try to work through my issues. I have admitted in prior posts that I am a bit OCD with regard to this topic, so this is a work in progress for me, but it might be helpful to you as well!

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Would going back to belief really stop you from worrying? Why should it?

 

did more than my share of worrying about this as a believer for one lifetime and probably a few more. I was worried about whether I was really right with god and worked about others who weren't saved. I was scared and confused when other Christians told me they weren't worried about it at all; did they know something I didn't? were they the "real" Christians? But that didn't make them right. There was nothing going on there except maybe that I didn't have the 'I know I'm going to heaven and everything's settled' gene. By the time I deconverted, I had simply had enough. I was able to see that this junk just put fear into those that worried about it, and those that didn't were egocentric people who *wanted* the world to end this way to get the existence they wanted and naturally conviced themselves they were prepared for it.

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Meh, people have been expecting it's the end of the world for forever (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millerism) I understand why you would still be "worried" but would being a Christian make you feel any better about it? My older family members (fundy aunts and uncles) are always seeing "signs" in all of the happenings around the world. They thought Clinton was the Anti-Christ, you can imagine who they think is now...

 

Seriously, if the world ends, (talking what could actually happen meteor, solar flare, gamma rays,, zombie apocalypse...) what can you do about it? I'd raid the local liquor store and watch it all end on my roof.

 

In all seriousness, Christians especially are always seeing signs of end times prophecy or what have you. It's exactly like the whole Nostradamus prophecies. I can make a bunch of vague mystical sayings match any sort of present day event.

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I really don't want to say that someone who is nervous over the end times preaching is out of their fucking mind. But it is a scare tactic.

 

Fear -- that's all the religious leaders have. Fear of hell. Fear of end times. I heard someone once say if you are afraid of the end times, think of it like this: The End Times = The End of Christianity. Welcome the end times.

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That was one of the interesting things about my development of endtime fears. I really started to develop them while I was actively in the church-- in fact, it got so bad that I would worry what the sermon was going to be because I could barely stand it when a hell-fire and brimstone sermon was preached. I would get sick to my stomach and feel like I was going to lose it--classic signs of a panic attack. The funny thing is that when I was in this type of situation, I would look around at the others listening to the same sermon and see people staring off into space, falling asleep, etc. I would wonder to myself--how can these people be so relaxed?? I eventually quit going to church over all of these endtime issues. My last service at my church was an endtimes evangelist who enjoyed working everyone up. I actually met with one of the senior pastors because I wanted help with how these sermons left me, and was told that these preachers were brought in to "bring people to the fold". They get there by fear, and then stay through the love. That did it for me. I wanted no part of church anymore. So for me, being in church would not resolve my fears at all.

 

The one good thing about not being in church is not having to hear all of the crap-- that gets me scared all over again. Unfortunately, I get an occasional email from one of my former church friends that gets me worked up all over again, and then I have to spend some time working through all of the fears. The internet is also rife with people coming up with scary stuff. But I do agree that all of this biblical endtimes business is similar to Nostradomas-- I remember getting all worked up by him, because I read how he said that the world was going to end in 1999 (I was reading this in 1994 when I was pregnant with my 1st child!) I also read how uncannilly true all of his predictions were--very scary. Well, 1999 came and went, and my 1st child is now close to 20 years old, so he was not that great of a prophet!! I guess only time and history will prove these endtimers wrong-- and I plan to be around to see it happen!!

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I feel a little uneasy, especially since Christian Fundamentalists can easily get a hold of the big red button that creates mushroom clouds in america, and in Pakistan, they have nukes and have an instable government. Their rhetoric though is just a scare tactic. I just want to make sure that the crazies stay away from being able to mess up our planet any further.

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Here's a bunch of dates from here.

