Rain

By Somerset Maugham[pdf]

I have been reading a collection of short stories by Somerset [thanks Kate for the suggestion] and while I like all the ones I have read, this particular one in a way deals with why I have come to abhor religion and its missionaries peddlers.

We have here a missionary man and his wife who think they have been sent by their god to save the world, from I don’t know what. This man, Davidson, would do everything in his power, even if it means to bankrupt a man to get what he wants. He is the type of man I honestly wouldn’t be too sad if he died.

This particular story is set in a remote island where the Davidsons and a Dr. Macphail and his wife have stopped for  a short period after a passenger in the boat they were travelling in is diagnosed with measles. They find lodging in the only sensible lodging house not far from the harbour. Joining them in the guest house is Sadie Thompson, a lady of the night. On several nights, she has guests in her room where they have drinks and play music from her gramophone. This infuriates Davidson who wants her chased out of the house and when this fails, he goes to the governor of the island and has her deported or rather she will be on the first boat that shall set sail from the island.

During the few days to the arrival of the boat, Sadie is brought to her knees by the missionary. She can no longer host anyone or play the gramophone. It is a lonely existence and it’s made worse by the rains which seem never to stop falling. Somerset calls it a deluge. You would think by the time it stops raining, there shall be no more water in the heavens.

Davidson is a heartless man. The pleas by Dr. Macphail and Sadie that he relents fall on deaf ears, even when Sadie tells him she doesn’t want to go to San F for there she will be thrown in jail, he doesn’t relent. He tells her to accept the suffering as an offering at the foot of Jesus. Every time Davidson speaks in this story, I feel like am about to throw up.

On the day of the deportation, his body is found half immersed in water with a slit across his throat. His body is taken to the morgue, the wife and Mrs. Macphail escort her to see the body. When they return they hear the gramophone playing and Sadie seems to have had a rebirth. The ladies pass to go upstairs leaving Dr. Macphail behind. He is enraged, tears of the record and on his way out, they have this conversation

“Say, doc, you can that stuff with me. What the hell are you doin` in my room? “
“What do you mean?” he cried. “What d`you mean?”
She gathered herself together. No one could describe the scorn of her expression or the
contemptuous hatred she put into her answer.
“You men! You filthy, dirty pigs! You`re all the same, all of you. Pigs! Pigs!”

and it finally dawns on us what Davidson had done to her and how he met his death. I say good riddance to the missionaries.

I have now to tell you why I have no sympathies for Davidson. None at all. Listen to him

“You see, they were so naturally depraved that they wouldn’t`t be brought to see their wickedness. We had to make sins out of what they thought were natural actions. We had to make it a sin, not only to commit adultery and to lie and thieve, but to expose their bodies, and to dance and not to come to church. I made it a sin for a girl to show her bosom and a sin for a man not to wear trousers.”

Dr. Macphail asks how he was able to do this and with pride he says

“I instituted fines. Obviously the only way to make people realise that an action is sinful is to punish them if they commit it. I fined them if they didn’t come to church, and I fined them if they danced. I fined them if they were improperly dressed. I had a tariff, and every sin had to be paid for either in money or work. And at last I made them understand.”

In his vanity he continues to say

“You must remember that in the last resort I could expel them from their church membership.”

which meant

They couldn`t sell their copra. When the men fished they got no share of the catch. It meant something very like starvation.

All this in the name of doing god’s duty. I am appalled by the things religion can lead a man to. And this isn’t far from what the missionaries did when they came to Africa. And in their wake, they have left most African half educated. They can speak a bit of English and do some math and that’s it. No matter what the stooges in power do, all they do is fucking pray! I hate religion and its peddlers!

Now that you have my very biased opinion of Davidson, here is a very christian meditation on the story.

 

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Leviticus 12

I have skipped chapter 11 since all it talks about is what food is unclean and the what one does when they come into contact with them. Just dip whatever it is in water and after one day you are good to go.

I have written elsewhere that Christianity is life denying. This chapter is the embodiment of the christian dream.

Listen to the Lord’s command

The Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period.

You all must remember that this good book tells us this god created the universe and then created man and after doing that, he puts a curse on the only way man can reproduce. Any Christians who are here, have you felt the need to petition this god of yours to revise some of these curses? Now tell me, why should a woman be unclean after childbirth? What does this do to children being told their mothers had to be purified after childbirth!

