theodicy

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theodicy

Postby iambiguous » Sun Dec 27, 2020 8:06 pm

Theodicy:

Theodicy means vindication of God. It is to answer the question of why a good God permits the manifestation of evil, thus resolving the issue of the problem of evil. wiki

Just as, in my view, the existence of God is often merely defined and deduced into existence, if we accept for the sake of argument that a God, the God, my God does in fact exist, how is the "vindication" of this God in the face of evil not also just defined and deduced into existence?

The point below [and my reaction to it] is taken from my own "on discussing god and religion" thread:

What’s New in….Philosophy of Religion
Daniel Hill describes how the work of Alvin Plantinga has revolutionised Philosophy of Religion.

One argument [against the existence of God] which has shown no sign of diminishing in popularity, still less vanishing, is the problem of evil. This may be expressed very roughly as follows. The set of propositions (1)-(4) is inconsistent, so at least one of them must be wrong:

(1) God is good, and therefore wants to remove evil
(2) God is omniscient, and therefore knows that there is evil
(3) God is omnipotent, and therefore can remove evil
(4) Evil exists.


Now you're talking. This matter is by far -- by far -- the most important question of all in regard to any God and any religion.

Indeed, imagine that we lived in a world where there was no human suffering. A world where no one ever spoke of evil because there was nothing that could be thought of that would allow us to make sense of what some say that it was. Now, in this world, we may well still be unable to demonstrate that an actual God did in fact exist. But when people spoke of Him as loving, just and merciful that would certainly make a whole lot of sense. We may not be able to communicate with or interact with this God, but how could anyone doubt that something "up there" must be sustaining a world totally without pain and suffering.

Let's run this by the religionists here. But, really, how could they not all be reduced down to this: God works in mysterious ways.

Or, for the Buddhists, the universe works in mysterious ways.

But, fortunately enough, for both, one of them results in immortality and the other in salvation. And all the evil in the world doesn't make that go away.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: theodicy

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Sun Dec 27, 2020 8:38 pm

iambiguous:

[b]Let's run this by the religionists here. But, really, how could they not all be reduced down to this: God works in mysterious ways.

Or, for the Buddhists, the universe works in mysterious ways.

K: I am going to work out this one part of the post.....

I hold that those who use the "god/universe works in mysterious ways"
are using that as a cop out...... it allows them to punt on any real thought
about the religious viewpoint...it allows them to avoid doing any real thought
as to this question of "evil" for one....

"what is evil?"

and we can avoid dealing with that question, by just saying,
ah, god/universe works in mysterious ways.... and I'm off the hook...
no more thought necessary... god/universe works in a mysterious way.....

and I am not responsible or going to be accountable given "god/universe
works in mysterious ways"........

I hold that the very presence of "evil" negates, denies the idea of "god"....

god is good or god is about love.... and so, what about "evil?"

ah, god works in mysterious ways and I don't have to engage with that
question...see how that works.........

what does the presence of "evil" really mean?

and in fact, what is "evil?"

we can't even come up with a very good explanation of what "evil" is.....

define "evil"...........

and please avoid using the tired and cliche saying, "god/universe works in
mysterious ways"......

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PK IS EVIL.....
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Re: theodicy

Postby iambiguous » Sun Dec 27, 2020 11:37 pm

Still, I also think the faithful fall back on the "mysterious ways" of God or the universe because it's either that or having to accept that human pain and suffering is essentially meaningless.

In other words, given what can be argued is but the brute facticity of an existence utterly lacking in anything that might be seen as the equivalent of a teleological foundation.

Instead, from the perspective of the Humanists, we have to create our own "human all too human" facsimile: reason, ideology, deontology, scientism.

Then [for me] it's how close to or far away from others are in regard to "I" being "fractured and fragmented".

This fucking thing:

If I am always of the opinion that 1] my own values are rooted in dasein and 2] that there are no objective values "I" can reach, then every time I make one particular moral/political leap, I am admitting that I might have gone in the other direction...or that I might just as well have gone in the other direction. Then "I" begins to fracture and fragment to the point there is nothing able to actually keep it all together. At least not with respect to choosing sides morally and politically.

What I wouldn't give to actually figure out a way to yank myself up out of it. God or No God.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: theodicy

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:02 pm

The Good, The Bad and Theodicy
John Holroyd on the pitfalls of academic debates about God and evil.

In the classic spaghetti western The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (directed by Sergio Leone, 1966), three gunslingers co-operate and compete with each other in search of a cache of gold. None of them trusts either of the others, and in the final shoot-out ‘The Good’ character kills ‘The Bad’, leaving the third in the trio tied up on top of his share of the loot.


