In defence of the unborn and the limit of existential options
Mr. Vice-Chancellor Sir, of and totally of itself, what is characterized as human existence is essentially a constant encounter as human beings with a world that is mapped by motives, intentions and attitudes that we have deliberately and sometimes too, out of ignorance, chosen to have and the evaluations that we have chosen to ascribe and attach to these choices. We human beings therefore is all there is. Ultimately, are the measure of all things and of all meanings.
Existentialism is all about freedom and personal choice. It is a fiercely honest philosophy of the here and now concrete human existence. It is therefore anti-idealist, non-transendental, anti-metaphysical and atheistic. As praxis, it is about facing up to the reality of our human condition as it really is with courage, naked honesty and the willing preparedness of following things through to the end. Existentialism puts the individual back at the centre, allowing him to engage his own projects while providing him with the possibility to make something of himself and to flourish without suffering alienation by recourse to external transcendent world of values and entities. Deeply rooted in authentic humanism, which is the goal of the philosophy, Existentialism asked that we accept essentially as given an indifferent universe that is at its root meaningless to the point of absurdity. What is left then is a world of human subjectivity that is devoid of any externally given readymade values. Each individual must therefore invent and choose their own values against the crushing discomfort of the realization of aloneness in a deaf and dumb world and the arbitrary contingent nature of all our values.1
This crushing discomfort which existential philosophers unanimously characterized as forlornness is partly not unconnected with the dull and bleak realization that human birth or our coming into existence in itself has no defined purpose. No matter how hard we look, we simply cannot state categorically by any astonishing insight the reason why we are born, why we are in this world. It is not that such a reason exists as a bundle of facts and we are unable to find them or that with some luck they shall soon be discovered if we intensify the search – it is simply that such a reason does not exist.2 The claim of existential philosophers is that there is for a fact no such a reason no matter how long and how hard we search other than the one that we invent by ourselves. No catechism answer will do.
It is this profound existential insight therefore that commits us to query why we are born in the first place since coming into existence does no sovereign good to the subject but on the contrary only causes and inflicts great harm. Essentially, being born is a disservice. In otherwords one can never have a child for that child’s sake. Whatever justification there is for procreation therefore beyond the dictates of culture and tradition cannot be for the benefit of the one that is born but for the single Darwinian evolutionary selfish project to perpetuate the human species and guarantee that as human beings we continue in perpetuity to be in existence. This however is sheer wishful thinking since eventually all animate life will someday come to a final end.
The distinct culture of philosophy Mr. Vice-Chancellor, started amongst the Greeks in Athens though certainly not to the exclusion of similar cognitive preoccupations and engagements as found existing in other cultures, more so among Africans – especially among peoples along the Nile River and Egypt.3 Muslim cultures, long before the fine boundary lines of philosophy as an intellectual profession were drawn had been preoccupied with logic, numerology, medicine, alchemy, astrology, psychology and mysticism. While it is significant here to qualify the claim of Athens Greece as the birthplace of philosophy, it is necessary to underscore the point that philosophy is first and foremost a mental disposition, a mental attitude that is freely given and made available to every homo sapiens by the luxury of the human brain which allows us all to think and reason.4 Both brain activities of thinking and reasoning serve as foundation for human curiousity and the desire to know.
This is in itself philosophizing. You could say therefore that we all are already philosophers even without knowing it. If for example you have ever wondered about where the universe came from, why we should be good, if there is life after we die, why do we shout ourselves silly when praying to some entity called God, or if life is totally meaningless and so on then you are a philosopher.5 The wondering and questioning is philosophizing. The difference between you and me therefore is that unlike you who wonder and question and go on to other things, I have chosen to go on thinking, wondering and questioning for life. That is my profession. I have thus acquired what Garry Cox calls the art of joined up thinking and talking, and I am contended living with it. This was my reason when I quit banking. I remain loyal to the blueprint handed down by the protomartyr and patron saint of philosophy, Socrates.
