A Post-Christmas Christmas Post

Jeebus was a smelly hippie

Amanda Marcotte:

Relax, Parents: There’s No Need to Put the Christ in Christmas

In our age of neurotic parenting, it should come as no surprise that irreligious parents might succumb some to the evidence-free claims of many that children must be raised in a faith tradition in order to achieve some ill-defined “values”. Andrew Park at Salon has a piece up about his attempts to inject a little religion into the holiday festivities. (By “religion”, he of course means “Christianity”, because as concerned as he is about exposing his children to faith traditions, he isn’t concerned enough to start fasting for Ramadan and teaching his children about the prophet Mohammed.) After many years of wholesome secular family Christmases, Park decides to start reading Bible stories to his kids, in hopes of giving them “context” for the holiday.


What the context-free kids grasp that we adults may not understand is this: The myths and legends of a desert-dwelling people from 2,000 ago don’t have much symbolic or cultural relationship to the Christmas of our imagining, with its snow-laden landscapes punctuated with mistletoe and jolly, gift-bearing elves. The story of Ebenezer Scrooge evokes Christmas more readily than the tale of the Christ child born in Bethlehem, which most Americans probably can’t find on a map. Frankly, if you want to instill more relevant modern values into your children, you’d be better off sticking with the Dickens tale, which emphasizes the importance of love and generosity. The story of Christ’s birth, on the other hand, is about how virgins are better than non-virgins, with a side dose of arguing that babies who haven’t done anything yet can still be superior to everyone else by accident of birth.

Gee, you would never guess from reading that post that Amanda Marcotte first became infamous for her unhinged hostility to Christianity, would you?

Ironically, I agree with Ms. Marcotte’s basic premise that you don’t need to raise your kids in a religious environment. Unlike Ms. Marcotte, however, I don’t believe that raising your children in a religious environment is prima facie proof of child abuse.

Back when I was in college I took a course on the history of religion. Our instructor made a comment on the first day of class to the effect that it was difficult for a believer to study other religions because they could not be objective – their religious beliefs told them that other religions were wrong. This prompted a Christian fundie in the class to unintentionally prove the instructor’s point with a diatribe disguised as a question. If I had been the instructor I would have replied by pointing to her and saying “See what I mean?” to the rest of the class.

Militant atheism is a fundamentalist religion. A very obnoxious religion. Atheists are never content to practice their non-belief in private but insist on forcing their religion on everyone else. And because it is a religion exclusive to Vile Progs, sneering contempt is one of their sacraments.

Christmas is the commemoration of the birth of one of the greatest religious philosophers in human history. The birth of Jesus follows a theme common to many religions, myths and epic tales. It is the story of a chosen one, a heroic leader who is destined to rise from a lowly birth to become king. Sargon, Moses, Jesus, Oedipus, Arthur, Sigmund, Siddhartha, Obama; the list goes on and on. There are many variations but the theme is repeated over and over in many different cultures.

Was Jesus really the one-and-only son of God? I dunno. I can’t prove he is, but then again I can’t prove he isn’t. When I find out I’ll let you know.

Whoever Jesus really was, there was definitely a religious teacher from about 2000 years ago who made a lasting impression. The religion he founded is one of the five major world religions and he is recognized as a holy man by two of them. English language and literature are filled with references to Christ and Christian theology. You cannot be culturally literate without a basic understanding of the story of Jesus.

But you do not need to be a true believer to find great value and wisdom in the words of the man we call Jesus. His teachings went beyond rules of behavior but instead focused on individual morality. He taught that it is the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law that should guide us, and he told his followers to focus on their own behavior rather than the behavior of others.

During the past couple of millennia the religion of Jesus migrated from the Middle East up into Europe and then to the Americas. Along the way it was influenced by different environments and pre-existing cultures. Christmas trees and gift-giving are not Christian practices but they are instead cultural traditions that are practiced by many Christians.

Atheists need to learn tolerance and humility. They are not as smart as they think they are. I don’t claim to know all the answers, but I’m pretty sure that they don’t have the answers either.

