Why I identify as an Atheist : Secular Voices of Color

Below is my video contribution for ‘Secular Voices of Colour‘. As the project coordinator, Sincere Karibo stated

Secular Voices of Color is a unique opportunity to spread awareness of and focus on the stories minority representation of nonbelievers.

My video contribution is transcribed below. Happy Viewing!

My name is Yemisi Ilesanmi, I am a Nigerian, grew up in Nigeria and now resident in UK. I was born into a Christian family. Nigeria is the largest black nation on earth and it is one of the most religious in the world. Growing up I decided if I was going to be a Christian, damn right I was going to be the best Christian ever. My parents attended the spiritual church known more as white garment church. It was always about speaking in tongues, prophesy, exorcism and all that crap that comes with believing in a skydaddy and the existence of evil spirits.

When I was about 13 years old, I got seriously involved in the church, I attended every church service which was about three times a week and attended night vigils too. Soon, I was speaking in tongues and prophesying. I believed God spoke to me to give messages to people. However, those messages were basically things I had convinced myself God wanted me to say to his people.  They were regurgitated shits I heard every day in the church. I cringe to remember these now. It was innocent but it was harmful, it was pure brain wash, it was indoctrination.

Because of my experience of speaking in tongues, being filled with so called ‘Holy spirits’ and spinning around in trance like silliness, no pastor, nobody can tell me I don’t know what it feels like to be filled with the holy spirit, because I do. And I can look you straight in the eye and say it feels like been high on drugs, drunk and riding high on hypocrisy. It is all bullshit and no one with a good conscience would seriously call that crap real, because it is all manufactured.

If you have the courage to search in your heart, you know it isn’t real. You know you have control over what you say when allegedly speaking in tongues, you know you have control when spinning around doing acrobatics in the name of being in trance and consumed by holy spirits, you might want to truly believe that God has control of your tongue and body, but deep in your heart, you know it is all down to you and how best you’ve practised your holy spirit routines.

Believers assume something terrible must have happened for one to lose “faith” or not have faith at all. However, it was not the shenanigans of those so called men and women of God that broke my faith in God.

The terrible thing that happened was I actually read the bible, and the good news is, reading the bible and other ‘holy’ books turned me into an Atheist!

There was no big bang that left me gasping for faith. As a teenager growing up in a very religious society, in an act of faith and sincere eagerness to save the world with the love of Christ (and yeah, to win more bible quizzes), I reached out to the bible so as to be able to bring the word of this loving God to many, but instead, found inside those holy book pages, a God whose vindictiveness and callousness hit me like a big bang. The mere thought of being made in His image made me wanna puke. The collision with such brutality was so huge that it activated my brain.

For example, the story of Pharaoh and how God hardened the heart of Pharaoh but still proceeded to kill innocent children, sent plagues, wiped out families and committed genocides because Pharaoh did just what God made him do. He refused to let the people of Israel go because God hardened his heart. Even at that young age, it was clear to me that the villain of that story was not Pharaoh, it was God. I couldn’t understand why people couldn’t see the immorality in God’s action. It was a turning point for me. Further readings of the bible exposed so many cruelties and also inaccuracies that I could not in good conscience continue to hold the bible and God in high esteem. God’s morals were clearly beneath my moral.

With my evolved brain finally working to capacity, it did not take me too long to figure out that there is no “God” designing our planets, dishing out destinies, taking care of our needs, waiting for us to go on our knees and ask so S/He/It shall give, or busy keeping scores on our good and bad deeds, while stoking an eternal fire for those who didn’t stroke his ego while on earth, to burn in hell for eternity.

I am an atheist because there is no evidence of an omnipotent, omniscience, omnipresent being watching our every action from high above. And why not from down below anyway? I guess we don’t like the idea of stepping on, walking and shitting all over God. Well, “high above” made sense when heaven or space looked so impenetrable, but with space shuttles penetrating the skies and rovers curiously taking pictures from “high above” and none yet of a white bearded old man glaring down at us, there is nothing so scary about “high above” any more.

