On the gods, by Cicero

In my earlier postings, I wrote about what Cicero says in the Tusculian disputations about death, wisdom, grief and virtue as being sufficient for a happy life.

In this post, we look at the discussion on the gods, whether they exist, what their nature is and whether the government of the universe is in their hands, so to speak.

It has been said by others, wiser than yours truly, that there is nothing new under the sun. And the disputations on the gods is a good example. I think the discoveroids have failed to cite their sources in their arguments for complexity and teleological arguments. These two propositions are expounded so clearly and eloquently in this work than by Behe or William Paley.

In this disputation,Cotta, a priest responds to the arguments of Velleius who argued for the being of gods, claiming the government of the universe is in their hands, that we cannot see a beautiful house and assume it wasn’t designed and finally that the gods are eternal and happy. He begins his response thus

In the question concerning the nature of the Gods, his first inquiry is, whether there are Gods or not. It would be dangerous, I believe, to take the negative side before a public auditory; but it is very safe in a discourse of this kind, and in this company. I, who am a priest, and who think that religions and ceremonies ought sacredly to be maintained, am certainly desirous to have the existence of the Gods, which is the principal point in debate, not only fixed in opinion, but proved to a demonstration; for many notions flow into and disturb the mind which sometimes seem to convince us that there are none. (emphasis mine).

Believers are wont to argue that it is the general assent of all men that there is a god. Platinga even went further to argue there is a god shaped hole in our hearts that only god can fill. To this Cotta says

You have said that the general assent of men of all nations and all degrees is an argument strong enough to induce us to acknowledge the being of the Gods. This is not only a weak, but a false, argument; for, first of all, how do you know the opinions of all nations?

Regarding those who deified birds and other animals, Cotta says

I could speak of the advantage of the ichneumon, the crocodile, and the cat; but I am unwilling to be tedious; yet I will conclude by observing that the barbarians paid divine honors to beasts because of benefits they received from them; whereas your gods not only confer no benefit, but are idle, and do no single act of any description whatever.

Cotta continues to ask

Where is the habitation of the deity? What motive is it that stirs him from his place, supposing he ever  moves? Since it is peculiar for animated beings to have an inclination to something that is agreeable to their natures, what is it that the deity affects, and to what purpose does he exert the motion of his mind and reason?

He tells Velleius, that if he attempts to answer any of the above points, he will come off lamely. This he says is because

For there is never a proper end to reasoning which proceeds on a false foundation; for you asserted likewise that the form of the Deity is perceptible by the mind, but not by sense; that it is neither solid, nor invariable in number; that it is to be discerned by similitude and transition, and that a constant supply of images is perpetually flowing on from innumerable atoms, on which our minds are intent; so that we from that conclude that divine nature to be happy and everlasting.(emphasis mine)

At this point, I am hoping believers reading this can answer us

What, in the name of those Deities concerning whom we are now disputing, is the meaning of all this? For if they exist only in thought, and have no solidity nor substance, what difference can there be between thinking of a Hippocentaur and thinking of a Deity?

And Cotta concludes his disputation by saying

Therefore our friend Posidonius has well observed, in his fifth book of the Nature of the Gods, that Epicurus believed there were no Gods, and that what he had said about the immortal Gods was only said from a desire to avoid unpopularity. He could not be so weak as to imagine that the Deity has only the outward features of a simple mortal, without any real solidity; that he has all the members of a man, without the least power to use them—a certain unsubstantial pellucid being, neither favorable nor beneficial to any one, neither regarding nor doing anything. There can be no such being in nature; and as Epicurus said this plainly, he allows the Gods in words, and destroys them in fact; and if the Deity is truly such a being that he shows no favor, no benevolence to mankind, away with him! For why should I entreat him to be propitious? He can be propitious to none, since, as you say, all his favor and benevolence are the effects of imbecility.

And yours truly agrees.

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The missionary position

In this post I wrote, following, Professor Makau Mutua, that indigenous religions should be protected against the proselytizing religions, that is, Christianity and Islam.

