coldturkey

At times writing is effortless. Other times nightmarish. But it's always therapeutic.

The existence of God by faith.

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I have had great and ever growing interest for arguments as to the existence of God and evidence thereof. It has then followed that, based on faith and personal experience, I believe that God exists, supremely and actively so in our lives and in the universe. Within the various schools of argument for God’s existence, I lean more towards the faith school which bases its argument on senses and thoughts or faith and reason. Today I therefore would like to express my stand of faith as I understand it. However, this is very much on the surface and not a replacement of detailed exposition.   

Why, you may ask? Well, it’s a matter of conviction and also because I enjoy such orderly debates and the excitement that the exchanges produce.

First a little bit of definition and an equally little bit of history. The ontological argument was developed by a monk called Anslem of Canterbury in the 13th Century, which was an important age for Scholasticism which meant the kind of theology that was developed in schools and which took its own distinct methodology. Anslem’s argument is that;

‘When one thinks of God, one is thinking of “that which no greater can be thought.” Is it possible to think of “that which no greater can be thought” as not existing? Clearly not, for then an existing being would be greater than it. Therefore, by definition, the idea of “that which no greater can be thought” includes its existence.’

What I pull from Anslem is his method which applies reason to a truth known by faith in order to explain it better. This method was further expounded by the famous St. Thomas Aquinas, born in 1224 in the outskirts of Naples, in how he related faith and reason.

‘Some truths are within the reach of reason and others are beyond it. The existence of God is a revealed truth and therefore an article of faith. But this does not mean that is it is a truth beyond the reach of reason. In this case, reason can prove what faith accepts.’

Here therefore is my argument in two fold.

Firstly, the beginning of knowledge is senses. This is Aristotelian approach. We move from sense to knowledge which means all that is known has been sensed and all that is sensed is already known. Before we examine the idea of something, we have to sense it first. This being the case then, my belief that God exists stems from senses. I have sensed his being and so I believe he exists and so I know he exists. (You may argue that it is enough to examine an idea itself to know it, without sensing it first. That pure ideas are the beginning of knowledge. I will come to this later and briefly.)

Sense (from which faith grows) therefore being the starting point of knowledge, does it exclude reason? When I’m asked to explain my existence of God and I claim faith, am I running away from reason? No because cause is an important factor in any argument. Cause serves to explain the basis of a conviction. A belief in God’s existence or non-existence has to have a basis. My basis in this case is faith and I reason from a basis of faith. I do not need extraordinary proof from this extraordinary being for me to believe in him. No evidence is necessary as to give substance to my claims.

The early Christians were often viewed as the wretched people of the society because they could not fit their faith in the philosophies of the day. Their belief did not make methodological sense like Platonism or Aristotelian did. This was the case until the development of Christian scholars and Christian philosophy which held that faith was the starting point of their belief, just as senses and ideas were to Aristotelians and Platonists respectively. Therefore, and this I strongly believe, faith and faith alone, with absolute zero necessity for evidence, is enough to be a foundation of someone’s belief for the existence of God and to form a basis for his/her argument for the same.

Secondly, it is entirely impossible to deny that which you have already come to the knowledge of. Our minds are initially an empty slate where what is written becomes indelible. Once written forever present. What we then do is chose to like some of the knowledge we come across and dislike the rest. However we can never deny that we do not have knowledge of it. For example I know that there is an act called a human being killing another human being or murder. I hold that murder is morally wrong. I however cannot deny murder happens or that it exists just because I do not agree with it. I cannot deny its existence. However I am free to hold it as correct or wrong.

Equally for atheists perhaps it is completely impossible for them to claim that God does not exist since they already have heard of God. Their minds have already been ‘contaminated’ to use this word. The being of God was already indelibly written on their minds then moment they were introduced to that concept. They absolutely have no choice. There is no way out unless they return to their original empty slate status of mind which is impossible. It’s not in discretion of atheists to say that God does not exist since as Anslem says they have already thought of God as a thought or idea greater than any other, and whose existence they have set out to deny. How is that possible?  They have already been ‘poisoned’ and the antidote does not exist. They are however free not to like God just like I do not like murder though I know it happens.

