I am known to not like politicians

But occasionally I can agree with them. And this is one of those instances where I agree with the sentiments of one of the presidential candidate in the just concluded plebiscite.

Reuben Kigame, who is an evangelical Christian has said the Ruto team is overdoing religion. In his own words

I know I will be bashed but I need to be truthful and accountable to the nation. I think the Ruto administration is overdoing religion

Star Newspaper

and this is just the first week of the administration. You maybe wondering why he said this. Again, we will just defer to him

“over-representation” of the evangelical wing of the church during his inauguration and that of his deputy Rigathi Gachagua on Tuesday was unnecessary.

And he has more.

I am a committed Christian who believes in prayer and believe God has helped us this far and will continue to trust Him for the future of Kenya. But I hope that issues such as lowering food prices will not be met with State House saying, “let’s pray about it,”

He was right on the backlash because our morality police, Ezekiel Mutua- I hope you remember him- responded thus

We had sunk so low and thrown morality to the dogs. We cannot have too much of God, provided we also work hard!

I pray to the dead gods that we be spared a theocracy.

The article has comments. Some are weep inducing.

I hear there is atheistic religious fanaticism

Hey friends, did you miss me these few days? I thought not. It was too short to realize I wasn’t doing any posting or visiting your wonderful blogs. Now that I am here, we can return to regular broadcasting. Shall we?

I have always told myself that my time is best spent not offering opinions on blogs by some theists. Then you bump into a blog that leaves you scratching your head. You begin to wonder why so many believe things that are outright crazy. And so this next blog is like that. It starts by alluding to bigotry and vitriol of atheists towards theists. The author even says you guys- atheists- deny Christians freedom of speech.

Atheists are guilty of manipulation. Demanding that arguments be had on their terms, refusing to admit the bible to evidence room and claiming to be intelligent among others.

You are all guilty of being Darwinists, hardcore presuppositionalists– whatever this means- evolutionists, and materialists. Most of all, you are guilty of denying god exists, when you already know it. And you hate the followers of god. Can you stop with the hate, now!

I thought about linking to the post and decided to let it pass. But anyone interested can search for the creation cowboy on wordpress.

it is Monday

and I don’t want to brain but this is really bad. If you are an atheist, you really believe in god even if you didn’t know it. And here is how.

  1. You bear the image of god. The bible says so. Everyone is created in the image of god. The atheist is not exception.
  2. You borrow god’s moral standards and logic, otherwise you wouldn’t know when to kill your sons, stone your neighbours for worshiping the wrong god, or killing everyone in the land your god promised including pregnant chicken.
  3. You hate god. You don’t write any texts against Thor or Minerva but are Christ hating mofuckers.

But there is hope for you dear friends, and here allow me to quote the author

So, what do we do when we encounter atheists? First, we should obey Jesus and share the good news of the gospel with them, as well as pray that God will work in their hearts. We can open our homes and build relationships with them in the hope that God will reach them through us. We should openly talk about our faith and attempt to win them. And when an atheist starts trying to convert others, we should be ready to oppose and refute them.

and why should they do all the above?

Being used by God to bring someone to Christ is an amazing feeling, and we know that there will be many former atheists in heaven—some are even associated with this ministry! And that is usually because a Christian cared enough about them to engage with them and persistently share the gospel.

Heaven awaits you, my fellow heathens. It is time to be converted. Go tell us how it is on the other side.

some quotations

As you have guessed it already, I am reading Steve B Biko’s selected letters in I write what I like. The essays were written when our author was actively involved in black emancipation in South Africa before he was brutally killed by the apartheid regime. In this address to black ministers of religion, he writes in conclusion

[..]I would like to remind the black ministry, and in deed all black people that god is not in the habit of coming down from heaven to solve people’s problems on earth.

Even now, in the face of a mass shooting in the US where over a dozen children were shot dead, sending thoughts and prayers will not help. Enacting stringent regulations around gun ownership, addressing other societal pressures like racism, unemployment, mental health is what is called for.

