what happened to the US of A

I have finished reading a book by Robert Green Ingersoll, The Complete works of R.G Ingersoll Vol 8, a very interesting collection of different interviews on different subjects that he gave spanning quite a long period of time. Some of his thoughts have already been  mentioned in different posts on this blog, especially thoughts on religion, superstition, rights of man and ghosts.

Before I go ahead to give a brief overview of this collection, I need help in understanding what happened to the Americans? Is it possible that they couldn’t produce more Ingersolls, Beecham, Lincolns, Jeffersons, Paines and all other great men whose lives and work were towards the betterment of our race? America now produces Pat Robertson and Hovind and other crazy nutheads. Before you lynch me, am not saying there are no longer great men and women, I read works of and watch videos of Lawrence Strauss a marvelous physicist, Jerry Coyne a brilliant biologist, the good guys at NASA and other great men and women but I don’t think they have filled the giant shoes worn by Lincoln, Luther King, JFK, Jefferson, Paine, Ingersoll and other giants and it is time this country that claims to be the world super power shone bright again. They can’t have as many jails as they have schools, they can’t have people in jail for smoking weed [I mean they should arrest the earth for letting it grow], they should no longer have death penalty in their statute books [it debases the society], they should divest their defense budget to humanitarian purposes. Time must come when right is might and not the other way. They can’t continue to spread democracy or whatever policy through the use of drones and call the death of civilians or anyone for that matter collateral. It is time the generals learnt, if they haven’t as yet, that these acts just like punishing a criminal does not make the world better. The first killing justifies the second one and we end up with a world where the strong rule by might. Lastly can all sensible Americans support the democratic government’s legislation aimed at controlling gun ownership among the general populace.

It is ridiculous that a people who think themselves most advanced and exceptional in the world would behave like savage man exception being that for his weapon and plaything he has a deadly killing machine. What madness is this? Are they so rich that they are insecure or are they so poor that they are insecure or the society so dysfunctional that the majority think to be safe they must own a gun or are they just stupid? My friends from the big continent please help me here!

In the time of Robert Ingersoll it is interesting to note that it is the Republican Party that stood with the people. Most liberal thinkers were republican, they supported the working men, they wanted better pay for the women and Ingersoll himself in many speeches and interviews campaigned for the women to be granted the same rights[right to vote, to equal pay & so on] as men were granted. In the last election it appeared to me, I could be wrong, that the Republican Party represented everything but progress. To an observer, like me , it appeared elitist, didn’t care for the working men, for the least in the society and some of their senators said very derogatory statements about women whether this is party policy or not I can’t comment on.

Robert G Ingersoll, as far as someone can deduce from the works, didn’t want any public office. He says he was contented with his law practice and the public speeches he gave and couldn’t understand why people want such burden of public office, but he was a Republican at heart. He delivered 3 speeches at different conventions. His political convictions are clear and consistent throughout as far as one can tell given the duration covered by the interviews.

He believed in American exceptionalism. He talks very highly of American actors, workingmen, companies and in most times says there is no greater country like America. I can’t begrudge him. It is also interesting the things one learns from these essays about the economies of France, Britain and Germany at the time he was writing. The French were prosperous, Germany wasn’t doing as well as it is doing now, Britain wasn’t that exceptional though he believed that Britain and America were great countries. It is, however, important to say here he thought Shakespeare the greatest poet and dramatist to have graced the earth, Wagner the greatest musician and Dickens the greatest novelist[ he mentions A Tale of two Cities, a great book by any standard though I think The Brothers Karamazov is a greater novel ever written or translated to the English language]

He believed in expanding American territory not through brute force but through negotiation.He wanted the Philipine Islands, Cuba, Canada and I can’t remember what else to be part of the United States of A.

