2012 in review

The good guys at WordPress.com have automatically generated the report below for the year 2012 at Random Thoughts. All of you who have made it possible, thank you from the tips of my typing fingers as I read from a friend’s blog sometime ago. Thank you for your comments, for finding time to read the not so random thoughts and more so for following.

Thank you thank you and happy new year. I look forward to us continuing building the friendships in the new year.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 8 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

A contradiction of sorts

Friends, it has occurred to me that in the theist’s mind, especially the christian, there exists a serious contradiction that I find hard to explain. In this post am going to try to detail some of this contradictions and look forward to hearing your thoughts about them as well.

I will start from what the christian believes will happen to the unbeliever in nether world. He believes when the Grim Reaper calls the unbeliever he will send him/her straight to hell to be administered to by the devil. The believer has in their mind that the unbeliever is an agent of the devil working hard to lead them astray, now tell me, if I have been working for the devil is he going to punish me or will he not prepare the choice wines for his followers? If god is preparing a heaven full of bliss for his children, the devil must do the same unless we change the administration of hell to be a good but malicious angel of god and not his antagonist. What say you?

My second concern comes from the genesis story of creation and subsequent warnings at the fall of man. Anyone who has read the story is aware that Adam and Eve had no knowledge of good and evil, had no knowledge of what it means to die, what it means to give birth and labour, so what was god getting at when he issued edicts that they will die if they eat of the fruit of knowledge or that henceforth child-birth will be a painful experience and that man shall have to toil to eat, please help me with this.

My next problem is in the way the christian apologist twists the meaning of words to suit his purpose. Now why do I say this? Any rational person alive today, maybe except some extremist Muslim somewhere in Afghanistan, knows that to command genocide is evil. To kill first-born of families for no fault of their own is malicious or to drown an entire generation of people is beyond description; the theist says we can’t know what is good in god’s eye or mind I don’t know whether it has this things in the first place anyway. Should that be the case, then what meaning has the word good if god considers drowning an entire generation good? Do we really need to worship such a god? Please tell me!

The theist objects to suicide that it is against the edicts of their god. Now consider that the first christian, the one who died on the cross, if he lived, committed suicide except he abdicated the responsibility. Why I bring this up is to ask, is an all-powerful and all-knowing god deficient in ideas? Every time he has had need to purify the human race, he has chosen death as his modus operandi. Does he need our help in coming up with more humane methods of conflict resolution?

I don’t understand why the theist prays. You ask him, he says he doesn’t want to change the mind of god but to know god’s will. Now tell me, maybe am wrong, but the many times I hear a prayer, someone is asking for rain, for good health, for a job. Is this the will of god you are trying to find, are you trying to change his mind or are you asking him to act in your favour? But if he is an omniscient being, hasn’t it occurred to you that he knows you’d be making such a prayer and he knows how is going to act such that making the prayer in itself is an act in futility. Maybe I don’t understand it well, please someone help!

The theist makes a positive claim that their god is just and merciful. Forget that the two qualities are in themselves contradictory, this just god punishes everyone except the responsible person. Let me explain; in genesis when man fails he punishes man while in real the person with the greatest responsibility is this god. He created satan more intelligent than man, he placed the fruit in the garden and he was all-knowing. In the chain of events, he ought to bear the greatest responsibility, if anything he owes man an apology. When Pharaoh, who god hardened his heart, fails to release the sons of Israel who god had led to slavery, he kills every first-born even of slave girls. Please tell me what justice, what mercy this is? When Moses disappears to talk to god for forty days and returns finding the people with a golden god, who does he punish, all the men except the family of Levi. When David has Uriah killed who does he punish, the baby or David? Please tell me where the justice and mercy is?

Here am a little confused. Jesus we are told preached to multitudes of people and that one point he fed 5k men; this count doesn’t include women and children. He preached in synagogues, by the riverside and entered triumphantly, if riding donkeys is triumphant, into Galilee and nowhere are we told the soldiers lived in garrisons or barracks, why would someone be needed to betray a celebrity of this kind? Anyone would identify him in a crowd? Did they just want to transfer the guilt of his suicide to Judas? All generations have vilified Judas for the betrayal, did he have a choice? While at table Jesus says one of you here is going to betray me, if he already had foreknowledge, why didn’t he call Judas aside and tell him not to do it? Where was his power at this time? Please while answering this questions don’t bring that line that I need to be a bible scholar to understand zilch in the bible, god would have said so himself. If he wants to be worshiped by intelligent men, he has to do be as clear as is omnipotent-ly possible or else he throws the tag omnipotent out of the window.

I want to stop here in the anticipation that you’ll be kind enough to help shed light on these matters that are between me and your god. Maybe there could be a change of heart.

Troy

I don’t know about you, I find this movie to be really interesting. I have watched it more than twice but I am still never satisfied with it.

If you haven’t watched it, I recommend you do.

