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glo
07-07-2007, 03:31 PM
I heard this statment today, which said that 'the more a religion demands its followers to obey and follow rules and laws, the more is fosters prideful and superior thinking and feelings of self-righteousness in its followers'.


[Self-righteousness - def.: 'Confident of one's own righteousness, esp. when smugly moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others.' (Dictionary.com Unabridge)
'Piously sure of one's own righteousness; moralistic.' (American Heritage Dictionary)]


I thought that was an interesting statement to discuss in the Comparative religion section.
Any thoughts or comments?

peace
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Abdul Fattah
07-09-2007, 07:55 PM
On the other hand, is it logical that IF a religion is true, that it would tell it's followers to follow whatever the want and that it all matters little. :)
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glo
07-09-2007, 08:04 PM
I understood the statement to mean that there is a risk of people becoming prideful and looking down on others.

For example, it seems that Islam and Christianity both teach it's followers not to look down or judge others, and yet it becomes very easy to fall into the trap of looking down on others (believers and /or non-believer), thinking 'I am better than you', 'I give more to charity that you', 'I dress more modestly that you', 'I am more pious than you' ...

I understood the statement to say that 'the stricter the rules/laws, the greater the risk of developing that 'superior thinking'.

What do you think?

Speaking for myself I certainly have to confess that I am often battling my inner demons of self-righteousness ... :embarrass

Peace
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wilberhum
07-09-2007, 08:20 PM
Originally Posted by glo
I heard this statment today, which said that 'the more a religion demands it's followers to obey and follow rules and laws, the more is fosters prideful and superior thinking and feelings of self-righteousness in it's followers'.


[Self-righteousness - def.: 'Confident of one's own righteousness, esp. when smugly moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others.' (Dictionary.com Unabridge)
'Piously sure of one's own righteousness; moralistic.' (American Heritage Dictionary)]


I thought that was an interesting statement to discuss in the Comparative religion section.
Any thoughts or comments?

peace
That is a really interesting thought.
It does seam to be fundamentally true.
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Muezzin
07-09-2007, 08:24 PM
Just to get a bit post-modernly self-righteous about the quote in the first post, it's 'its' in this context, with no apostrophe. :p
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glo
07-09-2007, 08:30 PM
Originally Posted by Muezzin
Just to get a bit post-modernly self-righteous about the quote in the first post, it's 'its' in this context, with no apostrophe. :p
:D

It's not so much a direct quote, as my own paraphrasing ... so I'm afraid I have to take personal responsibility, brother! :hiding:

(I never got the hang of that particular apostrophy rule ... !)

I shall correct it at once ... :)
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glo
07-09-2007, 08:36 PM
Originally Posted by Iqram
:sl:

Well sure you're going to have an idea that what you believe is correct and everyone else is wrong naturally in your mind. It's when people start showing it off in ways which aren't normal (eg. unneccessary violence). Other than that I don't see the harm in this as long as it isn't displayed in a wrong manner.
Do you think how we behave is all that matters?

What about our inner attitudes and thoughts? Things we may be able to keep hidden away in our hearts, but which God sees and knows about.
Is it enough to act understanding and forgiving, but not feeling it in your heart?

If God is asking us not to be prideful and judgmental, can we just pretend not to be, but still secretly look down on others and judge them?

Peace
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Umar001
07-09-2007, 08:41 PM
I think it is an interesting concept. I would ask the person whether they would feel that this temptation to become self righteous would be then classified as a test.

I think no matter how you look at it, it will always happen. Let's take an example, someone replies to the above statement;

Duh!! No way, in Islam we are taught to realise that any good we do is from God alone and that we should always humble ourselves, and no matter how much good we do it will never be enough execept with Allah's mercy

Or a Christians says,

Well the Bible teaches that we are not saved through the rigtheous things we do but through God's mercy, Titus 3:5

But the above itself, if someone grasps that concept, i.e. I will only be saved through God's mercy, it is possible that he might then become proud or arrogant that he himself has grasps the concept and others might not have. You see what I mean? He might himself have a momentary lapse in which he sucumbs to the wishpers of the devil through which he himself falls into it. Whether such a slip would be sinful I don't know. But, showing off is a very hidden matter.

Pretty interesting.
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Muezzin
07-09-2007, 08:42 PM
Originally Posted by glo
:D

It's not so much a direct quote, as my own paraphrasing ... so I'm afraid I have to take personal responsibility, brother! :hiding:

(I never got the hang of that particular apostrophy rule ... !)
It's okay, everyone does it on t'Internet.