About 30 CE

About 60 CE

About 90 CE

2nd Century CE

365 CE

375 to 400 CE

500 CE

968 CE

992

1000-JAN-1

1000-MAY

1005-1006

1033

1147

1179

1205

1284

1346 and later

1496

1524

1533

1669

1689

1736

1792

1794

1830

1832?

1843-MAR-21

1844-OCT-22

1850

1856 or later

1881

1891 or before

1914

1914, 1915, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975 and 1994, etc. were other dates that the Watchtower Society (WTS) or its members predicted.

1919

I would have included the text as well but it was too much. It doesn't even cover to present and there's many more for the last century.

 

Keep in mind this is just xian end times nonsense. It doesn't cover wrongfully interpreted Mayan calendars or anything like that.

 

mwc

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Randi, I feel for you with these lingering fears that you have. I believed in the rapture so strongly that I never tried to make anything out of myself, since I was certain the rapture was around the corner, so there was no need to make plans for the future. That's something that I'll always regret since I could be enjoying life and making plans to have a good stable life when I got older.(AKA now). For what it's worth, the bible has been proven time and time to have errors, and if it really came from God, it'd have no errors at all. Therefore, the rapture is nonsense. And not related to christianity, but even around 400 bc, the Assyrians thought the end of the world was close at hand, supposedly because of wars and a decline in morals.

 

The rapture is a big fat lie, just like hell is.

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Randi, it is not unusual at all for someone to have residual fears related to some aspect of Christianity after leaving the religion. I note that several folks who share a fear of end-times with you have posted to reassure you that you are not alone.

 

I wish there were some sure-fire formula I could share with you to help you get past these fears very quickly. Unfortunately, there isn't one. It is different for different people and each person suffering from these fears must be viewed as an individual. The best advice I can offer is to begin by acknowledging those fears (which you have done, so you have started off well). Once you acknowledge the fears, try to focus in on what specifically it is that actually causes the fear. For example, if it is a fear that you might be left behind if the rapture occurs, then focus on that. Look closely at the doctrine of the rapture as set forth in the bible and see if it withstands scrutiny (it doesn't!).

 

You may also want to consider such things as the whole concept of prophecies. Ask yourself in a very serious fashion why would a god who knows the future the way Christians claim their god knows it and who wants to reveal it to us do it in the way it is allegedly done in the bible? It is so open to individual interpretation as it has been interpreted throughout its almost 2,000 year history. If god wanted us to know the future, why would he tell it to some goof ball named John who lived on an island near Greece called Patmos and then rely on this guy to write it out in hopes that we would get the message? It makes no sense. Surely a god who wanted to let us know about something so important as end-times events, would think of a better, more direct way to tell us so we would be absolutely certain of the message. And let me tell you, there is nothing absolutely certain about Revelation except that it ain't no prophecy.

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My heart goes out to you Randi. I felt a little sad for you as I read your post. Many of us are victims of our religion's stranglehold on the culture. All sorts of unexamined beliefs and assumptions about the reality and respectability of the bible and it's preachers pervade and influences our culture and sub cultures with the strength and subtlety of gravity on land and water pressure at sea. It wraps around us like kudzu or ivy wraps around every tree and building across the terrain and chokes the joy of life out of the thoughtful and the sensitive. It's all despicable and designed to keep people coming to church and filling the coffers and offering plates like The Feeders of Vaal(unabashed Star Trek reference) gathering to through rocks into the insatiable throat of their "provider."

 

Do you remember the old story about the escaped murderer with the hook on his hand? When the unsuspecting travelers got home, the hook was dangling from the car door? For years that story sent shivers up my spine just to think about it. it was an effectively told story that got to me when I was young and remained there to fester like so many trapped bubbles rising to the surface. There was no truth to it. Not long after I heard the story (I was in 3rd or 4th grade) I was told it was not true. It still scared me after that.

 

But these rapture and end time stories are told by people trained to paint an effective picture and spin a good story. They are told and re-told by people who sincerely believe it is true. They are even told by our aunts, uncles , fathers and mothers as true stories. So what chance did we have but to fall influence to stories that were spun out of poorly examined texts and fear-flamed imaginations?