“The more I study the history of intellectuals, the more they seem like a wrecking crew, dismantling civilization bit by bit — replacing what works with what sounds good.” – Thomas Sowell

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60 Responses to A Post-Christmas Christmas Post

  1. catarina says:

    Andrew Park at Salon has a piece up about his attempts to inject a little religion into the holiday festivities. (By “religion”, he of course means “Christianity”, because as concerned as he is about exposing his children to faith traditions, he isn’t concerned enough to start fasting for Ramadan and teaching his children about the prophet Mohammed.)

    That is so asinine I don’t even know where to begin.

  2. tommy says:

    ‘Flight Attendants’ no smile threat – Flight attendants at Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific Airways are threatening to withhold food, alcohol and even smiles from passengers during the Christmas holidays over a pay dispute, a union official said. Cabin staff at the airline, which has a reputation for top-notch service, voted at a union meeting this week in favor of industrial action that could also result in flight delays. The union is demanding a 5% pay increase but the airline, which is struggling to cut costs after posting a first half loss of 935 million Hong Kong dollars ($120.5 million) has offered 2%. The Cathay Pacific Flight Attendants Union will soon announce when the action approved in the vote will be carried out, General Secretary Tsang Kwok-fung said. “We may not provide alcoholic drinks to our passengers, or we may not even provide meals to passengers, in which case the union would advise travellers to bring their own food and drinks,” said Tsang’. I’ve flown with Cathay Pacific, one of the best in the world. I like the way that this union operates, unlike our over-the-top crazy insane unions.

  3. tommy says:

    ‘Christmas and family flare-ups – An average British family will have atleast 5 arguements on Xmas Day, with the first row taking place at 10:13am. 10:13am- will mark the first Christmas Day family arguement. 12:42am- will see the next family row when 38% of children will moan about receiving wrong gifts. Between 1 and 3pm- 45% of Brits will see their parents fall out, because the father has had too much to drink and the mother is stressed about food preparation. 2:23pm- is when families serve the food before the next feud which will be about old gossips. 6:05pm- will see bickering after a day of food and drink, thats when 15% of families will fight for the remote control. 7:25pm- there is an outburst by 7% of senior family members trying to play charades. 10:15pm- after the liquers have been drunk and the last mince pie has been eaten, tempers will flare up just before bedtime’. Lol. How bout you?

  4. The day after. Time to consume all these baked goods. Alas, I have an appt this morning, so will just have to grab a few cookies for breakfast.
    I’ll have some of the fudge for lunch.

  5. tommy says:

    An interesting fact – The greatest number of takes for one scene in a film is 324 in Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights (1931).

  6. Every member of my immediate family is in the house and we are getting snowed in. ♥

    PS: Marcotte is a know-it-all douche, but you can’t blame all atheists for that.

  7. DeniseVB says:

    From the wayback machine ….. when Amanda Marcotte had to resign as John Edwards’ blogmaster in 2007.


    Fun read 😀

  8. elliesmom says:

    What I’d like to know, as a “non-militant” atheist, is why it bothers some people so much that we don’t embrace the story of Jesus? The same people who ridicule some Christians for not accepting evolution as scientific fact are not so comfortable for being ridiculed themselves for clinging to a story about virgin births and stars that stayed fixed in the heavens. Both are actually more easily de-bunked by science than creationism. While Marcotte drives me crazy most of the time, the story of Scrooge is no less fictional and sends the same message. My favorite Christmas story is O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi”. Yes, Jesus probably lived. Yes, the people who elevated him to messiah status created one of the world’s largest religions. But there are no new moral lessons taught by Christianity that weren’t already part of the Jewish faith. The power the people who used Jesus to start a new religion had was the ability to grab the non-Jews and turn them into believers in a monotheist religion. Getting angry with atheists isn’t going to change history. It’s just shooting the messenger.

    • tommy says:

      I disagree with you, em. As a creationist believing Christian, I have no problems with a ‘non-militant’ atheist. Thats their belief and their choice. They don’t have to embrace the story of Jesus either. But its when they spew hate against peoples faith and their religious icons, thats a problem. Declaring that one doesn’t believe in God is fine. Doesn’t mean that anyone has to ridicule Jesus or the Biblical stories. Thats when one gets ‘militant’. Thats where the Christian anger comes from.

