What happens after the death of god: A reflection

I have identified myself as an atheist for about a year now, before that, I was a practicing Catholic though there are a few things I had stopped doing over time for example I couldn’t bring myself to give offering [so no point in enriching the church], stopped going to confessions and saw going to receive communion as a long walk to the altar among others. In this post, therefore, I intend to reflect on the changes that have since taken place since I took leave of god. But before we get deeper into this, there is a passage in Nietzsche’s Gay Science that is appropriate for our purpose. He writes

THE MADMAN—-Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place, and cried incessantly: “I seek God! I seek God!”—As many of those who did not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter. Has he got lost? asked one. Did he lose his way like a child? asked another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? emigrated?—Thus they yelled and laughed.

In many posts that I have seen by friends who were brought up religious, they talk about a certain loss, an emptiness and a struggle to let go or something similar. In my case, I think, the idea of god was quickly replaced by a desire to know, to understand reality, or as it were, nature that the feeling of loss, if it was there didn’t last quite long. In the duration that I have been godless, I have read more on religion than I ever did in the 28 years that I was religious. My major regret is that I wish I had known what I know now earlier. I have nothing against those who brought me up religious, they didn’t know better and they had themselves been brought up religious and my parents were not exposed to tools of critical thought that I have been exposed to. They did their best to grant me a good education and even though I was religious through my campus education, it is the love I developed for philosophy in first year that has made this journey interesting.

I have found questions about the historicity of Jesus intriguing, I have read a little about the Buddha, I have read a little on the authorship of the bible, the koran but I spend the most time reading philosophy.

In the passage about the madman, Nietzsche wants us[the godless] to urgently face the consequences of the death of god. What does this mean to me? In my case it has meant a fresh consideration of things that were hitherto taken as a given, for example, that man was created by god, he[god] was the author of morals, creator of the universe and all those things that have been attributed to god. I will attempt to explain some of these changes below in a little detail.

That man was created by god

This belief I think was held uncritically. I don’t know where life began, and I don’t think this will be known in the near future but I have a working grasp of how life has progressed on this rock called earth. I don’t think I rejected evolution even when I was religious, it was just treated as something different,  though I must add here that I wasn’t a good student of biology in high school. I didn’t find it interesting as the physical sciences and just did it because it was compulsory.

God as the author of morals

I have come to think that we shouldn’t talk about morality at all. My thoughts are that morality are in  line with this piece found here

 On the intellectual side, many have worried that there is no good way to vindicate the assumptions and commitments of morality. A careful and clear-eyed study of morality will reveal, some argue, that morality is a myth; others argue that the various principles that are presented as authoritative standards for all are actually merely expressions of emotion or projections of the idiosyncratic attitudes of those advocating the principles; still others argue that in some other way morality is not what it pretends to be and not what it needs to be if it is to be legitimate. On the practical side, many have pressed the difficulty of getting people to judge themselves and others impartially; others have worried that, while we have an interest in convincing others to conform to morality, we ourselves rarely have any reason, really, to conform; still others have thought that the sort of freedom morality assumes is not available to humans as they actually are.

I also hold the view that in the Euthyphro dilemma conclusively makes any talk about morality, if there can be such discussion, independent of god. I realize that some of the things I thought immoral, appeared to be so since I was looking at life using a christian filter. Having replaced this filter, I find, my reasons for objecting to some act is sometimes not based on any stable ground other than own feeling. Does this mean then that everything is permitted? No.

The universe as a creation of god

This has been one of the most interesting areas of learning. I have read a bit of big bang cosmology, I have looked at the cosmological arguments that attempt to posit a god as necessary for the creation of the universe. I am persuaded to believe that the universe has always existed in some state especially since I can’t think of a break in the cause-effect continuum and the creation or annihilation of matter. These, to me, persuade me to reject the notion of god being required as a creator of the universe.

Free will

I believed then that man was responsible for his actions. That man chose to do evil. Did I have reasons to believe this? I don’t know. Whereas I think we don’t have free will, I don’t think it would make a difference even if we had it unless it can be proved that; i) the cause- effect continuum applies to everything else in nature except human beings ii) that our environment has no bearing on our actions iii) our previous experiences do not affect our decisions iv) that a person would act otherwise than they did in a given situation.

