How will war end?

We are back again to this question now that Russia has invaded Ukraine, and for the time being, Abiy’s war in Ethiopia is momentarily forgotten, how will war end?

I accept to be called naive with respect to war but I must ask, what is it about soldiers that makes them religiously obedient? What is it about rapine others who have done them no harm propels them to action? Is the promise of a medal should they die on battle so tempting that all commonsense goes out of their ears?

Now, someone will remind me, as often as they have, that I sleep peacefully at night because of the soldiers. Well, I pay them as a start. Secondly it’s unlikely that my neighbours would want to attack me at the scale possible only with an organised state or non state actor. Which, I think, makes their point a moot one.

I have two friends in Kyiv and for the moment they are safe. And I hope it remains that way for long.

Now is an opportune moment to ask if there’s a just war? I am tempted to say that the Ukrainians have every right to defend themselves against an aggressive neighbour who threatens their existence as a sovereign state, in fact to use whatever is in their power to do so whilst every avenue is sought to bring hostilities to an end.

To peace.

The things we hear

The author of this post says “We must continue to read the Bible and strive to discern what is truly from God” without telling us what tools we are to use to differentiate between the two. To their credit, they admit, contrary to many fundamentalist believers, that the bible is just made up by people who believed in God, but some of the Bible really does contain a message from our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ. I am sure Ken Ham and his ilk wouldn’t agree.

The author then tells us, without citation

God never told humanity that he would give us a perfect book, so it is not as though God is being dishonest. Rather, God is testing us, finding out if we will seek him regardless of imperfections in the Bible.

Citation needed.

On things local

We have elections this year. There are only two parties. The president’s party and the vice president’s party. All the other parties are somewhere in between these two parties.

I don’t watch news generally. Today i was at my barbershop and 7pm news was on and i realise how our media does us an injustice. That the media does us injustice is not new to me. The politicians onnth vee pee side are loudly telling us the government has increased the prices of basic goods fromnfuel to match sticks. That the prices are high is not in doubt. But all these politicians passed laws that increased VAT on petroleum products, imports and so on. They one and all voted to raise the debt ceiling.

The presidents party is telling their own lies. They are promising things they obviously have no way of delivering.

A robust media must fact check politicians. Must inform the public.

I sympathise with the people who believe the lies the politicians peddle with the encouragement or support of an uncritical 4th Estate.

Maybe this is why i don’t watch the news. It is all dull.

The only important news is that i am a member of a board of management for a girls’ school and we need the help of wellwishers and donors to improve the infrastructure of the school, again follow9ng disastrous government policy that has made it difficult for schools to raise additional funds for development.

why i am an atheist

No, not me, but Bhagat Singh

It is a long-ish article but worth the time and effort.

Society must fight against this belief in God as it fought against idol worship and other narrow conceptions of religion. In this way man will try to stand on his feet. Being realistic, he will have to throw his faith aside and face all adversaries with courage and valour. That is exactly my state of mind. My friends, it is not my vanity; it is my mode of thinking that has made me an atheist. I don’t think that by strengthening my belief in God and by offering prayers to Him every day, (this I consider to be the most degraded act on the part of man) I can bring improvement in my situation, nor can I further deteriorate it. I have read of many atheists facing all troubles boldly, so I am trying to stand like a man with the head high and erect to the last; even on the gallows.

Let us see how steadfast I am. One of my friends asked me to pray. When informed of my atheism, he said, “When your last days come, you will begin to believe.” I said, “No, dear sir, Never shall it happen. I consider it to be an act of degradation and demoralisation. For such petty selfish motives, I shall never pray.” Reader and friends, is it vanity? If it is, I stand for it.

On affirmation

Many years ago, when I was young and naive, the secret had just come out, Paulo Coelho was all the craze and new age stuff were everywhere,  I almost believed if I wrote on a wall or a page somewhere everyday that I want a rich wife, that the universe will do whatever it does to grant me my wish. I have seen people still believe that by writing something, and repeating it often enough, they can and will influence the universe.

And as Paul wrote, when I became a man, I left my childish ways, I realised that this was all bull. But write it down, tell yourself this several times a day and you may put it somewhere you see it all the time, it might Just happen as you desire. But don’t for a minute believe that your small act changed the course of the universe.

Or maybe the universe does listen when we tell it we want a job.

There are bad arguments

In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?”The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.” “Nonsense” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?” The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.” The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.” The second insisted, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.” The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover if there is life, then why has no one ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.” “Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.” The first replied “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists then where is She now?” The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her this world would not and could not exist.” Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.” To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.” May be this was one of the best explanations to the concept of GOD.

LinkedIn post

And then there is this one. What’s shocked me is how everyone who has made a comment on the above post believes it is the best specie of argument they have come across. This is making a virtue out of ignorance and faith. It is not right to ask people to believe things without evidence.

The brain is not a truth generating machine, rather a pattern recognition machine. Therefore, listening to our imagination doesn’t bring us closer to truth. Pure reason, as Kant told us many years ago, doesn’t bring us closer to determining whether there is a god.

Unless I am missing something.

Why can’t we see god?

This author argues it is because she wants us to choose to love her and to protect our freewill. This argument doesn’t hold unless the proponent can show that in the many narratives involving god showing up for bbq, that the people she interacted with had no freewill. If Adam and Eve had god immediately in their presence and still had room to eat the fruit, which among other things, god needed not have told them about its existence, then the argument about fear is moot. It doesn’t hold any water.

Christians, some of them, insist Jesus is God. If this is true, then what do we say about the disciples? Was it their fear of hell that kept them with Jesus? Didn’t god know this? The same Christians, who believe in trinity, tells us the spirit is god and it is with us. How is this then squared with the claim god doesn’t show herself because if that happened we wouldn’t love her?

I say we can’t see god the same way we can’t see Santa. God(s) so far as I can tell have no existence out of the human mind. This, to me, is the most likely answer. What gods are is unknown to us. What they look like is unknown to us. Besides, we have apologists tell us god is spirit, is without form and all that makes it way impossible for us to see such a being given we lack the necessary apparatus to see spirits.

It is absurd to suggest that a being desirous of having a relationship with you would seek to do this by hiding. What relationship is that even? A delusion?

For those interested in further reading, In defense of William Rowe’s Evidential argument from evil by Nick Trakakis, makes for good reading on the different arguments that apologists have advanced to defend divine hiddenness.