My Atheism

Coming out as an atheist: an experience worth recounting

Coming out as an atheist: an experience worth recounting

Written in cursive is the admission I leave my fellow lads,

That I have taken it:

The ‘STEP’.

–  Atheist Declaration’ by A K William

I quoted these lines from a poem I had written a few days after I declared Atheism – I was 18 years old at the time. I could have barely imagined the response: targeted verbal assaults, spiteful ill-conceived judgments and lastly, endless moral attacks. But nothing could prepare me for what I had to bear for having challenged my beliefs: loneliness.

It was really in those moments of loneliness that I understood what it meant to challenge society’s norms and stand up for your beliefs.

In Ghana, religion tends to be a significant factor that encourages close-mindedness. I was born into a Christian family where both my parents were devout Christians. I myself was an eager and relatively faithful follower of the Christian faith. It molded me into the calm and collected person I am today. I enjoyed the teachings of my Holy Bible, as well as the Bible discussions every Sunday. But it was during the summer of 2014 and years preceding then that really set my mind into questioning what I followed.

As I grew older, I grew more internationally minded, and so did my views on gay rights, infidels, and other religious systems with their stigmas. My religion condemned the very nature of being homosexual and the interacting of infidels with us. I grew more and more disheartened as I brooded over the lack of empathy shown by members of my Christian-dominated home, society, and school. I empathized, asking myself what if I was misunderstood like the freethinkers, what if I was “born gay”, what if I was Muslim- would I be able to bear the prejudiced treatment simply because of some other religious group’s belief?

From then on, my thoughts and beliefs no longer resonated with my childhood teachings. I spoke to close friends and teachers, asking for their thoughts and started sharing my views with them. It later became more apparent to me, that as I thought more logically, the concept of having absolute faith in God, irrespective of logical inconsistencies or doubts, was one I could not resonate with.

I continuously sought credence from the Holy Bible until I could no longer continue to ignore what I believed; I could no longer agree with the idea of a supreme deity, miracles, sin or the Final Judgment. It was only soon after my declaration that waves of my devout Christian classmates and family began to flood my presence with questions and reprimands.

It was a lonely journey from those moments on and upon reflecting on it, it has made me realize that the fear of change is only speculation: I still cared greatly about my integrity and honor as a student leader and prefect. I retained my good values and gained more purpose; I had a reason to stand up for those who were misunderstood by my society and speak out their views and opinions. I became more empathetic with those I had never understood and thus, became a more open-minded person to different kinds of people.

I made new friends, who shared my views and I became the voice of empathic reasoning among my schoolmates. I began speaking out against radical proselytizing by teachers and students in my school, and I realized that as I continued to stand for what I believed in, others were speaking out too. I felt like a true leader in those moments and I continue to be one today for the same causes.

Would I have taken this decision again: to declare Atheism and challenge my society’s bias? I actually would, because it allowed new perspectives to be voiced out in my school society: a society that has been changeless on its perspective on others for a long time.

Full poem below:

Atheist Declaration

Written in cursive is the admission I leave my fellow lads,

That I have taken it –

The “STEP”:

 

Atheist Declaration. The Power of Truth.

My eyes are so open; I’m no longer blind.

Bible verses no longer fuel

My ambition for solace;

Only life does now, since it’s worth living

Without engineered blinds.

 

“Capture the rest!” my mind tells me.

“Liberate their minds!” He commands.

I say no. Belittle their beliefs and mock the plights in their faiths.

I am free.

 

Thank you always for my education (growing up)

You’ve served me well; planted in me

A good and moral character.

 

But no longer shall you blind me.

I can see now.

After 18 years of blindness, I can see.

My fear is no longer to take another step blindfolded;

It’s to take another step with my eyes wide open.

And that indeed was the biggest step ever taken.

The biggest step, with my eyes finally open.

– A K William

A K William, 19, is a first year accounting student at the University of Kent. His interests are writing poetry, playing American football for the University of Kent Falcons and listening to artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Lianne La Havas and Duane Stephenson. William has launched his own blog, and can be contacted at ak.william96@gmail.com.

8 responses to “Coming out as an atheist: an experience worth recounting”

  1. dorothy wilson says:

    I found your article to be well-written and thoughtful, and I thank you for it. I am much older than you, but had a similar church upbringing, and am a long-time atheist who lives a moral and happy life.
    I hope your journey goes well, and that you remain open-minded and loving, which is how I see you.
    Good luck.

