An Atheist Learns from His Near-Death Experience that God Is Different from What Religions Describe

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Ray Catania, What Is the Real God?

Ray Catania is a renowned author, metaphysical teacher, theorist, and coach. He is a survivor of a near-death experience (NDE) and has devoted his life to assisting others in reaching their full potential. Ray’s distinctive approach blends scientific theories with his personal life experiences to uncover how anyone can utilize the power of the mind, shape their own reality, and BE Limitless! Catania has authored two captivating books in his Awakening Series: “The Atheist and The Afterlife” and “You Are Still Alive, Now Act Like It.”

In this YouTube video, Ray discusses his near-death experience and shares insights into the nature of reality and the concept of God. He suggests that God differs from the depiction found in religions. A transcript of the video is provided below the video controls.

atheist and the afterlife

You can support this effort to give people the truth about the reality of the afterlife with your $6 contribution.

Ray Catania Explains Who God Really Is

Never one for religion, I faced death as an atheist. But something extraordinary happened. My near-death experience (NDE) was undeniably real. It opened my eyes to a different kind of existence, not necessarily the God portrayed by organized religion. 

My name is Ray Catania. Growing up, I craved peace. My childhood was riddled with trauma and constant conflict at home, which I desperately wanted to escape.

The Gas Leak: A Life-Altering Event

It happened when I was 20, still living at home. My bedroom, perched above the kitchen, became a silent battleground. A gas leak crept in, stealing the air from the room as I slept. 

Panic surged as I woke, limbs heavy, leaden. Three tries to escape the bed, each a desperate fight against an unseen enemy. Finally, a frantic heave, a crash – the floor met my face. I knew, with a chilling certainty, that this was a fight for life.

The impact with the floor held no pain, a chilling confirmation of what I already knew. I was no longer in that lifeless shell. I hovered near the ceiling, a neutral observer in my tragedy. 

Fear was absent, replaced by a wave of euphoria, a liberation from earthly burdens. The room pulsed with an impossible vibrancy, colors richer than ever before. In the corner, a beacon of pure white light pierced the darkness, illuminating not my fallen body but the essence of me, now free.

Hesitation flickered within me as I drifted towards the light. A presence awaited at its heart, its form obscured by the brilliant white glow. Gender seemed irrelevant, for an aura of pure serenity emanated from this being. A voice, both gentle and powerful, washed over me, “Ray, it’s alright. 

Come into the light.” The warmth in those words melted any lingering apprehension, replaced by an overwhelming sense of welcome. As I ventured closer, the euphoria intensified beyond anything words could capture. 

It surpassed all earthly pleasures, a state of pure, unadulterated bliss that resonated through every fiber of my being. This wasn’t mere happiness but a profound sense of peace and belonging that transcended human understanding. The closest word I can offer is euphoria, but it feels utterly inadequate compared to the experience’s true depth.

So, you see, I really wanted to keep going towards the light, to see what was on the other side. But at that moment, I found myself looking down at myself, and suddenly, my father rushed into the room. 

He saw me and immediately picked me up, his face filled with distress. He was crying and holding me tightly, shouting for the paramedics to come.

You know, my relationship with my father wasn’t great, to say the least. We hardly ever hugged, maybe less than five times and one of those times was when I was no longer alive. 

But in that moment, I longed for that connection with him. I wanted things to be different between us. So, I decided that if I went back, maybe it would change.

The Decision to Return: A Father’s Influence


I started to communicate with the being, almost like I was bargaining. I told them, “I can’t leave him like this.” It was as if I was pleading for the chance to return.

And the next thing I knew, when I woke up, I was back in my body. I wasn’t in that room anymore. I was on the living room floor, and the paramedics were working on me diligently with all their tools and equipment. 

They were talking to each other urgently, saying things like, “We have to get the truck. We have to get the truck.” They were referring to the ambulance and saying they needed to take me to the hospital right away.

But I was feeling great. I told them, “Guys, listen, I feel fantastic. I’ve never felt better. Don’t worry about me. I’m good.” However, they insisted, “You’re not good. You don’t realize it, but you’re not good, and you have to come to the hospital.”

I was still excited about my experience. I asked them, “But did you see the light? Did you hear the voice? Wasn’t that awesome?” Now, they were looking at me like I was crazy or insane.

