Man Deemed ‘Mental’ after Declaring He is Atheist
Mubarak Bala, a Nigerian man was rushed to the hospital to see a doctor after telling his family that he had renounced Islam. After taking Bala to a doctor and being cleared of any mental illness Bala’s family turned to a second doctor who said, “his atheism was a side-effect of a personality change, that everyone needs a God.” The belief that Bala has a mental illness was backed up with the theory of his family telling the doctor Bala also claims he was a ‘governor’ and told other ‘trivial lies’. Bala was admitted to the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital and has been held there since against his will. Bala has attempted free himself by posting on social media networks but it is believed his latest phone has been confiscated.
Bala’s brother believes that “all the atheists [he] sees have had mental illness at some point in their life.’ This indicates that there is a strong bias that is revolved around Bala’s culture. His father on the other hand registered Bala to a hospital to ‘protect’ him because he tweeted out his beliefs to the public, which may endanger his own life and his families. Bamidele Adeneye, the secretary of the Nigerian Humanist Movement who doesn’t believe Bala is mental described Bala as “lucid, intelligent and witty as well as bold and courageous.” He added that Bala had been due to go to South Bank University.
The International Humanist and Ethical Union has taken up this case and the first step is to have Bala see an independent psychiatric analyst to assess his status. Currently, “The doctors [in Nigeria] are of the opinion that [Bala] does have a psychological problem. This case has yet to be re-evaluated.
I can see why religion plays such a big part in some peoples lives because it affects the way some live, the behaviors and beliefs that they have and to some extent it plays a major role in why they live.
It’s interesting to see how different cultures treat customs and beliefs differently. In Nigeria, “Many Nigerians think atheists are horrible.” People don’t have a freedom of choice in Religion there. Religion is so embedded in some people lives, that to not have a religion is wrong and you can be classified as ‘mentally ill’ because it of.
I think that religion should be a choice and in a First World Country that may be easier, but for other countries where cultures are so strong that it is passed on generations to generations and affects people just as strong as years ago, it is drastically harder to voice any differing opinions.