In other words, any particular individual watching it can react to it from any number of conflicting perspectives. Construing and differentiating the good from the bad with or without a faith in God. But one thing doesn't change for any of them. This: that throughout human history in almost every community there were, are and probably always will be behaviors deemed good and behaviors deemed bad. And, if there is a God, then He is around to pass judgment on it when push comes to shove and we go up or down.

But, if there is a God, how to explain why there are any bad guys embracing evil at all?

And, sure enough, the faithful have any number of arguments to explain it. Just Google "God and the problem of evil": https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/z ... revision/5

And, given any particular context, the arguments can be seen as more or less reasonable.

In debates about whether or not a benevolent, omnipotent, all-knowing God would allow evil and suffering in the world, both more and less is at stake than for the characters in the film The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. On both sides there is the honour of ‘winning’ or the indignity of ‘losing’ a public debate. But for many of the disputants who are religious these arguments are about matters of eternal significance for every person, whether they appreciate that or not. For some atheists, too, the issues have seemed imperative.


And who are we as mere mortals to grasp the "eternal significance" of, for example, the 24,000 babies who are stillborn in America alone each year, or the 3 million children who die from starvation every year, or the countless millions that have died, die, and will continue to die from one or another "natural disaster" year in and year out. Or from the next "extinction event" to thump planet Earth. That's for a loving, just and merciful God to file away under "mysterious ways".
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: theodicy

Postby Meno_ » Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:57 pm

Here is an alterior take, albeit a relative one. What if we should agree to the indefinity of a god , a albeit a god who doesen't sack us into a pantheistic irreducibility.

A god of relative measure between substance and form.

What to a god who can co-experience our own self awareness with or without god himself.

One god without this focused awareness of each and everyone,may wish to perceive us teleologically through our eyes, as if he was a construct as You suggest, or matematico-phisically with evolving corresponding relation between them.

Then , god can actually look at men as if they were made of multitudes of sparks corresponding to our view of the heavens , lit up as do big manifold objects in the universe's night sky, the stars and other galactic objects.

In this sense of teleilogical accute-ism, stars may have life , existence, and being, as a potentially
significant relative quantum state.

The whole cosmos including consistence with the infinite multiplicity that ever recurs, reaches a specific state of infolded disattachment, where the particular habitable planet recurs into it's pre-enlighted past- experience it'self and it's stage of civilization as does a part of a photograph blown way out of proportion, and You may get the picture.

The absolute reducement of such toward absolute zero. persisting in a state approaching absolute anti matted, time, curves to form a near perfect absolute curve approaching The Ring, which becomes A strange phenomena like black holes and such. .....such attribution curve into a foundation ofabsolute sorts, Asimov may be aware if here, ....


To get the sense what transpires here are manyfold transforming forces, some likened to the opposite if cell division- causing the eventual collapse of the entire cosmic architecture into an infinitely pure absolute ....that is indefinitely definiable, over and above if what can currently be described as 'energy'beyond the indifineable nothingness beyond description.
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Re: theodicy

Postby iambiguous » Wed Jan 13, 2021 6:31 pm

The Good, The Bad and Theodicy
John Holroyd on the pitfalls of academic debates about God and evil.

Epicurus gave us an early formulation of the ‘problem of evil’, a logical problem to do with believing in God. He wrote:

“God either wishes to take away evils and is unable; or he is able and unwilling; or he is neither willing nor able; or he is both willing and able. If he is willing and unable, he is feeble, which is not in accordance with the character of God, if he is able and unwilling, he is envious, which is equally at variance with God; if he is neither willing nor able he is both feeble and envious, and therefore not God, if he is both willing and able, which alone is suitable for God, from what source then are evils? Or why does he not remove them?”


Again, however, the beauty of religion is that it no less subsumes logic in God's "mysterious ways" than it does everything else. And there it is: faith. You don't even have to demonstrate how or why this is true. You merely take that leap to God and even the Holocaust and pandemics and natural disasters are all "explained away" is beyond the reach of any mere mortal grasping the ways of a "loving just and merciful" God. Then it just comes down to your own personal agonies. Any particular horrors that become apart of your existence. God then is testing your faith. And, besides, what's the alternative? You lose your beloved son or daughter or mother or father or husband or wife or close friend to the coronavirus or the earthquake or the volcanic eruption and it's either God and your religion or accepting that it is all subsumed instead in the brute facticity of an essentially meaningless existence that for each of them is now the embodiment of oblivion.