Those of you who don’t live under rocks have heard about the missionary, John Chau, who met a not very good fate when he went to spread the not so good news of chesus to guys who were not interested.

Maybe had my ancestors meted the same treatment to early missionaries, the profile of our world would be different. If the missionaries believe their god is everywhere and can perform miracles, I would suggest they pray and fast, while at home, and ask the gods they pray to to convert whoever it is they are interested in saving from a death that meets us all.

why liberalism failed

by Peter Deneen

If I was to give the book a subtitle, it would a christian lament. But I go ahead of myself.

As with most writers, Deneen assumes that his readers know what liberalism is and therefore doesn’t bother to define it. But this is remedied, slightly, I think, when he says liberalism, as an ideology, was premised on

the limitation of government and the liberation of the individual from arbitrary political control.

which he notes and I would agree, that in many places, this promise is anything but a mirage. The people have very little control of the political processes and their contribution remains limited to voting and submitting tax returns without so much being able to influence the policies of the government.

On education, he writes that liberalism is killing liberal arts education. That in most universities, the focus is mainly STEM. Here, I will let him speak

[..]The emphasis on the great texts—which were great not only or even because they were old but because they contained hard-won lessons on how humans learn to be free, especially free from the tyranny of their insatiable desires—has been jettisoned in favor of what was once considered “servile education,” an education concerned exclusively with money making and a life of work, and hence reserved for those who did not enjoy the title of “citizen.”

What these great texts, of course we are not told.

Elsewhere, he writes,

Claiming to liberate the individual from embedded cultures, traditions, places, and relationships, liberalism has homogenized the world in its image—ironically, often fueled by claims of “multiculturalism” or, today, “diversity.”

and one would ask is his intention be that culture remains static, not changing not adopting to changes in the accumulated knowledge of the race? The claim, and the reason for my subtitle, is that for Deneen, the world has moved away from a Christian ideal and become godless. He seems deeply saddened by the separation of state and church and especially in American schools. Liberalism has made it possible to have abortion, divorce and these, to Deneen are not any signs of progress.

He writes that in a liberalized world

personal relationships became dominated by considerations of individual choice based on the calculation of individual self-interest, and without broader consideration of the impact of one’s choices upon the community, one’s obligations to the created order, and ultimately to God.

In a sense, for Deneen, personal choice should be subservient to other considerations, such as what god, the Christian one, wants, who your village elder thinks is the right partner for you and all. It was love at first sight must remain only in the domain of poetry. Maybe, marriage should be based on property considerations.

I disagree with him when he tries to argue that we are without gods not because of the absence of evidence supporting any deities, but because of liberalism. His insistence that the world should be more christian ignores the colourful, I mean, bloody christian heritage.

Where we almost agree, as I wrote in a recent post, is the damage monoculture and excessive use of fertilizers among other things is causing to the soil and leading to starvation in many places, especially in the global south.

Deneen seems to me to be enamored by the work of Wendell Berry who he refers to many times in this particular work. In one place, referring to Berry’s work, he writes

Berry insists that they are justified in maintaining internally derived standards of decency in order to foster and maintain a desired moral ecology. He explicitly defends the communal prerogative to demand that certain books be removed from the educational curriculum and to insist on the introduction of the Bible into the classroom as “the word of God.” He even reflects that “the future of community life in this country may depend on private schools and home schooling.”

In my view, while there could be some merit in this particular work, it seems to me, largely a lament about a Christianity that no longer has control in the public sphere on human affairs. Though I also think he writes mainly for an American audience and as such to a person so removed from that setting, some of what he writes has no rhyme.

I wouldn’t consider it a must read. I think it fails to deliver on its promise; to tell us why liberalism has failed. In another place, it can be used a sermon.

 

 

The good book

Here Nan has an excellent post that there is nothing yours truly can add to. But borrowing from her line of thought, how do the people who take the bible as god inspired deal with the injustice in it?