From all evidence available, man not only created God, but did so in his own image. There are as many Gods as there are people, communities and religions. People tend to create God(s) that appeal to them and their particular situation consciously or unconsciously. There is no big deal about exercising our imagination but it becomes a big deal when you judge others base on your own particular God beliefs or tried forcing your imagination down the throat of others.

I identify as an atheist and I am damn proud of my break from religion and all its attendant delusions. As an atheist, I am better positioned to appreciate the world as it is, without delusions. I take responsibility for my own success or failure. I know the forces I battle daily are not spiritual but very physical. And ideological. I know witches and wizards are not responsible for ill health, unemployment or poverty, these are the ills of capitalism and an uncaring society.

I am more politically and socially conscious of who the real enemies of progress are, and I know religion is a cancer that must be stopped from spreading if as humans we are to truly enjoy this one life that we have. Religion endorses mental slavery and for us to be truly free, we must emancipate our self from mental slavery.

I wouldn’t pretend that a non-religious world would mean an end to all conflicts, but it sure would help if we took out20151227_144022 all imaginary friends and imaginary enemies. No child should ever have to grow up with a fear of hell fire or a delusion that there is a God watching their every move.

Black people and all people of color really need this freedom from mental slavery. It is particularly sad because the religion we so much embrace as blacks, like Christianity and Islam, were all forced on our ancestors in the most appalling and cruel ways possible. If anything, these religions should make us recoil in anger and shame. Embracing these tools of oppression means we are still slaves and not anywhere near being truly free.

Let’s emancipate our self from mental slavery, let’s kick religion in its patronizing, patriarchal and imaginary ass. Let us live life fully conscious that this is the one life we have and we are responsible and accountable to our self and conscience. And not a big skydaddy.

Related link- Why Am I An Atheist? 

No, Atheism is not a leap of faith or a descent into bigotry!

When a friend tagged me in an article in the Guardian titled, ‘My atheism does not make me superior to believers. 396822_165455010225354_100002825693663_217839_1616784218_nIt’s a leap of faith too”, by Ijeoma Oluo, I knew from the second part of the title not to expect much and as predicted, the article turned out to be arrant nonsense.

For one, it reads like a piece someone just figuring out that there is no Santa Claus, Easter bunny, Tooth Fairy or Bogey Man would write. It is quite surprising that the writer, a self-proclaimed atheist, could not differentiate between faith and knowledge.

For this reason, I wouldn’t take seriously anything the writer has to say about atheism, however, i would endeavour to analyse her article.

She wrote-

I didn’t come to this conclusion because the story of a man waking from the dead made no sense – I wasn’t an overly analytical child. I still enthusiastically believed in Santa Claus and the Easter bunny. But when I searched myself for any sense of belief in a higher power, it just wasn’t there. I wanted it to be there – how comforting to have a God. But it wasn’t there, and it isn’t to this day.

This sounds creepily like a gay person wishing they were not gay. Atheism is not a feeling, it is not a sexual orientation or emotional/ sexual attraction, it is not the spooky feeling that some people insist they get that tells them a ghost is in the room. [Read more…]

Just another baby born with a bible: Which came first, the baby or the bible?

bible baby

A woman has allegedly given birth to a bible and a baby girl in Osun state, Nigeria. Just another baby born holding a holy book. Last time, it was a baby allegedly born holding a Quran. There was also that case of a baby born holding prayer imagebeads, this time it is a baby born with a bible, all in Nigeria.

I wonder why they are never born with a cure for cancer, a recipe for the best Jollof Rice or at least a lottery ticket that would change the lives of their prayerful parents! Such bullshit stopped being news to me a long time ago, and this malady wouldn’t have caught my attention if not for the sad fact that it was given national coverage on NTA as prime time news! Yes, it made national news coverage on paper and TV, not as satire or a joke but as real news! 

