“For me I am here, I was born here; I will die here and get buried here. I don’t believe in heaven myself!’’ President Museveni made the sacrilegious statement last Saturday at the national prayer day for Covid-19 epidemic at State House Entebbe.
The prayers which were attended by almost the entire ‘High Command’ of the clergy leaders was aimed at bringing back the ‘Godly feel’ in a country whose religious places have been under lockdown for the last six months. Some priests had convinced the President to have prayers together, but with cryptic intentions of luring him into relaxing the restrictions on places of worship.
After all had been said and done by a clique of religious leaders led by Bishop Kizito Luwalira and Pastor Joseph Sserwadda , Museveni exposed his lack of faith in religions as he labored to emphasize the importance of science in safeguarding life. He occasionally used biblical Old Testament quotes where lockdowns were imposed when epidemics sprung up in the. He particularly referred to a verse in Jeremiah where it recommends the banishment of lepers from main stream society.
Museveni then dropped a bombshell when he said that for him, he doesn’t believe in heaven. The fact that heaven is the pivotal objective of most religions mean that anyone who doesn’t have faith in ‘life after death’ is fundamentally an outcast, pagan or at best, an atheist.
Christianity was founded specifically to address the issue of assuring a life after death. The most important religious doctrine presupposes that Good behavior earns the believer a ticket to heaven while the sinners are confined to hell fire. For very many years, this is the principle that makes religion relevant. Without it, religion is dead.
Therefore anyone who doesn’t have faith in the chance of going to heaven is largely considered to be an atheist. There is no way people can be controlled without hope for life after death. This is the centerpiece upon which religion thrives. Since nobody knows what happens when we die, religion has remained the most relevant option for the world in regard to offering that assurance.
Therefore fear of death drives people to believe that they need to die when they have reconciled their evil deeds with God. If someone has been a sinner, they then have to repent for forgiveness. That hope is what has made religion the opium of the masses, as Karl Max is known to have said many years ago.
President Museveni seems to have got away with his atheistic belief but it is one of the biggest ‘sins’ anyone can commit against most religions. Not even the fearless dictator Idi Amin could make such a statement. If he had made that statement in a Muslim leaning country, a jihad would have been declared against him.
Psychologically speaking, that statement summed up the fundamental reason why churches and mosques have remained closed, six months after the lockdown. The fact that Uganda is regarded as a God fearing country makes it one of the terrible blunders he has ever made. Although Uganda is partially a secular country, “For God and My Country’’ is her motto.
M7 and Science
Museveni has got humongous faith in science. Upon imposing the lockdown he claimed the act was ‘science-led.’ Some of us reminded him how it was wrong to totally believe in the modern-day medics as the same have so far, failed to find cures/vaccines for plagues like AIDS, Ebola, Zika, SARS , and now Covid-19.
Today, scientists are still grappling with discovery of Covi-19 vaccine. But the obvious expectation is, it may take long before they can find it. China and Russia are quietly bragging that they have discovered their vaccines, but they still remain utter claims.
Therefore the science fraternity is in such an embarrassing situation at the moment. There are reports that most of the present medical innovations were coined in the 19th Century! This means that the young scientists of the 21st Century have been either redundant or incompetent. Although there are powerful innovations in the field of technology where we have stuff like drones, there is almost nothing innovative in the field of medical science.
Religion the dangerous substitute
Some of us have for many years argued that religion is a backward concept that has kept the world imprisoned in retrograde. But some incidents have made it appear a powerful option. In cases where science fail to resolve fundamental questions, religious groups have emerged with powerful ‘healing’ messages. These, not necessarily practical solutions but faith-based psychological feelings.
President Museveni might be right in his absolute belief in science, like most of us, but he should be honest enough to admit that medical scientists are not as effective as we thought.
Like I said earlier, where science fails, religion becomes a powerful option for society. That probably explains why he should consider opening up houses of prayer to give believers a chance to cry before heavens for evaporation of the coronavirus.
The religious leaders may not condemn what he said in regard to his lack of faith in heaven or life after death as sacrilegious or blasphemous, but they now know that they are dealing with a very big atheist President.
The Author, Fred Daka Kamwada is a Voluntary Thinker and Blogger he can also be reached via [email protected]
- Fred Daka Kamwada is a seasoned journalist, blogger and political analyst for over a decade in Uganda
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