let’s call it a letter to the youth


No, it is not my letter. Those I have sent emails know I don’t write long letters. It’s been written by a fellow I used to know. I disagree with some of what he says. I also write my responses here because for the duration that I have known him, he has never responded to any question I have raised about his claims.

With that behind us, here we go

He writes

Have you noticed how many of us have little respect and patience for the “institutions” that be? The government and our leaders have become easy targets for our cheap shots on social media. We can heap insults at someone’s parent without even batting an eyelid in the name of “speaking truth to power.” We have forgotten what it means to “respect your elders” no matter how unworthy of respect those elders seem.

I don’t know about you but I think the mindset that people in authority deserve respect just by their positions can not be justified. It reminds me of the rider in one of the letters of Paul that leaders are given by god and so on that we must always submit. Cornell, we will not bow down to these leaders if they are unworthy of respect. Respect is earned, that is what I was taught.

After claiming we must respect elders, even if they are Ezekiel Mutua about whom the journalist wrote

Yet every time he opens his mouth to make a statement, most sensible people cover their faces with their hands in utter embarrassment.

he takes a cheap aim at atheism/ skepticism. He writes

Religion has become a by-word. Many of us are now attracted to atheism and skepticism because these schools of thoughts promise us “independence” of thought and a sense of “enlightenment.”

No, atheism for the umpteenth time is not a fad people are attracted to. It is the religious who think this is so. For those who were religious and no longer are, have arrived at their atheism through reflection and for some it is was a painful conclusion to make. To carelessly talk of it as if religion or its adherents have provided any proofs to back their claims is arrogant and uncalled for. Additionally, anyone who has come to the realization that it’s repugnant to our morals and good sense to give up your concubine to be ravaged and then chopping her in pieces to display in the town centres, must be called enlightened. Anyone who believes that such a story could have been inspired- whatever that means- by a god is need of much education.

And no

It doesn’t help that most religious leaders have made it easier for us to doubt the validity of religion: they live lives that spit in the face of what they preach by sleeping with members of their congregation and duping worshipers out of their hard-earned money. Of course we are justified to rage against such hypocrisy.

it is not the pastors that make us doubt the claims of religion. The claims of religion[s] are absurd, and some are repugnant to our reason. And I am surprised you don’t see this as the main reason for our disbelief. We wonder how clueless the religious are to continue to follow such people.

I don’t know what he means when he says

By ridiculing religion and insulting our heritage, we soon find ourselves having to work in jobs we never dreamt of and bury dreams that refused to come true.

because I see no relationship between ridiculing religion and the job I do. It can actually be argued that it is the religious who ridicule our heritage. They claim, while wearing a 3 piece suit, carrying a bible and using an iPhone, that this and that is un-African. Give us a break. Look yourself in the mirror, you may find you are the lost one.

Contrary to his claim that

We are slowly and painfully realizing that those peers who pretend to have it together also spend their nights on soggy pillows and are just winging it through life. Disillusionment has become our second nature.

while I sometimes have my anxieties, I don’t go to bed to cry and no, I have always respected my parents even when I thought they were wrong. If you doubt it, ask my father :-). Disillusionment doesn’t come as a result of disrespect but as a result of unmet dreams. Even those like me who respect their parents sometimes feel disillusioned.

And contrary to his conclusion

God is probably real and humility is the only way to know for sure. Skepticism is an impossible way to live and sometimes we must believe something before we can verify it and affirm or dismiss it. Life is a story and all of us are mere words and pages in a novel of infinite chapters.

god is probably unreal. Skepticism isn’t an impossible way to live, unless maybe you are referring to Pyrrhonian skepticism which is different from academic skepticism. And we don’t have to believe without verification. What is important is right action.

So to the youth, go out there and make mistakes. Just don’t die trying. Respect those worthy of your respect. Question authority and those who claim to have authority over you and most of all, be curious to learn, to improve your knowledge and most of all, if you can, to be a good citizen of the world.

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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

9 thoughts on “let’s call it a letter to the youth

  1. Ubi Dubium says:

    “Life is a story and all of us are mere words and pages in a novel of infinite chapters.”

    Sure, but who’s writing that novel? The answer is that we are writing it ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      Yes, we are the authors of that novel.
      It reminds me of I think Thomas Paine in his Age of Reason where he writes the book of nature is being written by us. There is no revelation

      Liked by 1 person

  2. john zande says:

    …and wear sunscreen.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. “Skepticism is an impossible way to live and sometimes we must believe something before we can verify it and affirm or dismiss it.” What an absolutely absurd statement. I’m skeptical of it, and I believe, very strongly believe, see, I’m believing before I’m dismissing, that it is absolutely incorrect. Now, hand me the sunscreen.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. basenjibrian says:

    I don’t know how you run across these writers, Maku…who are so SURE of everything. to the point of smugness.

    Liked by 1 person

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