A Story – An Apologetic Thanksgiving

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Matt was a young man was on his way home from college during the Thanksgiving break. He had been driving on a cold clear Fall day, his favorite weather of the year, when he decided to fill up on gas. He spotted an out of the way station that did not look too run down, as some of them do. As he pulled in, he noticed someone else who was heading in the opposite direction pull in off the highway . The two of them parked on opposite sides of the same island, facing opposite directions.

Matt got out, opened his wallet, swiped his card, and began to pump the gas. The concrete pad was swirling with colored leaves as the cold breeze found its way into his jacket, and tossed his long dark curls into his face. He was overdue for a haircut. As he zipped up, he glanced up, and saw another young man about his age get out of his car, and begin the same process Matt had finished moments before.

Finally, Matt caught his eye and smiled at him, “This is my favorite time of the year.”

The other young man, taller and with blonde hair, agreed and introduced himself as Chris. A polite conversation ensued, with both of the young men talking about school, and plans for the holiday. The conversation took a turn though, when Matt mentioned he was looking forward to church on Sunday. Chris looked at Mike and asked, “Why do you go to church?”
After a moment, Matt replied, “Well, to worship God.” He was suddenly uncomfortable and felt it was a lame response.

Matt was always uncomfortable talking to people about his faith. He remembered a time when his youth group had to go out and do some street evangelizing. It was one of the worst experiences of his life. They had handed out a few tracts and invited some strangers to church. Matt was just beginning to think, “This is not so bad” when his two of his friends started talking to someone who did not believe in God. Overconfident, Matt jumped in, handed him a tract, and invited him to church. Then the man started asking Matt questions. Very direct questions. Matt could not answer any of his questions, and his friends did not jump in to help. In fact, they took a small step back, leaving Matt to take the bull by the horns. Before they knew it, a few other people had gathered around them and this man was doing all the talking, while Matt just politely nodded, or said, “I don’t know” to the man’s questions. He felt very foolish.

Finally, their youth pastor came over and helped Matt disengage from the man. Even their youth pastor had a difficult time answering this man’s volley of questions. Matt later learned what this man did was coined ‘steam rolling’ – asking several questions before you have time to even address the first one. It can be very intimidating, and unless you are willing to firmly, but politely, interrupt someone, they will dominate the conversation.