What about a Muslim or a Hindu, who does not hold the thought of my kind of God as the greatest thought? Such a person definitely holds an idea of another being which he/she considers to be his/her ultimate. He/she does not necessarily deny God’s existence but rather, still acknowledges the existence of a greater being which he/she calls God. Therefore God’s existence, with God being a supreme being, is still not denied.

What of those who have never heard of God…does their not sensing him, at least by not hearing of him, negate his existence in their case? A denial would be impossible to them since to deny you need an object. In their case they do not have this object since they have not heard of it. Therefore they cannot deny its existence. Once they sense this supreme being (either by feeling or hearing of him or seeing, etc), they would be free to deny or affirm his existence. However, as per my second argument, the mere fact of sensing this greatest being locks you out of the choice to negate its existence. Having been introduced to God, and being told he is the greatest, they would also have crossed the line of no return and it is impossible for them to erase this knowledge and claim that God does not exist. They are however free to replace this knowledge with the knowledge of another greater being of their choice, if they can find. Even credible is to doubt and remain a skeptic than to claim to go beyond doubt.

Now to my own reconciliation of reason and faith in affirmation of God’s existence. Notice that Anslem starts not by examining the senses but by examining the thought. That God is “that which no greater can be thought.” Thomas on the other hand starts by examining the senses and moves on to knowledge. That what is sensed becomes known.

Personally, I have not thought of anything greater and so that which I have though as the greatest is what I known to be God – from thought to knowledge. I have also heard of God, and upon hearing I have believed in God and so I have known of God by faith – from sense to knowledge.

Written by coldturkey

May 19, 2013 at 8:57 PM

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I was looking for the sleep command

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I have a couple of stories I want to roll out and which I really should. I think so. However for now let me tell you of how I caught my head pulling planks on me a few hours ago. Since 10 am I’ve been working on trying to make sense of a large dataset of English Premier League results on the back of tutorials for a new data analysis language I’m learning. The thing is huge and a particular function has been elusive since morning. I wanted to clean the whole thing up and then play around with it and get some insights.

Being new to this language and not being a programmer before, commands got me in a corner. It’s been trial and error whole day, putting me on the edge, feeling like a bashful nerd, sinking into it completely and not even eating. With a problem like that you can get fearfully obsessed. There was food around but lunch didn’t have me. Tea did instead. 3 mugs and that’s been all for the day. Running commands and failing, typing functions and getting errors till around 8 pm when I got it and took a break. I had repeated the same code repeatedly, modified it, googled and still it wasn’t working. The back and forth messed up my head.

I’m cooling off now. The machine is down, I watch the news, read a few pages of Nate McCall’s Makes Me Wanna Holler, spread myself on the couch like a desert lizard. I’m the cat’s meow, as he says and it feels fine. I decide to sleep anyway and this is where I catch myself going nutty. I try to remember the sleep command!

You got that? For a few seconds my mind is trying to figure out which is the right command for sleeping. The idea is to create it and the run it. I’m thinking of picking up the machine and trying out a code that will take over from here till morning. I have the vision of the screen, typing commands inside double brackets and jamming enter and wondering if I have the sleep code right! All this happens in a flash. Not a flash of genius, like what happened to the inventor of intermittent windscreen wiper as he drove in the rain with his wife and children, but a flash of fatigue and craziness. Maaaaaaan! Can you buy that?

I come back to my right state of head and stand up. I won’t lie to you but I was shocked. I absolutely can’t believe the thoughts. I laugh out loud and then go take a leak to take it all easy.

It’s time for body over mind; push-ups, spinach and stuff.

photocredit: webcomic.com

Written by coldturkey

February 21, 2013 at 11:53 PM

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Easy Days and Pancakes

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I am watching a show from Tanzania. I like the country, the people and their use of Kiswahili. A lady speaks English and is asking for a taxi from a Kiswahili only speaking fella.