Take for example Isaac’s blessing to Jacob. He says

May peoples serve you and nations bow to you be your brothers’ superior, and may your mother’s sons bow to you may those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed.

And shortly afterwards, from want of extra blessings to pass around, he tells Esau

Here, away from the fat of the earth will be your home, and from the dew of the skies from above and you will live by your sword. And you will serve your brother and it will be that when you get dominion you’ll break his yoke from your neck.

Some people argue that this was the way the authors of the bible explained conflict between nations or beginning of strife that still plague the world.

To imagine that these fellows were living at a time when YHWH would drop by for visits and they did not seek his advice! Shortly we have Esau planning on dispatching his brother to the netherworld following a botched blessing ceremony. Maybe this is why lawyers insist on everyone being present during the reading of wills and final testaments.

He was right who said a god who drowned his children cannot teach me how to raise mine.

some questions for the annoying atheists

as asked by a god loving, bible thumping, shrimp hating and non tattooed Jesus praising theist or so we think.

The last time we did this was a long time ago so I am happy to do this again. So before you read my not so clever answers jump over to Club Schadenfreude and read her brilliant response then come back.

Now, that you are back here and without further ado, we will jump right in. The questions will be indented

1) Why should I put my trust in you and your philosophy for my future and eternal destiny? Jesus Christ has far more credibility than anyone else. His words have greater wisdom and hope than any other philosophy and what it ultimately offers

Because by listening to me, you and your sinning relatives are sure to not go to hell. But in the fortunate event there is hell, it will be full of drama and I will be there for the company. Though on credibility, Jesus has none. He didn’t even manage to exist.

2) When I am dying, what hope will you offer me?

You are dying, why did you need hope? To die slowly or what?

3) What great accomplishment(s) do you claim to have done (fulfilled prophecy, miracles, resurrection, other feats and accomplishments) so I can examine the evidence to see if your belief system has merit?

I have drunk a bottle of water in one sitting. There is even video record. Do you have video record of the resurrection? Check mate :_)

4) Why is it so important to you that I (and others) do not believe in Jesus Christ?

It is not important to me at all. Just the same way I don’t care how many believe in Hare Krishna as long as they do it privately.

5) What positive effects will atheism have on my life and eternity?

It will dissuade you from the stupid idea of eternity and train you to live fully now. And I think William Foote is right when he writes

Our salvation is here and now. It is certain and not contingent. We need not die before we realise it. Ours is a gospel, and the only gospel, for this side of the grave. The promises of theology cannot be made good till after death; ours are all redeemable in this life. Happiness is the only good, suffering the only evil and selfishness the only sin. Learn what is true in order to do what is right.

6) Why do the fossil records reveal fully-formed creatures, but no transitional forms? Where is the socalled“missing link”?

Read a book. It will help you with this.

7) How can you reasonably explain the awesome complexity of the universe and our DNA without a Creator? And how can life originate from non-life? Everywhere you look, if you just open your eyes, the marvels of creation proclaim an Intelligent Designer.

Complex from whose point of view? DNA/RNA as a building block of nature must be one of the easiest things for it to come up with. Just because you or my relative has problems with it doesn’t make it complex for nature. The last tornado I saw proclaimed not an intelligent designer but a violent and murderous worker. Which do you want to go for.

8) How could this planet be so ideally suited to support life(correct distance from the sun, right mixture of nitrogen and oxygen in its atmosphere, proper temperature, tilt of the earth, rotation speed, and so on) by mere accident or chance? An Intelligent Designer is a more plausible explanation.

Chance.

9) You were quick to point out the evil done in Jesus’name by wicked people (those who obviously ignored or distorted His teaching and example)? Jesus warned about those who would use His name and pervert the truth (e.g. Matthew 7:22, 23; 24:5). So why should I reject Christianity when your comments confirm its accuracy? besides, what about the tremendous good that has been and is being done in His name by His true followers?

This only points to Christianity having a fail safe valve. Covering all bases, if you know what I mean.

