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“Atheist” =/= “Alien” October 10, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, career, friends, issues.
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14 comments

The workplace gives me a good bird’s eye view of how people in my country see atheists. There’s the weird “I was gonna tell you something but now I’m not because you might get offended” reaction, for one. And lately I’ve been more open about religion to more people. Luckily, the reaction’s not Bible Belt bad, it’s just an amusing sort of cluelessness. “What is this strange creature they call ‘atheist’?”

Gary (whom I now find really annoying and creepy): “Did you hear about the — oh wait, you’re an atheist…”
TA: “Dude, we’re not hateful misanthropes who can’t take a joke. I like Altar Boyz and the occasional Lifehouse song, and Judd Apatow anti-Semitism references. People act so weird around you once they know you’re an atheist.”
George (nebbish guy that I’m sort of crushing on): “You’re an atheist, TA?”
TA: “Er, yeah. You scared?”
George: “No, I just didn’t know.”
Anne: “Ah, your religion is atheist?” (to others) “Hey, TA’s religion is atheist!”

Like bald is a hair color, as many would say.

TA: “Just tell the damn joke already. I’m not easily offended.”
Gary: “So, there’s this very smart, atheist professor, who would challenge his class with arguments about how God does not exist…”
TA: (tries hard not to groan) “Does this involve a piece of chalk and whether or not it breaks?”
Gary: “Well, it’s an egg…”

Again, I’m not easily offended, but he had to pick the one joke that specifically targeted my beliefs and claimed that some stupid coincidence disproves everything I believe in? Somebody hand this guy the Idiot’s Guide to Interacting with People.

Bern: “Yeah, my girl and I are having some issues, especially when it comes to religion.” (note: he’s Catholic, she’s…some smaller sect of Christianity)
TA: “Heh, you said it. It’s doubly hard for people like me.”
Bern: “Why, what religion are you?”
TA: “I’m an atheist, actually.”
Bern: “Oh! Where’s your church located?”

So yeah, sometimes it’s easier to just not bother bringing it up, because it gets fairly tedious to have to spell everything out for everybody.

It still beats the Bible Belt, though. Better cluelessness than bigotry and hatred.

By the way, did I mention that Gary is really annoying and creepy? Have you ever experienced having a friend of the opposite sex, who you really want to tell to stop fucking touching you, but you can’t because you don’t wanna make it weird? I mean, it’s not like they’re caressing your tits or anything, but the constant touches on the shoulder or forearm, or high-fives are beginning to seriously piss you off because you’re just not a touchy-feely kind of person, except when it’s a serious, crying-your-eyes-out issue, or if it’s from someone you dig (like when George touches my hair, I totally don’t mind).

Luckily, Gary’s quitting next month, so I just have to keep my distance for a little longer.

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Yes, my atheist life is this boring. August 9, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, career, issues, rants.
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26 comments

Excuses on why I haven’t posted in about a month now:

  1. Religion is no longer something I want to discuss with my parents. (However, I get more and more resentful that I have to sit and wait while they pray before dinner. At least I have breakfast and lunch elsewhere, and with co-workers who, while religious, don’t shove their beliefs in my face.)
  2. Workplace drama isn’t all that interesting. It’s mostly bitchy co-workers making rumors about me, like I’m fucking my married boss, et cetera. Tedious.
  3. I don’t have much time to go online, and when I do I’m usually feeding my crush on Steven Weber and Casey from Make Me a Supermodel. (He’s a Buddhist! He thinks that “the whole peace and love thing is, like…awesome”! Is it weird that I find that totally sexy?)

Now, I did mention that workplace drama isn’t all that blog-worthy, but I’ve experienced some new, weird reactions to my admitting my atheism.

Once, I was talking about a dire-but-funny situation with Gary, 36, and for some reason he asks…

Gary: “So, are you a Catholic or a Born Again Christian?”

TA: “Atheist, why?”

Gary: “Oh, never mind.”

TA: “No, really, why were you asking?”

Gary: “It’s nothing.”

Then just yesterday, I was walking home with Marc, 28, and we were talking about his close encounter with a different married boss whom he’s crushing on big-time.

Marc: “Are you a Catholic, or…?”

TA: “Atheist.”

Marc: “Oh okay, nevermind.”

TA: “Why?”

Marc: “No, I was just asking.”

