‘Non-existent God’ keeping Atheists in Kenya fully occupied

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“When a mad man walks naked, it’s his kinsmen who feel shame,” said Chinua Achebe in his book a Man of the people. Sometimes when you are extremely misguided, it will take the intervention of a third party to restore you back to the path of sanity.

Mr. Harrison Mumia; the self-proclaimed president of Atheists in Kenya (AIK), allow me to address you today

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It’s ironical that a man who doesn’t believe in the existence of God would spend so much energy disapproving him. It’s hilarious that his words, press releases, literature etc. are saturated with the very same God he tries to disapprove.

In the words of Eric Hyde, in his blog post titled, Top 10 Most Common Atheist Arguments, and Why They Fail: “It’s one thing to willfully deny the evidence for God after giving it an honest hearing, its another thing to remain willfully ignorant of an opposing view while claiming the opposing view is ignorant. I have found that such behavior is typically a sign of a person woefully insecure about his or her position, using an abundance of insults as cover for a bankruptcy of insight.”

I don’t fear the implications of their message being unleashed on unsuspecting minds neither do I fear them getting a platform to advocate for their ideologies.

But of late, the message of the president of atheists in Kenya, Mr. Mumia scares me. The ideologies of the amorphous alliance and how he is propagating it scares the hell out of me every time he grabs the headlines.

Unfortunately, many religious people who obey dogma and accept extremism without questions have given the likes of Mumia potent weapon to unilaterally attack faith. In fact, I suspect that Mr. Mumia either had a traumatic experience in the hands of a religious tyrant or he was forced to believe in a certain religion. His imaginary war with God looks like it stems from a place of rebellion.

Since I can’t ascertain the legitimacy of the group known as the Atheists in Kenya Society (AKS), I will address the face by the name of Mr. Harrison Mumia:

Dear Mumia, I’ve read your petition to remove the word God from the national anthem with happiness on my face. Happiness because of how entertaining and delusional it is. I’m even shocked that our local comedians haven’t enlisted your services in their popular shows. I’m also shocked that your letter that borders on the words of a deranged man received attention.

First of all, I’m a believer in free speech. I’m also a believer in the freedom of worship as enshrined in our constitution. By all means, go ahead and not believe in anything. That is your right and we will respect it.

Article 8 of the Constitution of Kenya that you misquote does not support secularism. What the Constitution states in Article 8 is that “There shall be no State religion”. Presently there is no state religion in Kenya.

The Constitution does not use the word “secular” or any other word that infers the non-recognition of the concept of God in the affairs of the State. In fact, the word “secular” does not appear in the Constitution at all. On what basis do you want to rob Kenyans of their precious time to sign a petition that has no legal basis?

But don’t you think you are becoming a little bit hypocritical by infringing on the rights of others to believe in God? First of all, the word God in the national anthem doesn’t force you to believe in the existence of a supreme God.  If every time the national anthem was played and you were required to believe in God, then we would all gladly support you in your ambition.

Another viable suggestion is this, instead of wanting to mutilate the work of another man, why don’t you, with your prowess be pragmatic and compose an alternative anthem which you can then float to Kenyans and they will either adopt it or reject it? Because we cannot just have people who are gifted at criticisms but they are not willing to provide any alternative solutions. Go ahead, assemble your brethren, compose a godless national anthem and then let’s have a debate about that.

If you don’t believe in any supreme being, why don’t you do it in peace so that you don’t have to disrupt the numerous Muslims who go to mosques, the numerous Christians who pray to Yahweh, the numerous Hindus who kneel in different temples in this country?

Given the fundamental belief as an atheist in an absence of God, why then are you concerned about a being who doesn’t exist? Why are you fighting the name in a national anthem of a being who doesn’t exist?

From where I stand, your motive looks like it is hell-bent on mocking everything that smells of religion, why don’t you expend your energies in trying to sell the unique proposition about atheism?

As a man who believes in God, I would like a scenario where you tell me the benefits of not believing in any supreme being. Tell me  the unique selling propositions of what you believe in. Sell your nothingness to me. Persuade me. Without coercion, threats or manipulation.

When you attack the God that billions of people believe in, I’m not sure if that is a better way to convert them.

I might not be a prophet, but I know one or two things about persuasion. You will not go far by attacking the God who represents a supreme being among Christians, Muslims, Hindus, among other groups.

My own understanding of God is that he is all good. He challenges me to be a better human being. He is my source of creativity, love, intelligence, etc. I hate religion but I love spirituality.

You claim that God doesn’t exist and faith is irrational and only science knows the truth has no basis in fact.

Mr. Mumia, you come out as a man who is stuck in a belief system that’s guarded by rigid skepticism. You don’t want your fragile beliefs to be challenged by others who believe in God.

If you are open minded, you will realize that the human story is about growth and evolution. That is the only standing fact regardless of who shouts loudest about God or the absence of God.

The preamble to the Constitution begins by stating as follows:

“We, the people of Kenya—

ACKNOWLEDGING the supremacy of the Almighty God of all creation… ADOPT, ENACT and give this Constitution to ourselves and to our future generations.”

The majority of Kenyan voters decided (through a popular vote at a referendum) to include God in our fundamental law. Until the majority change their mind and decide to exclude God from the Constitution through the set procedures for constitutional amendment;

  1. no reasonable legal arguments can be made for the unconstitutionality of any reference to God in the national anthem;
  2. no logical argument can be made in support of atheism from a constitutional standpoint.

Dannish Odongo works for Capital FM as a columnist and a Digital Media Strategist. Follow him on twitter @dannishodongo and like his page: Dannish

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