I shall correct it at once ... :)
Good stuff.

About the topic: Hmm... I suppose one could see it that way, but I see the flaws that religious adherents exhibit as being indicative of their own personal imperfections, rather than being indicative of the religion's perceived imperfections.

Taking the quote's logic further - does that mean people who adhere to the laws of UK would be more likely to find those of, say, Holland, inferior because of the latter's more liberal, permissive slant?
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Abdul Fattah
07-09-2007, 08:54 PM
Originally Posted by glo
I understood the statement to mean that there is a risk of people becoming prideful and looking down on others.

For example, it seems that Islam and Christianity both teach it's followers not to look down or judge others, and yet it becomes very easy to fall into the trap of looking down on others (believers and /or non-believer), thinking 'I am better than you', 'I give more to charity that you', 'I dress more modestly that you', 'I am more pious than you' ...

I understood the statement to say that 'the stricter the rules/laws, the greater the risk of developing that 'superior thinking'.

What do you think?

Speaking for myself I certainly have to confess that I am often battling my inner demons of self-righteousness ... :embarrass

Peace
Yeah I think it's only natural for religion to have pitfalls/traps. Another example would be the importance of tawheed (monotheism) and then directing our prayers towards the Ka'aba. A test that sadly some seem to be failing. Like it says in the Qur'an:

Alif. Lam. Mim.
Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, "We believe", and that they will not be tested?
We did test those before them, and Allah will certainly know those who are true from those who are false. (Al-ankaboot 29:1-3)


As for not feeling superior, I always liked the story of the surath the cave:

Set forth to them the parable of two men: for one of them We provided two gardens of grape-vines and surrounded them with date palms; in between the two We placed corn-fields.
Each of those gardens brought forth its produce, and failed not in the least therein: in the midst of them We caused a river to flow.
(Abundant) was the produce this man had : he said to his companion, in the course of a mutual argument: "more wealth have I than you, and more honour and power in (my following of) men."
He went into his garden in a state (of mind) unjust to his soul: He said, "I deem not that this will ever perish,
"Nor do I deem that the Hour (of Judgment) will (ever) come: Even if I am brought back to my Lord, I shall surely find (there) something better in exchange."
His companion said to him, in the course of the argument with him: "Dost thou deny Him Who created thee out of dust, then out of a sperm-drop, then fashioned thee into a man?
"But (I think) for my part that He is Allah, My Lord, and none shall I associate with my Lord.
"Why didst thou not, as thou wentest into thy garden, say: 'Allah's will (be done)! There is no power but with Allah!' If thou dost see me less than thee in wealth and sons,
"It may be that my Lord will give me something better than thy garden, and that He will send on thy garden thunderbolts (by way of reckoning) from heaven, making it (but) slippery sand!-
Or the water of the garden will run off underground so that thou wilt never be able to find it."
So his fruits (and enjoyment) were encompassed (with ruin), and he remained twisting and turning his hands over what he had spent on his property, which had (now) tumbled to pieces to its very foundations, and he could only say, "Woe is me! Would I had never ascribed partners to my Lord and Cherisher!"
Nor had he numbers to help him against Allah, nor was he able to deliver himself.
There, the (only) protection comes from Allah, the True One. He is the Best to reward, and the Best to give success.
Set forth to them the similitude of the life of this world: It is like the rain which we send down from the skies: the earth's vegetation absorbs it, but soon it becomes dry stubble, which the winds do scatter: it is (only) Allah who prevails over all things.
Wealth and sons are allurements of the life of this world: But the things that endure, good deeds, are best in the sight of thy Lord, as rewards, and best as (the foundation for) hopes.
(Al-Kahf 18:32-46)
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glo
07-09-2007, 09:02 PM
Originally Posted by Abdul Fattah
Wealth and sons are allurements of the life of this world: But the things that endure, good deeds, are best in the sight of thy Lord, as rewards, and best as (the foundation for) hopes.
(Al-Kahf 18:32-46)[/B]
Nice story!

But even 'good deeds' and 'righteous acts' can lead us into pride and superiority ... just as much or even more so than wealth and material possessions ... don't you think?
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Muezzin
07-09-2007, 09:03 PM
Originally Posted by glo
Nice story!

But even 'good deeds' and 'righteous acts' can lead us into pride and superiority ... just as much or even more so than wealth and material possessions ... don't you think?
Religions also tend to teach their followers humility. :)
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Abdul Fattah
07-09-2007, 10:32 PM
Originally Posted by glo
Nice story!

