I Do Not Believe…

that belief in believing is a virtue.

I do believe people that say they do.

Some of their beliefs that make up their faith, is by definition subject to no reason.

Believing otherwise could be mortal mistake.

It is common to use your life experience as the basis of comparison which comes with the tendency to project.

Here is an example.

A Massai from Central Kenya and an Eskimo from Siberia fly into Washington DC after an early winter snowfall of 2 inches in temperatures a few degrees below freezing. The Masai may claim that there is a lot of snow in this very cold place while the Eskimo remarks that there is little snow in this mild place. They both believe what they say, but that has no effect on each others perception or more importantly on the actual temperature or amount of snow.

Someones beliefs are generally inconsequential to your interaction with them, but they are the basis for what the person does. The Masai would suggest to you that you wear a hooded coat, gloves and a scarf  while the Eskimo may suggest you wear a light coat. Either suggestion can be followed without much issue, but the best decision would be made from knowing the temperature and amount of snow on the ground.

Trying to find out the rationale behind the beliefs of every person you interact wiht is arguably unnecessary, if not outright futile, but I propose that the closer the person is to you, the larger their possible effect, the more you should care about why they believe what they do.

here are some definitions that may be beneficial to have before continuing.

belief | faith | reason | virtue

“What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”

-Christopher Hitchens

You may have heard of the attack in Garissa, Kenya.  On April 2nd 2015 a University was assaulted by gunmen. Many were massacred. I am currently in Nairobi, which is over 370 kilometers away from Garissa yet first heard about it from over 15,500 kilometers away, so if you have yet to hear of the actual attack, or any of the subsequent news coverage and social concern it is understandable.

On the fateful day, I awoke to a notification of a message from Peter, currently in the Los Angeles area, “Just hearing the news…are you okay my friend?” I was quite okay but had an inkling of what such a message may be referring to. An internet search of kenya+attack confirmed it. I answered Peter and we begun to converse about the inanity of it all, a place of learning attacked by those claiming to have the possession of ultimate knowledge. During the discussion he asked if I had read an article from the Atlantic. I had not but told him I would and did shortly after the electricity returned. (I highly suggest you do as well, there is still solid reporting being done, and you will be better for partaking in it. What ISIS Really Wants  main article more links below)

Peter and I both agreed on a central point laid out in this article.

Terrorists believe what they say they believe. They do not claim to believe X for the hell of it but literally due to the hell of it.

This is not a belief held by many, believing what you say you believe.

A few days later,  while having a conversation about the attack I stated that though horrific, it was not surprising as their actions and words are in lockstep with what they claim to believe. They read some parts in a book they believe and did what was instructed. They were fundamentalists.

After the expected push-back I tried to clarify my reasoning.

What does fundamental mean? During Grade school we would play football in teh concrete tiled playgrounds. No set number of players, a ball being formed by several paper-stuffed juice boxes while the bottoms of benches serving as the goals. Was that fundamental? Keeping it to the core of something getting kicked into somewhere?

Or is the football we were emulating that is  practiced by the many professionals worldwide the one that would accurately be refered to as fundamental?

Their response, “I cannot believe that, I cannot believe that, I cannot believe that.”

I believed them. May not be a virtue, but was enough for me to find further discussion on the subject to be futile. So back to you oh valued reader. How long until something changes from playing football to playing rugby?

Proof that most of you agree belief alone is not enough. If anyone picked up the ball and began to run around the pitch with it, all aware of what football is would start to question whether said person is truly a football player. Now what if most leagues began to pick up the ball and run with it, would that change it? It has happened to an extent in the form of American Football, with on average less than 5% of the plays during a game involving the foot striking a ball. (As a former American football player i’m looking at myself and others out there, really what’s the football part all about? Cause Murica? Yeah, probably just ’cause Murica!)

Is this still confusing? Probably, and the next paragraph may add to it. What am I fundamentally saying about belief? Get to the point!

This may be hard if you discount the rules of what you are discussing. The reasons something is what it is, is due to it following it’s rules or definition. Now these rules and definitions are flexible and may change over time and from place to place.


Can infallible words be changed? No, by definition they cannot.

This is where the beliefs held by adherents ideologies based on infallible words differ. I the case of the tomes that are the basis of Abrahamic religions involve instructions on slavery, laws to live under, punishments to deal out, dietary instructions, customs and much more. You can choose to ignore them, but how far does one go until they are no longer following the rules?

