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Does Religion Have A Purpose?

Just a quick question. Does religion have a purpose? What exactly are the benefits of religion or spirituality for us here on earth? How has worship and religion affected our day to day life in Nigeria. Has it affected life in Nigeria positively or negatively? Is it possible for spiritual people to still lack knowledge to improve their standard of living and if so is there any point in being spiritual without acquiring knowledge? If for instance a person falls ill which path should he find to health, does he pray fervently to God for deliverance or should he seek for medical solutions and knowledge? Just curious about how Nigerians feel about this questions. Would love to hear your comments.

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^^^^^Yommyuk didnt quote from what his president said, the entity he is his ambassador. Rather, he quoted from a guy who is neither the president or whom yommyuk is his ambassador.

How are you related to Paul's statement in Corinthians, while you are for Jesus and yet, Gospel is not worthy of quote ro support Jesus, your relationship with him?

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Religion is bleeped, messsed

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The Purpose of Religion(Christianity) in my life is already ordained by God's Word. In essence, this makes me an "Ambassador for Christ" (2 Corin 5:20). I have been divinely appointed by my Lord Jesus Christ to go out and to perfectly "represent" Him and his kingdom while I walk through this world. This is the ultimate purpose of Christianity for my life.

For this purpose, I will continue to examine myself in the area of character, attitude and love of Christ towards others and press towards maturity in these attributes by carrying out this divine purpose that God has ordained for my life.

Therefore the purpose of Religion (Christainity) in ones life should be to enhance the blessing that God has pre destined when a believer makes his or her top priority to demonstrate Christ's love, character, atitude and his life towards all others.

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The modern purpose of religion, at least, seems to  be the mental and spiritual enslavement of that part of humanity unfortunate enough to have been ensnared in it's doctrinal claws. It has always been a socio-political tool used by the ruling elites for keeping and maintaining social order within the ruled masses.

What about the purpose of giving the masses spiritual guidance, you may ask? That, i am afraid, has never been the purpose of religion and it's various institutions, but rather the duties of the mystery schools. In the ancient times, at least, the mystery schools were the ones responsible for the quarantine and the nurturing of the spiritual part of humanity. This is the task religious institutions have been trying so unsuccessfully to take on these days and continue to fail woefully. Unsuccessful because these religious institutions are totally ill equipped for such a task so they end up confusing and despoiling the masses even more. It is like a medical hospital trying to do the task of an engineering firm.

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Well in some way it does. From what you have said you are coming to the point I'm making. You have given some thought to the purpose of religion and have consciously tried live the way you think Christ would want you to. That is the level I think many Nigerian christians should try to attain. Many are still locked up in attaining higher levels of spirituality, learning deeper "truths" about the Bible etc. In truth the message stares them in the face all the time, simply love your neighbour as yourself. It makes sense to do this and I wonder why it takes the fear of burning eternally in a lake of fire to get people to live like this. I'm not worried about the message it's the means of passing the message that I worry about. Passing on the message of love though some religions only leaves room for manipulation and exploitation of people because it does not encourage free thought and relies mainly on the fear of punishment in the afterlife. Few parents nowadays will teach their kids to behave properly by threatening severe torture so why do we encourage the same in millions of masses?

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I am sorry that you find it hard. Maybe you need to stop looking at Christianity from the view that you're currently usingg. Christianity does not debunk science and neither has science debunk Christianity. I don't see why the two cannot support each other and to me and many others who are also scientists they do. To go deep into it will take too much time for me right now and it cannot be covered in one day, we are talking about billions of years of the earth's history here.

But I do hope you mind can open to it.

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Thanks for the reply. I however find it hard to accept that conventional science can support many biblical stories. I'm sure this issues have been trashed out time after time in this forum. Maybe on a certain spiritual level one may say humans have limited senses and cognitive powers and cannot understand certain things. Thats another issue entirely. I'm saying however that conventional science cannot back stories like the Adam and Eve stories or Noah's Ark etc. I'm not saying the Bible implicitly says Christians should not seek knowledge but that by insisting that we accept this stories without question, that implies that we must shelve conventional wisdom. You may however insist there can be conventional science backing for Biblical stories, I would be quite impressed to read such scientific theories.

Again enjoying everyones comment on the topic so far.

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@Wirinet.

Thank you for the appreciation. I'll try not to let it go to my head. I've heard of Carl Sagan and I'll look out for the book.

Granted. Yet conditions are different in different parts of the world, not only at different times. Now a gripe that I have with Marxist theory is that it is too Eurocentric, and I suspect that your theory of social evolution is quite eurocentric too. The conditions that applied and will apply in Europe with the rise of the bourgeoisie from feudalism to the predicted eventual rise of the proletariat cannot be applied to africa. So therefore the idea of a global movement of workers is flawed.

