Friday, June 18, 2010

Losing My Religion

My name is Anthony C. Okafor. The "C" stands for "Chukwuebuka", which in the Igbo language of Nigeria, means "God Is Great". This is now very ironic to me, now that I'm atheist. But my journey towards atheism means more to me than some religious middle name. I was born on June 9th, 1989 in Awo-Omamma, Nigeria, in a Christian-run village hospital. I came over to the States when I was just a year old. I mention this because I highly doubt i would be who I am if I had grown up in Nigeria. Between the ages of 4 and 18, my education was achieved almost exclusively from Catholic schools. My beliefs were impacted greatly when my parents sent me back to Nigeria in Sept 2004 to complete my Sophomore year of High school. It was here where, in my mind, something was telling me "There can't be a god. It's impossible". This school took prayer seriously, since it was a "junior seminary" school. I constantly wouldn't see the purpose of praying multiple times a day. 'Why can't we just pray in our dorms", I said to myself. Those who wouldn't show up on a constant basiswere brought out and flogged by the seminarians in front of everyone.


After that ordeal, I returned to NJ in Sept 2005, where I met a self-proclaimed Agnostic, named Joey Montefusco. I asked him "What is agnosticism"? He told me "Basically, i believe in a higher power. Just not any that belong to any religion" I was relieved. This was a smart guy who seemingly had questioned his faith in Christianity. I assumed this because his mom was Puerto Rican and his dad was Italian. So, I started questioning my own faith and questioning the sisters who taught at my new school, the now shut-down Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Newark, NJ. I remember one of the Sisters discussing her weight in the class, saying "I've always been overweight. I guess God created me this way". I almost laughed out loud in class when she said this. I couldn't believe someone could attribute unhealthy behavior to a higher power. It also bugged me to see some of the most immoral students (by Christian standards) those dealing with pre-teen pregnancies as young as 10 years old, bringing weed to school to smoke afterwards, having sex in a room across from the Sister's office,dealing drugs, claiming gang "sets", mostly either Latin King, MS 13, or Bloods. Yet, these people 10 times out of 10 would say that I was going to hell for even questioning the existence of a God. Even though I never told anyone, I was sure that would be the reaction.


I realized that there was just too much hypocrisy among the "Christians" for any of their beliefs to be factual. So, I decided to try and make faith more personal. Around this time, I stopped attending church, mostly because the pastor, Fr. George Faour, seemed to preach all too much like the Westboro Baptist Church, than like a Lebanese former Wall Street hedge fund manager who "had a calling from God" to be a priest instead. As time went by and I started reading the Bible, i realized that God was a little too human to be almighty (resting after many days of work "Creation) and a little too petty (First 3 commandments deal with him) to be a higher power. How could his "infallible word" have so many huge holes in it, including him breaking his own commandment (the 6th) with his encounter with Noah)? So, I had the same thoughts I had in Nigeria "There's no god. You only have one life to live. Live your life for others." From this point on, I had become an Atheist. I no longer believe in anything without proof. Obviously, my parents have a problem with this. My mom has threatened to kick me out and disown me if I came out and admitted it to her face. These are supposed to be people filled with "God's Love"?!?! I have devoted my life for others, not to chalk up celestial points in preparation for "Rapture" as I once did. I do good things because it benefits society for us to be good and humane to each other and our animal brethren. This is me. This is why I'm Atheist.

9 comments:

  1. Dude awesomeness. Great intro, I look forward to more of your posts. See ya in the twitterverse.

    Your friend,

    Kriss

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  2. Great first post. Congrats on the new blog and good luck, insofar as it exists!

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  3. Thanks for sharing ~ very touching story.

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  4. Yay Anthony! I will look forward to seeing your new entries. Heading over to read your new one. It is great to hear your story! I love this line: "I have devoted my life for others, not to chalk up celestial points in preparation for "Rapture" as I once did." Very well said!