Random photos

Give way, the brother is crossing the road

Give way, the brother is crossing the road

well i can open the bin too , or you thought me an idiot?

well i can open the bin too , or you thought me an idiot?

The walk is quite beautiful in its own way

The walk is quite beautiful in its own way

Please stop killing me for my horns.

Please stop killing me for my horns.

 

The beautiful safari walk

The beautiful safari walk

The doctor recommended one bottle of beer a day, so I got myself just one

The doctor recommended one bottle of beer a day, so I got myself just one

Our beautiful coastline

Our beautiful coastline

I can't remember what snake it was

I can’t remember what snake it was

There are many snakes here than I care to count

There are many snakes here than I care to count

Welcome to the Nairobi Safari Walk

Welcome to the Nairobi Safari Walk

My lovely sister

My lovely sister

Bad me, I almost forgot the king of the jungle

Bad me, I almost forgot the king of the jungle

thoughts on suicide

Suicide (Latin suicidium, from sui caedere, “to kill oneself”) is the act of intentionally causing one’s own death.

Here I had written on the meaning of life as a review of A. Camus book the Myth of Sisyphus. In this book, Camus argues life is absurd and meaningless. He further says man finding his life absurd should not commit suicide but must revolt. An absurd life calls for revolt not suicide.

In this post however, I want to examine whether there are situations when a man should be allowed to commit suicide. I want to show here that there are instances where suicide is justified. There are situations, for example an inmate in prison for life without parole, where suicide should be allowed, why waste his life waiting to die naturally within the four walls of a prison cell? There is likely no contribution he is likely to make to the rest of humanity and he lives his days praying for death to come sooner.

The biggest objection to suicide is highest among adherents of the Abrahamic religion. To them suicide is a great sin, a sin against god, and anyone who attempts suicide and succeeds doesn’t get a decent burial, and those who fail are arrested and put in jail. They believe god is the giver of life and only can take it. Question is, if we have no evidence for a god, then why should we consider suicide evil? Why not allow fellow-men the right to die in dignity?

Suicide has also been considered a disease and an act of desperation. Some people have killed themselves because of depression, heartbreak after being jilted by lovers and for many other reasons as there are human beings. For situations such a these, if there is an opportunity to restore the fellow to his senses, by all means let us do that but let us not put him in chains and send him to prison. Jail-houses are not hospitals, let us get the man a shrink and help him. Let us not increase his suffering.

If we are agreed that there are no gods, then all depends on us. This being the case, if a person having reached a point where they are convinced their lives have no more meaning and they are not adding to the joy of their family should be allowed to choose to die and can’t be vilified in choosing to quit. Many people argue that if this were allowed many people would be killing themselves whenever things got tough and this is simply not true. Cigarettes and alcohol are legal in most places and not every one is a smoker or alcoholic, so this argument simply cannot hold. I don’t know about you, but I think it would take a lot of courage to take one’s life. Consider a situation of a man who is terminally ill and the doctors feel there is no return, why should this person be kept alive on life support instead of being allowed to die with some dignity? Some of the theists who argue that life is sacred have no problem with the death penalty, why should they have a problem when one chooses when and how to die? Why should anyone have a problem with a person who chooses to die on his/her own terms?

To claim that god is the giver of life and only him/it/she can take it means that the same god enjoys to see people suffering till they get to vegetative state. Why would anyone want to live like this? I would not want to. If we have made laws in defiance of the gods, then we must make another in their defiance. We must allow man the dignity to choose when and how to die.

Any christian who opposes suicide is acting against his religion. The christian religion is based on suicide. God, in the form of Jesus[whether he existed is a matter of a different blog post] goes willingly to his death. Many want to call it self-sacrifice, I will call it suicide, except he places the responsibility on other people’s hands. So if you reject suicide, you must reject Christianity as well. There are no two ways about it.

I think there are several other instances where committing suicide would be the most moral in the circumstances which I don’t want to enumerate but  I would rather like to hear your opinions on this matter.

Confessions

Am an atheist, this is not news to those who have been following this blog, but I have not always been one, except of course when I was born and before my parents took me to church. I was baptized in my absence, not as you think, rather because at the time of my baptism I was too small to notice or to comprehend why anyone would pour cold water on my fore head, if you get what I mean.

When I became of age, I attended catechism classes and got confirmed in the Catholic faith whatever that meant. Growing up in our family, church was the one place you had to have a good reason to miss. It wasn’t all bad though, we did very little work on Sunday. I can’t say it was so solemn. I don’t remember if there was a lot of hell fire teaching, you see I didn’t know I’d someday write about it, but I remember we didn’t have to attend Sunday School since the other children were dimmed by my parents either too young or not too smart, no, they didn’t say that, all I know is I didn’t attend Sunday School.