Do you speak English?
Huh! Mimi nimesoma mpaka mwisho hadi ubao ukabomoka. Ile blackboardi yote ile ikabomokaa! Kimombo naongea lakini sio hatharani.
Can you speak back in English?
Dah! Wataka kunibaka? Hehe! Mimi huwezi kunibaka mimi. Kwa taxi, wapi…haki ya mungu sikubali.
What?
Mimi nikikaa nawe naona ukiongea kizaramo wewe. Binti koo yangu laita kinywaji. Drinki!
You want a drink?
Naam. Koo ni kavu…yaani cocking dry.

The show goes on and the conversation gets worse to the point where Johnnie Walker is called ‘beer walk walk.’

Away from Tanzania, I crossed the pastry divide not long ago by making some pancakes for the first time. I always thought it was too much work. I knew that when I finally do it, it was going to be a victory not just for the taste buds but for the mind. It’s like overcoming a macho spirit that kept saying you need not do some stuff really.

I only made two and as their browness looked back at me, begging to be mouthed, I was aware of the satisfaction in the mind, a feeling made of defeating something. Shortly afterwards, them gigglings got served.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey; ever read that 1962 book or watched the 1975 film by Miloš Forman? I’ll bet you haven’t but you need to as my end of year recommendation. What will happen? You’ll remember all the lines, you’ll laugh all through and you’ll watch it all over again.

I’m accustomed to being top man. I been a bull goose catskinner for every gyppo logging operation in the Northwest and bull goose gambler all the way from Korea, was even bull goose pea weeder on that pea farm at Pendleton — so I figure if I’m bound to be a loony, then I’m bound to be a stompdown dadgum good one.
― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

I should say I have friends who visit this place often and to you, have the best in the new year, with the Almighty’s goodness on ya.

Image credit; cartoonstock.com

Written by coldturkey

December 23, 2012 at 10:18 PM

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Clean up day and cats

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Today I would have told you about my grandmother and her wanting to know if I now have a family of my own. The bad thing is that it’s a quarter to 1 a.m. and I badly need to sleep. Last week fornicating cats woke me up every night for five days. Cats are cute but they can make the most horrible noises in the world; it starts like a baby in distress and ends up in a groan of mockery.

I was fed up one night and shot out shirtless, after them. They are on the stairs, two of them. I can’t find a stone or a grenade so I go back, cut an avocado into two and retrieve the seed. I attack the cats with the seed but you know what happens. It’s useless to fight cats and hard to hit any. They make the same noise for two more nights, right from the same spot.

I visit home a few weeks ago and it happens that one of my many paternal grandmothers is visiting as well.

– You have neglected your first wife. Why?

– How can I do that? I haven’t.

– You don’t come to see her anymore. How many years now?

– I am in Nairobi making sure I’m earning enough to take care of her. That’s why.

– You never know these matters. How can I believe you?

– Well, how can I find another? You know you’re the only one.

We laugh and I don’t think much of it. Later my old man wants to know if I got the actual question grandma was asking. I say no. Well, it turns out she was asking whether I have a wife now. It is interesting how old folks communicate; text against sub-text.

Friend
Why the core of could be
But the periphery of being
Tumble in
Lest you fade.

Now, this piece of verse caught up with my creativity at a time when procrastination was almost catching up with my potential. There are times when you feel you need to move that cupboard to the other side of the room to catch up with order but you better do it later. Getting up and doing exactly that without ‘further ado’ has never been as satisfying as it becomes.

You feel like a child who has just caught up with how to wipe away mucus on his own: elated and light at heart. And that is where hurrying up means much more that the curse it’s associated with. You have to rise up if you are just lying there, wake up if asleep or stand up if sitting, kneeling…whatever!

Yes, do that and CATCH UP with that ability that is just sleeping inside yourself.

