The problem of evil

You probably have watched the brief interview of Stephen Fry.

His answer seems to have given some theists fodder to enlighten us on the problem of evil. The OP tells us

My point is simply this: evil is a problem for everyone, not just Christians.Whether you like it or not we live in a world where children do get bone cancer, where parasites exists, where ‘evil’ exists. I would therefore suggest the question is not simply ‘how could God let this happen?’, but rather ‘which worldview best answers the question of evil?’

Which is alright. Atheism however isn’t a worldview. I could be wrong, but I don’t think there is anywhere atheism

demands that there be no God, no purpose in the universe – we are simply the result of an accident, some sort of cosmic blip which caused everything that we see.

given atheism is a lack of belief in the existence of god[s]. So how someone gets from that simple meaning to atheism making demands is a logical leap, if ever there was one. It is enough for me to say I don’t how life began and whether or not the universe had a beginning.

This theist seems to me to not have listened to the clip. If he did, he should have been aware that Stephen Fry was asked what he would say were he to find a god. No one that I know of is claiming that diseases aren’t natural. There is no problem of evil in an atheistic universe. The problem of evil, is only a problem in a world ruled by a cosmic overlord whose followers believe that this being is both all-powerful, all-knowing and all loving. I have no problem with this statement of the OP

If atheism is true, then we are exactly the way we are intended to be: evolution just dumped us here, in a place where illness and death exist – the universe has no categories of right or wrong, it just simply is.

for I think it is the case. The universe isn’t intelligent so it doesn’t have the wherewithal to care for right or wrong. These categories are human categories.

The OP conveniently forgets that Fry had been asked what he would do if he found there was a god. It is true atheism cannot and doesn’t account for evil. It is not part of the definition of atheism to explain or account for anything. As I wrote a few days ago, if you are going to evaluate the correctness of a proposition by the questions it can’t answer, then everything will be found as irrational. The theist tells us

Personally I believe that Christianity is the best explanation that we have for the universe as we perceive it, evil and all. Very, very briefly: (1) evil is an alien intrusion into the world, caused by the Fall (see Genesis 3). This explains why we have a higher ideal for the world than the one we actually see – because creation is not as God originally created it. In other words, illness, death etc are not ‘natural’; (2) despite that, God promises that there is a purpose in all suffering – that “all things” work for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28, see also Genesis 50:20 and elsewhere); (3) One day God promises to end all suffering (Revelation 7:17). To my mind that is a far more convincing and comprehensive answer to the problem of evil than anything atheism could provide.

Which to me is further evidence of the ignorance of Christians of the world they live in. Each religion makes a claim about the universe. This particular person, due to his accident of birth, thinks his particular religion answers best the questions we have about the universe. If he read his bible, he would realize there is no where in Genesis where his god intended that man will live forever. In Genesis 3:22, the authors have god say

22 God said, “The Man has become like one of us, capable of knowing everything, ranging from good to evil. What if he now should reach out and take fruit from the Tree-of-Life and eat, and live forever? Never—this cannot happen!

Only a silly person would think death isn’t natural and that eating a fruit, which the said god didn’t have to plant or after planting make known its existence, would be the cause for sickness. Atheism isn’t attempting to provide an answer to evil. It can’t. Only we as humans can answer that problem. God makes no promises. Unknown men, whose motives are unclear to us have made claims that god can do this or that. We have no reason to take them at their word. For all we know, they could as well be charlatans as the current peddlers of religion.

The world is not divided between atheism and Christianity alone. It is a wide world out there. Only a person of limited intelligence would see the world as a divided between on this two stances of belief or non belief.

Interlude: Kenyans on Twitter

Or more famously known as #KOT.

I always thought and it seems I have been wrong on the cognitive abilities of the twitter users. I expected them to have IQs above that of boiled bananas but I think I have been generous.

I wonder what education does to people or rather more accurately, what type of education they received. Half the discussions end up being tribal and the other half is divided between prayer and ignorance.