Trying to recover, Matt quickly followed with, “I also enjoy hanging out with family and friends.”
Chris nodded but asked, “So do you go to church to worship God, or to hang out with family or friends?”
“Both really.”
Chris said, “I don’t see a need for God, and I can hang out with family and friends without having to go to church. Actually,” he added, “I don’t even believe in God. Evolution has proven he is not needed.”
Unsure how to respond, Matt asked, “How does evolution prove God is not real? Maybe God used evolution to create man.”
“That is called Theistic Evolution, and I personally don’t hold to that,” said a voice that came from the end of the line of gas pumps.
Both Matt and Chris turned, and standing there was an older gentlemen with a rag in his hand, wiping down the furthest gas pump on the island. Neither Matt or Chris heard him walk up. He was about as tall as Chris, slender with brown hair, graying on the sides, and brown eyes to match his long sleeve fall colored shirt. Matt would have guessed him to be in his late 50’s.
Chris did not miss a beat. “Why not? If it is something God would use, why not evolution?”
The man straightened up from wiping down a pump, he was about as tall as Chris, but not in any kind of formidable way; just tall and friendly looking.
He smiled and replied to Chris, “Well, you don’t even believe in God, so why even consider Theistic Evolution? Besides, evolution does not answer the question of abiogenesis, it only answers how life could have developed after it began, not how it began.”
The man walked over and put out his hand to Chris and said “My name is Mr. Keller, Anthony Keller. I own this little out of the way gas station. My friends call me Andy.”
Chris returned the handshake and was surprised how warm it was despite the cold.
“Hi Andy.” Matt said, reaching out his hand after Mr. Keller and Chris were done shaking hands. “What is abiogenesis?”
“Life from non-life,” Mr. Keller replied, but kept his attention on Chris.
Matt just nodded, but Mr. Keller could tell he was thinking about it.
Chris responded, “Mr. Keller, were you born and raised in a Christian home?”
Mr. Keller smiled, “Yes Chris, I was.”
Chris said, “I was too, then in high school and college I began to look at my parents’ beliefs, and decided on my own what was true.”
Mr. Keller nodded, still listening.
Chris continued, “So it is no surprise you believe in God. You believe in God because you were raised in a Christian home. If you were born in India, you would probably be a Hindu. If you were born in Egypt, you would probably be a Muslim. If you were born in one of the advanced Western European Countries, you would probably be an atheist.”
Mr. Keller cut in, “Does that make atheism true?”
Chris had his mouth open as if he was going to say something else, then he asked, “Does what make atheism true?”
“Being born in a Western European country. Does that make atheism true?”
Chris hesitated, “Well, no.”
Mr. Keller shifted his weight off his right leg and pulled some gloves from his back pocket and began to put them on, “Right, it would not make atheism true, any more than being born in India would make Hinduism true. Your example of being born in different countries, and having different beliefs accordingly, is called the genetic fallacy. What you believe, and what country or family you were raised in, is irrelevant to the truth of your belief. The truth of your belief is based on the evidence that supports it, not how you were raised, or the country you were born in.”
Chris nodded, “Ok, I see that, but what evidence do you have for God? You can’t prove there is a god to me.”
Mr. Keller replied, “You’re right Chris, I can’t prove God exists any more than you can prove He does not exist. But I would not base my disbelief of Him because of evolution.”
Chris shoved his hands in his jacket pockets, wishing he had some gloves. “Why not? Evolution proves we don’t need a god to answer the question of how we came to be.”
Mr. Keller draped his arms over the pump which was next to the young men. He was looking very comfortable. “That is what I was saying before. Evolution cannot answer life from non-life, or abiogenesis. It can only offer a possibility of how we developed, not how we got started. On top of that there is the genetic code. Coding or language requires intelligence; you can’t get language from non-intelligence. Plus there are a host of other considerations, like irreducible complexity, the appearance of design, first cause of the universe, and others.”
At that moment, both pumps snapped off at the same time.
Chris did not reply at first; he was obviously thinking about what Mr. Keller had said as he removed the nozzle from his car and replaced it on the pump.
When Chris looked up, Mr. Keller had his hand out again, glove off.
“Nice meeting you, Chris. I hope to see you again.”
They shook hands.
“Nice meeting you, Mr. Keller. I will stop by again and we can chat some more.”
“I would like that, and I will buy you lunch and some coffee next time around.”
At that, Chris smiled, “You can talk me into that!”
Chris turned and slid his long frame into his car and drove off.
Matt had returned the handle to the pump and was standing there looking at Mr. Keller.
Mr. Keller asked, “Can I buy you a cup of coffee?”
Matt hesitated for a moment, “Sure, but not lunch?”
“Nope. It is more important that Chris returns for a visit than you.”
Matt laughed, “Yeah, I see your point.” Then he asked, “Do you talk to people much about your faith?”
Turning to walk into his small office/store with Matt following, Mr. Keller replied, “Sometimes, sometimes not. Just depends on how the Spirit leads me.”
“Well, I don’t feel led very often.” Matt said shaking his head.
Mr. Keller held the door open and called out to someone inside, “Susan, we have a customer!”
Then turning to Matt he said, “No one likes to talk about something they know little about.” He motioned for Matt to go in. “Come in and meet my wife, and I have some books to show you. Most of them are on apologetics.”
Walking in, Matt asked, “Apologetics? What is that?”
Mr. Keller replied, “Something you know little about.”
The door closed behind him, shutting off the cold wind outside.


Inevitably, of course, not only those of us who do science, but all of us, have to choose the presupposition with which we start. There are not many options – essentially just two. Either human intelligence ultimately owes its origin to mindless matter; or there is a Creator. It is strange that some people claim that it is their intelligence that leads them to prefer the first to the second. – John C. Lennox

Wicked Columbus and Judgemental Christians

Reading Time: 9 minutes

When I first read the below Facebook post I wanted to respond, but I generally avoid Facebook discussions. With those kind of posts people tend to vent and express, rather than share and inform, or even enlighten. Replies can be unhelpful, or even rude if you disagree or try to post some kind of thoughtful response.

