Christianity vs Churchianity: The Religious Stereotype

I can’t remember if it was my dad or my grandpa who coined the term, but it is one of my favorites of all time.  Churchianity. It is the form of Christianity that has been so construed beyond it’s original purpose that the building has become more important that the Church (capitol “C” being the people themselves). It is the religion rather than the faith.

On a personal note, I am a Christian. I have faith that Jesus was the son of God, and an example to follow. That his teachings were not of an establishment, but of a true love for  humanity, and a want and hope to redeem it. If not for his love for humanity, why would he say, when on the cross, Jesus said to God, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” Luke – 23:34.

Major Branches within Christianity (via Wikipedia)

Major Branches within Christianity (via Wikipedia)

I have read several parts of the Bible, yet not the whole thing, I guess it is a goal of mine to see what all really is included. I have my own interpretations, just as the original authors had theirs. Yet, it is the interpretations that have created this monster known as religion. Here’s a great example, within Christianity alone there are approximately 38,000 different denominations, some big, some small, including both protestant and Catholic variations. Each of these “denominations” (the Catholic church considers itself “pre-denomination”, but for the sake of this post, it’ll be included), has it’s own methods, rituals, focus, and rules. Yet they all have one thing in common, belief in God and Jesus. On the other hand, they sometimes look like squabbling siblings.

1.21 jiggawatts (A little history lesson)

Let’s go back in time for a moment. One of the biggest problems with religion is dogma and naivety. You see, when Christianity was first founded, and headed by the Apostles themselves, it was persecuted severely. Simply because Christians (then known as Jewish Christians) did not pay homage to the Emperor of Rome as divine. Because of the sporadic, yet severe persecution, an organization of individuals was needed.  This was the first steps towards the establishment of Christianity.

At first these groups of Christians were very sparse, with little linking them together outside of their similar beliefs and leadership of the Apostles. It was at this time that New Testament canon aws becoming a more primary source of doctrine. Yet following the post-Apostolic age, despite the continuing diffusion of ideas and practices these groups began to unite, eventually becoming a favored religion in Rome by the end of the first century. This unification also lead to a separation from Jewish beliefs.

By the early second century this loose conglomeration of believers began to coalesce into what could be viewed as the Christian Church. Positions and heirarchies began to form; episcopos would become bishops, presbyters and elders would become known as priests, and deacons began to appear as leaders of the sick and poor. This further expanded into the third century, when Constantine first held the First Council of Nicea in 325, following the end of most persecution against Christians. This council was a difinitive moment, in that it was a council set forth to attain a concensus for all Christians.

Now let’s move forward a bit, further after the establishment of the religion and continued tweaking and changes in power and heirarchy. By the sixth century, connections to the original Roman empire were nearly nonexistant, and what was once the Roman empire had covered most of Europe and transformed into the Byzantine Empire. It was at this time that the Eastern and Western Empires had begun to split. With constant barbarian invasions plaguing the Western Empire, it began to fracture. The further north and west you went, the more diverse the Christian practices had become. An example of this being Ireland, having cultivated its own form of Christianity, known as Celtic Christianity completely independant of the rest of the “world.”

Christianity had grown up and evolved into a solid religion. But with such a large influence, came power, and as Uncle Ben would say, “with great power comes great responsibility.” It was here that Christianity had become much more than just a belief, but an Establishment.

When Naivety Leads to Death

Now we start to get to the meat of the subject. Around 1009 Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, had ordered the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This was the church built upon the hill where, historically, Jesus was crucified. I could only imagine the anger that this attack had created. By 1039, after paying exhorbitant sums be paid, al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah’s successor allowed the Byzantine Empire to rebuild the church. The damage had already been done though, and a deep seated anger was now present among Christians across the Byzantine Empire.  This is where I begin to see the naivety, or at least forgetfulness of what Christianity is. You see, the leaders of the Byzantine Empire began to realize the power that the bishops held. They began to realize the klout they had with the populous, and more often then not would work with the clergy to appoint someone loyal to them in the position of a bishop. This all leading to what is now known as the Investiture Controversy. A belief that the King of a nation had the “divine right to the lands and all within” was finally pushed away, but now with loyal bishops, it may not have been needed.

