Atheists In Kenya (AIK)

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The Bitter Atheist


Warning: The views expressed in this post are entirely my own.

Over the past few months, I’ve had the privilege of meeting quite a good number of Kenyan atheists. Most are pretty awesome people; intelligent, interesting, fun to be around. But then there’s another kind of atheist that I’ve encountered, one I’ve christened The Bitter Atheist.

Let’s get some things straight before I delve into this issue. We are all entitled to our little bursts of frustration/ anger/ bitterness about life. But when that frustration/ anger/ bitterness becomes your life, then you have a problem. I know that atheists have a lot to be bitter about, but for the love of everything, don’t let the bitterness consume you. Is your life exclusively dedicated to pondering and attempting to prove God’s non-existence, mocking religious people and expressing how angry you are at the religious levels in your locality? No? Then why on earth are you acting like it is? Jipe shughuli, for fuck’s sake. Put all that energy into something productive. There’s a way to be pro-active about atheism and/or free thought, and no, bitching about God/ religion/ theism in every single status, tweet or blog post is not it.

Here’s the thing: the more bitter, angry and frustrated you portray yourself to be, the more unattractive what you stand for looks. I think the most important thing you have to ask yourself is why you’re putting up those statuses, tweets or blog posts.

Is the point to get religious people to let go of their delusions? Then let go of your condescension. Nobody likes an arrogant person, and the fastest way to get religious people to hold on stubbornly to their beliefs is to behave like a bitter, angry psycho who’s arrogant to boot. Check out Truth Saves for tips on how to get your point across without sounding like an emotional and intellectual trainwreck.

Is the point to connect with other atheists and keep track of the current state of atheism in your region? Then enough of the repetitive “Religion X is stupid” posts. We know that already, that’s why we don’t follow Religion X.  Check out Friendly Atheist for pointers on how to keep other atheists interested in your blog.

Is the point to get some comic relief out of religious people’s beliefs? Then please try to actually be funny/ interesting. Godchecker and the no longer updated Atheist Cartoons are examples of good atheist humour websites.

On a related note, I’d like to officially announce that I am no longer an administrator/ official of the group Kenyan Free Thinkers. The group started out with noble intent, but unfortunately has become associated with all the characteristics of a Bitter Atheist group. I do not agree with the caustic approach that the KFT administrator(s) are using to promote atheism, as I find it counter-productive and off-putting. I no longer wish to be a leader in the KFT group, although I may participate in their regular meet-ups as an ordinary member. 

You can find me through the following channels:

My Blog: iamakenyanatheist.wordpress.com

My Twitter: @IAmMissDevi

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About missdevi

Just your friendly neighbourhood atheist, blogging barefoot from somewhere in Nairobi, Kenya. Hoping to get Kenyans to open their minds and THINK.

23 comments on “The Bitter Atheist

  1. Harry
    July 31, 2012

    Well, as a fellow administrator of the Kenyan Free Thinkers group, indeed the originator of the idea, i will have to accept it when fellow administrators leave the group. Free thinking has to include the right of expression, and involvement or even a lack of it, and differing opinions are as welcome as converging opinions. This is not an organization, rather a movement.

    I must say that as a blogger, even as a writer, i take a very critical approach of religion, and it is expressed in my blogs, however it has absolutely nothing to do with my frustrations with religion, or my personal life. I have read a lot of critics to my articles ( i was recently blocked from posting to the Young Professionals group), and i have no problem with that. My motivation for blogging is not to please the world, rather to express my views and get feedback. My writing style indeed is one of the many approaches one would use when writing about Atheism. I have also read blogs and videos of the moderate Atheists, the conservative Atheists, the agnostic atheists, the militant ones and the really combative ones, and they all have to be accommodated, since Atheism is not a religion with a CREED. One chooses not to believe, and everyone has their reasons.

    Let me state that I will also make this post available on the blog, and share it with (FIKA) and (The Point) in the spirit of inclusiveness and free expression of ideas. I find it neither offensive, nor repugnant to the vision of the Kenyan Free Thinkers, which i hope to grow.

    Thank you for the time you have been a part of this movement, and I hope to get more bloggers to balance the combative styles of writing with more moderate ones.

    I will leave this quote by Herman Hesse, who said: “Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish.”