Even if Europeans evolve to become atheist doesn't mean that it will happen in africa. Evolution takes a few cells and eventually ends up with birds that fly on one hand and fish that swim on the other hand. Let us presume that the first humans all thought the same and europeans evolved into atheists which is the equivalent of the flying birds. Why do we have to evolve into ideological birds too? Couldn't we evolve into ideological fish?

I find this problem a lot in social sciences where there is too much of a eurocentric approach. Besides religion is not just a social phenomena to be studied by social science. A lot of it has it's basis in human experience. So until humans evolve away from being able to experience divinity I think that religion will still be around.

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Pasto AIO

I appreciate your contributions, I am sorry for thinking you are like the average Nigerian religious fanatic, who believe the only source of information and knowledge available to mankind is the Bible/Quoran. But i see you have really widened your horizon and very knowledgeable in sciences, history, etc. And i have been very impressed by your contributions to javascript:void(0);

Boldthis forum.

I am an Evolutionist to the core. Evolution mean change brought about by changes in conditions, situations and time. Evolution takes place not just physically, but also socially, politically, economically, etc. I trace most problems besetting Nigeria as being traced to our stage of social evolution.

Since you mentioned that

I would agree that thanks to our developed Neo-cortex we have the ability to abstract information from our sense impressions

then you would see how this developed Neo-cortex gives us the ability exhibit higher neurological functions like emotions( love), Morals, inquisitiveness (science), ingeniousness(tools making), foresight ( awareness of the inevitability of death) and religion.

I can also add that at a stage in man's physical evolution, there were at least two Homo species living at the same time about 150, 000 years ago - Homo Sapiens and Homo Neanderthalis. Neanderthal man became extinct while Thinking man (sapiens) went on to rule the earth. Now even Neanderthalis had had developed tools and had religion as witnessed in archaeological cave round Europe, because they had a developed neocortex.

I have a book called " Garden Of Eden" by Carl Sagan, it traces the evolution of the brain and intelligence. I wish you read it.

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I believe that one of the constituent parts of the human being is the spiritual and it needs exercising and nourishing just as much as the body does.  This is how the whole being of man can become properly fulfilled.  It might seem that spiritual development does nothing for the physical part of man's being but it is not so.

Let me give an example like this.  Sometimes I get terribly busy.  So busy in fact that the day is not long enough for me to accomplish everything.  I can't go jogging or go for my regular swims because that would be too much of a distraction.  Just dealing with one issue in the day can take me up to 4 hours.  I feel the strain.

The last thing in the world that I would accept as good advice is someone telling me to just take 1 hour out of the day to go for that jog.  But is it such bad advice.  Say I accept the advice, what happens?  First I find that my mind is a lot clearer after the run, my body is more relaxed and at the same time more alert.  Also I find that the issue that it took me 4 hours to deal with before I now conclude in an hour and a half.  So all in all I have saved an hour and a half of the day's time just by going for an early run.  Because of the increased sharpness of my mind and the good humour I find myself in it seems that all those things that weighed me down before are slight things. 

We find that exercising the body helps the mind to work better.  I would also suggest that being more spiritual helps the entire constitution of the human being to work better.  But by being spiritual I mean a lot more than going to church and clapping and singing and babbling incoherent syllables.

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I beg to differ. I am very spiritual and I don't make pronouncements like things are this way because it says so in the Bible, wihtout much analysis. A friend of mine and also several of my professors in the area of chemistry, bilogy, biochemistry, and the likes will be very offended by this yor statement.

Things aren't the way they are because it says so in the Bible. The Bible actually conatins things that are true in history.

There are plenty of scinetists you make a lot of analysis and still stand on the Bible. Infact much of their study have led them to believe that the events in the Bible are supported by scientific facts.

A friend of mine will go crazy to explain it to you. I have to invite him to this forum. He is a Christian and a very strong one too, but also a scientist.

By the way who told you that God doesn't encourage Christians to be knowledgeable? We are told to ask for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Your knowledge may also be skewed and flat out wrong. Did you ever think of that? WHo said that scientists hold the truth to it all? Most of the things found are reliant on the definition from a man, who said that man isn't wrong?

Have you ever heard of human error? I know that you can be incorrect even in the sciences and science does not hold all truth.

If it did, religion would ahve been debunked, but science cannot explain a lot of things and has no proof for a lot of things. It can have a theory but that theory can be wrong, and several have been debunked by other scientists themselves.