10) What about the atrocities perpetrated on humanity in the name of atheistic worldviews such as Communism?

At least we can say human beings can be stupid.

11) Most people who renounce their faith in Jesus Christ (as you profess to have done) do so because they are angry at God about something, disappointed a prayer was not answered and God did not give them what they requested, or they want to live a lifestyle contrary to His Word. Which of these are true in your case? If you ever really knew Him, I doubt you would ever reject Him.

Fuck Jesus. Really.

12) What is the purpose of life if there is no Creator? Life without God is virtually meaningless and hopeless. The words of your letter clearly convey that emptiness.

To fuck. To shit. To die.

13) You want “skin on bones” proof for miracles. How about Israel? What nation or people have ever been removed from their country and lost their national identity and then returned as a nation?

Read a book.

14) What about the incredible accuracy of Bible prophecy? Have you considered the amazing fulfillment of messianic prophecies? How about end time prophecies (recorded 2,000 years ago) that seem as though they were taken from the headlines of today’s newspapers?

To be considered prophecy, the said thing must be definite, clear and have a set time of when it will occur. Do you have any such details for any prophecy.

15) What about the Bible’s amazing historical, scientific, and health insights? The Bible mentions historically verifiable facts, supported by thousands of archaeological discoveries. It also provides scientific data that has inspired countless scientists to make amazing discoveries, and its health and dietary information are endorsed by nutritionists and health practitioners worldwide.

Historical and can’t get the supposed birth date of the second star character correct? Health insights- what do you take goat herders for, idiots? They can observe things and share them- they were human beings for effs sake.

16) Many miraculous occurrences have happened in my life that defy any reasonable explanation except that of supernatural intervention. They are recorded in my Impossible records and documented by many eyewitnesses. How many do you want me to share before you admit they cannot be refuted as mere coincidence?

None.

17) Have you read any books by former skeptics and atheists who initially set out to refute Christianity but the undeniable evidence they uncovered brought them to faith in Jesus? Volumes have been written to share the overwhelming evidence to support the biblical claims of Jesus Christ. Countless books (many by former skeptics) throughout history attest to the changed lives of those who came to know Jesus Christ in a personal and real way.

Life is short. No need to waste it reading the delusions of many people. Better watch paint dry or sleep.

18) I have met some of the most amazing scientists in the world today. Many of them are convinced of the credibility of the Genesis account of creation. They have told me it is bias, not facts, that prevent many evolutionary scientists from believing (or acknowledging their belief) in Intelligent Design. Do you deny the Genesis account because of evidence or bias? Be honest with yourself and do a fair and unbiased investigation. Maybe God seems to hide and conceal Himself from His creation so that those who really want to know Him must search for Him with all their hearts.

No need to waste time. The Genesis account doesn’t account for the Sumerians who were living before your god started his creating business.

19) Our world is filled with tragedy, injustice, pain, and suffering. And at times we wonder, “How could a loving God allow this?” It is true my little brother’s body was broken, bruised, and battered by a speeding car. But God turned that tragedy into a tremendous triumph as He used it to bring myself and all of my family to salvation and make me into the man of God I am today. After almost 40 years of serving Him, I can assure you that He is a faithful, loving, and merciful God who will one day restore this earth to a paradise, and wipe away all tears, pains, suffering, and death from those who believe in Him. What is the end result of injustice, pain, suffering, and death from your evolutionary perspective?

Without reflection, there is no pain or suffering. Ask the Savoyard Vicar.

20) I only have to have one genuine encounter with God to validate His existence. You have to cover the entire universe, not only in the physical dimension, but also the spiritual (since God is spirit) before you can honestly claim to prove His  nonexistence. When did you accomplish this feat?

There was no need to do all that. All I had to do was ask you to tell me what god is.

21) What if you are right and I am wrong? I lose nothing and you gain virtually nothing. But what If I am right and you are wrong? I gain everything and you lose everything. What we see in His magnificent creation, although marred by the Fall, is not all we will get. He promised to restore this planet and universe to a “Garden of Eden” for which we have an eternity to enjoy.

