we live in very strange times. or maybe it only happens on the internet. with all the wokeness doing the rounds, group identity, victimhood olympics and cancel culture one always finds themselves walking on glass shells when they are asked to mention who is their favourite anything. you start asking yourself whether you can still listen to R Kelly’s storm is over or do you cancel him; can you read Mencken on religion or will we cancel him because of his racism or cancel Nietzsche for his whip statement? It’s all tricky.
For some reason that I still yet don’t know, many of the works I admire greatly were written by people who are now dead. And for some reason they are mostly male. And with the woke brigade on their cancelling march, they too, might soon be cancelled.
Why am i writing all this? Well, I don’t know but i wanted to share this short essay i found yesterday written by Bertrand Russell before some woke person decides we must cancel him, especially now that people are being cancelled left right and centre.
Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a deep ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.
I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy — ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness — that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss.
I have sought it, finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seemWhat I have lived for by Bertrand Russell.
too good for human life, this is what — at last — I have found.
With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved.
Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart.
Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a hated burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer.
This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me.
Have a cancel free Sunday.
I guess you all know Caroline Smith. She has been featured here a number of times. she is one of the defenders of da lawd & in the linked post she is telling us loving your gay friend is against god’s love & she has biblical verses to support her.
What confuses me is though is how could omnibenevolence have limits to his love? In other places I have heard it sung that love is blind, covers all faults and you know the rest. So how does the but come in? What am I missing?
Have a gay weekend, won’t you!
if John Baker is to believed is the life of the godless. Because of limited intelligence he is unable to see how others can find fulfillment in a life without gods. Because a person believes that at the grave, all this ends, such a person should not love, laugh, draw or enjoy music. Life is only grand if you will live past the grave. Don’t help others, they will die and that shall be forgotten all this ignoring the other very clear point that helping someone makes their life here bearable and sometimes, just sometimes, dignified. How does the promise of a heaven with gold do to the life of a poor person here apart from filling them with false hopes?
His next qualm is that people are not getting indoctrinated enough. They also don’t get to hate enough gays. He writes
be another reminder to parents to be diligent in training their children to stand uncompromisingly on the Word of God and in equipping them to defend the Christian faith
which in intelligent speak is parents should indoctrinate their children and do it well they never get to reason out of
Caroline tells us naturalists are incapable of love. She writes
It would mean the depths of emotion that consume a man’s thoughts of his beloved and drive him to do anything for her, or the lengths a mother will go to care for and protect her child are merely the outworking of chemical reactions in the brain. Nothing more. It would mean that the supreme goodness we attach to the concept of real love doesn’t stick. In the survival of the fittest, why should a quality that seeks another’s good be preferable to selfishness?
At least the naturalist grounds love in the workings of the brain. She on the other hand grounds it in a superstitious, transcendent other. Why is the naturalists idea treated with so much disdain? Is it because it is logical and reasonable?
And it seems to me she hasn’t read much on the subject either, because then she wouldn’t write
I believe we all, consciously or subconsciously, recognize the transcendent nature of love. And I believe this points to the existence of a loving, transcendent God.
because this entry in SEP, would show her statement to be wrong. And no, it doesn’t follow that because a feeling is irrational it points to god. That, my friends, is bad reasoning.
Her conclusion that
Love. We can’t even comprehend it in its fullness. And we can’t reduce it to a material reality. It transcends time, and space, and matter. It is spiritual. It is of God.
unfortunately tells us really nothing.
Godless Cranium has written a post, which I will read after I finish writing mine for fear that should I read his first, I may find it so good I will be unable to go ahead. It is a response to Lyle who has written the amazing new atheists.
In his brief essay, The Necessity of Atheism, Percy Bysshe Shelley writes, and I paraphrase that ignorance of nature created the gods, its knowledge will be the death of gods. If this has not been true at any time in our history, then it is more so now.
Lyle starts his post thus
I am truly amazed at people that claim they are atheist and then spent a great deal of their time talking about or even arguing about transcendental concepts like love, justices and truth.
and one wonders if these are not human terms? Anyone, as long as they are human, can use them. Or does Lyle intend to tell us there is only a special class of persons to whom love, justice and truth should matter?