Just a thought…Man has always desired to conquer. Now in a modern world I see religion as the tool used to advance….when the Spaniards invaded CA and pillaged the native Americans…guess what their whole plight was…to convert all to Catholicism. I have read Christopher Columbus journal entries and he was a wicked man. I just do not understand the need to conform others…the native people were happy, intelligent, well spoken people…why the need to conquer and convert…? They did not have alcohol before the white man….Christopher Columbus even wrote in his journal, all they needed to pay the “savages” was a little drink.
I am saying all this because I have noticed an increased amount of judgement from Christians…I have noticed there is a “No Discussion” policy on so many of Christianity’s fundamental values. Why? If Christianity can pull apart every faith, religion, political party, social group they disagree with…why can’t the later do the same?

Like so many Facebook posts I come across, I save them so I can address them at a later date. Some I will never post to my blog because they are for my own personal benefit and growth.

Others, like this one, are worth sharing because they express not only what is taught in the universities, but where the Millennials are in their faith and I know you are not alone in your questioning of the Christian faith.

Just a thought…Man has always desired to conquer.

They sure have. Even my Jr. High students would agree with this and many could give examples of man’s thirst for power.

Now in a modern world I see religion as the tool used to advance….

By ‘advance’ I am assuming you mean to gain power or control? To advance someone’s position. I am not sure why you only see this in the modern world. Religion has always been used as a tool to advance a position of power. What is important to point out is religion is the tool that men use, and tools can be used properly, or improperly. For example, a hammer can be used to build a bird house or a fence; it can also be used to bash someone’s brains out.

All tools, and all religions, have a purpose. If you are not sure of their purpose, you should go to the founder of that religion or tool and ask what its purpose is. If that individual is no longer alive, then you will have to spend time researching what they wrote, or what others have written about their particular religion.

when the Spaniards invaded CA and pillaged the native Americans…guess what their whole plight was…to convert all to Catholicism.

When the Spaniards invaded California, there were some who used religion as a tool to ‘advance’ as you have put it. Others sincerely wanted to convert the Native Americans to their religion. The Spanish missions were not just missions, but also military outposts. No credible historian doubts Spain wanted to colonize California and gain control of that region.

I have read Christopher Columbus journal entries and he was a wicked man.

Just to be clear, before I quote Columbus, I make no claim to the character of Columbus. As I read his journal entries myself, I have found passages that speak to his obsession of gold, and his terrible treatment of natives. But I also found other entries that suggest a different character. For example, when speaking about some natives on the island of Tortuga he wrote, “They are so affectionate and have so little greed and are in all ways so amenable that I assure your Highnesses that there is in my opinion no better people and no better land in the world. They love their neighbours as themselves and their way of speaking is the sweetest in the world, always gentle and smiling. Both men and women go naked as their mothers bore them; but your Highnesses must believe me when I say that their behavior to one another is very good and their king keeps marvellous state, yet with a certain kind of modesty that is a pleasure to behold, as is everything else here.” 1 Men who are wicked don’t usually hold modesty and affection in high esteem.

He also wrote on his first voyage, “As soon as the inhabitants saw us they ran away, leaving their houses. They hid their clothing and all that they had in the undergrowth. I allowed nothing to be taken, not even to the value of a pin.” 2 Other entries tell of plundering and looting.

On his second voyage, he wrote this about some natives on the island of Hispaniola. “These people raid the other islands and carry off all the women they can take, especially the young and beautiful, whom they keep as servants and concubines. They had carried off so many that in fifty houses we found no males and more than twenty of the captives were girls. These women say that they are treated with cruelty that seems incredible. The Caribs eat the male children that they have by them, and only bring up only the children of their own women; and as for the men they are able to capture, they bring those who are alive home to be slaughtered and eat those who are dead on the spot. They say that human flesh is so good that there is nothing like it in the world…They castrate the boys that they capture and use them as servants until they are men. Then, when they want to make a feast, they kill and eat them…Three of these boys fled to us, and all three had been castrated.” 3

I am not attempting to paint a negative picture of all natives that Columbus encountered, nor do I want to claim they were all affectionate and modest in their behavior. I am pointing out that all cultures have wicked men who abuse and use those around them. European explorers are no exception, and some of the native tribes they encountered were no better than the Nazis at the Concentration Camps.

