I shared my post about the Twenty Reasons I am distressed by Religion and its Believers on my Facebook wall and as usual, some religious believers felt the need to defend religion with the usual “Religion is not harmful; it is some few bad believers that make it appear so“. I am really tired of explaining to self righteous religious believers that their religion is in and of itself harmful and yes, it causes us non believers, distress. Here is an example of such comment from a decent person who just happens to be a religious believer.
My dearest, religion if practiced in truth and in spirit is a way to cope with life’s difficulties.
Do not be distressed. If you can teach people how to cope with difficulties, you have a religion.
Religion is a discipline, a way of life to deal with life issues. Some have become predators using religion to take advantage of others—those I abhor.
I gave you my definition of religion. My definition does not include preying on children and calling them witches. No. Those who prey on others in the name of religion must be brought to line seriously.
Religion is about grace, mercy and faith and hope….We live by the principles of those who have been passionate and died for a cause. It is a choice and a way of life. Everyone has a religion.
While I appreciate and understand the way this commenter tried to paint religion, I must point out that Religion in its ordinary and accepted meaning is not “a discipline” or “a way of life to deal with life issues.” Religion is based on the belief and practice that there are supernatural powers and beings that have effect on our natural existence. The typical dictionary definition of religion refers to a “belief in, or the worship of, a god or gods. It is “the belief in spiritual beings”.
When people believe in supernatural beings, they are most often than not, willing to accuse children of witchcraft, accuse their neighbors of standing in the way of their progress, accuse their family members of demonic spirits, eagerly condemn those who do not share their belief in spiritual beings, seek to make laws, especially draconian laws that impose their religious beliefs on others and defend child marriages. They are also eager to proselytize to non believers about their Skydaddy and eagerly describe what torture awaits them in hell fire if they refuse to convert.
Religion might give delusional comfort, but some of us appreciate the cold hard truth even in our most depressing and difficult times. I have no problem with people who wish to be comforted by religion and its God delusion. However I do have a serious problem with the implications and known negative effects of believing in supernatural beings. After all, as Voltaire said “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit absurdities”. And that is depressing.
It is possible to be a decent person and hold religious beliefs. The sad truth is, Religion gives room for people to use it to take advantage of others. Religion itself is that room. When I call out religion, it is not a personal attack on its believers but an attempt to scrutinize the religion like any other idea, belief or ideology.
There are already too many Absurdities and Atrocities believed and committed in the name of Religion. Religious believers are also quick to say that we cannot hold the crimes of a few (what exactly qualifies as ‘a few’ here, I can’t say) against all religions, after all we do not hold every human being responsible for the crime of a few.
Yes, a whole race, sex, left handed people or gays should not be held responsible for the crime of a few of its members. But race, sex, left-handedness and sexual orientation are natural, religion is not.
Religion is a myth created by humans. It is a belief in supernatural beings and their passive or active influence on our natural world. When you hold religious beliefs, you hold a mythical belief that impacts on the lives of people around you. Unfortunately those impacts are often negative and harmful.
If you believe there is a God with angels doing His divine will, you also automatically believe that there is a Satan with demons doing His bids. This leads you to pray to your supreme God for blessings. You also pray for protection from the evil machinations of Satan and His demons.
You think some few people like your pastors and Imams are angels sent to you by God to guide and bless you. However, since we hardly experience angels in human forms and considering the harsh economic condition, most often than not, you see demons in your fellow human beings. You think-
- Your Mother-in-Law is a witch who does not want you to be happy with her only son.
- Your work colleague is using demonic powers to claim the promotion you feel belongs to you.
- The old haggard looking woman on your street looked at you in a certain way and that day you had a road accident, surely she must be a witch.
- Your friend seems to be having a streak of good fortunes, maybe she is using demonic powers to divert your blessings to herself
- Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals , Transsexuals and Atheists are possessed by demons…the list goes on and on.
Religion is not used to refer to “grace, mercy and faith and hope“, it is about a belief in Supernatural beings. And my point is, believing in supernatural beings has a whole lot of harmful effects that have hurt many and dragged humanity backwards. There was a time religion ruled the world and that time is known as the Dark Ages.
Also, when we call out religion, it is not an attack on anyone’s personality. You can belief in a supernatural being and still be a decent human being and you can be an atheist and still be an asshole. Your beliefs do not make you a better person, your behaviour does.
Religion is about grace, mercy and faith and hope? Hmm, OK, here is my encounter with religion in the last 24 hours.
First, I had an awful night because ‘my dear one’ was woken up in the middle of the night by a call from a family member, pertaining to a ‘spiritual’ emergency. From the little I heard, it sounded like her baby girl was not feeling fine or maybe she sleepwalked, she panicked and called ‘our dear one’. Even though she had to get up for work early, ‘my dear one’ spent most of the night praying and advising the family member to pray and also read a psalm verse, 7 times into a bucket of water and use it to bathe her baby girl morning, afternoon and evening.