I entered the afterlife as an atheist, but when I came back, I was a believer. And let me tell you, Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) are very, very real. 

After my NDE, I continued to live my life recklessly. Even though I was only 20 years old, I no longer feared death. So, I found myself in dangerous situations where death was a real possibility.

I worked for criminals and often found myself in environments where people would shoot at each other. I remember one instance vividly: I was hiding under a bar, and the being from my NDE communicated with me, telling me to escape through the side door. 

But I hesitated because I was afraid the shooter would spot me. Yet, the being insisted, repeating, ‘Side door, side door, side door.

So I thought, ‘What have I got to lose?’ and decided to follow the being’s advice. I made my way to the side door, managed to get out, and then had to run down another long corridor to reach another side door, which led me to my car. 

It was unusual for me to park in that spot; I never parked there except for that day. I don’t know what made me park on that side of the building. Normally, I would have parked all the way on the other side and might not have made it out in time.

So, the fact that I parked there was very strange in itself. But what was even stranger was that this being seemed to be guiding me out of the dangerous situation.

And this kind of thing has happened to me many times in my life, not just once. I remember another incident when I was younger, swimming in the ocean. 

Suddenly, I got caught in a strong undertow that pulled me far out to sea. No matter how hard I tried to swim back to shore, the undertow kept pushing me back. 

The lifeguard wasn’t even looking my way; he was facing the other direction. I was desperately trying to get someone’s attention because I felt like I was going to drown. And indeed, they knew I was in trouble, but no one seemed to notice me. Everyone else had already gotten out of the water.

I was starting to sink, and then the being from my NDE spoke to me, telling me to stay calm, swim sideways, and take as much time as I needed to reach the shore. 

I followed the instructions. It was something I would have never known to do on my own, especially at such a young age. I swam at an angle, remaining calm, and eventually made it to the shore. It took a long time, but I stayed relaxed. 

I learned that panicking can lead to disaster because you lose control and start breathing erratically. But with the being’s guidance, I remained calm, followed the instructions, and reached safety.

Understanding of God and the Afterlife


So that’s when I had to start accepting that there’s something more to life. What exactly it is, I’m still figuring out, even as I go through life and meet my second wife. But one thing I’m certain of is that there’s more beyond this life, an afterlife.

Many people who are deeply religious interpret their Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) according to their religious teachings. And they might be right, but for me, I try to see things from a broader perspective, combining both science and the insights from NDEs. I look beyond the conventional beliefs.

I wouldn’t say that God doesn’t exist, but I believe God is something different from what religion often describes. I see God more as a collective consciousness, as Carl Jung described it, and we are all connected to that consciousness. 

Even Jesus, who I believe walked the Earth and was an extraordinary human being, taught us that God is within us and we are a part of God. He never claimed to be the only son of God; in fact, he said we are all sons of God. This means we are all connected to this divine entity, and we are all creators of the universe collectively.

In essence, if we’re all part of this universal consciousness, then we’re all equal. No one person is above another. We’re all connected to this energy and shape the universe together.

And that just makes more sense to me than the idea of one single higher power making decisions for everyone. Because if that were the case, we could eliminate many of the terrible things happening in the world. The reason we don’t is because we are collectively responsible. 

We’re part of a collective consciousness. Some people are good, and some are bad, and they all contribute to this collective consciousness. Until more people choose to do good and fewer choose to do bad, the balance remains uncertain because we are all part of this entity.

A great analogy I’ve heard from Eckhart Tolle explains why people do what they do. Imagine the sun as God or the universal collective, the source of love from which we all come. 

The sun provides energy to the Earth, sustaining life. However, when this energy enters a living being, it’s up to that being to decide what to do with it. You can’t blame the sun for someone’s actions. 

If the sun gives me life, but I choose to use that energy for something negative, it’s not the sun’s fault; it’s my decision. We are all creators, all part of the creation of this universe. We are all connected to God, to the collective.

So, we are individuals in the sense that we receive this energy, which shapes who we are and what we become. But what we choose to do with it is completely up to us. 

If it’s true that we get to decide the kind of life we’ll live, why would someone choose a challenging life over an easy one? The difference lies in the potential for enlightenment. 