According to NTA, Adijatu Babalola, a mother of three, gave birth to a baby girl after she had delivered a bible in a mysterious way. [Read more…]

Natural Disasters are certainly not a time to thank God!

Lately, there has been no end to the bad news making the rounds so much that watching the news has become depressing. Nepal suffered an earthquake that killed thousands with many entombed in their own houses, hotels and museums. More than half a million people have been rendered homeless. The earthquake also triggered an avalanche that hit Mount Everest leaving many seriously injured and some dead.

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One cannot even begin to imagine the terror those people must have felt in their dying hour. It is heartwrenching to see the pains on the faces of the victims’ families as they confront the galling reality that their loved ones are buried underneath all that rubble and their bodies might never be recovered for proper burials.

The pains etched on the faces of survivors tell stories of horrors and gratitude. It seems, in the midst of the sorrows, pains, deaths, and survival; we still must celebrate life. Every life saved amidst these ruins is a cause for celebration. Every dead body pulled out is a cause for sorrow.

To die in such horrific and agonising manner is painful to imagine. In most cases, death really is not as much the problem as the manner and cause of it. [Read more…]

Chapel Hill Shootings: Condemning religion does not an Islamophobe make, Atheism does not a superior moral being make

The gruesome murders of Deah Barakat, 23, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and Razan Abu-Salha, 19, all Muslims, in the gun-toting hand of Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, an atheist, is appalling and a tragedy. I cannot begin to imagine what the families of these victims must be going through.

259308B600000578-2948803-In_court_Craig_Hicks_46_is_pictured_as_he_enters_the_courtroom_f-m-9_1423673885002 carolina.si_

CNN reported

According to the law enforcement official briefed on the investigation, Tuesday’s altercation started after Hicks found a car belonging to one of the victims in what he claimed was his parking space. Then Hicks went to the victim’s condo and shot all three people in a confrontation.

Hicks turned himself in to police Tuesday night and is being held in the Durham County Jail without bond. He is cooperating with investigators, police said Wednesday morning.

Mohammad Abu-Salha The father of the female victims feels differently, he believes it is an hate crime.  He stated

We have no doubt that the way they looked and the way they believed had something to do with this

Karen Hicks, the soon to be ex-wife of Craig Stephen Hicks expressed her shock and sympathy, she however stated

This incident had nothing to do with religion or the victims’ faith, but in fact was related to the longstanding parking disputes that my husband had with the neighbors

According to Craig Stephen Hicks’ neighbour, Samantha Maness it was an equal opportunity anger situation.

I have seen and heard him be very unfriendly to a lot of people in this community,” Samantha Maness, another resident of the Finley Forest development, told the Times. She said that Hicks displayed an “equal opportunity anger” and that he made “everyone feel uncomfortable and unsafe.

Why are some atheists blaming ‘Extreme Atheism’ for Chapel Hill shootings? 

I watched in bewilderment as some atheists assume extreme atheism was to blame for the murders. Some have [Read more…]

Boko Haram and a Nation collapsing under the weight of Corruption, Deception and Religion

Just as I finally summoned enough interest to write about the Baga killings, news came in that Islamists terrorist group, Boko Haram, has struck again, this time in the city of Maiduguri. According to Sahara Reporters

Top security officials just confirmed to SaharaReporters that Islamist fighters today overwhelmed the 243 battalion of the Nigerian Army stationed at Monguno Barracks. The insurgents killed an undetermined number of soldiers and wounded the brigade commander of the barracks.

Our sources said soldiers who put up resistance to the invading insurgents were killed, adding that many soldiers then ran in different directions. They disclosed that 1,400 soldiers were stationed at the barracks at the time of the attack, adding that military authorities were not aware of their exact whereabouts or how many of them had been killed. “We still don’t know what has happened to them [soldiers], but we know that Boko Haram now controls the barracks and Monguno town,” one officer based in Abuja confirmed.

