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Old 12-18-2007, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thankyou Frog, however, I am useless at wording things.

So, my parents, grandparents kept pushing us to get DD1 Christened. We refused, we always said that it would be up to them what religion they followed, if they ever became religous at all. They will be exposed to religion for educational purposes and so they can choose or not choose to follow anything.

No one was very happy about our decision but it stuck and they gave up when I had DD2.

So, has anyone else refused to, I don't know, opt their child into their religion or not done it and for what reasons.
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Old 12-18-2007, 07:52 PM
 
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I don't think that christening makes you a member of a religion. At least with Christianity, I believe that you are only a Christian if you believe for yourself.

We did do "baby dedication" ceremonies for our kids at church. They're like baby baptisms without the baptising, I guess. It's where the parents pledge to raise their children in the faith and teach them about God.

And I have "opted them in" as much as I can. Ultimately, what they believe is their decision, but dh and I will be imparting our beliefs as much as possible.

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Old 12-18-2007, 08:15 PM
 
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I was raised Catholic, husband was raised non practicing southern baptist. But we are now Agnostic/Atheist (family doesn't know this).

My Dad has passed away recently and my Mom is sick with Alzheimers. Never have they asked about baptism. It also helps that we live 1500 miles away.

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Old 12-18-2007, 08:21 PM
 
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I let our children be baptized into dh's church (Greek Orthodox) in Greece because it was important to him and his family. Immensely so. And having them baptized doesn't really interfere with my beliefs, nor does it negate the ability for them to choose for themselves at some later date.
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:25 PM
 
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I didn't agree to have my children christened in the Catholic Church. It wasn't a huge deal because my inlaws live on another continent. The reason we didn't want to do it is because I don't believe in it. I think it's more like a symbolic committment to raise your baby as a certain faith. Catholic doesn't do it for me.

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Old 12-18-2007, 08:29 PM
 
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I'm also agnostic/atheist and have a mostly Catholic family on one side and then mostly agnostic/atheist family on the other. I've never refused to have them whatever Catholics are (sorry, I'm clueless about religion) if they wanted to. Baptized? I think I was baptized once. But anyway, I've told their grandparents if they want to, that's fine with me. But I was told the only way it could be done is if *I* joined the church? No thanks.

My children can choose as they grow up. One of my sisters has chosen to be an atheist, another Catholic, and another Muslim, so whatever suits them is okay with me.
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:35 PM
 
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Personally (and I don't mean judgement on this at all- it is just something that I believe from my own experiences and travels) that "teaching kids about lots of religions so they can choose" doesn't usually work that way.

First, if you are "in" one religion, there is nothing to stop you from changing it as an adult, so it is not like someone who is raised catholic can't become buddhist if they so chose, as an adult.

Second, without childhood exposure and emotional connections to aspects of religion, it does not take hold in the same way as when it is a family experience.

We are raising our children jewish. We feel that it is part of their ethnic heritage. We want them to connect with it and understand the role of religion in peoples lives. We want them to feel that they "are part of a group" and a connection to their roots. If someday they choose to find meaning elsewhere, well, that's life. But Jews have a different connection to G-d than Christians, in that belief or faith is not required at all times in life (or even at all... Being Jewish is really a cross between an ethnenticity and a religion)- that we are allowed and encouraged to question and that this is part of the journey. So, raising our children Jewish does not mean that we as parents have to have it all figured out and be "religious" 100% of the time.

My SIL chose pretty much the opposite- no organized religion, or a loose secular Christian lifestyle. Her children, though, seem to be looking for a connection somewhere, which is just what they wanted.

I'm honestly think that it is a choice. If it is not honest to you, then don't do it and stand your ground.
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:38 PM
 
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IMO, children need to be raised with certain spiritual/religous beleifs. I don't think I'd be doing them any favors by NOT raising them in a Torah Observant home-it's who I am and how I live and I want to raise my children. If they choose to be irreligious when they're adults, I'll love them and respect them just as much (although honestly I will be dissapointed.)

I'm raising my kids with MY beliefs- not those of my parents. It caused some tension at first- "no, you can't take them to a non-kosher restaurant" and stuff like that.

I would expect others to do the same: raise their kids with THEIR beliefs (and I include Athiesm/Agnosticism here), no matter what the extended family members expect.

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Old 12-18-2007, 08:43 PM
 
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IMO, children need to be raised with certain spiritual/religous beleifs. I don't think I'd be doing them any favors by NOT raising them in a Torah Observant home-it's who I am and how I live and I want to raise my children. If they choose to be irreligious when they're adults, I'll love them and respect them just as much (although honestly I will be dissapointed.)

I'm raising my kids with MY beliefs- not those of my parents. It caused some tension at first- "no, you can't take them to a non-kosher restaurant" and stuff like that.

