Posted in Agnosticism, Atheism, Blasphemy, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Morality, Religion, The Conscious Disbeliever

What flipped your switch?

English: Dead Sea Scroll - part of Isaiah Scro...
English: Dead Sea Scroll – part of Isaiah Scroll (Isa 57:17 – 59:9), 1QIsa b (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The road to non-belief is not straightforward, it is in most cases a slow journey. It is the lowly drop of water and not the majestic wave that slowly erodes the stone and in this way our belief in the supernatural is whittled down until one day we realize that what was once incontrovertible, now is an argument that holds no water.

It seems to me that although non-belief is the result of a long list of things that make us question the validity of that which we hold true, many times there is a first question a first doubt. In my case, I think that the first question was something that I would later learn is called the problem of evil.

When I was a kid, I would always think that nobody could ever go to Hell because God being an all-knowing, all-caring and all-powerful being would not allow it. How could he? He knew everything before it happened. He loved everybody so he did not wish bad things to happen and of course he could do anything.

He could do anything and did everything. So where did bad things come from?

What?! You mean God created evil? No way! Well, yes way.

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I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I am the LORD, that doeth all these things.

Jewish Publication Society Bible    YISHEYAH (Book of Isaiah) Chapter 45

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I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

 Isaiah 45:7

 King James Bible “Authorized Version”, Pure Cambridge Edition

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Evil exists and God created it. How can that be?  Well this leads us into the problem of evil.

The existence of evil is a contradiction in logical terms to a god that is omniscient, benevolent and omnipotent.

  1. God exists.

  2. God is omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good.

  3. A perfectly good being would want to prevent all evils.

  4. An omniscient being knows every way in which evils can come into existence.

  5. An omnipotent being, who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence, has the power to prevent that evil from coming into existence.

  6. A being who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence, who is able to prevent that evil from coming into existence, and who wants to do so, would prevent the existence of that evil.

  7. If there exists an omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good being, then no evil exists.

  8. Evil exists (logical contradiction).

So following that logic. God is a logical contradiction.

And of course we also have the problem of Hell, but that is another question.

There are many defences and theodicies that theists use to get around this problem. One way that they defend this problem is through the free will argument: It is a very good thing that God has created persons with free will. God cannot eliminate evil, because in doing so he would remove the possibility of free will and making correct moral choices. 

Ok we have free will and can choose good or evil.  We are imperfect and at least one time, if not many, we will choose wrong. God being perfect and endowed with omniscience knows this before we do it, in fact even before we come into existence. Or maybe he cannot know this, but that would strip him of omniscience. Of course this would resolve the problem of evil, but would render God imperfect.

And talking of free will. The concept of free will beyond the constraints of the physical universe is childish, downright stupid. Free will must be understood within the constraints of a physical universe as we are physical beings. To think that we could have absolute free will would make us supernatural, would make us in fact gods. The matter at question is: do we have the ability to make free choices within the constraints of a physical universe? That is the true question of free will.

We do not have conscious free will as has been stated elsewhere, and that seems to destroy the free will theodicy, but we are agents capable of decisions, albeit these decisions are made in a subconscious manner.

And I never even got to the question of natural evil, that is a whole new ball-game.

So what got you started? What flipped your switch?

Portrait of Epicurus, founder of the Epicurean...
Portrait of Epicurus, founder of the Epicurean school. Roman copy after a lost Hellenistic original. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?”
Epicurus

See you next time.

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Posted in Art, Coffee, Everyday life, Family, The Conscious Disbeliever

Kopi Luwak

Today I had my first cup of Kopi Luwak ever. This is an exotic variety of coffee, and as I am always open to try exotic flavors, I gave it a go.

English: Piti luwak.
English: Piti luwak. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Due to price and availability, I do not think that it will become my daily fare.

The aroma of the coffee was sweet, with a touch of fruit.

The first impression upon tasting this coffee was one of high acidity, maybe even sourness. Maybe I was not expecting what was in my cup.  On my second sip came different sensations. This coffee was complex, with only a very little of bitterness that was overpowered by a sweet, nutty and fruity drink with a very good body to it. A small hint of wood with a good aftertaste that lasted for more than my  walk back home.

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Thirty minutes after I finished my coffee, I still have a pleasant aftertaste on the tip and sides of my tongue. A subtle sweetness if you will.

For me is tastes better than Jamaica Blue Mountain, that in my humble opinion is a coffee with little body and character that does not live up to expectations. And both coffees are really more hype than anything else.

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The Kopi Luwak I tasted was a good coffee, but not a great coffee, and certainly not worthy of becoming my daily drink or yours. And it does not justify the price tag.

I assure you it will not replace my daily Illy or my ordinary cup of plain coffee made with some Mexican, Costa Rican or Colombian coffee.

See you next time.

Posted in Uncategorized

What did the current pope and his predecessor know?
With all aidding and abetting, looks like a nice crime syndicate to me.

CNN Belief Blog

By Wayne Drash, CNN

(CNN) – Told by two families that a visiting priest was suspected of molesting their children in 1988, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles did not immediately notify police. Instead, Cardinal Roger Mahony’s right-hand man alerted the priest – a heads-up that allowed him to flee the country for Mexico.

He remained in the priesthood there for another 21 years, allegedly continuing to molest. He has denied the accusations and remains a fugitive.

