Bringing together non-believers
Today morning on the President of Atheists in Kenya, Harrison Mumia went on radio to discuss the Registrar of Societies decision not to register the association.
Kenyans listening to this show responded, most of them being theists, a few atheists and agnostics here and there. Almost everyone agreed with the registrar that Atheists in Kenya should not be registered. Why? Because Kenya is a religious society and we believe in God, furthermore, the preamble to our constitution affirms our belief in God and so does our National anthem.
Listening to the show, a couple of thoughts occurred to me. First, the theists specifically the Christians were deemed to be talking from a point of authority whereas the atheists were deemed to be misguided idiots.
Second, Harry was accused of just wanting to register a society to obtain funding from donors.
Third, the hosts mostly agreed with the theists and spent a lot of time cackling at what they believed were words of wisdom from largely eloquent callers, most of whom called in to deride Harry’s point of view.
Fourth, most people assume that atheists have not read the bible and are therefore speaking from a point of ignorance, forgetting that most Kenyans are immersed in whatever religion their parents subscribe to almost from conception.
Lastly, from what I saw on twitter, Christian charity was most certainly not evident as they poured all the vitriol in their hearts out towards Harry as expected.
This reaction, while not unexpected, still somehow manages to surprise me. To many people, it is not okay to not believe in deities (or God). I cannot understand why the fact that some people do not believe in religious deities causes such a violent and vitriolic reaction from theists (In this case most of them were Christians).
Harry raised a valid point that many chose to ignore, which was that he does not believe in ANY Gods, in the same manner that Christians do not believe in the Hindu Gods and Pagans don’t believe in either the Christian, Muslim or Hindu Gods. It really is that simple. Your God isn’t the only God out there, there are other Gods whose believers assume are the one (or two) true God. A quick look at www.godchecker.com will give you a list of the sheer number of Gods that people have believed in at one point in time or the other. It will also serve to remind you that you and your religion are not that special outside of the privilege that you have allocated yourselves.
One person actually stated that those who say they read the bible and still concluded that there is no God are misguided and the only conclusion one can draw from reading the bible is that there is a God. Any research into the origins of the bible will show that what most people read today as the divine word of God was decided by committee. How one can take a book that has been translated, retranslated, edited and basically cannot even be agreed on, as the origin of the rules by which they live their lives is amazing and kind of pathetic.
If I wanted people to behave in a certain way as a person (or deity) in authority, I would provide clear and explicit instructions that would leave no doubt as to what my requirements were. Adherence to these instructions would be rewarded and failure to adhere would lead to clear punishment. The Bible has proven time and again not to be that book of instruction as no two people who read it come to the same conclusion. The HR manual in my office is more clear and concise.
I am not a fundamentalist, in fact you will find that most atheists are not fundamentalists. People are free to believe in whatever or whomever they want be it Ra or the Flying Spaghetti Monster (May the sauce be upon him). No one can deny any Kenyan the right to believe in their God(s). What theists don’t understand is that they cannot demand that other people must believe in something, to the extent that they would deny a fellow human being their rights because they choose not to believe in the same deity that you do. You would have to be extremely arrogant and ignorant to make such a demand especially where it concerns a matter as subjective as religion. How different would you be from Adolf Hitler who believed in the superiority of the Aryan race and racial purity?
The constitution of Kenya grants every Kenyan the right to form an association and cannot discriminate on the basis of conscience and belief. These two rights can be found in Article 27 (4) and 36 (1). The wording is clear and explicit and the Registrar of Societies needs to provide an actual logical reason as to why she won’t register the society as the current reason can only be described as idiotic.
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