Mr. Vice Chancellor, there was an era, now thankfully defunct, among philosophers particularly in African universities, when the debate was fierce and raging on whether there was in fact any body of knowledge that goes by the fancy name of African Philosophy that could favourably compare toe-to-toe with philosophies found in the West, in the East and Asia.6 If perhaps it could be established for example that there is no African Philosophy, then the label of an African Philosopher becomes derogatory or at best a misnomer such that whoever parades himself as an African philosopher will be no more other than a pathetic surrogate scholar of the West. That is, a black philosopher in a white man’s skin, with a white man’s brain. Gladiators in the arena those interesting years included Professors Peter Bodunrin my late mentor, teacher, father and the second Vice-Chancellor of this our great University, Kwasi Wiredu, Paul Houtondji, Odera Oruka, Harold Sodipo, Godwin Sogolo, my Ph.D supervisor and mentor, Robin Horton, Moses Makinde, K. C. Anyanwu, Late Campbell Mommoh, Late Segun Oladipo, Sophie Oluwole and Segun Gbadegesin just to mention a few.
The philosophy conferences of those years Mr. Vice-Chancellor, were particularly very volatile as well as hostile often greatly spiced with naked ad hominem attacks to the effect that some canvassed positions were seen essentially as vestiges of neo-colonialism and neo-imperialism which by the dictates of the new Africa and her acquired independent status has now become odious and anachronistic. Besides, these black philosophers who were mostly of the analytic school were perceived as being simply unpatriotic. Instead of signing up with Julius Nyerere, Leopold Senghor and Kwame Nkrumah who were considered the leading lights of African emancipation they are busy waving European flags. Thankfully there is however today an abundance of mental flourishing in African philosophy. The question and the debate on its existence or nonexistence has been resolved. Beyond the question of African philosophy, profound researches are now being carried out. Scholarly papers are being produced in all facets of cognitive human endeavour with African emphasis and exciting new vistas are being explored and investigated.
I wish to recognize and pay special tribute Mr. Vice-Chancellor, to a great Yoruba African philosopher who did so much tremendous work in African philosophy and assisted greatly in opening up useful discussions by expanding its scope, depth and richness. I am referring to Late Professor Olusegun Oladipo of the Department of Philosophy in the University of Ibadan. He was a brother, a true friend and a great scholar with exquisite cerebral power and an unusual insightful acumen, the likes of which we shall continue to cherish and celebrate. He was here in this University to give a memorial lecture in honour of Late Professor Peter Bodunrin, at my invitation, my first time around as Head of Department of Philosophy, May his soul rest in peace.
Philosophy and the Philosophy of Human Existence
Mr. Vice-Chancellor, whatever philosophy existed in Athens with the founding fathers Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, the natural philosophers and the very many different schools and movements, Sophists, Stoics, Cynics, Sceptics, Ionians and Epicureans will metamorphosise and get re-established in all of Europe as classical Western Philosophy tradition out of which philosophy, as studied, taught and practiced today in Africa universities derives with specific reference to Logic, Metaphysics, Ethics and Epistemology. Pre-Existentialism and the emergence of Left Hegelians and Marxism in Germany, all of what passed for Western philosophy from the early natural philosophers, Thales, Anaximander, Heraclitus, Anaximenes, followed by Socrates, Aristotle, from Plato to Hegel via Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Descartes the father of modern philosophy, rested firmly on the perceived natures and characteristics of existence and essence, specifically, how both are understood and the extent or depth of their relationships.
Debates and discussions on essence and existence in the history of philosophy specifically dates back to Aristotle running through the Scholastic period, British Empiricism, Rationalism of Spinoza and Hegel, the Phenomenology of Franz Brentano and Edmund Husserl and of course, Existentialism. Specifically, Sartrean phenomenological ontology which is derived in part from phenomenology and scholastic philosophy. For Aristotle, beyond the Lockean distinction of nominal and real essences, the essence of an object is that which finds expression in the concept which the object embodies, the concept under which it must be identified if it is to be or remain what it is. In other words, the essence of a thing is its definitive, fundamental nature; that which makes a thing what it is. In contrast, existence is the quality of factually being ‘out there’; designatable, describable, definable and nameable.
It is very necessary for reasons that will soon become obvious to take these explanations and separation of essence from existence a little further. Firstly, because its adoption, full interpretation and analysis by all existential philosophers make it the corner stone on which all other building blocks of Existentialism rest. There is a second reason which is that it provides sufficient reason for my professed attachment to Existentialism as being truly the philosophy of human existence; thus, underscoring and reasserting without apologies its insistence on the subjective as the authentic starting point of any serious analysis of the human plight and condition.
