bride price and other stories

It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages

Friedrich Nietzsche

You sure must have heard about the young Kenyan lawyer who wants to be an in-law to the Obamas. I have no issue with that. I mean he the man has lovely daughters. What I take issue with is this lawyer thinking they are for sale and offers to pay livestock in exchange for her hand in marriage.

I have found no good reason to justify bride price or dowry and I am not going to make exceptions when I decide to get married. Any woman who thinks the measure of how committed a man is could be determined how he readily endures those silly negotiations with your relatives must count me out.

Sometimes I get surprised at how stupid some people in the US are. A week ago, I think, that social media craze called snapchat featured Nairobi and some of the tweets that followed are so silly, it is unbelievable.

There is an open letter to a Njoki Chege who has decided to offer men in Kenya lessons and set standards for her would be husband. The woman got guts, that I give her.

I am afraid, the I know it all Njoki Chege is dead wrong on why people have extra pair copulation. And it saddens me that several of those who comment on her posts agree with her inflated sense of importance.

Happy Sunday to all who pass by this spot.

the cross [of Zombie] doesn’t make sense till you become stupid

er.. I mean till you have faith. And I call this load of crap.

I don’t think there is a right way of being an atheist. But there are a group of believers that I treat with a lot of suspicion. The type who every post they write they say when I was a non believer this or that. I understand it is possible to convert to a delusion religion after having being irreligious. I, however, would expect that these group of believers write articles that are better thought out than their other brethren and sisters. I don’t understand how it is they churn out the same kind of trash. Maybe, religion does really atrophy the brain.

This particular theist writes

When I was a non-believer I could grasp that Jesus was a great man. I could grasp that His death on the cross was a travesty of human justice. I could grasp that He was a holy man of God that spoke great truths of the universe.

A statement, which from the face of it points to one who was generally ignorant of the scholarship on Jesus. Any one with a little common sense would as well have written this. Adding he was a non believer doesn’t add any value to the above statement. It isn’t profound.

He continues to write

However, as a non-believer, I just could not grasp the Christian theology that Jesus’ death on the cross was for me. I just could not grasp that Him hanging on the cross was for the forgiveness of my sins. How does a man dying on the cross reconcile me to God, I asked myself?

And I see the ramblings of a believer, a confused one but still a believer. The much he could be, in my opinion is a Muslim who was trying to grasp what the message of his fellow book people mean with a dying messiah. It’s a statement lacking any attempt at being critical.

His conclusion that

Jesus dying on the cross was just the end of a cool dude’s life and then the church fabricated the resurrection thing. It just doesn’t make any sense if Jesus was just…a man.

sounds more like apologist rambling than one engaged with an intellectual question. In fact, had he not written he was a non believer, I would think he belongs to the WLC school of apologists. Those who, like Brandon and UnkleE pretend to have a faith that is intellectual. How this is even possible, I am yet to understand.

Mark tells us

During the last plague in Egypt, God commanded the Israelites to paint the blood of an innocent pure lamb on their doorway so that the death plague would passover their homes. This points to Jesus on the cross. His blood was spilled so that we might live.

and I wonder what happened to humanity? Putting aside the myth of the story of the plagues, for a minute, how in the name of all that is profane would someone take joy in senseless murder so that he may live? Would Mark be willing to die so that other people in some distant future may live forever plus 1? I want to bang my head on my computer when I read such crock, except I still need to use it tomorrow. My head, I mean.

Mark tells us it was important for Jesus to commit suicide because

It all goes back God’s sacrificial system. Jesus is the culmination of that. The animals used in the passover and the sacrifices at the Tabernacle and later the Temple had to be pure and spotless to be used to atone for the sinner’s sin. Jesus was pure and spotless.

A former non believer, who has lost all sense of decency, tells us a god could not find a way to forgive people without recourse to a scapegoat? Think about it for a moment. So god needed to die to save us from god. The same god who had created the conditions for our failure, first by making us in his image, an image that I think is full of shit and then cursing the land, making it possible for malingerers to flourish. I sympathise with Mark. He would have remained a non believer or if he had to believe this silliness, he shouldn’t have become an apologist.

If, as he writes,

On the cross, He was thus sacrficed for sin. He became all sin of all time, past, present and future.

why should the christian be moral? All his sins have been paid for in advance. What is the point in repentance when all the sins have been washed away by the sacrificial lamb? And how does this work? Does it mean if Mark steals from his neighbour, he can point them to the cross in his house or one hanging around his neck? Or do I need faith to understand this trope?