Not only did power provide responsibility, it also invited corruption.

Between 1095 and 1291, the leaders of the Byzantine Empire made a call for help in reestablishing access to Jerusalem from the Muslim Seljuk Turks. Jerusalem was considered Holy land to both Christians and Muslims (likely a topic for another post, as both religions, again, are interpretations of the same events). Because of this, the war that was on a very personal level for all that were involved. Because of the klout that the bishops held, and the general illiteracy and naivety of the populace, emotions were easy to stir.

Needless to say, this lead to several Crusades. These Holy Crusades decimated generations of both Christians and Muslims, at the whim of both the crown and the clergy. It is a very dark spot in the history of Christianity. Not without its merits, but also not without its problems.

Modern Day Naivety

Now, we’re back to the present day. There is a silent minority within Christianity. These are the believers who still realize the original purpose of Jesus’s teachings.  You see, knowledge is much easier to attain now-a-days, while common sense seems to be far more lacking… but knowledge isn’t always “the cool thing.” However, naivety appears on both sides of an argument when looking at this subject.

At one time, decades ago, common sense was what you worked with.  It wasn’t book smarts, it wasn’t degrees, it was experience and values. However, this also lead to a more happy-go-lucky populous, a society where “ignorance was bliss.” This too was taken advantage of, and created the stereotypes that are so feverishly held onto today, and used by religious or even political opponents.

Let’s look at a few examples:

“To be a Christian, you have to go to church whenever the doors are open.”

Well…. not really, at least in my eyes. There is an old saying (though I’m not sure how old), “Go to church on Sunday morning, and you love the church. Go to church on Sunday Night, and you love the preacher. Go to church on Wednesday night, and you love God.” I wholeheartedly…. disagree.

There is a need to go to a church building, and worship with other believers, it is a way to help support your own beliefs, and your own feelings, as well as those of others; however, a building is not where God resides. It is my belief, that he resides within us. Within our feelings, within our thoughts, within our actions. Because of this what we do, and how we act, is how we are representing God, not how many times we are sitting on a church pew.

In contrast though, I do not believe that the church is not needed. There are great things that the church building, as well as those who reside within it have done. Locally, several churches banded together to create an “Emergency Services” building, a combination of a thrift store, and a central location to assist families that needed help. Be it financial, food, or clothing. Another example being the many things that the religion, and churches, had done to preserve history, and science.

If not for catholic monks, most of written history would likely have been lost, or even further construed by word of mouth. The “scriptoriums,” present in many monasteries, provided a place for monks to work in peace and transcribe texts. This lead to the same practice by secular book stores, again, preserving history, as it had not been before.

If not for the works of a muslim scientist by the name of Alhazen on the need for consistent and controlled experimentation, and further expansion by the likes of a friar named Roger Bacon, who pushed for individual verification, the Scientific Method, as we know it today, may have never existed. However, even these things would be fought by a naive establishment, until much later.

Christians are bigots and haters.

One of the most hated words in my vocabulary… bigotry. It is used to denote a person, despite any evidence or history, as one who hates a certain creed or sexuality. More often then not it is used against anyone who believes in Christianity. Generalizations and stereotypes have become the norm in today’s society.  One person links something, on the web, and it is instantly associated with an entire group of people, in Christianity’s case, all approximately 2.2billion of them. The problem is, some of the stereotypes are very true, but not for the majority, yet that is ignored.

Our current society is slowly becoming a binary thinking organism. Either it’s all or nothing, there is no middle ground. Though, those of us who realize that there is middle ground, and realize that the thought process of all or nothing is asinine are ignored.

To some extent, I blame politics.  There are members of congress, on both sides of the partisan wall, that have somewhat extreme views, if not extreme, at least passionate views. Because of these individuals, media, and those who follow politics take the words they use and label those who happen to share the same religion, as one and the same.

This includes social issues such as sexuality, religion, poverty, etc.

On a personal level, I am a mostly middle ground type of person on social issues.