I don’t remember reading the bible much as a teenager, I used to read in church, but that was all the reading and once in a while when we prayed together as a family. In high school, I was in an Anglican run school, I joined the born again band for a one term and got bored by the time the holidays came and remained a practicing catholic, if going to Sunday mass, makes one. Campus was different. We had a course unit for a semester Introduction to Philosophy, the first time I interacted with logic, ethics, and logical fallacies, it was love at first sight, but our relationship ended almost with the end of the semester, though the memories lingered on. I tried Opus Dei for a while. The priests said all work is a prayer, they said some nice things, I remember one center director saying if you are a sweeper, do sweep that when the time comes for you to go the other side, it will be said of you; here lived a great sweeper. I left after some time, well after reading the story of Jose Maria the founder, and the stories of the popes[ the earlier popes were bad asses I tell you]. I tried Ignatian spirituality, seeing god in everything, for some time. There were the group meditations, where we were to listen to our hearts, I must say I tried but my mind always went where it chose. It is only lately after reading MT that I know, there was no way I was going to keep my mind from wandering as it chose to do. I think this was one time I genuinely looked for god and at the end only found myself. If there was a time I should have said god didn’t exist, this was it.

I was studying architecture, and among other things, we were told we were creators like gods, there was nothing really special about god. Then I began to ask myself, why would god care so much about Sunday and not Monday and who decided which day should be the day of worship. At the same time, I had friends, Muslim friends, who asked me how did Jesus dying help humanity, Mary, Trinity and so on. Things that were, as you know, impossible to explain. I sought the help of an uncle of mine, an ex-seminarian, a Greek and Hebrew scholar and his answers were not conclusive. But, I still remained a believer. I read some articles written by Muslims about bible inconsistencies, well before that time, it had not occurred to me there existed any inconsistencies in the bible. I saw no reason to continue going to church, there was nothing in my estimation the priests would teach me that I couldn’t learn by myself.

Towards the end of last year, I read The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand and decided I was going to believe in myself and no other. I decided if gods existed, I couldn’t help them and they would care less. I didn’t call myself an atheist then, I just didn’t believe anymore the bible stories. They became impossible to believe. So I stopped praying, stopped going to church, it occurred to me it didn’t really matter whether I prayed or not. Before I started reading books on atheism, I was fairly convinced that Jesus wasn’t special or that he didn’t exist. I asked my friends whether he was the son of god literally or metaphorically; if literally then god had to have a dick and balls and you know what else and didn’t respect marriage or family for that matter and there was no way David would be his grandfather unless David was god’s grandfather, and if he was metaphorically then there was no difference, the bible calls everyone who believes a son of god.

From the beginning of this year, I have looked at the arguments for the existence of god from the medieval philosophers, so called church fathers, the refutations to the arguments and I know all those who insist there is a god haven’t met the burden of proof. I have looked at cosmology, evolution and I know the universe doesn’t need a god neither does it show there is one. I can’t say there isn’t one, I don’t know but I will live my life like there is none.

You may ask me, what difference does it make whether you believe or you don’t, a lot I will tell you. Before I tell you the difference it makes, allow me to digress a little. I was lucky in my development that I learnt not to fear death, I have only wanted to die a peaceful one, that is, to wake up and find I died in my sleep. To continue with the story, I realize  if gods exist, we can’t help them. It is beholden upon us to help our fellow-man. I now know the more we love our fellow-man, the least space we have for gods who don’t need our help. I know tradition, even with claims that it is good for society, are mainly meant for control and are of the same origin as religion, that is, superstition, fear and not reason. I know we live in an intelligible world, that is both natural and materialistic. Since I am here for a short time, in as much as I am interested in knowing the origin of the universe, my main goal is to live mankind better when I depart. Anything that can’t stand reason has to be left and to this end, I travel light, no superstition, all joy and fun as we travel in the journey of life. I don’t need transcendence to give my life meaning, I create that as I go along.

I hope that my christian friends will read their bibles, not the parts read by the pastors, no, the whole book and see what atrocities are contained there in and ask themselves if that be the work of a loving and just god. If you don’t believe in Zeus or Allah, why not use the same reasoning to see that your god is also just a creation of mind as the rest of the gods. I want us to say humanism is the only religion and liberty the only creed. Freedom to think, freedom from superstition, freedom from all forms of slavery! We must stop feeding priests by the honest labour of our hands, they do not mediate between us and gods, no they only peddle fear and superstition. Let us not build churches instead of schools and hospitals. We can’t exempt church property from tax, if god exists, he can meet the tax burden. If anyone is to be exempt from tax, then let us exempt the orphan, the poor widow, the aged but not church. Lastly let us not teach children this horror called god, let the children grow to learn free of superstition, from ghosts holy or otherwise and let us all strive to make the lives of each one of us as pleasant as is humanly possible.

As I finish the story of my religious journey, should I in my old age say I believe in god, please do know that it is old age and frailty of my faculties. I can’t help gods, they can’t help me but I can help my fellow-man. I believe all men are equal, and that no man has the right to enslave another. I believe that if a man has a right to live in dignity, he has a right to die in dignity and lastly that the more we free ourselves of religion the greater our progress will be.