I wrote about Pascal’s Wager here and I am sure you will like it.

22) If the biblical accounts of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are true, and you have rejected such a great salvation, what option does God have for you?

Maybe god did a poor job at convincing me so it’s all up to her, no?

23) I stake my eternal destiny on only One. Before Him and Him alone do I willingly bow my knee and surrender my life. What or who is god in your life? On what do you stake your life and eternal destiny?

Shit happens.

24) When I compare what you and your philosophy have to offer, with the depth and riches of what Jesus Christ and His Word offer, there is no comparison. I choose Jesus. There is so much more to share about the truth and reality of Jesus Christ and Scripture. But hopefully this is adequate to reveal my faith is not based upon fairy tales and mere speculation, but evidence I cannot deny. My faith may go beyond reason (because our Creator is unfathomable) but never against it. I hope you will truly ponder these questions and one day come to know the One who created you. Once you come to know Jesus Christ, you will never deny Him. I will close with the words of the apostle John who was one of Jesus’ disciples. The testimony of John’s life into old age, and his death, validated his claim that he truly was an eyewitness of the resurrection ––

Does John’s account of the resurrection tie in with the other forgeries of the other eyewitnesses?

As a final comment. In a world with so many competing religious beliefs, it is the height of delusion to believe one’s chosen delusion is the true™ one.

If you have read up to this point, and believe what I have written, you are going to hell.

The historical origin of Christianity

There has never been a man that ever walked the earth in human form of any race, creed or colour by the name of Jesus Christ.

On the main, I agree with the above statement. What I find hard to believe is how Williams gets to this conclusion. He argues that Jesus is the apotheosis of O-Serapis who was in another age Ptolemy 1 (Soter). I am putting the horse before the cart!

It should be noted from the very word go this book is very Afro-Centric. His audience is Africans or people of African descent, not in the evolution sense which would make everyone African but according to common usage-Negroes. He is, by writing this book hoping to awake in them an awareness of how Judaism, Christianity, Islam – man made religions- as he refers to them have been and continue to be used to subjugate them. It is short on references but very big on claims. In fact, each claim he makes is a PhD dissertation on its own. So instead of dismissing it forthright, I think some of them deserve to be looked into a little deeply. I wouldn’t call it a scholarly work nor a theological treatise. The way to view it is as research questions or hypothesis in need of proof.

He starts by quoting a book, Dictionary of the Bible by McKenzie S.J who wrote

The writing of the life of Jesus has been the major problem of NT scholarship for more than 100 yrs; after numerous shifts of opinion, the consensus of scholars is that the life of Jesus cannot be written.

He says to get to Jesus we must start at 332 BCE with the invasion of Alexander the Greek into Egypt. On the demise of Alexander, Ptolemy I, Soter, takes to the throne and demands admission into the Egyptian pantheon of deities. The Melchite Copts made a composite god- Osiris and Apis- and gave the name Oserapis later Serapis. He says this development goes on till we get to Ptolemy V, Epiphanes (Eucharistos).
The next important event in the history of Christianity, he writes, are the five council meetings viz, council of Niceae 1, council of Constantinople, council of Ephesus, council of Chalcedon, council of Constantinople II.
The Donatist Schismatic Controversy, the Donation of Constantine and the strong statement by Arius he says are the three main reasons for the calling of the first council. He says there was never an Edict of Milan, that this is forgery or work of fiction to be precise.
Among the statements I find hard to believe is the claim that

If you are told about a Jesus Christ, Christians or Christianity before the council of Ephesus or Chalcedon (431, 451 CE) or of a Christian church before the building of the world’s first Christian church, the Hagia Sophia (531-537 CE) you are being misled.

Of the councils, the Council of Ephesus he says is the most important. It is in this council that we have Theotokos- Virgin Mary- installed following problems arising from the preaching of Nestorius and his followers. Serapis was also transformed to the Messiah (Christos) with the help of the Melchite Copts.