This post is already longer than I would want it to be. The rest of the post is the same trope. Freewill, Satan and all the other excuses apologists come up with to explain their inability to think critically. Go read it.

 

Nudity, Christianity and marriage among others

I had a dream about you. I was running barefoot on the beach, and you were chasing me because you were a cop, and I was naked. I couldn’t believe you tried to arrest me. What, is it a crime to run with no shoes?

Jarod Kintz

It’s the invention of clothes, not nature, that made “private parts” private.”
― Mokokoma Mokhonoana

This is a public service announcement. It may turn out all mixed up, so excuse me.

It seems to me Christian men are suffering. There is too much nudity online. And porn. What must a christian man do? Ask the holy spirit for help. I suggest they pray to their god to make sure Christians are born all dressed up.

Then we have that insane thing called National Prayer Breakfast where our corrupt MPigs and charlatans preachers meet over sumptuous breakfast to pray to their gods to help keep them safe from poor Kenyans. Some tweets about the event.

Then, here we find a person with enough intelligence to eat and nothing more. Reduces everything to tribe and nothing else. From my tweet about how useless the event is, all he sees is my tribe.

And lastly we come to the other obsession of the religious, marriage.

Doug tells us the traditional understanding of marriage is one man one woman and I must, sincerely, ask which tradition?

Ignorance of history is a bad thing. Though the bible isn’t a history book, we have in its pages concubinage, incest and prostitution. Prostitution wouldn’t have been condemned unless it was already prevalent. For the ignorant christian of today to write marriage was mortally wounded in the 20th century is to me, a display of ignorance of the facts as they stand.

That the christian is unaware of the promiscuity that was prevalent in the church until recently doesn’t surprise me. I only wished they don’t say it out loud. It is not contraceptives that is the problem. It is the religious idea that sex is sacred that means there is a lot of repressed sexual energies that is the problem.

One would ask why the bible talks about divorce, gives grounds for divorce if it wasn’t already happening?

I sympathise with the religious, I really do, but I hate to tell them that their fears have their source in ignorance. Had they been a little more enlightened, it would be obvious to them that couples would still divorce whether LGBTs had their rights to marry granted by legislation as they should have. Promiscuity will  not increase or decrease because LGBTs are not discriminated against.

Please, you goddites, work on your relationships. Don’t bother with that which doesn’t concern you.

As an introduction to a bit of history, the christian, I suggest they read this post. It is short.

 

RELIGION & SEX

STUDIES IN THE PATHOLOGY OF RELIGIOUS DEVELOPMENT

BY CHAPMAN COHEN

This is a great book. I loved it. Well, I love Cohen. His books are great. I am stuck in the 19th and 18th centuries or even earlier. It is possible that on this subject a lot has happened since he wrote his book but I don’t think that work overturns his conclusions. They could only build or improve it.

I will not bore you with my dull stories, I will let Cohen speak for himself most of the time.

He writes, and I agree

Any human quality may be enlisted in the service of religion, but there are none that are specifically religious. It is a pure assumption that the religious visionary possesses qualities that are either absent or rudimentary in other persons. Human faculty is everywhere identical although the form in which it is expressed differs according to education, the presence of certain dominating ideas, and the general influence of one’s environment.

Those goddites who believe their charlatans priests have some power or knowledge they don’t posses are heavily deluded. Maybe they do. The power to bullshit and get away with it.

Then, there are those who claim science can investigate religious facts. He says you are misled. Facts are facts, and are open to examination by science. These facts can be biological, physical, psychological and physiological. And religious claims fall in the sphere of psychological and physiological facts. It is here they will be collected and examined.

He writes

Far more suggestive, however, than the association of religion with what we may call the normal social forces, is its connection with conditions that are now clearly recognised as abnormal. From the earliest times we find the use of drugs and stimulants, the practice of fasting and self-torture, with other methods of depressing or stimulating the action of the nervous system, accepted as well-recognised methods of inducing a sense of religious illumination, or the feeling that one is in direct communion with a supernatural order of existence.

Now you know why fasting is very important to your preacher.

He tells us

man is everywhere under the domination of his mental life.

That is to say, to understand humanity, one must study his mental environment. That a study of society must, to understand its environment start with the study of the mental life.

As has been pointed out severally, Cohen, reminds us

The first is that man’s conviction of the nearness of a supernatural world began in his lack of knowledge concerning the nature of natural forces.

The goddite will readily deny this but every honest one of them should admit that most if not all of their belief is based on ignorance. They have not moved an inch from the savage in terms of mental development. They may know calculus and how to change a light bulb, but taken back to the life of our ancestors, they would fit perfectly.