Written by coldturkey

September 3, 2012 at 12:59 AM

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Bold Interior Design

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I will share these photos captured from films using a media player. The next thing I want to do is sunset paintings for my place. I haven’t touched a brush since early 2000s when I sold a sunset to one of my college lecturers.

As I try to make the place look much in order than before, there will be some art on the walls. The thing is, I have believed in an expressionist theory for many years. That means I don’t interfere much with where something falls in the house. I let them be and viewed them positively. The profane would call that a mess. I have called it a bold interior design.

Expressionism as defined online, presents the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas. That means for instance when you find a cup or pair of socks on the floor, though not intentionally placed (you may have removed the sock and thrown it behind you yonder), if viewed subjectively it may not be necessarily a representation of not being neat.

I especially appreciate these words by Czech art historian Antonin Matějček in 1910. He defined expressionism as the opposite of impressionism: “An Expressionist wishes, above all, to express himself… (an Expressionist rejects) immediate perception and builds on more complex psychic structures… Impressions and mental images that pass through mental peoples soul as through a filter which rids them of all substantial accretions to produce their clear essence […and] are assimilated and condense into more general forms, into types, which he transcribes through simple short-hand formulae and symbols.”

Am I trying to say that disorganization is artistic? Not really.

However, since time changes everything, the bold design will now have to go. Artwork as this and with such allure will adorn the place.

Written by coldturkey

July 15, 2012 at 9:18 PM

Posted in réalité

Pineapple Express

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As Don would say, the problem with young people today is that they smoke weed. Forget about the proponents of weed but many of its users would never wish it on their kids. Weed will mess you up and you should tell it to the young ones.

The earliest memory I have of weed is clear. We visited a family friend and helped them harvest maize in their farm away from home. The harvest was to be transported back home in a truck, the same day and she had hired some men for loading and off-loading. After the job, it was lunch time. Men chose to park themselves far from women and women far from men. That happens a lot in Africa. The food was good and plenty. Porridge was served afterwards. I love porridge. It’s the only thing in which I can beat any mature chef between Hong Kong and Naples, and of course my scrambled eggs. I actaully do have a “scientific formula for both, but I won’t go into details right now.”

The hired men lit something. It was weed. Dark green, dry, broken leaves with little round seeds rolled in the thick brown sugar that wrapped sugar when I was still a sprog. The roll was con-shaped and they puffed at the thinner end. I did not to ask what it was but knew right then, that if my father was there, he would lead the whole family into crazy wailing. The men called it “Colombo.’ That’s a really cool name for a cone shaped roll of weed. Colombo. We did not puff and never could. We let them smoke without noise. They did not look like the breed you interrupt. You only acted tough.

Weed was smoked in high school too. I know the smell of it too well to spot Mary Jane in the air. One gentleman with whom I went to school has already gone very mad today, due to too much of it. I think he was putting peaches in it. It’s sad. We called him KD; a smooth faced lad who now walks with the springiest bounce you’ll ever see in the whole world. He is done showering – forever! Gone. I think it takes KD about 30 seconds to finish a spring on one foot.

My father never stopped preaching the evils of the joint and as Don says, reminding us that joint will send you to hell where Beelzebub and him imps will spend forever pitchforking your behind and rolling you over for roasting. I believed him and chose to remain unacquainted with narcotics.

Over the weekend I watched a film with awesome lines and that’s where all this comes from. Hilarious lines between a crazy joint seller and his crazy buyer that had me laughing at night.

Seller: [Hands guy B a package full of weed to smell] Do you wanna bathe in it?
Buyer: Ahh! I wanna live in here.
Seller: Yes, you wanna be it?
Buyer: OMG! I just wanna shove it up my nose and smell it all day. That’s amazing. Beautiful. What is it called?
Seller: Pineapple Express.
Buyer: Pineapple Express.
Seller: I’m the only guy in the whole city who has it.
Buyer: What is this? [Holding a roll shaped like a cross]
Seller: Ah, a cross joint. You’ve never smoked one of this?
Buyer: You could smoke this?
Seller: Oh yea, man.
Buyer: No!
Seller: This is the future. This is like the apex of the vortex of Joint Engineering. It is rumoured that M.O.O. Shawnecy designed the first one, the guy who designed the Golden gate bridge. My 2nd favourite civil engineer. What you do is you light all 3 ends at the same time, and then the smoke converges, creating a tri-fector of joint smoking power. This is it, man. This is what your grandchildren are gonna be smoking. The future. The future.