The council of Chalcedon 451CE among other things defined one Christ, perfect god and man, consubstantial with man, one soul being into two natures, without division or separation and without confusion or change.

If the foregoing hasn’t sent you to the library near you, the claim that the name Jesus came into being 1565yrs after the image and name Serapis were created in Egypt. The name Iesus was first applied to the icon during the Council of Lyons, 1245CE. To buttress his point, he does a brief historical survey of the development of the letter J.

Tertullian, Augustine were they Copts? The Clementine letters or the letters of Paul, if what we have today refer to Jesus, was this done after the fact? At what stage in history do we have a single book known as the bible as we currently have it?

I will end my post, as he ends his book, with a quote

To discover to the world something which deeply concerns it, and of which it was previously ignorant; to prove to it that it had been mistaken on some vital point of temporal or spiritual interest, is as important a service as a human being can render to his fellow creatures, and the most precious gift which could be bestowed on mankind.


The gospel of Thomas and the quest for historical Jesus

Practical atheism?

That’s not what one gets when they read this post by Fr. Jerry. It is like he has created straw men against whom he has argued almost successfully against, where almost is the keyword.

Whereas the problem of evil is a serious challenge to the being of an all loving and powerful god, I don’t often hear, as the priest claims, of people who say they no longer believe in god because there’s so much evil and suffering. That, I think, is a creation of the good priest. It’s true the crucifixion has little appeal but that is not reason enough to be atheistic.

The priest says, and I haven’t seen the memo

As a rule, atheists invoke the supremacy of science.

which is not supported by fact. Atheism, being limited to lack of belief in deities, does not need any scientific claims to buttress it. There have been atheists throughout the ages when science was not advanced as it is today. I could argue, on the contrary that atheism really is about rationality. You do not need to invoke any scientific principle to question the lack of evidence for deities.

He goes ahead to say

True atheists view science as a means by which to solve certain technical problems, to make life easier, or to reduce suffering.

which may mean only true atheists resort to science. The not true atheists don’t rely on science or they don’t exist.

The good priest tells us the christians know it is god teasing them with mystery. This is a claim made without any supporting evidence. We must take the priest’s word for it.

The priest, having told himself the universe must have a creator, throws a swipe at the atheists and tells us

Atheists typically explain creation with the purported science of the big bang theory. Matter was contained in a capsule the size of a walnut, and Bang! the universe began to expand.

which is interesting given, first, that the idea of a big bang has its origins in the works of a catholic monk and two that several scientists have explained the term big bang was used as a place holder. The atheist can have no opinion on the big bang or origins of the universe without contradiction.

The good priest, however doesn’t stop at the big bang. He tells us

After eons of evolution, an amoeba became a fish, a fish became a lizard—and down the line—finally, a monkey gave birth: not to a monkey, but to the first potential atheist.

and one is made to ask who taught him evolution. Was his teacher this bad?

He tells us, the christian believes, god created the universe ex nihilo. But he doesn’t stop there. He lies. He says

But Adam and Eve wanted to play the part of God, to tell God what good and evil is.

The good book doesn’t at any point claim the two ignoramuses wanted to tell god what is good and evil. This is not possible since they only came to know of good through eating of  the tree of knowledge of good and evil, a tree which, if it was planted in the garden is all god’s fault. There was always the option of keeping the seeds in god’s pocket or not mentioning it altogether. But the priest is not interested in reason, no, he tells us

Original Sin, therefore, is the choice to become a practical atheist—to claim the authority of God on our own.

Let’s not forget that the idea of original sin is a creation of the church of Rome. And nowhere do we read in the bible Adam and Eve claiming the authority of god anywhere. To call them practical atheists for eating a fruit, is to me an insult to human intelligence. Adam and Eve, if they existed, did not need persuasion to know there was a god. It was impossible for them to be atheists. I mean, for fucks sake, they lived next door to god.