  2. harrynutsak says:

    “Thank you always for my education (growing up), You’ve served me well; planted in me A good and moral character.”
    -from the article.

    To A K William:

    Nothing was “planted” in you but bullshit that fucked up your ability to learn, fucked up your brain over anything to do with “good” and “moral” so that, even now, you write as though you are still sucking Jesus dick, “thankful” for having been “blinded”, for getting shoved through a religious school…for thinking that this was how you became a “good” and “moral” person.

    No, you have a long ways to go to see just how deep the bullshit goes in your head.

    A long, long ways.

    To give you a bit of help, instead of just bitching at you for your naivete and youth, let me tell you a few things more, like:

    You have no soul, no one does, and it’s a very hard thing to grasp for anyone, but there is nothing there for anyone to “continue” with “after” death.

    There is no magic of any sort anywhere in anything you do or say or think. No magic in words, gestures, or reactions.
    The farthest reaches of space are exactly like this planet – no magic, no meaning, just shit flying around relative to other shit. That’s the universe for you.

    There is nothing supernatural or spiritual – that’s all bullshit.

    And all your thoughts, every single fucking one of them, is just the biochemical twitching of your individual brain cells, none of which you can control in the slightest way.

    Your “self-awareness” is an illusion, we are all feedback loops of self-actualizing and self-referencing nerve impulses.

    You have no free will, that is also an illusion.
    Our space-time is deterministic, predictable, testable and questionable.

    The hard part is wrapping your mind around all these things and more…and then realizing everyone else in history has the same problem.

    You were brainwashed heavily in your nasty little theocracy, yet managed to make it this far.
    I’d like to see you go farther, to know more, to understand.

    When you understand more fully, blame becomes a joke, and all “bad” or “immoral” behavior is just animals doing stupid animal shit.

    If you don’t know any better, who can blame your ignorance when that’s all you have?

    And then there’s death….no need to fear it. It’s just nothing, really, nothingness, non-existence, a stoppage of your awareness forever. There is nothing else right now, I’m going outside to enjoy the cool night air.

    How much of this you already knew, I have no idea, but all articles here are trolling articles, including yours.

    Think.

  3. AK William says:

    Harrynutsak, thank you for commenting.

  4. harrynutsak says:

    @AKWilliam – Sorry, but I will not visit your blog or email you or anyone, thus my comment, rough and coarse as usual, is visible here below your article rather than more easily deleted from your inbox.
    Nothing personal. I just won’t go visit blogs or email anyone with this computer I’ve got.

    btw, I like how “dorothy wilson” paraphrased my comments AFTER I had posted my comment, yet it appears above mine with an earlier time stamp.

    Let me assure you, if “dorothy wilson” had truly posted that comment at that time indicated by the fake time stamp, I would have seen it, agreed with it and…you would not have seen mine at all.
    I would not have posted mine with such a neat paraphrasing already at hand.

    (so Ophelia or whoever is the bullshitter here, fuck you for messing with my post and putting up bullshit posts with bullshit timestamps. Did you think everyone’s feelings would be hurt less if you tried to soften the blow?)

    You, AK William, are very welcome for anything you like.

    To the person who cannot keep it in their pants: fuck off

  5. Barry Duke says:

    @ Harrynutsack, there’s a simply explanation as to why Wilson’s comment appeared above yours. Her comment was languishing in a moderation queue, and I hadn’t spotted it for an hour or two after your first comment appeared. There was no fake date stamp. The fault is mine for not seeing her comment when she first posted it.

  6. harrynutsak says:

    @Barry – Sorry again. I am one of those idiots who hasn’t got much to keep me from posting hastily composed paranoid reactions at the drop of a hat.
    I’ve been too long oppressed and see shadows where there is sometimes nothing there due to things like coincidences or assuming correlation equals causation. This is not the first time, but these moments are, at least, becoming more rare.

    My apologies to all. I am constantly beset by enemies locally and often forget that this causes extra paranoid responses as a matter of course elsewhere.

  7. AK William says:

    @dorothy wilson Thank you for your kind words. I truly appreciate that.

  8. AK William says:

    @Harrynutsak I genuinely thought about what you said. I am still young and learning more things every day. I truly bear no grudge.