Excellent sales skills for the wrong stuff but funny lines that I have listened to repeatedly. I end this with Don’s words.

The problem with young people today is that they are all high on the drugs. When I was in short pants we didn’t have drugs. The only pills we popped were aspirin and you only got them if you lost a finger in the combine.
If my old dad had ever caught me sniffing glue or licking the backs of toads he’d have pelted me with rocks and sent me to military school faster than you could say “Reefer Madness.”

Written by coldturkey

April 22, 2012 at 8:43 PM

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The night: I define it beauteous.

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I love the night. I can sit through it and let it endow me with its peace and calm as long as it lasts. The night is like a coconut fruit. After you remove the rough dying skin, which is the noise and chaos of people and things moving up and down during the day, you are left with a fruit with a hard housing. That is the settling night. When you crack into that housing you find the purity of a fruit perpetually covered and protected until then. That is the settled night when everyone goes to sleep. Little creatures will come out then because it’s quiet. Like them, I also like that moment.

In those hours towards and past midnight, I will open the door and stand outside. I will look beyond at the roof of other houses. I will feel the wind. I will thank God. I will let the wind hit my coat and rub my neck and kiss my face and blow at my feet. I will love the night the most then. I will wonder why people sleep early. I will wonder why they don’t wait for such peace. I will wish they could let their mind free, in the midst of such silence and meditate on their lives. I will pity those that fear the night. I will take the camera and capture the moon if it’s out.

I then look at my kind neighbour’s potted plants outside her corridor or the steel post of street light that comes under this tree that makes very good silhouette when the sun is rising. It’s not quiet all the time. Sometimes people’s roaming dogs will make horrible noises. I must say when a dog’s howling is the only noise of the night, you’ll listen to it and think of its meaning. The problem is you cannot be out in the wind for long and often my toes will start feeling the pain of near-numbness. I will then go back to the couch or desk to drink milk, eat mangoes or work for sometime [I was 2 hours ago trying to understand Wi-Fi network Access Points set up] and then go out again or go to sleep.

When you appreciate the night with your mind, sometimes it will wander. I for example just remembered a man named Brett Chalmers in the book The Noble One by Denise Robins. I read it long ago and can read it again. A story of adolescent love that ends in a happy and most fulfilling marriage. A story of Dale, a rich girl in love with park animals and who is immensely attracted to the new old fashioned, poor but tall game warden, Brett. A story of rich boy Keith who loves game hunting and is destined to marry Dale since the two families are in the same social class. Keith hunts the animals that Dale loves. He won’t stop his hobby for Dale but will still want to marry her. A really sweet story of how Dale gradually falls in love with kind and bold Brett, and who for the sake of Dale’s happiness, stops Keith from killing animals. Dale and Brett marry and live happily until the last page. I don’t know what happens outside the books’ pages.

For them that would be creative, most lovers of the night will find their optimum state in silent times. That is when the mind will string observations lived during the day into well knit words to make beautiful literary fabrics. That is when they will be clear to make sense of events. That is when they will be bold enough to think beyond conformity. It is then that they will solidify their convictions. They will form their independence of thought at that time of silence and non-interference. They will think of people they talked to in the day and they will see them through. They will see the vanity and value of a variety of things. Silence of the night gives them purity of thought. Here are the words of one of such people;

Unto this night
At length do I speak
I define it beauteous
Whilst others proclaim it bleak.

I will now go to bed…or watch BBC programs.

Written by coldturkey

March 3, 2012 at 1:11 AM

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