things that piss me off

  1. The African heads of state
  2. Our good for nothing legislators
  3. Slow or non existent internet connection
  4. Our useless judiciary and other constitutional bodies
  5. The fourth estate
  6. The churches tax exempt status
  7. Tribal clashes
  8. Lastly a world that appears to be peopled mostly by sheeples.
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Afterlife, count me out!

Friends, your good host is feeling lazy today but that does not mean he doesn’t have gems to share. I like this one on the afterlife and if you still want an afterlife, I wish you well and I hope that you get a good choirmaster in heaven and that the people who never attempt to sing in church but are headed to heaven will have heavenly and musical voices or you will wish you died once and it ended there.

The past week, the pope announced we[atheists] if we did ‘good’ were going to heaven. A statement which one spokesman for the Vatican clarified and said something to the effect you must be catholic to go to this heaven. Well, first I don’t think there is another life. I have no proof  for it, and since it didn’t bother me before I was born, I don’t see why it should bother me when am gone. The pope and his minions must know, if they are intelligent, that atheists, speaking for myself, have no belief in heaven and hell. That we wish that people live their lives here fully and as the great Marcus Aurelius said,

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

I wish there was an afterlife sometimes, I wish my mum who went before me would see what have become. I wish she would be happy that am trying to make the life of our lot better by killing gods and dealing with superstition. That she would be happy that I managed to get out of the shackles imposed on us by religion.

I share with you some thoughts of Jean Meslier on the afterlife.

But, it will be said, is not the dogma of the immortality of the soul consoling for beings who often find themselves very unhappy here below? If this should be an illusion, is it not a sweet and agreeable one? Is it not a benefit for man to believe that he can live again and enjoy, sometime, the happiness which is refused to him on earth? Thus, poor mortals! you make your wishes the measure of the truth! Because you desire to live forever, and to be happier, you conclude from thence that you will live forever, and that you will be more fortunate in an unknown world than in the known world, in which you so often suffer! Consent, then, to leave without regret this world, which causes more trouble than pleasure to the majority of you. Resign yourselves to the order of destiny, which decrees that you, like all other beings, should not endure forever. But what will become of me? you ask! What you were several millions of years ago. You were then, I do not know what; resign yourselves, then, to become again in an instant, I do not know what; what you were then; return peaceably to the universal home from which you came without your knowledge into your material form, and pass by without murmuring, like all the beings which surround you!

We are repeatedly told that religious ideas offer infinite consolation to the unfortunate; it is pretended that the idea of the immortality of the soul and of a happier life has a tendency to lift up the heart of man and to sustain him in the midst of the adversities with which he is assailed in this life. Materialism, on the contrary, is, we are told, an afflicting system, tending to degrade man, which ranks him among brutes; which destroys his courage, whose only hope is complete annihilation, tending to lead him to despair, and inducing him to commit suicide as soon as he suffers in this world. The grand policy of theologians is to blow hot and to blow cold, to afflict and to console, to frighten and to reassure.

According to the fictions of theology, the regions of the other life are happy and unhappy. Nothing more difficult than to render one worthy of the abode of felicity; nothing easier than to obtain a place in the abode of torments that Divinity prepares for the unfortunate victims of His eternal fury. Those who find the idea of another life so flattering and so sweet, have they then forgotten that this other life, according to them, is to be accompanied by torments for the majority of mortals? Is not the idea of total annihilation infinitely preferable to the idea of an eternal existence accompanied with suffering and gnashing of teeth? The fear of ceasing to exist, is it more afflicting than the thought of having not always been? The fear of ceasing to be is but an evil for the imagination, which alone brought forth the dogma of another life.

You say, O Christian philosophers, that the idea of a happier life is delightful; we agree; there is no one who would not desire a more agreeable and a more durable existence than the one we enjoy here below. But, if Paradise is tempting, you will admit, also, that hell is frightful. It is very difficult to merit heaven, and very easy to gain hell. Do you not say that one straight and narrow path leads to the happy regions, and that a broad road leads to the regions of the unhappy? Do you not constantly tell us that the number of the chosen ones is very small, and that of the damned is very large? Do we not need, in order to be saved, such grace as your God grants to but few? Well! I tell you that these ideas are by no means consoling; I prefer to be annihilated at once rather than to burn forever; I will tell you that the fate of beasts appears to me more desirable than the fate of the damned; I will tell you that the belief which delivers me from overwhelming fears in this world, appears to me more desirable than the uncertainty in which I am left through belief in a God who, master of His favors, gives them but to His favorites, and who permits all the others to render themselves worthy of eternal punishments. It can be but blind enthusiasm or folly that can prefer a system which evidently encourages improbable conjectures, accompanied by uncertainty and desolating fear.