You have the ones who think the solution to every conceivable is prayer

or who think the solution to traffic congestion  is to increase fuel prices

and the at the top is a candidate for an asylum who thinks yours truly is a pyscho for asking

In other news, the pope cuddles is opposing competition in the high department. Believing god loves you and is listening to your prayers is enough to keep you high for many days he is opposed to legalizing marijuana.

That there is the end of this public complaint.

In defense of higher education

Not that it needs defending but because I couldn’t think of a better title for this post. Some of you have read the floundering thoughts post which was  a response to a post whose author has pestered yours truly to read in order that I should be enlightened on what am missing.

When I wrote the other day about length of posts, I had such posts in mind. The author could have as well written

the bible is the word of god because the bible says so

and be done with it but she goes yapping endlessly saying almost the same thing. I could respond to that statement with a single word BULLSHIT and stop there and I will still have done the post justice. I will however say a bit more because there are groups of people who think ridicule isn’t a good response to credulity.

She tells us the universe is evidence for a creator. That everything we see around is evidence for the god of the Hebrews. We are expected to believe that the creator of the universe slept for generations and only felt it important to talk to men about his works to a band of herders. This is to expect a lot from us. She tells us because we can’t create shit, we can’t question shit. No wonder charlatans frauds pastors still make so much money. The world is populated by people ready to believe the most silly of things.

A wise man living a few centuries back wrote

We are assured that the wonders of nature are sufficient to a belief in the existence of a God, and to convince us fully of this important truth. But how many persons are there in this world who have the leisure, the capacity, the necessary taste, to contemplate nature and to meditate upon its progress? The majority of men pay no attention to it. A peasant is not at all moved by the beauty of the sun, which he sees every day. The sailor is not surprised by the regular movements of the ocean; he will draw from them
no theological inductions. The phenomena of nature do not prove the existence of a God, except to a few forewarned men, to whom has been shown in advance the finger of God in all the objects whose mechanism could embarrass them. The unprejudiced philosopher sees nothing in the wonders of nature but permanent and invariable law; nothing but the necessary effects of different combinations of diversified substance.

but we should see god. To see a creator. This is asking for too much from our intelligence. Maybe a mad man would find the explanation that malaria points to god, a god who later on you will learn is all loving, all-powerful and all-knowing. They question on whose authority you would question the love of such a fiend. It’s messengers/ parsons want you to buy this crap under the threat of eternal fire. Keep your fires, keep your stakes!

If pride is the father of unbelief, call me proud. But it takes a certain amount of stupid to believe that it is pride that makes a man of common sense ask if donkeys talk or snakes walked and ‘fishes’ were used for transcontinental transport. Please!

If you were to ask a person of common sense why the bible needs defense, especially if it must be believed, they will tell you it is self refuting and not self proving. To see it as anything more than that, you requires religion.

In the superstition of the ages the author says this about theology, what our author here calls the study of divine things

There is a science which has for its object only incomprehensible things. Unlike all others, it occupies itself but with things unseen. Hobbes calls it “the kingdom of darkness.” In this land all obey laws opposed to those which men acknowledge in the world they inhabit. In this marvelous region light is but darkness, evidence becomes doubtful or false, the impossible becomes credible, reason is an unfaithful guide, and common sense changed into delirium. This science is named Theology, and this Theology
is a continual insult to human reason

I digress.

Our author asks

What then is the value of the scholarship which does not trust scripture?

A question which I interpret to mean scholarship should make us all bible believing dimwits. Seriously?

We are told

If a person must rely on the testimony of men to give approval of the scriptures, then that person will always be at the mercy of another mans learning.

This is not God’s way as He demonstrates the power in His word  that men’s faith be not in men.

And I keep saying this is high irony.

The first book of the bible starts

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light……..

and yours truly must ask, is this the testimony of god or of man?

The author then tells us that pilate deserved no answer when he asked what was the meaning of truth. I would imagine a god would want to settle the ignorance of men but not to the staunch believer.

