On freedom

Freedom is not a reaction; freedom is not choice. It is man’s pretence that because he has choice he is free. Freedom is pure observation without direction, without fear of punishment and reward. Freedom is without motive; freedom is not at the end of the evolution of man but lies in the first step of his existence. In observation one begins to discover the lack of freedom. Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity.


God and the problem of evil

Problem of evil revisited

Enquiries on Atheism

Many atheists contend that the problem of evil demonstrates God’s non-existence, or that he’s malevolent and/or impotent.  How does that follow?  Christians maintain that Freewill is the reason for evil, and Freewill is the product of the Divine.  If God does not exist, evil would not exist because objective moral values do not exist. So, evil proves God’s existence.

Many atheists contend, and rightly, that evil is not consistent with a benevolent, omniscient and omnipotent god. Further, we argue that given what we observe, it is more rational to conclude that  god[s] do not exist.

How does it follow? Easy answer.

Assume you powerful, not omnipotent, just powerful and you see someone in the act of sexually abusing another, would you let them continue? If no, why not? It has been argued by apologists that god has a reason unknown to us why he permits such evil to occur. I call it bunk…

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Is atheism a religion?

This post is a dedication to some friends of mine with whom we recently had this debate. I didn’t think I would have to write this post but it is important that we make a distinction.

Atheism is

the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is the absence of belief that any deities exist

The question and discussion ends there. You may not like this, you may not agree, but this is what it is. It is important at this point to point out to my friends that there is no atheism dogma, there is no ritual or private practice or group indulgence. I understand the difficulty for the theist to see why this is so. The believer’s life should in theory be lived according to the dictates/ commands of his holy books and messengers of their respective gods. Their belief in god is tied to every facet of their life or rather they believe this to be the case.

Religion on the other hand

is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence. Many religions have narratives, symbols, and sacred histories that are intended to explain the meaning of life and/or to explain the origin of life or the Universe. From their beliefs about the cosmos and human nature, people derive morality,ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle.

Many religions may have organized behaviors, clergy, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, holy places, and scriptures. The practice of a religion may also include rituals, sermons, commemoration or veneration of a deity, gods or goddesses, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, prayer, music, art,dance, public service or other aspects of human culture. Religions may also contain mythology

A global 2012 poll reports that 59% of the world’s population is religious, and 36% are not religious, including 13% who are atheists, with a 9 percent decrease in religious belief from 2005

Allow me to digress a little. I have included the third paragraph on statistics to make it clear that atheism is not a religion. An atheist is irreligious. He has no religion and please science is not a religion.

The arguments against theism used by atheists are not taken on faith. They are rebuttals anyone who applies himself to think about religion would come to, except not in the same wording.

Since to the believer, questions such as origin of the cosmos are presumed answered, the atheist or naturalist has to find answers though this has no bearing whatsoever on her atheism. For one, I don’t know would be sufficient in this case.

Since not all religions are theistic, it is possible to find atheistic religions, that is, religions where the belief in god is not central to the system but they are engaged in other practices that are religious in nature. An example of this is Buddhism though many people have deified the person of Buddha against his teachings.

The theist ought to get his morals from scripture. He believes his god has given commands on how life ought to be lived, how he should relate with his fellows and in many instances have also given him circumstances under which he can kill his neighbor or child. This is not the case with the atheist. There are no gods, there are no divine commands.

I hope this will help many others towards the understanding that atheism is not a religion. It is a lack of it. An atheist has beliefs, but these are not in any way religious. He holds them just as any person holds beliefs which have nothing to do with their religion. In many cases however, the atheist’s beliefs, can be called knowledge, that is, justified true beliefs.

about Pascal’s Wager

I find the Wager to be a bad reason to believe in any god.

Enquiries on Atheism

What, if any, are the weaknesses of Pascal’s Wager?