Someone who chooses a difficult life has the opportunity to become enlightened, while someone who chooses an easy life may not achieve that in their lifetime. The challenges and hardships allow a person to rise above them.

My best days were actually my worst days. Those were the days when I truly shined, demonstrated my character, and proved that I could be a better person. These are the days that truly reveal a person’s character and measure their true strength.

Now, if everything had come easily to me and life was simple and straightforward, I wouldn’t be here talking with you today. You probably wouldn’t be interested in hearing my story. 

It’s because of the transformation I underwent and others wish to undergo that I’m here sharing with you. Many people have faced trauma, experiencing horrific things. 

Sometimes, these experiences are inflicted upon us rather than us causing them. Regardless, we are all involved in these traumatic experiences, and the key is to rise above them. We must face them, become stronger, and take steps toward enlightenment.

Let’s take a look at the Buddha’s story again. He was a prince, meaning he had everything he could ever want right at his fingertips. However, his father, the king, told him never to leave the palace grounds, warning him of the hardships beyond the walls. 

But the Buddha realized that he couldn’t attain enlightenment by living a sheltered life, especially the easy part of it. So, he made the bold decision to venture beyond the walls, leaving behind his parents, his wife, and even his child in his quest to alleviate suffering for all people.

To achieve this goal, he knew he had to endure suffering himself. So, he set out with nothing—no money, no clothes, no food, no water, nothing. 

No one recognized him because no one had seen his face before; they didn’t know he was a prince. For many years, he lived as a homeless man, enduring unimaginable suffering until he finally attained enlightenment.

If he had stayed within the safety of his father’s compound, he would never have reached enlightenment. Furthermore, he wouldn’t have been able to impart the wisdom he gained to others.

The way I see it, even the most morally flawed individuals when they return, are presented with their lives and shown both their good and bad deeds. 

I don’t believe in the existence of a strictly good place and a bad place, nor do I believe in heaven and hell. Instead, I think that individuals are confronted with the consequences of their actions upon crossing over and gain a profound understanding of why they made those choices.

I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to Life After Life for inviting me here today. And Vivian, I truly appreciate your hospitality. It was an honor and a privilege to be part of this, and I look forward to the opportunity to do it again. So, thank you to everyone involved, and thank you for watching.

Conclusion


In conclusion, Ray Catania’s journey from skeptic to believer, as evidenced through his near-death experience (NDE) and subsequent insights, offers a profound perspective on the nature of reality, spirituality, and the concept of God. Catania’s narrative transcends traditional religious boundaries, emphasizing a broader understanding of God as a collective consciousness that unites all beings. Through his personal encounters with the divine, Catania underscores the interconnectedness of humanity and the universe, suggesting that each individual possesses the capacity to shape their reality and contribute to the collective consciousness. Moreover, his reflections on the significance of challenges, suffering, and enlightenment echo universal themes found in various spiritual traditions, underscoring the transformative power of adversity in one’s spiritual journey. Ultimately, Catania’s message invites introspection and contemplation, urging individuals to embrace their inherent potential, confront their past, and strive toward personal growth and enlightenment.

FAQs


What is Ray Catania’s background?

Ray Catania is a renowned author, metaphysical teacher, theorist, and coach. He survived a near-death experience (NDE) and has dedicated his life to assisting others in reaching their full potential. His unique approach blends scientific theories with personal life experiences to uncover the power of the mind and the nature of reality.

What are the titles of Ray Catania’s books?

Ray Catania has authored two captivating books in his Awakening Series: “The Atheist and The Afterlife” and “You Are Still Alive, Now Act Like It.” These books delve into his personal journey, insights from his near-death experience, and his perspectives on spirituality, consciousness, and personal growth.

How does Ray Catania define God?

Ray Catania’s interpretation of God differs from traditional religious depictions. He views God as a collective consciousness wherein all beings are interconnected and contribute to shaping reality. Catania emphasizes the idea that individuals are equal parts of this universal consciousness and are capable of co-creating their experiences.

What message does Ray Catania convey about challenges and enlightenment?

Ray Catania suggests that challenges and suffering present personal growth and enlightenment opportunities. He emphasizes the importance of confronting adversity, facing traumas, and transcending limitations to attain a deeper understanding of oneself and the universe. Catania’s narrative underscores the transformative power of resilience and the pursuit of enlightenment amidst life’s challenges.