In more recent times Gottfried Leibniz coined the term ‘theodicy’ to refer to systematic attempts to defend belief in God in the face of evil and suffering, such as the arguments offered by St Augustine. In the last twenty years the New Atheists, such as Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens, have brought such debates about theodicy to the fore, excoriating the God of the Bible and the God of the Qur’an for their alleged misdeeds. We might think of these writers, alongside sceptical philosophical heavyweights such as David Hume and John Stuart Mill, as anti-theodicists.


On the other hand, what did any of them know of God's "mysterious ways"? Misdeeds? Mere mortals attributing to an omniscient and omnipotent God acts that mere mortals themselves decide are either good deeds or bad deeds? Come on, both the old and the new atheists here come up short in doing battle with God. Just ask the faithful.

Theodicy is and will ever remain a stacked deck. And the last time I checked I am myself still a "mere mortal".

So, I recognize the futility of bringing this up to the true believers. On the other hand, what else is there? One of them might have an explanation that I can make some sense out of.

Someone here, perhaps?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: theodicy

Postby iambiguous » Fri Jan 22, 2021 7:32 pm

The Good, The Bad and Theodicy
John Holroyd on the pitfalls of academic debates about God and evil.

Obscuring Evil

I want to focus on the fact that there has been, for some time, a reaction against the type of philosophical debate that argues back and forth, critiquing and defending specific concepts of God in relation to problems of evil. This reaction has come from some philosophers who are themselves religious believers. Terrance Tilley, for example, in his 1991 book The Evils of Theodicy writes:

“The usual practice of academic theodicy has marginalised, supplanted, ‘purified’, and ultimately silenced those expressing grief, cursing God, consoling the sorrowful and trying practically to understand and counteract evil events, evil actions and evil practices. I have come to see theodicy as a discourse practice which disguises real evils while those evils continue to afflict people.” (Tilley, The Evils of Theodicy)


Got that?

Of course when you approach theodicy "academically" in a "philosophical debate" how does this not come down to a battle of wits? Who has a greater command over the definitions and deductions generated in discussing God and evil.

Real evils?

We'll need an actual context of course. Or is that just my thing here? Am I simply too naive to grapple with theodicy on their level?

Let’s consider two closely related points that Tilley makes here. First, theodicy obscures the nature of evils actually occurring in the world. I would like to broaden this first point and add that on the other side of the debate the anti-theodicists are just as guilty of this.


Seriously, someone here please make the attempt to bring this out into the world of human interactions...interactions involving behaviors that some see as good and others as evil. How would a conflict of this sort be connected to a particular understanding of an omniscient and omnipotent God argued by many to be "loving just and merciful"? Evil from the perspective of theodicy construed academically and evil as fiercely debated by mere mortals given a specific situation or set of circumstances.

Forget broadening his point, how about narrowing it down to a discussion of theodicy [pro and con] in regard to abortion, or homosexuality, or social justice.

Second, and implied by the first point, philosophical debates about problems of evil and suffering in relation to God are problematic because they detract from other ways of coping with suffering, coming to terms with it and countering it. Because these other ways are of moral value this is a moral problem.


Yes, you can discuss evil "philosophically" or you can go out into the world and actually do something about it. Be less problematic and...make things worse?

That's the thing about reconfiguring words into worlds when confronted with moral and political value judgments in conflict. Both sides can prefer "action" and from the perspective of each side things are only that much more abominable. Especially when the "action" revolves around one or another authoritarian or ideological or dogmatic agenda. Which is why those like me suggest instead that, to the extent it is feasible, practical and realizable, moderation, negotiation and compromise is likely to become the "best of all possible worlds".

Providing of course that in regard to things said to be good or evil your own "I" is not as torn and tattered as mine is.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: theodicy

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jan 31, 2021 8:26 pm

The Good, The Bad and Theodicy
John Holroyd on the pitfalls of academic debates about God and evil.

Making Logic Moral

At its best, the debate between the theodicists and anti-theodicists is both a logical and moral enterprise.


Logic and morality. I won't even pretend to untangle all of the variables here. Come on, where does the part that we can encompass in reasonable communication end and the part where the subjective/subjunctive "I" is able to actually demonstrate that their moral and political value judgments encompass the logical, rational, epistemological truth.

And throw in all of the assumptions that revolve around an omniscient and omnipotent God? Is the word of God necessarily logical? Can God's own ghastly creations -- natural disasters, extinction events, countless diseases -- be grappled with by mere mortals using the tools of philosophy?

Whether or not belief in an all-good, omnipotent God is compatible with the existence of evil is a question of great importance in the lives of many people, and the debate is an attempt to pursue that vital question. To do so honestly, to seek what is most reasonable to believe whatever one’s personal background or inclinations and however much one’s findings may clash with existing beliefs, is a moral pursuit.


