Weird Moments

Have you ever had a weird moment in life? A memorable one at that.

Sometime last year, I had gone to some building known as NSC to pick or drop some papers, one or the other.

On my way out, as I was walking back, absorbed in my thoughts, I looked up to find a man walking towards me.

The only way to describe him is he looked like a Physics Professor. At worst, a Chemistry one. He had facial hair, a lot of facial hair. His clothes were not the neatest; characteristics of one who spends his entire day in a lab coat. And to cap it up, those big glasses.

And so I paid no heed to him..

When we passed each other, he whispered, “I love you.”

It took me a moment to register, and a moment later to react. By then he had put quite a distance between us.

I was shocked, then smiled, then wondered if I had imagined it all. And no, I was not dressed to attract attention, I think the man was deeply disturbed. I looked back at him to find he had disappeared into the building.

Ever wondered about God?

I found myself in an argument over the age old question of religion. Questions about our very own existence. And the existence of God, or that Supreme Being. I never thought I would be defending Christianity, being a shaky believer at best. But I think times like these make you question what you really believe in.

It began with a simple question of the earth’s diameter, but what we really meant to ask was the earth’s circumference. Then we began to wonder how the earth really is magnificent, but so tiny in comparison to the entire universe. We form part of a galaxy (collection of starts) called the Milky Way galaxy, but there are others, like the Andromeda galaxy. There are millions of stars out there. Is it possible for life to exist in those far off planets and stars that have not yet been discovered, and probably never going to be discovered?

There was an interesting theory I learnt. If you travel faster than the speed of light(108 meters per second), you go back in time. This is when we were debating the distance from the earth to the stars. Some of the nearest stars are like 15 light years away. A light year is the distance light travels over one year. That’s 10 trillion kilometers right there! If you were to travel to a star, you will live and die before you arrive, assuming of course, you can build something that moves fast enough.

If a star is 15 light years way, and you are seeing it now, then you are seeing it as it was 15 years ago. Since light takes 15 years to reach the earth from that star, what you are seeing is in the past. So if you can somehow travel faster than light, you will see things that have not happened yet. Meaning you will be in the past. Another scenario is if you are watching someone. For you to see that person, the light must first bounce off that person to your eyes. So if you can travel faster than light, you can get to that person before you see them do what it is they are doing now. Meaning you will be in the past. So theoretically, someone can actually go back in time. I don’t know about forward fasting to the future, though.

Later, as arguments often do, the question of the creation of the universe came in. The earth’s creation has many theories, the big bang theory, the nebula cloud theory, the ‘creation’ theory and what have you. There was actually someone who believed in one of those scientific theories. It is not that I don’t believe in scientific explanations for the earth’s creation, like the nebula cloud theory for instance. Who created that cloud of nebula gases in the first place? They could not answer. So I told them they had no choice but to believe a higher being had done that job. It’s hard to explain God’s existence either. Who created God?

And so in my answer I said, God is beyond human understanding. We as human beings, advanced as we are, are still limited in our understanding of some things. Like God, who created Him and who created the One who Created God and so on. Someone argued that God does not exist. That we create Him with our imagination. Mark you, am not talking about religion. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism… there are enough arguments about that. It is possible to believe in God without belonging to any religion, right? It’s one thing not to have a religion, it’s another to say the existence of God is ‘bullshit.’ I felt I could have condemned the person for blasphemy.

Had I been raised a Muslim, would I still be as ‘free thinking’ as I think I am? Am pretty accommodating when it comes to religion. I can look back at the atrocities that have been committed in the name of God and still choose to continue being a Christian. I want to be a Christian without changing my way of life. How is that even possible? Religion and culture go hand in hand. Religion permeates your everyday life. What you wear, the places you hang out in, what you should drink and generally how to behave.

Questions of course, accompany any believer, I should think. Someone asked, how come miracles no longer happen? Like real miracles of people going to heaven on a chariot of fire, or someone miraculously growing legs after amputation? I said I think Jesus should have come in these times. But I think even then, people would not believe. How many people believed Jesus when he was alive? Blessed are those who believe without seeing, I quoted.

But then harder questions popped up. Is there really something like free will? God is all knowing, right? So He knows what you are going to choose even before you are presented with the choices. So are you really free to choose if He knows what you will pick already? Why did He create us? Why did he allow Adam and Eve to sin? Why did he create the snake in the first place? Or even the tree, why did He put it there in the garden of Eden? Why did He create Lucifer? Well, Lucifer who used to be an angel, when he became too proud, why didn’t God just deal with Him? Why did He throw him down to earth? In my opinion, these questions do not justify the non-existence of God, rather they just go on to show how God’s thoughts and intentions are beyond human understanding. I know that is what some preachers use to ‘put the fear of the Living God’ in people, or when they can’t explain something, but I take what I have and make the best of it.