    Like

    • missdevi
      July 31, 2012

      If there is one thing this blog is doing, it is showing people that atheism does indeed exist in Kenya. For that at least, I commend you. Good luck with the KFT, although this is not goodbye because as I mentioned, I may still be attending the meetings as a regular member.

      Like

  2. Harry
    July 31, 2012

    Cool.:-) There is a lady interested in posting articles and she has forwarded her email. She sent me her blog and i liked it. I will add her, and i hope she will bring the necessary balance. With time, am sure we shall get there. Its interesting how we seem to be growing daily, despite the combative style evident in my posts.

    Like

  3. Kay
    July 31, 2012

    So what? Religious people aren’t condescending? Following any religion could be seen as “arrogant”. Because to follow one religion means that you think all the other religions are wrong and yours is right and will get you to heaven. That’s not arrogant? Religion affects some people’s lives daily. You seem to be forgetting that a lot of people can’t talk about their lack of faith in certain parts of the world so if they want to blog/tweet about it let them! That’s their way of venting. I don’t see you complaining about people that tweet prayers or religious verses daily. So why can’t people tweet/blog about non-religious things daily?

    Its okay to be showy about your faith but not showy about a lack of faith. Oh please.

    Like

    • Harry
      July 31, 2012

      Kay, your sentiments resonate with mine very well. I have said that Atheists should come out. Infact the more bitter you are, the more you should write about it. We are not seducing the theists. We are blogging about us, our feelings, our views and anyone should be allowed to do it in whatever way. I am a critical Atheist, and i will continue calling Pastors stupid! They call us sinners anyway, and we used to accept it long time. I will also not dictate on what you blog, infact if you are more decent than i am, you can as well request that i add you as a blogger and start blogging on KFT. We want to grow, despite our diversity. Let us write, let us express ourselves. If we come out bad, many already think us bad anyway. We lose nothing!

      Like

    • missdevi
      August 1, 2012

      “So what? Religious people aren’t condescending?”

      They are not the issue here. But the fact that you have defended your position by pointing out that religious people are condescending too should raise a few alarms for you. I think we can all agree that most religious people (especially the fundies, who I assume you’re referring to here) lack freethought. What does it say about you that you have the same characteristics as they do?

      “You seem to be forgetting that a lot of people can’t talk about their lack of faith in certain parts of the world so if they want to blog/tweet about it let them!”

      I fail to see how my post objected to atheist blogs, especially considering that I run one myself. The point appears to have passed you by, Kay. My issue is with blogs that only reveal a negative, bitter, angry side to atheism. This is counter-productive in the long run because we are the same people trying to show that we can be happy, fulfilled people without god(s).

      Like

      • Kay
        August 1, 2012

        Perhaps I have misunderstood you. So please explain what exactly is an angry and bitter atheist. An atheist that expresses their dislike of the effects of religion often is automatically angry and bitter? I don’t think its fair to draw that conclusion. This is just like the way people view women that often point out sexism in the society. They’re immediately labelled angry, unhappy women that hate all men.

        Like

      • missdevi
        August 2, 2012

        Kay,

        The following is a sentence from the post above:

        “I know that atheists have a lot to be bitter about, but for the love of everything, don’t let the bitterness consume you.”

        The point is this: yes, there are things to be angry about as an atheist. But, as a commentor on my blog put it, we need to rise above that. We need to find more positive, proactive ways to channel our frustrations. I gave Friendly Atheist as an example of a blog that does just that.

        Like

  4. Nikii Apa
    August 1, 2012

    C’mon ma’am.How can u say that?I mean,Harry;am I the target here?I hereby confess that critic atheism is my way.What are u proclaiming miss?Stop being sarcastic here…Criticism can’t be refuted in atheism.One thing u ought to know is that bitterness/stubbornness/independent hard thoughts and free will are all acquired traits of a Radical Atheist.Take it or leave it.Diversity is a no go zone because I find Conservative Atheists(like u as you are openly proving it) very arrogant and extremely ignorant at the same time.You can’t talk of bitterness and participate in meetings with us at the same time.Condoning us!

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    • Harry
      August 1, 2012

      Nikii, really thanks for your insights on this. What i know is that if someone proclaims Atheism, you are very well going to become critical, even get on a collision course with most theists, and conformists, and i say that it is something we should encourage, not suppress, if you think that millions of people in the world are driven by a delusion, you are likely to shoot every priest you come accross!