  • I have seen what people go through when in poverty. Yet, instead of whining about it, I’ll try to help those that I can. I also realize that there are those that simply cannot work, and then there are those that simply will not work. But that’s a whole other article.
  • I have had friends who were not heterosexual, yet I did not hate them or condemn them. My personal belief is that what happens in the bedroom is not my problem, and to some extent the government should have no say. However, with the current tax code, and the benefits of married couples, this gets muddled. My view continues to be that until it is scientifically proven, via consistent and verifiable studies, homosexuality is exactly that… a sexuality. There has been no evidence leading to genetic predisposal. The closest being effects of hormones in higher than normal amounts while in the womb, yet this has so far only been observed in women, and not been proven to be the final effect of their sexual orientation. Lastly, it is my belief that it is still an environmental, situational, or conscious choice. However, I have nothing against them, what they do in their bedroom, is not something I’m going to dig into, and in turn am not going to condemn either. I’m not without my reservations of the acts, but hey, I’m a straight guy.

When the “church” becomes more than a building

This is primarily what I’m going to be getting at. The most noticable, visual, and verbal parts of Christianity have moved far beyond what Christianity is about, yet preach it as gospel. The televangelists, some of the “new” evangelists, and “Fort God’s” have become what the public views as Christian. The big massive churches with thousands of members (one of the things I am not a fan of is “members”).

These visual components take a single verse from a single chapter, and write a sermon, ignoring any of the surrounding context.  They then take it as literal and spread it to those who are not willing to research it for themselves. These buildings become symbols that athiests (not all atheists, as true atheism is the utter lack of religion, and not the reprimand of religion) and political opponents, left or right, drool over. They have been labeled as the “Christian Conservatives,” which is absolutely false.

These mockeries of Christianity, have become businesses. Just as Jesus said in Matthew 21:12:

12Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13“It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’e but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.’f

14The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.

Some of these “leaders” are exactly what Jesus saw while he traveled. It is these “leaders” that have created a false stereotype, unbeknownst (or worse yet, known) to them, that have given the rest of Christianity a black eye.

I want to finish with this. We are not here to tell everyone what they should believe. We are here to help those in need, who truly cannot help themselves. We are here to spread the word of God, not force it. We are here to be knowledgable of what we believe in, not naive and ignorant. We are here to learn and better ourselves, not to limit ourselves because a preacher said so. We are to learn from preachers, priests, pastors, and leaders, but not blindly follow. We are here to guide, yet to leave decisions to that of the individual. We are here to live with the consequences of our decisions, and not to lay blame on others for what we could have prevented.

We are here to have faith.


The Demagogue

What is The Demagogue?

Sounds like some kind of evil demon or something. In reality, it can be much, much worse.  Something that I have seen more and more of lately is the proliference of demagogy and misinterpretations used in politics. By definition demagogy is:

A strategy for gaining political power by appealing to the prejudices, emotions, fears, vanities and expectations of the public—typically via impassioned rhetoric and propaganda, and often using nationalist, populist or religious themes. (via Wikipedia)

I understand that it has happened since the days of ancient greece, but with todays media outlets, it seems to be even more in your face, yet invisible at the same time.  What do I mean by that?  Well, it all boils down to ignorance.  I do not use that in a derogatory manner, but as a statement of what our great country seems to have slid its way into.  Unlike those on the left, I do not single out a single party or side to be ignorant, but instead encompass them all.

Our country is made up of several different kinds of people:

  • Those who “Don’t Know what they Don’t Know” (Ignorance is Bliss)
  • Those who “Don’t Know what they Know”
  • Those who “Know what they Know”
  • Those who “Know what they Don’t Know” (Ignorance is a Challenge)

Why do I split these groups as such, well this is why.  If you do not know what you do not know, then you are left with little knowledge besides what somebody tells you.  If you do not realize what you know, then, again, you are left to the whimsy of what somebody says, yet has some skepticism towards it.  If you know what you know, yet ignore what you don’t kn0w, you end up locked into a mindset, becoming a “so-called expert” in a subject, yet ignorant on points that may prove your belief incorrect.  Lastly, if you know what you don’t know, then you realize that there are other options, opinions, and other points of view, that may contradict with yours, but provide you with a springboard to discover them.  In turn you are able to integrate them with your beliefs, or at least understand where another person is coming from.

