Random post

As death toll soars, race, economic, gender, political and other divides in America are laid bare. Our friends in the US of A can tell us what they make of this link.

What is the ideal age to introduce children to religion without exposing them to the risk of brainwashing? The answer is

[..]the old advice that tells us that politics, sex and spirituality are best kept private

 

News from the New World

Is that maybe we don’t need a virus after all. This news is brought to you by one very bright scientist Hulk Hogan. He had this to say

Maybe we don’t need a vaccine,” Hogan wrote. “Maybe we need to take this time of isolation from the distractions of the world and have a personal revival where we focus on the ONLY thing in the world that really matters. Jesus.

Hindoos, Atheists, Muslims, Voodooists, Jews were not asked to comment on whether they thought Jesus is the answer.

In the meantime, mortal souls are busy working on trial vaccines, ventilators, masks, coffins and other material things that are making a real difference in the fight against the novel virus.

Depending on your inclinations, I urge you to keep social distancing practices, basic hygiene, exercise and if you are so inclined, to pray.

Making sense of the present crisis

In the days of my forefathers, when calamity befell the community, it was reasoned that the ancestors had been wronged and corrective measures were deemed necessary to appease them. Sacrifices and cleansing ceremonies would be arranged to please these ancestors. It was understood there would be both good and bad ancestral spirits. So it is particularly these bad spirits that would be appeased to stop the pestilence from decimating the population.

The missionaries came with their monotheistic religions with one powerful god. And in these times of crisis, I keep seeing texts and memes from my Christian friends that we have offended their powerful god through our godlessness, and all. One text I received this morning says god has decided to bring to a halt, temporarily, I think, the worship of sports, celebrities and even the public worship of the gods by ensuring people can’t go to church. And my godless self is here left wondering how unimaginative can people be?

It’s beyond the pale to claim that an all loving God has seen it fit to bring pestilence (& locusts) upon mankind because she has been displeased by a few people here and there. It is like killing of David’s son, as told in the Bible, for the transgressions of the father. It also brings to sharp focus the claim by the same group of persons regarding the vicarious redemption Jesus was meant to offer through his death. Was it for all time or it is like my android apps that need updates every few days?

The good news, if it can be called that, is this will end. People will die and those who remain will continue with the breeding business. Some people will lose faith. Some churches will grow in membership until such time as another crisis hits us or those who will be left.

When one looks at the statistics being shared around regarding the number of people who might get infected and die, fear and paralysis is likely to set in. We must find ways to be alive. To live meaningful lives even in the midst of the crisis. There is room, a lot of room, to be kind, useful and helpful to others.

If we die, we die but let’s die as we have lived.

On religion

by Kurt Vonnegut

Palm Sunday is a collection of some interesting essays by Kurt Vonnegut that I would recommend to any one as summer, winter or whatever season reading. They are full of humour and every once in a while something to make you think. One of the essays is titled religion and I want to just share some passages that I found to be quite good.

His uncle Clemens, he tells us wrote

whoever entertains liberal views and chooses a consort that is captured by superstition risks his happiness

and I think this is true for both men and women.

The portion I liked best is this farewell from the same uncle addressed to friends and opponents & to next of kin present to deliver his body to the earth

Do not mourn! I have now arrived at the end of the course of life, as you will eventually arrive at your. I am at rest and nothing will ever disturb my deep slumber.

I am disturbed by no worries, no grief, no fear, no wishes, no passions, no pains, no reproaches from others. All is infinitely well with me.

I departed from life with loving, affectionate feelings for mankind; and I admonish you: Be aware of this truth that the people on this earth could be joyous, if only they would live rationally, and if they would contribute mutually to each others’ welfare.

This world is not a vale of sorrows if you will recognize discriminatingly what is truly excellent in it; and if you will avail yourself of it for mutual happiness ad well being. Therefore, let us explain as possible, and particularly at the departure from life, that we base our faith on firm foundations, on Truth for putting into action our ideas which do not depend on fables and ideas which science has long ago proven as false.

We also wish knowledge, goodness, sympathy, mercy, wisdom, justice and truthfulness. We also strive for and venerate all of those attributes from which the fantasy of man has created a God. We also strive for the virtues of temperance, industriousness, friendship, and peace. We believe in pure ideas based on truth and justice.

Therefore, however, we do not believe, cannot believe, that a thinking being existed for millions and millions of years, and eventually and finally out of nothing – through a word- created this world, or rather this earth with its firmament, its sun and moon and stars.

We cannot believe that this being formed a human being from clay and breathed into it an immortal soul, and then allowed this human being to procreate millions, and then delivered them all into unspeakable misery, wretchedness and pain for all eternity. Nor can we believe that the descendants of one or two human beings will inevitably become sinners; nor do we believe that through the criminal executions of an innocent one may we be redeemed.

Quoting Bertrand Russell famous declaration that in case he met god, he would say to him, “Sir, you did not give us enough information” that he would, “All the same, Sir, I’m not persuaded that we did the best we could with the information we had. Toward the end there, anyway, we had tons of information.”

On the White House prayer breakfasts (and now we have our own version of national prayer days) he writes the

lethal ingredient in those breakfasts wasn’t prayer. It was a virulent new strain of hypocrisy which did everyone in.