He goes on
If there is no God, are these concept not just empty expressions? Why spent the time and effort to try to convince the theist or for that matter anyone that there is no God? If there is no God, is not truth just a subjective term that has no real content?
I don’t speak for other atheists, but I am not busy trying to convince a theist there is no god. I already know and that is enough for me. What does god have to do with justice? Is Lyle telling us without his belief in a phantom, he will be robbing his neighbour, killing their pets? What does he mean by betting justice on a god? And while he keeps throwing truth around, what does he mean by truth?
I don’t know how gods non-existence
would necessitate the complete remaking of everything, our language, our culture, values, civilization and in essences the very way we think about everything.
Is culture so dependent on god that if men stopped believing in some ghost, it would collapse? Hasn’t humanity progressed in spite of culture, religion and not because of it?
And he represents Nietzsche when he writes
We are talking about the world of Nietzsche, a world, which has gone beyond good and evil, a world of a mad man
for he( Nietzsche) dreamt of a higher man. He writes for the free spirit. Not held back by custom, by religion or dogma.
can mankind survive as man without the idea of God?
and I say a resounding yes. I hope also he recognizes, god is just an idea and one which hasn’t even been coherently defined. It means whatever the believer wants it to mean.
Someone said, and I paraphrase, all great ideas start as heresy and I find these words
For this reason I believe that atheism is the most dangers and destructive ideology in the world
by Lyle to capture the spirit of that quote. Yes, any idea that leads to a revolution in the way of thought is dangerous. It can’t be any other way. And Lyle has every reason to be scared. Religion cannot stand the assault of reason without transforming itself into something entirely different.
When he writes
Some may respond by saying that they feel religion is evil and that they are simply trying to do away with evil and replace it with something better. Well I would have to agree that some religion is evil but not because religion itself is evil but rather because there are evil men in religion.
I have to disagree. Religion is inherently harmful. No man is evil. It is judgement that makes it so, and this judgement is not on the person but on
their actions rather consequences of their actions.
It is odd that the person berating atheists as being relativist[s] says
You might reply, because religion hurts people. My answer is, it has not hurt me,
Is a god necessary for one to know genocide is harmful or that war is? Is the believer so handicapped? Who ties their shoelaces?
That the Nazis thought exterminating the Jews reasonable doesn’t make it so. I don’t want to be exterminated. In the words of John Donne,
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee
I must think theists very ignorant of the church history. When the church had divine guidance, witches were burnt, men and women burnt at the stake and religious differences settled by crusades. As Arch would say, religion is trying to bring peace to a world torn apart by religion.
Anytime a theist brings up the reign of Stalin as a counterpoint to atheistic society, I am convinced the fellow has an IQ less than that of my shirt, and I mean no insult here. Stalin was for lack of a better word psycho. The religious represent about 58% of the Chinese population. The government is authoritarian. Nobody denies that the ruling party is atheistic. It’s faults are not, in my view, because it is atheistic but because it is authoritarian.
It is a fact that
The truth is that belief in God is as much a matter of the will as the intelligent.
and this explains why there are those who regardless of anything reason can show them, they would still believe in god.
I don’t want to go beyond here. It is no argument for the truth of religion that some intelligent person believed.
KRISHNAMURTI: You mean why do we have to have love? Why should there be love? Can we do without it? What would happen if you did not have this so-called love? If your parents began to think out why they love you, you might not be here. They might throw you out. They think they love you; therefore, they want to protect you, they want to see you educated, they feel that they must give you every opportunity to be something. This feeling of protection, this feeling of wanting you to be educated, this feeling that you belong to them is what they generally call love. Without it, what would happen? What would happen if your parents did not love you? You would be neglected, you would be something inconvenient, you would be pushed out, they would hate you. So, fortunately, there is this feeling of love, perhaps clouded, perhaps besmirched and ugly, but there is still that feeling, fortunately for you and me; otherwise, you and I would not have been educated, would not exist.