Most people are a combination of one or two of these.  But in today’s age of 24-hour news, a growing number are becoming those who either “Don’t Know what they Don’t Know” or “Don’t Know what they Know.” Because of this, more are being lead purely by headlines.  This is only excentuated by how sites and news is read by regular everyday folks. [1][2][3] Studies have shown that most people would rather scan an article, sometimes even going through the first paragraph, and moving on, instead of reading an entire article.

The Media Circus

News sources have taken full advantage of this, and usually attempt to “get their point across” in the beginning, leaving the rest of the article to sort out the details.  A little bit of a “shock factor.” Because of this, concepts contradicting the point trying to be put across is usually left for the very end, or burried somewhere in the middle of an article.  Since most folks are either going to be too busy to go through all the details, or simply don’t want to read the whole thing, misinformation becomes prevalent.

This is highlighted in the “Battle of the Broadcasters” between MSNBC and Fox News (just two examples). These stations are almost purely on opposite sides of the political spectrum.  Each one tossing mud at the other.  I am not going to say that I am unbias, because I do see far more “slams” from the left towards Fox News, then I do Fox News tossing mud back (not that it doesn’t happen). However, that is all that is really seen by the average viewer/user/reader. Nothing but a big circus of information.  Whichever side hits home best, is going to be the “right” side.

Stepping Up

However, there is light at the end of this media tunnel.  With the proliferation of “newsfeeds” and streams of content from nearly everywhere available, those of us who would rather have all our information together before debating something are able to properly cite sources, as unbias as possible. As I did earlier I’m not going to say that I am purely unbias, because that would not be true; however, I will say that I try to come at things from all sides.  Because of this, I am able to participate in discussions with evidence to back my beliefs or points.  But, like most things, it is not easy.  You have to actually do the research, but that is what proper journalism is, even if it is opinion based.

It is here that “The Demagogue” has no power.  It can roar and scream and pound its chest, but it will only end up looking like a fool. But there are consequenses. Facts can be skewed. If a proper method is followed, this can be avoided, but it is a tedious step to take.

The Many Shapes of “The Demagogue”

Let’s take one of the queen Demagogues for example, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. This dear woman, bless her heart, is adamant about what she believes in, whether it be true or not.  The problem, is since she is in a position of power, is that credibility and clout are easier to gain. Every time that I see her talk about those on the right, it is always the same thing, “they don’t like the poor, they want to kill social security and medicare, and want more money for the rich at the cost of the poor.”  By saying this, she “tugs at the heartstrings,” attempting to get the empathy vote on her side, yet cannot back up anything that she says, or at least has yet to do so with anything outside of her own opinions, or interpretations of snippets of information. This is the purest form of demagoguing in that it has no basis, yet is taken as fact because of her position.

Let’s take another example in Ms. Elizabeth Warren. Much like Ms. Pelosi, she will tug at the heartstrings, sometimes genuinely speaking of the working class, yet quickly turning to studies that she had done, ignoring any from other sources contradicting her. Her famous statement, touted by those on the left, “Nobody has gotten where they are on their own.” She then continues to lead into a rant about how companies, whether they are doing good or not, are only doing so because they are “shipping goods on roads that we paid for, and hiring workers that we paid to educate.” Yet there are a few facts left out.  In rebuttal to her statement, I would point out that each time that the company paid for gas for their trucks, they also “paid for those roads.” Yet that is ignored.  Just as the fact that she does not know that every one of those workers was in public schools, or if they went to college purely on government grants. Yet again, these nuances are ignored, and because she has become so popular, and pushed all the right buttons, is taken as fact.  This is not necessarily the purest form of demagoguing, but the most “malicious” for lack of a better word.  To know otherwise, yet ignore or leave out a fact because it is “inconvenient,” is not the way to properly make a point in your favor.

Slaying “The Demagogue”

Here comes the hard part. It is impossible to remove all propaganda, impassioned rhetoric, or forced appeals from public consumption. No matter which side of the aisle that you are on. However, it is possible to stand up against it.

I believe that we can stand up for what we believe in, and be passionate about it; however, unless you can back up your points, you best keep them to yourself.  Nobody wants to be preached to.

Appreciating what you have

This mortal world provides all kinds of material things.