Knowledge does not lie in science alone. I didn't need science to tell me that I am a girl and that my hair will grow. I didn't need science to tell me that there's a difference between my physical appearance and my brother's

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I thank you for posting this. Why? because you ahve spoken the truth and like I pointed out earlier, people have misinterpreted the word of God to the detriment of those they claim to want to help.

On the issue of Christianity, Christians are called to do good. Doing good includes teaching the youth positive things. Helping build houses for the less fortunate, donating what you can it doesn't have to be money to charity or non profit organisations. DOing more on good quality, affordable schools as you put it.

Please don't think that having faith in God means sitting at home singing "praise the Lord, o sing o sing o, praise the Lord" or going to Church on sundays and whenever there's a convention or "sow your seeds" event without putting your faith into action by lending a helping hand to those who are in need, but not just that, lending even what it is you need the most. Having faith in God is believing he exists, that everything works out for the good for those who love God (yes even the bad works our for the good, for those who keep God's commandments), loving your neighbour as yourself which is the ultimate gift you can give to someone. When you love you will cause no harm, and you will do all you can to protect.

Basically loving God and your neighbour and yourself.

I hope this helps

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I do see your point, but your point however is rather limited in perspective.

Your above scenario is not limited to a spiritual person. An Atheist that is an accountant can see someone in this same situation and lift the person's head and ask the person if he or she is okay. If you are not trained in emergency matters or first aid matters, you can cause harm in this situation.

Let me give you another scenario that just happens to be true.

I was involved in an accident on the highway. My car tumbled over and I was upside down in the car. Immediately the car came to a stop as a human I had the instinct of getting out of the car. Later I found out that I had a hairline crack in my spinal cord and it is amazing that I didn't injure myself further by moving at the site of the accident.

I am a spiritual person, but at this moment it wasn't my belief in God that led me to get out of the carr, but my human instinct and my excessive experience of watching way too many movies that catch on fire when there is an accident (I moved to prevent myself from getting burned in the car in case of a fire).

So the scenario you gave is about anyone who cares for injured people, not just a spiritual person. A spiritual person does not have to pick up the head of an injured person to pray fro them. They usually stand on the sidelines and pray. My family is spiritual and most of them are in Nigeria ( I live in the US) yet the distance did not stop them for praying for me.

Basically I am saying that you don't have to be spiritual to lack knowledge and you don't have to be spiritual to have knowledge. Anyone without proper education can lack knowledge. Be spiritual or non spiritual.

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If Evolution is change brought about by changes in conditions that leaves the question . . . . What brings about the changes in condition in the first place?

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Fairyland calling to Lala land, do you read me? My dear wirinet, I do not get how you arrived at your theory of the evolution of social thought. Did you study the history and archaelogy? In that case I need citations.

I would agree that thanks to our developed Neo-cortex we have the ability to abstract information from our sense impressions. This allows us to 'create' another abstract world of ideas and concepts apart from the physical world that our senses perceive. However this does not necessarily lead to the belief in a god that is controlling the objects. Even the mere fact that humans try to fit their world into a cosmology does not necessarily lead to the belief in Gods. Do you mind if rather than use the word god I used the word spirit? The human tendency to make abstractions and cosmologies doesn't necessarily have to end up with the belief in a spiritual world. I think you need a more rigorous explanation for why the belief in spirits is so rampant.

Can't you just skip to a natural explanation straight away. Must absolutely everyone in the world first believe in the supernatural before they evolve in to believing in the natural.

I hope I can prompt you to take a closer look at the mythology. According to yoruba mythology the world is ruled via Olodumare's lieutenants called the Orisha. Olodumare is not one amongst many, not even the greatest amongst a kind. All the orisha have cults attached to them and their interaction with devotees is cultic. Olodumare has no cult attached. There are no ile esin (temples) for olodumare neither are there ritual objects or or forms of worship. There is no priesthood etc. All these cultic aspects apply only to the orisha which include Olokun, orunmila, obatala, esu etc.

Also, as regards to hierarchy, each cult will try to elevate it's patron orisha to the position of second in command to olodumare. It is not a pantheon as such in which all the orisha live together and share duties. A lot of devotees worship one orisha and one orisha only.

Anyway, my main point is that your version of the history and evolution of religious thought is unfounded. You have not brought forward one thing that will help substantiate any of it. This is similar to what I feel about Marxist theory, but at least Marx tried to fit actual historical events his theory of social evolution. As it stands your theory is a far cry from doing that.