Ninth Talk at Rajghat on Love and Loneliness by Krishnamurti
To love one’s self at the expense of one’s fellow is for selfishness to become malignancy. To love one’s neighbor more than one’s self is foolishness and self destruction.
A man’s value to society by Hillis, Newel Dwight
Those of you who are deeply in love must find this passage that am about to share in Anna Karenina deeply amusing. Levin has been married three months to Kitty. He comes home one evening to find her in low spirits with quite an attitude. Tolstoy, the very great narrator tells us
[…] It was only then, for the first time, that he clearly understood what he had not understood when he led her out of the church after the wedding. He felt now that he was not simply close to her, but that he did not know where he ended and she began. He felt this from the agonizing sensation of division that he experienced at that instant. He was offended for the first instant, but that very same second he felt that he could not be offended by her, that she was himself. He felt for the first moment as a man feels when, having suddenly received a violent blow from behind, he turns around, angry and eager to avenge himself, to look for his antagonist, and finds that it is he himself who has accidentally struck himself, that there is no one to be angry with, and that he must put up with and try to soothe the pain.
Friends, I have come across a post that for lack of a better word portrays the atheist in so unfortunate a light that it is only fair that we be heard. I will not claim to speak for every atheist, but myself. However, before I respond to the three posts which can be found here, here and here, I want to start by saying that atheism answers only one question. The question is do you believe in the existence of god[s]? To which the answer is no! Beyond that, it says nothing about whether I am vegetarian, stamps collector, nada nada, nothing. With this out of the way, I can now proceed to answer to the claims of the above three posts.
The first accusation is the atheist lacks faith which is touted as the greatest good on earth. Our accuser commits a fallacy of equivocation. The word faith here is used in a narrow meaning forgetting that it has other meanings. I will demonstrate. I have faith my car will start in the morning. This faith is informed by the fact that I drove my car home the previous evening, it showed no sign of mechanical failure and last I started it, it worked. It could fail to start, though. It is therefore important that we are told what faith are we deprived of, if it is faith in an afterlife or fairies, that isn’t useful to me and as such I don’t need it.
We are asked to believe the atheist is devoid of human love. I don’t think this claim needs a response. My ability to love other sentient beings has nothing whatsoever to do with whether fairies exist or not. This said, however, I can understand where this comes from. I have often times asked my friends to tell me what they mean when they talk about love and I will tell you that many if not all have very interesting responses. I have sometimes said love is an ambiguous term, and if this is the basis of this accusation, then so be it, but it doesn’t diminish the fact that whatever it means to love, the atheist is as capable of having it just as the theist.
There is a beauty in looking at plant life, animal life or even at contemplating the night sky. There is sublime beauty in knowing we are stardust without positing a divine creator. All around us, both for the believer and unbeliever we are surrounded by natural processes and there is every mystery in looking at the working of nature. Therefore to write
The eye of the atheist sees in creation nothing other than the operation of natural processes. The brilliance and magnificent beauty of the Divine Creator’s image remain hidden and undetectable to him. As he glances aimlessly at creation, nowhere does he discover the beauty of God’s wisdom, nowhere does he see God’s omnipotence, nowhere does he observe God’s goodness and providence, nowhere does he discern the Creator’s righteousness and love for creation
is blatantly false and a collection of hodgepodge. It is what my good friend Tidleb would call deepity – those statements that look profound but tell us nothing. And while here, as I have written always, what god? And why would life and the universe need a creator? And where is this love? Is he implying that his god in act of love created the antelope to be killed by the lion for food or the male preying mantis gets to be killed during intercourse, tough love it must be!
The atheist has reason informed by experience as his guide. He walks with his head held high knowing that he too, like all things, in nature die and rot and go back to what they were before in the endless cycle of natural processes. He sees his kin die and knows that he too shall die. If this truth is uncomfortable for some, too bad, but I think to say
The atheist lives in a dispirited state; listlessness has taken hold of his soul. He wanders astray in the lightless and expansive night of this present life without even one ray of light to illumine his crooked paths
is not only mean but borders on condescension. It is a statement borne of ignorance, loaded with hate and malice and is far removed from reality as anything could possibly be.
