An address to friends

Mainly the religious ones.

This is an invitation to dialogue.

Somewhere in this blog, you will find posts on how I became an atheist and what has changed since, what I have learnt in the interim and what I believe. I hope you are interested enough to search for these posts. They may not be detailed as many of you might expect but they explain a few things about me.

In this post, I hope we can engage on why I no longer believe and why I don’t think I will.

I was brought up in a religious environment. I attended catechism classes, was baptized and confirmed in the catholic faith. I believed because I was told. Maybe I was naive for not questioning some of the unbelievable stories that are told in the pages of the bible. I do not have an answer as to why I believed for so long. There was hardly a non believer where I grew up. There was no reason not to believe in god. Everyone I knew believed that there was a god who loved them, who many years ago walked among men but has since stopped appearing in person for fear of being killed. In all this time and especially in my campus days I really searched for god. The religious group to which I belonged emphasized finding god in all things. I honestly tried to find god in the people I met in nature and so on but either god was busy to reveal himself to me or there wasn’t any.

It is ridiculous to read in posts by apologists that the are no ex-christians. I don’t know what they mean. Maybe it is their way of not acknowledging the possibility of apostasy.

I will honestly say here that I haven’t finished reading the bible or the Koran. I am in the first chapter of the Mahabharata, I have read the Gita, the gospel of Buddha. Am not interested in reading the book of Mormon. I hope to find time to read the Vedas. Anyone with enough time to search this blog will be able to find where I am with that exercise[ reading the bible]. I have been accused of reading the bible with a desire to find it in error. This is not the case. What however has happened is that whenever I read the bible,I find it full of absurdities that I can’t ignore. Whereas I agree that one has to be acquainted with a particular book to offer a critique of it, the much that I have read in it and about it is sufficient for me to make a judgement. The next question would be why I would believe what others have written about the bible instead of believing the bible authors. My response to this challenge is that one can only believe to the extent to which he is convicted and no other. In the many books, I have found what comports with common sense whereas some of the bible stories are contrary to common sense. The next challenge is that of exegesis, that the bible has to be read in a particular way, that in it is hidden layers and layers of lessons. This might be, I don’t deny it, my question has always been to what passages should I apply this way of reading.

Let me demonstrate.

You must have heard of the creationists of various strips. They argue that the earth or rather the universe was created in 6 days. Some of them call these 6 days god days and say they are longer than the standard day me and you mean when we talk of days. A few chapters later, they argue that the seventh day is the day of rest because on that day god rested. In one scenario, the days are god days and in the next referring to the same thing the counting has changed. I let those who have time to make excuses for the bible to do so.

The bible makes a claim that a god exists and that this god did several things. I don’t know what god is. I don’t know what it means to create, neither do I know the difference between that which is created and that which has always existed. I can’t begrudge those who believe the universe was created. I don’t know what evidence they are privy to.

There are those who have asked me to read the NT that maybe I would find something different. That the god portrayed there is different. I have read all the gospels. I have read several letters of Paul. I have read the book of revelation. I have read Hebrew and I am not convinced. If you think there is something am missing, or I could have missed in the good book, mention it. We will discuss it. I am open to persuasion. But we must have a deal; we will have a debate only if you are willing to consider that you could be wrong. Please don’t preach as well. If you have no argument or piece of evidence you wish me to consider, I would prefer we don’t waste time.

I have since considered several arguments for the existence of god and the responses to these arguments. I will state from the outset that I was never led to belief because I had considered the arguments for god, I only read these arguments in the period I was leaving the faith. If as a believer you think there is one I ought to consider, let us talk about it. I will allow you to explain to me why you think they are persuasive and to tell me what god they establish its existence.

I realize for the believer, the bible gives a guideline on how they should live their lives, what they should eat and not eat, what they should wear and so on. I want us to agree that morality has nothing to do with the gods so I propose that in our discussion you will not bring up the question of where I get my morals if I have no belief in god. You will, if you look through this blog, find what I have written on morality and you could at the same time read the argument in Euthyphro and maybe read Nietzsche’s On Genealogy of morals.

Let us also agree here that whether life has meaning or not has nothing to do with gods.

Let us consider this post a special invitation to the believing folk to present the case for believing in god. I am willing to listen to all you got to say. If you think there is a book I should read, I hope you can summarize what you think I will find in it. Life is short, it can’t be spent reading apologetics only :-)

 

Sankara vs. Villa Rosa- Kempinski

First am not doing advertisement. I haven’t been paid to do so. And before you think how is this related to atheism, it isn’t not even by a long shot!

