How I lost my religion: Atheists in Kenya president Harrison Mumia

Harrison Mumia president Atheists in Kenya [Photo: Wilberforce Okwiri]

Harrison Mumia, 39, grew up in a religious family. He went to church, attended Bible studies and was baptised.

But when he was about 24 and a university student, he stopped believing. “Nothing happened to make me stop believing. I wasn’t walking one day and ‘saw the light’,” he says with a laugh.

He just had too many questions around God, morality, creation, faith - questions that religious texts didn’t provide sufficient or convincing answers to.

Science gave him more convincing answers and that’s reason he became an atheist.

Harrison doesn’t think that you need to believe in God in order have moral values. And that all the suffering in the world is not the devil at work; man is the source of evil.

 The creation theory is the belief that God created the universe from nothing, which he doesn’t believe in. He asks, as other atheists do, how do you know God exists?

Kwamboka, 31, also an atheist, had the same questions as did Harrison: If there is an all-powerful, loving God, why is there so much suffering in the world? Why do children suffer?

Why does God use suffering to bring mankind closer to him? Does it mean someone could do evil things and repent on their deathbed and gain entry into the perfect place no one knew existed?

“I don’t believe in God. There is no evidence that He is there. I’d rather spend my Sundays teaching my children a craft, playing with them, being there for them,” says Kwamboka. No, her children don’t go to church. The much they know about religion they learn in school.

 It is not that she lost faith. She doesn’t think she had it in the first place. She grew up in a religious family and regularly went to church.

The bible, though, left her with more questions than answers, and the fact that it has so many contradictions didn’t make things any easier.

 In fact, she says, if you want to stop believing in God, just read the bible with a critical mind. She believes that a lot more people have questions and doubts, they are just too afraid to ask.

Belief by the numbers

Kenya has: 31.9 million Christians, 4.3 million Muslims (Kenya National Bureau of Statistics).

Atheism is slowly gaining ground. Consider the WIN-Gallup survey that found that those claiming to be religious dropped by 9 per cent worldwide while atheism rose by 3 per cent compared to when they carried the poll in 2005.

The number of atheists in Kenya rose from 0 percent to 2 per cent (South Africa was the only African country with a marked drop in religion, the number religious people dropping from 83 to 64 percent).

KNBS states that 922,128 people in Kenya have no religious affiliation while 61,233 are not sure of their religious affiliation.


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