 

I can only say that after years of studying prophesies in the Bible, they are not predictive prophesies. They are rarely prophesies about what they are being claimed to foretell. I think the greatest cure for your fear would be to read the texts closely, carefully and in context. The more you are familiar with them, the less power they will have over you.

 

But you may not want to take the time to engage in that tedious process. I don't blame you. If you can rest assured that those fears will fade and realize that people are just parroting things they were conditioned to believe as real, then you will probably see yourself freed from the insidious influence of cultural "kudzu."

 

I wish you success as you grow more fully into the wonderful human you can be.

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I know this is a scare tactic to bring people to "salvation" but just thae fact that people I know and love believe this to be my fate makes me fearful. Anyone else deal with this? Keep in mind that I'm only 3 months out of the faith. Please tell me it gets better with time.

I certainly sympathize with you, Randi, and thought it might be helpful to respond to the highlighted above....

 

First, no doubt Christians today use fear as a tactic to gain converts, but as I was reading through Bart Ehrman's book, Jesus, Interrupted (I believe it was), he said something that really settled my nerves and painted a much more accurate picture of "end time prophesies". The book of Revelations by John, is no doubt the source of your fear. It was for me, for many years. But in Ehrman's book, he explains that Revelations was meant as a comfort for the Christians going through heavy persecution in their own day. Christians today interpret it as things to come, but it is meant, rather, as things that were. Christians today might use it as a fear tactic, but they are misinterpreting the book's true message. (In fact, Ehrman shows that the anti-Christ was the Roman emperor Nero.)

 

Second, YES...it gets better with time! I'm a 2+ year atheist, and even though I still have doubts about my stance on atheism, I feel so much better than I did when I first came to realization. Keep in mind, it may come in waves. Some times of complete peace, and other times of complete doubt and uneasiness. But how does that make it any different than being a Christian? Good luck with things, and just keep using your brain for "brain stuff" and let your heart be used for "heart stuff". Don't let the heart do the "brain stuff" (or rather, the brain the "heart stuff").

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I considered the rapture as a chance for a sort of reverse Pascal's wager. If you believed in the rapture as a Christian, and it happens and you're not taken up, then you have concrete evidence that Evangelical Christianity is true, and you have the chance to become a Christian. Life might suck in the Tribulation, but you're going to heaven eventually. If the rapture never happens, then you're not going to live through the end times, whether they're real or not, so you don't have to worry about them.

 

The more I studied the Bible, the more that I realized that the so-called prophecies of the Bible don't fit together. The rapture is largely based upon a mystical reading of a single verse that does not match up with the story in Revelation or any other description of "the day of the lord". But if it's something that just needs time for you to work through the emotional reaction to years of brainwashing, I think you should consider that even if your worst fears about being left behind are true, there's still a backup plan.

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I'll start fearing the "end times" when the Jerusalem temple is built and then taken over by a man who proclaims himself to be God, all the while there are the 2 fire breathing witnesses and chip implants placed solely in the right hand and forehead and all the true believers™ have disappeared.

 

I hope you however eventually work through through your fears. I know it must be tough, especially now when you feel there is things "confirming" the validity of the Bible. While the whole rapture concept doesn't bother me, I am indeed bothered by death. I have this sinking feeling on occasion that there is judgement after death and I'm just deluding myself. My coping mechanism is to push aside the thoughts. Not exactly the best but it's worked the last couple months, and hopefully it'll continue working.

 

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I think you should consider that even if your worst fears about being left behind are true, there's still a backup plan.

I highly reject this for two reasons. Let's consider for a moment that the rapture is going to happen. Who's to say that you will live to see it? If you die first, the backup plan is down the drain. But the second reason I reject it is because it only proves that God is unforgiving. I think a person needs to shed themselves of the fear altogether without even leaving the opportunity for plan B. Like I've said before, many of us aren't just atheists, we're anti-theists. Would we really want to live with Yahweh for all eternity?