It is strange when one is a believer how everything is the fault of the reader. A person of common sense reads of Lot shagging his daughters and finds this abhorrent, the believer tells you scripture is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. I will be generous here, someone please tell what lesson we get from this story. I will wait.

Towards the end, there is this charge

A person tells you the bible is a fairy tale. He says you are a lunatic if you believe ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.’ He thinks you are insane if you actually believe there was confusing of languages in Babel,  he tells you Abraham never existed, he tells you Sodom was not a real city, and he tells you sin is a fabrication. He then tells you the death of the son of God was a joke. He informs you  that the ‘faith once delivered to the saints’ is a deluded hope. He tells you men of higher learning have found errors with scripture.

He then finishes by informing you there are mistakes in what he calls the book of myths, and pleads with you to answer his endless charges.

Which looks like a legit charge but answerable. I will give an analogy; when watching a movie, you know from the onset it is a tale but at the end you say about some scene they lied. You know where you have a guy in a brown shirt and the same guy in a green shirt but he hasn’t left his desk. There is no contradiction in telling you the bible is a book of fairy tales and then pointing out the portions of the fairy tales that are an exaggeration or badly told. So yes, the bible is a book of fairy tales, some badly told and some so exaggerated but fairy tales all the same. It may say something factual about the human condition but this is to be expected written as it is by men, for men and about men.

I will end this post in the words of Shelley P. Bysshe

The educated man ceases to be superstitious.

Thus spake Zarathustra

You remember a few days ago I said I don’t like long posts, I lied ;-P. I will read a long post if it is on a topic that I enjoy and it is well written. So Kate don’t worry, I will read your 1500 word reviews and dogs posts.

Here is a review of Thus spake Zarathustra, a book by Nietzsche. If you haven’t read the book, maybe you should, if you have, read it a second time.

Here is a snippet of the book, Nietzsche is writing about the death of the gods

With the old Deities hath it long since come to an end: and verily, a good joyful Deity-end had they! They did not “begloom” themselves to death: that do people fabricate! On the contrary, they laughed themselves to deathonce on a time!

That took place when the ungodliest utterance came from a God himself: the utterance: “There is but one God! Thou shalt have no other gods before me!” An old grim-beard of a God, a jealous one, forgot himself in such wise: And all the gods then laughed, and shook upon their thrones, and exclaimed: “Is it not just divinity that there are gods, but no God?” He that hath an ear let him hear.

Indulge me, go read it 😀


What would be described as a just war? Has any such war ever been fought?

Was there another way of resolving the dispute without a resort to war?

The Internationale I think goes well with this post

Giving back to society

In the past I have read posts written by theists who have said atheism is irrational because there are questions it can’t answer. I have been turning this question over in my head to get to how someone gets to such a point and it occurred to me you need the intelligence of unripe bananas to write that. And so in the spirit of comradeship, here is a list of questions, you can add yours, that atheism can’t answer and because of that, atheism is irrational and all you heathens should all become Muslim.

  • Atheism can’t answer why I prefer vanilla to strawberry whenever am buying ice cream
  • Atheism can’t answer why I was born with a dark skin
  • Atheism can’t answer why politicians, police, prison warders and thieves compete for the same position- scum of the population
  • Atheism can’t explain why sex is such a great thing
  • Atheism can’t explain why some people do well in school and others dismally
  • Atheism can’t explain why I love classical music

If your measure of the truth of a proposition is dependent on the questions you think it can’t answer, many theories will be considered irrational. It is akin to calling a fish stupid because it can’t ride a bicycle. Dear theist, before you assert atheism is irrational because it can’t answer this or that, ask yourself what is atheism. You may save yourself lots of embarrassment. I am glad I could help 😛


By Somerset Maugham[pdf]

I have been reading a collection of short stories by Somerset [thanks Kate for the suggestion] and while I like all the ones I have read, this particular one in a way deals with why I have come to abhor religion and its missionaries peddlers.

