it’s too early to comment on this

but i think this will be interesting. When I read it, I was reminded of my other readings into the works of the anthropologists who came to Africa with Christian missionaries in tow to find out whether my ancestors believed in a creator, monotheist god and then interpreted the names the Africans based on their biases to mean what they wanted. For example, while being taught catechism as a child, we would be asked ngano mano chweyo piny gi polo? This is translated as who created the earth and the heavens?. But this translation is misleading. There is no concept of ex nihilo creation in Dholuo. And the right meaning would be who moulded the heavens and the earth. In this second interpretation, the subject is working with available material to mould a world out of it. A creation out of nothing wouldn’t make sense to my ancestors. It doesn’t make sense to me either. That looks like the same thing with the Egyptian mummies. But as a good student, I suggest we wait for more researches into this matter. Unfortunately, we will have to rely on conjecture and speculation and we will take the solution that makes the least assumptions and marries well with the data we got until we are lucky one day to resurrect one of the dead Egyptian embalmers.

Did I miss something? What do you think of the article? But you can also talk about anything your fancy drives you to. We can call this a new year open comment post. You can also suggest what you would like your host to write about this year. I promise to take these suggestions seriously.

Why is time such an interesting thing of study

Maybe only next to space. This article talks about how we define time and how man made it is

In other news, we should be having elections in another 8 days. And one of the candidates seems to have gotten afoul with some religious groups. I hear he said, there is a colonial ideology in Kenya that elevated Christianity above all other religions. My government will end that. Kenya is a secular society and we will respect all regions.

To any reasonable individual, this statement is non controversial. But not to our Christ cultists. They read it as Raila is against Christianity and wants to end it.

And lastly, I generally don’t listen to podcasts but I found one that I like. It’s called Cautionary Tales by Tim Harford. He has some very interesting episodes, some remind me of seconds from disaster that is on NatGeo.

I know I haven’t reported on by cycling for ages. I have been trying to ride 100 miles in under 5 hrs and managed this yesterday during my 183km ride.

Have a pleasant Sunday everyone.

I like questions

And I haven’t answered these type in such a long time so maybe I will give it a go. My response is italicized.

1. Would you say that you are (or, were) an atheist based primarily on intellectual study or based on experience? Or did you never believe in God at all? I was brought up a catholic and stayed there too long. My atheism is borne of study and experience.

2. Would you say that even as an atheist, you still have a sense of purpose and destiny in your life, a feeling that you were put here for a reason and that you have a mission to accomplish? No. I don’t have that sense or feeling. The psalmist says all is meaningless, a chasing after the wind, and that’s where I am.

3. Would you say that you are 100% sure there is no such being as God? By “God” I mean an eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing being? Certainty is impossible in this life. Having said that, I think such a being doesn’t exist.

4. Do you believe that science can provide answers for many of the remaining mysteries of the universe, including how the universe began (including where matter came from and where the Big Bang derived its energy); the origin of life; and DNA coding? No. I believe science, construed broadly, gives us the best or most reasonable way to understand the cosmos and our place in it.

5. Have you had any experiences in life that caused you to question your atheism? Has something happened to you that seemed genuinely supernatural or otherworldly? No.

6. Are you completely materialistic in your mindset, meaning, human beings are entirely physical, human consciousness is an illusion, and there is no spiritual realm of any kind? I don’t think human consciousness is an illusion. I think it is just a complex subject. I am not superstitious. We are just matter. Our experiences result from interaction with matter.

7. If you were convinced that God truly existed – meaning the God of the Bible, who is perfect in every way, full of justice and mercy, our Creator and our Redeemer – would that be good news or bad news? And would you be willing to follow Him and honor Him if He were truly God? This question is loaded and ascribes to god of the Bible attributes that it doesn’t possess or at least the Bible doesn’t claim it has. The god of the Bible is not full of mercy and justice, nor is it shown to be perfect in every way. Why should we follow a god just because one has shown to exist, if that were possible anyway?

What are your thoughts?

The name of the rose

Is a novel by Umberto Eco, set in the early 14th century of our current era. In it, he writes of the theological disputes of the time with the pope living in Avignon and other disputes in the secular arm of things.

The two themes that are carried to the end of the novel attempt to answer two questions, did Jesus and by extension, the first apostles preach poverty? Did they own property? The second question is whether Jesus laughed? On these two questions, lie all the disputes in the novel.

The disagreements between the pope and the Fransciscans, Minorites and all the others introduced by Eco depend really on the intepretation of poverty that one adopts. The simple people who follow Fra Dolcino and others like him believe in poverty. They loot not to own but to have in common.

On the other end, that is, in the Abbey, life depends on the question of whether Jesus laughed. Any pursuit of this knowledge becomes, literally, a matter of life and death. Jorges through his various ploys kills or is an accomplice in the deaths that occur in the abbey within the duration of 7 days that our narrator was there.