Don’t worry, I’m not trying to get all holier than thou in this post, but the subject does deal with the material aspects of life, and how you acquire them. Simply put, you appreciate the things you earn, more than the things you are given. I guess that kind of brings me to the point of this post, and likely has given you an idea of what I’m trying to get at.

In today’s economy, just about everything has gotten exponentially more expensive.  Insurance, food, gas, homes, schooling, etc. Some of this is due to the slow devaluing of the US Dollar (ya, I believe that it is under way, thanks to QE1 and QE2 and the possibility at a QE3). Others are due to increases in regulations and increases in costs and new taxes for items (remember the price you pay is the “retail” price, not the cost of the item itself alone). Now, I will admit right here, I don’t have a degree in Economics, but I’m not stupid by any means, and have a well honed grasp of mathematics and common sense, as well as a well developed work ethic.

Everything I have, I appreciate. Whether it was given to me (gifts), or I worked to get it myself (pretty much everything else).  However, there are two kinds of appreciation.  For example, here’s where it gets into the political/social realm. I have a retirement plan.  I’m only 29, but I’m already working to be able to retire on my own money. There is also Social Security available (though in all reality it is “forced” upon you at a certain age). Sure, I have paid into my SS ever since my first paycheck when I was a Junior in HS, but it’s not the same.  Basically, my SS payments are going to pay for, at the moment, the portion of the baby boomers who did not have the foresight to work on their own retirement plans.  It also goes to those who are on disability, and need assistance (SSDI). However, part of my generation, and a large part of the baby boomer generation, expect to retire on SS alone, no matter how little or how much they worked or paid in. They appreciate the fact that it is there, but don’t really care where it comes from, as long as it’s there.  I on the other hand will have a different kind of appreciation for my retirement, as I will have the knowledge that I worked my ass off and contributed directly to my future.  Almost giving it a feeling of ownership, and pride.

Kind of a side point in this that inn our own individual ways, don’t we all wish that we had more money?  Isn’t that why we each look forward to review time, for that pay raise?  Isn’t that part of why we change jobs?  Isn’t that why we have garage sales or sell things on ebay?  Aren’t we all looking for extra money to spend on the things we want to?  What is wrong with that!?

The left plays these class warfare games because they feel guilty of the wealth they do have or they are envious of wealth they do not have.   In either case, their solution is to tax the wealthy, but what purpose does that serve?  How does confiscating wealth from someone who has earned it legally ease their guilt or improve their own situation?

I read an “open letter to Obama” on the subject of comprimise (which by the way is short sighted and rediculous in my eyes); however one of the comments caught my eye. A fellow named Chris Pruett posted in part of his comment (not taken out of context by the way):

I have “friends” who identify (or, perhaps more accurately, sympathize) with the conservative/ Tea Party movement who are oblivious to the fact that a big part of their agenda is cutting the very programs and services they will come to rely on as they age (or, heaven forbid, they get sick or injured).

This is where this post mostly came from.  He feels that the conservative/Tea Party movement are oblivious to the fact that cutting some of the programs (social security, medicare, etc.) is dumb because they will end up relying on those very programs as they age.  This is where he is absolutely incorrect. The views of conservatives and Tea Party members is that a person should take their future into their hands, and not expect the government to hand it to them.  It’s another view of my favorite phrase “personal responsibility”. Those who are conservative or right leaning, don’t plan to depend solely on a government program to fund them the rest of their lives.  More than likely, they to are working on preparing for their retirement, or are already harvesting what they have sewn.

On the part of his comment “(or, heaven forbid, they get sick or injured)” he is also assuming that they are not paying for health insurance outside of Medicare that is automatically placed on them at 55+. At the moment, I am paying for my family’s health insurance, it is through the company I work for, but I pay my share. I also plan to be researching and shopping around for other forms of health insurance for when I finally retire, therefore not relying on Medicare if I don’t have to.  This is how conservatives think as well.  Why wait for a hand out, when you could be working and planning ahead now?

In the end I will know that I have done my best to provide for my family in the future.  I appreciate what I have more, because I have worked for it.

The Blame Game

I’m getting sick of some of the blame game going on in Congress, with the President, and across Twitter/Google+/Internet in general.  I know some of my comments are going to seem as if I’m putting blame too, but please stick with me.