The priest to bring Jesus into the picture, tells us

Without a Savior to overcome evil, all of us would be condemned to the fires of Hell

which is  ridiculous. God creates hell so it can punish humans for small infractions that it made it possible for them to commit? If we believe the priest, without eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge, there would be no death. One must ask the good priest why then, does god send the two hapless fellows from the garden before they eat of the tree of life? Or are we to assume, the gods would have left them feast on the tree of life and become like them?

The Epicurean principle of “seek pleasure and avoid suffering” is seen by the priest as not good enough for a moral life. He says it can be argued that is how the atheist lives their lives. Sometimes one can withstand suffering, if it is for a short duration and the gains are greater, for example, the pain of having a tooth removed or a surgery to remove a growth. It is suffering for which no benefit can be accrued that we must question as rational beings, such as, what good comes out of the rape of a child?

One would think, if you listened to the priest only, that only atheists have abortions or are pro-choice. The good priest, not tired of attacking straw men, writes

To avoid personal suffering, antiseptic and murderous violence—where the screams are unseen, silent, and without legal repercussions—is permissible as a matter of “choice.”

I don’t know about you, but I am yet to hear of any moral absolutes set up by the atheists anywhere in the world. I was not around when there was a sexual revolution in the 60s in the US? Was it atheists who led it? But then again what is wrong with sexual freedom?

One wonders whether the priest is arguing for sexual misconduct, like the priests have been found to have been guilty of in several places around the world when he says

The practical atheist insists on the supreme value of choice and consent as the only proper boundaries for his sexual pursuits.

Are we to read this as an argument against consent?

I do not, for the life of me, know which atheist the priest has in mind. Maybe it his own creation. He writes

 [..]He may appeal to science—except when science interferes with his lifestyle.Then the moral principles of the atheist allow for the distortion of authentic science in pursuit of his pleasures.

How, tell me, is this statement by Justice Kennedy

“At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

the true definition of original sin? Does it exclude the christian from defining his or her life as having meaning only in the belief and obedience to gods? Or does it stop the Muslim from deriving meaning from his belief in the supremacy of the Koran and hadiths? Is the priest trying to be a thought cop? He wants a situation where the church defines the concept of existence, meaning and any contrary opinion is heresy and ripe for the stake, as in the days of old.

One would think all the conflicts in the world are because people have been atheistic. The good priest not to be outdone in creating straw-men writes

Of course, the cumulative result of such uncompromising selfishness is what a comfortable atheist detests: injustice, conflict, hatred, murder. An honest atheist is unable to justify selfless acts of virtue. Without God, the chaos of an atheistic world would be normative.

Anyone who has read a little bit of history is aware of the many injustices committed in the name of god. The Catholic killing the protestant, both of them killing the Jews and finally, the Muslim killing all of them. To then pretend this is all because there are atheists is to tell a bold faced lie.

There is no paradox between there being no god and people being just, kind or loving. These traits are important for life in community. Societal life would be impossible if all we did was kill each other. We would be extinct. You need no gods to explain this. Common sense, which the priest seems to have quit its use, is enough to give insights into this.

The sacrifice of a soldier in battle is for most times stupid. Most often, soldiers go to war to fight people who have done them no wrong on the behest of some functionary who is having a beer or wine at their expense. That said, the soldier is trained to do just that. It would be thought of them as cowards if they didn’t make sacrifices here and there. It is expected that a father should rescue their child from danger. To say we only do this because of a god is to reduce all human feeling and response to belief in chimeras.

The story of the crucifixion is not one of love but of depravity. It is to make a virtue of violence. Besides, in the story, the fellow comes back. And if Jesus is a god as the catholic wants us to believe, then how does a god dying affect humanity?

While I agree we should reflect on our individualism, but it shouldn’t be replaced by belief in chimeras. It is must be about practicalities of life. We should see ourselves as members of a community with different beliefs and cultures and work towards living in harmony with one another.