Other areas of life that have had to be modified in light of the death of god include my thoughts on nationhood and patriotism, marriage, the question of love, culture, after life, heaven and hell among others. These may not be a direct consequence of the death of god but a result of critical thought and application of the much praised common sense.

In conclusion, if I was clever before, I have just moved closer to genius 😛

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Have we become better?

Do you think compared to other animals, humans are better? Or better still compared to our savage relatives have we become better?

I contend no. Please don’t lynch me, hear me out first then you can join the lynch mob. In quite a few places on this blog, I have written that we are the worst of the animals. Many people, of course, think am wrong to think this way. Let us then revisit this topic to see if there is anything worth being proud of.

Many people claim that since we can talk we are superior to other animals. Why would a cow need to talk to another cow in human language if they are able to reproduce without it?

I have been told we are able to tame other animals and make them work for us. How does this make us superior whereas we end up being their slaves. How many people do you see walking their dogs in the morning or having to feed their cows so that can be able to harvest their milk. I find nothing great in this.

Friends have told me we have the capability to kill other animals. All things being equal, tell me faced with a lion or a tiger and unarmed who will kill the other? Besides how does being able to kill other animals make us any better than our savage relatives.

Now don’t mention technology. Many people take so much pride in the fact that we have gone to the moon, invented planes, managed to cure diseases and so much more. I know you can populate the list but the question is so what? Compared to some of our more primitive relatives, we have destroyed our environment in more ways than one, we have employed technology to kill each other faster and easily. And what difference does it make if we live to be 100 or die when we are 3 months old? What does living a long life amount to?

We claim to be more intelligent than all the other species while we are still the most superstitious! In Bangladesh, three young men are facing trial for being atheist and writing about it, in Kisii [Kenya] people have been burnt alive, yes in this day and age, on suspicion of being witches, somewhere in Cuba [Guantanamo Bay] people are being subjected to torture, somewhere in North Korea a maniac Un is contemplating using nuclear warheads on his country’s enemies, somewhere in Syria the government is busy bombing her own citizens, somewhere in Israel/ Palestine a suicide bomber is preparing himself to kill others while across the border the government has military tanks ready for the offensive. Maybe I am reading all this badly but please tell me how we have become better?

I think Nietzsche said it best when he said it is the human animal who has moved so far from his nature. I think our only saving grace is that we are laughing animals. On all other fronts, we are still savages and worse for it because we think we are better than the next cat.

Goldfish

I will start by apologizing to ladysighs who was the donor and not Meme and hope that I will be promptly forgiven :-D.

I haven’t bothered to check with Mo or Jeebus on goldfish, I highly doubt with their obsession with blood, war and sacrifices and in the case of Mo flights on a Pegasus, I doubt they could have time for such beautiful creatures.

What would we do with a memory that lasts three months? For starters, I don’t think we would be superstitious. A guy dies and after three months we have forgotten they existed that is hoping we didn’t take photos with them.

I would get lost trying to trace my upcountry home [I take more than three months before I travel down].

Imagine every three months being introduced to your parents and vice versa. One could just insist on a new pair of parents if for a given reason you didn’t like your parents.

Then a man after three months forgetting he already made his wife pregnant and then inquiring to know who is the father? I think this would be devastating to most especially if the wife is to say I can’t remember.

As an equal opportunity basher, I wish the Christians a happy moment as they take time this weekend to celebrate the greatest metaphor of all time, that is the suicide of god to save humanity from god for sins that Adam and Eve who didn’t exist committed!

And for movie lovers, you need to watch this movie.

On religion and war

Folks, we are a stupid race.

Before I tell you why I think the above statement is true, I want to say that as my good friend J.Zande has so aptly said, we are superstitious naked apes. I know some of you think it debasing to call you, yes you, animals. And many of you think you are better and higher than all other animals. Sorry, the only thing that makes us different is we are laughing animals and we are lower than other animals because we are superstitious. Please, before you start throwing stones hear me out. I don’t mean to say we haven’t invented many things, that we have tried to harness the power of nature, that we have managed to create cures to diseases brought on us by mother nature. This is all good and I can’t take it away from our race. I think if dogs needed to know how to drive cars, evolution would have made it possible for them to have a brain big enough to handle such a task. Be happy that you are human but don’t look down upon the dog, it doesn’t need most of the things you need, if there is happiness among the animals then I can say, many animals our lot call lower animals could be a happier lot.