      • elliesmom says:

        But what is ridicule, and what is just pointing out facts? The fossil records prove without a doubt that humans and dinosaurs occupied the earth millions of years apart. Only man-made satellites are in a geosynchronous orbit with the earth. Only young women who don’t want to admit to ever having had sexual relations give birth as virgins. I don’t ridicule people who believe in supernatural beings. As a science teacher I was required by law, known as the national curriculum standards, to teach about evolution, Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion, and the geological processes that keep the earth an ever changing place to live. I never mentioned how this science conflicted with the things the kids may have been taught in church. Let the contradictions between faith and reality happen on their turf, not mine. I have nothing I had to justify beyond the scientific proof.

        The message of Jesus was spread after his death by one of the best PR teams ever hired. They embellished the truth more than just a bit to get their message across. Kind of like today’s MSM, the message was more important to them than truth. As it must be to all people who’s faith leads them to believe what is demonstrably beyond reason. I like the message behind Christianity, but liking the message does not mean I have to believe its story. And while I normally keep it to myself that I think people who need to swallow the whole tale hook, line, and sinker are more than a little silly, it does make me laugh right out loud when people get mad at people like me for not validating their faith in the impossible. And whether we keep silent about how we feel or shout it to the world is the same for us as it is for you. Millions of people go through their lives silently believing in their god, but a lot of Christians shout their faith to the world and won’t stop until everyone agrees with them. I bet if most of them shut up, most of the “militant atheists” would, too.

        • tommy says:

          em, I can take apart each of the above sentences, but I won’t. Thats your beliefs of what the facts are, not actual facts. And since I’m in a big minority on this blog, I’ll remain quiet. I have no interest in arguing with another militant atheist. You stick to your beliefs, and I’ll stick to mine. Finito. Peace.

        • darraghcmurphy says:

          An impeccably constructed argument elegantly expressed. I bet you were a great science teacher.

        • DeniseVB says:

          Well said elliesmom. I once asked a devout Christian friend of mine to explain “virgin birth” and she simply told me “faith”. I also have the same concerns on evolution, if we evolved from apes, why are there still apes?

          I love this kind of discussions and respect all beliefs as long a people don’t go, well, Full ‘Bot (shut up, that’s why) on me 😀

        • elliesmom says:

          There are still apes because we didn’t evolve from apes. Back in time there is a common ancestor for both humans and apes. Evolution is a tree, not a ladder. If you go far enough down the tree, we evolved from a common ancestor with dolphins and mice and every other mammal. Ancient mammalian common ancestors are hard to find traces of because the environment they lived in wasn’t conducive to the creation of fossils, but DNA studies of today’s mammals show a lot of commonality with each other. Creatures that lived in the sea or in ponds have left a much richer fossil record because sedimentation on the bottom of a body of water traps a lot of animal and plant remains.

    • Underwhelmed says:

      No, Jesus did not probably live. He lived. He was crucified by the Romans and died. There are contemporary references in Roman texts. The question isn’t his existence, and you have no business questioning that. That’s ignorant. Question his divinity by all means. Question the story surrounding his existence. The only way we learn the truth about that is dying and seeing what comes next. The circumstances of his birth, the miracles, the resurrection — all of that stuff is absolutely fair game for skeptics and questions and doubts. But do not try and erase him from existence. Oh yes — there were significant differences between what he was teaching and what the traditional Jewish faith taught. That’s why the Pharisees handed him over to the Romans. He was an anarchic, disruptive element and he challenged their authority every chance he got. He was a shit stirrer who refused to support the status quo and they couldn’t wait to get rid of him.

      And for the record? I am not a fundie. I have no time for fundies.

      • tommy says:

        Underwhelmed, don’t do that. The militant atheists have a narrative, and you’re disrupting it. The dive bombing of the atheists was automatic. I’m in a minority, as I stated earlier, and the atheist support to the militant atheist has proved it.

        • Underwhelmed says:

          I am an evil disrupter of dishonest narratives and make no apology for it! *g* Sorry.

          Seriously, I have no issue with any amount of disputation, challenge and argument over facets of the Christian religion. But all of that must proceed from a foundation of fact. And a willingness to admit that ‘I don’t know’, and ‘I could be wrong’. The horrifying danger of the fundie mindset is that it’s stuck on ‘I can’t be wrong’ – and that goes for the atheist and religious adherents of that tenet.

