You may have noticed that Nigeria is big on religion.
There’s a church or mosque almost every street. And everyone makes a note to say which faith they believe in.
As a Nigerian, you have three options.
You can be a Christian, a Muslim. Anything else is jazz.
It’s recognised but you’re better off leaving that shit for Chiwetalu Agu. There’s land to be stolen.
Of course, you can believe in other things or not believe in anything at all.
There are agnostics – people who think no one can know if God exists or not.
And atheists – a very interesting group of people who don’t believe in the idea of gods, let alone, a supreme one.
The reason why you hardly hear anything about them is that in Nigeria, you either believe in God or the Devil.
That’s why Nigerian atheists are very familiar with these struggles.
People will act like you killed someone the first time you mention it.
“What is Atheist?”
“You don’t believe in God?”
“Who now created you?”
Sometimes you have to defend yourself.
God forbid you let it slip in public that you’re an atheist. You’ll suddenly find yourself in an argument where you have to answer questions like whether your mother dropped you beside a river as a baby.
But bros, nobody asked you why you decided to become a Christian. Leave me, plis dear.
Prepare to be judged, pushed away and left out)
People generally don’t like children of the devil (which is what they’ve decided you are).
So don’t be surprised when a mother refuses to let you carry their baby because your sin will stain the child. Or you get excluded from conversations because you’ll come and scatter everything with logic.
You really thought that not believing in God would save you from judgement, didn’t you?
You don’t get invited for religious holidays either
Okay. So you don’t believe in God, yes?
But you want to eat meat that was killed to honour him and his messenger. Sho wa okay?
Even your parents will disown you
Take this one to the bank. They’ll start by asking you if you’ve gone to church, every Sunday, for 52 weeks straight. Then one day, you’ll come home and the gateman will no longer recognise you. Life anagaga.
Leaving you with no-one and nothing to believe in
It may seem like the most basic thing but having someone to pray to is a big deal.
You, on the other hand, must now sit and wallow in your pain because how can a God that does not exist help his children (who you’re not one of.)
And you’ll even get dragged when you say things like “Oh My God”
And when you’re straffing, you have to say “Oh Science, Yes Science. Oh Science. Probe Meeee”.
The only way to avoid all of this is to play along.
Being an atheist means you have to nod along and smile while people say and do the most stupid things to avoid being picked on.
Because Nigerians think they know everything, including why you’re really just confused and you’ll realise there’s a God when you get married.
It’s the only way you’ll survive.
Basically, you have to choose the path of peace and accept them.
Peace is your new religion. The thing is, we know nobody has this life thing completely figured out, regardless of what they believe in.
What’s more; there’s enough space for all of us, regardless of our differences.
Live and let live.