He believed, as I do, that punishment debases man. That to punish a man for a criminal offence is like punishing a man for having the consumption. A man acts as he will and can’t be punished for his nature. It is the duty of society to protect itself but not by punishing offenders but by endeavoring to rehabilitate them and if this fails to isolate them from society so that they do not do harm. He proposed a situation where these people could be kept in prison till the end of their lives or to be kept away from society with no possibility of having offspring. He is right in saying that society reaps what it sows and to redeem the criminal, society which is the soil should be such that it favors the growth of good men. He was opposed, as all rational people are, to the death penalty. He proposed that those who work at the penitentiaries must be the best men in society, that the prisoner should be helped to be better. Punishment debases the person who punishes. And I can’t agree more with him. Anyone who objects to this should show me cause why they should be believed. He also proposed that the state guest should at the end of serving time should be shown accounts of what it cost to take care of him and what his labour amounted and to be given the difference to start a new life. He was opposed to state guests working for free, he argued correctly that this did not make them better men but brewed resentment in their hearts. They felt ostracized by society, abused by the system and robbed of their honest labour and would when released get their revenge. I want to know anyone who objects to this?

On matters divorce he defended the right of everyone to get a divorce if they no longer could live together. He also said gods and supernatural should be done away with in weddings and marriage matters unless the gods themselves would from time to time come to resolve the marital problems. Barring that, no one should claim that marriage was instituted in the Garden of Eden[who knows where it is?], that there is no word in the bible in favour of marriage, that Jesus if he existed did not believe in marriage, the apostles as far as we can tell if they existed were not married. So the priests/ministers/immams/pastors and whatever religious title, I hope you are listening. Unless your god is going to come to resolve marital issues, keep as far away as possible your superstitions from people’s lives.

On the question of labour, in as much he supported the rights of the workingmen to demand better working conditions, he disagreed with any means that resorted to brute force. Here is a man who believed fully in reason and lived by this ideal. I find his statement that every man should be his priest, his king to be very agreeable. Every man should think for himself, use his reason to weigh the beliefs or positions he hold and to believe according to his reason.

He defended separation of church and state.

He asked for churches to not be exempted from tax.

He wanted better schools, more libraries and theatres.

He said, and I agree with him, that no day can be sacred to the extent that man can’t be happy. He said farther that Sunday as a day of rest shouldn’t be spent in church listening to priests telling you how 99% of humanity is going to be damned. That is no rest.

He believed in protecting American companies and better pay for her workers.

He threw the matter of inspiration of the bible through the window. He said nobody ever met a man who met a man who had a met man who claimed to have met any writer of any passages in the bible. He already had come to the conclusion that the Pentateuch was not written by Moses, that no one knows who wrote the gospels, that Paul[or whoever wrote his epistles] did not read the gospels, that John was written much later, that Isaiah was written by at least two or more people, that Ecclesiastes was not written by a believer, that Job is not a Jewish book.

As I conclude, he said he wanted it written down in gods’ books[if any existed] that he defended them against cruelty. That no loving god could have created man just to damn him eternally.

Lastly that the universe is an efficient cause. There can never have been a time when matter was not. It is not possible to have anything existing before the universe came into existence[ a logical absurdity]. The universe is natural and there is no room for the unnatural, superstitious and miracles if by miracles anyone means anything that requires the suspension of Natural Laws.

I have not covered everything in the book here, but I do hope I have presented as precisely as I could his views on many subjects that are of interest to us today and for those who have 27 hours in their days, they could read the book and in case this is not possible, I hope I have done some justice to his views and made known to you the thoughts of a great statesman, a true friend of man and a citizen of the world.

Am I expecting too much?

This is a rant. It does not deal with the broadcast policy of this country or any legislation for that matter.

I use public transport to and from work since it allows me some little time to read. In most of the buses, they have entertainment systems, some too loud some not very, this I have no problem with. In the morning on my way to work, nearly all buses I have boarded tune in to one particular radio station Classic 105. I will for the rest of this post call it a radio station for the stupid.

I find most people to be really stupid or insane. As you may know by now, on Monday 4th March we will have a national plebiscite to elect to office the president, vice president and all other legislators as set out in the relevant clauses of the constitution. This morning on my way to work, several people called in to the radio station to say the only reason they are voting for a particular candidate is his looks. If this is not insane, tell me what is! This same idiot later on will complain that we have bad leaders. Who is responsible, the idiot who voted him/her in because of a photoshopped poster that makes a drunken look sober?

In the many cases that have been unlucky enough to have to listen to it for up to 30 minutes and this times are many, I have no recollection whatsoever of when they did broadcast anything that uplifts the human intellect. I could go as far as to say that the employment policy for the said company especially for the morning broadcasters requires one to be a clown, stupid and talkative. I don’t know but this is what I think, I could be wrong. I don’t know the company’s broadcast policy, but I don’t think to educate is top of its priorities.