In Western philosophy, the term existence goes back to classic Roman thought, to the Latin word ‘existere’ which means ‘to step out’, that is, to stand out or enter into the world of facts. Traditionally, all things of the world were seen to be brought into existence by an outside sole force, namely God. This spontaneous cultural bias and attachment persists till today if you subtract that is, the Big Bang Theory and the Theory of Evolution. God alone is the true existence emerging only from Himself and by Himself. He is the only being whose essence is identical with His existence and vice versa. God is thus an absolute necessary being perceivable only through His essence as His existence. He therefore cannot not be if he is God. God is existence.
Besides, since it is believed that there is no potency in God, there is therefore also no becoming. God is full plenitude and every other being derives their existence from Him as well as their ascribed essences, their fundamental natures which according to metaphysicians of the medieval, scholastic and traditional African ferment, predates their existence. In other words, whatever the fundamental nature (essence) of any being, it is determined, named and ascribed only by God. In sum, all is as He, God, made and named them. Jean-Paul Sartre, the French philosopher and perhaps the most popular Existentialism exponent explains God and his relationship with the world and man appropriately with the imagery of the paper knife:
‘if one considers an article of manufacture, as for example a book or paper knife, one sees that it has been made by an artisan who had a conception of it. For one cannot suppose that a man will produce a paper knife without knowing what it was for. Let us then say of the paper knife that its essence; that is, the sum of its formulae and the qualities with made its productions and its definition possible precedes its existence. When we think of God as the Creator, we are thinking of Him most of the time as a supernatural artisan. When God creates, He knows precisely what He is creating. Thus the conception of man in the mind of God is comparable to that of the paper knife in the mind of the artisan … each individual man is the realization (actualization) of a certain conception which dwells in the Divine understanding.’7
This then was the definitive posture of a large chunk of Western philosophy, stretching from the natural philosophers through the Medieval, Scholastic and Modern periods.
It is interesting to note the groundswell adoption and/or replication of this thought process by other culture systems and civilizations. It is in fact particularly interesting and very appropriate to observe that the thoughts, ideas, arguments and conclusions (submissions) of these philosophers from the birth of philosophy have always formed the foundation for the beliefs and policies of all civilizations in all spheres of human affairs. World history attests to this. Be it in religion, civil administration, politics, morality, medicine and science, the world literally read from the handouts and notebooks of philosophers and adopted their recommendations along with their controversies as the reality and the truth. In almost all cultures of Africa the idea of a creating God prescribing and affixing essences to earth-bound creatures is most common. Take the Yoruba myth of creation for example which is very similar in detail with what you will find in most African cultures and some European traditions as well. A critical review of these traditions will reveal that they have their sources in the submissions of philosophers and theologians.
The Yorubas without a doubt for example believe, Mr. Vice-Chancellor, that they were created by God – Olodumare – the Supreme Being – although the task itself of the moulding of man was delegated to Obatala – an arch divinity in the heavenly pantheon. Please do not ask me now how the Yorubas know this for a fact. Just as you should not bother asking me how the author of the narrative in Genesis 1 and 2 of the Bible heard and witnessed God creating the world in six days. Obatala is said to be responsible for man’s physical details including those with knocked knees, hunchbacks and albinism. Olodumare only supplies the breath of life (just as you will again find in the Genesis stories) – which transforms the moulded effigy into a living being.
Before exiting heaven however, the now conscious earth-bound creature must visit the store house of Ajala, the custodian of oris (inner-heads) to pick his own ori – his destiny and his essence.8 As you will rightly guess from what goes on here on earth, there are good oris (good destinies – ori rere) and bad destinies (ori buruku).9 This obvious destiny luck dip is the story of one’s life from actual birth till death. Once the ori is chosen, it is sealed with an ase (Amen). It is irreversible and unalterable.
Interestingly, while one tradition affirms the unalterability of destiny (ayanmo ogbo ogun), another asserts that destiny (ori/ayanmo) can be altered by medicine men (babalawo), evil agents (aye), witches (aje) and bad medicine (ogun). What’s more, at the gate (ibode) that separates the heavens and the earth stands Onibode (Heaven’s Gateman) with the pot of water of forgetfulness (Omi igbagbe) which the earth – bound creature must drink, after which, he or she forgets completely details of the destiny/ori or ayanmo that was chosen.10 Once on earth, he or she, like a headless chicken, is condemned to run from pillar to post, this way and that way seriously struggling to survive amidst wrong decisions, mistakes, flukes, luck and good takes. If only he can just remember what he chose on the way to earth? Alas, it is only the babalawo by consulting his ifa oracle that can reveal details of human destiny. This is the same explanation that is given for the belief in akunleyan and ayanmo.