When the Islamists terrorist group Boko Haram struck in Baga and killed a disputed 2,000 people , it was no longer considered newsworthy, at least not in Nigeria. I must confess that even as a Nigerian, I did not bother to check out the news, deven though the headlines screamed at me.  According to CNN –

During the raid that started January 3, hundreds of gunmen seized the town of Baga and neighboring villages, as well as a multinational military base.

Attacks started at dawn and continued throughout last weekend, according to residents.

Though local officials gave conflicting death tolls, they agreed on the massive number of fatalities.

More than 2,000 people were killed in attacks on 16 villages, Bukar said. He could not explain how he arrived at that toll.

But the local district head said hundreds of people had been killed, not thousands. The actual toll will be known after a headcount of households is complete, Hassan said.

And BBC reported an eyewitness account- 

Two days after the attack, a man who claimed to be Abubakar Shekau [the leader of Boko Haram] came and addressed us. He said: “Today, where is your government from local to highest level? You are now under our control.” And he preached to us.

After that, Shekau and many of the insurgents left the town in the hands of some Boko Haram members who are from Baga.

These men have taken control of the young women in the town. They rape and abuse our daughters.

In the evening they choose ones who are neither pregnant nor nursing mothers and take them away. They don’t bring them back until the morning. If it is not rape what are they doing to them?

I guess we are now so desensitised to the atrocities of Boko Haram that it seems more murders in boko_haram561_2the name of Allah is no longer news, at least not when it involves Boko Haram. This might sound callous or insensitive, especially since the Baga killings occurred around the time of Charlie Hebdo killings, which I took the time to write about. So, why this seemingly uncaring attitude towards the Islamists terrorists presently ravaging my birth land (Holy FSM, I can’t even bring myself to call it my homeland anymore)?

I think this ‘What else is new’ attitude towards the misadventures of Boko Haram is indeed sad and scary. When an abnormality becomes the norm, [Read more…]

The Charlie Hebdo tragedy: The five crowds that are getting it wrong

In the wake of the atrocious murder of Charlie Hedbo’s journalists by Islamist fundamentalists which led to #Jesuischarlie, it is sad that some people have chosen this horrendous time to falsely accuse the magazine of the very thing it stands against; Racism, Sexism, Homophobia and Misogyny.

As Libby Nelson wrote in Charlie Hebdo: its history, humor, and controversies:

Charlie Hebdo is known for its cartoons, which are often raunchy and provocative, whether they depicted the Prophet Mohammed or portrayed the Pope performing holy communion with a condom.

Charlie Hebdo’s editor, Stéphane Charbonnier, who was murdered in the attack, described the newspaper’s positions in 2012 as left-wing, secular, and atheist.

Below are 5 different crowds that are getting it wrong and why.

1- The “Charlie Hebdo is racist and sexist” crowd

This crowd eagerly post some of Charlie Hedbo’s cartoons with the aim of accusing the magazine of racism and L4057-1011.0sexism, without caring to dig into the context.

The context of Charlie Hebdo’s Parodies/cartoons is easily understood by the French but not easily understood by outsiders, unless they are conversant with French politics. Some of these cartoons can be viewed and understood under the piece What are some of Charlie Hebdo’s most famous cartoons?

At first glance, these cartoons might appear racist, sexist, and ill-thought-out, but after reading the contexts, this is usually not the case.

So, “What was the context of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoon depicting Boko Haram sex slaves as welfare queens?”

This is what Libby Nelson has to say:

Charlie Hebdo covers often combined two unrelated stories to make a satirical point. In the context of the magazine’s leftist politics, this seems to be about spoofing not Nigerian trafficking victims, but French welfare critics, who have argued that France should cut welfare programs to prevent immigrant women from exploiting them. The cover, in this view, seems to say, “Hey, welfare critics, you’re so heartless that you probably think that even Nigerian sexual slavery victims are money-grubbing ‘welfare queens.

