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? 

My Birthday Dance and Musings: Already Loving my 40s!

I am grateful for four amazing decades on planet earth. I am eagerly looking forward to new challenges and more20150816_141924 resised ftb jpg amazing experiences in the coming years!

I am especially looking forward to starting a new job as a union organiser with one of the largest trade unions in UK. I missed being a full time trade unionist and I am so looking forward to working with union activists and organising workers again!

I started working for the labour movement in my early twenties and with the responsibility of fighting for workers’ rights came many opportunities to see the world from different angles. The views can be very depressing especially when it comes to class stratification, oppression, exploitation of labour, crass capitalism and its uneven division of wealth built on the backs of the long-suffering majority who toil every day to earn a living wage but never get to enjoy the wealth created by their labour. However, sometimes the view can be very exhilarating, especially when the voiceless find their voices through union organising, and against all odds, conquer to achieve great successes, fuelled by strength in unity and propelled by hope in a better tomorrow, while demanding for a better today. The last few years of my 30s were pretty challenging, mostly due to having to start afresh in a new, unfamiliar environment as a single parent with a teenage son who was about to enrol in college. I did not plan to be an immigrant in UK or anywhere else, but sometimes, even though we have our life already neatly planned, circumstances beyond our control could force us to depart from our schedule.

Leaving behind a comfortable life and job security to start afresh in a strange land was not an easy decision to make. [Read more…]

Santa Came To Turn Me On!

Some time ago, I broke my waist or thought I had, and excruciating lower back pain sent me running to my doctor.

I wondered why my waist could no longer support mySnapshot_20141212_117 big bums. After MRI scans and prescribed painkillers, it turned out; it was just some muscle strain probably from my gym workout. As it turns out, pulled muscles can be very painful. For a minute, I was convinced i had a mild stroke in my sleep, until my doctor put my mind to rest! Now, i know better than to lift heavy weights or do some strenuous cardio at the gym. I am definitely not taking any body-parts for granted again.

Many of you were concerned and some of my Naija friends recommended the local sprain and strain ointment, aboliki, which was actually very effective! I also promised that as soon as I was up and well again, I would make another dance-exercise video. Since I always make good on my promise, here it is!

Dancing to one of my favourite songs of all time was indeed fun and the sequinned Santa cap i got it at 99p shop came in handy as a dance prop!

I think my waist is at least 95% back to normal, therefore i consider my waist healed. What do you think?

I am glad to be back in good health, grateful to be able to shake my bums again and of course rock my curves!

Here is a toast to good health and Happy Holidays!

 

Related link-

Body Parts And Little Things We Take For Granted

LGBT Rights in Africa: Why we need international solidarity- Interview on SkyNews

Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals from countries where their sexual orientation and/or gender identity is criminalised need international solidarity. What we do not need is seeing international leaders who claim to support our fight for LGBT rights wine and dine our oppressors.

When we watch international leaders who are supposedly LGBT allies frolicking with our oppressors, the message we get is that we do not matter. In the long run, it is all about their politics, not their words. International leaders should please WALK THEIR TALK.

Below is a video of my interview on SkyNews on the topic LGBT Rights in Africa and why we need international solidarity. [Read more…]

It’s my Birthday, It’s my Birthday and I’m gonna shake my bodyyyy!!

The journey started 13.8 billion years ago with the Big Bang and continued 4.5 billion years ago with the Solar system and the Earth.  39 years ago, I swam for my life, beating millions of other sperms to the race to the egg. 39 years after, the race continues. However, I am happy to even have the one in a billion chance to experience the wonder that is life.

I am also loving all the good wishes coming my way from family members, friends and fans.

Even Google took time to send me birthday greetings in the form of a lovely personalised doodle. Yeah, I know they probably do this for everyone [Read more…]

Nigerian Trans woman, Ms Sahhara, wins Ms Super Sireyna Worldwide: Eat your heart out Transphobic Nigeria!

I was delighted when the beautiful, multi- talented Ms Sahhara was declared the winner of Super Sireyna Worldwide, 2014 at the grand finale in 10513314_162106167322674_1317010551276969853_nPhilippines. She also won the best Talent award and her national costume was fabulous!

Ms Super Sireyna is the most watched Transgender Beauty Pageant on Philippine Television, Eat Bulaga. The pageant aims to showcase the beauty of Super Sireynas and to foster camaraderie amongst contestants and Sireynas worldwide. It grades contestants on looks, talent and wit.

