thinking out loud


 If God does not exist, what is the purpose of educating yourself?  You will die, and if your works live on after your death, eventually nobody will be around to see those either.  If you simply want to educate yourself for the benefit of yourself, what do you objectively gain by the endeavor? 

My colleagues at atheistenquiry.org have answered this question here, here and here and I will add my two cents to this silly question.

My first response is because if god, as they don’t, do not exist, then all depends on us. We have no one else to wait on to give us this answers. That we must wrestle the knowledge from nature by diligently studying it, and coming back to it to arbitrate our claims. I would assume if a god existed, whichever god, and they were concerned about us and wanted us to have the right kind of belief, they would occasionally send notes.

My parents told me, to be competitive in the 21st century, I needed education and have a trade. Now that am old, I educate myself for the sake of knowing. I find immeasurable pleasure in learning something new. It opens my vistas. Expands my understanding of the world and so it is what I would call knowledge for its own sake.

I hate this questions of purpose. Must something have some preordained purpose to be enjoyed. It is silly to ask such a question. It is no different from asking why listen to music if god doesn’t exist.

I know I will die and will not be on the stage anymore. But while I live, I would love to be part of the conversation. It depends on what you write. Celsus, Cicero, Marcus Aurelius, Plutarch, Homer, Nietzsche among others wrote their volumes many eons ago. They have since died but we still read them. They have contributed to the improvement the human race, knowledge wise.  And anyway, why should I worry about what will happen to my books, if I eventually get to write a few, when am dead, I shall be dead. Those who are lucky will find them useful in dismissing beliefs in superstition. They will learn, if they don’t already know, that it is important to be kind, not to discriminate and to treat each other with dignity.

Lastly, as I have said, what I again by educating myself is knowledge of the world around me, some of it practical and most of it, knowledge for the sake of knowledge. I could, for example, tell you that during the reign of Marcus Aurelius, Rome was governed by one of its best men. Here is an ideal to aspire to.

In conclusion, while we can disagree on whether a question is silly or not, this one assumes too much. The person asking assumes, that the god he believes in exists, that this god somehow is the reason they are educating themselves and maybe even after their death, this god may in someway be concerned with what they have left.

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About makagutu

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

16 thoughts on “thinking out loud

  1. stephenpruis says:

    Nicely said, especially the “it is all up to us” part which is what I find so refreshing about being responsible for my own life.

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  2. Arkenaten says:

    Ah…Marcus Aurelius. I like his work.
    Good post, Mak.
    And It would be nice to think that people my still read my books after I have Popped my Clogs, as the saying goes.

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  3. the attempt to get to atheists with the “what us is anything” nihilistic crap is a lovely example of how religion needs fear. It can’t exist without it.

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  4. Lovely answer. I often wonder why the existence of a man on the sky is necessary for life to have enough meaning and purpose. Some of us are so lonely and disconnected that we are desperate for any type of answer, no matter how nonsensical.

    The meaning of life is 42.

    It is a silly question indeed.

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    • makagutu says:

      Thanks mate.

      I think it is a silly question.

      The question would be turned on its head and ask them any sort of silly question. For instance, why shit if there is god? What makes one endeavour superior to the next that warrants a belief in god for it to be carried out?

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  5. themodernidiot says:

    If you want to educate yourself for the benefit of yourself it’s not objective at all.

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    • makagutu says:

      I didn’t claim objectivity. I said knowledge for it’s own sake.
      My question rather was does education have to be objective to be pursued.

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      • themodernidiot says:

        I was just addressing the opening, which seems pretty clear about objectivity. If you ever want something, it’s subjective; so the opening is also subjective in its wording.
        Now your second question is pretty clear in its objective, but is topically subjective for education is something akin to beauty–in the eye of the beholder if you will.
        I prefer my educational material to be as objective as possible, however since it is man-made, realistically my wish is impossible; so I’d say that a truly objective education is impossible. Now, my wanting objectivity is a subjective act, again making an objective education impossible. What is education? Is it simply knowledge? What kind of knowledge? Must it be taught? By whom? Are they objective in the subjective way you define objectivity and knowledge?
        Rather than try to answer these questions, just go observe objectively and gain knowledge, ie. an education.
        Education has no sake of its own without a learner. Nor knowledge or info, all of these things require a subjective being acting subjectively or objectively.

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