          End of the day? It’s all supposition and faith until we die and find out for sure. My biggest problem with so much of modern Christianity (apart from the continuation of misogyny from the Old Testament, which is no more enlightened than the misogyny practised by Islam) is the focus on what everyone else is doing, and not what the so-called Christian is doing. I think two things most of all: That every time a so-called Christian starts quoting the Bible to condemn someone for something, they can’t ever quote Jesus. They have to quote the Old Testament, which contains so much bigotry, intolerance, misogyny and violence. (And because Jesus often spoke out against it, he made a lot of enemies). The other thing is – one of the most profound pieces of advice Jesus ever gave was: First take the beam out of your own eye before you point at the mote in your brother’s. And that’s a tenet largely ignored by the modern Christian community. It’s so busy telling everyone else how to live, what Jesus meant, how they know what God wants and says and demands, they fail to notice their own shortcomings. And that makes people hate Christianity and that breaks my heart, because if you just follow Jesus’s advice you’ve got a pretty good blueprint for kindness, compassion and peace.

          I have several kinds of fundies in my family. As I said to one of them a while ago: Believe what you need to believe. But don’t ever forget – you’re Jesus’s PR person. Don’t make him look bad.

        • elliesmom says:

          Most people educated in American schools believe that one of things Columbus set out to do was to prove the world was round. The fact is in Columbus’s Day it was general knowledge that the world was round. Eratosthenes had even calculated the circumference of the Earth with remarkable accuracy around 200 BC. But in 1828 Washington Irving wrote 4 volumes, “A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus”, which was a combination of fact and fiction. In it he wrote about Columbus trying to prove the world is round. Today most people have accepted it as fact because Washington Irving was an influential writer for his time. Some of us know it is isn’t true. And some of us profess to still believe the Earth is flat. I would never make fun of people who have accepted the fiction about Columbus. It’s ingrained in our culture. But it doesn’t make it true.

          For some Christians anyone who questions anything about Jesus is “militant”. I only come out when someone tells me I need to be more humble. What’s more humble than believing humans are only one of many species of life on our planet? But it’s humble to believe you’ve been chosen by a supernatural deity to be the lord and master of all of the creatures of the Earth? The moral and ethical codes of the Jews and the Christians are worth striving to live up to, and yes, I challenge you to show me one “Christian ethic” not shared by the Jews. Of course there were men named Jesus who existed. Lots of them. And Christopher Columbus was the captain of three ships.

  9. HELENK says:

    isn’t funny how “modern” we have become. way back in the dark ages we had teachers who told us in class to take a religion other than our own and study it. Not to convert to it, but to understand it . This was done to promote tolerance.
    Today if you mention GOD in school everyone panics. We are to be tolerant of a religion that stones child rape victims or throws acid in the face of a girl trying to learn, or whipped an elderly woman for giving a glass of water to a male but heaven forbid be tolerant of a religion that believes in GOD and do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.
    In today’s world tolerance is one sided.
    As for atheist, that is their problem, I do not care if they believe in the same religion as I do. But do not try to take my religion away

    • elliesmom says:

      Actually, God is in the national curriculum standards for history. Learning about the history of religion in the world and its effects on the world today are perfectly acceptable to be taught in schools. The celebration of any religion is not. Teachers don’t panic about teaching it unless parents give them a reason to be worried. Like I never lost a moment’s sleep about teaching evolution. My view was, “It’s science, it’s in the curriculum standards, get over it.”

      • cj says:

        elliesmom, you rock! Seriously. Great replies throughout this whole thread; it was a pleasure reading them. 🙂

  10. HELENK says:

    you still have 90 days to collect a belated Christmas present of $50,000. you must be female. sorry guys


    • tommy says:

      Thats a lot of money. And the fraud will be monumental. Who says money don’t grow on Obama Claus’ trees.

    • DandyTiger says:

      I notice the article says the government won’t check for verification, so feel free to lie. Easy for them to say. I think if they do check and you land in jail, something tells me the good folks at breitbart won’t be there to help. You’re milage may vary.

  11. HELENK says:


    I know everyone here will be heartbroken to find out that backtrack has to cut his vacation short because those mean old republicans just would not give in and give him all the money in the country.
    Article does not say whether meeeeeeschele and the girls came home or are still in Hawaii.