We will not bother ourselves at this lecture with the factual correctness or the validity of the claims in the narrative above just as we will not again seriously bother with the logic and scientific details in the biblical Genesis creation story since they are essentially myths and like every other mythical narratives, their intention is didactic. There are simply no facts whatsoever to test and/or validate. To contest their submissions therefore or present them as if they are concrete hard facts is to fall into serious epistemological problems which are most irrelevant in matters of faith. The latter has no need of evidence or facts. It never does otherwise reference will not be made to faith. The deduction therefore from Western Philosophy pre Existentialism and on the claims of what is found among the Yoruba and most African traditional cultures is that essence precedes existence.11
Against this traditionalist, moralist and rationalist submissions, Mr. Vice-Chancellor, existential philosophers protested with unrepentant total rejection insisting on total inversion; namely that it is existence rather that in fact precedes essence. That being the case, there is no a priori conception of humankind in any form – whether as a species, that is, a human nature or as that of a particular specific individual. Man’s nature as initio is to have no nature. We exist first without meaning or purpose and only after, as thrown marooned individuals in the world, invent meaning and purpose. Once this position is granted, off goes through the window the platonic theory of forms with its Judeo-Christian creator God. With it too goes the Hegelian notion of the Absolute Mind and Absolute Idea, as well the Cartesian dualism that humans are made up of body and mind (or soul). The claims and suppositions in the Olodumare, Obatala and Ayanmo narratives simply become moonlight/entertainment. From all this, it follows that we inhabit a world in which and from which God as conceived and presented is nonexistent. This is the commonsense confronting reality view that we are left with, given the poor quality of any evidence of proof for His existence.12
Consequently by extension, what exists and what qualifies it to be so correctly labeled as existing is what is; what is given and nothing else. There is no intangible or, invisible, God – given spirit that is distinct from our concrete corporate selves which could either have existed before in any form (no human consciousness could have known this) outside of our earthly lives. From this platform, as Benedict Donohoe explains:
Existentialism is a counterblast to the capital Cartesisan notion of the duality of mind and extension or matter summarised in the famous aphorism – ‘Cogito ergo sum’ (I think therefore I exist). Sartre inverts this premise to now say ‘sum ergo cogito’ (I am, therefore I think) – which is the natural order of things.13
Existence, that is being – out there, is the concrete starting point for any meaningful and serious philosophy and it constitutes the primordial initiator of every other disposition or state of being. Not consciousness, as Rene Descartes will canvass because consciousness itself is necessarily embodied by the physical body and its essential sum is the limit of brain states. It comes into being and sustained only with the emergence of the subjective in the world at birth and goes out of being from the world at death.14 As Thomas Ligotti (2010:25) rightly explains, consciousness is connected to the human brain in a way that makes the world appear to us as it appears and makes us appear to ourselves as we appear – that is, as selves or persons strung together by memories, sensations, emotions and so on. The brain therefore is the source of consciousness and the only source of consciousness.
In concrete human life, consciousness is a faceless and unnameable phenomenon as Brentano and Husserl’s notion of intentionality underscores except insofar as it is consciousness of something. Take away all the things in which consciousness inheres and there would be nothing left. For consciousness to seize itself as conscious, it must be grounded in some material object which is its intentional object otherwise it is nothing. This two-phased imperatives formed the title of Jean-Paul Sartre’s magna opus – Being and Nothingness.15
Human life and all that defines it as it is given therefore finds and authenticates itself only within existence as existing. The self de facto is existence existing as a process.16 I will not pretend however that there are no very strong controversies concerning the existence of the self as some philosophers and cognitive neuroscientists have in fact asserted that there are no selves17 and that no such thing as selves exist in the world. Nobody ever was or had a self. What existed were conscious self models that could not be recognized as models. Controversies aside however, from existential philosophers,
The claim that existence precedes essence means that man first of all exist, encounters himself, surges up in the world and defines himself afterwards. He will not be anything until later and then, he will be what he makes of himself. Thus there is no human nature because there is no God to have conception of it. Man simply is18
a freak of chance, an evolutionary specimen, a product of blind mutations. There is no necessity to his existence, no laws of logic or that of physics that insist that he must be. He is therefore like his choices and values contingent, unnecessary and accidental. His existence is superfluous.