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That's a rather liberal view you are taking on things. In truth "spiritual" persons tend to work a lot with faith and belief. They tend to make pronouncements like things are this way because it says so in the Bible, without much critical analysis. If God encouraged Christians to be more knowledgeable perhaps several concepts in the Bible will not be taken as fact. How would this conflict of interest be resolved?

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My dear Pastor,

If we are discussing matters of faith and believe, I know that I cannot argue with you, but if we are to discuss facts and reason, then you stand no chance. Further more Lala Land which you say I come from is more realistic than fairy land which holds you prisoner.

I will tell you why religion cannot evolve from monotheism to polytheism.

Let me give you a brief background on religion.

Man, because of our highly developed intelligence tries to find out explanations for the forces of nature that affects and governs our lives. Now primitive societies always come up with a god to explain every object, force or process that affects their lives. Then there is the problem of how the world, he (man) and everything else came to be. There are also the problems of the uncertainty of harvest for farming communities and game for hunting societies. So they create the creation god, the Sun god, the moon god, the sky god, the water god, the farm god, the game (animal) god, the fertility god, the mountain god, the river god, the thunder god and so on. In fact you can tell the fears, aspirations and activities of a primitive society by the gods they worship.

A class of people would then naturally emerge to claim to communicate with these gods and act as intermediary between the gods and humans. These priests/shaman would then be given special privileges, wealth, respect and reverence.

Now as people begin to explain natural phenomena better, the number of gods will naturally reduce. You will not need a sun god anymore once you know sun is a natural object, so also thunder, rain, etc.

Finally there would be only one god ascribed with the power to do all other unexplainable phenomena. One of the most unexplainable phenomena is death and what happens after? If there is after life, and religion can feed and exploit this forever.

Pastor, Muslims never claimed than monotheism turns to polytheism. The Arab who are the originators of Islam were a very polytheistic people, in fact Mecca had over a thousand god and pilgrims use to come from far and near to worship at their shrine, It was Mohammed that decreed the worship of one God. I said a society evolves from polytheism to monotheism and not religion. Yes Islam and Christianity are monotheist today, the people that formulated these religions did not start out monotheist.

It is a fallacy to say that every religion is monotheistic, most religions starts out polytheistic. The Yoruba religion you mention had lots of god. Of course there is always a superior or ruler god, there is a hierarchy as in every other religion. In Yoruba religion the superior god is Olorun ( ruler of the sky), then next in command in Olokun ( ruler of the seas), then there is Orunmila (oldest son of olorun), Obatala (creator of man and dry land at Ife), Esu and a host of other gods.

I am at least happy that you still remember some of your indigenous religion, because foreign imported religions always abhor local religions and customs.

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What town in Lala land is this guy from? Where is the historical evidence for this scheme of social evolution that you've graced us with. why can't religion evolve from monotheism to polytheism, as indeed the moslems claim it does? Also I think there is a very basic mis understanding of religion going on here. Pretty much every religion that I'm aware of is monotheistic. Consider Yoruba religion. There is one God who is called Olodumare. There is no ritual worship of Olodumare. His worship does not require altars and priests and any specialised knowledge. It is from the heart of the creature to the heart of the creator. Yet this world is formed via the agency of Orisha which are found in the features of the earth. Orisha are approached ritualistically. You have methods and cultic shrines whereby they are consulted. There is no way you are going to meet any yoruba man who knows anything about his own culture that will put orisha and olodumare on an equal footing or even say that they are co-dieties in a pantheon. That is impossible.

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I didn't think that flat earth was an article of christian belief. I thought that the idea of a global earth was around for ages as well as flat earth. Anyway, there are many different gifts that the spirit can confer. I believe that a person filled with the spirit whose calling it is to investigate geology and astronomy would make great strides and arrive at much knowledge of his chosen subject. Similarly a doctor with spiritual guidance will be a greater doctor.

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I am happy people are beginning to ask questions about religion as a whole, it shows we are making progress, albeit slowly.

I disregarded religion about 25 yrs ago before I was 18. I did this because Christianity which was imposed on me by inheritance (birth) did not make sense, because I was born with a scientific mind and my early heros were Tai Solarin, Albert Einstein and Carl Sagan and I found that that they explained the universe better than any religion can. I am therefore today an ardent Evolutionist and I hope someday to start an Evolutionist movement. (although in Nigeria that would sound like sacrilege).

Religion/ Juju depict the phase of a peoples stage of social evolution.

Primitive societies always starts out with strong beliefs in multiple gods and its accompanying appeasement (juju), then as the society progresses the number of gods reduces until they progress to the point of only ONE GOD.