I would expect others to do the same: raise their kids with THEIR beliefs (and I include Athiesm/Agnosticism here), no matter what the extended family members expect.
I love you.

To answer the OP, I had my son baptized by a priest when he was born because he was only 31 weeks and my MIL really wanted it. I didn't give a rip, it wouldn't hurt anything (IMO), and it would make my MIL feel better. No harm, no foul. Now I'm just waiting for the "When are you going to start him in Sunday school?" questions to begin...

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Old 12-18-2007, 08:46 PM
 
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I would expect others to do the same: raise their kids with THEIR beliefs (and I include Athiesm/Agnosticism here), no matter what the extended family members expect.
I do agree w/ this, obviously my children are being raised without religion. But I don't shun mention of religion in our house, they are sometimes given books or movies or just items that have to do w/ religion. I certainly don't want someone taking over and trying to instill all these beliefs in them. The whole baptism issue for me, though, isn't a big one. Maybe it's because I'm not religious? It doesn't really matter to me, it has no value. So if it has value for my family, I'm fine with it happening, I suppose.

So yeah, I think it's quite natural to want to pass on our spiritual and/or religious beliefs.
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:53 PM
 
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Moving this to Religious Studies.

Can't give up actin' tough, it's all that I'm made of. Can't scrape together quite enough to ride the bus to the outskirts of the fact that I need love. ~ Neko Case

 
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:59 PM
 
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We did do "baby dedication" ceremonies for our kids at church. They're like baby baptisms without the baptising, I guess. It's where the parents pledge to raise their children in the faith and teach them about God.
I have been hearing a lot about this lately. It seems to be getting really popular.

I am not religious and neither is DD's dad, and she is not being raised in any religion, and will not attend religious school. Growing up, my family was not religious, but I went to Catholic school, and converted on my own when I was about 12. My mom was raised Catholic, and although she does not go to church, she is always pushing me to take DD to church, I think because she feels it is some kind of status symbol.

MIL is really religious, but she is not in-your-face about it. She has expressed interest in taking DD with her to church, and if we lived near her, I would not have any problem with it. She sends DD religious themed stuff all the time -books, puzzles, coloring books with Biblical themes, etc. It doesn't bother me, so it's never been an issue.

Living where we do, it is inevitable that DD will be heavily exposed to Christianity growing up. I would guess that a good 90% or more of the population here is white, conservative, and Christian. Almost every car here has a bumper sticker advertising for their church.

As she gets older and starts to notice, we will discuss it. MIL has told her that "Jesus made her" and we've talked about how some people, including Nana, believe in Jesus, and she lost interest in the conversation. If something regarding religion comes up, we discuss it. It comes up a bit at this time of year, especially when we get to talking about how not everyone has Christmas like we do, and how some people celebrate Christmas because of their religion, some people celebrate other holidays, and some people don't celebrate anything at all. Our library has a section for holiday books, and the only book left in the non-Christmas half was one on Hanukkah, so we checked that out and read it this morning; when we go back, we will see if any others are available.

I'm not really into exposing her to a bunch of different religions so that she will pick one, but I do intend to discuss things with her as they come up, especially because Christianity is so predominant around here, and I want to show her that there are a lot of different paths, and perhaps give her some insight into why people do things the way that they do.
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:59 PM
 
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I was not practicing my religion just yet when I had the kids, but they were still a bit young when I started. They have grown up watching/knowing my practice but there has never been a requirement that they also must be or do anything.

Dd is pretty spiritual and over the last few years she has started to investigate my path more deeply. Ds is agnostic. Religion (or the lack thereof) is very personal and individual.

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Old 12-18-2007, 09:00 PM
 
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Second, without childhood exposure and emotional connections to aspects of religion, it does not take hold in the same way as when it is a family experience.
I totally disagree.
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Old 12-18-2007, 09:08 PM
 
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I disagree as well. Respectfully of course...

That would mean that because my Dd wasn't required to practice my faith that her personal practice or tje religious connections she's making now are not deeply felt, and I don't believe that to be true.

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Old 12-18-2007, 09:23 PM
 
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I totally disagree.

I'm not talking about depth, just types of experience and memories and feelings. Children see and feel things differently than adults and coming to religion as an adult is a different experience than growing up with it. Not less- different.
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Old 12-18-2007, 10:49 PM
 
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We opted out children in. They are free to leave if they want but in the mean time I am going to provide them with a solid foundation and something to come back to when the time comes they may want it. or better something something to hold on to and never leave.

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Old 12-19-2007, 12:42 AM
 
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I'm not talking about depth, just types of experience and memories and feelings. Children see and feel things differently than adults and coming to religion as an adult is a different experience than growing up with it. Not less- different.
I totally agree.