Just listen to this and tell me you are not irked

On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over. If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding.

Here we have two problems; Moses god obsession with foreskin of little babies and a further punishment of women for extended days for giving birth. Where are those Christian mothers, do you touch your bibles after childbirth? Or the bible ain’t sacred, just asking. Worse still with this chapter, we have discrimination from the time of birth. A son she is impure for 7 days and a girl for 14 and waits double the time to be purified. Where are the ladies? Can I hear the Christian women clap :-D.

And the priests are real opportunists. It seems they haven’t moved far off, they have only changed the trade

“‘When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering. He shall offer them before the Lord to make atonement for her, and then she will be ceremonially clean from her flow of blood.

So unless this was used as a birth control measure, that is, only those with pigeons and flocks of sheep should have babies then it would make sense. Or else, this is the time to tell the priest to F-off!

And listen to more of this madness

“‘These are the regulations for the woman who gives birth to a boy or a girl. But if she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.’”

Please tell me how this is life affirming! I need to know and real quick!

A contradiction of sorts

Friends, it has occurred to me that in the theist’s mind, especially the christian, there exists a serious contradiction that I find hard to explain. In this post am going to try to detail some of this contradictions and look forward to hearing your thoughts about them as well.

I will start from what the christian believes will happen to the unbeliever in nether world. He believes when the Grim Reaper calls the unbeliever he will send him/her straight to hell to be administered to by the devil. The believer has in their mind that the unbeliever is an agent of the devil working hard to lead them astray, now tell me, if I have been working for the devil is he going to punish me or will he not prepare the choice wines for his followers? If god is preparing a heaven full of bliss for his children, the devil must do the same unless we change the administration of hell to be a good but malicious angel of god and not his antagonist. What say you?

My second concern comes from the genesis story of creation and subsequent warnings at the fall of man. Anyone who has read the story is aware that Adam and Eve had no knowledge of good and evil, had no knowledge of what it means to die, what it means to give birth and labour, so what was god getting at when he issued edicts that they will die if they eat of the fruit of knowledge or that henceforth child-birth will be a painful experience and that man shall have to toil to eat, please help me with this.

My next problem is in the way the christian apologist twists the meaning of words to suit his purpose. Now why do I say this? Any rational person alive today, maybe except some extremist Muslim somewhere in Afghanistan, knows that to command genocide is evil. To kill first-born of families for no fault of their own is malicious or to drown an entire generation of people is beyond description; the theist says we can’t know what is good in god’s eye or mind I don’t know whether it has this things in the first place anyway. Should that be the case, then what meaning has the word good if god considers drowning an entire generation good? Do we really need to worship such a god? Please tell me!

The theist objects to suicide that it is against the edicts of their god. Now consider that the first christian, the one who died on the cross, if he lived, committed suicide except he abdicated the responsibility. Why I bring this up is to ask, is an all-powerful and all-knowing god deficient in ideas? Every time he has had need to purify the human race, he has chosen death as his modus operandi. Does he need our help in coming up with more humane methods of conflict resolution?

I don’t understand why the theist prays. You ask him, he says he doesn’t want to change the mind of god but to know god’s will. Now tell me, maybe am wrong, but the many times I hear a prayer, someone is asking for rain, for good health, for a job. Is this the will of god you are trying to find, are you trying to change his mind or are you asking him to act in your favour? But if he is an omniscient being, hasn’t it occurred to you that he knows you’d be making such a prayer and he knows how is going to act such that making the prayer in itself is an act in futility. Maybe I don’t understand it well, please someone help!

The theist makes a positive claim that their god is just and merciful. Forget that the two qualities are in themselves contradictory, this just god punishes everyone except the responsible person. Let me explain; in genesis when man fails he punishes man while in real the person with the greatest responsibility is this god. He created satan more intelligent than man, he placed the fruit in the garden and he was all-knowing. In the chain of events, he ought to bear the greatest responsibility, if anything he owes man an apology. When Pharaoh, who god hardened his heart, fails to release the sons of Israel who god had led to slavery, he kills every first-born even of slave girls. Please tell me what justice, what mercy this is? When Moses disappears to talk to god for forty days and returns finding the people with a golden god, who does he punish, all the men except the family of Levi. When David has Uriah killed who does he punish, the baby or David? Please tell me where the justice and mercy is?