This is what French people have to say about it on Quora [Read more…]

Islamist Barbarians Have Struck Again!

Islamist barbarians have struck again, as 3 gunmen went on a killing spree, murdering 10 journalists, 2 police officers and injuring 7 people in the name of Allah.

BBC reports

Gunmen have attacked the Paris office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people and injuring seven in an apparent Islamist attack.

At least two masked attackers opened fire with assault rifles in the office and exchanged shots with police in the street outside before escaping by car.

The gunmen shouted “we have avenged the Prophet Muhammad”, witnesses say

This is truly sickening. Unfortunately, this is not likely to be the last time Islamist terrorists would kill to protect the honour of their attackPaedophile prophet, while shouting Allahu Akbar.

Barbaric, primitive religious fanatics and those so-called moderates, who feign disgust at these atrocities but still spew passages from their Holy books to justify atrocities, need brain transplants!

This is another blatant attack on Freedom of Expression by these barbaric religious fanatics.

It was also reported that 2 of the cartoonists killed had personal body guards because there has been ongoing life threatening messages from Islamists who feel offended by the cartoons the Newspaper published.

Imagine what it is like to be under constant fear for your life for exercising your Freedom of Expression.

I am so tired of hearing the rhetoric that people should not upset the religious community. Why should we care that religious people are [Read more…]

Choosing between the Sharia fanatic and the inept, incumbent President: The sad case of a gutless nation

Nigerians seem to have lost their memory, again.buhari and jonathan

Who votes for a man who truncates democracy?

Who votes for a man who has repeatedly shown his disdain for the rule of law?

Who votes for a man with a record of appalling human rights violations?

Who votes for a man who advocates for Sharia law in a supposedly secular society?

Who votes for a man who cares not that lives, especially young lives, were lost because he lost an election?

Who in their right mind endorse such a despotic being as a presidential candidate?

How could a decent person openly campaign for votes for this despot?

What type of self-acclaimed progressive party fields such a candidate?

I was flabbergasted when General Muhammadu Buhari, a 72 year old ex-military despot and Sharia law fanatic was adopted as the [Read more…]

New Year Resolution? Do away with God and Religion

A perfect New Year resolution would be to do away with God and all its attendant delusions. Most importantly, it would mean you no longer407171_2699056189303_1043602147_2867789_1434976931_n give a stamp of approval to all the ills, harms and atrocities perpetrated in the name of God under the umbrella of Religion as commanded in the Hoy book, be it the Bible, Quran or any other deluded book, aka the Word of God.

In recent years, we have seen how much harm and havoc God delusion can bring to humanity. It is not just about hearing old stories about how God sanctioned and even commanded slavery, genocides, plagues, jihads, stoning to death of non-virgin wives and gays, we cannot in good conscience, continue to say “Oh that was days of old”.

In recent years:

  1. We have seen innocent people beheaded in the name of God to the shouts of “Allahu Akbar”.
  2. We have seen children blown up in schools in the name of God.
  3. We have seen young girls kidnapped and married off in the name of God.
  4. We have witnessed young girls shot in the head for daring to seek an education.
  5. We have seen people blowing one another up because of God‘s promised land to his ‘Chosen people’.
  6. We have seen lesbians, gays, bisexuals and Trans oppressed, bullied, forced to commit suicide, thrown in jail, and even stoned to death all in the name of God and Religion.
  7. We have seen women denied equal rights because the word of God says women must be submissive.
  8. We have seen women denied the right to have an abortion even when the life of the mother is in danger because, well God, and soul.
  9. We have seen right before our eyes, wars and suicide bombings induced by people fighting over whose God is better.
  10. We have seen these atrocities, discrimination, and oppression being justified with quotes from the very book we look up to as the perfect word of God.