Elsewhere, writing on African religion, we read

Another aspect of religious practices was the occasion of worship. Again we did not believe that religion could be featured as a separate part of our existence on earth. It was manifest in our daily lives. We thanked god through our ancestors before we drank beer, married, worked etc. We would obviously find it artificial to create special occasions for worship. Neither did we see it logical to have a particular building in which all worship would be conducted. We believed that god was always in communication with us and therefore merited attention everywhere and anywhere

He then says

It was the missionaries who confused our people with their new religion. By some strange logic, they argued that theirs was a scientific religion and ours was mere superstition in spite of the biological discrepancies so obvious in the basis of their religion. They further went on to preach a theology of the existence of hell, scaring our fathers and mothers with stories about burning in eternal flames and gnashing of teeth and grinding of bone. This cold cruel religion was strange to us but our forefathers we sufficiently scared of unknown impending anger to believe that it was worth a try. Down went our cultural values.

And I can’t agree more!

Terrible essay on religion or lack of it

There are terrible essays, then there is this by J Maren. He says in an interview with a Ferguson, he (Ferguson) said atheism is a religious faith that he was brought up in. He went on to say it is as much a faith as Christianity or Islam. And finished by making the observation that

atheism, particularly in its militant forms, is really a very dangerous metaphysical framework for a society

And at this point, I have questions. Creeds such as Christianity or Islam have books, or tenets of beliefs, they often have founders and a lot of other requirements. Now what could be the similarities between atheism and Islam or Judaism? How, in its militant form, whatever that means, is it a danger to society? Do they kill believers?

What else had Ferguson to say?

I know I can’t achieve religious faith,” he went on, “but I do think we should go to church. We don’t have, I don’t think, an evolved ethical system. I don’t buy the idea that evolution alone gets us to be moral. It can modify behavior, but there’s just too much evidence that in the raw, when the constraints of civilization fall away, we behave in the most savage way to one another. I’m a big believer that with the inherited wisdom of a two-millennia old religion, we’ve got a pretty good framework to work with.

This is interesting. For thousands of years, our loving and merciful father forgot about his creation. Left men without a religion. Without morals and remembered to send this information much later and topped it up with a suicide or is it a deicide.

If Maren is right, we must believe that before Christianity there was no forgiveness. Maren tells us, in part

What we do know is that he thought Christianity was in many ways the soul of Western civilization, and that the uniquely Christian concept of forgiveness was utterly indispensable to its survival.

I don’t know about you, but I know I am have not

My fear is that the Church is not doing what so many of us on the outside want it to do, which is preaching its gospel, asserting its truths and its claims

wanted the church to do anything except that believers keep their faith private.

Maren then tells of an interview with D MUrray who

believes that Christianity is essential because secularists have been thus far totally incapable of creating an ethic of equality that matches the concept that all human beings are created in the image of God

Which is interesting from where I stand. It appears there has been a difference between belief and practice. But the less said about this the better. Reminds me of when Haitians revolted following the French declaration of Freedom, Liberty and Fraternity, there were locked in a revolt with the French for 12 years until the defeat of Napoleon’s army.

In his conclusion, Maren writes that the west and Christianity are tied at the hip. The west will not long survive without Christianity. The sooner you all start joining the church nearest to you, the longer the western civilization will last. It is all up to you.

Or maybe I am wrong.

Things I never learned in Sunday School

By Nan Yielding

First, thanks Nan for the free copy. It is an interesting and easy read. I think a revised edition is due especially because I think you have in the intervening period learnt something that maybe was not available at the time of first publication.

This book is not a polemic against religion or an apologia. Maybe we could say it is an argument against taking someone as an authority without good reason. In this respect, I think Nan makes her point clearly throughout the book.

That said, I have a few issues with the book.

On the pentatauch, she alludes to Moses writing the first five books. First comment is that the existence of Moses is highly doubtful but that’s a story for later. On the authorship of the first five books, research that I have read point to a multiple group of writers. My preface to the African Bible( used by the Catholic Church) is explicit that while it is commonly believed Moses wrote those books, this is no longer tenable.

On Jesus, Nan writes in a manner that shows she is convinced of at least two things; he existed and had a message of love that he taught. The interesting question here is which Jesus. And having read several researches on Jesus life, I would ask with Ark, which Jesus? Nan writes we are certain Jesus died but this is putting the cart before the horse.

What can be said of the resurrection? She points out the various contradictions in the narratives telling of this special event. And I don’t think much needed to be added. Maybe we can say with Mangassarian that if he went to the sky it is best to live him there.

She writes a lot on Paul which is understandable because of his influence in Christian teaching. The first question is Paul who? Does the author of Acts know Paul? And while her conclusion is correct that without the Pauline literature, we would likely end up with a different religion today. She takes it for granted that Paul was. And I would think, as the theme of the book is not taking things on authority, a little bit of rigour would not be asking for too much.