And I agree with him when he writes

I don’t think anybody ever dreaded hell as much as most of us dread the contempt of our fellow men.

To end this already long post, I will add one last thing, about community. He says if you are going to be a leader with a mission to help us find an amazing future, then you should consider helping us find an intelligent and imaginative way back to some of the more humane and comforting institutions of the past. Say extended families for example. He argues the nuclear family doesn’t provide nearly enough companionship.

So, my friends, go and be lonesome no more.

Happy weekend everyone.


and while we are still here, I hope no one who reads this blog also believes in this

to all the recent de-converts

You have landed at the right place. Congratulations. Let it be known right here that I am poor letter writer. In fact, I am a poor writer of anything. Well, I can write my name well and there are other books that I have been told I write well too, but that’s a story for another day.

You are thinking that you have just discovered what other people seem not to have realized, the futility of religious belief. Be rest assured that you join a long list of former religious believers. What you might discover though, depending on where you live, that there maybe no one for miles who shares the same view of the world as you do. Don’t be discouraged. Just as each man dies their own death, you must make this walk alone.

Your religious friends or relatives if they are the studious types will send you a lot of literature to read just in case you were led to unbelief by reading some wrong book. Now look here, life is short, don’t waste it reading Lee Strobel unless for entertainment. Read poetry. Read great novels, that is, if you have the time. Many people who deconvert only know of the books by Dawkins, Harris, Dennett, Hitchens and Hirsi. I am here to tell you there is a wealth of books that are much more entertaining but are less popular. Their authors marketing departments didn’t do a good job at popularizing them.

Many of those who are leaving religion today are young people. It is my advise to you that you should read the mood at your homes or workplaces. Will your employer keep you in the staff if you were to reveal you were godless? Or your parents not kick you out? I am not saying you lie that you still believe even if you don’t, but you can keep a low profile as you test the waters to see their possible reactions and know how to act from there.

The world is beautiful. You can take your chances with Ivan in Brothers Karamazov when he tells Aloysha in the Grand Inquisitor that he will not wait for heaven. You will find there are many who have done the same. I have sided with Ivan even though Fyodor makes him mad at the end, I will not go mad.

I know there are people who the last time they read something it was a stop sign on the road. I want to encourage to read. Read like your life depends on it. It will broaden your imagination. It is also a cheap way to travel the world. So pick a book. Even of a subject you are only mildly interested in.

I don’t know why, I, who can’t write a letter to save myself began this letter. Maybe to deal with boredom. If you have read it up to this point, remember we are here only for a short duration of time. Be useful to others as that’s the shortest route to happiness. Be kind.

Thank you for reading.

Yours sincerely

One who can’t write a letter.

 

What’s love got to do with it?

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!

A word of advice to believers

but to Christian apologists especially. Don’t be like this fellow.

How many people are represented by Richard Dawkins? Or what would one make of this

Many atheists (e.g., Richard Dawkins) spend much of their time railing against the Creator they believe doesn’t exist, and they hold their cause with great devotion and faith.

Against the 7 dimensions of religion, I will say a few things.

On Narrative

It should be noted there were atheists before Darwin. Simon should read the work of Jean Messlier which should cure his ignorance. Messlier’s Last Will and Testament which is a polemic against religion appeared 100 years before Darwin put pen to paper to write the Origin of species.

Experiential, Social, and Ritual

That some atheists meet on a regular basis on a Sunday no less doesn’t make it a religion. Community is deeply human. To want to be in community with like minded fellows does not make the gathering any less human.

Doctrine

I am yet to meet a Santa Claus believer who has threatened my neighbour with hell. Religious people are everywhere selling their religions. To counteract their claims is not religious. It is the duty of all intelligent men and women.

Ethical

There is nothing stopping a moral relativist from making an ethical claim. Besides, among atheists there is to be found a broad spectrum of belief; from moral relativists, realists, objectivists etc. Atheists don’t exist as one homogeneous group with identical beliefs.

This claim by Stephen

This is not to say that you do not need to profess belief in God to argue morality, but you do need God to have absolute morality.

is quite the stretch.

Material

That NDT said “Accepting our kinship with all life on earth is not only solid science, in my view, it’s also a soaring spiritual experience” doesn’t mean all atheists say the same thing. There is a fallacy here.

His final claim is so ridiculous it doesn’t warrant a response.

There is a better response to the above trope here.

I am confused

The author of this post, Bill, seems to me to be one of those flag carrying, Trump supporting Christians who I try my utmost generally to avoid. What leaves me kinda confused is this

All lives matter

except if you are Soleimani then your assassination removes you from those whose lives matter or any protections of being a member of the human race. But then matters of national or international policy are above the ken of this humble blog.

For Bill who wants to bring skeptics to god, how does he reconcile

Vengeance is mine, says the Lord

and his support for the drone assassinations and bombings that Trump’s admin does or threatens to do.

Question for believers

Do Christians, Muslims and those in Judaism believe in the same god?

Is it the wish of the same god that there exists different competing sects, each with absolute truth on its side?

If the gods are different, are they all omnibenevolent?

Many an African theologians have argued that the gods of African religion were also omnibenevolent, is it the case then that we have many omni gods?

And my favorite subject, is there a resolution of the problem of evil or does the Epicurean problem remain as unsolved problem for theism?