But even 'good deeds' and 'righteous acts' can lead us into pride and superiority ... just as much or even more so than wealth and material possessions ... don't you think?
Yes I agree, that 's why it's good that there are such metaphors in the Qur'an as a reminder that our knowledge is as a garden given by birthright. We shouldn't look down upon those with less knowledge, but instead be thankfull.
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Pygoscelis
07-10-2007, 01:01 AM
It is an inherent problem with monontheism (including both Islam and Christianity, Judaism too).

As soon as you have people claiming to have the only God and the only acceptable way to live, you're going to have problems, including a superiority complex, division, and intolerance.
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Keltoi
07-10-2007, 05:18 AM
Originally Posted by Pygoscelis
It is an inherent problem with monontheism (including both Islam and Christianity, Judaism too).

As soon as you have people claiming to have the only God and the only acceptable way to live, you're going to have problems, including a superiority complex, division, and intolerance.
So there were no feelings of superiority, division, or intolerance during the days of the Greek and Roman polytheism? You are probably correct that since these cultures observed an extended pantheon of deities, their intolerance wasn't based on a particular god. However, Romans felt that monotheism was a strange concept, and were highly intolerant of those who perscribed to monotheistic worship. I think even beyond religion, feelings of superiority, sewing of divisions, and intolerance are a product of culture. More precisely, what that particular culture is defined by. In many cases it is religion, but in others it is empire, wealth, strength, etc.

Just to add a thought, before the rise of monotheism, the world was dominated by the strong. The strong were rarely tolerant of the weak or concerned with protecting the defenseless. Although I don't agree with much that Nietzshe wrote, his "Geneology of Morals" puts forward an interesting theory explaining how Christianity replaced the "natural" order, where the strong dominate the weak, and put the "weak" in positions of dominance.
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snakelegs
07-10-2007, 05:45 AM
just a comment. you do not have to be religious to get all self-righteous! i remember how righteous i felt when i was involved in a political struggle years ago - and how i enjoyed every minute of it. i was Right! it was cool.....
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glo
07-10-2007, 05:54 AM
Originally Posted by snakelegs
just a comment. you do not have to be religious to get all self-righteous! i remember how righteous i felt when i was involved in a political struggle years ago - and how i enjoyed every minute of it. i was Right! it was cool.....
LOL
And what happened then, snakelegs? Did you stop being 'right'? :eek: Did you manage to see the other side's point-of-view? Did you just mellow?

I can see you waving placards and shouting slogans ... :D
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snakelegs
07-10-2007, 06:05 AM
no, i never stopped being right, but my side lost the struggle, so i got over it. but oh, it was nice to be righteous! (sigh). the other group were sooooo wrong! (they were marxists). ah, them wuz the days!
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Pygoscelis
07-10-2007, 09:07 AM
Originally Posted by Keltoi
puts forward an interesting theory explaining how Christianity replaced the "natural" order, where the strong dominate the weak, and put the "weak" in positions of dominance.
I don't see how Christianity (or any religion) would effect this. God belief and submision is the ultimate in authoritarianism. Obedience to power is the whole point of it. Ultimate obedience to the one with the greatest power (God). And those who claim to and are believed to speak for God are then likewise empowered (the Pope, the King, etc).
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Pygoscelis
07-10-2007, 09:08 AM
Originally Posted by snakelegs
just a comment. you do not have to be religious to get all self-righteous! i remember how righteous i felt when i was involved in a political struggle years ago - and how i enjoyed every minute of it. i was Right! it was cool.....

Did the snakes have legs movement die? :D
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KAding
07-10-2007, 02:50 PM
From reading the Qu'ran I got the feeling it quite explicitly tells Muslims they are superior, to say, polytheists or non-believers. So I'm not sure how much of this attitude can be blamed on 'personal imperfections'. Surely, if your way of life leads to heaven and that of others to hell, your way of life is better? I don't see how someone could NOT be self-righteous with those beliefs?

Not to say self-righteousness is limited to Islam or anything, of course it isn't. But the principle 'to each his own' is not something that is accepted in Islam, so I don't think Islam can teach that significant different lifestyles can all lead to happiness/salvation? In which case it is only logical to reject these alternative lifestyles, there is only one perfect path.
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Abdul Fattah
07-11-2007, 06:10 PM
Originally Posted by KAding
From reading the Qu'ran I got the feeling it quite explicitly tells Muslims they are superior, to say, polytheists or non-believers. So I'm not sure how much of this attitude can be blamed on 'personal imperfections'. Surely, if your way of life leads to heaven and that of others to hell, your way of life is better? I don't see how someone could NOT be self-righteous with those beliefs?

