When you ask me on a good day, I would describe myself as an atheist and on a bad day, simply opt for ‘I am agnostic’. No matter which of these two positions I take, I am and perhaps will never be accepted, appreciated and be regarded the same within a Ghanaian setting…
A few months ago, my own mother called with cries, and it’s not that she had come across one of my many articles with which I boldly talk about the God delusion. But it’s because a friend of hers had informed her I had written a piece stating that, gays have rights too—and that there is nothing wrong with homos*xuals.
I cannot point to the article which caused this emotional chaos—and it’s not because I don’t remember saying this, but it’s because I have written so many articles advocating for gays’ rights that I don’t know which particular one pulled the trigger.
My mother is in her mid 50 and I was no ready to have a long phone conversation with such a woman about human rights, gays’ rights and stretch it to cover God. I simply pulled the plug; and so what?
I added “Yes, I wrote that and I believe in that so if that changes my position as your son—let me know and I wouldn’t bother to call you again and you shouldn’t bother to call me again. Because, I am not about to start hating on gays because of your ill-informed worldview, caused by your own personal experience, religion, geography and education…”
Since then, my mother has not brought up that conversation and we’ve remained fine—perhaps, she doesn’t want to loose a son over what she regards as a worldview.
This is just me advocating for ‘gays rights’—something we don’t even have to discuss, it should be inherent and bolded in our conscience.
Therefore, can you imagine going beyond this and taking a position such as “it’s highly probably there is no God or I sit on the fence when it comes to whether there is a God or not” in a society like Ghana, where people attribute everything to God. It wouldn’t be regarded as being insensitive to their religious views, rather, an assault on their persons and total existence.
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This is in summary what a Ghanaian atheist or agnostic has to face each minute of his life—you are regarded as an individual going straight to hell but does not know. You are regarded as that lost person who has launched an assault on God, His many angels and the millions of believers. You become the enemy of the society—and a lot of people ridiculously wouldn’t want to associate with you.
Beyond the borders of the family intimidation and somewhat being regarded as a pariah, your love relationship will suffer—one way or another. Tell me, which Ghanaian/African woman would want to tell her parents or friends that my man has no faith in God? To this race of people, faith is more important than evidence…
At this stage, it’s no more a challenge; it’s a war scar you would have to live with for the rest of your life. Trust me, people will call you all manner of names—and these are people who claim to believe in a God who commands them to love all. Just this experience is a silly confirmation that there’s no God to me, and that those who claim to hold onto His existence are intellectually dishonest—or else, why would you consciously and regularly break the commandments of this powerful God?
I know a lot of Ghanaians whose positions on God fit either the agnostic or atheist box but they cannot openly discuss this or make it known for the fear of that avalanche of backlash.
The greatest challenge as a Ghanaian atheist or agnostic is not the widespread shun and attacks which would come your way but the fact that you cannot hold any sort of intelligent conversation on the ontological question; ‘Does God Exist’ with almost everyone with a Ghanaian DNA—it’s pretty much a taboo which will end you on their blacklist.
And if you push it, the best response you would get is; ‘Jesus loves you’ or ‘you are going to hell’. Pretty much a scary thing to tell someone who does not believe there is even hell…right?
You can blame the deeply held dogmatic religious views of Ghanaians on education and hard-core indoctrination—but this is to just some extent. Because, there a good number of educated Ghanaians who you would believe should be able to engage in a honest conversation about the ‘God’ subject, just as they can engage in a healthy dialogue about philosophy, politics and science. But you wouldn’t even catch these people daring to do so, because of their intolerance and the towering fear religion headed by the God concept have planted in them…
It’s therefore a safe haven for the many Ghanaians who hold opposing views on God and religion to pretend—at best, look the other side when the issue comes up.
However, such a timid and dishonest position does only one thing—it allows the smooth transfer of this ill indoctrination from one generation to another without anyone questioning it source, benefit and direction…And it allows the many charlatans parading themselves as hands of God on this earth to continue to prosper to the detriment of society, brain-wash their followers without any real challenge or call to accountability.
Religion and God are very important to Ghanaians and that is the main reason why we ought to subject them to scrutiny—because these things dictate our lifestyle, pace of development and acceptance/denial of certain important things such as gays’ rights, women rights, equality and women empowerment…
Since a non-believer who asks others to critically evaluate their beliefs is by default the anti-Christ, perhaps, hiding in the closet and allowing faith, religion and God to continue with the carnage is the best choice for a Ghanaian ‘atheist or agnostic.’
That above may sound comfortable, however, it’s either you take the bullet or allow humanity to suffer for your dodge.