MY TAKE: Petition to remove ‘God’ from our national anthem reeks of bigotry
The intention by sections of the citizenry to have the national anthem amended is not unique to Kenya. Similar calls were heard in Britain, in the USA, in India, in Russia, and in many other countries.
A few have indeed succeeded to make some changes, whether additions or deletions, but rarely were these on religious grounds. For example when East and West Germany embraced each other to form one nation portions of the anthems were deleted to make a favourable amalgamation.
It is the right of atheists not to believe in God, and from their petition, it is true that “not all Kenyans believe in the existence of God.” I must say I am also impressed by the Atheists in Kenya Society’s patriotism. Their expression of interest to have “God” deleted from our national anthem however raises many questions.
Our very patriotic national anthem evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions, and struggles of the Kenyan people. It was composed in 1963, sang in the Pokomo lullaby “Bee mdondo, bee” with its first recording being done on September 10 the same year. Its composition was not whimsical or emotional, but it underwent thorough vetting to arrive at the product that it is today.
When the Atheists in Kenya Society show intention to have “God” removed from the Kenya national anthem, isn’t that an expression of not only ignorance but also blatant selfishness?
Aren’t they trying to disenfranchise those who believe that the foundation of our nation is God?
If one chooses not to believe in God, that is a personal choice to divorce themselves from what others believe. In any case, saying “I don’t believe in the existence of God” doesn’t mean God doesn’t exist.
If I say I don’t believe in the existence of the moon — well, there are those who see it and believe it exists. My failure to believe in the existence of something doesn’t render it nonexistent!
To say “I believe there is no God” is a conscious choice, but on what do you base your choice: evidence, logic, faith?
If evidence, then what positive evidence is there that disproves God’s existence? If logic, then what logical proof is there that negates God’s existence? If there were a logical argument that proved God did not exist, it has not yet been made known, at least not to me yet.
For someone to believe there is no God is to hold that belief by faith since there is no evidence that positively supports atheism, and there are no logical proofs that God does not exist, faith which atheists oppose.
When one says there is no evidence for God, this is not a logical position to hold since to know there is no evidence for God’s existence necessitates that the person knows all possible evidences for God’s existence, which is humanly impossible.
The statement “there is no God” has a logical contradiction. You cannot affirm the negative in the absolute. For you to do this you must have infinite knowledge in order to say there’s no one with infinite knowledge. Who, among the atheists has infinite knowledge?
If there is no God, then life is but a spark in the infinite blackness, a spark that appears, flickers, and dies forever. It means there is no basis for morality, since the ultimate destiny or fate of the killer, the rapist or the terrorist will be, literally, exactly the same as the destiny of good people: extinction and permanent non-existence.
If it is true God does not exist, then any innovation or discovery only gives people the means to live, but no meaning to live for.
If God doesn’t exist, then there is no objective standard of right and wrong. All we’re confronted with is, in Sartre’s words, “the bare, valueless fact of existence.”
The greatest question for the atheists is: can man live without God? Any person who has tried to kill God has ended up only killing himself.
Deleting “God” from our national anthem is killing our nationalism in the name of inclusivity. I will defend this anthem to the iota.
Rev Musyimi is a pastor with Africa Inland Church & a Part-time Lecturer at Daystar University