Not to say self-righteousness is limited to Islam or anything, of course it isn't. But the principle 'to each his own' is not something that is accepted in Islam, so I don't think Islam can teach that significant different lifestyles can all lead to happiness/salvation? In which case it is only logical to reject these alternative lifestyles, there is only one perfect path.
Well, that depends on context you read it in, if you read it as being a man-made book, yes then it would be self righteous. If you believe it's divine, then there's nothing wrong with Allah subhana wa ta'ala mentioning which group is right and which is wrong, and btw, if you 'd look closely, you see that most of the time when the qur'an speaks about right and wrong it speaks in terms of behavior. (people doing this, people doing that, and not this kind of people and that kind of people).
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- Qatada -
07-11-2007, 06:27 PM
I'm so surprised at how much people speak about Islaam as if they're so knowledgable about it.


Allaah says in the Qur'an (translation of the meaning):


That home of the Hereafter (i.e. Paradise) We assign to those who do not desire exaltedness upon the earth or corruption. And the [best] outcome is for the righteous.

[Qur'an 28: 83]



Qur'an 25:63.

And the true servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk the earth with humility and when the ignorant address them, they respond with words of peace.



And Allaah narrates to us what Luqman said to his son:

O my son, establish prayer, enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and be patient over what befalls you. Indeed, [all] that is of the matters [requiring] determination.
"And turn not your face away from men with pride, nor walk in insolence through the earth. Verily, Allah likes not each arrogant boaster.

And be moderate (or show no insolence) in your walking, and lower your voice. Verily, the harshest of all voices is the voice (braying) of the ass (donkey)."


[Qur'an 31: 17-19]


The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "No one who has an atom's weight of pride in his heart will enter the Garden." A man said, "And if the man likes his clothes to be good and his sandals to be good?" He said, "Allah is Beautiful and loves beauty. Pride means to renounce the truth and abase [look down on] people." [Saheeh Muslim]



Haritha ibn Wahb said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, 'Shall I tell you about the people of the Fire? All those who are coarse, domineering, and arrogant.'" [Agreed upon]


Allaah tells us who the greatest among mankind are;


O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa [i.e. one of the Muttaqun (pious.] Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.

[Qur'an 49: 13]



Taqwa: piety, "God-consciousness." Taqwa involves constant awareness and remembrance of Allah, and conscious efforts to adhere to His commandments and abstain from whatever He has forbidden.
www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/humanrelations/womeninislam/idealmuslimah/Glossary.html




None of us should boast in pride that "I have the most taqwa" since it is Allaah Alone knows who truelly is good. So we remain modest and continue doing good deeds, hoping to gain Allaah's Mercy for the good we do, so that we may enter His paradise. Yet to be arrogant about the deeds we do is an attribute of satan, and it shows a lack of sincerety.




And Allaah knows best.




Peace.
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Grace Seeker
07-11-2007, 08:56 PM
Originally Posted by glo

(I never got the hang of that particular apostrophy rule ... !)
It with an apostrophe is always (one of the few times I can say always in English without fear of the exception) some type of contraction: It is, it has, it ____s. The other form then (without the apostrophe) is always the possessive as the plural of "it" is "those", "these", or "them".



Originally Posted by Muezzin
About the topic: Hmm... I suppose one could see it that way, but I see the flaws that religious adherents exhibit as being indicative of their own personal imperfections, rather than being indicative of the religion's perceived imperfections.

Taking the quote's logic further - does that mean people who adhere to the laws of UK would be more likely to find those of, say, Holland, inferior because of the latter's more liberal, permissive slant?
I think Muezzin makes a good point here distinguishing between the individual and the religion in terms of culpablity. But at the same time, the question has to be asked, do we find individuals behaving this way more in certain religions than in others? And if so, do they have anything in common, such as suggested in the opening post by glo?