Humanity potentially equals the sum of all human possibilities and we are whatever we make of ourselves, whichever choices we actualize. What this means, Mr. Vice-Chancellor, is that we cannot pass the buck and blame God or Satan which histo-culturally are anthropomorphic figments of the human mind. They are in other words essentially human inventions. By extension therefore, God did not create man but rather man created God. Just as mankind created Satan and chose through self denial and self emptiness to worship mere works of its hands. By the simplest of definitions this is idolatry. There is only then the self; (male and female) as instantiated existence existing in absolute freedom. When humans hide from this simple existential truth, they hide from themselves and thus become alienated. They live in bad faith or in what Martin Heidegger calls inauthentic existence.19 In practice, it means to deny the reality of freedom and choice and by such acts relinquish responsibility.
Existentialism and the Bias of Atheism
Mr. Vice-Chancellor Sir, Existentialism as a philosophical movement has one stalk with two main branches which have since grown more branches. The common stalk is the unconditional belief that existence precedes essence from which the insistence on personal responsibility and free individual choice of self and value became imperatives for the attainment of authentic existence. The first branch is Theistic Existentialism with Soren Kierkegaard a German as its chief exponent. He in fact is regarded as the father of Existentialism although traces of the philosophy can also be found in Socrates, St. Augustine, the Stoics, Epicurus and the Cynics. The influence of Kierkegaard can equally be found in the philosophies of Paul Tillich, Martin Buber, Karl Barth and Gabriel Marcel.
The second branch is Atheistic Existentialism with Jean-Paul Sartre a French as its chief exponent. He literarily made Existentialism popular and his version has since become the definitive profile for philosophers of this genre. It is here that I humbly belong in thoughts, words and action. Closely allied with Sartre is Martin Heidegger, Friedrich Nietzsche, Albert Camus and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Their unapologetic vehement rejection of religious beliefs which they all see as act of cowardice or what Albert Camus calls ‘philosophical suicide’, which promotes mental weakness and mediocrity, will relentlessly demand of the individual to choose and despite the agonizing throes of doing so, still choose for mankind. This is somewhat akin to the moralist Jesus insisting that we do unto others what we want others to do unto us or Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative of willing morality as an axiom for all men. When Jean-Paul Sartre submits that hell is other people or what we generally call society, the same point is being made. In choosing for myself, I am normatively choosing for others and through my actions remain authentic. At the same time, when I allow the others’ presence to determine for me my path, my choice becomes alienated, and I become an inauthentic being living in bad faith.
Albert Camus (the Algerian French existentialist) beyond his atheism, is the philosopher of the absurd par excellence and to him I must now lead this audience. It is, for emphasis instructive to note that my ascription, preference and adoption of a brand of agnostic existential philosophy both as a philosopher, teacher and researcher since I met philosophy rest principally on the two flagship philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus20. But far from being an avowed atheist, I definitely would pass for a theological agnostic existential philosopher. Note please that I have not accepted the label and charge of an atheistic existential philosopher but in descriptive terms only that of a theological agnostic. Theological because Existentialism is at its core a rejection of every and all forms of extra-terrestrial metaphysical ‘outside help’ elements (and that includes God) which make nonsense of self determination, human freedom and so unnecessarily too multiplies entities in the world. It is almost an accepted trendy attitude to sweepingly label every philosopher an atheist. While this is rather unkind and sometimes rude, it is nevertheless very welcome. It comes I guess with the trade.
The philosophical attitude typified by Socrates and which every philosopher worth his/her salt must have insists that every stone must be turned to discover what, if anything, lies underneath. Nothing is therefore sacrosanct and this includes God, its probable existence and nature and all the attending metaphysical trimmings including the possibility, if at all, of a life after this life, the probable existence of souls and spirits.
