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Religion vs Belief


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#76    Sherapy

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 05:49 PM

View PostParanoid Android, on 14 September 2013 - 01:33 AM, said:

Liquid Gardens -

My apologies for not getting back to you earlier. I completely forgot that I had a discussion going in this thread. So first, let me say that the author of Genesis almost certainly believed that what he was writing actually happened. He also almost certainly understood the poetic implications of the text. Perhaps he thought of it in the same way as American's view the poem "Paul Revere's Ride" - a poetic interpretation of real events. Because of these poetic devices, the author also would have understood that far more important than outlining the origin of our universe was the theological implications of who God is, and what his relationship to humanity meant. But I will agree that the author did believe it happened as written.

However, this does not then logically follow that other events such as the resurrection can also be interpreted metaphorically. The author of Genesis was compiling hundreds (perhaps even thousands) of years of oral tradition. The poetic nature attests to this oral tradition, whether those who heard itbelieved it or not. The resurrection account has no such problem. It existed as an oral creed earlier than 35 AD, and committed to paper only a few short decades later, still within the lifetime of the alleged event itself. As such, it does not bear any poetic markers that would imply a figurative interpretation. Furthermore, at least one of the authors (Paul) makes the declaration that Jesus appeared before him post-mortem. Again there is no indication that Paul meant this in a figurative sense, but rather a very real and literal sense.

Therefore we cannot simply say "resurrection is impossible therefore Jesus' resurrection must be figurative". We can say Creation in Genesis bears poetic markers. Before science observed evolution there was no reason not to think the Creation account was accurate. Afterwards, there's no reason to think that evolution is incompatible with God. But we cannot do the same with the resurrection. It is described as a literal event. You either accept it as true, or the authors were wrong/mistaken/misinformed/lying/etc. There is zero scope for figurative explanations.

Again, apologies for the lateness of replying. I hope this is of help to explain my position better :tu:

Pa, except- according to Modern Scholarship- Genesis(1-3) Priestly doctrine is not understood as a literal creation story of how the world came to be,  Genesis 1 contains priestly knowledge in its purest form. What the Priestly doctrine is trying to point out is the importance of the Sabbath, it is being taught that the Sabbath has existed since the beginning of time; therefore, G-d created the Sabbath for a day of rest and so you should too (type of thing) according to  modern scholars that is the whole point of Chapter 1 in Genesis.


http://en.wikipedia....Priestly_source


Modern scholarship would then connect(infer) That Paul being Jewish before he created Christianity suggests fairly consistently and  confidently that he would of known that Genesis 1 was used as a priestly text to teach the purpose of the Sabbath.
Just a (respectful) suggestion, in the end it is your call of course. You could purchase the book How to Read the Bible by James Kugel. It is the "go to" for how modern biblical scholars interpret the OT. It will give guidelines of how to apply  understandings in a way that match the scholars..

Edited by Sherapy, 14 September 2013 - 06:03 PM.




#77    Paranoid Android

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 12:56 AM

Frank -

We'll just have to disagree - bodily resurrection was understood by Paul. When Paul speaks of Jesus appearing to people (1 Corinthians 15:3-5) he's referring to physical appearances. Incidentally, the majority of modern scholars view these three verses as a creed that developed orally before Paul, independently of Paul. The language and structure is different to how Paul would write it. So in these verses, Paul isn't inventing something but passing on a well-known creed.

Sheri -

Like I said, the author understood the theological nature of the story was of far greater importance than the relative historicity. It doesn't detract from the likelihood that when it was compiled into Genesis that the author didn't also believe it true. Though if he/they didn't believe it true, then it further strengthens my position in the matter compared to the idea of the resurrection.

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#78    Mr Walker

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 07:26 AM

View PostLeonardo, on 21 August 2013 - 03:43 PM, said:

Belief may be rational or irrational, but the major point I guess I am making is that my opinion of belief is that it is personal and non-intrusive, while religion is intrusive and impersonal. While I believe adherence to a benign system of law is necessary for the proper function of a society in which individual expression is the primary goal, such a system would not require the subjugation of that individualism - as religion does.