I just do not understand the need to conform others…the native people were happy, intelligent, well spoken people…why the need to conquer and convert…? They did not have alcohol before the white man….Christopher Columbus even wrote in his journal, all they needed to pay the “savages” was a little drink.

Columbus may have been a wicked man, but the behavior of Christopher Columbus has no bearing on the truth of Christianity. His encountering and experiencing wicked natives who eat the babies of their captured women have no bearing on the value of natives as a whole, any more than the behavior of Columbus some how invalidating the goal of some explorers to convert natives to their religion.

We could go back and forth, pulling out journal entries that demonstrate how wicked Columbus was, or journal entries that show he was a kind and generous man, (and I don’t necessarily think he was), but what that has to do with Spaniards or Catholics is unclear to me. He was born in Italy and financed by Spain. Should those countries be held accountable for his treatment of natives?

How do we know they were all happy, intelligent, and well spoken? As you can see from one of Columbus’ journal entries, some were very unhappy because of how they were treated by other natives who were wicked. Other were kind, generous, and loving toward one another. Those who may suggest to you that the Europeans invaded and destroyed an idyllic Native American culture, or the native cultures in and around the Bahamas and Jamaica, who were all were blissfully living out their lives in peaceful harmony, are ill informed, or lying to you.

The need to conquer is inherent in man. Since before man’s ability to control fire, he has desired to control his environment. Centuries ago, that meant having more warriors with spears than the neighboring village. Now it is positions of authority, usually within a government entity, or having enough money to influence those in positions of authority.

You question the need to convert. If we can assume for a moment the desire to convert was completely altruistic and without selfish motives, then you need to look at why some of the Europeans wanted to convert the natives of the America’s. Obviously, it was because they saw a need to give the natives something they did not have. The Gospel. Some missionaries led the natives to the Good News by example, loving the newly discovered people as if they were their own children. Other missionaries were harsh and ignorant in their attempts to convert natives to Christianity.

Even Wikipedia, known for its liberal slant, says of the Spanish Missionaries. “The missionaries of California were by-and-large well-meaning, devoted men…[whose] attitudes toward the Indians ranged from genuine (if paternalistic) affection to wrathful disgust. They were ill-equipped—nor did most truly desire—to understand complex and radically different Native American customs.” 4

So why convert a people to Christianity if they are happy, intelligent, and well spoken? If someone asks that, it is obvious they don’t see a need for a savior, and are completely ignorant of the fallen nature of man. Paul made it quite clear in 2 Corinthians 4:17 that our focus should be what is eternal.

If you were walking down the street and saw a burning house with a family inside, calmly eating dinner, would you try to warn them? Would you do all you could to convince them of the danger? Missionaries may not be perfect, but they are like the person trying to convince the family of the danger of their burning house. The rest of us, myself included, are much too relaxed about the plight of those without Christ in their life.

If you are not a Christian, then it is perfectly understandable why you don’t see a need to convert a people who are happy, intelligent, and well spoken. If you do consider yourself a Christian, then why would you even begin to question the need to convert?

I am saying all this because I have noticed an increased amount of judgement from Christians…

Is it wrong to judge? If so, then why are you judging Christians by saying they are increasing their amount of judgment of others? When I hear others tell me it is wrong to judge, I ask them, “You mean the way you are judging me?” So many people quote Matthew 7:1, but it is often misunderstood. Greg Koukl puts it this way, “A closer look at the facts of the context shows that Jesus did not condemn all judgments, only hypocritical ones – arrogant condemnations characterized by disdain and condescension. Not all judgments are of this sort, so not all judgments are condemned.” 5

We judge every day. We judge when to pull out onto the street from our driveway. We judge the first sip of coffee every morning, unless your name is Jordan Anderson. We judge how we look in the mirror, and how others look in the mirror. We judge the behavior of our children against the behavior of other children. We judge our pastors, our pastors’ wives, our youth leaders, worship leaders and their teams, and the driver at the stop light next to us. And if you are a member of ISIS, your judgment will determine who gets to keep their head, as opposed to forming an opinion.

