Atheism is on the rise not only in western societies but also in Africa. An outspoken and aggressive publicity program has contributed to the appreciable growth of this particular thought bracket.
Etiology of Atheism
Unanswered Prayers: “As a child, I prayed to God for Him to solve these crises I had. He did not solve my problems. Today I do not believe in God.” This is a common presentation of atheists. In some atheists, one sees the obvious reason for the disappointment in God and abandonment of faith, in physical or mental injury or disability—that likely led to a position of disbelief.
Losing Faith: The above presentation of ‘unanswered prayers,’ however, is sometimes not readily decipherable. There are other factors that precipitate a loss of faith. Before people resort to atheism, there is often a period of lost faith or decreased religiosity.
Several polls over the years have found a decreased belief in God in America. Most recently a Harris poll released this December found that the belief in God had declined from 82% in 2005-2009, to 74% now. That is a whole 6 percentage points. These results are confluent with previous polls.
23% of Americans claim not to be religious. This is double the figure 6 years ago. Only 49% of Americans believe all/most of the Old Testament is the Word of God. 48% do so for the New Testament. This is a 6% decline since 2008.
There is a similar loss of faith in other countries polled. Globally, the number of those asserting to be religious has dropped by over 10% points in the last 7 years.
As people lose faith in God, they are more likely to declare atheism, agnosticism or humanism.
Darwin Doctrine: The Darwin evolution doctrine, which is officially promoted in all educational systems outside the Middle East, deliberately, challenges belief in God. Thankfully for the faithful, people are capable of abstract thinking and as such are able to learn things that contradict their religious belief in school, and pass exams on these while still holding on to their faith.
However the educational boards are sending out directives for teachers to ensure and measure that their students learn evolutionary concepts not just to pass exams, but to be enshrined with the belief system of accidental origin and an ancestry shared with ‘bugs,’ as against what they call the ‘baseless’ Creationist position. Despite a majority of the population still believing in Creation, this alternate explanation of the origin of life is not entertained in the educational system which is not a democratic system; and does not respond to overwhelming preferences. A blending of the two systems is also not allowed.
Darwinism, though not fully understood by most students, silently rips away at their belief in God, because evolution operates on the principle of accidents and probabilities ruled by ‘mother nature.’
Prevalence of atheism
“The Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism,” a WIN-Gallup International poll across 57 countries found the number of Americans who say they are “religious” dropped 13 points to 60% in 2012 from from 73% in 2005. Similar drops were seen in other countries. In the same period, atheist numbers increased from 1% in America to 5%. The highest population of the world’s 13% atheists is in China, where 47% are atheists, this is followed by Japan with 31%. Outside East Asia, Western Europe has the highest numbers, standing at 14%, with Czech Republic, Netherlands, France, Germany and South republic of Korea holding the higher numbers.
Africa still has the most ‘religious’ people. Ghana scored the highest in the 2012 WIN-Gallup poll with 96% believing in God and 0% atheists. Nigeria came next with 93% believing in God and 1% atheists. However these numbers do not tell us about those who have wobbly faith. It is those numbers that potentially transfer to the atheist pool. In addition in Africa and Black societies, things like atheism are taboo and as such polls sometimes do not present actual figures.
On internet fora, one meets several outspoken atheists these days, challenging the faithful in dogmatic debates. This brings us to the next topic:
Atheism or Rebellion against God
The posture of today’s atheist is far from insular or reserved, but is staunchly aggressive. Atheists can be found not only online, but in cities with large banners making provocative challenges and throwing insults at the faithful. Millions of dollars are spent in promotional material on all media to discredit God and religion. Popular atheists like Dawkins are seen raking in financial profits from writing books and arranging seminars to bash God and religion. Atheism today is not a position of refusal, but a position of stark objection and fanatical condemnation.
The question sometimes asked is why atheists do not forget about God, but take up this obvious position to attack God and promote their doctrine. This has made some regard atheism as a new religion with prophets like late Christopher Hitchens who died of throat cancer, and Richard Dawkins, the author of “The God Delusion.”
