Leo Igwe: Why I choose humanism over faith
Leo Igwe - Human rights activist
Leo Igwe works to end a variety of human rights violations that are rooted in superstition, including witchcraft accusations, anti-gay hate, caste discrimination and ritual killing. Full bio
with a different idea of life.
the main teachings of religion --
what on earth is humanism?
of human beings.
that we, human beings,
to make a difference in our lives,
that the best humanist lessons I learned
manifestos and declarations.
was from the life of my own parents.
from a poor family background
the circumstances of their bad upbringing
for themselves and for their children.
trained as a teacher,
at a local primary school.
of school quite early,
could not afford her education.
and taking care of my siblings and me.
the Nigerian civil war --
a struggle day by day.
I can still see water
of our house when it rained.
to supplement the family income.
after school hours or during vacation
no pipe with water.
from the nearby streams.
to erect a block apartment
to enjoy a standard of living
when they were growing up.
is my best lesson in humanism.
I believe that human beings
our lives and destinies
into those of wealth and prosperity.
to alleviate suffering,
reduce infant mortality
by wishful thinking with our eyes closed
or by expecting salvation from empty sky.
imagine that their religious faith
praying for miracles
in their lives.
in the world's poorest nations.
where 95 percent of the population
of their daily lives, were African.
many Africans to extraordinary length:
to commit ritual killing,
those with a bald head.
believing in witchcraft,
in reason or in science.
children and elderly persons
banished and killed.
and witch persecution in Africa.
in a proactive approach to life.
cannot be achieved only by dreaming
wishing and imagining
will not fall like manna from heaven.
by wishing and dreaming.
they tried again.
they plowed ahead,
we must be adventurous and even daring.
with risk and uncertainties.
to do what people have never done.
have not been to.
have tried but failed.
of knowledge and understanding
not just what is possible
yield our desires.
disappointments and setbacks.
poverty and diseases
have led to new dangers,
have resulted in new health risks.
create their own problems
to give up or to resign.
that our efforts are of no consequence.
answers and solutions
we must not despair for humanity.
of overwhelming difficulties
new solutions and new cures.
knocks on the horizon?
to be inventive and innovative,
of a savior from above?
to take our destiny in our hands
in the scheme of life.
to this game of blame
full responsibility for our own lives.
prisoners of our past.
and pessimism to drain us,
limit our imaginations
for a better and brighter future.
and the new colonialism
including our own self-inflicted wounds.
is damned and doomed.
the chances and possibility
no part of the world
or enslaved in the past.
have moved on,
that the past is gone;
with limitless possibilities
and remake our destinies.
begin the urgent task
to our ideas and imaginations,
intelligence and ingenuity
of rebuilding Africa
prosperity and civilization.
as an African humanist.
About the speaker:Leo Igwe - Human rights activist
Leo Igwe works to end a variety of human rights violations that are rooted in superstition, including witchcraft accusations, anti-gay hate, caste discrimination and ritual killing.
Why you should listen
Many of humanity's most pernicious divisions -- factors that keep one person from seeing another as truly human -- are based on superstitions entrenched in societies, such as a belief in witchcraft. As a leader in the Nigerian Humanist Movement, Leo Igwe works to combat those superstitions and the human rights violations they often lead to, including anti-gay hate, sorcery and witchcraft accusations against women and children, ritual killing, human sacrifice, “untouchability,” caste discrimination and anti-blasphemy laws.
Igwe is the former Western and Southern African representative of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, and he holds a doctoral degree in religious studies from the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies, University of Bayreuth Germany.
Leo Igwe | Speaker | TED.com