Christians are allowed to judge, just as any atheist, Muslim, Buddhist, Mormon, or Hindu is allowed to. If you are noticing an increased amount of judgment from Christians, I would venture a guess it is due to some personal beliefs on your part that no longer line up with the beliefs of family or friends who have a Christian world view. A view that may have been yours at one time.

I have noticed there is a “No Discussion” policy on so many of Christianity’s fundamental values. Why? If Christianity can pull apart every faith, religion, political party, social group they disagree with…why can’t the later do the same?

I have not noticed that, and as a Christian I welcome those kinds of discussions. I don’t see that Christians are any more active at pulling apart other faiths, religions, political parties or social groups than members of other religions. Nor have I met any Christians who cut off the heads of people who don’t convert to Christianity.

If you think I am making light of the Muslim terrorists, I’m not. I am just pointing out what should be obvious. Paul also said in Ephesians 5:11 that we should unmask ideas that are dark in nature, and expose them to the light, so thoughtful questions, reasoned responses to other religions or political beliefs is sensible. John Lennox wrote in God’s Undertaker, “…intelligent people are entitled to bleat when they do not find the ideas put to them satisfactory.” 6

I think Eleanor Roosevelt said it best, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” You had some questions in your post. I hope I have answered them and have given you something to think about. Go beyond what others are saying about Christianity and ask more thoughtful questions of some Christians you respect. Maybe ask a pastor, or those who are attending Church on a regular basis, reading Scripture on a regular basis, praying on a regular basis, and not saying they are a Christian by name only, but living it. I think you will find they will be happy to discuss Christian fundamental values and answer questions you may have.

1. Trans. Cohen, J.M. Christopher Columbus The Four Voyages. London: Penguin Books, 1969. Print.
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.
4. Wikipedia contributors. “Spanish missions in California.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 2 Nov. 2014. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.
5. Koukl, Gregory. Tactics. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009. Print
6. Lennox, John. God’s Undertaker. Oxford: Lion Books, 2009. Print



Creative Commons License
Wicked Columbus, and Judgemental Christians by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Today on November 8th

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Every day at school I am asked questions. Some of the questions I know the answers to, usually because they have to do with the lesson I am teaching and the answer comes without any effort on my part. Others may require a bit of computation, and with a little work, my students and I are able to find the answer.

Other types of questions, history questions, may not involve the use of pencils and calculators, but reading. Like the math questions, I may know the answers to the history question because I have read about it before the lesson. Other history questions may require research on my part. Fact checking you might call it, a differing kind of effort than doing math. Research involving reading the work of others, and then comparing it to what you have heard, what you have read, what you have experienced, and if it fits your understanding of how the real world is.

Next week, my students have a history term paper due. Their work will require reading what others have written on their particular topic. For example, if a student was writing a paper on the Christian evangelist Billy Graham, or the Nazi Heinrich Himmler, or why bananas are yellow, I expect them to have looked up information on the Internet, in a book, magazine, encyclopedia, or to have interviewed someone about their topic. I also require my students to list in a bibliography, their sources. I want to know that they have not just made up the information in their term paper, but have read the work and research of others.

If a student writes a paper telling me that Billy Graham was a Nazi, I would question this because everything I have heard or read tells me Billy Graham was an Christian evangelist who lead untold thousands to Christ. I would then want to look into the student’s sources, to see how credible they are.

If a student told me that Heinrich Himmler was a Nazi and was responsible for building the extermination camps, and the slaughter of millions during World War II, I would not question this because it substantiates all that I have heard or read of Himmler.

If I student wrote a paper telling me bananas are yellow because yellow is the favorite color of the banana fairy, and all fruits have their own fairy who decide what color the fruit should be, I would think he or she has lost touch with reality. It goes against all that I have heard or read or ever experienced in my world. The truth is that bananas turn yellow because, as they ripen, the green pigment of chlorophyll is destroyed and replaced with yellow, which has nothing to do with fairies. There is your science for the day.

Peter Kreeft wrote, “So our faith does not begin with the Bible. But the Bible records the realities, the real events, that are the basis of our faith.” 1 It is not written by a single author over a period of 23 years like the Koran, but multiple authors over thousands of years. Thirty nine books in the Old Testament, and twenty seven books or letters in the New Testament. 2 Several authors in the New Testament recorded historical events and were witness to those events.

