The existence of God is a big hoax, according to a group of Kenyans who are now agitating for rational thoughts in decision making rather than adherence to religion.
Mr Harrison Mumia, 35, is the president of Atheists in Kenya, people he describes as free thinkers who insist the existence of a supernatural being is a figment of the imagination.
Atheists do not believe in the existence of either God or Satan.
“God does not solve any of our problems, because He does not exist!” Mr Mumia told the Nation on Wednesday in an interview.
Brought up in a staunch Christian family, Mr Mumia’s atheism was triggered by the inconsistencies of religious texts, especially the Bible which he says portrays an unfair God who brings pain and suffering to his people, sometimes leading to the death of His followers.
“The story of creation portrays an unfair and inconsiderate God who places Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden with a lying serpent. And when they are deceived, he gets annoyed and chases them to toil and sweat for their survival,” Mr Mumia complains.
He cites a biblical instance where God saved only one righteous man, Noah, and his family and saved some species of animals. He also cites the decree to kill all first born males in Egypt and says that that character of God is too brutal, selfish, unforgiving, and vindictive.
He is also critical of other religions and their doctrines.
The rationale for not believing in a supernatural being, he says, is the lack of empirical evidence on the teachings of the various religious teachings.
Mr Mumia foresees a better society where the population has no allegiance to any religious order.
“We want a more enlightened society with shared values,” he said, adding that there is no evidence on the existence of either heaven or hell, or even life after death.
“Atheists live one day at a time. We devote all our energies to current assignments because once we die, that’s the end of us.”
Baptised at nine in Friends Church, Mumia says he didn’t question the doctrines of religion until 1996 as a high school student.
That he has had his share of conflict with persons of opposing views on religion is routine for this leader of a group that he says is growing by the day.
Mumia, who works as a web administrator at Central Bank of Kenya, says he has been an atheist for a decade now. The last time he was in church was for social reasons.
“I attended a Catholic church with a girl I was dating and my experience enriched my experience to remain an atheist,” he says, adding he was critical of the rituals and sermon of the day which, he terms brainwashing.
“I will not introduce my children to religion, but instill values of honesty, fairness and compassion amongst others to enhance humanity,” Mr Mumia said.
“Recently when I was driving in western Kenya and almost had an accident, I called out ‘Oh God!’ But this is a remnant of my religious past and not a recognition that there is a God.”
Friends, colleagues and relatives alike at times shun him because he does not belong to any faith.
“My mother, a staunch Christian wishes that one day I will wake up, smell the coffee and return to Christianity, but that will not happen,” says the second born in a family of four, one of whom is a Muslim.
His group also works with atheists in Uganda, South Africa, Europe and America. Atheists in Kenya are not registered “owing to pre-conceived perceptions by regulators” though they intend to do so this year.
They have 2,000 members with a regular monthly attendance of between 20 and 40 in Nairobi aged between 17 and 45, while the rest are virtual members active in the blogosphere.
Other officials include vice-president Pius Kamau, a graphics designer, and Ms Laura Nangela, a chef, is the organising secretary. Members are drawn from professional circles — lawyers, teachers, civil servants, information technology specialists, and university students.
The Atheists in Kenya was founded three years ago by Mr Mumia and Mr Kamau with a vision to strengthen cooperation.
Mr Mumia says they have use social networking sites and are now expanding. “We are not competing with any religion.”
On their website, http://www.atheistsinkenya.net/, the group talks about their ideologies and reflections on why they believe there are no deities.
Atheists in Kenya’s mission is to challenge and confront religious faith, to strengthen global atheism by promoting the growth and interaction of atheist/free thought organisations around Kenya and to undertake national educational and advocacy projects,” reads their mission statement on the website.
They also proscribe to six value names; Reason and rational thought, science and empiricism, compassion, purpose, freedom and responsibility.
Mr Mumia is quick to clarify that atheists are not devil worshippers.
He says that when the time to marry comes, he would like to settle down with a loving and understanding partner and doesn’t mind a Christian.