On the other hand, from my frame of mind, you would have to be an omniscient God in order to accomplish this. After all, can any of you grasp the lives of those who lived them in ways you haven't a clue regarding? Can you take into account all of the multitudinous experiences millions and millions around the globe have had that create "backgrounds and inclinations" embedded in untold combinations of historical, cultural and circumstantial factors? All in order to acquire a God's eye view in order to pursue a morality in which one size fits all?

So I do not advocate a halt to this debate. Quite the contrary. It should remain part of an ongoing exploration both within and beyond academia. Clearly the debate can lead some people to believe in a God and others to lose their faith.


Why? Because it can be determined rationally, logically, epistemologically that someone either ought to believe in God or lose their faith given the pain and the suffering that they have endured? This is not more likely to be rooted instead in the arguments that I make?

And it's not like those who do subsume their miseries in God and religion have any better alternative. What, to believe that their terrible pain or grief or bitterness or anger can only be subsumed instead in an essentially meaningless No God existence?

Why not place that wager on immortality and salvation by betting on the God or religious path that you are able to think yourself into believing in? It's just a matter of still being able to. Some can, others can't.

Bottom line [his and mine]:

These arguments are part of the fabric of many people’s deliberations and perspectives, but how the arguments fit together with personal perspectives is a complex question. It is often ‘reasonably’ driven not so much by some diktat from philosophers that one should be ‘logical’, but by the necessities of life. In our various searches for meaning, psychological survival or personal fulfilment, we are often concerned with what we think it is rational to believe or do. It is hard to justify a claim about what role an argument should play within the living of someone else’s life, without entering into dialogue with them, and into a genuine attempt to appreciate their situation in life.


I merely suggest that in the absence of that crucial confirmation that a God, the God is in fact your God, it is likely that the choice that you make here is only able to be communicated to another up to a point. It is rational to you more because you have managed to think yourself into believing that it is. At least until the next round of pain and suffering. Then [existentially] that may well be the one that changes your mind.

Thinkers from either side of the debate that fail to do this are clumsy; in this sense theodicy is indeed ugly. Discussions about problems of evil and suffering are at their best when the participants put aside the desire to convert someone to their own point of view, and instead are open to an exchange that aims to deal practically with suffering while simultaneously reflecting upon its nature.


Yes, here, on this thread, the best of all possible worlds. I simply point out that with so much at stake on both sides of the grave, communication breakdowns are far more likely to be the rule.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: theodicy

Postby iambiguous » Thu Feb 11, 2021 5:34 pm

The Good, The Bad and Theodicy
John Holroyd on the pitfalls of academic debates about God and evil.

You may imagine that I wish to lower discussions about problems of evil and suffering to a subjective level.


On the other hand, you may imagine that my aim here is to suggest that evil and suffering can only really be broached and understood from a first person subjective/subjunctive frame of mind. The alleged existence of God simply configures it in the direction an omniscient and omnipotent frame of mind. And to a mind said by many to [ultimately] be "loving just and merciful." What of human evil and suffering then?

But the discussion is only "lowered" here to the extent it can be demonstrated that in fact there is a "higher" frame of mind from which to approach it. At least in accepting that there is no objective moral font that mere mortals can turn to to resolve conflicting goods there is at least the possibility that "moderation, negotiation and compromise" can be sustained as the "best of all possible worlds".

I think this underestimates the connectedness of human experience within and beyond the question of believing in a God. Arguments about theodicy find their place within the context of living a life, and of living with others. To say this is to protest against Descartes’ disengaged rationality and allow that there are real issues that concern real choices about how to live life alongside disputes about the logical character of philosophical arguments. Believer and disbeliever alike will do best if they take this approach.


Okay, but what doesn't change from my own perspective is that this "connectedness" can involve an enormous amount of pain and suffering. And the part of our consciousness that "engages" in connecting to it reacts from a subjective/subjunctive point of view. Out in a particular world understood in a particular way. And this is applicable to both the believer and disbeliever. It's just that the subjective assessment of the believer allows for the existence of a transcending entity into which questions of this nature can be subsumed. God or the "Universe" becomes a way in which to make it all objective.