I can’t begrudge those who find the station amusing and educative (educative I doubt very much) the station has no educational grounds whatsoever but then again, each bird to its tune!

The media houses in this country are to me our biggest flop. They claim to be independent while all evidence portray a different picture. Most if not all [I grant the national broadcaster KBC credit for airing educative programmes on its English and Kiswahili radio channels] broadcast what it is their paymasters want us to know or hear, there is little creativity, little educative content and it is for this reason particularly that yours truly does not miss TV.  The question one is wont to ask is whether privatisation was a good idea and whether freedom of speech and expression means all stupid things can go on air because they are covered under that right?

They play the tunes of their benefactors who I think are mainly the political class. In the last two weeks they have tried to outdo each other in spreading a message for peace after spending years airing inciting statements from politicians. They have contributed to lighting the fires, now they want to redeem their image by appearing to advocate for peace. I think their efforts have come in a little too late. They keep people glued on TV and radio by airing hateful speeches from politicians now their conscience is calling on them to avoid a situation like we saw 5 years ago, we just don’t seem to learn a thing!

I look forward to a day when we will have independent and brave journalists, when our entertainment boxes will be rich in content that elevates the human spirit, which will free the mind. I look forward for the day when these good men and women will be free to express their opinion whether it agrees with that of the paymaster or not. To that day, I say let liberty live, let freedom soar and let every man be his priest and his king, let all men think for themselves and if should they be wrong, they should only say upon conviction that they were wrong.

Lets have some fun

Those who have been following this blog for a time now must have met my friend who runs a very beautiful blog with whom I disagree on almost all subjects.

I realize most of the people who come here are members of the choir and someone would ask why sing to the choir but it is by singing to the choir that you get to be corrected and improve your singing or how else do you think you can get better at singing? I will keep singing 😀

This is the second post in a series where I chose to respond/ comment to any blog as I so please. I will ignore the bible verses because as you already know, I find nothing in the bible that could not have been written by a barbarian. There is nothing in truly novel about our existence except maybe the writer of the book of Wisdom who says all is vanity and I can bet my 2 cents[ I don’t want to lose much] that he/she must have been a non-believer.

God always glorifies Himself. His glory is not limited to our deliberate and conscious acts of glorifying Him. Even when we do not do anything for His glory, God is still glorified. There’s nothing we can do to diminish God’s intrinsic glory. There’s nothing we can do increase that glory. This is simply because God is self-existent, perfect and complete in Himself. God’s might and power doesn’t increase when we “lift” Him up or praise Him. neither does His power and might decrease when we fail to praise and worship Him. I will even go to the extent of claiming that God is glorified even in our sin. Remember the famous words of Joseph to his wayward brothers?

If just for the purpose of this statement grant this god existence, why worship him? Isn’t superfluous to continue to do so? You are not about to change him/it/her. Please someone tell me, did I miss something?

Yes, God is glorified and His eternal purposes come to pass even in our disobedience. God’s glory is constant, just like His being, His power and His presence is constant. However, our experience, apprehension and acknowledgement of God’s glory is not constant. And this makes all the difference in the world.

If eternal purpose is to send some to hell for eternal punishment, I volunteer my services to annihilate this god!

You’ve probably heard of the saying, “Never criticize what God is blessing.” If you haven’t, it is a common response often directed at people like me, who often find things to criticize within the church. Another statement that is closely associated with this one is “Do not touch the Lord’s anointed”. [……], Astar concerning the music “Take Backs” that him and his ministry had started doing. […] was a sign of compromise to the Christian witness. But he would hear none of it. His adamant response and conviction sounded something like the statement above. He insisted, “I am seeing fruit from what I am doing, that is proof that God is using ‘take-backs’ to save souls. Therefore, it is proof that I am doing ministry in obedience to God.”