It is this open-armed acceptance of subjugation, the suppression of individual belief, that confounds me regarding why people choose religion. It seems antithetical to us as individuals to willingly and rationally choose to subjugate our reason to another's beliefs. Reasons such as the "comfort effect" appear to me to be facades, as one can still find such community comfort in a society of free-willed individuals - provided one accepts those individuals as having free-will equal to your own.

Couldnt help noting this post

Individual expression is almost NEVER the prime goal of a society, nor should it be.

Society has many purposes in protecting regulating etc the lives of people but NOT  promoting individual expression as a priority.

Arguably individual expression is the antithesis of a society's goals.

Now a strong productive society will produce conditons which allow a lot of individual freedoms and expression, but this is side benefit not an aimor priority Eg a strong economy allows choices for people in what to do and how to live

But a society's priorities lie elsewhere. First,  effective organisation, production and distribution  of resources to create a surplus for trade and for hard times  , second protection of those in need of protection and of society's resources, third an established social justice system which rewards effort but also cares for those unable to work such as children and the elderly. Fourth a legal system which recognises the needs of society, the duties, responsibilities and rights of citizens, and which codifies these, providing enforcement judgement and education on these things.

Hiumans give up extreme persoanl freedoms for many other more important social outcomes like good health care free education  effective governanace and policing and rightly so

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#79    Sherapy

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 04:52 PM

View PostMr Walker, on 15 September 2013 - 07:26 AM, said:

Couldnt help noting this post

Individual expression is almost NEVER the prime goal of a society, nor should it be.

Society has many purposes in protecting regulating etc the lives of people but NOT  promoting individual expression as a priority.

Arguably individual expression is the antithesis of a society's goals.

Now a strong productive society will produce conditons which allow a lot of individual freedoms and expression, but this is side benefit not an aimor priority Eg a strong economy allows choices for people in what to do and how to live

But a society's priorities lie elsewhere. First,  effective organisation, production and distribution  of resources to create a surplus for trade and for hard times  , second protection of those in need of protection and of society's resources, third an established social justice system which rewards effort but also cares for those unable to work such as children and the elderly. Fourth a legal system which recognises the needs of society, the duties, responsibilities and rights of citizens, and which codifies these, providing enforcement judgement and education on these things.

Hiumans give up extreme persoanl freedoms for many other more important social outcomes like good health care free education  effective governanace and policing and rightly so


MW, there are systems that who do not promote individual freedoms/expression but there are systems that do and we live in a system that does promote individual freedoms.

http://www.un.org/en...an_rights.shtml
  • Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms
  • Freedom of association
  • Freedom of expression and opinion
Article 19.
  • Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
http://www.un.org/en...dhr/index.shtml

Edited by Sherapy, 17 September 2013 - 04:53 PM.




#80    Frank Merton

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 06:07 PM

I dunno about all this "freedom" stuff.  There has to be limits.  Take freedom of speech -- surely we don't condone false advertising, or libel, or child porn, or many other things.  I agree with the idea of freedom of speech being the default, unless society has an overriding reason to restrict it.

When it comes to freedom of religion, I think religions are given too much.  It should be freedom of belief and freedom to act on belief, not just religious belief, again only as the default and only unless society has an overriding reason.

Freedom of assembly is even more touchy, since in so many situations a legal assembly turns into a riot or vigilante mob.  Prior permitting for most public assemblies then is reasonable to give police a chance to assess the danger, although of course where there is a pattern of denying such permits access to the courts to contest the pattern is reasonable too.


#81    Sherapy

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 06:27 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 17 September 2013 - 06:07 PM, said:

I dunno about all this "freedom" stuff.  There has to be limits.  Take freedom of speech -- surely we don't condone false advertising, or libel, or child porn, or many other things.  I agree with the idea of freedom of speech being the default, unless society has an overriding reason to restrict it.

When it comes to freedom of religion, I think religions are given too much.  It should be freedom of belief and freedom to act on belief, not just religious belief, again only as the default and only unless society has an overriding reason.

Freedom of assembly is even more touchy, since in so many situations a legal assembly turns into a riot or vigilante mob.  Prior permitting for most public assemblies then is reasonable to give police a chance to assess the danger, although of course where there is a pattern of denying such permits access to the courts to contest the pattern is reasonable too.

