Nearly every gay man I meet these days is an atheist, or at least claims to be one (many of them still shout Jesus Christ when we have a near collision in the car anyway lol). It is often portrayed that the people who don’t believe in God are the smart intellectuals with superiority over the vast majority of the populace who still move around in the opium daze of Christianity. There’s no far-fetched reason why more and more gay people are becoming atheist or at least agnostic; Christianity and Islam which are the main religions in this part of the world exclude them and the adherents often look at us as people firmly in the grip of Satan (or shaitan, if I may). In other climes, some denominations are moving towards acceptance of homosexuality, with even the Holy Father calling for some acceptance in the Catholic Church. (I do believe that the stance of Pope Francis is just posturing anyway, seeing as he welcomes the gay people into the church but won’t let them have matrimony [which we know is a sacrament] or grant them the allowance to be in the clergy. It’s almost like the church is saying to gay people: We are nice enough to let you in, so just sit down quietly and be grateful for the crumbs we give you. Don’t you dare ask for more.)
Before I get carried away, I’d like to point out that it is not the intent of this article to bash religion or proclaim (in the words of my darling Khaleesi) how people are religidiots and religitards. I just want to share some thoughts from my perspective as a Christian.
Quite a lot of my friends ask me if I am atheist and I tell them no. For starters, I am too lazy to be an atheist because there is so much reading to do before I am convinced that God does not exist. Ain’t nobody got that time. I currently have 32 books on my TBR (to be read) shelf, and I would much rather spend my time reading fiction than researching the non-existence of God. I believe in God last-last, but I have a problem with organized religion. I heard of a label recently which I had adopted — Cafeteria Catholic, which refers to someone who still believes in the Catholic Church but disagrees with some of its doctrines. I remember when Mummy Dearest gave them my number at our local parish and they added me to the CYON (Catholic Youth Organization of Nigeria) WhatsApp group. I left the group twice and I was added back twice; then I stayed mute until the day they were discussing doctrines, and I told them I support abortion, gay marriage, contraception, ordination of women and that I am against celibacy of the clergy. The administrator of the group removed me instantly. So much for free speech, LOL.
I still go to mass whenever I feel like, which really is not often. My last boyfriend was a choir boy, so he made me go a few times. But since we broke up, I can’t even be bothered to go to mass.
So anyway, I was doing some reading on homosexuality and Christianity and I came across a study of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. See eh, I don’t mean to offend anyone’s sensibilities, but there are so many stories in the bible that don’t add up, starting with that funny tale about Noah and his ark. I also think there were holes in this Sodom and Gomorrah story; on that matter, I came across this verse, Ezekiel 16:49 (NIV), which goes:
Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.
My first thought when I saw this was: Hmmmm! Sister Euphrasia who taught me catechism obviously lied to me. She made it clear that Sodom was destroyed because of homosexuality, which gave birth to the labeling of anal sex as sodomy. Could it be that the people who wrote the bible had their own narrative that they wanted to push?
However, before you shout “Aha!”, let me take you to Jude 1: 7:
And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.
Now notice that this passage says sexual perversion, but never really clarifies what sexual perversion is. For all we know, it could be bestiality, necrophilia or pedophilia. Could it be then that the people who wrote the bible took the liberty to embellish the facts? Some theologians argue that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for the same reasons Nineveh was destroyed, but curiously homosexuality was not mentioned in Nineveh. Some other theologians argue that there was no proof that the angels were even male, and that if the people of Sodom truly liked only men, Lot would not have offered his daughters to them (I won’t even debate the fact that rape was permissible from that passage).
Now again, before we shout “I knew it!”, remember that Leviticus 18: 22 expressly said that homosexuality is an abomination. However that part of the bible advocated so many horrible things which we ignore; for instance, unruly children ought to be put to death, a woman who loses her virginity before marriage ought to be stoned etc.
Where am I going with all of this? Patience please.
Now let’s skip to the new testament for a bit and jump to Romans 1: 25-27:
They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the creator who is forever praised amen. Because of this, God gave them over to their shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Now essentially this scripture tells us that because people dabbled into idolatry and materialism, they were punished with homosexuality, lol. The church people often do not read verse 25; they skip right to verse 26, because they know it makes no sense. So those of us who were born homosexual, at what point did we commit this transgression that we were sentenced to be liking preeq and nyash? Did we transgress in a former life? LOL! I am not angry that I was born gay o, I just detest that I am both gay and Nigerian; I mean, I could have been gay and British living on a farm in Nottingham with my 42-year-old husband, raising horses, LOL.
I do think that many parts of the bible were of course made up with the stories embellished. I also think that a lot that is in there is metaphorical, which is why when you read some of it and try to apply it literally, it makes no sense (I strongly recommend that you guys read Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta, that book dealt with some of these issues). We can see very obvious contradictions all over the bible; in one place for instance, the bible says before God, there was neither male nor female (paraphrasing now), but in another section, Paul (the famous misogynist) tells women not to talk in church. Remember that the same David who desired a woman and had her husband killed (at least as they told us) was the same person God referred to as a man after my own heart. Clearly the way Christians paint this God is not how He (or She) is.
I didn’t intend this to be a long piece, but I believe that it is okay to be a firm believer in Christianity or any other religion (while being gay) and it is also okay not to care. At the end of the day, I believe it all comes down to being a good person and not intentionally bringing harm to another human being. These two things are not relative. My friends have called me agnostic, some say I am an irreligious theist. You people know me, I don’t much care for labels, but my heart is always guided by John 13: 34:
A new commandment I give to you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
Please I don’t want to make this into another huge argument on religion, but on whatever side you stand, you surely can agree with me that we need more love in the world.