Language is quite ambiguous at times and we can be misled by the casual way we use it in our everyday lives. Most of the time this doesn’t really matter as ‘sloppiness’ is often a shorthand code and we can often understand the intention behind statements.
One problem that often occurs is when this casualness leads us into logical confusions because we were not specific enough in the way we employed language.
by Agomo Atambire (member of the Humanist Association of Ghana)
I am a Ghanaian, born and bred within this area of the earth we call Ghana and I have not lived outside of it (note). Taking you even further, I am from an ethnic group known as Frafras. Like the other ethnic groups that make up this country, the Frafras are very superstitious! One of my names is in honour of one of the gods of my people. Christianity and Islam may be what my people portray but they are neck deep in the traditional practices and I have had my family to as a primary source to view this charade.
By Paa Nii
In 2012, reports emerged that a Gallup poll involving 57 countries ranks Ghana as the most religious country in the world. The publication read:
“Overall, 59% of those surveyed described themselves as religious, 23% said they are not religious, and 13% said they are convinced atheists.”
“The nations with the highest percentages of self-described religious persons are Ghana, Nigeria, Armenia, Fiji, Macedonia, Romania, Iraq, Kenya, Peru, and Brazil.”
“The nations with the highest percentages of self-described “convinced atheists” are China, Japan, the Czech Republic, France, South Korea, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Iceland, Australia, and Ireland.”
(You can read the poll report here).
There is something peculiarly funny and interesting between in the socio-economics and living standards of countries which majority of citizens professed “religious” as opposed to those countries where majority professed “convinced atheists”; – but that is a matter for another day.
In this piece, I want to argue that in large parts, the socio-cultural parameters for the validation of belief, are to say the least, misleading. And that most people who gladly tick / respond ‘religious’ to survey questionnaires in fact, do not believe. Easy! Please indulge me. Read More…
It is fascinating to watch believers trawl through their ‘holy books’ attempting to find justification for what they think their religions should really mean. They pull out phrases such as “Whoever kills a person [unjustly] it is as though he has killed all mankind” (Qur’an 5:32) as if we are supposed to be impressed by their profundity.
They emphasise how progressive various passages were in the Bronze and Iron Ages as if they are still progressive in the 21st century
Prophets, psychics, mediums, soothsayers, those who claim to channel aliens or angels, all claim to predict future events or to bring important messages from “other dimensions”.
Often it appears these messages are more designed to give authority to these people rather than bringing anything of value. Some religions claim to have successions of prophets who run their organisations bringing new and updated information as humanity progresses, such as the Church of Latter Day Saints or the Baha’i Faith.
What is significant is the uninspiring and retrospective nature of these messages.
Humanists put great value on how we treat others, our ability to care for others, make ethical judgements (decisions which assess the consequences of our actions), and the freedom to decide our own purpose and meaning in life. All these rely on our ability to reason.
Reason is the ability to think clearly and logically, to verify facts, and then to change or modify ourselves, our attitudes, traditions or institutions, based on that information. Reason is a form of freedom that prevents us being chained to beliefs or habits by prompting us to continually ask questions and examine our lives. Read More…
Your family talks about it and forces you to pray with them from an early age. You are taken to the church or mosque and even your respected school teachers appear to believe in a god. We even see the President praying!
All around you people are continually repeating their beliefs and appear to have personal emotional experiences. You are told, or you assume, your doubts, or lack of experiences, are because you are not ‘spiritually mature’. Why assume everyone else’s personal experiences must be real because they seem to believe in them so fervently? Read More…
In Ghana, it is common to hear the phrase, “We’re suffering oo”. It’s almost undoubtedly caused by the realities of living but also by a perception that life is better outside the country.
Like people all over the world, we believe that if only there was more money, a better government, or if we owned more ‘stuff’, that we’d experience a sense of completeness and suffering would be alleviated. Read More…
In Ghana, religious belief is something that is almost instinctive in the way one might put on a pair of underpants. Like pants, it is rarely questioned whether the item should be worn or whether the correct version has been purchased beyond how fashionable one’s brand looks to one’s peers. It is assumed that the sheer holding of religious belief must be normal and correct.
However, despite this complete lack of thought, need for intellectual rigour or consideration of deep philosophical questions, the believer is automatically assumed to be moral merely for holding the belief. Not only that, it is considered a prerequisite for morality. Read More…
This is an article by one of our Nigerian humanist friends Dr Jide Akeredolu
A RATIONALIST is someone whose worldview is guided by reason. He refuses to swallow any idea or dogma that does not make sense. He critically examines any idea presented to him and takes what can stand scrutiny and discards the rest. Or he just suspends judgment until more information is available to make a judgment. There are seven major reasons why I am grateful I am a rationalist rather than a religious believer. Read More…