We can blame some madness on religious teachers.

We are told,

Religious teachers by enforcing celibacy, fasting, and solitude, have done their best towards making men mad, and they have always largely succeeded in inducing morbid mental conditions among their followers.

Look around you, seen that fellow who looks odd, chances are they are religious and are on a fast- either from food or sex.

For a people to whom

for generations and æons the truth that a child is only born in consequence of an act of sexual union, that the birth of a child is the natural consequence of such an act performed in favouring circumstances, and that every child must be the result of such an act and of no other cause, was not realised by mankind, that down to the present day it is imperfectly realised by some peoples, and that there are still others among whom it is unknown

we can expect sex to have a supernatural significance. Maybe the christian still believes this. I don’t know.

Chapman tells us

The conception of woman as one heavily charged with supernatural potentialities, and, therefore, a source of danger to the community, seems to lie at the basis of the widespread belief in the religious ‘uncleanness’ of women. The real significance of the word ‘unclean’ in religious ritual has been obscured by our modern use of it in a hygienic or ethical sense.

and I think any unbiased reader will agree with him.

To understand why religion has had such a big influence in American society, one has to understand the philosophy of revivals. He tells us

The philosophy of the matter seems to be this: Revivals are theocratic in their very nature; they introduce God into human affairs…. In the conservative theory of revivals, this power is restricted to the conversion of souls; but in actual experience it goes, or tends to go, into all the affairs of life…. Religious love is very near neighbour to sexual love, and they always get mixed in the intimacies and social excitements of revivals. The next thing a man wants, after he has found the salvation of his soul, is to find his Eve and his Paradise…. The course of things may be restated thus: Revivals lead to religious love; religious love excites the passions; the converts, finding themselves in theocratic liberty, begin to look about for their mates and their liberty

And while there are those who think religious instruction is education I have bad news for you. I mean those graduates of divinity colleges and seminaries. A writer asks

What does the ordinary seminary graduate know of the histology, anatomy, and physiology of the soul? Absolutely nothing. He must stumble along through years of trying experience and look back over countless mistakes before he understands these things even in a general way. What does the ordinary graduate understand about doubt? It is all classed together, whether in adolescents or in hardened sinners, and one dose is applied. What does the graduate know about sexuality, so closely allied with certain forms of religious manifestations? What about ecstasy, in its various forms, the numerous methods of faith cure thrust upon an illiterate but credulous people, or the significance or insignificance of visions and dreams.

The only thing their training does is

gives them a knowledge of several ancient languages, makes them acquainted with the rise and fall of certain doctrines, the nature of Church ritual and the like, all of which, while interesting enough in themselves, give little more genuine enlightenment than a knowledge of the dates of English monarchs provides of the character of genuine historic processes.

Cohen tells us this about religious conversion

Finally, it has to be borne in mind, in view of the data given above, that conversion is experienced by the individual at that period of life when the more social side of human nature is beginning to find expression. In this way the natural growth from the small world of childhood to the larger world of adult humanity is taken advantage of by religion, and the process of inevitable growth is attributed to the influence of religious belief. In itself the phenomenon is in no degree religious, but wholly social. The process is well enough described by Starbuck in the following passage—although there are certain quite unnecessary theological implications:—

“Conversion is the surrender of the personal will to be guided by the larger forces of which it is a part. These two aspects are often mingled. In both there is much in common. There is a sudden revelation and recognition of a higher order than that of the personal will. The sympathies follow the direction of the new insight, and the convert transfers the centre of life and activity from the part to the whole. With new insight comes new beauty. Beauty and worth awaken love—love for parents, kindred, kind, society, cosmic order, truth, and spiritual life. The individual learns to transfer himself from a centre of self-activity into an organ of revelation of universal being, and to live a life of affection for and oneness with the larger life outside. As a necessary condition of the spiritual awakening is the birth of fresh activity and of a larger self-consciousness, which often assert themselves as the dominant element in consciousness.

He warns against this exploitation of social development. He writes

An exploitation of social life in the interests of supernaturalism is still in active operation. It is this that is really the central truth of the situation. And in ignoring this truth we expose a growing generation to the worst possible of educative influences, at a time when a wiser control would be preparing it for an intelligent participation in the serious and enduring work of social organisation.