I guess all of you are familiar with Blaise Pascal and his wager for belief. For those who are not, it is from his Pensees section 233. Allow me to digress a little before we look at the wager itself.

The good scientist, as he was, writes

If there is a God, He is infinitely incomprehensible, since, having neither parts nor limits, He has no affinity to
us. We are then incapable of knowing either what He is or if He is. This being so, who will dare to undertake
the decision of the question? Not we, who have no affinity to Him.

Had he stopped here, he would have done well for theology. He would stand in the same breadth as d’Holdbach when he writes that if god is infinite and incomprehensible to us, we have no business thinking about…

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Free speech

I am an advocate of free speech and at all times, I would allow dissent on this blog or anywhere else I write or even in comments. I am also open to correction.

But am impatient when it comes to dealing with trope. I think one guy is enough and for that position, I have granted Paarsurrey to be their un-elected representative. There is a fellow called SOM, you must know him. He comments on so many atheist blogs writing almost the same lines. On a recent post where I shared the Platinga interview, he wrote the following comment;

We know from science that we live in a universe governed by laws.

That means our universe is comprehensible, not chaotic.

The Bible is a collection of stories that match a rational, reasoning God with the comprehensible universe he created.

This is unique among the pagan religions who matched their capricious gods with an incomprehensible, chaotic universe.

Consequently, man would have to be a result of the laws of nature.

If God changed the laws of nature, man could not come into being.

It’s like a recipe.

Vanilla cannot be added to a recipe to produce a chocolate or raspberry taste.

Without suffering life as we know it would not exist.

All life, evolution and the development of man are the result of a universe where suffering is an integral part.

As a result, the atheist argument that God cannot exist because of suffering is ridiculous.

It’s like wishing for rescue by the tooth fairy or spaghetti monster.

There are a few things yours truly wants to point and if am wrong, please correct me.

I think in his first statement, there is a silent premise that these laws have a lawgiver. I on the other hand, understand that these laws are our ways of understanding the universe. And that they are part of the universe, not distinct from it, or having an author outside the universe.

The Bible is a collection of stories that match a rational, reasoning God with the comprehensible universe he created.

This statement can be shown to be false in as many instances as one has the time to dig through the bible. No rational being punishes others not responsible in the commission of crimes. For example, the son David had with Uriah’s wife dies because god is angry at David. Where is the rationality here?

This is unique among the pagan religions who matched their capricious gods with an incomprehensible, chaotic universe.

A reading of Greek or Roman mythology will dissuade you from this sort of ignorance. What is true is that the polytheists paid not so much attention to their gods. They participated in the state rituals as was required, but they were not as superstitious as the Christians. Their pantheon of gods consisted of gods that were amenable to man. Take Minnerva for example, there is no where this god is portrayed as a capricious god.

If God changed the laws of nature, man could not come into being

Which god?

Without suffering life as we know it would not exist.

No, you have no way of knowing this. Life as we have known it has been intertwined with suffering. This doesn’t rule out the possibility of a life without suffering. But it will not be life as we know it, that I grant.

As a result, the atheist argument that God cannot exist because of suffering is ridiculous.

You don’t seem to understand the problem of evil. The argument is not ridiculous. In its simplest form, all the proponents of the argument are saying is that the existence of evil in a world governed by an omnibenovelent, omniscient and omnipotent overlord is not consistent. It is for the above reason, theists have written tracts to explain away this problem: others by making god less powerful, others arguing for freewill and yet others arguing for a god who has reasons for letting people suffer till a future date.

It’s like wishing for rescue by the tooth fairy or spaghetti monster.

This would be ridiculous if someone believed in the existence of the tooth fairy as you seem to do unless the implication here is you have come to the conclusion that evidence for the tooth fairy and for your god seem to match.

As I said at the beginning of the post, Paasurrey represents all the lazy believers who either repeat mantra from their Imam or do not offer anything new. Am going to engage with SOM only when I feel he is ready to have a mature discussion.

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.