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  5. I think questioning is a very beautiful thing! And questioning what we've been taught about god and the world is so necessary. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I just hope you haven't only based your atheist conclusions on the ignorances of most Christians and modern day, average religious people. Once you get past all the hypocrisy, contradictory bible texts, etc, there is much more to see and appreciate about God. I consider myself spiritual but very open minded. I respect atheism. I think however just as no one can prove god exists, no one can prove that he doesn't.

    I look forward to reading more of your thoughts Anthony! I really appreciate you sharing :-)

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  6. Great blog name! If there's one message I want the religious to receive it's that goodness and morality are not tied to a belief in god.

    In retrospect I think I called myself agnostic for a long time without realizing I was actually atheist. I don't think I ever believed in a god, but I was almost 40 before I admitted to myself I'm an atheist.

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  7. Hi Anthony, I came across your blog, and just wanted to share with you some of the facts about Christianity that you unaware of, and to let you know that your views were created by a very warped, and un-Christianlike group of so-called 'Christians.' Any 'Christian' who does the things you described, is only Christian by name, which means absolutely nothing. A true Christian is one who actually LIVES it. It is shown by the way they live their lives.

    This reminds me of a skit I once saw at my church. There were 5 guys who out of nowhere appeared on a stage. They say "Well there are crowds, here's microphones, there's crazy lighting, we must be a BOY BAND!" But then someone from the crowd gets up and says, "Whoa whoa, just because you're on stage doesn't mean you are a boy band. 





    A similar scenario ensues, and they appear in a wrestling rink. They say "Well we're in a wrestling rink, we're dressed up in tights, there's crowds cheering for us, we must be PROFESSIONAL WRESTLERS!" And yet again, someone stands up and says "Whoa whoa, just because you are in a wrestling rink, doesn't mean you are professional wrestlers.

 Scenario after scenario like this occur. Finally they appear in some church pews. They say "Well, there's a cross, we're sitting in pews, here's a Bible, we must be CHRISTIANS!" But once again, someone gets up and says, "Whoa whoa, just because you go to church, doesn't mean you're a Christian!"





    Just because someone claims to be a Christian, does not mean that they truly are one. Not everyone who goes to church is a truly a Christian. There are so many hypocrites in the world today claiming to be Christians, and claiming to be followers of Jesus, when they are in reality doing the exact opposite. Don't get discouraged and turn away from God entirely just because you met hostility from someone in the church. There are PLENTY of other true Christian believers. If you still have issue with that church, just look for a new church :)



    The chance that God is actually real, is actually overwhelmingly abundant. Evidence of God is everywhere. So many people refuse to believe in God because 'miracles only happened in the Bible.' That is not true at all. Miracles are happening every single day, all around the world. I've witnessed a few myself. Read onward, and you will see that there is much more than you are aware of. May God bless you brother! I hope life is treating you wonderfully!

    http://sethdavidmiller.com/2009/12/19/what-is-the-bible/

    http://sethdavidmiller.com/2010/06/27/the-bible-can-we-trust-it-part-1-who-wrote-the-bible/

    http://sethdavidmiller.com/2010/07/28/the-bible-can-we-trust-it-part-2-does-the-bible-err/

    http://sethdavidmiller.com/2010/08/11/the-bible-can-we-trust-it-part-3-which-books-belong-in-it/

    http://sethdavidmiller.com/2010/08/11/the-bible-can-we-trust-it-part-4-was-it-copied-accuarately/

    http://sethdavidmiller.com/2010/12/01/what-you-did-breaks-my-heart/

    http://sethdavidmiller.com/2010/04/27/what-is-evil/

    http://sethdavidmiller.com/2008/09/14/let-me-explain-the-problem-science-has-with-religion/

    http://sethdavidmiller.com/2011/01/31/there-have-been-more-deaths-in-the-name-of-god-than-any-other-cause-in-human-history-it-seems-to-me-that-religion-is-used-for-no-more-than-power-and-control-what-are-your-thoughts-on-this/

    http://sethdavidmiller.com/2011/01/31/if-god-exists-then-why-is-he-hiding/

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  8. The purpose of life is to replicate DNA. nothing more. People are like mold on a tiny piece of rock floating through space.

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