On the resurrection of Jesus

To be a good architect, one has to not only pay attention to details, but must have an understanding of how the components in the whole work to create a unity. A space that would otherwise look plain, begins to have depth, texture, and feeling when detail is added to it. There are things however where the problem is in the detail, and that is where we are going today with the story of Jesus. 

Many apologists contend with St. Paul in 1 Corinthians thus

12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:

14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

It is evident from this passage that even then there were skeptics who did not buy the story of Paul for he wouldn’t be defending it as he does in v12. In v13, if the bible is to believed, I can only say St. Paul had not read 2 Kings 4:32-37

32 When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed. 33 He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the Lord. 34 And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm. 35 He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 36 And he called Gehazi and said, “Call this Shunammite woman.” So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, “Pick up your son.”37 So she went in, fell at his feet, and bowed to the ground; then she picked up her son and went out.

from where it is evident that people were actually raised from the dead, that is if the bible is to believed. And in the NT we have two stories of Jesus raising people from the dead  one is of Jairus son and of Lazarus[Jn 11:1-45] so the question that Paul is raising in his letter would have been a moot one especially because we would expect that these resurrections were known. You know a coming back to the land of the living is not a so so story, but one that would draw both local and international press.

The second matter of detail that relates to the story of Jesus from my point of view is twofold. Christians claim that Jesus was fully god,  then it is expected that he knew he would rise from the dead, I mean a few verses earlier before he had raised some losers from the land of the dead, why wouldn’t he do it to himself. So please tell, how does god committing suicide knowing he will get through with it something special. Maybe I miss something here that others see, please help me.

Three if the bible is to believed, apologists claim there are many prophecies regarding Jesus crucifixion and resurrection in the bible. If this is the case, then it is no longer any special news. Everyone who believes in the narrative already expect him to die and resurrect, in fact I contend it would be news if he didn’t resurrect.

Lastly Paul is arguing by appealing to emotion, he must have known then that for those who believed, the story couldn’t be otherwise as he told it. It would be ambitious on anyone’s part to expect St. Paul to write that Jesus didn’t resurrect, I mean he is the one creating the narrative. What else would you expect? 

One can go ahead and claim that people writing in the 2nd Century mention Jesus. Whatever their names, one would be hard pressed to convince me they are not repeating a narrative that has been doing its rounds.

In conclusion, whenever I contend that the resurrection of Jesus, if he did live and this happened, means very little, at least to me, not because there were similar resurrection narratives in the middle east at that time, no, but because the bible in both the old and new testaments have a few narratives of resurrection even though nobody says whether these fellows so raised do die again or live forever and are still here with us and because, the bible believers claim in many places that this was already written in scripture, it is something they were expecting and lastly because the main character claims to be god.

This is then my proposal, the christians and their apologists should drop the divinity story and say this Jesus guy was a random magician, chosen by their god as a human sacrifice to redeem other magicians and we go on with life. 

This, friends is how I see it.

Related article

What were the most powerful arguments for atheism for you?

On the incredibility of the resurrection story

 

We are on the way to heaven, yes we are

The pope Bergoglio, otherwise known as Pope Francis says atheists are going to heaven as long as they do good. Don’t you just like the catholic church. First they abolish limbo, then apologise for mistreating Galileo, [am not sure they apologised for burning Giordino Bruno] some priest said hell is just a story am just hoping next they will say the whole thing has always been a fraud. Now my children go home and sin no more but I want your money first! we are all going to heaven, that is if you want to go. Am not going, I prefer to just die.

Sorry protestants, muslims, Judaists, Hindus, Mormons, Buddhists, scientologists, those mad fundamentalists, evangelicals and the rest I haven’t mentioned, you seem not to have passed the bar 😛 or the good pope just forgot about you.

Pope Francis Says Atheists Who Do Good Are Redeemed, Not Just Catholics

Blog break 6: A question

Fellow sufferers, am being very generous today. Am not going to argue for existence of gods, Mohammed or Jesus but I have a very simple question.

The apologists have told us that religion is a way of knowing.

Now tell me, is there a time in our lifetime that a scientific answer has been replaced with a religious one?

Just that and please support your answer and preferably if you have a link to the source material include it in your response.

Blog break 5: Bad apologetics

Folks, a christian apologist claims in one of his posts that we atheists are not any different when it comes to cherry picking bible verses. I think I need help here, when is using a bible verse cherry picking? The accuser claims further that we [atheists] never venture out of the OT for fear of finding some teachings of Jesus we may not like for their moral value like when he curses a fig tree out of season or calls others brood of vipers or even worse in the sermon on the mount when he preaches it is blessed to be poor? Well, I got news for you. We don’t cherry pick.