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Old 12-19-2007, 03:33 AM
 
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We're not baptising. Both of our families are Catholic. Which should be fun explaining to them why we're choosing not to baptise or raise our child in any religion. I know my grandmother (who will be great grandma) is the type to take my child and baptise him/her behind my back. But, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

For us, the situation is a bit different ... both of us were raised Catholic, went to Catholic school, etc. And, both of us, were atheists long before the age of 18 (we just didn't tell our families until then). We'll, of course, talk with our child when the questions come up and show them various beliefs. But, more in the sense of "here are all the theories people have about the world, this is what we (mom and dad) think."

Chances are good our child will remain an atheist. But, if she/he doesn't - we support this too.
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:42 AM
 
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We baptised. I wanted the assurance that if something happened they would be in heaven.

To my husband I am wife, to my kids I am mother, but for myself I am just me.
we're : with and : and
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:53 AM
 
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We won't baptize tadpoles, should we have them. I'm very committed to bodily integrity and, for me, this extends to the soul. I don't believe baptism is something you can opt out of further down the line ("You have been sealed with the cross and marked as Christ's own forever") and I don't think that's my decision to make for another person.

I'm Christian (Episcopalian) and am fairly involved in my church (less so than in the past) and take my faith very seriously. turtle comes to church with me sometimes, but she doesn't identify as Christian. I think the best way to describe her would be spiritual with pagan and atheist leanings, but I'm not totally sure.

I'll take the kids to church with me until they're old enough to express a preference, at which point it'll be up to them.
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Old 12-19-2007, 11:31 AM
 
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We didn't baptize. We had a moment after dd was born that my lapsed Catholic mother and grandmother were disappointed b/c what if something happened? However explaining to them that limbo doesn't exist even if you're a Catholic seemed to help. As well as expressing my concern about the hypocrisy of promising to raise her Catholic if I got her baptized when I knew we wouldn't. In Catholicism baptism is the promise of the parents to raise a child Catholic and the promise of the godparents to do the same should something happen. And at the same time it's the beginning of the child's commitment to Catholicism which culminates in the sacrament of Confirmation (for me in 8th grade but I know here it's done at some point in high school) which is your adult commitment to the Church.

But for us it's all a moot point. Dp is an atheist. I've realized and finally admit to being an atheist and not just an agnostic. We will raise dd as such. We'll expose her to religions not so she can make a choice but so she gets the cultural references. She can make the choice if she wants to but that's not what we're hoping for. I have always found it a bit wussy to not raise a child in your beliefs or lack thereof. As parents we're the moral compass of our children, to not share with them or raise them with where you got your own moral compass but still hope somehow they'll choose your beliefs seems odd to me.
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:04 PM
 
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Second, without childhood exposure and emotional connections to aspects of religion, it does not take hold in the same way as when it is a family experience. So, raising our children Jewish does not mean that we as parents have to have it all figured out and be "religious" 100% of the time.
I totally agree with this. My best childhood friend was raised unchurched and nominally Christian. Religion and spirituality have never really had any meaning for her, and she's an athiest now (married to a devout Church of Christ Christian). She's quite comfortable raising her kids with her husband's religion while teaching them to have open minds as well, because she feels she was singled out in childhood because they didn't go to church in our heavily Christian hometown.

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I'm raising my kids with MY beliefs- not those of my parents. I would expect others to do the same: raise their kids with THEIR beliefs (and I include Athiesm/Agnosticism here), no matter what the extended family members expect.
This is what we're doing, except DH and I don't really have the same beliefs. He's not much for organized religion at all, but is happy to go along with the worship/ritual I bring into our family life and my desire to raise DD as a Heathen. This includes standing up to our families about baptism, though he's more relaxed than I am about things like Christian-themed books that have been given to DD.

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We won't baptize tadpoles, should we have them. I'm very committed to bodily integrity and, for me, this extends to the soul. I don't believe baptism is something you can opt out of further down the line ("You have been sealed with the cross and marked as Christ's own forever") and I don't think that's my decision to make for another person.
This is an interesting viewpoint. Being an adult convert who formally repudiated my baptism/confirmation and took the mark of Odhinn, I don't particularly agree with it, but I do think there shouldn't be pressure on children to make those final choices until they are truly ready for it. In our modern culture, the Amish/Mennonite way of timing things (baptism happens for young adults, not children or young teens) is probably a good one. I was NOT spiritually/emotionally mature enough for such decisions when I was confirmed in 9th grade. I plan on guiding DD in exploring what she believes through her teens, based on the foundation I build for her within our family belief system, and letting her make those decisions for herself.

Additionally, while I would follow it if I felt there was a particular calling to dedicate DD to a particular deity, I would not do so on her behalf without rather direct input from said deity. And I agree that it would be VERY hypocritical to allow infant baptism in a denomination (such as my mother's Lutheran church) where that amounts to a commitment on the part of the parents/baptismal sponsors to raising the child in the faith. I am NOT leaving my DD's spiritual education in my mother's hands, so why would I let her make such a commitment? (I wouldn't let her take DD to church as an infant when she half-jokingly suggested she have her baptized while she was there.)