Newly released church documents show the behind-the-scenes machinations of top officials within the Los Angeles archdiocese making decisions on how to deal with pedophile priests, hindering police investigations and saying, in private, something completely different than what they said in public.

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Posted in Agnosticism, Atheism, Blasphemy, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Morality, Politics, Religion, The Conscious Disbeliever

Pope Benedict resigns after being handed report into corruption,gay sex and blackmail in Vatican.

Vatican City
Vatican City (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

 

There has been much speculation about the unexpected resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. According to a report in the February 21 edition of The Reppublica “Sesso e carriera, i ricatti in Vaticano dietro la rinuncia di Benedetto XVI – Repubblica.it ” it appears that the cause was learning of a web of corruption, sex scandals and blackmail within the Catholic Church.

Having deconverted from Catholicism and been witness to a few priests with their “nieces” and “godchildren” and watching how they were changed from one parish to another and some minor corruption, it comes as no surprise.

The report was done by a  three-man commission that investigated the Vatileaks affair. Spearheaded by a Spanish cardinal, Julián Herranz. Assisted by Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi, a former archbishop of Palermo, and the Slovak cardinal Jozef Tomko, who was once in charge of the Vatican’s department for missionaries.

It seems that the information contained in the almost 300 page volume was too much for the octogenarian pope to handle. And though his resignation is being purported to be an act of strength and not of weakness, I believe that he is only trying to save face and has more interest in the institution he presides than in the welfare of the members. The pope’s position on human rights and the sexual molestation by the clergy has been lacking. The systematic cover-up makes all those involved just as guilty as the rapists themselves. The Catholic Church has not handed the culprits over to the justice system and the stories of priest-shuffling are myriad. There is no justifiable excuse for not taking an open stance against these criminals. Once detected , they should be immediately removed from their parish, handed over to the police and if found guilty defrocked and have anathema imposed upon them. The problem with the anathema bit is that it would have to include much of the hierarchy including a number of popes.

Wherefore in the name of God the All-powerful, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and of all the saints, in virtue of the power which has been given us of binding and loosing in Heaven and on earth, we deprive (Name) himself and all his accomplices and all his abettors of the Communion of the Body and Blood of Our Lord, we separate him from the society of all Christians, we exclude him from the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church in Heaven and on earth, we declare him excommunicated and anathematized and we judge him condemned to eternal fire with Satan and his angels and all the reprobate, so long as he will not burst the fetters of the demon, do penance and satisfy the Church; we deliver him to Satan to mortify his body, that his soul may be saved on the day of judgment.

Laurens_excomunication_1875_orsay

The article also mentions that the next pope should be strong, young and “saintly” enough to handle this situation. As I can not get my wish to have them all resign and have the institution disbanded and its assets sold with the proceeds put to use in some charitable fashion, I would hope for an ethical pope with a high degree of respect for human rights.

The report mentioned in the article is for the pope’s eyes only and will be handed to the next pope only, so unless there comes a new Vatileaks style butler, don’t expect to be privy to the details.

See you next time.

 

Posted in Art, Coffee, Everyday life, The Conscious Disbeliever

Not all work and no play – some fun on the side

Recently I had a chance to visit Spain on work related issues, enjoying the wine and the cuisine on the side.

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A view of one of the cellars at the Arzuaga Bodega near Valladolid, Spain.
http://www.hotelarzuaga.com/en/winery

My hosts in Valladolid were absolutely magnificent and made me feel quite at home. Their knowledge of the local wine and food was most helpful.

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Mercado de San Miguel. Madrid, Spain.

In Madrid I got to see all the usual places, but had a very good time eating at the Mercado de San Miguel. It is a very interesting place to visit, the food is excellent as well as the selection of wines and deserts. The coffee is very good.

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A great variety of olives at one of the stands in El Mercado de San Miguel

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You walk around picking whatever tickles your fancy and then head towards tables at the center of the market place to enjoy your little gastronomic treasures.

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The first steps exploring El Mercado de San Miguel

Even though the food and the company were superb, what I most enjoyed was my visit to the Museo Nacional del Prado. What a great place to visit. Goya, Velazquez, Van Dyck, Martin Rico among many more.

English: Prado Museum, in Madrid (Spain). Espa...
English: Prado Museum, in Madrid (Spain). Español: Museo del Prado, en Madrid (España). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The museums signature painting is  “Las Meninas” by Diego Velazquez. You can admire it for hours on end.

Diego Velázquez - Las Meninas (detail) - WGA24449
Diego Velázquez – Las Meninas (detail) – WGA24449 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But I fell in love with the museums only Rembrandt : “Judit en el banquete de Holofernes” also known as Artemisia. I was captivated by the technique, the magnificent use of light and shadow. So much that I decided to have a digital print on canvas made at the museum shop in order to enjoy this image at home.

Judit en el banquete de Holofernes

While I waited for my print I relaxed with a nice cup of coffee, well deserved after walking around viewing the vast amount of paintings this museum has in exhibition.

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Licencia de Creative Commons
Coffee Break by Gerardo F Zambito Brondo is licensed under a Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-SinObraDerivada 3.0 Unported License.

So if you have a chance to go to Madrid, don’t miss the opportunity to view all the wonders the Museo Nacional del Prado has to offer.

See you next time.