Our country is in massive debt, we all know that.  Over 8 years, Bush increased the debt by $5.7trillion, in the last 2.5 years, Mr. Obama has increased it by another $1.65trillion+ as of 2010.  Spending increases are the fault of both administrations.

Over the last several decades, this country has moved further and further into an entitlement society. More and more people expecting that the Government pay their way through life. Yes, there are those who simply can’t work, and who are disabled to the point that they can’t make ends meet (dispite assistance from family, etc.).  These people deserve assistance, as they have no other way.  I totally don’t mind paying my tax dollars into programs to help people like this.

On the other hand, poverty is a mindset for the rest. The single mom, who works to make ends meet, would need assistance, yes, and as Welfare was originally set up to be, it should be temporary.  However, this administration, and the far left who follow him, believe that it should not be temporary, and that throwing more and more money at these programs will bring these people out of the slump that they may be in.  The reality, is that that is far from the truth.  The more money you throw at somebody who is poor, and has likely been poor most of their lives, is only going to leave them expecting more money, with no work to earn it.  These programs need to be reformed to provide assistance, not in monetary funds, but in guidance.

Some former friends of mine are an example of this. They had more children, simply because they knew the government would pay them more in turn.  This way the husband can just work part time, while the wife sat at home and pretty much lived the good life, letting her parents take care of the kids more than she did. They did decide to try and go to college, cause “that’s the thing that everyone does”, so they got a Pell Grant… since a portion of the Pell Grant is for expenses (books, travel, etc.), they were happy to accept it, and what came out of it was… breast augmentation.  Ya, exactly.  There was no responsible spending of those funds, only what they *wanted* not what they *needed*.

I have had this conversation with a few of my followers on Twitter.  Their argument was that the Pell Grant money is meant to be used for whatever they feel is needed.  I agree to an extent, as there are always helpful things that can help your college career, however, the “latest and greatest” are not a requirement. A new laptop is not required every semester, a new iPad is not a requirement, but a nice to have.  When there were proposals to cut the amount of money provided from the Pell Grant, there was outrage by many.  But not by me.  Eventually, the student must take responsibility for their education, not me and my tax dollars. How are students to learn responsibility, and how life really is, if the government continues to hand out money when they need it. I am a stout believer in personal responsibility, and that *you* are the one who can make you go forward, and prosper, not the government.

Another couple pet peeves added by this administration, was the increase in unemployment to 99 weeks (*REDICULOUS*) and the lowering of availability of food stamps to families making $50,000 or less.  If you are making $50,000 you should be able to provide for your family without government assistance.  You simply have to make the right choices, and not blow your money on what you don’t really need.  Everyone has to tighten their belts.

My last comment I’ll leave is about the misconception of who pays taxes and who does not.  A lot of Americans still believe the “rich” (the reason I quote this is because it also includes those making $250,000, though is always called millionaires and billionaires), don’t pay enough taxes. According to CBO records, the top 10% of earners pay 45% of the Nations income tax. On the flip side, 53% of Americans pay no income tax at all; yet are the ones calling to tax the rich.  This is despicable to me.  I make $60,000 a year, that is our family income. I also pay my taxes, Medicare, SS, and health insurance, and contribute to a 401k.  That drops that $60,000 a year significantly.  I end up taking home about 68% of that. This happens to everybody who pays income tax, state tax, etc.  Now, those who make $250,000+ are usually also business owners, and I know for a fact, that if you are a business owner, unless you want to be massively in debt, your money, is company money, so more likely then not, the payroll taxes come out of your pocket.  You also pay those quarterly, not just on April 15th.  In addition, companies also pay unemployment tax, social security tax, and medicare taxes.  If they decided to provide the benefit, they also pay a portion of the health insurance that the employee does not pay for.  How much does that really leave?  Not as much as you would think.

Yes, millionaires and billionaires could probably afford to pay more taxes… but why should they?  The burden is really on their backs and not the middle class.  It just feels that way, because the middle class doesn’t have the extra cash lying around.

Close loopholes, that’s fine, and makes sense, remove some subsidies from companies that don’t really need it (aka are already beyond the beginning stages of company building, and are making a profit).  But don’t blame the rich for “not paying their fair share”, blame the portion of the 53% who take the earned income credit (knowing they don’t have to).