In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul talks about the 500 plus witnesses who have seen Christ after the crucifixion. He named not only the apostles, but Christ’s own brother James, and himself as a witness to his resurrection. John ends his letter by witnessing to the accounts he recorded. In 1 John, the author opens with his own witness of having seen, heard, and touched Christ. The Bible has multiple authors who confirm each others testimony, and if you doubted their accounts you could check it out with other witnesses.

Many who dismiss the Bible do so because they have heard it can’t be trusted. Some claim it was written hundreds of years later, and is about a man called Jesus we don’t even know existed. You may have heard Christ is not even mentioned outside the Bible, and it is simply not true. The evidence for the truth of scripture is overwhelming.

The Bible is not a self referencing book. The Bible is not true because the Bible claims it is true; the Bible is true because it is the inspired word of God and what is written within can be checked by other sources. The Koran for example, is a self referencing book to its truth. The Koran is true because Muhammad says it is true, and Muhammad speaks truth because the Koran says he does.

The Bible is not a science book, but some things in the Bible have been confirmed by science. In his book, Because God is Real, Peter Kreeft wrote, “The Bible does, however, speak about real people, places, and events. It makes many claims about historical events that can be checked out by science – more than any other religious book does. Other religious books, like the scriptures of Hinduism, Buddhism, or Islam, mention very few historical events. They teach timeless theological truths, (or, perhaps, falsehoods), and moral principles and speak of private religious and mystical experiences, but science can’t prove or disprove any of those…”3

Think about how the Bible can be researched for truth more than any other religious document. The book of Mormon for example, was written in 1827 by Joseph Smith, who translated it from golden plates that were given to Smith by the angel Moroni. 4 The plates have never been found. In India, Sikhism was founded in the 1400’s and had ten successive gurus, each adding to their religious scriptures. One of their beliefs is that all religions are equally true and can lead to God, or Ik Onkar, the soul of the universe. So, if the Muslims believe Jesus was just a man, and Christians believe He is the Son of God, who is right? All religions can’t be true.

All the authors of the New Testament are witness’s to the claims and testimony of the other authors. They worked, slept, ate, and traveled together with the sole purpose of sharing the news of Christ and what He has done for us. With the exception of John, it is likely all of them were martyred for their outspoken faith. Michael Patton wrote in his article, “This may sound odd, but I thank God for bringing about the apostles’ deaths. They sealed their testimony in the blood of martyrdom, providing a firm foundation for our faith in the risen Christ.” 5

It is true that martyrdom does not make a religion true. Even the 911 terrorists killed themselves for what they thought was true. The significant difference was the apostles were martyred for what they were a witness to, what they knew to be true. All others, throughout the centuries, who have been willing to give their life to their religion, gave it because it was what they believed was true.

So if I told you that both Billy Graham and Heinrich Himmler were born on November 8th, (today’s date as I write this), and both changed the lives of millions, both were raised in conservative religious homes, and both enjoyed fencing, would you believe all of it? None of it? Some of it? Well, they both were born on today’s date of November 8th. Both changed the lives of millions, both were raised in conservative religious homes, but it was only Himmler who enjoyed fencing.

It might be interesting to know what is similar about the lives of those two men; two lives whose paths went completely different directions, but there are better questions to ask. Questions, when asked and answered, can change your world view and how you live your life.


  1. Kreeft, Peter. Because God is Real. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2008, Print.
  2. “About The Bible.” Christian Answers. Films For Christ, 2014. Web. 7 November 2014.
  3. Kreeft, Peter. Because God is Real. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2008, Print.
  4. “How is the Book of Mormon different from the Bible?” Mormon.org. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 2014. Web. 8 November 2014.
  5. Patton, Michael C. “What Happened to the Twelve Apostles? How Do Their Deaths Prove Easter?” Reclaiming The Mind. Reclaimingthemind.org, 10 April 2009. Web. 8 November 2014.


Creative Commons License
Today on November 8th by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://www.dev.christianapologetics.blog/category/blog/.

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