Author Topic: On being atheist in Nigeria!  (Read 450 times)

Tank

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On being atheist in Nigeria!
« on: March 24, 2019, 10:53:22 AM »
By Victor Abiodun Animasahun.

I can assert my non-belief with no practical impact on my life. Some are not so fortunate.

"On being atheist in Nigeria!

Yesterday the 23rd of March was set aside to recognize the struggle for atheists worldwide, but most especially, those living in utra-conservative societies, for recognition, demand for dignity and respect for their persons. The religious has a right to practice her/his/their faith, the irreligious should, logically, have a right to abstain from same. That's the mantra.

Last week, I made a post about an encounter with a lecturer in my school concerning my lack of faith, this attracted a few calls from concerned friends for caution on my side, especially as long as I still reside in this North of Nigeria.

You are a Christian or Muslim, here in Nigeria, take a moment and think about it, think about how it feels, to not even be able identify with your faith. In conversations with mates, walking in the street, in the bus, in the class, you are constantly thinking about what to or not say just so you don't alert to and consequently annoy people around simple because of your faith.

Islamophobia is a popular word, I wish people were aware of the amount of hatred the same people that word was coined to protect, I wish people knew how much hatred these people treat atheists like me.

You think I'm exaggerating?
Just take your phone right now and google countries where non-muslims/ex-muslims, especially atheists are persecuted the most around the world (permit my usage of the word persecute).

Beaten publicly and imprisoned sometime, for simply saying something "no, I don't believe Mohammed really received a message from any prophet". If you can believe, why can't I not believe?

That's the world we live in.

In 2015 or thereabouts, I read of a poll conducted in Nigeria, North of Nigeria to be precise, at least 51% of the respondents believed that those who desert the faith of Islam should be severely punished. What this means is that 1 out of 2, 5 out of 10, 50 out of 100 etc of your fellow Northern Nigerian thinks you deserve to be punished for leaving the faith of Islam. Desired punishment varied from flogging, to imprisonment and some extremely desired execution.
Who am kidding, they are all extremists jare.

Urgh... I guess the freedom in our constitution doesn't make sense to them. It wouldn't anyway, the constitution itself doesn't come first to many, the holy Qur'an does.

Permit my dwelling on the Islamic faith, I've lived my entire atheist life in the North. But I will digress.

I've found out that one can put up with what strangers think of them, after all they nothing but a bunch of assholes who haven't even met me, just decided to try and then judge me without getting to know how wonderful I am without their faith, or any faith at all.

Ah, ah, that's not all o.

It took me over a year to come out to my family that I no longer believed in Jesus. Even then it didn't end well. We are cool now though. But, it was a rough journey. Filled with land mines kind of rough.

I remember a particular lady going to my mom to tell her that I would soon become a ritualist and would come for my mom or one of my brothers.

Jeez lady. I offend you before. I remember another period in the family, things were godawfull rough, to make matters worse, I wasn't paid for about three months at my job then.

Guess what caused it? My lack of faith? I mean, it was pretty clear na. I stopped going to church so god was punishing me and the hardship in the family was because my folks were harboring an unbeliever.

Lucifer come to my aid na.

I could live with strangers telling me that I would burn in hell or meet some dastard fate because of my atheism but having some deluded pulpit hustler push these ideas into my folks' heads and then realise that they really believe it, dang.

You can only imagine what this does to a person. I remt almost moving out of the house then and just saying goodbye.

Mubarak Bala's story was a touching and equally outraging one, what you don't know is that just last year, a fellow atheist whose family belonged to the Jehovah's Witness almost experienced same were it not for the timely efforts of the atheist community.

There was also a woman who was ganged up on by her very Christian co-workers because she wouldn't be bullied into taking part in daily morning prayers which were certainly not included in her job description.

I know some of you will say "she should just do it na, what will it take away from her". Put yourself in her shoes, as Muslim, imagine being forced to take part in a Christian prayer every single day, sometimes even being forced to lead it. Or as a Christiam, imagine being forced to take part in the 2.00pm nasjid every single day by your fellow Muslim coworkers.

Ehen, that's exactly what it is.

Just a few days ago, an aquantance mentioned how a recruiter wouldn't accept the 'non' reply he gave in his CV when asked about his religion.

How can you not have a religion?

But that should be your business.

But it is their business if you are Nigerian.

You lose friends, you lose family and society demonizes you simply because they can't imagine one being different from them.

It is my belief that the narrative is changing, just slowly, too slow really. I shouldn't have to do this but then, wishes aren't horses, so here it is:

My name is Victor, I am an atheist and I've not come for your head.

Good morning!"

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Icarus

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Re: On being atheist in Nigeria!
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2019, 12:42:22 AM »
May he live in peace...........evidently not in Nigeria.   Aaaargh.