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For how long we are "in the end times"? For 2000 years?

 

As a believer I never found "end time prophecies" scary. In fact, I found them exciting and entertaining. I was looking forward to seeing how they unfold, who might be the Antichrist etc. I remember we looked at every rising politician with great suspicion. For example some thought Nicholas Sarkozy could be the Antichrist.

 

Oh wait! Maybe he is!

 

sarcozy-presidentfrance-satanic293h.jpg

 

LOL!

 

(BTW, this is funny: http://educate-yours...gn28aug07.shtml

 

Seems like Pat Robertson is a secret Satanist as well - according to this article. You gotta love conspiracy theories. LOL.)

 

After my deconversion however this was one of the few things left that made me wonder "what if?". I pretty much concluded that the Bible is not true. However there was one thing that disturbed me: Israel. That Israel has a country again, they are back into their land and they might build a new temple soon. As a Xtian I was taught this was a fulfilled prophecy, a strong evidence in favour of the Bible. However, we changed a couple of PMs with Overcome Faith and he showed me why it's not true that modern Israel is a fulfilled prophecy. I think he's right.

 

I personally think if any "prophecy" would be fulfilled, even that would be just self-fulfilling. For example if the Jews decided to rebuild the temple. Of course religious people would work in the direction of "fulfilling" prophecies - that's just self-fulfilling....

 

 

There are so many things in the Bible those are obviously wrong or false. So if any "prophecy" would actually SEEM fulfilled, that still doesn't prove the Bible, only that sometimes coincidences happen or that people sometimes can make prophecies self-fulfill. What about the other hundreds of things in the Bible which are not true? Or the many prophecies which remain unfulfilled?

 

However attempts of religious fanatics to fulfill prophecies can cause real danger:

 

I feel a little uneasy, especially since Christian Fundamentalists can easily get a hold of the big red button that creates mushroom clouds in america, and in Pakistan, they have nukes and have an instable government. Their rhetoric though is just a scare tactic. I just want to make sure that the crazies stay away from being able to mess up our planet any further.

 

Many Fundamentalist Xtians want war, want chaos, because they think that would be the prelude to the return of Jesus. Actually they welcome the news of unrest and wars in the Middle East. I know because I was like that as a Xtian....

 

Same with Fundamentalist Muslims. Ahmedinejad is also working in the direction to encourage the return of his beloved 12th Imam (the Muslim Messiah, otherwise known as The Mahdi).

 

So if we have a Muslim world led by religious nuts and a US led by religious nuts (such as George Bush) and they think Allah/Yahweh is talking to them - then THAT is a real danger! No, Jesus will not return, nor the 12th Imam, however in their zeal of encouraging the return of their Messiahs they might eventually trigger a big war IMO.

 

 

 

I keep an eye on the Middle East though and like JadedAtheist said:

 

I'll start fearing the "end times" when the Jerusalem temple is built and then taken over by a man who proclaims himself to be God, all the while there are the 2 fire breathing witnesses and chip implants placed solely in the right hand and forehead and all the true believers™ have disappeared.

 

Well, if that happens I may rethink my position on the Bible. However in that case I would seriously wonder if the creator God is a good and just God or was this world really created by an evil, narcisstic and insecure God and if I'd want to serve this God in eternity?

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And I think the interpretations of prophecies are always flexible, always adjusted to the current political happenings to make it seem as if they are fulfilling current events. At the beginning of my time as a Xtian (the beginning of the 90s) most books and articles I have read about the end times said the Antichrist's empire predicted in Daniel would be the European Union and the Antichrist would be a powerful leader of the EU. Of course, so the EU seemed like a fulfilled prophecy, but in reality it was the other way around: interpretations of prophecies got adjusted to current political events. Nowadays there seems to be a change of interpretation. At the end of my time as a Xtian I read more and more books and articles about how the evil Antichrist empire will emerge from the Muslim world. BTW, does it maybe have anything to do with the fact that these books and articles were mainly written by Americans and do they reflect the fact whom they at any given moment view as the biggest political/economical/cultural rival of the US? Hmmmmmm.....

