The Road to Impiety Pt 2; The Assholic Atheist I Never Planned to Become.

When I made the decision to ditch my faith in 2005, it wasn’t a decision I made to become atheist, I didn’t even know about atheism. The slow and grueling decision to sever my 5 year long relationship with God—as a born again Christian—was solely driven by the fact that the things I believed then had stopped to make sense. It was a decision I made to better myself by concentrating no the things that mattered and forfeit the wild-goose chase.

My life, though, was to remain pretty much the same as it was during the subsistence of my faith. I even wrote down a not-to-do-list should my impending fate finally catch up with me. It was a simple one; 1 Thessalonians 4:11 being my moral compass, minding my own business and living a quiet life were to be maintained as my guiding principles. “Evil music” was also not to be any more welcome than alcohol consumption. But because cursing had never been my thing, I didn’t find it imperative to make a resolution to this effect.

A year later, when I joined university; my life was going according to plan. I had lost the faith but still lived my life like a believer. Secular music hadn’t crept its way into my life and I kept my beliefs—or lack thereof—mostly to myself. It was disheartening enough that my mom was already looking at me like I was the reincarnation of the devil himself, I didn’t want to attract anymore unnecessary attention. It was my ideal life, keeping things on the down low.

However, while cutting church service didn’t guilt me anymore, giving in to the temptation to watch anything that I previously considered as pornographic would haunt me with so much dejection you’d think I’d just drowned a bunch of puppies in a swamp. It would also take me another three years before I could brave an alcoholic beverage that wasn’t given in church wine measures; just around the same time when I first set foot in a night club—a place I once believed demons of whatever odors, hues and sizes congregated.

I was starting to lose my way, straying from the plan. It wasn’t long before I started trying on impious labels. Starting with agnosticism, which I took on for a couple of reasons that included the intricate allure that people tended to associate with me every time I said it—at least in my imaginations. A friend would ask disconcertedly,

“So if you don’t believe in God anymore, does that make you one of these so called atheists?”

And feigning an inexpressive face, I would reply “Well, technically speaking, the right word for it is agnostic.” And then pause in preparation for the next question that invariably required me to recite my rehearsed definition of the tongue twister.

But the more I shared the reasons for my disbelief with friends, the more I opened myself up to the confrontations I wanted to avoid in the first place. The thing about being a non believer in a predominantly religious community is that people will always pelt you with complicated questions. Questions they’ve failed to answer themselves but settled for a completely irrational but much simpler and well-worn response; God did it!

In one of such arguments with a friend in class, I was rudely interrupted by what turned out to be a “smarterass.”

            “But there’s something that you atheist don’t get.” She shot from behind me.

            “Excuse me, agnostic! Not atheists, the two are different” I corrected as I turned around.

“Whatever, but without God in the equation, how could you possibly explain irreducibly complex biological mechanisms like bacterial flagellum, the blood clotting cascade, cilia, and the adaptive immune system getting so perfectly aligned to contribute to one basic function?”

Of course I didn’t know how to respond to this affectedly technical question, neither did I know much about intelligent design at the time. But this bitch was demanding a chronological and perfectly logical account of a phenomenon that not even scientists have put to rest, one for which I figured she had a presumptuously precise but pitifully ignorant answer; “God did it!”

It is encounters like these that push non-believers to research relatively more than an average believer. To be better prepared to defend themselves against the inevitable recurrence of confrontations that will always characterize their lives.

It was on this course that I discovered the Ugandan atheist community, which came as a welcome surprise. I’d lived close to four years as a non-believer but had no idea there were so many people here like me.

Through a facebook group, and the friends I made there; I was opened to a whole new arsenal. With so many links to atheist texts, audio books and videos shared, I equipped myself with counteractive arguments in response to the trite questions that typify the existence of God debates. I even learnt a rebuttal to the intelligent design’s irreducible complexity concept that left me dazed a couple of years ago.

Before I realized, I had been completely sucked into the frenzy. Being a “free thinker”—an honor I was quick to bestow onto myself—I assumed stewardship of all the logic, reason and empiricism that eludes all believers. My personal opinions on matters of faith became facts that I obliged myself to shove down every Christian’s throat with utmost condescension.

How gullible are these people? I would wonder. How do you live your whole life thinking you have an invisible daddy who lives in the sky? It completely skipped my mind that I believed in this sky daddy for almost 20 years and I had reasons for it; that I didn’t just wake up one day and said fuck this shit.

Later, I dropped the agnostic tag and went past atheist to antitheist. I didn’t even wait for my religious views to be challenged anymore, but I jumped at every opportunity—however remote—to flaunt my newly crammed atheist quotes. There were times I could have come across a facebook status update where an individual was going through a hard time and praying for a miracle, and then, touched by their agony, I would drop a few words of encouragement, it would always be a quote like;

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

Patiently wait for a response in reproach, I would start browsing for my punch line, my favorite used to be;

“If there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence.”