Your accuser is here

In this post he claims talking about evidence with us is a waste of time. Last time we had the discussion on evidence with theists, it came down to see around you that is evidence of god and look at the bible it says it is the word of god and the bible is true because god says so in the bible. Beyond that all other evidence involved is quoting William L. Craig and Platinga, two apologists that it is my opinion their beliefs are far removed from the beliefs held by most other christians.

You know you are reading bad philosophy when you see an argument presented thus

. Matter cannot create itself
. Matter cannot preexist itself
. Matter cannot be eternal nor infinite
the author fails to mention the premise that matter can neither be created nor destroyed. In his argument he has created a strawman and so he is on a roll through and through, there is no beating him. He knows mentioning this important premise puts into question his other premises.
To make his case, he presents the Cosmological argument presenting it as evidence. He writes
. Everything material that begins to exist has come into existence because of an external cause.
. Matter is not eternal
. An infinite regress of cause does not exist
. Matter requires an eternal immaterial Creator
In his first premise, this can’t be said of the universe. He nor me simply do not know and will never know. The premise is also not true because radio-active decay occurs without a discernible cause and the same is true to quantum fluctuations.
I don’t know what evidence he has to support premise two. As far as we can tell if matter can’t be destroyed the only option is it is eternal.
Premise 3 is wrong on two counts. Infinity is a place holder, a term we use to represents large numbers to say it doesn’t exist then you must have performed poorly is mathematics or you attended a creationism school. The second thing that is wrong with this assertion is it can’t be applied to the universe, we can apply to human constructions but when we want to apply it to the universe, we are way out of our depth.
The conclusion in 4 above does not follow from the premises. A case hasn’t been made to warrant a creator and while we are it at it, how does an immaterial creator create what is material? At what point do they interact?
I have seen ridiculous statements, but this will get the trophy as the most ridiculous of the week!
As things stand right now, atheists have no basis for the world-view that they hold.
Atheists are simply believing what they believe on blind faith. And in this case, faith would mean, believing something in the teeth of the evidence to the contrary.
I don’t think this statement requires further comment from me.
For those of you who have time, you can visit his site for entertainment, the link is provided in the body of the post.

On meaning

Folks, many times theists berate atheists because we[ most of us I believe] realize the universe in without purpose. No design and no goal, things in nature are indifferent to our whims or feelings, they just happen. Our lives are inherently absurd and meaningless or as the writer of Ecclesiastes writes in Chapter 3

18 I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. 19 Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. 20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”

Faced with this meaninglessness what does man do? You have to choices to choose life through christianity which is a denial of reality. It is a pessimistic view of life based on the mistaken belief that human beings are created by their god to worship him and revere him so that in future they may spend endless time singing hallelujah hosana! or you can choose to live knowing that life ends when the final curtain is drawn, that we have this one life to live to the fullest so that should there be another life elsewhere, the gods shall be proud that we lived a full life here and wouldn’t punish us for that.

One of the greatest teachers to have walked the surface of the earth, Siddhartha Gotama, said of the people who claim to have a passionate relationship with god to be like a young man who has declared he is in love with the most beautiful lady in the village but on being asked how she looks like admits he has never seen her! it is groundless, based on human consciousness alone and nothing more. It is not suggested to us by nature and therefore to claim god gives our lives meaning is to claim unicorns give lives meaning since the existence of the two are just conjecture.

For an apologist to write

The Christian, by contrast, admits right up front that there is more to the universe than physics and chemistry, that minds and meaning do indeed exist, and that we have ultimate purpose in life because there is an ultimate that exists, God. Without God, Dawkins is quite correct that there is no meaning in the question “why do we exist?” But with an infinite God, we have infinite meaning in the universe.

is to pretend to possess some knowledge that isn’t available to the rest of us. It is a mark of arrogance that can only be explained by assuming the author is so brainwashed into believing his religion as true that any other opinion that challenges his world view false short. And what does it mean to talk about an infinite god? Rather what does infinity mean? Isn’t infinity a human concept to describe large numbers the human mind can’t simply conceive and what infinite meaning do we have in the universe?

I contend that our lives are inherently without meaning, but that each of us has to create meaning in their lives. The believer through believing in transcendence hopes that his life has a greater purpose than just spreading his/her genes and the non believer believes that he/she has a duty to live a meaningful life here without attaching any meaning to superstition.