The most powerful reason for rejecting this kind of perspective is offered by many of the New Atheists. It could be put in this way. If belief in God is a moral hazard then persuading people to stop doing so would seem to be a moral good; and belief in God is a moral hazard; therefore arguing against theodicy is a moral duty. We should be clear however, that the theodicist typically believes they are similarly justified in defending God and in sometimes arguing for God’s existence. If they can persuade people to believe in God then, for them, this is a moral good and the lives of those converted will be immeasurably improved. This is a live debate not least because what the ‘good’ is by which life is to be morally evaluated is a matter of dispute. The constituents of moral evaluation, such as the importance of community, equality of opportunity, tolerance and individual freedom, are themselves at the heart of the disagreement. All the while, the sacred and the ‘secular sacred’ collide with no resolution in sight.


And around and around and around they go. As though one can actually establish that either a belief or a disbelief in God could be assessed [by philosophers or scientists or theologians or anyone else] as creating a greater "moral hazard". And it's a "live debate" from my own frame of mind because conclusions seem only able to be derived from the perspective of one or another subjective point of view.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: theodicy

Postby iambiguous » Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:00 pm

The Good, The Bad and Theodicy
John Holroyd on the pitfalls of academic debates about God and evil.

...a desire to understand and work together needn’t be obliterated by the fact of disagreement, as the philosopher Paul Hedges notes in his book Towards Better Disagreement: Religion and Atheism in Dialogue (2016). People are most able to reach mutual understanding about experiences they share.


On the other hand, when the experiences they share are embedded deeply in all manner of pain and suffering, the only way in which to understand it in the "best of all possible worlds" is in being able to subsume it all in God or religion.

If your mutual understanding and working together doesn't make the pain and suffering go away, then you either agree to leave all that to the ecclesiastics or you might end up thinking about it all as I do.

Humans of all religious persuasions and of none share experiences of grief, tragedy and the prospect of death. They also share the practical and ideological question that arises generally and in relation to suffering: how can we live life and continue living it in the worst of circumstances? Mutual exchange between faiths about this question is happening all the time.


Questions are asked. Different faiths exchange possible answers. But, in the interim, in the absence of God manifesting Himself with the only explanation that really matters, it's like questions and answers being exchanged regarding all other aspects of human interactions in the is/ought world: they're right from their side, we're right from ours.

Muddling through the "actual contexts" given one or another intertwining of might makes right, right makes might, democracy and the rule of law.

And what we do here: discuss and debate it.

Then this: the best of all possible worlds...

When the tsunami of 2004 devastated the lives and communities of Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and Christians alike across parts of southeast Asia, many found a great deal of camaraderie within a variety of multicultures. Multicultures make up an ever larger proportion of human societies. They offer human beings rich opportunities to overcome the worst of life because at their best they offer unparalleled opportunities for the exchange of perspectives, lifestyles and values. Whether in our cities or on social media or in the global village, atheistic and religious perspectives alike will be richer for seeing themselves as integral parts of such a multicultural home.


Yes, and when the next "super volcano" or the next "big one" from space precipitates the next "extinction event" here on planet earth that becomes magnified a thousand fold. A multicultural reaction on steroids.

But there is still the grotesque horror of the event itself. A global catastrophe of truly epic proportions.

And God.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: theodicy

Postby iambiguous » Thu Mar 04, 2021 7:01 pm

Philosophy of Religion
Chapter 6. The Problem of Evil
Section 4. Theodicy
https://www.qcc.cuny.edu/SocialSciences ... eodicy.htm

Any attempt to make the existence of an All-knowing, All-powerful and All-good or omnibenevolent God consistent with the existence of evil is known as a Theodicy. It is an attempt to justify the ways of God to humans. It is as attempt to explain the coexistence of God and Evil.

Now what operates in these attempts to rescue the idea of the existence of a deity from the charge that there can not be a deity if there is moral evil is the very subtle altering of the idea of the deity from that of a supreme and all perfect being to something other than that.


The classic example being this one: https://www.amazon.com/When-Things-Happ ... 1400034728

The idea that God is in fact loving, just and merciful...just not omnipotent. And that can work for some precisely because no actual God has ever been demonstrated to exist. If God is just something you define or deduce into existence from a world of words concocted in your head, the problem/paradox embedded in centuries of at times excruciating human pain and suffering can be resolved in any number of ways:

All criticisms of these apologists or defenders involve exposing the subtle attempt to convert the idea of the supreme being from one that so perfect as to generate the Problem of Evil in the first place to the idea of the deity as not quite being all perfect or all knowing or all powerful or all good.


Here at ILP of course we've had any number of "spiritual assessments" over the years...members providing us with explanations from any number of conflicted denominations -- and from "personal" TOE -- for why the world is what it is. But one thing never changes: that truly horrific human pain and suffering derived either "man's inhumanity to man" or from one or another "natural disaster".

The covid-19 pandemic being just the very latest example of how we are confronted with the "will of God".
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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