It’s weird how they get eerily quiet about it, like there was a joke they wanted to tell you but they refrained from it because people of your “kind” probably wouldn’t get it. What does this reaction even mean? It’s good that they’re not going into some idiotic argument about how I should see the light or whatever, but are they scared to offend me now? I like offensive jokes as much as the next guy. Take this hilarious skit from Judd Apatow and friends.

…Man, I love me some Jews. (And Justin Long! Woohoo!)

On the tangent of interesting things I found on the Intarwebz, I’d been Googling Christian Bale since watching him in The Dark Knight (unpopular opinion: I liked Heath Ledger’s Joker, but my favorite performance in that movie was Aaron Eckhart as Two-Face). Much digging led to my discovery of a full recording of the less successful of Todd Haynes’ two rock-star-inspired films,Velvet Goldmine.

Now, the movie itself wasn’t the greatest thing ever, but it was definitely interesting, and worth watching just for Ewan McGregor’s brilliant turn as the Iggy Pop avatar Curt Wild. He was a revelation! I’d been “eh” about him before, but after seeing the awesomeness that is Curt Wild, I am all over this boy. Plus, he’s one of the very few men who look hot in platinum blond hair and guyliner. Is anyone else as psyched to see I Love You Phillip Morris as I am?

Check out his rocktastic take on “TV Eye” (warning: NSFW!):

Velvet Goldmine had me as wistful as Christian Bale’s character in the movie, even though I wasn’t even alive in the 70’s. It was more centered around the sexual freedom of the era, which made me sad in realizing the truth: that we’d experienced a regression since then. Whatever happened to the days when being gay or bisexual was cool?

And then I get to thinking, was it easier to be an atheist back then, as well?

Interview with Teen Atheist July 20, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, issues.
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6 comments

I’ve been interviewed by The Pakistani Spectator! Granted, I feel slightly less special because the questions were canned (take a gander at the other interviews and you’ll see what I mean), but it’s nice to be interviewed anyway.

Go check it out!

It could’ve been…worse? June 7, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, rants, teen angst.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
32 comments

On a whim after breakfast, two friends and I went to a large, museum-like antique shop, with ancient relics and furniture from India, Sri Lanka and the like. The store owner was a handsome, 50-something woman named Layla who was the kind of person every woman (or me, anyway, if every other woman was wildly uncool and wanted to be Paula Deen when they grew up) aspired to be like — wealthy, worldly, been-there-done-him. Very, very cool.

One of the friends I have with me is the naive, wide-eyed type who hopes to settle down one day with her American boyfriend (it was an internet romance), white picket fence blah blah blah. The discussion topic turns to how expensive it is to get married in the “US and A” (TM Borat), as compared to our country. I share my personal views on the matter: that marriage, to me, is just a piece of paper with a bunch of people’s signatures on it; that I didn’t intend to get married, I’d much rather be like Oprah or Susan Sarandon.

Layla: “What about when you plan to have children?”

TA: “Well, I’m an atheist. It doesn’t really matter.”

Layla bursts into laughter. Really, really loud, “Oh, you kids” kind of cackling. My two friends had no idea, so we all just kind of grinned uncomfortably. When her laughter dies down, she just says, “Oh, I don’t know anymore,” and wipes a tear from her eye.

So, it goes back to me being a silly teenager whose atheism is just a phase.

Apparently, atheism is the new Wicca.

You’d think someone as open-minded and worldly as she would be more respectful about it, but it goes to show the power that religion has over people. Everybody outside of the congregation is an idiot or a heathen. But I guess that applies to every sort of belief, Wicca and atheism included.

I still think Layla’s cool. Just, ever so slightly less than I used to.

The importance of being earnest May 26, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, friends.
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26 comments

I have this grotesquely ugly friend who, for some reason, finds himself totally hot (which makes him like…a lot of other people I know). Don’t ask me why. He’s the kind of dude who is baffled why he can’t seem to make it with women, and he thinks that a mere glance his way from a chick means that she’s checking him out. It irritates the hell out of me, but I try not to let it register on my face.

One day, this friend puts me on the spot: “Am I ugly?”

I was so caught off-guard that it literally took me ten seconds to answer. And the only B.S. I could come up with was, “Don’t ask me that question. I have weird taste when it comes to aesthetics.”

It’s one of those things where I’m damn sure I could have come up with a better response if I’d had the chance to concoct one beforehand. So anyway, this weird little exchange has prompted me to ask you guys, since I am completely curious (and would like a better response for the next time somebody asks me that question):

What is the meanest/smartest/wittiest/most hurtful/most evasive response you’ve given when an ugly friend had asked you if s/he was ugly?

