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 😛

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Rain

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?

we have gone beyond the dogs, maybe to the worms

How would one explain police using teargas on primary school children?

I will be honest, I hate cops. In my books they are at the lowest level of scam with politicians, prison warders and thieves. They exist to protect the property of the rich. They follow orders like oxen driving an ox plough. In this country, cops are some of the lowly paid civil servants and are the first to obstruct any attempts to challenge the government. One wonders whether between their ears there is any brain left. It is impossible to reason with a cop, no matter how hard you try.

Do people have conscience? Where is this greed going to end? Who in his right mind grabs a school play ground? This is a person whose child goes to an international school, flop their exams are exported to go study abroad and come here to land a government job where they continue to steal. Am honestly tired of these fucks!

Some spin doctor will say they students were used by activists or their parents. That doesn’t justify using teargas on them. The thing in question is why grab a school field?

https://twitter.com/Benogola/status/557101593909542912

And this tweet describes in great detail how this government is run

Why evil disproves atheism

And yes you read that correctly. Today morning I read this post by Nan and now we have the same dude, in the break between replacing the shoes in his mouth, telling us atheism is disproved by evil. He tells us

the existence of evil turns out to be a bigger problem for atheists to explain than for theists. The kind of evil Dawkins and the rest of the civilized world abhor doesn’t disprove God—it disproves atheism.

In an earlier post where I tackled this issue, I wrote and I think it is true that atheism being a lack of belief in deities has no obligation to account for anything. Atheists can delve into such topics not because of their atheism, but because they are human and these and many others are human questions. He continues to tell us

While it’s commonly thought that only theists have to explain the existence of evil, the truth is every worldview does. Eastern pantheistic religions try to get around the problem by denying that evil even exists. Evil is an illusion, they say (and according to them, so are you!).

It is not true that every worldview has to explain the problem of evil. This problem, if we can call it so, is a problem for a person who claims to believe in a personal god, who is all powerful and all loving. A believer in an indifferent god who for all we care could have created the world by mistake and said fuck it, let it be has no need to explain away evil. The person who insists that others have this problem is either daft or doesn’t understand what the problem of evil is. Any normal person will be outraged by the inhumane acts we do to each other in the name of gods. Turek thinks that by having issue with this, atheists are trying to have their cake and eat it. He says this because we have said the universe as far as we can tell is indifferent to our frail feelings. The earth continues to rotate, the sun to give light regardless of how many of our brothers we kill. It never stops for a moment of silence even when it kills hundred of thousands in a tsunami. But to each of us, there are things that are inimical to our well being and some have labeled them evil, some bad things. I didn’t do philosophy for long, you see I wasn’t trying to become a philosopher but I think this

On the other hand, if evil actually does exist, then atheists have an even bigger problem. The existence of evil actually establishes the existence of God.

is a bad argument or conclusion. How would one come from the existence of one to the other? How do you make this jump? He tells us Augustine puzzled over the following question

  1. God created all things.
  2. Evil is a thing.
  3. Therefore, God created evil.

Is premise 1 valid? No. I also never said English is my strength, I have tried to make sense of this next argument and I can’t make head or tails of what Turek is saying. He writes

Evil is like rust in a car: If you take all of the rust out of a car, you have a better car; if you take the car out of the rust, you have nothing. Or you could say that evil is like a cut in your finger: If you take the cut out of your finger, you have a better finger; if you take the finger out of your cut, you have nothing. In other words, evil only makes sense against the backdrop of good. That’s why we often describe evil as negations of good things. We say someone is immoral, unjust, unfair, dishonest, etc. We could put it this way: The shadows prove the sunshine. There can be sunshine without shadows, but there can’t be shadows without sunshine. In other words, there can be good without evil, but there can’t be evil without good.

Though I know I have seen a good shadows with no sunshine. Good and bad are man’s way of seeing the world. The lion kills the gazelle for food, thereby denying it a chance to live. Is this evil? No. It’s just how the world works. Man has divided the world between good and evil with the result that the world is seen as evil. The world just is. Turek tells us

C. S. Lewis was once an atheist who thought evil disproved God. He later realized he was stealing from God in order to argue against Him. He wrote, “[As an atheist] my argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”

but here, it is evident C.S Lewis argument was faulty. It was unsound. If he was an atheist and blamed god for shit, then his head should be checked. He was probably confused. The world isn’t unjust. It has no feelings. To assign it such is to anthropomorphize. And for all the Muslims killing in their god’s name, Turek has this to say

Just who is this God? Allah isn’t a candidate because according to Islamic doctrine Allah is arbitrary, and thus can’t be the unchanging standard of good. The true God is the God of the Bible who is revealed as the unchanging ground of all goodness.

Where is paarsurrey when you need him? Maybe he could clear this up with Turek and give us an answer we could all use whenever we have to talk about god. This post is already long enough. Whatever is Turek’s profession, he need to spend more time thinking. If this is his best attempt, he could try his hand elsewhere, maybe as a fisherman where the only talent would be to lay nets.

Public service announcement

We interrupt our usual broadcast to raise a matter that is of utmost to us here. Alarm has been raised to what is being seen as a move by the current regime and its minions to clamp down on free speech in the name of fighting terrorism. Early in the year, the high court sitting in Nairobi suspended parts of a controversial security law that had been passed  in record time and received presidential assent soon after regardless of the several question marks raised by the civil society.

There have been reports of bloggers being harassed. As Voltaire said eons ago, I will defend your right to say whatever you have to say, but avoid the death if I can. I may not agree with it, but say, you must be allowed to say.

Looking at my twitter TL, the news isn’t encouraging

I wrote before we went for elections we would be fucked several times over, I didn’t think it would come to such serious fucks. I don’t know where it will end, but it doesn’t look good. I will peruse the amendment to see whether it defines calling Christians dumb as terrorism.

There are further commentaries on Aljazeera and Human rights watch.

The amendment[pdf]

I will end this post with the poem attributed to  Pastor Martin Niemöller, for I think it is relevant here;

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.