This is not purely a work of fiction. The ideas and thoughts in it are as told to me by the people. It does not represent my stand or view on religion. I am doing my work as an artist.
He is not very tall. He is neither too short. He is of medium size. He has a face that slay queens would dream of taking a selfie, hashtag their _Bae tings manenos_and post it on instagram to scream for likes. His voice is a killer that I bet if he happens to read am eulogy, some empty headed girls would shake their plastic behinds on the chairs. His smile is what I won’t describe for the fear of being labeled a gay. He had a well fed muscles and a near athletic figure. He had everything girls, in their craziest dreams, wanted for the Mr Right mumbo jumbo. He also had the brains. How did I know?
We were both admitted to the best boys school in the now divided Kenya. To get in there, you had to have a powerful ‘ _back of your brain_’ to store a lot of garbage asked in exams. It goes beyond doubt that anyone who is lucky enough to get a letter of admission from such an institution had his upstairs lit by something else other than KPLC. So on arriving at the school of our dreams, we settled without minding our neighbors welfare. You came alone and would trot out alone. So what is the dump about friendship? The mist that harbored this idea inside our brains vaporized in a matter of a few weeks.
After a few weeks, we began interaction and involving in the obvious informal interviews of ‘ _Ulikuwa na marks ngapi?_’… ‘ _Unataka Kuwa surgeon pia wewe?_’… ‘ _Dem yako ako Alliance girls?_’ etc etc. That is when I came to know Him. However, I knew him not because he had a voluptuous girl somewhere in Kenya High school. I knew him not because he could rap Eminem’s verses like coughing amid a major outbreak of a flu. I knew him not because he could play FIFA with a team like Leeds FC and manage to beat Barcelona 10-0.I knew him because…. He was the most religious teenager I had ever laid my naked eyes on.
As the coastal people say in their numerous quotes from the anonymous _Wahenga_, _”Kizuri chajiuza…._ Yes that one! So in a few days that came, he was known everywhere in the religion cycles of the school. He could lead 10 pm prayers when some us rushed to the dormitory to catch up with Ludovica in dreamland. That was even not enough, during free time, say like games time or in the middle of a boring Biology lesson, he would pop up his Bible and read it below the locker. At such times, especially those boring lessons, majority were having a struggle to balance their heads now shifting sideways, backside, forward and sideways again now heavy with sleep. Ask me what Kokota was doing then. Did I even tell you how he sang the hyms and praise songs?
That is not the point of this article.
As time went by, we could not help but notice the sudden change in the behavior of our Bishop. He grew silent and any brotherly effort to know what de-beaked his hot religious tongue would be answered by a guttural grunt. Stories stared flying around. Some said God had ordered him to remain silent. He had seen a major revelation. Some said that he did not want to waste his energy on us sinners. After all hell was blazing vibrantly waiting for us. Some said he was conversing with God. For at times he could be seen mumbling a thing or two. People talked. Talked. And Talked. None was correct. What was the problem with our Bishop? Had he known something about heaven that was worth obscuring? We all wondered.
Being the inquisitive child I have always been, laced by my inborn talent of slowly dragging tales out of frustrated humans, I approached him. He was calm as always. One would expect that his Bible and Golden bells be beside him but no, that day he was just alone. Without wasting time, I dropped the question. Why are you silent these days? Why did you divorce your Bible and Hymnal book? Why don’t we see you no longer in the lead worship team? Have you already booked your ticket to heaven? What is it with you?
He seemed not taken by the questions. Like he was somehow expecting them. He just looked at me and cast his look on the now dead Thika Super Highway. He returned his glance back towards my direction. I sometimes tend to think his brains returned with the glance. He told me that he would answer my questions with questions. Only Kenyans do that, answer a question with a much harder question. He began his monologue.
“What if you were born and told there is no God, would you believe there was a God 16 years later? What I’d religion is just a powerful tale? Do you know that one of your brain nerve cells looks exactly like our universe? What if our universe is just a brain cell of an unknown being? Have you ever heard about Horus? Do you know that he claimed he was Jesus before Christ? Where is your God? ”
I felt a cold lump in my stomach. The questions were nothing I expected. I had never heard, let alone see, a person with such audacity to question religion. I had been brought up in a family where God was the father and everything that troubled us should be told to Him. I therefore, knew religion was true because I had knocked and the door to the school of my dreams was opened. That alone was a reason I had to prove that religion was indeed true. I remember in our formative years, one would do an evil thing such as pilfering, but the thought that God in heaven was observing was just enough for one to surrender. Now I was with this guy, dead set on proving to me that religion was all but a mirage.
“I have read the bible more times than anyone here. What I found were more questions than answers that I sought to find. They tell you of Noah’s Ark. How did polar bears get in? Did the ark had a deep freezer that the polar bears would bathe in? They tell you that God sees everything and knows everything, why didn’t he prevent Adam and Eve from sinning? “I coughed just to interrupt but he kept on.”They say salvation. What is salvation if the person who died for you says that those who don’t follow what he says will burn as a punishment. Where is your God?”
If it hadn’t been for the screams of the bell, I would have given more ear to his tale. It’s not that I was enjoying it or anything but because I knew the battle between religion and atheism would not end soon so I wanted to live in the mind of an atheist. Walk through his thoughts and try to see the point and angle where their argument rises. I wanted to do so, so that I would bring you a tale that you too could see what I saw. Before leaving he advised anyone who would like to see the effects of religion documented In a movie: _The HandMaid’s Tale_. Whether you’ll watch it or not, I’ll still comfortably walk to the loo.
As we parted ways, I couldn’t help but wonder. What is this that could change someone to such extent. Now that he doesn’t believe in what he used to, what does he believe in? Does things just happen because they happen? Otherwise… Where is his god?