OTOH, I had a friend who after a very rough birth/start for her son had him baptized Catholic (her parents were), Wiccaned, and blessed by a Buddhist priest for good measure, figuring the little guy could use all the help he could get. And that sentiment I can understand, too.

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Old 12-19-2007, 12:16 PM
 
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This is an interesting viewpoint. Being an adult convert who formally repudiated my baptism/confirmation and took the mark of Odhinn, I don't particularly agree with it, but I do think there shouldn't be pressure on children to make those final choices until they are truly ready for it.
That's really interesting--I hadn't heard of a formal repudiation. I'm happy that's an option!
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:43 PM
 
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We had this conversation with my MIL when she brought me DH baptism gown. He was raised Methodist and we are currently Baptist (not Southern). I tried to explain to her that we believe that baptism is a very important step in a person's life and should not be done until they are old enough to understand and choose it. When Lilly is old enough to understand and wants to be baptised then she can, but my MIL thinks that I am just being difficult.

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Old 12-19-2007, 01:48 PM
 
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will you be dedicating her? Would it appease your MIL if she wore the gown during her dedication/blessing? When I was protestant we always had kids in heirloom gowns. This usually preserved the family traditions and made the grandparents happy enough.

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Old 12-19-2007, 05:20 PM
 
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Thankyou Frog, however, I am useless at wording things.

So, my parents, grandparents kept pushing us to get DD1 Christened. We refused, we always said that it would be up to them what religion they followed, if they ever became religous at all. They will be exposed to religion for educational purposes and so they can choose or not choose to follow anything.

No one was very happy about our decision but it stuck and they gave up when I had DD2.

So, has anyone else refused to, I don't know, opt their child into their religion or not done it and for what reasons.
One of my friends suggested that I have my son Christened in order for him to be able to gain access to a better education (faith based schools). I was mortified that she would suggest such a thing :

Whatever religious path my son may or may not choose, the emphasis being upon the word 'choose' then he's free to follow that path. But I wouldn't participate or allow my son to participate in a religious ritual on the advice of friends/family.

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Old 12-19-2007, 05:50 PM
 
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DH and I won't be baptising our babies, simply because we don't believe in infant baptism. However, we won't be 'opting them out' of Christianity either. As obvious as this may sound, we believe it to be true--not just 'something Mummy and Daddy like to believe, but it's just the same as every other religion'. If we believed that, we wouldn't be Christian! I don't understand the mentality that says 'all religions are equally valid and it doesn't matter which one you choose', while coming from a particular religious standpoint--if that's so, why choose that one over any others? DH and I aren't Christians because we find Christianity to be spiritually fulfilling, or aesthetically pleasing, or full of happy childhood memories, or culturally satisfying--we are Christians because we believe Christianity to be correct (largely through presuppositional theology, if anyone's interested!), and as such it would be intellectually dishonest of us, and violate our own worldview, to say to our children 'Choose what you want, any religion is OK as long as it works for you'.

So, our children will go with us to church. They will learn about the Bible. They will learn theology. They will learn the rules of logic and how to apply them to metaphysics, and they will learn to examine religion using those rules. They will learn hermeneutical principles, exegetical principles and possibly even a little New Testament Greek. Does this mean we will 'make them' Christian? Of course not. By definition, you can't 'make someone a Christian', so it's a ridiculous concept anyway from a Christian point of view. They will, like any other people, be free to choose whichever religion they want. However, they will not be free to be intellectually dishonest; if they reject Christianity on grounds which are illogical, DH and I will happily take them up on that and argue 'til the cows come home. The 'unbiased' approach simply isn't, and to assume it would be a gross violation of our intellectual honesty. We don't believe any belief system (religious, philosophical, scientific, artistic) should automatically be given respect just because it's a belief system--an epistemologically sound belief system, for example, is stronger than an epistemologically self-refuting one, and should be treated as such. Not all belief systems are created equal, in other words.

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Old 12-19-2007, 06:00 PM
 
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My kids have been opted in by dh and I. We both believe that it is our responsibility as parents to give our children a solid foundation in our beliefs. I believe that without that foundation to spring from it makes ones spiritual journey that much more difficult. If our children's spiritual path takes them away from our beliefs so be it. It is their journey not mine.

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Old 12-19-2007, 06:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kewb View Post
My kids have been opted in by dh and I. We both believe that it is our responsibility as parents to give our children a solid foundation in our beliefs. I believe that without that foundation to spring from it makes ones spiritual journey that much more difficult. If our children's spiritual path takes them away from our beliefs so be it. It is their journey not mine.

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