I have nothing against spiritualists, but please….

The barbarian, when he speaks of a spirit, attaches at least some sense to this word; he understands by it an agent similar to the wind, to the agitated air, to the breath, which produces, invisibly, effects that we perceive. By subtilizing, the modern theologian becomes as little intelligible to himself as to others. Ask him what he means by a spirit? He will answer, that it is an unknown substance, which is perfectly simple, which has nothing tangible, nothing in common with matter. In good faith, is there any mortal who can form the least idea of such a substance? A spirit in the language of modern theology is then but an absence of ideas. The idea of spirituality is another idea without a model.

J. Meslier

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

12 thoughts on “I have nothing against spiritualists, but please….

  1. I agree. I would throw the word ‘energy’ into that category as well. Unless it’s used in the scientific sense (ability to do work), it is absolutely meaningless.


  2. john zande says:

    For some reason this reminds me of this monologue, one the best ever delivered in film:

    “Have you any idea what it takes to kill a human being, Mr. Withers? I don’t mean one brute bashing in another brute’s skull out of primitive passion. I mean the measured dispassionate action that comes from absolute clarity of mind, transcends rational thought. The kind of action that springs from absolute necessity, unclouded by the restraints of conscience, mercy, pity. The kind of action that allows one to take a common, ordinary hammer and with clinical precision split a skull so cleanly that the cranium cracks right through the medulla, allowing the claw of the hammer to be used to pry back the skull cleanly, exposing the brain while the subject remains alive, even aware. Such a man is to be envied, reveared, and much feared, never paralyzed by impotence of will.” – From the Hip (1987)


  3. Tabitha Cunningham says:

    This is just wishful thinking again, when there is no evidence at all for Christians. They want to believe so badly. I see the evidence of wind and electricity every day, but god? never.


  4. violetwisp says:

    I’m not sure I’m understanding this correctly. It seems rather short-sighted to dismiss things just because science currently can’t explain them. In 500 years’ time, we’ll be medieval villagers in comparison. There are loads of other reasons to logically discount gods and religions, but this one doesn’t feel future-proofed.


    • makagutu says:

      Oh my friend. In about 220CE, Tertullian gave the first formulation of the Trinity, and I bet more than 1700 years later we are not any close to making sense of the word.
      In the 9th Century, John Scot Erigena said this about god; We do not know what God is. God Himself does not know what He is because He is not anything. Literally God is not, because He transcends being. I don’t know if 1100 years later we have moved any closer to knowing what the word god is.
      Between 1093 to 1109, Anselm of Canterbury said of god that is the greatest conceivable being. 700 years later are we any closer to understanding what god is? I think not.
      I am not talking about what science can or can’t know. Here, the question is about do we understand what is meant by spirit? Is it intelligible?


      • violetwisp says:

        But pre-20th century history was something of an information vacuum. With modern technology and the ease of information gathering, analysis and exchange we have reached, I don’t think the movement or analysis of ideas pre-20th century can be compared with where we’re likely to go in the next few centuries. Not that I think we’ll find anything to prove the existence of a god: regardless of progress, theoretically any supernatural force can always be placed outside of our puny ability to understand.


        • makagutu says:

          I agree with you fully, my only contention was that on matter of what god is, not whether it exists, have theologians made any progress since 220CE. I think not. I know apologists like William Craig have managed to modify the Cosmological argument, I don’t think it is anymore successful than when it was first formulated. Another thing, if any, some of the apologists have stripped god of so many powers that one is left wondering why they still worship it.


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