When one studies the behavior of atheists from a Biblical perspective, one sees the same example of atheists today in the story of the Nimrod (Hebrews), the first ‘Pharaoh’ and Potentate on Earth, otherwise regarded as King Narmer or King Enmerkar to the Sumerians and the “Tower of Babel;” where the King denied God and yet invested all his time and the time and finance of his people in building a tower to ‘challenge’ God in the heavens.
The position of rebellion supports the theory of disappointment in God, thus designating God as an enemy to be combated. The atheist however will not accept such qualification since he professes a belief in the absence of a God.
The atheist argument
There are several positions put forth by atheists to debate and discredit religions and God.
Popular among them is the question of the origin of God/the Creator. The atheist asks, “where does that ‘man’ in the sky come from that created this world out of nothing?”
This question is indeed a challenging one and one that many billboards have been made out of.
The faithful however counter this question by calling the attention of the atheists to the deliberately left out part of their challenge. Positing that “a question is not an answer or a rebuttal.” This goes further: How does the atheist explain the Big Bang and the intelligence of biochemical and genetic design in life?
The Big Bang theory, which is currently proposed by science explains, “Discoveries in astronomy and physics have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that our universe did in fact have a beginning. Prior to that moment there was nothing …and according to the standard theory, our universe sprang into existence as “singularity” around 13.7 billion years ago. What is a “singularity” and where does it come from? Well, to be honest, we don’t know for sure.”
So how do disbelievers explain the “singularity,” and how nothing became something; and in a meaningful and coordinated fashion? Also how life’s complexities, the signature biochemistry and genetics of nature is directed. How also can the atheist, nothing from nothing ask questions?
In a popular televised debate between one of the leading atheists, Richard Dawkins and a Theist, Ben Stein, these questions were raised. Richard Dawkins conceded that there was a signature of higher intelligence to life. He further stated that this could be “aliens” or some other Being(s) from another planet who seeded earth with life. An articulate Ben Stein, recognizing that Dawkins acknowledged an intelligent external Being supervising life on earth, interrogated Dawkins whether perhaps it was simply the Christian God he disbelieved. When Dawkins said no, he pried whether Dawkins believed the Muslim God or any other God.
From this we notice that what atheists like Dawkins have problems with is the Religion based identity of a Master planer, while not denying that there must be a Creator or Master planner for there to be creatures. Dawkins only objects to the Creator/Planner being that is spoken of in religions today, but believes there could have been an Alien “Creator.”
Other arguments proposed by atheists include things like, ‘who did Cain and Abel marry?’ This however is answered by the “Book of Jubilees,” which was recently featured on Discovery channel. The Book details that Abel had a twin sister and so did Cain. In addition as the Book states and is in the Muslim Holy Book, the Quran, Adam lived for over 100 years and had several other children.
The Religious Position Against atheists
The faithful also have frequent accusations and challenges postured at atheists in addition to the responses mentioned above.
One of particular intrigue is the question on the origin and purpose of existence according to atheism. This is a question atheists find hard-impossible to answer. Are we simply animals who live to procreate?
How does the atheist invite the faithful to his fold without an assertion on what his purpose of life will now be? People within religions, live to serve God and declare their origin as from God. This gives a clearly defined origin and purpose. This is not so with atheism.
Atheism operates on a principle that life arose by accident and as such has only accidental purpose and is as useful as accidents can be.
During a recent scientific conference I was participant in, I asked of a pro-accidental evolution biologist why man should prevent global warming? This question also queries the reason why tyrants, the like of Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong, prominent atheists who have killed over 100 million people in the greatest incidents of carnage against humanity, should be accused of wrong doing. Or why the dropping of nuclear weapons is wrong.
The atheist responded that it is essential we protect this world for future generations…our children.
I asked, why? She responded, rather flushed, that it is not mete we drive gas-guzzling automobiles and warm up the planet to exterminate life.