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All of this talk aof unrest in the middle East always brings the crazies out of the woodwork. People inevitably start to tak of fulfillment of Biblical prophecy and the tribulation, etc. I have a confession: It makes me incredibly uneasy. It quite frankly scares the shit out of me. What if we're wrong and suddenly the rapture does occur? I know this is a scare tactic to bring people to "salvation" but just thae fact that people I know and love believe this to be my fate makes me fearful. Anyone else deal with this? Keep in mind that I'm only 3 months out of the faith. Please tell me it gets better with time.

 

The "end times" are what my family try and use on me still. This is what I say now : "Remember that the Apostle Paul thought he was living in the end and that Jesus was coming back at any moment. Now Paul and Jesus are both dust. Didn't work out for him, now did it? And he was Paul!"

 

Happened to me just last week again.

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The "end times" are what my family try and use on me still.

 

 

 

 

Same here. Though they don't know I deconverted, they only know I don't go to church any more. And they always try to scare me into going by saying "You know that Jesus can be back in any minute, we don't want you to be left here."

 

 

 

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When I'm told that, I say, "And we all better be good, as Santa Claus might be real and might not give us any presents if we're bad."

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All of this talk aof unrest in the middle East always brings the crazies out of the woodwork. People inevitably start to tak of fulfillment of Biblical prophecy and the tribulation, etc. I have a confession: It makes me incredibly uneasy. It quite frankly scares the shit out of me. What if we're wrong and suddenly the rapture does occur? I know this is a scare tactic to bring people to "salvation" but just thae fact that people I know and love believe this to be my fate makes me fearful. Anyone else deal with this? Keep in mind that I'm only 3 months out of the faith. Please tell me it gets better with time.

It got better for me as time went on. Some people do go back to the religion. The church doctrines concerning tribulation, rapture, came from theology or religious 'theories' used to develop church doctrines. The doctrines of the rapture and tribulation is the result of church traditional teaching that goes back to around the 1100s or earlier. Most of this doctrine is due to the book of Revelation. I have not seen an honest doctrine of truth out of the christian church but doctrines based on fear of the unknown. Christianity hasn't gotten anything right in over two thousand years so I am not worried about anything like the rapture. There will always be tribulation, which are persecutions, famines, war, tsunamis, and govt. collapses. We are stuck between two warring factions now, Christians and Muslims, both of whom would rather destroy this planet than see the other become the ruling class. We suffered under the Christian church for over 900 years in the Dark Ages. Islam is now becoming a religious power as strong as xtianity in fundamental lunacy. The only rapture will be a nuclear war with these idiots pushing the buttons. Because neither side knows who the True God™ is, I have serious doubts that the xtian claim they will be raptured out before a great tribulation. Every day is a tribulation. Turmoil and strife mostly due to religions. The only thing I can say is to live every day like there will be a tomorrow because even if humans kill each other, life will still go forward on this planet as it did in the days of dinosaurs without humans to interfere. Maybe we will evolve again in a few million years after we blow each other up? Life does not have to be human life to have purpose. If we kill ourselves then we selected ourselves for extinction and natural selection is played out to the end of the human race. Maybe dolphins and African gray parrots will evolve into better beings of responsibility and caretakers of the earth we take for granted? Prophecy is as reliable as fortune telling.

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It scared me when I was about 12 or 13. I have seen a lot of water go under the bridge since then (being 52) and I am not concerned about it. It has no more reality to me than any other fiction.

 

I hope everyone who is scared by this gets to that place where they are not afraid.

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