Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A nonbeliever but not an Atheist!

Many people believe that if you don’t believe in any kind of god then you are automatically an ‘atheist.’ However, I don’t believe in god but I don’t label myself as an atheist. Many atheists, though not all, don’t believe in god not because there’s absolutely no god but because they don’t have any proof that god exists. I don’t know whether they’d believe in god should someone prove beyond any reasonable doubt that god does indeed exist or if god all of a sudden comes and proves by himself/herself that he/she does indeed exist.
I don’t see myself as an atheist because my nonbelief isn’t based on the existence or the nonexistence of god. Whether or not god exists, I still wouldn’t believe in god. I don’t see any role god plays in my life whether or not he/she exists. The tenets of life which I apply to value every human beings are internal to me not imposed from without. So I don’t see any reason why some ‘heavenly’ being would be interested in my praising him and condemning myself in order to win favors.

A powerful god would make me what he/she wants me to be anyway if he/she is the one who created me; so showering him/her with praises to win favors sounds like what many Africans do to their dictators. What’s the difference between an African dictator and a god who fancies being praised? The aim is to win favors in the government and national resources from the African leaders and to win afterlife in the case of god. I know this sounds simplistic but this is the state of affairs with the god thing. Prayers belittle gods and are superfluous for us.
So the onus is on god to tell me why I should believe in him.

While I don’t believe in god, I don’t go around denigrating religious people. Human beings are fallacious and weak entities and we thrive on fancies and imagination. To try to destroy that is complete utopia. People prefer to feel good rather than be right. We lie so many times to make our friends feel good even when we know we are lying. That’s the essence of our human-ness.
I understand atheists have the best of intentions. They don’t discriminate anyone on any basis and they’d want people to use logic, reason and science to be the basis of our life. But that sounds like the very same utopia of heavenly afterlife religious people have drummed onto our eardrums for centuries if not millennia!

To try to institutionalize atheism as an antagonistic organization against institutionalized religions is as fallacious and as wrong as the utopia church leaders have tried for centuries.
The beauty of not believing in god is the personalized understanding of oneself and what one wants in life and the moral standing one forges for oneself and exercises towards fellow human beings. Nonbelief could exist as clubs and professional associations but not as a proselytizing institution.

Religions is not bad as a concept in itself. What makes it unpalatable is its being as an institution. Institutionalization of atheism in a church-manner is a mockery of logic and reason.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

An Open Letter to President Kiir Mayardit

Leaders the world over think about two paramount things: the PRIMACY of the citizens’ needs and the LEGACY they leave behind long after they have gone. It seems, Mr. President, you think less about the two mentioned above and more about staying in power. There is one thing you have to remember as you stay on: time will come when you’ll be gone either by political necessity or by biological and physiological necessity.
Power ends, but your legacy will not end regardless of what it is. You might go down in history as the first and the worst president South Sudan will ever have; or you can change course and be the best leader South Sudanese will remember for generations to come. The onus is on you!

Here are some things to consider as we begin the New Year.
You are the President

The only person who has the ultimate say in what happens in South Sudan is you. Sometimes your speeches and interviews don’t reflect that. When asked once by a journalist when peace would be realized in South Sudan, you asked the journalist to ‘go and ask Riek Machar.’ That was both ‘unpresidential’ and irresponsible. You were mandated with confidence by South Sudanese in order to do things for them and in order to show optimistic way forward. Riek Machar is a man who’s shown time and again that he wants to lead South Sudan. That we understand very well. However, he’s not the president of South Sudan. You claim legitimacy but you fall short of portraying that. It’s time you remembered that you are the president of South Sudan so act like it. Professing being the president is not what presidency is about; you have to act in the interest of the people.
Stop talking and acting as if there’s someone else; someone who’s actually the decision maker in South Sudan! As the president, you need to account for the atrocities committed by people under your command. Riek Machar will account for his own atrocities. As president of South Sudan, who still has Nuer leaders in your government, what would you tell millions of Nuer, who lost their loved ones in December of 2013? You are the president so answer them like a president!

The Peace Talks
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was made possible because there was a will to bring peace and the understanding that Sudanese had had enough of war. Taha and Garang, in the interest of Sudanese people, took charge of the talks, showed courageous leadership and made very painful concessions.