Then I submitted: If it is nature or Mother Nature (written with higher-case first letters) that guides evolution and successive development of life, leading ultimately to the evolution of the human species, then when did it become our job to supervise nature? I went further to suggest that if those men who feel like using their ability to destroy, destroyed, and the others who feel their skills are better for repairing, repaired, ultimately if and when we wipe out the planet in the ongoing Holocene human-impact extinction—as happened with the ice age and other extinctions—nature will replace us with perhaps better beings, its next ultimate products. Who says we are the penultimate intelligent, higher species in nature’s accidental plan?
There was an awkward silence in the hall.
The truth is, only religion defines man as the ultimate species.
Today, in westernized societies, natural disasters are blamed on mother nature; but what is mother nature? With the global media and mainstream networks pushing the mother nature attribution of events, the world is secretly boxed into a state of masked disbelief. In African traditional societies, when there is drought, men pray for rain. They pray to God and not to mother nature. This translates- God holds the rain, so also God opens the skies for the rain to fall, in optimal quantities and in excess. Therefore, traditional and faith systems attribute events of nature to the Creator.
The Bible, Quran, Hindu scripture and most other scriptures define a God who controls the weather and ‘nature.’ His blessings and His wrath are elicited in the calmness or hostility of the biosphere.
Faithless systems promote a belief in random events, “it is just nature;” which deny God his faith-based Might.
As more get used to this attribution of cataclysmic events to mother nature, true faith in God diminishes.
Incest, Bestiality, Mass Murder and other Risks
Atheists are known liberals. The words, ‘evil,’ ‘moral,’ ‘incest,’ ‘sodomy,’ bestiality,’ these are religious words that have no meaning and no place in atheistic vocabulary. Theists are worried that atheists will release every ‘Beast,’ known to humanity if they predominate and are leaders of countries. Again we refer to Joseph Stalin who massacred up to 60 million. Stalin said, “Death is the solution to all problems. No man —no problem.” He also stated, “One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.” Mao Zedong, another popular atheist likewise killed up to 40-70 million.
Without denying the reality that there are religious wars and genocides, the numbers are 20:1 in ‘favor’ of atheist brutality, and the world has only had so few atheist rulers.
Most atheists and atheist fora are silent on or promote incest. This group believes that a brother can sleep with his sister, and the legal system should permit it. These attributes and thought processes cause anxiety between atheists and the faithful.
Africa and atheism
Atheism is not yet significant in Africa. Lack of faith or antagonism to God in atheism is largely foreign to the world’s largest continent. From history, Africa has largely been Monotheistic, with the ‘angels’ and ‘attributes’ of God becoming revered at different times as intermediaries to the One God, sometimes in the form of idols; this can be classified as ‘Substance Monotheism.’
The history of Judeo-Christianity and Islam is enshrined in Africa. Biblically the 10 Commandments were revealed in Egypt; and prior to the tablets, history shows that Egypt/Kemet had similar commandments and religious rituals found in the Abrahamic faiths, including cutting hands of villains, prostration and circumcision. Marriage, burial of the dead and prohibition of incest are other such examples found in Africa for thousands of years.
When sending the colonialists to Africa, genocidal Belgian King Leopold II admitted this in his 1883 letter to the Colonial Missionaries. He said:
“Let your evangelization inspire above all Belgian interests. Your principal objective in our mission is never to teach the niggers to know God. They already know God and His commandments; have courage to admit it. Your essential role is to facilitate the task of administrators and industrials. Go to interpret the gospel in ways to best protect your interests in that part of the world. Therefore dis-interest our savages from the richness that is plenty in their underground. So you can avoid that they dream and compete to one day overthrow you. …
Preach Gospels to make them love poverty, like “Happier are the poor because they will inherit the heaven” and, “It’s very difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
Thus, it was in colonial interests to perpetuate a skewed system of beliefs and interpretations of faith upon the continent, as a colonial tool, knowing that true faith serves to protect and empower.
By Peregrino Brimah