The blame for this new ‘spiritual ailment’ that must be curtailed immediately, was put at the doorstep of a friend who was visiting UK with her young children and was accommodated for close to two months by this family member. The uninvited quest overstayed her welcome and now the suspicion is that this guest must have cast a demonic spell on her hostess’s baby girl , which accounts for the sudden illness or sleepwalking.
‘My dear one’ had earlier advised the family member to be careful with her daughter’s hair because of a dream she had. I remember that she actually woke up muttering something about the baby girl’s hair. As she said, with the new sleep walking event, the dream now makes perfect sense. Hmm. The sad part was, I really could see that she truly believed the jargon she was spewing. She was visibly in distress and jumped up from sleep clutching her bible to pray and ward off this ‘spiritual attack’. Needless to say, I felt like vomiting and my heart really sank to a new low! And of course I knew I had to call all estate agents in London to please get me out of here before I kill someone.
When as atheists, we talk about the harm religion causes; it is not because we are feeling superior to the believers, but mostly because we have seen firsthand how it destroys families and friends. I have cut off relationships with most members of my family because of such religious nonsense and the odds of me being good friends with a religious nutter, is ZERO. So when people wonder Why I speak out against religion, why I am so anti-religion or angry at religion, it is because religion made my family members people i can’t bear to be in the same room with and also deprived me of a few who would have been good friends if not for their constant yapping on about a Skydaddy who they claim speak to them (or is it gossips?) about the evil intentions of their enemies. They claim Skydaddy also dishes out destinies to us mere earthlings.
Well, my 24 hour ordeal with religion continues…
Still sad by the night episode, I got up to prepare to meet some estate agents. I heard my Nigerian neighbor, a loud Christian, speaking loudly on the phone. She was advising a friend not to attend a 40 years birthday bash. According to her:
“All those people have been celebrating 40 years birthday for the past 10 to 20 years, they are always 40. You attend their parties, eat all the sumptuous dishes they prepare and even give you nice take away meals, but what you don’t know is that these foods have been prepared with demonic portions. You will just be here in London working day and night, without seeing any financial rewards. These people have used the food you eat at their party to divert your blessings to themselves. You work but they reap the financial rewards. Don’t go to that party, if you must go, don’t eat at the party. If you want food, come to my house, I have just prepared Jollof rice.”
No, she is not a stark illiterate. She is probably a graduate from one of the polytechnics in Nigeria. Unfortunately the advice she dished out is not an uncommon one. It is quite common amongst Africans who have adopted a foreign religion, mostly Christianity, to dish out such advice to their friends, family members and children. They tell their children not to accept food from neighbours because they could initiate them into witchcraft. Even if you do not want your children to accept food from outsiders, why link it to witchcraft?
You raise your children to see black people as the epitome of evil, the machinery of Satan and as demons walking the earth to frustrate and tempt your faith in your new found blue eyed, blonde, Jew, personal saviour called Jesus!
BTW, I have seen General Secretaries of troubled trade unions in Nigeria refused to sit on the office chairs used by their predecessors for fear of demonic attacks from jealous contenders. There was a well known case of a General Secretary of a trade union who took his office chair home with him every day! Needless to say when I raised skeptical eyebrow at this action, I was told I was naive and don’t understand spiritual matters.
Anyway, my 24 hour ordeal with religion continues…
On my way to the bus stop, right on the high street, I encountered a group of black men and women, mostly women. They had with them a big radio blasting Christian tunes. They were dancing and distributing tracts inviting people to their church. From their accent they were probably Ghanians. Something in my face, probably the despicable look I threw at their direction, must have warned them off trying to give me their damned church invitation.
I crossed to the other side of the road and lo and behold, a middle aged, fairly well dressed black man who could pass for ruggedly handsome was clutching a megaphone and screaming about how we are all gonna be condemned to hell fire if we do not embrace Jesus today. Why does it always have to be black people proselytizing on the streets of London about their new found, born again Christianity!
I jumped on the overground train with a heavy feeling in my heart. What the heck is it about foreign religion that has black Africans deeply in its grip? One would have thought the mere fact that a lot of atrocities were perpetrated against the black people in the name of Islam and Christianity would be enough to make them run the heck away from those religions. But no, they are deeply attracted to their own tormentor and wish to drag every other person into that torment with them.
Native African religions adherents never bother to proselytize. Almost every ethnic group has gods, goddesses or deities that are peculiar to their clan. No proselytizing was needed. It was never forced on anyone. If you wanted a particular deity to bless you, all you need do is visit the shrine of the deity, and the shrine keeper, babalawo, spiritualist or voodoo man will tell you what is needed. You perform whatever sacrifices that are needed and wait for the outcome. Well, you might wait for eternity or simply interpret events to fit into your desired outcome. Whatever the case, you don’t disturb your neighbours with loud prayers or scream on the high street with megaphones.