The argument ( I wouldn’t even justify it as a debate since no one was doing any listening in the end) lasted for more or less an hour. It spiraled out of control. Questions like, “Why is sex so good?” Huh? What do you mean, there is nothing wrong with sex. “Let me put it this way, why is sin sooo good? Tell me anything you know that is better than sex.” It was hard to pinpoint something. An epiphany perhaps, when you see God. “Why are women so evil?” Why (I was practically shouting now.. we are not evil. Don’t tell me that original sin nonsense stuff.). “I mean, women are evil because women have p***** and breasts and …..” It was time to say good night.

Living without a belief in something, for me, makes life empty. I have gone through that phase. While my friends were getting saved and all that, I was busy telling them God does not exist. I don’t know if I believed that, but for now, Christian or not, God exists for me. I worship Him in my own way, I don’t want to follow convention, for some reason. Denying His existence is denying ours. How did we come to exist? Forget evolution, who created those tiny primitive life forms in the first place? Accepting that there is someone who actually has power over the entire universe makes me believe am not living in vain. And that makes me wake up hopeful each and every morning.

stuff you dont want your family to know

One afternoon this past Christmas found me seated amidst a group of my extended family. The feasting was still going on, and the drinking that accompanied it, be it tea, soda or whatever. Of course the men of the household cannot be seen drinking tea or other such soft-like drinks. Somehow, they have bottles of Smirnoff stashed away somewhere.

And so they request glasses. Someone carries a tray laden with glasses to the tree beneath which the elder male relatives are seated. What does she come back with? A glassful of vodka, for the rest of us to taste, of course. She takes a sip, and screws up her face. “Tastes like chang’aa.” She does not take alcohol. But I still wonder how she knows the taste of chang’aa? Feeling very wise, she fills up the glass with Coke (soda). Then she passes it round.

Everyone is eager to taste. Am in a dilemma here. When it reaches my turn, I wonder how to react. Of course, no one in my family is supposed to know I have ever tasted alcohol. If I take a sip and act as if nothing happened, will that be suspicious? If I screw up my face too much, will I be overreacting, thus more suspicious? So I said what the hell, took a sip and screwed up my face anyway, then passed the glass.

Being in campus can make you an alcoholic, or chain smoker, or a constant weeder. The weed can cost as low as 10 bob for a thin joint. There is also plenty of cheap alcohol. The drink that was passed to me that day tasted like honey (there was more of soda than vodka) in comparison to some cheap vodka/gin stuff sold in the dingy shops around the campus, with names like “Sally’s Wines and Spirits.” There are no wines there, of course.

Sample a drink called KK- Kenya King. It’s not the most horrible I have tasted. I think the worst is Naps, short for Napolean Brandy. Or is there a nastier brown liquid?

In the end its about the choices we make. Am not trying to rally for or against alcohol, so you can see as this post ends that I have not actually stated my stand or my alcoholic behaviour, existent or non-existent. I intend it to remain that way.

Le |Coup d’ etat

This Friday was not any different. I woke up, as usual, just in time to catch the morning lecture. There was an imminent CAT in the afternoon, as well as a coup d’etat in the making, which of course I was not aware of.

The afternoon is here and the lecturer is late. Am the class representative, so I go to inquire what could be the problem. My dear fellow students are getting nervous, all that waiting. The few answers scratched on some hands were beginning to melt. And so I was absent when the argument broke out.

I came back to a noisy lecture room, and stood for a moment trying to figure out the head and tail of the argument. It wasn’t long before I figured out I was the cause. Not me, personally, but my position as the class rep.

Those who were arguing against me said they wanted change. They wondered what good I had done. They said I took assignments on time, before they could finish. Never mind the spending of my own credit to call and remind them of the deadlines. They said I had not organized any class trips for them. Of course am not the organizer of trips but am supposed to convince the coordinator of trips that our class especially needs one. It’s not that I haven’t tried. The man is the laziest in the department.

Those who were for me, wondered who would replace me. Indeed, those against me had a challenge coming up with a replacement for me on such short notice.

It wasn’t long before the arguments turned personal. I had no idea some of the people did not like me that much. I am not saying am the most popular person in our class. But I could honestly see no good reason for hating me. In any case I could never win a popularity contest. I do have friends, many friends, but few close ones.

If you honestly asked me why the hate, I might say it is kinda psychological. I might say it is kinda paradoxical, in such a way as to hate the person to admire. Why me? I might say because I never seem to be doing anything, yet my assignments are done on time. The study group I am in seems to get along quite well. Academic excellence is not a problem. I talk to everyone in class. But that is if you asked me.

It’s not a good position to be in. The center of an ugly argument. It’s worse to be present. That’s why I am not a fan of politics. They are more like popularity contests, and am not the type of person to go sweet talking people. I tell you the facts as they are and you take it or leave it.

To conclude on the class rep story, am still in the position. Sanity finally prevailed, and the CAT was done, but not before I had see the ugly side of people’s emotions. I put the entire incident behind me, but it’s still at the back of my mind. I just hope when the next argument erupts, am not anywhere near it. I’d rather swim in ignorance, or would I?