Ray Catania, What Is the Real God?

Ray Catania is a renowned author, metaphysical teacher, theorist, and coach. He is a survivor of a near-death experience (NDE) and has devoted his life to assisting others in reaching their full potential. Ray’s distinctive approach blends scientific theories with his personal life experiences to uncover how anyone can utilize the power of the mind, shape their own reality, and BE Limitless! Catania has authored two captivating books in his Awakening Series: “The Atheist and The Afterlife” and “You Are Still Alive, Now Act Like It.”

In this YouTube video, Ray discusses his near-death experience and shares insights into the nature of reality and the concept of God. He suggests that God differs from the depiction found in religions. A transcript of the video is provided below the video controls.

atheist and the afterlife

You can support this effort to give people the truth about the reality of the afterlife with your $6 contribution.

Ray Catania Explains Who God Really Is

Never one for religion, I faced death as an atheist. But something extraordinary happened. My near-death experience (NDE) was undeniably real. It opened my eyes to a different kind of existence, not necessarily the God portrayed by organized religion. 

My name is Ray Catania. Growing up, I craved peace. My childhood was riddled with trauma and constant conflict at home, which I desperately wanted to escape.

The Gas Leak: A Life-Altering Event

It happened when I was 20, still living at home. My bedroom, perched above the kitchen, became a silent battleground. A gas leak crept in, stealing the air from the room as I slept. 

Panic surged as I woke, limbs heavy, leaden. Three tries to escape the bed, each a desperate fight against an unseen enemy. Finally, a frantic heave, a crash – the floor met my face. I knew, with a chilling certainty, that this was a fight for life.

The impact with the floor held no pain, a chilling confirmation of what I already knew. I was no longer in that lifeless shell. I hovered near the ceiling, a neutral observer in my tragedy. 

Fear was absent, replaced by a wave of euphoria, a liberation from earthly burdens. The room pulsed with an impossible vibrancy, colors richer than ever before. In the corner, a beacon of pure white light pierced the darkness, illuminating not my fallen body but the essence of me, now free.

Hesitation flickered within me as I drifted towards the light. A presence awaited at its heart, its form obscured by the brilliant white glow. Gender seemed irrelevant, for an aura of pure serenity emanated from this being. A voice, both gentle and powerful, washed over me, “Ray, it’s alright. 

Come into the light.” The warmth in those words melted any lingering apprehension, replaced by an overwhelming sense of welcome. As I ventured closer, the euphoria intensified beyond anything words could capture. 

It surpassed all earthly pleasures, a state of pure, unadulterated bliss that resonated through every fiber of my being. This wasn’t mere happiness but a profound sense of peace and belonging that transcended human understanding. The closest word I can offer is euphoria, but it feels utterly inadequate compared to the experience’s true depth.

So, you see, I really wanted to keep going towards the light, to see what was on the other side. But at that moment, I found myself looking down at myself, and suddenly, my father rushed into the room. 

He saw me and immediately picked me up, his face filled with distress. He was crying and holding me tightly, shouting for the paramedics to come.

You know, my relationship with my father wasn’t great, to say the least. We hardly ever hugged, maybe less than five times and one of those times was when I was no longer alive. 

But in that moment, I longed for that connection with him. I wanted things to be different between us. So, I decided that if I went back, maybe it would change.

The Decision to Return: A Father’s Influence


I started to communicate with the being, almost like I was bargaining. I told them, “I can’t leave him like this.” It was as if I was pleading for the chance to return.

And the next thing I knew, when I woke up, I was back in my body. I wasn’t in that room anymore. I was on the living room floor, and the paramedics were working on me diligently with all their tools and equipment. 

They were talking to each other urgently, saying things like, “We have to get the truck. We have to get the truck.” They were referring to the ambulance and saying they needed to take me to the hospital right away.

But I was feeling great. I told them, “Guys, listen, I feel fantastic. I’ve never felt better. Don’t worry about me. I’m good.” However, they insisted, “You’re not good. You don’t realize it, but you’re not good, and you have to come to the hospital.”

I was still excited about my experience. I asked them, “But did you see the light? Did you hear the voice? Wasn’t that awesome?” Now, they were looking at me like I was crazy or insane.