  12. HELENK says:


    My Irish temper is going sky high.

    those so called state dept firings over Benghazi were bogus. the people will be returning to work

    • HELENK says:

      when did this country become so lazy that we the people are accepting this behavior??? American citizens killed after asking for help and being refused by this government. no real big outcry. obots think it is fine, hey no big thing. what is it going to take for government accountability to return in this country?

  13. tommy says:

    ‘Swaziland bans mini skirts – Police in Africa’s last absolute monarchy Swaziland have banned women from wearing miniskirts and midriff-revealing tops saying they provoke rape, local media reported. Offenders face a six month jail term under the ban, which invokes a colonial criminal act dating back to 1889. “The act of the rapist is made easy, because it would be easy to remove the half-cloth worn by the women,” a police spokeswoman was quoted as saying’. With logic like this, that country is going a**-backwards.

  14. swanspirit says:

    The problem I have with people of any and all religions , including atheism , is not their belief or lack thereof. It is the proselytizing .

    I did years of soul searching , and internal journeying to be where I am with my spiritual beliefs .For me, the steps anyone may take on that journey is their own personal path of jeweled and precious stepping stones. I know mine is .
    So why would anyone want to come along and take that from me , or anyone? If you are happy where you are , then I am happy for you , that you have found a source of comfort and solace . If you are searching , I can share my experience , but I cannot give you my path , because you need to find your own ,
    This is part of my belief system ; that what is precious to me might not fit what you need , and you will value what you find because it will be yours , and it will meet your needs .
    This is part of what i believe so deeply , that it cannot be shaken or disturbed by any fear , shame ,blame ,ridicule or guilt that someone would wish to impose on me , by threat of hell damnation etc etc .

    I watched a program on early christians last night on Frontline .


    Or rather 2 hours of it , in total it is 4 hours long .
    Real history fascinates me , all of it . Mythology , religion , archeology , development of civilizations and the ideas that formed them .
    Marcotte might be surprised to learn that some relevant modern values are found in the actual history of the early christians .
    Those values are historically inextricable from government revolution , reformation and war , and the need for structure and conformity . Jesus may not have existed, or he may have even been a composite of several Jewish reformers , and his ideas were not new , but the history has deeply relevant cultural modern values .

    • Looks like an interesting show- I bookmarked it for viewing later- as it looks like we will be getting snowed in.
      I too love the history aspects- and archaeology, mythology, anthropology. Comes in handy arguing with fundamentalists of all stripes and with the priests lol. (No they haven’t got the bell, book and candle out on me yet- though I suspect some of them would like to- but what would they do without volunteers like me to keep the place going? So long as I can sing, I think they’ll keep me- especially as the current young pup of a priest we have likes Latin- well he likes US to sing the Latin. I am the only one old enough to remember the proper pronunciations lol)

      • swanspirit says:

        I was raised in Catholic school , i know those pronunciations too LOL , heck I can still say the entire Hail Mary in latin .
        You will like that show PMM , I have done decades of reading and taken anthropology ( I LOVE ANTHROPOLOGY ) courses in college , and there was some information in that show that was new to me . I might go back and rewatch it lol .

    • DeniseVB says:

      I saw a blurb from the UK that premie babies have to be a minimum weight before they are “viable” (v. let die). Nurses are cheating a bit and putting fingers on the scales of the ones that are so close, but no cigar. The article was mostly about those who thrived. Made me think of Obamacare’s future. Not too merry and bright.

  15. tommy says:

    This is interesting. ‘JFK planned to nuke China if 1962 war had resumed – Six months after the 1962 Chinese aggression on India, the US had contemplated using nuclear weapons in the event of another attack from Beijing as it was determined to prevent an Indian defeat at the hands of Communists. The then President Kennedy, at a meeting with his top military aides on May 9, 1963, had expressed clear determination not to let Beijing defeat New Delhi, with his defence secretary even talking about using nuclear weapons against China if it launched another attack against India. These disclosures have come in a just released book ‘Listening In: The Secret White House Recordings of John F Kennedy’ co-authored by Ted Widmer and Caroline Kennedy. “I gather we’re coming to the defence of Israel and Saudi Arabia. What I think we ought to think about is, for us to give India a guarantee which we would carry out. I don’t think theres any doubt that this country is determined that we couldn’t permit the Chinese to defeat the Indians,” Kennedy said. “If we would, we might as well get out of South Korea and South Vietnam. Now, therefore, I don’t mind making, seeing us make some commitments. Now, if its politically important,” he said. Kennedy as quoted by the book as making these remarks in the White House meeting with his Defence Secretary Robert McNamara and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Maxwell Davenport “Max” Taylor. The book is a selection of audio recordings of Kennedy’s conversations and meetings at the White House’. To present day progs, JFK would have been an evil, war-mongering, radical Republican extremist. Lol.

  16. foxyladi14 says:

    I wish we had more like JFK 🙂

  17. tommy says:

    I’m seriously thinking about adopting a child. If you know me, I’m 41, single, never been married or divorced. Want an adopted daughter. But if I do that, I may seal my bachelor status. Lol. If I meet the love of my life a year after I adopt, would she have misgivings or second thoughts? Maybe, probably. Want input from the women here. Lol

    • piper says:

      Depends on where you live if you’ll be able to adopt any child especially a girl. Understand that Russia has changed its US adoption laws because of several cases where children were sent back which were disruptive and upsetting to all. However, some of the adoptees have had many issues from early trauma, poor nutrition, neglect and poor prenatal care.

    • leslie says:

      If you met someone like my daughter, smart, good looking, never married, wants kids, doesn’t care if they come with the package you’d be okay.

  18. lorac says:

    Tommy, my guess is that women would be less hesitant to begin a relationship with a “built-in” child than a man may be. However, the age of the child may be a factor – if you adopt a bratty teenager with trust and abandonment issues, that would be very challenging for most anybody! Also, (hopefully, IMO) you’d be looking for a mate your age, in which case she may have her own kids. If she has underage daughters and you’ve adopted a troubled adolescent boy, that may be too worrisome for her. But I think in general, your desire to be a father would be very attractive to women. You would like to have a mate and a child – we can’t guarantee finding the right mate, so I’d say go for the kids, and at least make sure one of your dreams is met!

  19. lorac says:

    We all learned about “Greek Mythology” in school. But once upon a time people actually believed all that stuff. I’ve never understood why it isn’t called “Ancient Greek religion” or some such name. How come “dead religions” are “myth”, but currently used religions aren’t…? Just always wondered….

  20. tommy says:

    Thank you lorac, for your practical and logical advice. I plan to adopt a child, between the ages of 3 and 5. No teenagers. My intentions are selfish. My daughter should never know that I’m not her real father. Won’t tell her till shes 25 or older. Just that with a child so young, women may feel hesitant, cos they (the child) need a lot of care. They’d never understand the aspirations of a father, want to see my young one growing up. Lol.

    • Underwhelmed says:

      Brutal honesty? I think having a child, be it biologically or by adoption, is a wonderful thing. But you need to be doing it for the right reasons. If you want to do this for you, to fill a hole in your life, to make something right for you, then don’t. You don’t have the right to place those kinds of expectations on a child. If you want to give an orphaned child a loving home, a chance at a life full of love and hope and achievement and success, then go for it. But do it for the child. Not to fix something you perceive is lacking or wrong with you or your life.

  21. swanspirit says:

    December 26th – On 12/19 USA Today reported the following: “Veteran ABC newsman Sam Donaldson is facing a court date stemming from a charge of driving under the influence. Police Chief Jeff Horvath tells Delaware 105.9 that an officer pulled Donaldson over on Savannah Road in Lewes, Del., on the evening of Dec. 1
    because he had driven onto the shoulder. Donaldson, 78, failed a field sobriety test, was charged and released.” Four days later (12/23) Donaldson said this on the Chris Matthews Show: “The Tea Party seems to think the country can go back 25 or 30 years. The greatest slogan that I hated during this last campaign was ‘We want to take back our country.’ Guys, it’s not your country anymore – it’s our country.”

    Lewes Delaware is not far from me , about an hour north . I have to wonder how many of these so called expert pundits are alcohol impaired in their thinking ., as well as driving .

  22. djmm says:

    Merry post Christmas to all!

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