I don’t think there is a justification for keeping standing, sleeping or whatever armies. I see no difference between the soldier and the religious person. For the soldier to kill another man, he must have been brainwashed to the point where he can see another human being as being different and not deserving to live. I say that till all the men in the barracks will be taught to think for themselves, we will have armies for the sole purpose of killing one another. Just as the believer is told their religion is the correct one making them see others as being less, we will have armies. I can go far as to say armies exist to support religion or religious causes. I also think the first wars were religious or had the support of religion. The expansionist wars were as a result of greed and ignorance. I lay the blame on wars and keeping of armies on ignorance and religion.

No educated man would in my mind support war. Don’t ask what are we to do when invaded. I have thought about that already. If all humanity was educated, why would one man attack another? Men desire to make slaves and serfs of other men. No truth needs an army to support it. It will always be true. Falsehood, and religion is one of the biggest, needs miracles and brute force to support it. I could be wrong, but I think most if not all religions needed the support of the state[force] to spread. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, did not need state sanction to spread, Copernicus theory did not support of the Rome to spread. It was fact, and the only thing force can do is to suppress fact but not force its adoption.

I propose we divert the money used to fund armies world over be used to alleviate ignorance, spread science, develop better agricultural systems to alleviate world poverty, provide proper housing. An educated man, free enough to think for himself will with good training not support war or the keeping of an army.

As to why we are a stupid race, of all the animals as I have said many times before, we are the only ones who have designed instruments to torture our fellows. We are the only animals that attend an execution to see one of our kind either shot dead by a firing squad or through lethal injection or worse still killed on the guillotine. Of all the animals, we are the least satisfied. Of all the animals, it is only man that can plan for the annihilation of another because they belong to a different tribe, religion or profess a different creed. If this is not stupid, then I am going to throw away my dictionary!

I know some of you may disagree with me, I am open to persuasion. Please spend a few minutes and share with me your objections to what I have said maybe I may just change my mind.

an ongoing discussion

I have the permission of a fine gentleman to share a discussion we have been having on this blog here, here, here and here. The reason we agreed to do this is to consolidate the different arguments in one place. I must apologise in advance if this post ends up being long but I will endeavour to make it precise :).

The first question we dealt with regards the nature of god and whether it is knowable. I have tried to show that the nature of god is unknowable and also that the god of the bible is incoherent and impossible. My good friend thinks that we can know god from what we are told in the bible. I contend that what we are told about this god is contradictory. To show this I offered the following examples

1. that god is all loving and merciful yet he drowns everyone except 8
2. that god is evasive. when confronted by Job why he is suffering, he evades the question and only tries to awe Job with his clothes
3. we are told he is all-knowing but seems several times to forget. he forgets that Noah and co are in the boat and so on
4. he is malicious. he hardens pharaoh’s heart to get an opportunity to kill Egyptians
5. tribal:- he chooses people over others without reason
6. he is evil:- he says he is the author of good and evil and also the author of confusion. he does this to confound the people as they are building the staircase to heaven.

I must add there are places where god does good things maybe but I pointed out that what this further proves is the inconsistency of this god.

My good friend disagrees. He says that either am reading this out of context or that I have no right-as a mere mortal- to question the intentions of god which I find to be rather hilarious. He has also indicated that I could be reading the wrong outdated translation, and I asked for his help in choosing which of the 800+ translations as the correct one. We have also covered the matter of what part is metaphor, literal or allegorical and since I have a difficulty in choosing  which to take for what purpose I leave it to you, good friends, to help me. My friend has said also that I can’t talk about the wrath of god of the OT without looking at the NT. I agree fully. The only question is, why did god change from being a violent, misogynist, tribal god to a loving though still suicidal god? If he is to be unchanging, is it of its nature to be all things?

I have further shown that god is angry at us for no reason. I have attempted to show that if a god exists and that this god created man and the serpent, it his fault man failed. I say this because if his address about what fruit was to be eaten and which was not was intended for man, why did he/she/it make it in the vicinity of other more intelligent animals? I also ask, why if this god is omniscient,  did he create the serpent knowing it will tempt man?

