Category Archives: religion

On God, football, and the octopus

Over the weekend, myself and a couple of friends started talking about the FIFA 2010 World Cup and the octopous that suddenly gained celebrity status for correctly predicting the outcome of 8 matches. Needless to say, I don’t follow football so I’m usually the last person you’ll find in a conversation about it, but the lure of the possibility of something supernatural was impossible to ignore.

During the afore-mentioned conversation, the octopus’ ability to predict the outcome of matches was attributed to the devil. As one of his numerous gimmicks to deter people from concentrating on what is important. It was even said that God would one day srike the octopus or something. You know, the usual overly religious christian crap. Rather than call BS on the whole Devil/God thingy, I decided to go by the Bible itself for starters.

The two interesting cases of divination in the bible was said made possible by God himself. We have the Balaam dude whose donkey spoke like a human because an angel was in the way (like seriously?). Then we have the occassion where Saul went visiting a witch to talk to Samuel’s familiar spirit. God supposedly caused Samuel’s real spirit itself to manifest. Considering these examples, I find it funny when christians are quick to attribute supernatural events to the devil… well, except for Catholics. I’m guessing the only place where Catholics are yet to see an apparition of Christ is on a girl’s face just after a facial. Wait, I should tweet that!

Maybe God is speaking to us through the octopus. Surely, an all-knowing God already knows the outcome of any football match. This should not destroy freewill in anyway. There are a lot of factors to consider such as amount of, and dedication to training, tolerance to varying weather conditions, level of both natural and acquired skill, etc. Attempts have been made to predict matches using a series of simulations while adjusting the variables. At least football manager games are based on this premise. With the right amount of computing power, these simulations should become as accurate as the octopus, who is yet to exhibit the ability of telling what the exact scores would be.

An all-powerful God’s brain would be the entire earth’s computing muscle to the power of infinity. Combine this with being all-knowing and every move/mood/emotion of the player can be taken into consideration when he simulates the match in his head. Thus, rather than pray to God on the pitch to win, just ask him what the scores’ll be. :)

That said, there’s the possiblity some dude somewhere has built a super-awesome processor that can accurately predict the outcome of matches. This dude lures the octopus to the “right” case by putting a more delicious looking (at least to the octopus) in it.

Whatever the case is, I’ll love to read about more successful predictions. Heck, I should ask the two year old oracle if I’ll end up dating a certain girl like that. :)

Jesus or Paul? It’s time to make a choice.

I wonder what those who choose to follow Paul would call themselves. Since apparently, they aren’t ‘Christians’ by definition. Maybe Paulines. LOL. The following article was lifted from 234next.com. I just couldn’t resist re-posting it here to see what my readers have to say about it. Let’s go!

Every Christian must decide whether s/he is a follower of Jesus or a follower of Paul. Don’t make the mistake of many in assuming the two are the same. For starters, take a look at the following discrepancies.

Inconsistencies

Jesus says children of God are born (Jn 3:3); but Paul says they are adopted (Rm 8:23).

Jesus says God must be the only father of believers (Mt 23:9); but Paul says he (Paul) is the father of some believers (Phile 1:10; 1 Cor 4:15).

Jesus says he is the only pastor and the only teacher (Jn 10:16; Mt 23:8); but Paul says there are many pastors and teachers (Eph 4:11; 1 Tim 2:7).

Jesus says we should pray in private (Mt 6:5-6); but Paul says we should pray everywhere (1 Tim 2:8).

Jesus says we should not eat food sacrificed to idols (Rev 2:14); but Paul says it does not matter if we do (Rm 14:14).

Jesus himself was circumcised (Lk 2:21); but Paul says if we are circumcised we would be estranged from Christ (Gal 5:2-4).

Jesus says we should not receive payment for preaching the gospel (Mt 10:8); but Paul says we should (1 Cor 9:11).

Jesus asks us to baptise as we preach the gospel (Mt 28:19); but Paul dismisses the importance of baptism (1 Cor 1:17).

Jesus says lying is of the devil (Jn 8:44); but Paul says God’s truth increased through the lies he told (Rm 3:7).

Jesus says the word of God is truth (Jn 7:17); but Paul says the gospel can be preached with falsehood (Php 1:18).

Jesus is against the use of deception (Jn 1:47); but Paul boasts of using deception (2 Cor 12:16).

Jesus says we should love one another (Jn 13:34); but Paul wished some people would be castrated (Gal 5:12).

Jesus says we should love our enemy in order to be like God (Mt 5:44-45); but Paul says we should love our enemy in order to pour coals of fire on his head (Rm 12:20).

Jesus says we should not swear or curse (Mt 5:34-37; Lk 6:28); but Paul swears and curses (2 Cor 1:23; Gal 1:9).

Jesus says God’s children don’t bear arms and don’t fight (Mt 26:52; Jn 18:36); but Paul says God’s ministers bear arms and use them (Rm 13:3-4).

Jesus says we should disregard public opinion (Lk 6:26; Jn 15:18-19); but Paul actively courts public opinion (1 Cor 10:33; 1 Cor 9:20-22).