      Like

    • Chowder
      August 1, 2012

      Nikii, I beg to disagree with you, it is as if you are saying that anyone with a different view should be shunned out which is not really the spirit of freethinking, Harrison knows that I try to balance between the in your face approach and the more moderate approach when dealing with the religious view, I think in the end it’s all about what you hope to achieve in the end, I don’t support the anti theist approach as well especially when it’s riddled with bigotry which some people do, however as atheists we all have different ways of bringing issues out I think we should respect people’s right to have these different approach. Claiming that Miss Devi shouldn’t attend your meetings or be part of your group is very arrogant and smells of bigotry and insensitivity towards differing view points, imo

      Like

      • Harry
        August 1, 2012

        Did Nikii claim that Miss Devi should not attend our meetings? I think she really did not. Actually Nikii does not live in Kenya. In all, we need to know that Atheism lacks a code of conduct. And people become Atheists for very many reasons. Some are very brutal, others very polite, others are simply not interested in coming out. The Kenyan Free Thinkers will accommodate all views, all literary approaches, including the theist views without discriminating. But, as an administrator, i shall not stop any critical views from being expressed here. Whether it makes the theists feel bad, whether it angers the Muslims and Christians, i will accommodate a very wide variety of views.

        Like

    • missdevi
      August 1, 2012

      I have blogged here about how atheism is not the same as freethought. This is clearly a case in point.

      Like

  5. Nikii Apa
    August 1, 2012

    Well put Harrison.Am not biased here Chowder,am just trying to talk it out and you misunderstand me.I guess atheism is bigger than u can just imagine.So as much as u can analyse it,criticism,justification and a raw approach of arguments are all basic dynamics involved.The moment I talk of MissDevi participating in active meetings of the same despite her sentiments and opinion,I don’t mean that she needs to switch off from it.After all,AM NOT KENYAN,Not even with the idea that u do meet.Anyway,thanks Harry for verification and clarification.

    Like

    • chowder
      August 3, 2012

      Nikii, that clears it up,sorry for the miaunderstanding

      Like

  6. Pingback: The Bitter Atheist | The A-Word

  7. Nikii Apa
    August 1, 2012

    @Miss Devi,hey!hello,as much as I would like to agree with you;don’t feel angry when I do the opposite.I tend to agree with you when u say ”…how atheism is not the same as freethought…” but again,don’t u think both Atheism and Free Thinking are diverse beyond measure?And we(Probably Harry and team) choose to take a spect of the same in KFT?Well,it’s simple and precise.Atheism is not a cult/sect/religion/organ or even foundation…it’s simply a logic movement from power of mind into practise.It involves criticism,reasoning and so much logic in it.That’s where Free thought comes in.Free thinking on the other hand involves free will(without any absolute truth) that deals with a specific line of life as a way of living.It deals with a specific point of interest as well.For instance,KFT(as a page) tackles religious criticism as a whole through the application of Atheism,secularism,agnostics and humanism.That means that you dont stand justified(in full armour) when you talk of free thinking over atheism.

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    • missdevi
      August 2, 2012

      Hi Nikii,

      “…don’t u think both Atheism and Free Thinking are diverse beyond measure?And we(Probably Harry and team) choose to take a spect of the same in KFT?”

      Yes, I see your point about how everybody has their own style and ways of expressing their atheism. I don’t like Harry’s because I don’t find it productive. The end. Am I going to try to stop him from doing it? No. But am I going to express my views? I believe I just have.

      “Atheism is not a cult/sect/religion/organ or even foundation…it’s simply a logic movement from power of mind into practise.”

      Actually atheism is just the lack of belief in any gods. Period. That’s why freaks like Jeffery Dahmer existed. However, freethought is a “way of looking at the world that holds that beliefs should be formed on the basis of science and logic, and not influenced by emotion, authority, tradition, coercion, dogma or established belief.”

      I maintain that freethought is superior to atheism. That’s why many good atheists are freethinkers and/ or secular humanists; atheism doesn’t have any core values in and of itself.

      Like

      • missdevi
        August 2, 2012

        Where “good” means moral and generally repelled by doing harm to others.