For those wondering still, these two are some high end hotels in Nairobi located not so far from each other.

Yours truly has visited the two for a cup of coffee after hours to see what they have to offer and this is my assessment.

Service: Sankara beats Villa Rosa by a mile

Pricing: Both are exorbitant, a plain rip off!

Ambiance: Sankara is the place to go

Villa Rosa appeared to me to be crowded, the flow of spaces was not well worked out while it occupies a bigger plinth area than Sankara.

Sorry, I didn’t take photos. If you are in Nairobi and must spend your money in an expensive restaurant, take your money to Sankara.

why I am an atheist

by Shaheed Bhagat Singh

I will paste extracts of the post here and ask you to read the whole article for I can’t do justice to his clarity.

[...]

I was convinced that the belief in an almighty, supreme being who created, guided and controlled the universe had no sound foundation.

[..]

After a long debate with myself, I reached the conclusion that I could not even pretend to be a believer, nor could I offer my prayers to god.

[..]

Those who are well versed in the philosophy of jurisprudence relate three of four justifications for the punishment that is to be inflicted upon a wrong-doer. These are reform, revenge and deterrence. The retribution theory is condemned by all the thinkers. Deterrent theory is on the anvil for its flaws. Reformative theory is now widely accepted and considered to be necessary for human progress. [..] But what in essence is god’s punishment even if it is inflicted on a person who has really done some harm?

[..]

For the sake of argument we agree for a moment that a person committed some crime in his previous birth and god punished him by changing his shape into a cow, cat, tree or any other animal. You may enumerate the number of these variations in godly punishment to be at least eighty four lack. Tell me, has this tomfoolery, perpetrated in the name of punishment, any reformative effect on any human man? How many of them have you met who were donkeys in their previous lives for having committed any sin? Absolutely no one of this sort!

[...]

As regard the origin of god, my thought is that man created god in his imagination when he realized his weaknesses, limitations and shortcoming.

[..]

If, as you believe, there is an almighty, omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent God-who created the earth or world, please let me know why did he create it ? This world of woes and miseries, a veritable, eternal combination of numberless tragedies: Not a single soul being perfectly satisfied.

[...]

The idea of god is helpful to a man in distress.

[..]

No dear sir, never shall it happen. I consider it to be an act of degradation and demoralisation. For such petty selfish motives, I shall never pray.

And if any of the readers of this blog have a copy of Soham Swami’s Commonsense and is willing to lend the host, we could discuss the possibility of this.

Why am an atheist

Something to ponder

We meet Celsus again asking a very potent question, similar, to that my friend Zande does ask, that is

Again, if God, like Jupiter in the comedy, should, on awaking from a lengthened slumber, desire to rescue the human race from evil, why did He send this Spirit of which you speak into one corner (of the earth)? He ought to have breathed it alike into many bodies, and have sent them out into all the world. Now the comic poet, to cause laughter in the theatre, wrote that Jupiter, after awakening, despatched Mercury to the Athenians and Lacedaemonians; but do not you think that you have made the Son of God more ridiculous in sending Him to the Jews?

And we want answers.

A new page

Dear friends,

We have created a new page from where you are free to contact us. You can ask whatever questions you have and I promise to respond to all your questions if I can in reasonable time.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Yours truly

prisoner for blaspemy

by George W. Foote

Is a story or a report by the above named who was tried, found guilty and imprisoned for blasphemy in 1880 Britain. That is how bad freedom of expression suffered especially if you had the knave to talk about god, the christian god, and the ridiculous beliefs held by the Christians, that is if you disturbed their sensibilities.

George before and after his imprisonment used to be the editor of the Freethinker, a publication that used satire to ridicule religion. He was railroaded to prison by a Judge North who while on the dock abused his office and became the accuser, the judge and the executioner.

Judge Coleridge listening to his case at the end of his incarceration, though a christian dealt with him in a more humane way, listen to his defense and when the jury could not agree, let him go.

It is a sad story but a good read.

I hope in the countries where the atheist, freethinker or non believer is threatened with persecution for expressing his mind about a religion lives under fear of jail or murder may reform their rules to allow men and women exercise their freedom of expression.

Go read it. Britain has come a long way.