Historically, secularism has been an ethic of liberation for those revolting against repressive institutions of society, such as those originating with the puritans, the Victorians, and the Catholic Church. It is only through activities of humanist and atheistic groupings that rationality can be witnessed to be of assistance to the dying population. In this struggle as in all the other human developments, Africa has been left to follow on the footsteps of the developed world, who to some extent look at Africa as a copy of its past. Africa is just like a mirror back in the years. On the other hand, Africans as at now gather their energy to struggle for survival, and this means eating, and sleeping with routine practice of repeating the same process henceforth.

 

This is true to Kenya. Kenya is a "predominantly Christian" country and Christians in Kenya tend to be magic-oriented, seeing faith as a shield against demons, witches, evil dreams, bad luck and similar superstitions. Believers interpret the horrors of everyday urban life in supernatural terms. In many cases, churches seek to prove their spiritual powers in struggles against the "devil " to the extent that they hold mass meetings to demonstrate the power of the  in overcoming spiritual powers.

 

However, more and more Kenyans are today coming out of the closet and in support of the notion that religious belief is childish, that earnest prayer is something only children engage in, and that faith in "God " is just something one dabbles with in childhood but eventually grows out of as one becomes a mature adult, a fact that would strike most Africans as terrible blasphemy.

 

Those working to bring about a secularism in Kenya have been encouraged by some signs that progress is being made towards this goal. Recent surveys of religious belief have indicated that the number of nonreligious Kenyans is growing, and the new constitution has at least taken note of the existence of nonreligious Kenyans.

But don't kid yourself. Kenya is still an overwhelmingly and notoriously religious country, and prejudice against atheists continues to run wide and deep. Ordinarily sensible Kenyans have been known to go amok at the mention of the word ‘atheist'."

In a nutshell atheism in Kenya is a no go area. A taboo which is dismissively linked to occultism and "devil" worship.

It's bad enough to be a non-christian in Kenya, but if you're an atheist  and especially one who supports human rights for all, including lesbians and homosexuals - well, that's over the edge. You are an alien. A non-human from planet Hell where you should be expressly dispatched to. That is the unwritten gospel according to Kenyans.

Anyone who has worked for atheism or other secular groups, knows that this is the norm rather than the exception. All too frequently, we encounter brick walls from organizations and government  or even from individuals who share similar concerns and goals (LGBT rights, freethinking, reproductive choice, anti-FMG and so forth) to work with atheists and their reaction, sometimes expressed sometimes implied, is that they will tolerate work with atheists only if they (atheists) mute their  nontheistic beliefs, lest they offend man and "God". This has led to the lethargy that has set in today among atheistic organizations in Kenya while other hitherto very active groups have died out completely or  sunk into hibernation. Others have been assimilated into the more tolerated Unitarian universalism. There are some who urge that this is the right approach in Kenya i.e that we soft-pedal our lack of religion so we can be part of the "mainstream" whatever that means.

While not questioning the wisdom that goes into hibernation or subterfuge, the primary goals  of secularists should be to end the stigma that is still attached to being a nontheist and to end the privileged position that religion still enjoys in Kenya today. Anything else should fade away.

It also raises some hard questions which need to be answered.

Is it possible to  achieve these primary goals in Kenya if we pretend that we are something we are not or intentionally obscure our beliefs?

Is it right to compromise our integrity just so we can join more coalitions and get invited to endless forums and parties?

If the mainstream still harbors prejudice against atheists and other nontheists, should our ambition be to join the mainstream, or  make the mainstream change its course and curve towards us.?

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Having known (and employed) a handful of Kenyan women as maids (all Muslim), it was nice to read that there are a small but growing number of secularists there. The entire continent is, as you said, deeply entrenched in religion, but still it is good to know that there are people from all over the world, and especially in places as religified as Kenya, who are capable of coming to their senses all on their own.

