|PROF PETER SINGER’S AGNOSTIC article (DN, May 22) is typical of the position often advanced by negative atheists – that it is improbable for evil and an all-good God to be concurrent.
To counter the Judeo-Christian and Qur’anic dogmas of free moral agency, retribution for sin, and the necessity of suffering for character refinement, they posit that human character may still be buttressed with far less agony than, say, the buffeting of Burma by cyclones.
They cannot place the needless and, for them, indefensible, suffering of innocent babies within the jurisdiction of a tender and all-loving God. They are, however, more moderate in their denial of the ‘‘divine’’ than their positive atheist counterparts.
With all due respect to Prof Singer and others whose academic shoe-laces I am unworthy to loosen, what value would the non-existence of God, even if proven right, add to the human experience?
Aren’t the philosophical derivatives of atheism – communism, rationalism and materialism – despised, at least in theory, in the Western hemisphere, being associated with retrogression and selfishness?
ISN’T IT PLAUSIBLE THAT, LIKE ANY other dandy parent, God could possess latent, benevolent attributes whose worth is only manifested when a sick body recovers, or in Jesus’ own words, deliverance is extended to a captive?
An endless litany of philosophers, among them David Hume, Voltaire, Lord Byron, Mark Twain and more notably, Freud, Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche preceded Singer in grappling with the same profound divine question, and left us neither a definite deity, nor a reasonable alternative.
If heeded, Bertrand Russell, in particular, would have left the world a much worse place with his uninhibited theory of ‘‘free love’’ among post-teen university students.
Even godly patriarchs, such as old Job, and King Solomon of the Ecclesiastes were not spared the dilemma of apparently unfair human predicaments.
I am possibly an embodiment of the suffering Prof Singer so eloquently empathises with, having been at Eldoret during the height of the recent political turmoil, and at the mercy of arrow-wielding throngs.
My family is only alive because some theists had constructed a place of worship where they allowed the escaping souls to take shelter for a while.
I am also, somehow, reconciled with my erstwhile tormentors because a pastor inculcated in me what secularists would possibly never – the ability to abandon my human and legal rights, forgive all my wrongdoers, and pray daily for them. In fact, that whole experience reinforced my resolve into active theism. In biblical parlance, ‘‘I saw God’’.
On the other hand, the eminent bioethics professor has probably never broken a finger while fleeing for dear life. An independent observer would logically expect Prof Singer to also ‘‘see God’s hand’’ in his cushioned, blessed life, and his eminence in the American academe.
While Prof Singer would possibly marvel how I believe in God despite my suffering, I would return the compliment.
Logically, the proof of the existence of God should never be concluded in ivory-towered lecture halls inundated with learned didactic exchange, because that would preclude some old illiterate villager by Lake Turkana reaping immediate benefits and infinite possibilities of knowing a living God.
Further, God, to be fair to all, would have to provide a way of being accessible by anyone regardless of geography, social strata or sophistication. Which is why faith – as naïve as it is cast to be by the atheistic hordes – is the only reasonable avenue of knowing God.
Arguments advanced by some irreligious folk are thinner than soup made from a shadow of a starved rabbit. And hypocritical too. They refuse to believe in anything that cannot be proved empirically in the laboratory, and yet tell their spouses daily how they love them!
It is truly a relief that many great leaders and scientists have been believers in God. Sir Isaac Newton, one of the greatest physicists to ever walk the earth, is recorded by the New Dictionary of Thoughts as saying: “No science is better attested than the religion of the Bible.”
THE GERMAN MATHEMATICIAN-philosopher, Gottfried von Leibniz, considered the supreme intellectual of the 17th century, and co-discoverer of the calculus, was a church minister and author of the volume, Essays on the Goodness of God.
Kneeling in snow, George Washington, the first American president, once prayed the whole night at Valley Forge before crossing the Delaware during the war of independence. He led a ragtag, shoeless army to victory over the British the next day. Five or so musket balls perforated his shirt; none harmed him at all.
If Prof Singer is, indeed, a negative atheist, as is apparent in his mild article, this is a pointer that he is ‘‘not far from the kingdom of God’’. Once in the fold, he would make a wonderful Christian apologist!
Mr Wahome teaches Mathematics at Egerton University.