Has religion contributed anything useful to civilization, asks Bertrand Russell? His own summative conclusion was that religion is a disease born out of fear and which has caused untold misery to the human race. The scars of religion still remain today in the human soul in such forms as the demonization of diseases such as epilepsy, leprosy, high fever and even the demonization of the harmless expression of sexual desire which is innate to all of us. In my late teenage years, I read the entire bible twice. Ofcourse I didn’t understand everything. I was also in the church for more than 15 years then I saw the brighter light, I realised organised religion advocates slave morality which ultimately enriches the master.
However, religion continuous to appeal to the masses because it is effective in neutralising pain. Christianity is the most effective pain killer and by so doing it slows the individual’s spiritual growth. The most unaccomplished people in the world are found among the most religious communities. It is however not clear whether their state of life is caused by religion or they are religious because of their state of life.
Here in Ghana, there are so many religious cults calling themselves Christians. The vast majority have not read the bible themselves. They wait eagerly each sunday to hear “divinely inspired words” from their esteemed interpreters. I’m yet to meet a zealot Christian in my own country who has a higher aspiration other than meeting his or her daily need of food and wine. In the typical christian, there is always something of the want of desire for higher aspirations. This religion extols mediocrity, condemns the application of the intellect to solving problems and recommends the most aimless and mentally soft to leadership positions in our society. They call it ‘servant leadership’ forgetting that there are two main prerequisites of leadership: self defence and self sustenance. In addition, by promoting a dualism of character (lion and lamb) it succeeds in making the zealous believer a most heartless double-crosser and a hypocrite. These are, I think, the attributes that stand out in the modern christians that I have met.
Finally, christianity is like theological marxism in the sense that it aims at or at least predicts a glorious future through the usurpation of the master by the servant thereby creating a blissful classless society where sorrow will be no more. This was the same hubristic delusion they preached in the middle ages. Sorrow (and joy) has always been part of human life. While some change in human society is possible, it is however highly improbable. One must understand that in human societies throughout history, social structures exist that are never compromised except through revolutions. The strong and influential will continue to dominate the weak.
I must however add a caveat to this rather lengthy critique of religion. It is far from my aim to dissuade people from worshipping whatever god they want to. I don’t gain anything from criticising religious beliefs. But I also aim at provoking thought. I believe everyone is free to follow his or her convictions as long as they allow others to follow their own. There are different types of “faith” and though I believe I’m a very conscientious person, very much spiritually in tune with my being I don’t think god is a mechanic. Because I often hear the typical christian pray: “O god help me!” whenever their car breaks down on the road.
Nature is supreme. Nature is no respecter of persons. Nature is true and same everwhere. Nature is god.
If Creationism (the nudist escapade story in Soyinka’s words) is a fact then we can understandably say that it was not included in the plan of creation for mankind to be happy. Because the sweetest apple was planted nowhere but at the center of the garden. Was it supposed to be perpetually tempting or what?
Again, concerning creation, what can we say is the purpose of the life of tiny living organisms which are not visible to our eyes but which cause us diseases. Are these also created? By who? I have speculated before that maybe the devil also created certain microorganisms in imitation of the creator if there is one. And for god so loved the world that when he found out that the devil was antagonising him he kicked the devil out into the world.
Do you eat chicken, beef or mutton? Do you think these animals scream in excitement when being slaughtered for their meat? What would make one think one deserves eternal life when one slaughters animals enmass for their meat daily? Is it moral to eat other living organisms. If our immortality is as a result of we having violated life, then that makes more sense to me than to say we die because someone ate an apple many thousands of years ago.
Those who followed this blog recently, welcome to a meaningful and a meaningless blog.
Whenever arguments are advanced concerning the study of nature (as in human nature and the natural world which is the main subject matter of poetry) they always include Freewill. The idealists define freewill as the power of making free choices unconstranied by external agencies. But these external agencies have far reaching influence on human life and actions. They say we have the freewill to do this or the freewill to do that which I find delusional. Because all our actions are reactions to the environment.
We can’t control planetary orbits nor alter their laws. We cannot control the climate and the seasons that come with it. We are locked in our genes which informs our instincts, emotions, behaviour, culture etc. Even concerning the natural world, in circumstances where people were informed of disasters such as rains, storms, tsunamis, disease epidemics etc. still we are at the mercy of such external agencies which strike unexpectedly. We are simply walking egos.
Unless the Freewill which they speak of almost in ecstatic way have limitations which I suspect to be related to human societies? If Freewill has limitations then our life is to a great extent determined in advance. For instance, one has no freewill to choose which gases to inhale. All animals must inhale oxygen in order to live. If we continue to carelessly cut down trees and destroy virgin forests and consequently become short of oxygen, we can only wait to die. Where is freewill in this?
The indegenous non-westernised African cares not much for the significance of celestial bodies. It’s clear from where the sun rises every morning and where it sets. It’s clear whether it’s a full moon or it’s half or a crescent. But he makes no clear connection between these objects and an evolving universe. There was never a sun god or a moon god in any African tribal theological constructs. Instead, concerntration was on immediate surroundings – the trees, the rivers, the sea, the animals and rocks etc. In fact they believed in something which could be immedietely experienced such as peace, love, success, fertility, health and they had gods of such attributes. We could say that everything in African world at the time was a social construct. Objectivity was still subject to interpretations.
Mythologies, fables and fairy tales involving animal characters informs us that our ancestors sensed a connection between humans and animals long before genetics descovered that. Their actions guided by animalistic totems implied that they viewed the animal society as an extension of the human society. All organisms are possessed by a life force called ‘spirit’. Spirits could take possesion of anything they desired. Even today the typical indegenous African considers certain animals as an embodiment of spirits or higher ancestral beings. A bird standing at the window could be an anamorphous spirit agent visiting the family and carrying a message. Ofcourse this notion is completely fallacious to the scientific mind but there are interesting observations similar to those supplied by the theory of evolution. This concerns the metamorphosis of organisms. Whereas Darwin’s theory claims that phylogenesis is gradual and takes millions of years, our ancestors believed such transformations are instantaneous. But bottom line is transformations do occur.