Jesus says he who is acceptable to God will be hated by men (Jn 15:18-19; Lk 16:15); but Paul says he will be approved by men (Rm 14:18).

Jesus says we should seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Mt 6:33); but Paul says we should seek glory, honour and immortality (Rm 2:7).

Jesus says the kingdom of God has been taken away from Israel (Mt 21:43); but Paul says all Israel will be saved (Rm 11:26).

Jesus says only a few of those called will be chosen (Mt 22:14); but Paul says all those called will be chosen (Rm 11:29).

Jesus says salvation is by works (Mt 7:21; Mt 21:28-31); but Paul says it is by grace (Eph 2:8-9).

Jesus says he completed his God-given assignment (Jn 17:4; Jn 19:30); but Paul says he completed what Jesus failed to complete (Col 1:24).

Jesus says our trespasses will be forgiven if we forgive others (Mt 6:14-15); but Paul says they have already been forgiven (Eph 1:7).

Jesus says we will be justified by our own words (Mt 12:37); but Paul says we are justified by faith (Rm 3:28).

Jesus says eternal life is very costly (Mt 19:29; Lk 14:28-33); but Paul says it is a free gift (Rm 6:23).

Jesus says God is not the God of the dead (Lk 20:38); but Paul says he is (Rm 14:9).

Jesus says the commandments give life (Mt 19:17); but Paul says they bring death (Rm 7:10).

Jesus says all the commandments are summed up in two commandments (Mt 22:37-40); but Paul says they are summed up in one commandment (Rm 13:9; Gal 5:14).

Jesus says we should beware of anyone who says the day is at hand (Lk 21:8); but Paul says the day is at hand (Rm 13:12).

Jesus says Abel, Adam’s direct son, was righteous (Mt 23:35); but Paul says all Adam’s descendants are unrighteous (Rm 5:12/19; Rm 3:10).

Jesus says none of the Pharisees kept the law (Jn 7:19); but Paul says he kept all the laws of Moses as a Pharisee (Php 3:5-6).

Jesus says we should be like God (Mt 5:48); but Paul says we should be like him (Gal 4:12; Php 3:17).

Whose report do you believe?

I only believe the report of Jesus Christ.

OK, that ‘I’ up there is not mine. It’s Femi Aribisala’s. The original author of the article. I’m yet to pick a side. :)

Now Playing: Kid Rock – Rock N Roll Jesus

God Exists!

Was going through my Facebook notes this evening and came across this interesting piece i wrote back in February. I thought it would be a nice idea to republish it here for those who are not on my Facebook friends list. It was basically a rough rant and the comments that followed helped build a more solid opinion. Just in case, here’s the url to the original note and its 58 essay-like comments. http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=67464546139&comments=

No, I am not talking about the God of Abraham, the one who knocked up a nice Jewish girl, then abandoned both mother and child to fend for themselves (as told in the King James version of the NT).

Actually, I think that Christians would be much better off if they would simply eliminated the OT from their bible entirely, then edit most everything except the sermon on the mount from the NT, and start all over again.

After all, who can argue with love and kindness?

But, I digress. Back to the subject at hand, the existence of gods.

God is a construct of the human mind. God exists between the ears of humans, just like every other concept, notion, or thought. The only requirement for God to exist is for the concept to be between the ears of a believer.

The God of Abraham is just as real as other gods, such as Zeus, Apollo, Odin, Shiva, Vishnu, Kali, etc. (sorry if I omitted your favorite God, there are so many, you know).

One of the most interesting things about religion, whether the Judeo / Christian / Islamic / Mormon tradition, or the religions of the Orient such as Hinduism is that all of them seem to assume the existence of supernatural beings (gods) as a starting point, then develop the rationale to support this assumption.

Gods are as real as any other thought generated in the human brain, so to say, as many atheists do, that gods do not exist is, strictly speaking, not true.

For me, the important question is: where did the idea of gods come from in the first place?

No one knows.

I think it fitting that explanation of where gods came from is found in fiction.

Be that as it may, when we look around us at the magnificence of nature, just like prehistoric humans did, we see a natural hierarchy of creatures; insects, arachnids, all sorts of creepy-crawly things. Then there are the higher animals; birds, rodents, predators of several kinds, etc. There seems to be some sort of progression in complexity, particularly in intelligence and other abilities. It would also have seemed obvious to early humans that our place in this hierarchy was at or near the “top”.

Also obvious to early humans would have been the fact that there are phenomena that are completely out of their control, such as the weather, earthquakes, etc. It seems to be an easy leap for the early humans to imagine some “higher” beings having control of these awesome phenomena. And, thus, gods were born in the minds of our distant ancestors.

Another leap would bring early humans to try pleasing these higher beings by offering them food or other precious commodities in an attempt to win their favor, and thus prevent or lesson bad things from happening. Whether or not this is precisely how gods and religions came about, some similar path must have been followed and expanded over the centuries until writing was invented, and the rest is history, even though the early history is incomplete at best, and no doubt has many errors and omissions.

For better or for worse, gods are here to stay, so we might as well learn to live peacefully with (and, in some cases protect ourselves from) the people who believe in them.

Namaste!