        Like

      • Harry
        August 2, 2012

        Miss Devi, your decision to write and express your views about my posts was quite welcome. Being a free thinkers myself, and a reasonable person ( i am naturally a democrat), i decided to have the post available and i even shared it, to give others a chance to ventilate over it. And as you can see from the responses, we have varied views. There are those who feel that what i post is just fine, no biggie – go on Harry, do your thing! Then there are some like you who want us package our posts in a certain manner. That only tells me the extend of diversity of who we are, even as Free Thinkers. We are very diverse. It could be because of our past experiences, our nature, even personality can dictate what kind of Atheist you are. It is just like when you are in a class, and all of you subscribe to a certain ideology, everyone will have a different way of approaching it. KFT not a corporate organization, with a corporate culture, and an identity that we want to build. I think the more random we are, the better, in any case, we haven’t even hit 1000, though we are growing.

        Now, you say that my posts are not productive. What exactly do you mean productive? My assumption is that you mean readers of the blog shall not endear themselves towards the concept of free thought. They will find it off-putting. That is where i differ with you.

        I think, being a new movement in Kenya, let us all write write write. Let me write, however bitter it sounds. Let others write, and i have encouraged others to keep writing. Indeed i have posted the most posts on the blog (65), more than the other administrators (you 8, and Joseph 1). The reason i made you an administrator is to bring out the much needed balance. I am a critical, brutal writer. But to my surprise, and joy, there are those who relate positively to the ‘critical approach’ that i use. Recall that i met you and encouraged you to be posting on this blog. I have also told Joseph to be writing, but none of you did it on a continuous basis. You re blogged some of your blogs, but at some point i think you faded away. Only to re-appear and write about ‘The Bitter Atheist’. When i write, i get feedback, and we debate about it. And we have had good articles by you and others. For example, there was an article that you did that was well thought out, in my view. Kennedy Karuga wrote a superb article that i posted on his behalf. Many Atheists are still in the closet, and if they come out with guns blazing, this blog should give them a chance. Then other Kenyans can see what is happening.

        It is with this in mind that i am going to be as accommodating as i can. I will still be critical in my approach, and in terms of productivity, i am not out to necessarily win over anyone, but to have a platform for Atheists and Free Thinkers to share their views, experiences, feelings, in whatever way. I will allow both critics, the bitter ones, the happy ones to be a part of this blog.

        Like

  8. Babanani
    August 2, 2012

    Harry,

    Thanks for inviting critical comment. You can guess that means some is coming…

    First, it is great to see the site up and atheists active. Kenya needs more of this and it is good to see some folks bold enough to come out of the closet. Your goals of helping these ideas grow are excellent.

    But your tactics…

    You write that your blog will help win people over to free thought.

    But then you post things like “Atheists are more intelligent than religious people.” Do you really, logically, think that insulting people helps change their mind? Take the time to look at the science of advertising to see what works in bringing people around to your way of thinking. Or the literature of successful social movements, or behavioral science.

    Also, apply clear thought to your contention about intelligence. It is clearly not true. Read the accounts of atheists who have converted. Were they less intelligent before conversion? No. Same intelligence, new conclusion. Think about all the intelligent people who have never bothered to question religion. Does that make them less intelligent? No, they were just interested in other things. How about the Pope? He manages to climb to the top of one of the richest, most powerful organizations in the world, beating out millions of other Catholics. Is he smart? Damn straight he is, he has brain power to burn. Is he wrong about a lot of things? Yes, but he is intelligent. And doing better materially than you and I…

    Are you winning people over to free thought with poor logic and insults? The critical feed back from me is no. You could have written that post with stronger logic, no insults and still raged against the negative impact of religion. And that would have made your point and actually been productive in winning people over to free thought.

    Thanks again for inviting critical comment.

    Like

  9. Kay
    August 2, 2012

    Harry, I’d just like to add that the critical approach certainly is productive because it was the critical approach that got me to do away with religion completely. It got me to really question my views. Sometimes its important to listen to what exactly someone is saying rather than how they’re saying it. Even if it hurts your feelings. You think people like Malcolm X and MLK minced words? They were very critical of the “white man” and some called them extremists. You might not like this critical approach Miss Devi but it sure as hell works!

    Like

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This entry was posted on July 31, 2012 by in Atheism.
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