We looked at the laws of god and I ask why would a god who is not bound the laws he is making ask us to follow them? Why would such a god who does not forgive his enemies ,who can’t hurt him, asks us to forgive our enemies and pray for them? My friend tells me, god makes those laws for our good!  Please be the judge of this: is stoning your brother for picking sticks on the sabbath for our good, is stoning a woman who has been raped for our good, is killing a disobedient child for our good, is tithing and alms giving for our good, how is  not infringing his copyright laws on altar perfume for our good? Please please tell me how all of this is for our good!

My friend argues that we are saved through Jesus. Am asking why has salvation to be conditional? Is it impossible for an impotent and benevolent god to save all without asking them to believe in a guy whose existence is doubtful? On still this same question of belief, I did ask what happens to my great grandpa who for no fault of his own died before the Spaniards, the Portuguese and the Brits came here with bible in one hand and gun in the other. My friend gave a very honest answer, I don’t know! But added that he knows god is just and will deal with them according to his justice. Which brings us to the problem we had at the beginning, is the mind of god-does he have one- knowable?

I also mentioned Paul, the person credited with developing christianity and said this man or group of men had nothing kind to say to women. He says

As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached?” (1 Cor. 14:33b-36 NIV). 

Elsewhere he has this to say

11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15 Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.

I also said Paul is against many things beautiful

1 Corinthians 7:1  “Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry

1 Corinthians 7:For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I

About fighting tyranny, this is what Paul tells us about governments

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor [Roman 13:1-7 NIV].

I will leave you to make your judgements on Paul.

In coming the end of this post, I did submit that the churches own nothing, the priests own nothing which is not people’s labour and any help they claim to give can’t be treated as charity. To be charitable, you need first to own. No church meets this requirement. They are in the business of collecting tithe and alms in exchange for a place in heaven. The priests make claims that they are the mediators between man and god, either follow me or be damned. They are selling false hope to a great majority that do not know better. They lie about the existence of god, about our universe and about everything else. Whatever they are against, their god is against, whatever they support their god supports! My good friend says that even the governments and hospitals should be abolished because they operate on taxes- people’s labour. This I think is fallacious, every tax payer has a right to a government service and besides the government shouldn’t discriminate on where to take resources. For one to benefit from a church, they more often than not ask you to join them or take the highway. I also told my friend building churches doesn’t add to the good of humanity. It enslaves the mind so I asked they build libraries and hospitals in place of churches.

I hope first with this post, I have captured the core arguments we have had in the different posts, that I have represented my brother correctly and without bias. I would love to hear your comments on the issues raised in this post. Thank you 🙂

The things I believe

Atheism which is a lack of belief in gods is seen by many theists as negative, many theists go so far as saying atheists believe in nothing which is just plain wrong. Many atheists have written treatise to dispel this notion and today I want to add my list of the many things I believe and hope you my good friends can populate the list.

  • I believe no god created the universe.
  • I believe no god could create the universe and lack raw material to create woman;
  • I believe that of children born of women just are,  and that none is either good or bad some will turn out bad & some bad good. I believe we are not depraved species;
  • I believe voluntary dying is a powerful thing. It shifts the responsibility from nature to the person dying;
  • I believe no man should be master of another. I abhor all forms of slavery;
  • I believe that religion as a whole is a blemish on our collective intelligence as a race;
  • I believe life is absurd and meaningless in and of itself but we can create meaning;
  • I believe if any gods exist, they had no choice on our laws. They couldn’t have commanded otherwise.
  • I believe no virgins were made pregnant by the gods;
  • I believe no said son of god died for my sins. I believe no one can be responsible for the evil I do to my fellow-man. I must make amends to those I injure;
  • I believe no man or woman should be married at the exchange rate of cows, goats and sheep. I believe marriage is a union of two consenting adults, every other person is an observer and should shut the hell up;
  • I believe no gods can condemn a man for holding an honest belief. I believe further if not all men are saved no one man should be saved;
  • I believe the universe behaves as it would if there was no deity;
  • I believe we can help each other to be great:
  • I believe in living fully for the moment;
  • I believe it is prudent to make a saving for a rainy day should one such occur[I think this is mainly because at the moment I fear poverty lol]