Or, if you haven’t been asked that before (consider yourself lucky), what would you say? Would you pick tact or honesty?

I’ve finally earned my wings! May 18, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes.
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33 comments

I don’t think I’ll ever tire of using theist references. Although I’m currently in the process of graduating from “OMG” to “OMJ(oe)”.

Anyhoo, two days ago, I received a wonderful present from Benj of Atheista.net. Despite the fact that Atheista may have inadvertently outed my nationality as a result of this blog post, I’m still totally psyched!

I’ll admit that I came really close to going on hiatus due to the lack of atheism-related events happening in my life, but now that I have this, my enthusiasm has been newly energized! Even though that might mean more atheism-free, workplace-ranty posts. Sorry, guys.

Thanks to Atheista’s generosity, you may now redirect your servers (or not, if you’re lazy) to…

teenatheist.com

(I would have made it do that HTML blinky thing, but even I’m not that annoying.)

Now, with regards to my nationality being kind of out in the open now, it’s no big deal, as I have mentioned in my About page. Let me just say, though, that I am not in the least bit ashamed to be a countrywoman of [insert country here]. (Okay, so that sounded kind of hilariously ironic, but I do have a point here!) I only maintained ambiguity here because I do not feel that my citizenship is not relevant to the message I am trying to convey with this blog.

…If there is one.

Also, I started this blog aiming to reach an international audience rather than a country-exclusive one, which is usually what happens when [insert country here] bloggers know that you’re from their country. I hope that knowing where I come from does not change your opinion of me; I am still the Teenage Atheist, period, rather than the Teenage Atheist From [insert country here].

I’m not 100% sure on what to do with this shiny new domain since I’ve always been dependent on blog hosts (me to Atheista: “I feel like a hillbilly who just got an iMac — I’m totally honored, although I have no idea how to work this internetty website thingamajigger stuff.” Yes, I am a little bit racist, too. Everyone is!) but I’m currently in the process of figuring this out. I may be contacting Jersey sometime soon to enlist her help, since she’s been very helpful about telling me which buttons to click and all of that. Hee.

In closing, let me quote Wayne Campbell: “Party on!”

The one blog that can convince us atheists that God is awesome May 16, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes.
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9 comments

If not “awesome,” then at least ridiculously funny.

Not even the Almighty Creator is immune from finding some of the shit in this (Godforsaken? Hee) world annoying, so He’s decided to create a blog about it. Over at Stuff God Hates, nobody’s safe from His Wrath. God takes potshots at cats, Africa, Patrick Swayze and anal sex. Reading and having a good laugh about The Good Lord’s hatred is enough to brighten my day, even, which goes to show you that the guy is simply divine. (I’d say “fabulous,” but I don’t think He’d like that too much.)

Some of my favorite God quotes:

“And I’m a big, big fan of the current guy, Pope Benedict XVI. He’s My kind of Pope – tough like a marine but crazy like a ninja. Way better than the last guy, old Whats-His-Face-Whiny-Bitch II. Trained by the Nazis to be a stone cold killer when he was just a boy, Benedict still keeps his Hitler Youth knife tucked safely under his pillow when he sleeps. Like I said, My kind of Pope.”

“Oh! How I wish humans could be more like dogs! They are decent, obedient, and love you unconditionally without question – even if you beat them. They set a great example.”

“I and I alone, The Sovereign Lord God Almighty, was responsible for every phase of [the September 11, 2001 attack]  – the planning, the flying, the blowing shit up – that was all Me! And quite frankly, I’m sick of other people getting the credit. I mean, what the hell do I have to do? I even posed in the smoke for you people and what do you do? You give the credit to Satan. ARGGH!”

“I’M COMING FOR YOU WITH MY CHERUBIM AND MY FLAMING SWORD AND I’M GOING TO SMITE YOU SO FRICKING HARD!”

Hee, I love that God says “frick,” like Elliot from Scrubs.

“Some of you might be thinking, wait, wasn’t it Jesus Christ who got crucified and not God the Father? Well technically, yes. But the thing you have to remember is that Me and My Son Jesus, we’re actually the same person! I know it sounds kinda schizophrenic and deranged, but it’s true! See, there are three parts of My Personality: The Angry/Vengeful Father, The Loving/Naive Son, and The Confusing/Lazy Holy Spirit. If you don’t know what that last one is, it’s kind of like the black smoke from Lost.”