Ms Sahhara is a Nigerian Trans Woman who resides in UK. She is very visible on social media. She uses her social networks to advocate for LGBT Rights and promote Trans visibility. She entered the pageant as Miss Nigeria.  Her interview section was great! She answered her questions with poise, intelligence and was witty to the core! She also used the platform to highlight the problems LGBT Nigerians face due to criminalisation of their sexual orientation, gender identity and the negative societal attitudes towards LGBTs.

In her entry video for the competition Super Sireyna Worldwide Nigeria 2014, she explained why she was competing. She stated that if given the chance to wear the crown, she will use the opportunity to enlighten people about Trans’ issues. She believes if people don’t understand things, they should ask questions. The video was made as part of her preparation for the competition. She obviously prepared with passion and dedication for the pageant. It wasn’t just about beauty, it was also about talent, creativity and passion. The video is quite informative and worth watching. [Read more…]

Video: LGBT Rights activists demonstrates at Nigerian Centenary Awards, UK

Speaking during the demonstration, Yemisi Ilesanmi said:

We are here to speak out on behalf of all oppressed Nigerian LGBTs who have been denied a voice in Nigeria. We are here to put a face on Nigerian LGBTs. We are here to remind you that LGBT Nigerians are not criminals and are worthy of celebration. We are here to remind all those who criminalised us and are turning us into asylum seekers that we will not be silenced. We are LGBT Nigerians and we are proud.”

The demonstrators left the guests with the message “Nigerian LGBTS and LGBT rights supporters are not criminals and we will not be silenced in our fight for our human rights. We hope as Nigeria celebrates its hundred years of existence, its people will also celebrate diversity and do away with homophobic, biphobic and transphobic laws.”

Blogpost  link– http://wp.me/p3uryi-AZ

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Pride is a Celebration and a Protest: London Pride, 2014

This year at London Pride 2014 (June 28), my group, Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora Against Anti Same-Sex Laws marched alongside Peter Tatchell Foundation, Out and Proud Group and other African LGBTIs activists to protest against the persecution of LGBTs in 80 per cent of the 53 Commonwealth member states, many of them African nations.

It is saddening that 80% of Commonwealth countries discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex (LGBTI) people. In this age of democracy, every progressive nation should endeavour to protect the human rights of every citizen. No one is less of a human being because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Acknowledging and protecting LGBTI rights as human rights is a step forward for humanity. It is shameful that the Commonwealth of Nations has not taken this important step. We continue to call on the Commonwealth to stand up for the rights of its LGBTI citizens. Every human deserves human rights. LGBTI rights are human rights.

Pride is both a celebration and a Protest. As we celebrate our Rights, let’s remember those who are still criminalized for their sexual orientation.

Enjoy the sights and sounds of London Pride 2014.

 

 

Even though the weather wasn’t great, not even the rain could rain on our parade, the rainbow always shines through! [Read more…]

Love Not Hate: International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.

To celebrate International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, enjoy this video of the ‘Love Not Hate’ protest rally organised by Nigerian LGBTs in Diaspora Against Anti Same Sex Laws. Together We Can End All Forms of Oppression and Discrimination. Happy IDAHOBIT. 

Hangout with YEMMYnisting on YouTube

My YouTube channel ‘YEMMYnisting’ is a space for me to open up and share significant parts of my life with my online viewers, comment on general issues and share my opinion on happenings in the society.

My tagline is ‘Proudly Feminist, Proudly Bisexual and Proudly Atheist’. I make videos along these lines.

My videos touch a lot on sexuality and diversity. I belong to the “queer” group and identify as a bisexual. I am from an ultra-homophobic environment, so I use my videos to create awareness on sexual orientation and also break the deafening silence on so called “taboo” subjects.

I recently self-published an advocacy book titled ‘Freedom To Love For ALL: Homosexuality Is Not Un-African‘. It is available in paperback and kindle editions on Amazon, I hope you will check it out and order your copy.Snapshot_20130302_4

YEMMYnisting is also a place I talk about religion and my lack of belief in God(s); I am an atheist from one of the most religious countries on planet earth, Nigeria.

Also, ‘Hangout with YEMMYnisting’ is a weekly session where interested fans can tune in to my Google hangout and together we discuss the topic of the week.  One great advantage of subscribing to my channel is that you get to hangout with me as I do my Dancexercise, yeah it is fun.

Tune in to enjoy my Channel, your constructive comments and suggestions are welcomed. And if there are issues you’d like me to speak on or a song you’d like me to dance to in my dancexercise videos, please feel free to let me know. I appreciate diverse views but I have zero tolerance for hate comments. Hate speech will get you banned.

I am inviting you to subscribe to my YouTube channel. I look forward to having a beautiful if sometimes bumpy ride with you. Let’s go on logical ride to fun destinations. Come along! Thanks.

