“To get young Africans weaned from their almost congenital reliance on fate, they must be educated to stand on their own feet. The worst bane of Africans is a chronic dependence on the deity to solve all their earthly problems. Give everybody an education for self-reliance and we will vie with the best nations everywhere.” – Tai Solarin (Nigerian Humanist 1922-1994)
I am a humanist and firm believer in random acts of kindness. My lack of belief in a god/God/ a supreme being is part of my world-view. I believe that each act of kindness or goodness serves to bring balance to our often times seemingly chaotic world. I do not believe that there is a grand “heavenly” plan. Like many other people, I have my fair share of questions about everything from the creation of the universe to why we exist as human beings. I will continue to question, but I refuse to throw my hands up and attribute anything to a supreme being. In my mind only those who are dead cease ask questions.
I do the good that I can to my fellow human beings in the here and now. I rejoice with friends no matter their belief. I try my best to live a life of tolerance even when I do not agree with the ideology of others. I live the best I can with my shortcomings. What never ceases to amaze me, however, is the response of a good number of my Christian friends when they “discover” that we do not share a common belief. They act as if Christians have cornered the market on goodness. They seem amazed that any good can come from anyone who is not a Christian. They falsely attribute all that is good about me to my Christian parents as if I had no mind of my own to choose my actions.
In their minds, all good things come only from the God of the Christians. They are amazed that I extend myself for their own benefit when I can. They marvel at the fact that a “godless” person has a heart. They pity my “condition” and tell me that I am in a temporary state of confusion, which will be reversed by their prayers, the “holy ghost” and Jesus Christ. They suggest that I keep my humanism hidden, while they blatantly advertise their Christianity. I, on the other hand am amazed at their narrow mindedness and their inability to see beyond the powers with which they have endowed the god of their imported religion. I feel no need to advertise or hide. At this writing I feel a need to clarify.
I appreciate the grave concern that is expressed for my “mortal soul” by some of my Christian friends (although not a single one of them has been able to give me reports back from heaven or hell). I know some simply are afraid for me because they are not yet able to grasp what I believe. I am at peace with the person that I am and what I do. I take responsibility for my life. I neither praise nor blame a deity for the good or ills that befall me. As an African woman who chooses not to stand with either theists or with magicians and their craft of confusion, I have moved beyond the shame, secrecy and pretence that surround what is labeled as “witchcraft” or “demonic practices”. I am well aware of the ability of those who are gifted at “magic” and the creation of illusions to exercise their craft. I am also well aware that these are human beings like you and I, not agents of the Devil or any so called spirit beings.
I choose not to live in fear of a hell or damnation; neither do I choose to live a life constrained by the fear of missing a ticket to a heaven or paradise. I am content to live as I live.with no shackles to bind me, and no religion to blind me. I know as definitively as I know my own name that Christians nor anyone else has cornered the market on goodness. For those who marvel at the goodness of strangers, let them continue to marvel. For those who are able to live a life of tolerance and who are able to live respectfully with others, I commend you. For those who would like to learn more about humanism, visit this website or this one.
“Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.” americanhumanist.org