As to the last question by Muezzin, yes, I think we may in fact see that same type of behavior. And it effects nearly all attitudes toward things that I can distinguish as "mine" versus "others". For instance, I know that softball is an imminiently superior sport to soccer (what many of you call futbol), but though I may couch my reasons in terms that (to me) appear to be superior logic, in reality they are just an emotional expression of that which I prefer for personal reasons.
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Grace Seeker
07-11-2007, 09:09 PM
Originally Posted by Abdul Fattah
Well, that depends on context you read it in, if you read it as being a man-made book, yes then it would be self righteous. If you believe it's divine, then there's nothing wrong with Allah subhana wa ta'ala mentioning which group is right and which is wrong, and btw, if you 'd look closely, you see that most of the time when the qur'an speaks about right and wrong it speaks in terms of behavior. (people doing this, people doing that, and not this kind of people and that kind of people).

But it can still lead to people thinking in self-righteous ways. They may indeed be the only right ones, but that does not mean that they have to see themselves as superior does it? Isn't it enough to know that one is blessed, without thinking of one's self as better? That is what I though some of the previous posters were getting at.
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Muezzin
07-11-2007, 09:33 PM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
It with an apostrophe is always (one of the few times I can say always in English without fear of the exception) some type of contraction: It is, it has, it ____s. The other form then (without the apostrophe) is always the possessive as the plural of "it" is "those", "these", or "them".
I wish English teachers would inform the youth of today of such grammatical wonders. Alas, the lads and lasses seem more interested in 'txting, lolz'.

I think Muezzin makes a good point here distinguishing between the individual and the religion in terms of culpablity. But at the same time, the question has to be asked, do we find individuals behaving this way more in certain religions than in others?
That's still kind of skewed. To take things into perspective, one needs to somehow measure the self-righteousness of religious people compared to that of non-religious people, to see if there is any empirical support for the claim.

Don't get me wrong - people do abuse religion to further their own haughtiness, but people don't neccessarily need religion to become arrogant. Does religion encourage a self-righteous attitude? Perhaps. But religion also tends to encourage humility. Thus, it becomes a balancing act for the individual following the religion - even though the follower might believe that he or she is the only one on the right path, that does not give him or her the right to act like an arrogant, condescending, word-I-can't-type-on-the-public-forums to other people.

As to the last question by Muezzin, yes, I think we may in fact see that same type of behavior. And it effects nearly all attitudes toward things that I can distinguish as "mine" versus "others". For instance, I know that softball is an imminiently superior sport to soccer (what many of you call futbol), but though I may couch my reasons in terms that (to me) appear to be superior logic, in reality they are just an emotional expression of that which I prefer for personal reasons.
True.
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Sarada
08-06-2007, 11:09 AM
Originally Posted by Pygoscelis
It is an inherent problem with monontheism (including both Islam and Christianity, Judaism too).

As soon as you have people claiming to have the only God and the only acceptable way to live, you're going to have problems, including a superiority complex, division, and intolerance.
I agree with you, Pygocellis. Pride and self-righteousness are easy traps to fall into. The antidote is a little humility and respect for others.
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Nσσя'υℓ Jαииαн
08-06-2007, 02:36 PM
That home of the Hereafter (i.e. Paradise) We assign to those who do not desire exaltedness upon the earth or corruption. And the [best] outcome is for the righteous.

[Qur'an 28: 83]



Qur'an 25:63.

And the true servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk the earth with humility and when the ignorant address them, they respond with words of peace.

^^ One word...HUMILITY! Before anyone actually thinks Islam condones selfish pride...please read again..! If one is truly self righteous, they know to do it only for God because only His reward is everlasting. If one is truly righteous, you wouldn't find the need to show off to the world because what you do should only matter in the sight of God. THAT'S that difference.
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^..sTr!vEr..^
08-06-2007, 02:51 PM
umm...i think it depends on whether your heart is satisfied on what you believe & do...thats the main thing..
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Sarada
08-06-2007, 06:36 PM
Originally Posted by Jazzy
^^ One word...HUMILITY! Before anyone actually thinks Islam condones selfish pride...please read again..! If one is truly self righteous, they know to do it only for God because only His reward is everlasting. If one is truly righteous, you wouldn't find the need to show off to the world because what you do should only matter in the sight of God. THAT'S that difference.
I hope you did not think I believe that Islam condones selfish pride or arrogance in any form. However, many people who believe that their group alone has the Truth are tempted to act in a self-righteous manner. This includes Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
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Nσσя'υℓ Jαииαн
08-06-2007, 10:06 PM
No I wasn't talking to you. I'm not sure where you got that idea. I was speaking to everyone in general. I never said who does or who doesn't behave according to what manner. I'm stating the difference.

Peace
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