These ideas extend even to what we call the world of ancestors, the netherworld or hades or the grave which we all dread. To the African the world of the dead is not far. It’s like a basement or an area below the deck of the ship of existence which one could shuffle anytime in a spiritual sense. Therefore our dead ancestors are not believed to be really dead, they have just changed form from physical to spiritual. The spiritual forms the substructure for the physical. The interesting thing is that these ancestors do not wait to rise in the future and save the living. Instead, they rise everyday, they metamorphose into other creatures everyday, they aid and guide the living everyday. A cat, a bird or a lizard or even a beetle etc. are not just animals one could disregard and exterminate. They are all metamorphous agents having a connection to humans. As someone who likes nature I find this concept more inspiring.
Life is planned in thoughts
But experienced with emotions.
Reminiscence occurs but not
Last night I dreamt about the sea.
Its waves so strong, it roared like a mob.
The sea overstepped its shores
And landed on a rocky Island.
I saw a lot of people including kids.
They were having fun in the water.
It looked like a vacation or something.
But some people also seemed like workers.
The water entered a glass building nearby
But nobody seemed alarmed, least of all me.
The strong waves was rather fun to watch.
I was fully dressed but when I looked down
I saw that my feet were buried in blue foamy water.
It felt very cold, then everything receded and
Lo, I’m awake.
By ‘progress’ I mean advancement, growth, strengthening etc. This ego which in common language is referred to as ‘the self’ has a very short existence. In fact the very sojourness of our world is the ego metaphorised. The contents of the ego is lost at death. Not a single thought, idea or belief within the ego is passed to one’s offspring. Most individuals with high thinking enter the herd only to dominate or exploit it. Often this fails and the individual is alienated or he alienates himself. Nothing is as repugnant to the herd as selfishness but, then again it depends on inherent thought patterns within the herd. Here again, by ‘herd’ I mean an animal, tribal, communal or societal unit.
The elimination of logic by the herd leaves us with only emotion. The question arises: ‘Can truth come to us through emotion? In other words can there be truth without logic? Within the herd, and supposing that the emotions are in their proper frameworks, then yes! In fact the most discernable truth within and between members of the herd is emotional or instinctive truth. But what we mean by ‘truth’ is too much subjected to arguments. There is correct or incorrect logic but no true logic nor moral logic. This is because logic is a figment of the psychic tree. At the root is the instincts which every living organism identifies with symbolically and which is responsible for herd formation.
The real value of the instincts is in its ability to carry out repetitive instructions from the psyche without getting exhausted. This is where what we call love emanates from. Any form of attraction that seem logical and reasonable (based clearly on external material needs and fulfilment) will quickly lose energy and passion because needs change over time. Love, which requires repetitive actions can only be sustained at the roots, within the emotions, therefore strong bonds occur at an emotional level and it’s supplemented by reason. I’m not sure I’m making sense but I think only emotional discernment can offer us satisfactory answers in our search for the purpose of life.
When stepped on in front, an earthworm tries to change direction of movement. When stepped on at the rear it immediately speeds up.That way it mitigates the probability of being stepped on again (Nietzsche). Do earth worms have a scientifically observable brain? What about fairy flies and sugar ants who display remarkable intelligence. Many atheists believe that living organisms are self animated – life just happened by accident and organisms simply act by instinct and this instinct according to Dawkins works so well in creating a gene pool from where sometimes reparations are made to the cistron of the organism.
Most birds are born knowing how to fly and build nests. Do you not think that they were endowed with this knowledge by some higher being who made them? Why of all the things that can be instinctively known like burrowing and slithering they didn’t acquire that irrelevant knowledge but rather they knew just the right thing – how to fly and build nests. Different organisms living in the same habitat often acquire distinct characteristics so the environment cannot be the sole determinant of form and physiology. If nature is self animated and works by blind chance (without intelligent design) then something should have gone wrong with instinctive knowing or we shouldn’t have such wonderful symbiosis in the universe. I have never seen self-animated stones or rocks walking on two feet?
I’m aware science has completely eroded age old superstitions and I’m thankful for that. Nonetheless, evolutionary biologists have consistently pounded into our ears, the theory that all living organisms evolved into their current form from a common ancestor. They have not provided sufficient evidence of the existence of this common ancestor neither have they provided sufficient evidence for the transitional forms leading to man. Their strongest evidence of the precise anatomical links between man and ape, or fish and bird is nothing but an artist’s impression. Anybody could make an impression of God and present it as evidence of existence of God. How about that? The many frauds in evolution point to the fact that evolutionary theory is a deliberate scam and probably the biggest deception of humanity. I can’t help but laugh whenever they claim to have made a discovery of the so called missing link – which I believe was their own creation, they even give it a fanciful name as if it were a new born baby. No one has seen God, likewise no one has seen one organism transform into another. So let everyone believe whatever makes meaning to him or her – whether transcendental or empirical. Though I can’t put faith above science, I think the scientific method has certain inherent flaws in so far as it rigidly limits itself to the immediately observable world and rejects intuition.
“Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD….” — Psalm 150:6
….for your viewing pleasure. I love water and also blue is my favourite colour. The golden reflections of sunlight on the water was amazing. Of course the camera didn’t do this place justice.
After bathing, I sat facing this chair. Sometimes all you need is a little solitude.
This guy run across the view finder. I don’t know him.
I met a clown who acted for free.
That’s all folks!