Best TV analogy ever.

“I’m going to use all My Godly Powers to make sure [Hillary Clinton] loses the only thing she’s ever cared about (becoming Emperor) to some smiley-faced black guy who can talk pretty.”

Now, I’m a huge Barack Obama supporter, but my favorite part about that quote is not that He’s smiting Hillary, but “smiley-faced black guy who can talk pretty” is a hilariously spot-on description.

The Big Papa in the Sky probably still hates me for, well, being an atheist, but either way, I still love this blog. Angry God of this Blog, I love You in a Roberto Benigni kind of way.  Stuff God Hates gets a big two-thumbs-up from the Teen Atheist.

I can’t wait for the day when God takes on Apple and Steve Jobs.

Ask Teen Atheist, #2 May 15, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, Ask Teen Atheist, friends, issues, teen angst.
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25 comments

Hi. My name’s Emily and I’m 14. I’ve been athiest for about a year. I haven’t told my parents, and I still go to church with them. I don’t have the heart to tell them. Anyway, I’ve found one other atheist, my best friend. All of my other friends are very religious. I’m afraid to tell them, because a few will probably dump me right off, but I really want to keep them as friends. I want to tell them, but it will get spread around school, and I see what happens to others. I always stay out of religous discussions. What should I do?

Well, Emily, you might be asking the wrong person about this, because I’m not one of those very vocal, “I’m an atheist and everyone knows it!” types. But since you asked, I’ll give you my perspective.

As I’ve mentioned before, I follow a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy when it comes to my atheism, except when the person is very close to me and I can feel that he or she wouldn’t turn on me upon finding out. I’m not ashamed of my atheism, mind you, it’s just very annoying to have to be armed with counters to various inane arguments all the time (“Then where did the universe come from?” “That’s just a phase, right?” “Why is this world that we live in so beautiful?” and other fun crap). There’s also the risk of making your relationship awkward with whoever it is you’re talking to. Even with people you’ve just met, like what happened with me a week ago at a movie premiere:

TA: “I think this movie would appeal to all denominations. I mean, I’m an atheist and I’m totally interested in seeing this.”

Elderly Woman: “Ah.”

TA: “And what did you say your job was again?”

Elderly Woman: “I’m an organizer at our local parish.”

TA: “I see. Cool.”

[awkward silence ensues; TA and Elderly Woman eventually excuse themselves to go talk to other people]

Let me tell you, though, it’s very liberating to be open about your beliefs, which is why I’m slowly becoming more confident in discussing my atheism with others. I think that’s what you could do, too. You don’t have to have a big “Coming Out” party or anything, just try to work your way into becoming more comfortable about your beliefs.

If you feel like your friends will reject you for being an atheist, you don’t have to tell them just yet. You can approach the friends you feel closer to and try to get a feel of how they might react; for example, you could start by asking them about their thoughts on religion and atheism. This is actually what I did with my religious friend, Martha (“How do you feel about atheists?”), and that went pretty well. I also told my friends from school about my atheism after a long discussion on religion (I had a post here, around November 2007, but I deleted it by accident. *cries*).

I don’t want to resort to cliches here, but I do believe you’ll know the right time when it comes. It’s when you feel like there are a million things you’d rather do with your sixty minutes than go to Mass with your parents. It’s when your upper lip starts to twitch when your friends all agree that “all fags should go to hell.”

It’s all a matter of priorities, Emily. If you feel like preserving your friendships at the expense of keeping your beliefs hidden is the better idea, no one’s stopping you. If you can’t stand it anymore and you feel like you need to speak up, that’s okay, too. There is no right or wrong answer here, it’s completely dependent on what you feel would be better for you.

Let me know how it turns out! And if you feel like my advice isn’t enough, feel free to browse through the comments section, because my readers usually have better ideas than I do. 🙂

Let’s make things easier on all of us by not telling me anything May 6, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, career, issues, teen angst.
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18 comments

M’kay? Seriously, this office is TMI Central. I’m just a kid, let me flounce around in my weirdo outfits and devil-may-care grin without having the weight of your problems on my shoulders. Don’t you hate it when people tell you shit without you asking for it?

Just when I’d forgotten about my problems with Carl and Mrs. Carl (he quit, by the way — and oddly enough, I kind of miss him), Nikki comes into the picture with an issue of her own.