If the books are the source,the rules, wouldn’t the ones who adhere closer to them be those truly of the belief system?

You see this in theologies and secular ideologies. Someone or group does something that does not sit well with an adherent who then claims depending on convenience, that said those in question are not truly what they say they are as what they do does not fit the definition, or inversely that the definition does not define what it means to be what the definition is defining. (Did that seem like a baffling description? good as it is the feeling i get when faced with it. See the No True Scotsman logical fallacy)

A few days later I was at a small diner party. After the meal we moved into the living room and a conversation about baptism and marriage as part of the church was begun. I asked why they considered this to be important. Why not just let the child choose when they grow up, or let the people partner up without involvement of church or state? The answers included a parental responsibility to raise children by following some doctrine, or the community you get by being in a church.

To this I asked why not Islam, Judaism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Hellenism or any one of the other thousands of religions that have existed?

‘Because we are Christian that’s why, it is tradition.’ Really?  Something that originated thousands of years ago in Middle East that was brought to Kenya by colonists is tradition? If teaching the religion was the thing to do because it is what your parents did, then it was not correct for whichever ancestral generation stopped worshiping the old gods and converted to Christianity.

I told them some of my thoughts about doing things because that’s what was done… I for one am glad that some of our early ancestors did not run from the fire like all life did but found the reasons to hold their ground and try and control it.

With some more back and forth, I eventually got the core of it. Faith. Belief without reason. This was enough to teach your children, faith.

Belief for the sake of belief.

The above inquiries about their belief in marriage, baptism and faith came after a dinner-table discussion about the Kenya Governments actions after the latest attacks. Claims were made that this was a knee-jerk reaction to clamp down on potential sources of funding mostly located in the Nairobi neighborhood of Eastliegh nicknamed Little Mogadishu. ‘If they knew this before why wait for a few days after to do something? Why not before?’ The Government was just targeting a group without good reason, why don’t they tell the people the reasons… I kept my silence.

There have been previous attacks let alone the one that just occurred. One could argue that this clampdown was actually 2 days too late, or 2 months, or 2 years, depending on the previous attacks.

I could point out that reasons had been given and they were not convinced, so what reason would they need? An SMS on one of the attackers phone from all of the money transfer companies that were under investigation?  I could point out that anyone complaining seems to be quite glib about the horror that just occurred. If you are on the up and up let things be closed for a bit and get back up after. Hell sue later if you feel you’ve been violated, but lives were lost.

Any of these points could have been brought up in argument of what their objections. They may not be valid justifications, and this was before many other subsequent declarations such as building a wall along the border, closing the refugee camp of over 500,000 Somalis or claiming that the military response to an emergency in a remote area was too slow… these were just points, but not the point.

If you believe that belief is enough, if believing is a virtue, then you need no more reasons.

The attackers need no more reasons, The government needs no more reasons to do what they did, you need no more reasons to teach your children anything.

I did thank the persons I had the talk about Baptism and Marriage with for at least engaging in a conversation. One person did get up and leave after a few minutes as they are somewhat more invested in faith. I am of an age where several friends and family have children whom I consider nieces and nephews.  I have had the pleasure of hanging out with my 3 month old nephew for the last few months, the first child of  a sibling, whose baptism was part of the above discussion.

Children of my own may be close reality.

Why you believe what you believe is quite more important when you may be around my future kids. It should be important when you are around any children.

In a previous post, How the Number of Suffering Rises while the Condition Falls, I discussed how general living conditions have improved yet the potential has arguably increased. Advances in thought have  given us a higher quality of life and thus more to lose. Paradoxically it has also resulted in the ability of a single thoughtless act leading to the death of hundreds of thousands, if not millions.

  • An addition by the Author of the What ISIS Really Wants Article on some reflections and reactions to his piece : “What ISIS Really Wants” : The Response
  • A rebuttal of sorts to Graham Woods article : The Phony Islam of ISIS
  • Video of the day : Epistemology : Foundation & Coherentism -MGTOW . This is from a YouTube Channel that has excellently researched and presented content. this video is “A breakdown of the dominant epistemological theories of justification. How do we know that we know!? ”  I believe it will be time well spent to give it a listen,it is really so well done it may have been better to just listen to this than read the post you just did 🙂

4 responses to “I Do Not Believe…

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