Venting my concerns over Nigeria’s new Anti-LGBT Law

If only I could physically slap some sense into the hypocrites parading themselves as Nigerian lawmakers and the ignoramuses who are celebrating the ‘Jail the Gays’ bill! They had better be warned, the battle line has been drawn. Logic will supersede their infamous ignorance and Love shall triumph over their hate. Enjoy the TV interview.

 

Getting High on Flying Spaghetti Monster!

I am not a fan of cold weathers and I can be quite grumpy when forced to go out in cold weathers. I am also not a fan of bulky clothes and I certainly am not in my best moods when I 531624_449896628413934_244946797_nam all covered up and weighed down by shapeless, bulky winter jackets. Although they do hide my accumulated holiday fat caused by gorging on holiday temptations like ice creams and cakes, urged on by tempting Xmas food commercials.

Anyway, there I was rushing out in the cold weather to make a trip to my pharmacy; I guess this constitutes an emergency and therefore justifies my having to leave the warmth of my bed. Anyway, there I was walking down the high street minding my own damn business when a black woman abruptly thrust a leaflet at me, muttering “Take, Jesus Christ will change your life forever”. I politely declined and walked on. What I really wanted to say to her was “So, in the usual bigoted religious assumption, you thought my life needed changing”. I guess that would be an overreaction. Damn proselytizer Christians!

Not that my life could not do with a bit of change. Well, for one, I would love to win the lottery even though I don’t buy lottery tickets. I wish I could overcome my skepticism about my chances of winning the lottery. Well,  if Jesus has not changed the life of the Christian proselytizer with a lottery win, I don’t think he is in a position to make a dent in my life. Hmm…life changer my ass.  Well, I did say my mood is not the best during winter.

OK, there I was at the bus stop with my bag of prescription, waiting for my bus and minding my own business as usual, when this woman with a pram just came and stood right in front of me, blocking my vision. She started cooing or was it scolding the tot in the pram. In a typical Nigerian way,  she would, once in a while, look up from scolding the child and try to engage me and the others at the bus stop in her cooing/scolding. We all ignored her. It was after all a very cold day, so I gave her a very cold look.

She eventually stopped cooing and when I thought I was finally going to have peace, she burst out singing a very old but popular gospel tune. In fact it took me by surprise because I have not heard that tune in a long time. It used to be a special tune for me when I was a believer. I sang it whenever I wanted to go into a trance and be at one with the Holy Spirit. I sang it in a dramatic way, with all the treats including theatrical tears, which come to think of it, must have looked like a painful sexual mating with the Holy Spirit!

The tune was the popular- 

Lord I lift Your name on high
Lord I love to sing Your praises

I’m so glad You’re in my life

I’m so glad You came to save us 

You came from Heaven to earth

To show the way

From the earth to the cross
My debt to pay

From the cross to the grave  
From the grave to the sky
Lord I lift Your name on high 

I was so surprised that I actually found myself nodding to the song. As I said,  it used to be my ‘get high on holy ghost’ song. Just as I was getting into the mood, my bus pulled up.  I was still miming the song when I realized I had brought out the wrong bus pass, which means I got charged for the bus fare when I could have used a free bus pass. Talk about paying debts that I didn’t owe, damn fucking Jesus Christ!  OK, that got me annoyed, as if I was not annoyed enough already, but it did not stop the song from stubbornly playing in my head. 5eff246e7ac4ba2c7785bed9d0214848

Well, I really was once very much into the song, it got me high. As we know, religion really is the opium of the masses. Some prefer to get high on cannabis, marijuana or cocaine while many get high on religion. The song was my dose for getting high when I needed to speak in tongues and mate with the Holy Spirit.

Funny enough, as I mused about the extra charge on my oyster and the unnecessary debt I paid all due to the distraction of that once beloved tune, the song started playing in my head as a tribute to the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Below are the lyrics and BTW, here is a video of me getting high on his holy noodleness, Flying Spaghetti Monster. I guess I would rather get high on skepticism, logic and facts than get high on delusions, but I don’t mind getting high on Pasta in praise of his holy noodleness, the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Happy Holidays! 

 Tribute To Flying Spaghetti Monster 380602_4170850911488_21843259_n

Flying Spaghetti Monster
How I love to eat your pasta
I am so glad you came to boil for me

I am so glad you wrap me in noodles

You came from heaven to earth
To boil for my sins
From the pot to my plate
My hunger to quench
With sauce and pasta
You fed me with love

Flying Spaghetti Monster 

R’Amen!