[Read more…]

Islam Deserves No Respect From Me

No religion deserves respect from me. However, when in this modern age, a particular religion is always grabbing the headlines when its adherents kidnap and open 396079_10150480627647772_276988682771_8924818_2014902550_nfire on innocent people in shopping malls and cafes while screaming, “There is no other God but Allah”, and murder children for simply daring to seek an education, I can say, Islam deserves nothing but contempt. My heart bleeds for all the innocent lives lost in the latest atrocities committed in the name of religion and a mythical skydaddy.

No lie or myths sold as truth deserves respect and all religions are myths and lies. However, when lies are used as brainwashing tool to harm innocent people and cause havoc in the society, that lie deserves nothing but contempt and condemnation from decent people.

Child marriages, subjugation of women, persecution of LGBTs, stoning of women found guilty of adultery, public flogging as punishment for drinking alcohol, cutting off hands as punishment for stealing,  jungle justice, Jihads, Fatwas and beheading for blasphemy are just a few things of my least favourite things about Islam and its holy book, Quran.

What do we expect from followers of the Abrahamic God who took pride in ordering the execution of children? Genocides were a thing Skydaddy was proud of, and some of his delusional adherents are still proud to follow his sadistic orders. [Read more…]

Why I hate some supposedly wise sayings: Paradise points are not a reason to help!

In my part of the world, every advice seems to be followed by some supposedly wise sayings. African societies have rich collections of very good 1000003_10151996190466873_26189186_nproverbs, but those proverbs are being relegated to the background in favour of some suspiciously evangelical ‘wise’ sayings.

These supposedly ‘wise’ sayings do get on my nerves. Some of these sayings are so common that I am beginning to think perhaps people just say those things from force of habit, without actually thinking them through.

In particular, I hate ‘wise’ sayings that attach a reason to why we need to help others. For example:

  • “Be nice to people on your way up, because you might meet them on your way down”
  • “You don’t know what this person would be tomorrow, be nice to them today”
  • “Help someone because that is what God wants good believers to do”

Do we really need a reason before we extend a helping hand to someone in need? [Read more…]

Christian Association of Nigeria’s President, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor and the $9.3m, Arms and Ammunition scandal

When President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, was presented with a private jet for his birthday on the Oritsejafor-360x27040th anniversary of his ministry, he probably did not envision it was going to be his waterloo.

Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor’s private jet was seized in South Africa on the allegation that it was used to convey $9.3 million cash allegedly meant for the purchase of arms and ammunition. South African immigration officials discovered the undeclared money. Two yet to be identified Nigerians and an Israeli were said to be aboard the jet. According to latest reports, the private jet has been released after Nigerian officials entered into diplomatic dialogue with the South African Officials, but the $9.3m is still confiscated by South African government.

Funny enough, Nigeria’s government has moved in to defend the embattled Pastor. Government spokespersons have claimed that the money [Read more…]

Nigerian atheist Mubarak Bala held hostage in a psychiatric ward for renouncing Islam and non belief in God

FREE MUBARAK Mubarak Bala, a Nigerian and an atheist is being held hostage in a psychiatry ward at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria on the orders of his father Bala Mohammed. Mubarak’s father is a prominent weekly columnist who writes a Saturday column for Daily Trust, a National Newspaper. Bala Mohammed committed his son to a psychiatric unit when his son expressed  non belief in God and renounced Islam.

I gathered from reliable sources, including sources from within the Daily Trust  Newspaper, that the extremism of Mubarak’s father’s was becoming apparent and some staff members were concerned about the appalling way he was treating his son whose public declaration of atheism and renunciation of Islam on social media seems to have attracted attention in Kano.

My source was shocked when a contact that is very close to the Publisher of Daily Trust said they were aware of the case and have been aware of Bala Mohamed’s growing extremism and the appalling way he committed his son to a psychiatry ward for renouncing Islam. However the paper refused to carry the story because of the controversy it would generate and a fear of reprisal. [Read more…]