If you needed to deal with someone you think has done you harm, it is between you, the voodoo man and your mythical deity. You don’t dance in broad daylight singing the praises of your deity, if you must dance at all, it is often late at night in a dense bush where you will not disturb anyone or be seen by anyone, except the deity living in your imagination and its errand boy on earth who feeds fat on your stupidity.
Why is it now a thing of pride for Africans to dance like ignoramuses on the streets in praise of a deity that looks nothing like them and actually holds them in contempt?
I alighted from the overground train and joined a bus that would take me to my destination. Sitting right in front of me was a black woman who appeared to be talking to herself. She was saying things like “Read your bible, love Jesus, don’t join bad gangs, if they come to you, tell them about Jesus…”At first I thought she was talking to a black teenager standing not too far from her. The boy was also looking at her with puzzled eyes. He alighted from the bus but the woman continued her rant. Becoming more agitated, she muttered ‘Trouble stay one place, you went looking for trouble, you ask for my advice, you don’t take it, I say, Jesus loves you, come to Jesus. You must pray or you go to hell”
I thought “Oh no, not again, maybe she is on the phone, using ear buds”. But no she wasn’t. She was taking to herself and it all has to do with heaven and hell and that ever popular white, blue eyed blonde Jew lover of many black women, Jesus Christ.
I wonder why early signs of depression or mental cases amongst black people involve talking to oneself about heaven and hell and proselytizing on the streets about Jesus. No, I don’t have data for this but from what I have seen in Nigeria and even here in London, this is most probably true. Christianity as a Religion seems to be one of the chief manifestations of mental disorders amongst black people.
My 24 hour ordeal with religion continues…
I got to the estate agent whom I had earlier met. I was now desperate enough to consider a property they have outside London area. I asked if I could be taken to view the property. While waiting for some other person who had a say in it, our discussion veered towards human rights. He is a person of colour and according to him, a member of some South Asian human rights groups. They are interested in setting up offices around the property I was interested in. They wanted me to consider partnering with them on human right issues. We were throwing around ideas when he gave me a small colourful book titled ‘A gift for your neighbour’.
Not really catching on fast, I said ‘Oh, I do designs too. I have done advocacy calendars and we could do something like this for human rights promotions”. He responded that he feels good giving out the tracts, but if I don’t like it, I can pass it on to someone else. I flipped through the tract and well, it was a colouful Islamic tract talking about introducing your neighbour to God. I didn’t know Muslims now distribute tracts like Christians.
First page reads: “How and why were you created? You were created out of the Love of God. Your eyes, ears, sense where all designed to serve God.” Hmm., so I wasn’t created because my parents fucked but because a Skydaddy wants me to worship him on earth. Couldn’t I have worshiped him in whatever state I was in before my parents fucked?
Anyway, I took the tract, said goodbye with a promise to add him on LinkedIn. I checked him out on LinkedIn as promised and knew immediately that I wouldn’t be renting his property or partnering with him as he runs or wishes to run some kind of charity for God philanthropy targeted at royalty and Sheiks. He said I am pretty and intelligent and should be able to raise some funds from the sheiks. Yuk!
I opened my email and responded to a few FB inbox messages from friends who were abused on some facebook threads for questioning the belief in God. They were lamenting how some relatively intelligent people could defend atrocities in the name of religion. A friend was baffled as to how graduates still think eclipse is a miracle from God. Do I even need to mention the many ignorant and hateful comments waiting for me on some of my blog posts like this and this, sent by ignorant religious believers? Pathetic does not even begin to describe some of these comments.
All these happened in less than 24 hours. Even though I am not a religious believer, religion follows me everywhere in my daily interactions. My very existence as a feminist, bisexual and atheist is threatened because of what religion says.
When you get angry because I call out your religion, think about the many atrocities your religion gives room for. Child marriages, burning witches, stoning gays, accusing children of demonic powers, slapping, beating and tormenting children accused of witchcraft, breaking up families and friendships because of suspicion of demonic influences, refusing to help strangers, friends or even family members because you fear their predicaments might have been caused by demonic forces which you believe would be transferred to anyone who helped them overcome the travails, and defending the atrocities of your ;Daddy in Christ’ because your holy book says “Touch not my anointed”. All these are daily consequences of your belief in spiritual entities.
You might think your belief in a Skydaddy does not cause any harm, but in all honesty, it does. It causes a lot of harm. A belief in a good Skydady necessitates a belief in a bad Underground monster who is Skydaddy’s enemy. And that causes harm to our friends and families. It gives room for atrocities.
As Steven Weinberg said, Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you’d have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things. But for good people to do bad things, it takes religion.
By affirming the myths and forcing it down the throat of vulnerable children, you are also culpable of spreading The Cancer Called Religion.