Confessions 3


If we believe the priests, we shall be persuaded, that the Christian religion, by the beauty of its morals, excels philosophy and all the other religious systems in the world.

Baron D’Holdbach

One of the most irrational of all the conventions of modern society is the one to the effect that religious opinions should be respected. …[This] convention protects them, and so they proceed with their blather unwhipped and almost unmolested, to the great damage of common sense and common decency. that they should have this immunity is an outrage. There is nothing in religious ideas, as a class, to lift them above other ideas. On the contrary, they are always dubious and often quite silly. Nor is there any visible intellectual dignity in theologians. Few of them know anything that is worth knowing, and not many of them are even honest.”

H. Mencken

My first confession was a story of how I became clever, saw the light and left the faith I had been brought up in. The second confession (very Catholic, if you ask me) was a short story of the past. Then there was reflections on Christianity and finally about atheist experience in Africa.

This posting is about what I have become.

A great amount of care was taken to make me a Catholic. It was taught in school as fact. I went to catechism school. Went through the rites, participated actively in church activities and generally without reflection. It didn’t occur to me to question the truth of this religion I was brought up in. Did I have doubts, yes, but not about the truth of the catholic doctrine. I worried a little about whether I would go to heaven or hell. And the book of revelation (the few times I read it) didn’t help matters in this front with its small number of the chosen ones.

When my faith began to wane or maybe I had lost, I read a lot on arguments for god and why they failed. I read on authorship of the bible, on the existence of Jesus and even on miracles. All this reading led to one conclusion only, revealed religions were a scam. I read a little here and there on Islam and even the Gita.

Does Christianity or any religion for that matter deserve the attention we give them? Is there any good in wasting years trying to demonstrate that religions are all false, that their claims are contradictory and many times impossible? Is there any truth in the claims of Christianity? Is there a way to verify any of it? Is it any more true than the religions my forefathers had believed in? If it had been true and was ordained by a god, why did it need violence, deception, evangelism to spread? Was it important that we, everyone, had a religion or believed in a god(s)?

I am at that point in my life where I can say theism is false. That the supernatural claims religions make are baseless. It is not important that one believes in a god(s) as long as one lives well with others. Be kind. Be useful. Life is simple.

Africa interests me. African religion and philosophy more so. How my forefathers lived, what they believed in and how this knowledge made life in society and community possible. How did they face calamity? Death? Disease? And in times of plenty and bountiful harvests or hunts, how did they celebrate? Now this is interesting stuff.

Talk of gods and miracles bore me.

Hell doesn’t interest me. Heaven is a scary proposition. Vicarious redemption is abhorrent. And the gods? They don’t exist. We make them all the time. The raw material needed is a sick imagination and a people gullible enough to believe.

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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

15 thoughts on “Confessions 3

  1. Were you born into the catholic brainwashing, & how old were you when your brain took over?

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  2. Barry says:

    As someone who considers himself religious (although others may not), here’s my responses to your questions.

    Does Christianity or any religion for that matter deserve the attention we give them?
    It depends what you mean by attention. For better or worse, religions have had a profound effect on society so from a social and historical point of view it’s deserves to be studied.

    Is there any good in wasting years trying to demonstrate that religions are all false, that their claims are contradictory and many times impossible?
    No. Religions are a means of explaining the human condition and expressing our greatest desires through the use of metaphors. By definition, metaphors are not factually true, so I see little point in trying to prove them false.

    Is there any truth in the claims of Christianity?
    Probably about the same as in most other religions. However I would make the claim that the more literally a religion is interpreted, the less truth it contains.

    Is there a way to verify any of it?
    It depends what you’re trying to verify. Biblical scholars are able to verify the age and origin of much of the content of the Bible. They have been able to verify that many events described could not possibly have happened. They have been able to verify that some modern interpretations of biblical passages are very different from the intent of the original author. If you’re trying to verify any truth in the meaning behind the myths and stories, that is entirely personal, verifiable only to yourself through experience, and likely to be different from everyone else’s experience.

    Is it any more true than the religions my forefathers had believed in?
    No. Your forefathers probably understood the nature of storytelling, so wouldn’t insist their stories be interpreted literally. In that sense, their religions were more true than many Christian variants today.

    If it had been true and was ordained by a god, why did it need violence, deception, evangelism to spread?
    Read my answer to your second question about it being true. If that doesn’t lead you to an answer, let me say that violence, deception, evangelism has been used to spread most ideas and concepts that humans have come up with.

    Was it important that we, everyone, had a religion or believed in a god(s)?
    Yes and no. The metaphors used in my form of religion have deep meaning to me, so yes they are important to me. Neither a literal or metaphoric understanding of any religion has meaning to you, so no, I see no reason why it should be important to you.

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    • makagutu says:

      #1 Trying to prove them false or true e.g the work of apologists and so on.
      #2 In this sense I agree with you. But metaphors hardly make any claims to being factual nor do the people who tell us about fables tell us our lives in the future depend on how we believe in these metaphors.
      #3 Here is where the greatest bone of contention lies. To you, the bible is a human document and all. To many believers, this is not the case and as such how they interpret the bible depends so much on how they view its claims.
      #4 This is a good way to explain it. I am persuaded to agree.
      #5 I agree totally.
      #6 While I agree with you that violence and deception have been used to spread many things in the world. But none of these claim to have come from a god and are the only truth.
      #7 I agree. And it is only fair that one keeps their religions to themselves.

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      • basenjibrian says:

        I might disagree with #6 a bit. Doctrinaire Marxists often claim theirs is the only true analysis of history and all matter of horrors are necessary to bring about the ideal “socialist” state.

        Or, for that matter, we in the United States believe that American-style corporate capitalism is the only possible and moral economic system and the United States’ history consists largely of violence to promote the interests of the ownership caste.

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        • makagutu says:

          The US has been spreading democracy and capitalism on the barrels of guns.
          Fukuyama, I think he is American, wrote we had reached the end of history.
          I don’t know if I am a doctrinaire Marxist, but I find Marxist analysis of history to be generally quite persuasive. ON whether we need to use violence to attain socialism, I am inclined to say no. Violence always seem to beget more violence.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. john zande says:

    Be kind. Be useful.

    Yep.

    Liked by 1 person

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