I will end here by quoting a sketch by Lecky on the life of the monk. He writes

There is perhaps no phase in the moral history of mankind of a deeper and more painful interest than this ascetic epidemic. A hideous, sordid, and emaciated maniac, without knowledge, without patriotism, without natural affection, passing his life in a long routine of useless and atrocious self-torture, and quailing before the ghastly phantoms of his delirious brain, had become the ideal of the nations which had known the writings of Plato and Cicero, and the lives of Socrates and Cato. For about two centuries, the hideous maceration of the body was regarded as the highest proof of excellence. St. Jerome declares, with a thrill of admiration, how he had seen a monk, who for thirty years had lived exclusively on a small portion of barley bread and of mouldy water; another who lived in a hole and never ate more than five figs for his daily repast; a third who cut his hair only on Easter Sunday, who never washed his clothes, who never changed his tunic till it fell to pieces, who starved himself till his eyes grew dim, and his skin like a pumice stone…. For six months, it is said, St. Macarius of Alexandria slept in a marsh, and exposed his naked body to the stings of venomous flies…. His disciple, St. Eusebius, carried one hundred and fifty pounds of iron, and lived for three years in a dried-up well…. St. Besarion spent forty days and nights in the middle of thorn bushes, and for forty days and nights never lay down when he slept…. Some saints, like St. Marcian, restricted themselves to one meal a day, so small that they continually suffered the pangs of hunger…. Some of the hermits lived in deserted dens of wild beasts, others in dried-up wells, while others found a congenial resting-place among the tombs. Some disdained all clothes, and crawled abroad like the wild beasts, covered only by their matted hair. The cleanliness of the body was regarded as a pollution of the soul, and the saints who were most admired had become one hideous mass of clotted filth. St. Athanasius relates with enthusiasm how St. Antony, the patriarch of monachism, had never, to extreme old age, been guilty of washing his feet…. St. Abraham, the hermit, however, who lived for fifty years after his conversion, rigidly refused from that date to wash either his face or his feet…. St. Ammon had never seen himself naked. A famous virgin, named Sylvia, though she was sixty years old, and though bodily sickness was a consequence of her habits, resolutely refused, on religious principles, to wash any part of her body except her fingers. St. Euphraxia joined a convent of one hundred and thirty nuns, who never washed their feet, and who shuddered at the mention of a bath.

If you can, go read the book. It will be worth your time.

Christian love at its highest

In this post, Michelle writes about the founding of America on christian values of charity, love and you know, good neighborliness. And among the people who comments, there is one christian, I think, who has shown the love I describe above.

In Religion and Sex, CC quotes Dean Milman on the first capture of Jerusalem in 1099. Dean writes

No barbarian, no infidel, no Saracen, ever perpetrated incidents of such wanton and cold-blooded atrocities of  cruelty as the wearers of the Cross of Christ (who, it is said, had fallen on their knees and burst into a pious hymn at the first view of the Holy City), on the capture of that city. Murder was mercy, rape tenderness, simple plunder the mere assertion of the conqueror’s right. Children were seized by their legs, some of them plucked from their mothers’ breasts and dashed against the walls, or whirled from the battlements. Others were obliged to leap from the walls; some tortured, roasted by slow fires. They ripped up prisoners to see if they had swallowed gold. Of 70,000 Saracens there were not left enough to bury the dead; poor Christians were hired to perform the office. Every one surprised in the Temple was slaughtered, till the reek from the dead bodies drove away the slayers. The Jews were burned alive in their synagogue. Even the day after, all who had taken refuge on the roofs, notwithstanding Tancred’s resistance, were hewn to pieces. Still later the few Saracens who had escaped (not excepting babes of a year old) were put to death to avenge the insults to the dead, and lest they should swell the numbers of the advancing Egyptian army. The ghost of Bishop Adhemar de Puy, the Legate (he had died of the plague at Antioch) was seen in his sacerdotal habits partaking in the triumph, and it appears, not arresting the carnage.

where are the Christians when you need them?

I think it’s a problem that people are considered immoral if they’re not religious. That’s just not true…. If you do something for a religious reason, you do it because you’ll be rewarded in an afterlife or in this world. That’s not quite as good as something you do for purely generous reasons.

LISA RANDALL, Discover Magazine, July 2006

It has been argued, often, by the religious that, one who does not believe as they do, in an invisible overlord, has not the capacity to act morally. Many a religious apologist have filled the internet with this type of banter. Many sheeples seem to believe this as true and often ask the atheist how or on what ground does he claim to act morally.

The atheist in her defense has pointed the theist to the Euthyphro Dilemma[pdf] in the slim hope that the theist may spend a few minutes of their time to consider the challenge as presented by Plato. It appears to me, either that the theist does not read or if they do read, are incapable of understanding the problem of Socrates in the dialogue.