I agree with you! I am not arguing there should be no boundaries, or laws, or restraint or accountability or sound judgement( as parents we do instill a moral responsibility and the good judgement to use it harmlessly, then when we get out into the world we do so with restraint and responsibility) because if we did not have guidelines we would have a lot of chaos and little cooperation and harm in some cases. I was pointing out to MW that he was in error that in the Democratic system we do promote individual expression/freedoms as specified.

We do promote individual freedoms accompanied by responsibility. My goodness at the crux of our constitution (amongst many ideas) are the enlightenment ideas and these ideas espouse self governance via reason and moral conscience (it is taught this is our nature in fact.). That with freedoms come accountability and this is what is taught in our educational system.

Edited by Sherapy, 17 September 2013 - 06:33 PM.




#82    Mr Walker

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 12:56 AM

View PostSherapy, on 17 September 2013 - 04:52 PM, said:

MW, there are systems that who do not promote individual freedoms/expression but there are systems that do and we live in a system that does promote individual freedoms.

http://www.un.org/en...an_rights.shtml
  • Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms
  • Freedom of association
  • Freedom of expression and opinion
Article 19.
  • Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
http://www.un.org/en...dhr/index.shtml

Only a robust and disciplined society can provide these freedoms.

Of course the irony is, that to create such a society, people cannot actually be free to act as they like.

So NO, people do NOT have the right to think or act anyway they wish. Their actions are always, in practice, constrained by the rules their society creates for them. Societies evolved precisely to balance individual liberties and social obligations/expectations.
(there is no need for an individual to make laws to regulate their own behaviour if they live alone.) To live in a society and gain the benefits of that society, one must agree to be a partner/member of  that society, and live by  ALL its laws or expectations..

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#83    Leonardo

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 01:24 PM

View PostMr Walker, on 18 September 2013 - 12:56 AM, said:

Only a robust and disciplined society can provide these freedoms.

Of course the irony is, that to create such a society, people cannot actually be free to act as they like.

So NO, people do NOT have the right to think or act anyway they wish. Their actions are always, in practice, constrained by the rules their society creates for them. Societies evolved precisely to balance individual liberties and social obligations/expectations.
(there is no need for an individual to make laws to regulate their own behaviour if they live alone.) To live in a society and gain the benefits of that society, one must agree to be a partner/member of  that society, and live by  ALL its laws or expectations..

Wrong.

There are plenty of people in our society whose actions are contrary to "the rules (or one or some of the rules) society has created", and not all those people are those whom anyone would consider 'criminals'. I am not talking just about laws here, but also what would be considered social mores.

To follow any of those rules or not is a choice and once that choice is made the actions become what the chooser has wished - provided the choice was made freely in full knowledge of the consequences.

What you are arguing is 'society' is not nearly as monolithic/rigid as you make it out to be.

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#84    Liquid Gardens

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 04:44 PM

View PostParanoid Android, on 14 September 2013 - 01:33 AM, said:

Liquid Gardens -

My apologies for not getting back to you earlier. I completely forgot that I had a discussion going in this thread. So first, let me say that the author of Genesis almost certainly believed that what he was writing actually happened. He also almost certainly understood the poetic implications of the text. Perhaps he thought of it in the same way as American's view the poem "Paul Revere's Ride" - a poetic interpretation of real events. Because of these poetic devices, the author also would have understood that far more important than outlining the origin of our universe was the theological implications of who God is, and what his relationship to humanity meant. But I will agree that the author did believe it happened as written.

However, this does not then logically follow that other events such as the resurrection can also be interpreted metaphorically. The author of Genesis was compiling hundreds (perhaps even thousands) of years of oral tradition. The poetic nature attests to this oral tradition, whether those who heard itbelieved it or not. The resurrection account has no such problem. It existed as an oral creed earlier than 35 AD, and committed to paper only a few short decades later, still within the lifetime of the alleged event itself. As such, it does not bear any poetic markers that would imply a figurative interpretation. Furthermore, at least one of the authors (Paul) makes the declaration that Jesus appeared before him post-mortem. Again there is no indication that Paul meant this in a figurative sense, but rather a very real and literal sense.