I entered the afterlife as an atheist, but when I came back, I was a believer. And let me tell you, Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) are very, very real. 

After my NDE, I continued to live my life recklessly. Even though I was only 20 years old, I no longer feared death. So, I found myself in dangerous situations where death was a real possibility.

I worked for criminals and often found myself in environments where people would shoot at each other. I remember one instance vividly: I was hiding under a bar, and the being from my NDE communicated with me, telling me to escape through the side door. 

But I hesitated because I was afraid the shooter would spot me. Yet, the being insisted, repeating, ‘Side door, side door, side door.

So I thought, ‘What have I got to lose?’ and decided to follow the being’s advice. I made my way to the side door, managed to get out, and then had to run down another long corridor to reach another side door, which led me to my car. 

It was unusual for me to park in that spot; I never parked there except for that day. I don’t know what made me park on that side of the building. Normally, I would have parked all the way on the other side and might not have made it out in time.

So, the fact that I parked there was very strange in itself. But what was even stranger was that this being seemed to be guiding me out of the dangerous situation.

And this kind of thing has happened to me many times in my life, not just once. I remember another incident when I was younger, swimming in the ocean. 

Suddenly, I got caught in a strong undertow that pulled me far out to sea. No matter how hard I tried to swim back to shore, the undertow kept pushing me back. 

The lifeguard wasn’t even looking my way; he was facing the other direction. I was desperately trying to get someone’s attention because I felt like I was going to drown. And indeed, they knew I was in trouble, but no one seemed to notice me. Everyone else had already gotten out of the water.

I was starting to sink, and then the being from my NDE spoke to me, telling me to stay calm, swim sideways, and take as much time as I needed to reach the shore. 

I followed the instructions. It was something I would have never known to do on my own, especially at such a young age. I swam at an angle, remaining calm, and eventually made it to the shore. It took a long time, but I stayed relaxed. 

I learned that panicking can lead to disaster because you lose control and start breathing erratically. But with the being’s guidance, I remained calm, followed the instructions, and reached safety.

Understanding of God and the Afterlife


So that’s when I had to start accepting that there’s something more to life. What exactly it is, I’m still figuring out, even as I go through life and meet my second wife. But one thing I’m certain of is that there’s more beyond this life, an afterlife.

Many people who are deeply religious interpret their Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) according to their religious teachings. And they might be right, but for me, I try to see things from a broader perspective, combining both science and the insights from NDEs. I look beyond the conventional beliefs.

I wouldn’t say that God doesn’t exist, but I believe God is something different from what religion often describes. I see God more as a collective consciousness, as Carl Jung described it, and we are all connected to that consciousness. 

Even Jesus, who I believe walked the Earth and was an extraordinary human being, taught us that God is within us and we are a part of God. He never claimed to be the only son of God; in fact, he said we are all sons of God. This means we are all connected to this divine entity, and we are all creators of the universe collectively.

In essence, if we’re all part of this universal consciousness, then we’re all equal. No one person is above another. We’re all connected to this energy and shape the universe together.

And that just makes more sense to me than the idea of one single higher power making decisions for everyone. Because if that were the case, we could eliminate many of the terrible things happening in the world. The reason we don’t is because we are collectively responsible. 

We’re part of a collective consciousness. Some people are good, and some are bad, and they all contribute to this collective consciousness. Until more people choose to do good and fewer choose to do bad, the balance remains uncertain because we are all part of this entity.

A great analogy I’ve heard from Eckhart Tolle explains why people do what they do. Imagine the sun as God or the universal collective, the source of love from which we all come. 

The sun provides energy to the Earth, sustaining life. However, when this energy enters a living being, it’s up to that being to decide what to do with it. You can’t blame the sun for someone’s actions. 

If the sun gives me life, but I choose to use that energy for something negative, it’s not the sun’s fault; it’s my decision. We are all creators, all part of the creation of this universe. We are all connected to God, to the collective.

So, we are individuals in the sense that we receive this energy, which shapes who we are and what we become. But what we choose to do with it is completely up to us. 

If it’s true that we get to decide the kind of life we’ll live, why would someone choose a challenging life over an easy one? The difference lies in the potential for enlightenment. 

Someone who chooses a difficult life has the opportunity to become enlightened, while someone who chooses an easy life may not achieve that in their lifetime. The challenges and hardships allow a person to rise above them.