We have here a missionary man and his wife who think they have been sent by their god to save the world, from I don’t know what. This man, Davidson, would do everything in his power, even if it means to bankrupt a man to get what he wants. He is the type of man I honestly wouldn’t be too sad if he died.

This particular story is set in a remote island where the Davidsons and a Dr. Macphail and his wife have stopped for  a short period after a passenger in the boat they were travelling in is diagnosed with measles. They find lodging in the only sensible lodging house not far from the harbour. Joining them in the guest house is Sadie Thompson, a lady of the night. On several nights, she has guests in her room where they have drinks and play music from her gramophone. This infuriates Davidson who wants her chased out of the house and when this fails, he goes to the governor of the island and has her deported or rather she will be on the first boat that shall set sail from the island.

During the few days to the arrival of the boat, Sadie is brought to her knees by the missionary. She can no longer host anyone or play the gramophone. It is a lonely existence and it’s made worse by the rains which seem never to stop falling. Somerset calls it a deluge. You would think by the time it stops raining, there shall be no more water in the heavens.

Davidson is a heartless man. The pleas by Dr. Macphail and Sadie that he relents fall on deaf ears, even when Sadie tells him she doesn’t want to go to San F for there she will be thrown in jail, he doesn’t relent. He tells her to accept the suffering as an offering at the foot of Jesus. Every time Davidson speaks in this story, I feel like am about to throw up.

On the day of the deportation, his body is found half immersed in water with a slit across his throat. His body is taken to the morgue, the wife and Mrs. Macphail escort her to see the body. When they return they hear the gramophone playing and Sadie seems to have had a rebirth. The ladies pass to go upstairs leaving Dr. Macphail behind. He is enraged, tears of the record and on his way out, they have this conversation

“Say, doc, you can that stuff with me. What the hell are you doin` in my room? “
“What do you mean?” he cried. “What d`you mean?”
She gathered herself together. No one could describe the scorn of her expression or the
contemptuous hatred she put into her answer.
“You men! You filthy, dirty pigs! You`re all the same, all of you. Pigs! Pigs!”

and it finally dawns on us what Davidson had done to her and how he met his death. I say good riddance to the missionaries.

I have now to tell you why I have no sympathies for Davidson. None at all. Listen to him

“You see, they were so naturally depraved that they wouldn’t`t be brought to see their wickedness. We had to make sins out of what they thought were natural actions. We had to make it a sin, not only to commit adultery and to lie and thieve, but to expose their bodies, and to dance and not to come to church. I made it a sin for a girl to show her bosom and a sin for a man not to wear trousers.”

Dr. Macphail asks how he was able to do this and with pride he says

“I instituted fines. Obviously the only way to make people realise that an action is sinful is to punish them if they commit it. I fined them if they didn’t come to church, and I fined them if they danced. I fined them if they were improperly dressed. I had a tariff, and every sin had to be paid for either in money or work. And at last I made them understand.”

In his vanity he continues to say

“You must remember that in the last resort I could expel them from their church membership.”

which meant

They couldn`t sell their copra. When the men fished they got no share of the catch. It meant something very like starvation.

All this in the name of doing god’s duty. I am appalled by the things religion can lead a man to. And this isn’t far from what the missionaries did when they came to Africa. And in their wake, they have left most African half educated. They can speak a bit of English and do some math and that’s it. No matter what the stooges in power do, all they do is fucking pray! I hate religion and its peddlers!

Now that you have my very biased opinion of Davidson, here is a very christian meditation on the story.


A question

You will have to excuse my laziness and indulge me by answering this one question. I promise am not asking a question in the next post.

I enjoy reading blogs, some of these I follow, some are just random blogs. My problem is with the length of the posts. What do you think should be the length of a blog post. I know I have written posts as long as 1800 words but I know these aren’t the many.

How in the name of all that is unholy should people have a blog that is 10000 words? I kid you not, I have seen a blog that long. Who sits down to read 10K words in a blog? Or is it I who is a lazy reader?