I understand I think what you are saying here, but I'm not sure I'm clear, or maybe I just disagree with, the differences between the two.  The main differences, if I'm correctly summarizing, is that Genesis obviously went through many more years of oral tradition and the use of figurative/poetic language.  Even though Genesis does contain more poetic language, it doesn't necessarily follow that it's account of the creation of the universe, Adam & Eve, etc, are false or were not intended to be the truth; you seem to agree as much when you say that author did believe it was literally true.  So I'm not sure then what this figurative language accomplishes exactly; the author thought the parts in question were literally true, just as the accounts of the resurrection are written as if literally true.  We seem to be in effect saying, 'even though the author of Genesis thought that account was true, we know here in the future due to our greater understanding of what science has shown us that the Genesis account conflicts with science, thus we will take the fact that there is poetic language in Genesis as being indicative that it...", well what?  Indicative that it was not meant as true?  That doesn't seem to jibe with what we agreed which is that our author thought it was.  Indicative that despite what the author thought, it was not intended (by God?) to be interpreted as literally true, and the poetic language is indicative of that?  Who put in this poetic language then, and why is it relevant since the person who put it in thought that the core stories in Genesis were true?  

Good point concerning the length of time, agreed, the resurrection account was written much closer relatively to the event.  But I'm not sure what we know about how long it takes 'the oral tradition' to corrupt the original story.  It's my understanding that the people relaying these stories orally had incentive to embellish and use figurative language as obviously it is the most interesting storytellers who are going to get the most audience.  I thought Paul had actually had a vision of Jesus, not sure, but again, I'm not sure why the fact that he appears to have meant it literally because he didn't use figurative language matters where in the Genesis case our author meant it literally and did use figurative language.  I believe there's another story where Jesus cures someone by casting out demons and sending them into pigs, am I correct that story also does not have poetic markers and we are therefore supposed to believe this literally occurred, that demons cause illnesses?  Because it is thoroughly explainable by merely saying that the authors didn't know what caused diseases at that time, and thus this story makes perfect sense from that standpoint.  But then the corollary of that is then we are left with the miracles of Jesus and his resurrection being similarly left open to the possibility that ancient people may have also misinterpreted what was going on in reality, no matter what was intended.

Quote

Therefore we cannot simply say "resurrection is impossible therefore Jesus' resurrection must be figurative". We can say Creation in Genesis bears poetic markers. Before science observed evolution there was no reason not to think the Creation account was accurate. Afterwards, there's no reason to think that evolution is incompatible with God. But we cannot do the same with the resurrection. It is described as a literal event. You either accept it as true, or the authors were wrong/mistaken/misinformed/lying/etc. There is zero scope for figurative explanations.

I'd argue that there is nothing about a non-literal physical resurrection that is incompatible with God, the resurrection relays just as many and I'd argue more important theological points concerning the relationship of God and humans as Genesis does.  If followers merely claimed that they had 'visions' or 'dreams' of Jesus communicating to them from the afterlife after his resurrection, I'm not sure theologically what is really lost; he still died for our sins, he's still the son of God, etc.  You accept that the author of Genesis was mistaken, despite his intentions.  I'm not again quite clear about how exactly poetic language matters since it was not included to make the Genesis account any less literal from an intention standpoint, important points of Genesis were meant to be taken literally by the author, just as we agree that the resurrection was meant to be taken literally.

Quote

Again, apologies for the lateness of replying. I hope this is of help to explain my position better :tu:

No apologies ever necessary PA, thanks for getting back to me and taking the time to write up your thoughts; I had forgotten about this thread also, stupid work always interfering with fun stuff.

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#85    Leonardo

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 09:29 PM

View PostLiquid Gardens, on 18 September 2013 - 04:44 PM, said:

I believe there's another story where Jesus cures someone by casting out demons and sending them into pigs, am I correct that story also does not have poetic markers and we are therefore supposed to believe this literally occurred, that demons cause illnesses?  Because it is thoroughly explainable by merely saying that the authors didn't know what caused diseases at that time, and thus this story makes perfect sense from that standpoint.  But then the corollary of that is then we are left with the miracles of Jesus and his resurrection being similarly left open to the possibility that ancient people may have also misinterpreted what was going on in reality, no matter what was intended.

The issue with that is that Christian dogma demands that God be perfect. So it follows that if, as is also part of dogma, the bible is written from divine inspiration, that inspiration must also be perfect.

If God is perfect, the bible writers cannot have got things wrong, or been mistaken, misinterpreted the inspiration, etc.