As for your questions, I take a pragmatic approach. Yes, it does damage to your cause if you pretend to be something you are not, or if you compromise your integrity, or if you just seek acceptance rather than deconversion, etc., but perhaps it does less harm than good. What good would it serve if you alienate yourselves and end up getting strung up or lynched for your beliefs? I know it is a bitter pill to swallow, but unless you can leave where you are and make it to somewhere far more tolerant of your beliefs, I think it is best to go with the flow and do what you have to do so that you can make excruciatingly slow progress rather than "go for broke", and then end up that way.

Thanks for the update on Kenyan atheism. It does sound like the US Midwest during the 1930's, I'm afraid. The issue of covering is acute. I imagine that the degree to which one conforms to the demand to cover has to correlate with the percentage of your particular minority and to the broader civil rights fundamentals of your society. In a liberal country such as Sweden, even a despised minority of one might safely out himself/herself. In a fundamentalist society, the minority would have to be organized and approach a third of the population I'm guessing. A change agent would assess the viability of different covering scenarios in a given society and decade. If atheism is interpreted by the majority as devil worship, you have a long road ahead.

Jabal Kawanja

I am touched by your appeal. I strongly feel that this is the time atheists should unite and act together to defeat the religion and god lovers. You will believe me if you see the few posts started by me. I earnestly hope that atheists develop a vision for a wider world and I also believe that atheists should offer the world a rational alternative to religion. It is high time that atheists think in this manner and eventually give a social leadership to the world. If you believe me, let us join together to appeal to atheist leadership to expand atheist activities.

MADHUKAR KULKARNI.

1.  Is it possible to achieve these primary goals if we pretend we're something we're not?

2.  Is it right to compromise our integrity?

3.  Should we join the mainstream and change them or separate?

Those are the questions asked in the OP.  A weakness I have in answering is I'm not in Kenya.  There are subtle ways I learned to navigate before I even figured out I was an atheist the whole time in America and there may be similarities to the Kenyan environment but I couldn't know that for sure.  

You've got to basically both usurp the mainstream and separate from the mainstream at the same time if you want my opinion.  I've mentioned in other posts that I conceptually ally my atheism with the position of fringe faiths because we are both opposed to Christian privilege in America.  My allies and I still have strong disagreements about the role of faith in everyday life but with enough diversity faith ultimately becomes a useless factor.  A person's faith becomes an analogy to their personal right to select their own moral opinions.  In some places that grants them freedoms, and in other places they have to shut up and follow laws just like the rest of us.  

Being an atheist in Kenya has to get safer.  That's a symptom that things are getting better, right?  To get there you need some people to be example atheists.  But then you need a bunch of quieter nice example citizens that are quietly atheist.  You'll create spaces of people who don't promote the majority religion and even some Christians will enjoy taking a break from being under the constant scrutiny of their brethren.  

The quieter atheists have a goal of dividing the Christians into the crazy ones and the moderates so that even moderates help separate themselves from the crazy ones.  Feel free to apply these ideas toward Muslims if there are enough of those in the area.  The louder atheists have the goal of exercising freedoms of expression the moderate Christians might secretly want as well.  Ultimately, somebody charismatic is going to be a social martyr at a time when Kenya is almost ready to view atheists as equal-ish and when it hits the news, even Christians will feel like that level of violence against other religious viewpoints or atheist viewpoints is too much and you'll have more help from then on.

None of that should sound particularly easy.  But don't ask the shy atheists to stand up and be counted.  Wait for your bold atheists to volunteer because it's a really tough thing to navigate being a stand up atheist.  It's not that easy in America and we have a ton more rights than I think Kenya has.

africa's been flashpoint in the world imho. materials minerals oil... China/heard they're owning Angola...

vatican homophobe no condom influence, even bush was there trying to drum up some crap profit scheme I'm sure; it's like where ever a leader/ceo/corp. loses trust around the world they go to the lawless areas of Africa to suck the blood of the sufferers! wtf

literally Mishell Bahckmann's head of admin at some point ran guns to fund xtian/muslim war there.. heard the snippet headline on democracynow.org once. literally million dollar reward on his head for funding terrer.

it's so funny; the pop'liticians in the USA that fly the god/country flag real high with a side of homophobia (acting kinda gay on tv imho) fund wars/schemes abroad while they distract with 'message from god crap' here...

no brainer, stop the lies here first.

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