 

Here we have two problems that we have dealt with before, that is, how do we know who is the true christian since all seem not to agree as to the manner and content of evangelism. The next problem is religious artists live in this natural world, you can’t have enough verses to sing about. A time must come when you must resort to the secular, it is the source of all that is beautiful anyway! How do these christians measure the fruit, is it by how many records sold or how many times it is sold on radio, I need help friends 😀

[…….], Jesus says that “you will recognize them by their fruit” (Matt 7:16) What He was talking about was the fruit of the prophet’s life, not the fruit of the prophet’s ministry. In other words, it is primarily the life of the minister, not the outcome of the ministry, that constitutes fruit. Astar’s justification (in that particular instance) was misplaced because I wasn’t criticizing his life, but his ministry. Was his ministry bearing fruit? Yes. Did the sinful actions of Joseph bear good fruit? Yes.

Help me again here, how do we know false prophets? The same Jesus is said to have said how the false prophets shall be known but their actions includes miracles[forget the fact they don’t happen in real life], am hoping that my friend will be kind and generous as to tell me how to distinguish prophets. In 2 Thessalonians 2:9 talks of counterfeit miracles, which fortunately for us all, they don’t mention.

But Joseph still criticized his brothers. He criticized their actions, the actions that God had, in His sovereignty, worked through to bless and save Israel. Joseph criticized what God was blessing. Why? Because the means are just as important to God as the ends. To criticize questionable ministry practices does not necessarily mean dismissing any positive fruit from such practices. To criticize Catholicism doesn’t necessarily mean that there are no true converts in the catholic church. To criticize what God is blessing does not necessarily mean criticizing God’s ability to bless. So, we must not shy away from criticizing what God is blessing, as long as we do not dismiss the blessing in the process. Criticize, but don’t forget to glorify.

Am truly lost.

So, if God is glorified whether we obey Him or not, does our obedience matter? A similar question was asked by Paul, if God’s Grace is magnified in our disobedience, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” (Rom 6:1). And his response?

“By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.”

I could be wrong, was god such a failure? He came here, died resurrected[ granting all that for a moment] and he didn’t finish sin? It’s like an oncologist operating a tumor and leaves a part of it growing actively knowing fully well it will spread. Now tell me who does things this way apart from the willfully ignorant?

God is love. His grace abounds to the chiefest of sinners. And as long as we are living in these vestigial bodies of sin, our best efforts will continue to be marred by sin. God will still continue to use crooked sticks and broken vessels. This does not mean the he approves of the crookedness. Neither does it mean that we cannot seek to straighten that crooked sticks. In the same way, God glorified Himself through the broken, beaten and dead body of His son, Jesus Christ. But Jesus did not remain broken. He did not remain beaten. He did not remain dead. He rose again and is seated on the right hand of His father. He calls us to walk in His righteousness. To chase after perfection. To admonish, rebuke and correct imperfection. He calls us to ACTIVELY seek to glorify Him, not just passively do so.

First the word god hasn’t been coherently defined, so to say god is love, is to complicate matters further. I have asked my friends to tell me what god is and what love is and every one has a different answer. How one undefined quantity equals another undefined quantity beats me. If we are depraved, it is not our fault. The problem must be laid where it truly belongs and that is at the doorstep of one claimed to be creator, no one else. No passing the buck as a famous American president once said, the buck stops here. Better still if this god is what it’s believers say it is, why couldn’t it create all men like Jesus so he didn’t have to come and commit suicide here? He calls us to be serfs, and I don’t want. I want every man to think for himself, to be concerned with his good then he will be concerned with the good of others. And if a god were to exist, let it be said that I defended him, that an innocent man cannot die for the offence of another.

God is glorified in heaven as well as in hell. The difference is that those in heaven are consciously, willfully, deliberately and joyfully glorifying Him, while those in hell are unconsciously, unwillingly and woefully doing the same. I know which side I’d rather be in. Do you?

Am still shocked that in this day and age someone will still preach the hell of John Calvin. How debased is a person to write about the eternal damnation of his fellow-man. Again if gods are to exist let it be written, against my name, that I defended them against tyranny that it was said they planned to do to their creation. Again I say here as I have said, if not all men are saved then i DON’T want any salvation, I prefer to be annihilated. I don’t want to be in heaven knowing that a member of my race[humanity] is suffering eternally for a finite mistake, NO, I don’t want and it is the reason why I will keep writing.