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#86    Sherapy

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 09:38 PM

View PostMr Walker, on 18 September 2013 - 12:56 AM, said:

Only a robust and disciplined society can provide these freedoms.

Of course the irony is, that to create such a society, people cannot actually be free to act as they like.

So NO, people do NOT have the right to think or act anyway they wish. Their actions are always, in practice, constrained by the rules their society creates for them. Societies evolved precisely to balance individual liberties and social obligations/expectations.
(there is no need for an individual to make laws to regulate their own behaviour if they live alone.) To live in a society and gain the benefits of that society, one must agree to be a partner/member of  that society, and live by  ALL its laws or expectations..


IMO, Society is not as black and white as you infer, MW.

Thank you for your thoughts none the less.




#87    Mr Walker

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 11:15 PM

View PostLeonardo, on 18 September 2013 - 01:24 PM, said:

Wrong.

There are plenty of people in our society whose actions are contrary to "the rules (or one or some of the rules) society has created", and not all those people are those whom anyone would consider 'criminals'. I am not talking just about laws here, but also what would be considered social mores.

To follow any of those rules or not is a choice and once that choice is made the actions become what the chooser has wished - provided the choice was made freely in full knowledge of the consequences.

What you are arguing is 'society' is not nearly as monolithic/rigid as you make it out to be.
People are CONSTRAINED by the rules. Tha tdoesnt mean they do not break them, simply that rules and laws place constrints on them which would other wise not exist Eg they KNOW that breaking a law has a consequence they can still break the law but knowledge of consequence is a constraint on their behaviour

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#88    Mr Walker

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 11:35 PM

View PostSherapy, on 18 September 2013 - 09:38 PM, said:

IMO, Society is not as black and white as you infer, MW.

Thank you for your thoughts none the less.

MY comments do not infer simplicity but great complexity. A person living alone is simple to manage. (he/ she just does as they want to) Two people are more complex.A village or town increases  the complexity/challenge of balancing different people's needs and desires.

When you live as i do, with  over 20 individual people, (and a dozen dogs) as direct neighbours on your home boundary, then the situation is quite complex and requires thoughtful and complex laws and regulations to manage. Eg barking dogs,  noisy parties  smoking incinerators, crowing roosters, even wind chimes in the garden  etc

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#89    Jor-el

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 08:10 PM

View PostLeonardo, on 21 August 2013 - 12:05 PM, said:

These two terms are so very often confused, and many people who believe in some form of 'higher consciousness/power' by default fall into a religion.

Here's my take on what these are:

Religion - this is when you accept what another believes, sometimes overriding your own belief, and you therefore allow that other to dictate much of your life pov, from morality to prejudices.

Belief - this is your personal pov on the topic of spirituality. It is not a pov you force upon others, or let dictate how you behave to others with respect their own, personal belief.

I can fully understand why a person holds to a belief, and respect that about them. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why someone would surrender themselves as a person to a religion - and simply become the tool of another. Don't get me wrong, intellectually I know there are various reasons - such as the comfort of being a part of a community, etc - but to give up yourself for that?

Perhaps I am merely selfish and a bit sociopathic in comparison to those who elect to join a religion, but it seems to me that if there was a 'creator', that creator would want us to be who we are - not become a reflection of another.

I would define both terms in a different light, in that i am not religious but am indeed a believer.

Religion - a set of rules instituted by men to convince God of their worth and deserving of his attention.

Belief -  A personal and life changing experience that by action or circumstance that convinces us of Gods existence and that he indeed cares for us.

While a believer may be part of a religion, the religion does not dominate the belief.

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#90    Sherapy

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 04:16 AM

View PostMr Walker, on 19 September 2013 - 11:35 PM, said:

MY comments do not infer simplicity but great complexity. A person living alone is simple to manage. (he/ she just does as they want to) Two people are more complex.A village or town increases  the complexity/challenge of balancing different people's needs and desires.

When you live as i do, with  over 20 individual people, (and a dozen dogs) as direct neighbours on your home boundary, then the situation is quite complex and requires thoughtful and complex laws and regulations to manage. Eg barking dogs,  noisy parties  smoking incinerators, crowing roosters, even wind chimes in the garden  etc


Fair enough, MW!







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