To help the theist therefore, a kind fellow, Max Maxwell, has developed several questions based on the Socratic method. In the Moral bankruptcy of faith, he explores the inadequacy of religious faith in adjudicating on morality. I would like any theist who visits this page to leave a comment on what they think Max has ignored or where they think his reasoning is fallacious.

I would also challenge the theist to convincingly tell me and other readers here why, if religion* has no say on morals, doesn’t answer why we suffer and has no evidence in its support among others, why they are still religious. Given that the religious person believes the atheist is lost, I think this will go along way into bringing them back to the fold.

*Whenever religion is used in this blog, it means belief in the supernatural.

Character building as an answer to the problem of suffering/ evil

The traditional arguments for the existence of God have been fairly thoroughly criticised by philosophers. But the theologian can, if he wishes, accept this criticism. He can admit that no rational proof of God’s existence is possible. And he can still retain all that is essential to his position, by holding that God’s existence is known in some other, non-rational way. I think, however, that a more telling criticism can be made by way of the traditional problem of evil. Here it can be shown, not that religious beliefs lack rational support, but that they are positively irrational, that the several parts of the essential theological doctrine are inconsistent with one another, so that the theologian can maintain his position as a whole only by a much more extreme rejection of reason than in the former case. He must now be prepared to believe, not merely what cannot be proved, but what can be disproved from other beliefs that he also holds.

John Leslie Mackie

In this post, we have a Christ lover telling us that maybe, just maybe, there is a theodicy we haven’t considered. She starts by making the outlandish claim that maybe people are responsible for the suffering they undergo. Having volunteered at a children’s hospital for several months, I must at this point ask why would those babes have cancer? Was it, as we have characters in the bible ask, their sins or those of their parents?

I sympathize with her friend. I sympathize with her loss. Most of all I pity her. Why would she, in the face of negative evidence of a loving and powerful god, would she continue to pay homage to such a god.

I am at a loss to what words mean to the theist. She writes

The most reasonable inference from all the evidence we have is that God is perfectly good and loving and nothing is impossible for him.

and I wonder what do the theist mean when they say their god is perfectly good and perfectly loving? I am not perfectly good or all-powerful but I have always tried to ease the pain of my fellows. To conclude that suffering, gratuitous suffering, points to a perfectly good and loving god is positively irrational and a suspension of reason.

She tells us

Were there no one to feel “sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of,” so the definition of compassion, we would all be lacking this superlative virtue.

and I must ask what stopped a powerful god from creating us with these qualities if it thought they were important? What stopped their god from creating a world where these qualities wouldn’t be necessary? A world devoid of suffering. And it is not true that all suffering has led to building of character. There are several instances of people being disillusioned by their own suffering or those of others. For every person who learns a thing from suffering tens of others learn nothing.

Inquiring minds would want to know, to what end is this learning? Who benefits? Is she willing to suffer endlessly for a reason she doesn’t know just because others may learn from her suffering? If she isn’t willing, what makes her think others should be used as test cases for a god? Does an omniscient god want to learn something it doesn’t already know? And what happens to those who don’t learn from their suffering; like the 10 year old girl repeatedly raped in Paraguay by her step dad? Whose fault was it she was raped? What lesson are we to learn from her suffering? That a perfectly loving and good god stood by and watched helplessly as she was violated?

I think anyone who believes and can voice

If God’s purpose in afflicting the undeserving is to move those around them to action and character development, then it seems to me the sooner we act and develop the sooner the affliction will be removed.

needs to spend time with a counselor. There is a part of their humanity that has gone to the dogs. I mean no disrespect for the dogs.

She writes in conclusion

I am firmly convinced that God has good reasons for allowing suffering in the world.

I say in retort that I am firmly convinced this world is not under divine governance. That suffering is part of life. Further, that the universe is indifferent to our suffering. If anything is to be done about suffering, it is up to us to find a solution to it. No amount of prayers have solved the malaria epidemic in Sub Saharan Africa. Sleeping under mosquito nets, clearing breeding grounds for mosquitoes, development and availability of antimalarial drugs have done all the work. I will not stop anyone from praying. No. I will only remind them it is a waste of time.

I will close by reminding the good christian that the character building argument is not new. It is wanting as a theodicy and it leaves the problem of evil where it found it, unchallenged, that is.

I will say with Ingersoll

“Injustice upon earth renders the justice of heaven impossible.