For some philosophers Mr. Vice-Chancellor, the question of God as existing or not existing has long been settled but not necessarily in favour of God since we do not and may never know for a fact if he/she/it exists or not but for the sake of a truce akin to that provided by the famous Pascal Wager with a gentle plea for agnosticism. After all, all of life as lived by man is a risk. If on the one hand, we bet on God as existing and we die having led either a Christian or Muslim life to discover to our delight that indeed God does in fact exist, then we inherit the promised heaven and paradise singing Holy! Holy!! Holy!!!, for eternity (a boring torture if you ask me) with the angels. If on the other hand, we bet on God as existing and we die having led a Christian or Muslim life only to discover that God does not in fact exist, our loss in the end is insignificant. However if we bet on God as not existing and we die having lived an unchristian life only to discover that God in fact exists, our loss becomes immense. We certainly will miss heaven. This is a serious miss for believing humans. What is left is hell. So Pascal pleads that it is better that we bet on God and live a Christian life. In other words, It is better to gamble and play safe.21 Could all religious people perhaps be gamblers?
Mr. Vice-Chancellor, the plea for agnosticism I consider reasonable for this reason. There are two kinds of agnostics. The first kind is the ‘eager agnostic’.22 He is the kind who says, ‘I don’t know if God exists, but if you’ve got some evidence, I’d sure like to see it!’. The second kind is the ‘apathetic agnostic’ who would say ‘I don’t know if God exists and I don’t care’. You would certainly find some philosophers who are downright atheists just like many non-philosophers too with no contenance of God, religion of any sort, incence or idols. As Paris would say, the latter are for idiots. There would nonetheless be philosophers still who, while rejecting all proofs of God’s existence as sheer afterthought with crooked suspicious logic, suspend judgement, take on the garb of sympathetic agnostic and possibly tinker with a wager saying that although I am very uncertain on the issue of God’s existence, I am inclined to believe in God. This will be tenable if we adopt Huxley’s analysis of agnosticism which states that in matters of the intellect, follow your reason as far as it will take you without regard to any other consideration. And negatively; in matters of the intellect, do not pretend that conclusions are certain which are not demonstrated or demonstrable.23
The problem here is one of evidence. Note that not all evidence is good evidence on the basis of which we give consent. According to Julian Baggini, an
evidence is stronger if it is available to inspection by more people on repeated occasions; and worse if it is confined to the testimony of a small number of people on limited occasions ……. The evidence that water freezes at zero degrees centigrade is an example of the best kind of evidence – anyone can test this out any time for themselves and each test makes evidence more compelling.24
The rejection by the Logical Postivists of the Vienna Circle for example of all metaphysical assertions and claims as literal nonsense is because of the same simple reason that such claims lack concrete evidence and are as such unverifiable, particularly with regards to metaphysical propositions inclusive of every assertion about God, Satan, angels and mystical experiences. These are sentences which
… purport to express genuine propositions but do not in fact express neither a tautology nor empirical hypotheses. And as tautologies and empirical hypothesis (they) form the entire class of significant propositions, we are justified in concluding that all metaphysical assertions are nonsensical.25
Our lack of knowledge of the form ‘I know that’ which Empiricism supports should, in the face of common sense and the tenets of Correspondence Theory of Truth settle the case so that there is less worry about God’s existence and the portrayal of the peace loving easy going philosopher as an anti-Christ. We should ask for nothing more therefore than the criterion of Thomas that gentleman in the Bible although with a minor fundamental modification stating: “unless I see Jesus and touch the actual sites of the nails and the spear, I will not claim knowledge” and not “I will not believe”. The modification here is with the word ‘believe’ as used by Thomas. The word ‘believe’ is used correctly only when there is lack of concrete evidence. Once Thomas had the unique experience of putting his fat fingers into the holes made by the nails on the hands and feet of Jesus and that made by the spear on his side, it is most mistaken of him to say ‘I now believe’. With Jesus in the room, Thomas now has the incontrovertible knowledge that this here before him is the risen Jesus. He is standing in front of him. He now knows. He cannot now go on believing that which he knows by way of explanation.
Although it is correct and reasonable to say that one cannot claim to know X and yet claim not believe it, as noted above, a continuous descriptive reference to X as a belief is epistemologically generically misleading and superfluous. Once you know, belief dies. When we call ourselves believers, for example we are boldly proclaiming that we know
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