I am grateful to my friends, they know because I express my appreciation to them. I love a lot of things and so many people. To claim
Feelings of love and gratitude remain unknown mysteries for the atheist
is based just as the others are, on ignorance of atheists. I can only say the author of this piece must live in a place where there is no atheist or he hasn’t met my friends.
It is said of the atheist that
having appointed matter as his principal governor, limited man’s true happiness within the narrow confines of temporary pleasures.
Be that as it may, please tell me one permanent pleasure that ain’t borne of wishful thinking. All things in nature are transient. This is not wishful thinking. This is fact. You can either embrace it, knowing that nothing is permanent or you can pretend it is not the case and be surprised when things happen not as you had expected them to be.
If as he writes
God, however, has fled from the heart of the atheist. The human heart has infinite desires because it was created to embrace the infinite God. However, since the atheist’s heart is not filled with the infinite God, it can never be filled or satisfied with anything—even though it perpetually groans, seeks, and desires to do so.
The fault is with god and not the atheist. The theist then must ask his god to fill the atheist’s heart with whatever it is that should fill hearts but please leave enough space to allow the heart pump blood :-P. I don’t want to die of heart failure!
I know of no other pleasures. This statement
The pleasures of the world are incapable of filling the heart’s emptiness
then joins the list of those many meaningless things people are oft to say in the hope they have said something substantial. The atheist/ naturalist says we have one life here and we have a duty to make each other’s journey through it as beautiful and easy as it can possibly be. We are earthbound, we make no promise of a future bliss. If we can’t have bliss here, there is no guarantee it can be anywhere else. And I say, since, we needed no training before our birth on how to live here, if there be another place, we should be able to learn to live there as well. While still on this part, I must say, the theist must show me why his god would choose such a torturous route to get us to heaven and hell. Why not just populate the two places at one go?
If happiness is dependent in believing there is a god, and that this god loves you, one wonders why there are countless unhappy believers. No, we are happy when our desires are met, our health is sound, those around us aren’t distressed, we all have a roof over our heads and food in the stomach. Anyone struggling to live can’t be happy. And am not saying having so much makes you happy, nope, but knowing that you are safe, have food and is loved is enough to make all of us happy. No god is required.
The atheist is unaware that man’s happiness is found not within the enjoyment of earthly pleasures but in the love of God
is therefore superfluous and irrelevant to human happiness.
The theist is slave of a tyrant, not the atheist. The theist believes his god desires worship, watches his every deed and will likely condemn him to an eternal fire for finite crimes. Reason can’t be a tyrant. There is no place on the earth where a life has been lost because people were reasonable, but many a number have been lost and continue to be lost in the name of god. So again, this statement
The atheist has become a unfortunate slave subjugated to a harsh tyrant!
is blatantly false and ridiculous. It can hold no water. It can’t stand.
The natural world seems to him sterile and barren. It neither provides him with joy nor generates within him feelings of delight
then you are definitely beyond help. It is you, not the atheist, who needs help. Wake up, look at the beauty around you and be filled with gladness that you are apart of a magnificent thing. That nature has so combined atoms to come up with a being such as you that can appreciate her beauty. You don’t need gods to see that the world and the universe is beautiful.
We are then told
Unmerciful and uncompassionate despair, in turn, violently and harshly severs the thread of his pitiful life, and hurls him into the depths of perdition and darkness, from where he will resurface only when the voice of his divine Creator—Whom he denied—calls him to give an account of his disbelief, at which point he will be condemned and sent to the eternal fire.
to which, in conclusion, I respond, don’t despair for me. If you are not going to be my attorney, let me be. Live your life praising your god and while at it, pray so hard that you are worshiping the right god and if that isn’t the case, that the right god be merciful to you for worshiping a wrong one. If any atheist is called to account, they will do so on their own, stop your threats, they are meaningless to us. They don’t scare us. And in closing, our lives are full of light not darkness, we know we shall die someday and when that day comes we will be no more and are the happy for it.
May your god help you, but please leave the atheist to live his life. The time to live is now.