Here am a little confused. Jesus we are told preached to multitudes of people and that one point he fed 5k men; this count doesn’t include women and children. He preached in synagogues, by the riverside and entered triumphantly, if riding donkeys is triumphant, into Galilee and nowhere are we told the soldiers lived in garrisons or barracks, why would someone be needed to betray a celebrity of this kind? Anyone would identify him in a crowd? Did they just want to transfer the guilt of his suicide to Judas? All generations have vilified Judas for the betrayal, did he have a choice? While at table Jesus says one of you here is going to betray me, if he already had foreknowledge, why didn’t he call Judas aside and tell him not to do it? Where was his power at this time? Please while answering this questions don’t bring that line that I need to be a bible scholar to understand zilch in the bible, god would have said so himself. If he wants to be worshiped by intelligent men, he has to do be as clear as is omnipotent-ly possible or else he throws the tag omnipotent out of the window.

I want to stop here in the anticipation that you’ll be kind enough to help shed light on these matters that are between me and your god. Maybe there could be a change of heart.

Genesis Chapter 3

This chapter is famously called the fall of man or root of evil. We meet talking snakes [i don’t know why they stopped talking]. I was just about to ask how did they know about the tree and this instruction was given to man alone or was the snake eavesdropping, then i saw it written the snake was the most cunning of them all. With that brief overview lets get into the book and see what awaits us.

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Verse 1″ Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals that the Lord God had made [he knew this and did not warn the woman or divert the snake?] v2 the woman answered…. [she had not been created when the instruction was given. how did she know? any thoughts here.] v5 No, [wait a minute who is telling the truth here? it seems to me the snake knew something man had not been told] , God knows well the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad. v7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loin-clothes for themselves[ forgive my asking, in the previous chapter, they were naked and there was no shame what transpired?]

v8 to 13 we have God appearing from somewhere[ forget omnipresence] then making inquiries[rule out omniscience] and people shifting blame. v14, before this snakes walked on 3 legs [any of evidence to the contrary for top dollar]v15 is the reason people kill snakes to date. v16 this punishment is rather harsh and i also thought the woman was man’s helper/ companion, who else was she to desire? any answers out there? v17 man’s punishment is even harsher, why curse the ground? v19 i see no mention of after life. v20 the man is still nameless, at least the lady has a name. we shall call her Eve [what a beautiful name] v21 God has a tannery and must also have an abattoir [ someone tell me how he made the leather clothing] then it continues with the Lord God addressing other Gods [he is complaining man has become like them, intelligent that is] and banishes man from Eden, where were they going to? was the punishment not enough, must they be homeless as well? v24 they go east of Eden [which we were told was in the east] and he places the first revolutionary guards at the gate, I didn’t realize there was a fence.

That my friends, is the sad story of mans fall from the legendary grace to grass. I know of no other fall worse than this.

just a thought

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I had promised we will start bible study, bad me, just this once let me break that promise and bring up something interesting just for you.

God is conceived by those who believe as all powerful and all knowing. From the creation story in the Book of genesis it indicates that all was created through his will and knowledge and all that came to existence he knew and he was happy. From this argument of creation, believers insist that all that exists were created by God, such as St. Augustine, an apologist who said there is a theory of seminal principles in the explanation for those things that come to existence later yet creation was done in time. It begs an answer from the believers to explain the origin of evil, yet all that was created by God was good. However from one point of understanding, evil refers to lack of something that ought to be there and the question comes, where was the God who is said to be all knowing and all present for such a mistake to occur, was it an omission or a deliberate move by him?

Others blame evil on the issue of free will, they say human persons use their freedom to create evil, to some extent this argument holds especially on those harms caused by fellow human beings to others. However some happenings such as earth quakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides occur on their own accord and we cannot stop them, yet man has tried so hard even to invent detectors for such calamities but we still loose lives. In us much as we are free to choose, many stories from the Bible which believers use as the source of defense narrates about people whose lives had been destined before even their birth: Jeremiah was told I chose you before you were born and so he had to agree, Jesus says of Judas that cursed was he, he was not suppose to be born and so was Jonah on his mission to Nineveh.

It still amazes me why god who is all loving would use evil to punish Job who was innocent? Instead of protecting him from evil. I would like to end with a question that still troubles me, God is so powerful and so loving, why had he to choose death of His only beloved son as a way for the atonement of sins of human yet he could use his power and save them, as the Bible indicates Jesus forgave people their sins through a word of mouth.