I want to free brothers and sisters from the yoke of superstition and fear. I want men to be free. I want men to be rational, to think for themselves and most of all I want to destroy the doctrine of hell. I want it known if a god exists and has failed to end evil here, he can’t end it elsewhere where we don’t know. Let us make this place habitable for all of us by killing this phantoms, lets free men, women, children from priests. Let churches become libraries and theatres, let art be celebrated and curiosity encouraged.

 

Robert G Ingersoll on the Deist God

A few years ago the Deists denied the inspiration of the bible on account of its cruelty. At the same time, they worshiped what they were pleased to call the God of Nature. Now we are convinced that Nature is as cruel as the bible; so that if the God of Nature did not write the bible, this god at least has caused earthquakes and pestilence and famine, and this god has allowed millions of his children to destroy one another. So that now we have arrived at the question- not as whether the bible is inspired and not as to whether Jehovah is the real God but whether there is a god or not. The intelligence of christendom today does not believe in an inspired art or an inspired literature. If there be an infinite god, inspiration in some particular regard would be a patch-it would be the puttying of a crack, the hiding of a defect, in other words, it would show that the general plan was defective.

On religion and war

Folks, we are a stupid race.

Before I tell you why I think the above statement is true, I want to say that as my good friend J.Zande has so aptly said, we are superstitious naked apes. I know some of you think it debasing to call you, yes you, animals. And many of you think you are better and higher than all other animals. Sorry, the only thing that makes us different is we are laughing animals and we are lower than other animals because we are superstitious. Please, before you start throwing stones hear me out. I don’t mean to say we haven’t invented many things, that we have tried to harness the power of nature, that we have managed to create cures to diseases brought on us by mother nature. This is all good and I can’t take it away from our race. I think if dogs needed to know how to drive cars, evolution would have made it possible for them to have a brain big enough to handle such a task. Be happy that you are human but don’t look down upon the dog, it doesn’t need most of the things you need, if there is happiness among the animals then I can say, many animals our lot call lower animals could be a happier lot.

I don’t think there is a justification for keeping standing, sleeping or whatever armies. I see no difference between the soldier and the religious person. For the soldier to kill another man, he must have been brainwashed to the point where he can see another human being as being different and not deserving to live. I say that till all the men in the barracks will be taught to think for themselves, we will have armies for the sole purpose of killing one another. Just as the believer is told their religion is the correct one making them see others as being less, we will have armies. I can go far as to say armies exist to support religion or religious causes. I also think the first wars were religious or had the support of religion. The expansionist wars were as a result of greed and ignorance. I lay the blame on wars and keeping of armies on ignorance and religion.

No educated man would in my mind support war. Don’t ask what are we to do when invaded. I have thought about that already. If all humanity was educated, why would one man attack another? Men desire to make slaves and serfs of other men. No truth needs an army to support it. It will always be true. Falsehood, and religion is one of the biggest, needs miracles and brute force to support it. I could be wrong, but I think most if not all religions needed the support of the state[force] to spread. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, did not need state sanction to spread, Copernicus theory did not support of the Rome to spread. It was fact, and the only thing force can do is to suppress fact but not force its adoption.

I propose we divert the money used to fund armies world over be used to alleviate ignorance, spread science, develop better agricultural systems to alleviate world poverty, provide proper housing. An educated man, free enough to think for himself will with good training not support war or the keeping of an army.

As to why we are a stupid race, of all the animals as I have said many times before, we are the only ones who have designed instruments to torture our fellows. We are the only animals that attend an execution to see one of our kind either shot dead by a firing squad or through lethal injection or worse still killed on the guillotine. Of all the animals, we are the least satisfied. Of all the animals, it is only man that can plan for the annihilation of another because they belong to a different tribe, religion or profess a different creed. If this is not stupid, then I am going to throw away my dictionary!

I know some of you may disagree with me, I am open to persuasion. Please spend a few minutes and share with me your objections to what I have said maybe I may just change my mind.

The Magdalene sisters

Many times when I post movies here, they are usually meant to entertain, educate and to help you relax. Today I am going to post a movie that is going to disgust you. If, however, at the end of the movie you don’t feel disgust, you ought to check in with your shrink, there is likely to be a neuron that has misfired in your brain.

Robert Nielsen has written a detailed post on these laundries that can only be described as the places where man treated his fellow man worse than he would treat his beast of burden. The ladies were humiliated, their dignity trumpled on to an extent they were made to feel like lesser persons.