Inquisitors like Bishop Benard Qui can only be appeased when someone dies at the stake. His commitment to truth leaves no room for doubt. He would kill an innocent person if it served his end arguing that god would recognize his own. Jorges kills so people can remain ignorant.

Alinardo is ignored because everyone believes his ramblings are those of a bitter old man. Maybe Abo’s life would have been spared or the monks like Malachi too, had he been taken seriously. But maybethe fate of the library was sealed from the time Bro William was assigned the task of investigating the death of Adelmo.

Why did temporal power allow itself to be involved in the inquisition which was really a dispute between the churches? Why allow the bishops to keep their hands clean in a matter that was entirely a doctrinal dispute?

What is it of relics that there always seems to be a person claiming to have one? And the more absurd it is, the higher it is valued?

If you are looking for holiday reading, this is a good one.

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!

What this blog is about

If you have followed this blog for long you will notice a recurrent theme, addressing religion. I believe if we can address the contradictions and some of the doubtful claims of religion, we can be on a path to addressing ignorance in our world. Some of the beliefs people hold, like being visited by ghosts, are only possible because they have similar such beliefs in religion.

For example, you should question why your religion can convince you that it’s pious to fast during the day and binge eat at night, or avoid eating some food on Friday but eat it all the other days. Your religious teacher has convinced you that the god you worship is everywhere but you need to, even if poor, to build an extravagant place of worship where this good lord will hear your prayers more.

The worst form of a decadence must be the belief that your god is pleased when a person is killed for blasphemy. A young woman has lost her life in Nigeria because her righteous classmates acting on behalf of the prophet, first stoned her then burnt her to death for what? Saying some not nice things about the prophet.

Elsewhere, it seems The google is helping end religion, one old lady at a time.

I don’t write on alien abduction not because it is not off the rails, but because it is such a North American problem that makes no sense in my village.

If there is some absurd belief you think i should write on, perhaps just start it as a niche project. Life is short. Time, what is it even. And interests are many.

Have a pleasant week.

Of witches

And witch burning. And of course the good book.

Civilised people, Christians of today, no longer burn witches. The text that encourages burning of witches still stands. So I got wondering whether the Europeans burned all the witches or if the demons stopped having commerce with men and women? It is strange that more women were banned at the stake in Europe than men, when the papal bull condemning witches and setting the stage for the inquisition said the demons had commerce with both men and women?

In all of ancient Africa, as far as I can tell, no single person was burned as a witch. It is only after the missionaries arrived dis witches arrive on the scene and it is only after they left have witches been burned in some places in Africa. And these missionaries and others had the temerity to call my ancestors backward!

This is not all. These good people, living in an age where sex was suppressed, believed devils interfered with copulation and conception by being the go between between sperms and ova. And this was believed by among others Thomas Aquinas, that great church father. However, St. Bonaventura goes a step farther to inform us this was only possible with the permission of god.

One still wonders how a religion that included and still includes such credulity could have conquered so much of the world? What does it say of human intelligence or lack of it? They even believe their god was tempted by the devil! Credulity knows no bounds. But then again, what do I know?

But if our civilised fellows no longer believe in demons and ghosts, they have replaced them with aliens and other extraterrestrial beings. Same old demons but in new clothes. Man, however educated, is still credulous.

And as I close on witches, remember that Tyndall was burned at the stake for being too clever for his own good- translating the bible to English!

Have a witches free day, will you!

Stumping atheists

If god didn’t create atheists, who did?

Maybe you are a catholic or a christian and are confused about evolution. You don’t know whether to reject it outright or to reject genesis. The Roman church has a solution for you. Following Augustine and other church fathers, church tradition recognizes that Genesis uses figurative language and as such cannot be a scientific text that rules out human evolution altogether.

If you had worn your dancing shoes after reading the above paragraph, just remove them. The same church specifically rejects the conclusions of Darwin which insist that evolution was the result of random forces. To the church, evolution is only acceptable if it is guided by an intelligent designer, god. The church having warned scientists to avoid pretentious claims that are beyond the realm of inquiry goes ahead and tells us god could have created human bodies through evolution but immediately created their souls at the moment of conception. How do they know this?

To justify its continued existence, the church then tells us the fall as recorded in Genesis was a real event in time ( curious people want to know the date and place). And following this fall, everyone contracts a sin, original sin, at birth. This hereditary blemish can be cleansed if you get the right baptism, the catholic one. However, this baptism leaves you with some spiritual and moral weaknesses that can only be overcome through god’s grace.

Just in case you are wondering whether Jesus inherited this blemish, he wasn’t because through some god magic, Mary was also born without it.

Any one in business who wants to reap where they didn’t saw for 100 of years if not thousands should follow the model of the church. Tell the people they have a defect. Be the only supplier of the remedy. Embed yourself in their lives, from the cradle to the grave. And make sure they are told about your product before they reach the age of reason and you will be laughing all the way to the bank.

Have a sinful weekend everyone, especially those who were not baptised. Your original sin is still intact.