I became a complete nuisance but didn’t even realize it. Hating God became my new calling, It’s like I’d dropped the bible for an antitheist machine gun, of course I was aware of the fact that attacking a camp I once called home threw me off as a jerk of sorts, but I always trumped the thought with a ridiculous consolation. Thinking, If Paul could preach to those he used to persecute, I could as well do it the other way round.

I now ask myself, what the heck? Was this all necessary? Can’t I just live my life and let other people be? Do I have to become as irritating as preachers who hold all passengers on a bus hostage in the name of fulfilling their heavenly duty of spreading the word? Fortunately, I’ve grown to a position where I can see all these things. I may not have completely drifted back on course, but I’m making a conscious decision to do so. I may not stop listening to secular music, but I want to mind my business more and leave the business of purging this world of religion to the Richard Dawnkins’ already at it.

Read Part 1 here.

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19 thoughts on “The Road to Impiety Pt 2; The Assholic Atheist I Never Planned to Become.

  1. I was pretty much a “wiseass” from when I was a kid so the little religion I ever had I lost it gradually from around the age of 13 that I do not know when I became a full blown “heathen”. I have realised that the best way to be is live and let live because you cannot possibly goo around pointing out logical inconsistencies and the irrationality inherent in religious belief. It becomes a full time job and having to go over the same to people who are not willing to even challenge the most basic of the beliefs for any reason becomes monotonous and tiring.

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  2. Well, I’ve been told that new born atheists (chuckle) go through this rabid stage where they’re just looking for theists to hate. Thankfully, I have not achieved it yet. Great read.

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  3. Applause.

    Very well said.

    (Also, Julian, your view (or the way you’ve described it) isn’t quite ”live and let live” it’s more ”live and watch silently while secretly looking down on others beliefs… The whole premise of letting live is to accept that even if you don’t agree with others’ beliefs, you respect that it is their choice and respect involves not accusing them of missing inconsistencies and being illogical, for example.)

    D

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  4. Where is the like button ?

    I am fully fledged theist and i agree with your conclusion. I don’t rub my Moslemness into people’s faces because its mine. Let them find their own but they can borrow if they want. I used to hate it when my atheist friends would go on a hating spree but thankfully they have toned down . I used to see them as no different from the annoying selfrighteous preachers from all religions who would intrude on you and try to make you “see the light ”

    BTW i am stealing this for WorkZine

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  5. Nice piece. As a relatively new atheist (as of July 2012), i have wasted no time on pouncing on gullible theist with their weak arguments. But i always leave them to initiate the debate so that i don’t come off as pushing my atheism onto them.

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  6. I enjoyed reading this very much and can relate to it. I haven’t achieved your level of wisdom yet, but at least have taken the position of not throwing the first punch.

    Also, my vitriol isn’t aimed at the believer, but rather at the belief and those who take advantage of the gullible and pious.

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  7. Good read.

    Atheist or no atheist, we are all human. And as humans, our view of reality is severely limited. I believe it is not a good idea to assume that what you know is the absolute truth no matter how much evidence you have to support your conclusions. The best attitude to adopt is that which looks on all knowledge and beliefs with a fair amount of scepticism. This is the attitude that the average theist and atheist lack. You cannot say with absolute certainty that there is no god. And you still cannot say with absolute certainty that there is a god. The best course of action is to believe what you believe and respect the beliefs of everyone else who doesn’t believe what you believe, no matter how illogical their beliefs appear to you. There are several reasons as to why religion, with all its logical inconsistencies, has survived for thousands of years on this planet, real practical reasons (not promises of heaven or 70 succulent virgins). If it had zero benefits, I am completely certain that we would have ditched the thing ages ago. But it has survived to this day.

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  8. I believe (so much) in the power of love. After many years of trying on and systematically trying on various titles (without ever adnittting to any of them out loud) I decided that it didn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. Not to me. I care about values, and about love. Love doesn’t need interpretation or contemplation. It just is. The rest has ceased to matter.

    So. I’m interested in hearing where your journey has led you since 2013.

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    1. Let me? Let’s see,

      I am not anymore a believer now than I was 4 years ago. I don’t even identify myself as nonbeliever anymore (I mean it’s not a tag I wear and most of my new friends don’t know about my religious inclination).

      I just live, I have discovered passions (as may have notice with the changes on my blog. Faith (or luck there of) does not define me anymore. It should have never, being a personal matter. All I do now is try to be the best version of myself, using my voice for good.

      That’s all.

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