Then the ultimate progress is when the society evolves to the stage of no god, in that society beliefs change to knowledge, Juju changes to science, injustice changes to justice and hatred, prejudice and intolerance changes to love.

Religion is like science. They attempt to explain the universe and how to exploit and control the forces of the universe for our benefit. That was why in the past when there is thunder and lightening on a mountain top, the primitive society would attribute it to sango, thor (the god Thursday was named after), elohim, etc, but advanced civilization would say it was caused by a potential difference of charge between a charged cloud and the ground.

Another example is if someone has epilepsy a primitive society would say the person has been possessed by a demon and so rewires a witch doctor/shaman/priest, but in more advanced societies they would say it is caused by electrical disturbances in the brain/nervous system so he would need drugs to correct it.

Religion is a prison built for the mind, a prison you cannot escape from, a prison built by a class of people (clergy) to exploit and oppress the populace.

The tool for escape is KNOWLEDGE.

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Hmmm, don't know about that. Did the spirit guide early Christians in their "knowledge" that the earth was flat or that the sun revolved around the earth?

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Well I believe that to truly excel in education or any skill for that matter one requires the spirit. I don't mean wishful thinking 'spirituality' but real spirituality. Seek ye first the kingdom of God. It manifests differently in different people. One can recieve the spirit and the spirit will prompt him to go and train in medicine. Others can be prompted to study architecture and build homesteads for people.

Those to whom the spirit has not granted the gift of healing yet believe that they can tamper with the prone body of an accident victim are only suffering a conceit.

I too see a distinction between Sensible knowledge and Intellectual/spiritual knowledge. One form of knowledge you receive through your senses and the other you receive via the agency of the spirit. The two can work together in harmony or they can be at odds with each other. So in answer to your question . . . .

. . . My answer is that people should strife to gain further knowledge about the world in accordance to the promptings and guidance of the spirit. Schools, hospitals and other such ostensibly 'good' things cannot, in my opinion, yield Good fruit if they are not done according to the guidance of the spirit.

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Well Pastor, the point of the example was actually this, that someone who is a firm believer in say Christ is still capable of causing harm due to ignorance. The example involved a persons health, the same principle can be applied to errors in child rearing, at work, in relationships etc. That a person is a God fearing or spirit filled person does not make him incapable of making costly errors due to lack of knowledge. Where this leads to is the fact that many people in this forum seem to have this concept of spirituality on one side and knowledge, science etc on the other. Should things be this way, should Christians and other religious people not strife to gain further knowledge about the world they live in in order to be better equipped to take care of themselves? Would Nigeria not be a better place if we spent less money building grandiose churches and more on good quality, affordable schools, training institutions for kids and the youth. What do you think?

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Does the example above really indicate a spiritual person? It suggests someone who believes that they can effect a cure by praying. That belief can be the result of delusion.

I wonder, what exactly is your definition of a spiritual person?

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Thanks for the reply. I didn't actually say that spiritual people lack knowledge, what I asked was if it's possible for a spiritual person to still lack knowledge. What I meant by this is that it's possible for a person to be spiritual and still cause harm from lack of knowledge. Consider this example, a "spiritual" person arrives at the site of a road accident, one of the victims lies on the road immobile, he has suffered an injury to his spinal column. The spiritual person does not know this, he kneels down beside the victim lifts the victims head in his arms and begins to pray vigorously. In this process he manages to exacerbate the injury and ensures the victim will never walk again. The spiritual person meant well, but he's lack of knowledge has caused him to injure a person irreparably.

When you consider this scenario, which would you is of paramount importance especially in developing countries, higher levels of spirituality or the acquisition of useful knowledge. Thanks, again your comments are well appreciated.

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The Purpose of religion is to put you back in touch with yourself as God intended you to be. That way you can be truly happy and fulfilled and worship God perfectly.

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What appetite are these people trying to assuage by the use of all these substances.

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Religion is the opium of the masses.

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Yes.

Guidance and salvation

People have misinterpreted the word of God all too often and leaving behind a negative effect of religion

Spiritual people don't lack knowledge to improve their standard of living. Americans are spiritual, so are Britons, and Italians, and Spaniards, and Germans, and many others, but they have a nice and comfortable standard of living.

There are neurosurgeons, scientists, nurses, professors, philanthropists who are spiritual. How does spirituality measure a person's lack of knowledge.

Both maybe?

Who said that praying for God's healing means sitting ant home and praying?

Did it ever occur to you that God blesses the hands of doctors and nurses to administer proper health care to patients?

Ihope my comment was satisfactory for you.

Spirituality does not mean a lack of knowledge. Lack of knowledge does not arise from spirituality.

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