Her exposition on the devil is quite illuminating. But in that chapter she says we are certain a supreme being exists? But does it really? Are we certain about this? What is the nature of this being & though in the final chapter she makes the argument that resembles that of Aviciena( via negativa) that maybe we can’t begin to name or even describe this being, this gives us no light on whether we should assume such a being exists.

I am not convinced the argument about the Roman empire persecution of Christians hold against scrutiny. I will have to dust my books & update this criticism but her position is not tenable.

I am African and it is a pet peeve of mine when I find African deities or religions referred to as tribal gods. This is following Hegel where everyone else has national gods or just religions but the African, no. His is a tribal god. I know it is not Nan’s fault here that most literature sees Africans only through the lens of tribe.

I think on matters where there is doubt, to express certainties must surely take away from the value of the work. To claim a supreme being/ god certainly exists is to stretch credulity a little far. My other general comment that covers the whole work is on miracles. The bible which is the source document for Christian belief is said to be a miracle- that is, it is not of natural production but involves the action of god(s) in unknown ways- is in need of defence.

While reading the book, a thought occurred to me concerning monotheism. Is it a belief in the existence of only one god or the belief in & worship of only one god While not negating the existence of other gods? The israelites are told not that other gods don’t exist, just that they should worship a specific god. Or as Nietzsche put it, the other gods laughed themselves to death when one of them said I am on the only god. Am I missing something?

Happy Sunday everyone. And thanks again Nan for the book.

thank god i am not a believer

because if I did and wrote something like this, I should be accused of blasphemy. The juicy part that caught my eye is

People in Hell exist. I think this is the most tragic, but also the most tragically beautiful part. Going back to Point 3: all things that exist only exist because God loves them into existence and holds them in existence through His love. Thus, the fact that people in Hell don’t just “disappear into oblivion” is because God is constantly saying to each one of those souls, “I love you, exist in my love. I love you, exist in my love.” Every single soul in Hell is as loved by God as souls in Heaven, Earth, and Purgatory. But, as Point 4 notes: Hell is a prison that is locked from the inside. 

God loves you enough to keep you in hell but not to forgive you and send you to stay in heaven with him. I don’t know what understanding of love this is, but it is the kind I am sure I don’t want. I think this is hat happens when one is committed to a position that is indefensible. You try gymnastics to make it sound reasonable but it doesn’t work.

God loves, even in hell, it just will not get you out.

The so called protestants

But what is happening in the camp of the so-called Protestants, led by a German peasant by the name Martin Luther, stormed out of the universal church? The camp? When the fellow, holding the arm of his nun wife called Maria, shouted, ‘I will not repent, I will not recant. Here I stand !’ the chorus from the so-called camp was deafening. All manner of ‘leader’ repeated the defiant war-song, now not addressed to the Vatican, but against Luther himself, and against each other. And it has continued to the present day. There is not one but numerous camps. It may be there is not one person in the world today who knows exactly how many they are, whatever their differences or similarities.

Artist the Ruler by Okot p’Bitek

This observation by p’Bitek leaves me amused all the time I think of it. Everyday there is a schism in a christian church somewhere. They often claim a difference in doctrine or disagreement on management but mostly it is about the cookie jar, not that one, but the other one and a million reasons excuses in between. What is always important is to justify the need to start a new church.

So my friends, what are you protesting?

I watched a really silly movie

In fact, I am not sure one can say it is a bad nor a good movie. It just is. But it is relevant for some of the discussions we have on this blog and elsewhere. In the recent post by Nan, Barry did mention that god has been defined by Lord Geering and maybe a few others as a metaphor representing some of our highest ideas.

This brings us to the movie. It is on Netflix and the tittle is Saladin. I found out this was the deliverer of Jerusalem from the crusaders in the 12th Century. Men were going to their deaths to fight over a piece of earth. And they still do, to this date.

One thing I can say for the script writers and the directors is they know how to revenge. In the whole act, the Arabs are referred to by the Europeans as barbarians and savages but in their actions, the Arabs come out on top. They are just, innovative and their leader Saladin is a man for lack of a better word, we will say is an just principled and generous man.

It is 3 hours long. And while it is the conversation that is riveting, it is in Arabic so you can’t let play in the background while you do some important thing like spoonfeeding a cat that has refused to eat.

Humanity doesn’t seem to have improved. We still kill one another for a piece of earth, or for believing incorrectly when these beliefs have no demonstrated truth/ facts to support them.