My best days were actually my worst days. Those were the days when I truly shined, demonstrated my character, and proved that I could be a better person. These are the days that truly reveal a person’s character and measure their true strength.

Now, if everything had come easily to me and life was simple and straightforward, I wouldn’t be here talking with you today. You probably wouldn’t be interested in hearing my story. 

It’s because of the transformation I underwent and others wish to undergo that I’m here sharing with you. Many people have faced trauma, experiencing horrific things. 

Sometimes, these experiences are inflicted upon us rather than us causing them. Regardless, we are all involved in these traumatic experiences, and the key is to rise above them. We must face them, become stronger, and take steps toward enlightenment.

Let’s take a look at the Buddha’s story again. He was a prince, meaning he had everything he could ever want right at his fingertips. However, his father, the king, told him never to leave the palace grounds, warning him of the hardships beyond the walls. 

But the Buddha realized that he couldn’t attain enlightenment by living a sheltered life, especially the easy part of it. So, he made the bold decision to venture beyond the walls, leaving behind his parents, his wife, and even his child in his quest to alleviate suffering for all people.

To achieve this goal, he knew he had to endure suffering himself. So, he set out with nothing—no money, no clothes, no food, no water, nothing. 

No one recognized him because no one had seen his face before; they didn’t know he was a prince. For many years, he lived as a homeless man, enduring unimaginable suffering until he finally attained enlightenment.

If he had stayed within the safety of his father’s compound, he would never have reached enlightenment. Furthermore, he wouldn’t have been able to impart the wisdom he gained to others.

The way I see it, even the most morally flawed individuals when they return, are presented with their lives and shown both their good and bad deeds. 

I don’t believe in the existence of a strictly good place and a bad place, nor do I believe in heaven and hell. Instead, I think that individuals are confronted with the consequences of their actions upon crossing over and gain a profound understanding of why they made those choices.

I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to Life After Life for inviting me here today. And Vivian, I truly appreciate your hospitality. It was an honor and a privilege to be part of this, and I look forward to the opportunity to do it again. So, thank you to everyone involved, and thank you for watching.

Conclusion


In conclusion, Ray Catania’s journey from skeptic to believer, as evidenced through his near-death experience (NDE) and subsequent insights, offers a profound perspective on the nature of reality, spirituality, and the concept of God. Catania’s narrative transcends traditional religious boundaries, emphasizing a broader understanding of God as a collective consciousness that unites all beings. Through his personal encounters with the divine, Catania underscores the interconnectedness of humanity and the universe, suggesting that each individual possesses the capacity to shape their reality and contribute to the collective consciousness. Moreover, his reflections on the significance of challenges, suffering, and enlightenment echo universal themes found in various spiritual traditions, underscoring the transformative power of adversity in one’s spiritual journey. Ultimately, Catania’s message invites introspection and contemplation, urging individuals to embrace their inherent potential, confront their past, and strive toward personal growth and enlightenment.

FAQs


What is Ray Catania’s background?

Ray Catania is a renowned author, metaphysical teacher, theorist, and coach. He survived a near-death experience (NDE) and has dedicated his life to assisting others in reaching their full potential. His unique approach blends scientific theories with personal life experiences to uncover the power of the mind and the nature of reality.

What are the titles of Ray Catania’s books?

Ray Catania has authored two captivating books in his Awakening Series: “The Atheist and The Afterlife” and “You Are Still Alive, Now Act Like It.” These books delve into his personal journey, insights from his near-death experience, and his perspectives on spirituality, consciousness, and personal growth.

How does Ray Catania define God?

Ray Catania’s interpretation of God differs from traditional religious depictions. He views God as a collective consciousness wherein all beings are interconnected and contribute to shaping reality. Catania emphasizes the idea that individuals are equal parts of this universal consciousness and are capable of co-creating their experiences.

What message does Ray Catania convey about challenges and enlightenment?

Ray Catania suggests that challenges and suffering present personal growth and enlightenment opportunities. He emphasizes the importance of confronting adversity, facing traumas, and transcending limitations to attain a deeper understanding of oneself and the universe. Catania’s narrative underscores the transformative power of resilience and the pursuit of enlightenment amidst life’s challenges.

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