22-year-old Nikki (named after, yes, the song “Darling Nikki”) is the girl in your office who will stop at nothing to draw attention to herself. Some will be greatly annoyed (dude, nobody likes Nikki), while others, like me, only feel sorry for her. Just some silly girl with a histrionic personality disorder, is all. She’s essentially the office whipping girl, to the point that it drove her to tears once.

Still, it’s not like the derision is completely unfounded. Nikki would proclaim to anyone who asked that she used to model on the catwalk (still does part-time, supposedly), and everyone else would be like “…Really?” And I’d be one of those people. I’m not trying to be mean here, but Nikki, who might be model-ish from the neck down, is Broomhilda from the neck up. No kidding. She’s all splotchy and blemished and crooked-nosed, the kind of ugly that isn’t even modelesque ugly but just plain ugly ugly. She also brags about having expensive clothes, but when you ask her which outlet she got it from, she takes ten seconds to respond and then gives a wrong answer (read: she’s making it up). Nikki is the annoying kind of person who wants everyone to think she’s well-off, but it’s clear to everyone that she’s, well, not.

Let’s get one thing straight, though: unlike many of my co-workers, Nikki is not a bitch. The girl means well, she’s just a little off her rocker.

One day after hours, everyone else has gone home and it’s just me and Nikki, so I chat with her because I’m not picky about who I befriend. I’ll talk to whoever approaches me. She confessed that the pressure of everyone talking about her behind her back was really getting to her, particularly the latest gossip that she’s supposedly going out with one of our bosses, Kyle, even though he already has a girlfriend.

Now, weeks before my one-on-one with Nikki, I’d already spoken to some of my other (admittedly bitchy) officemates about her. One of them told me the whole situation, explaining that Nikki had a huge crush on Kyle and was now lying to people by claiming that they were in some secret relationship.

Back to where I left off, Nikki was like, “I can’t believe people would make up stuff like that, just for fun.” As a target of their rumor-mongering myself (I apparently have relationships with a couple of the bosses and several of my guy officemates), I just shrugged and explained that it was their nature to do that kind of thing.

Half an hour later, we’re standing outside the building, and she asked, “TA, are you good at keeping secrets?”

“Sure, yeah.”

“I have to tell you something,” she confessed. “But you have to swear not to tell anyone.”

“I won’t.”

She got this weird expression on her face. “…It’s true.”

(more…)

When stupid pops up out of nowhere March 14, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, issues.
Tags: , , , ,
35 comments

Ooh, an atheism-related post! Finally!

Many might find it condescending that I refuse to get into debates with theists, or that I immediately delete anti-atheist comments on this blog. Then again, I never said it wasn’t.

I’ve recently come across the perfect example to show you all exactly why I refuse to dignify theism-laden arguments with a response. The main reason is that I hate it when they drop by our blogs to lay on the stupid, because we don’t drop by their blogs and write crap about theism. At least, I hope not, y’all.

Cleverly Disguised Theist (CDT for short) left a comment on my blog one day, and because he didn’t once mention theism in it (although it was still a dumb and condescending comment), and because a lot of his blog posts are tagged “atheism,” I assumed he was just the special “pretentious” brand of atheist.

Before I move on, please be aware of two things: 1) I’m not leaving a link to CDT’s blog because I don’t want you guys to up his view count, so no matter how curious you are (or if CDT drops by and leaves a comment), please don’t encourage the stupid or give him more “atheists are big meanies!” fodder; and 2) if you have any comments on the “logic” of his arguments, or if you have anything to say to him, leave it here. He’s one of those theists that likes to drop by atheist sites to angry up the blood, so I’m sure he’ll come across this post and be like “Satan strikes again!”

Anyhoo. It all started when he called me condescending and ageist (two things I may or may not be, I don’t really care to figure it out). I wrote a response, he wrote something unintelligible which I didn’t bother responding to:

CDT: “You shouldn’t take things so personally. Persons older than you have experienced more life than you. They are just relaying some of that experience. It’s not always condescension. Youth begets feelings of superiority. I am only 30 years old, but when I was 18 I thought I knew everything. I didn’t. Ageism works both ways.”

TA: “I like myself way too much to “take things so personally.” Wouldn’t you be annoyed if you heard the same shit every day, no matter what it was? “Trim your beard,” “Wear something nicer,” et cetera. If I honestly believed I knew everything and couldn’t stand dealing with the ageism, I wouldn’t call myself the Teenage Atheist. I did choose that moniker for this blog, however, because I am admitting that I don’t know everything, and I welcome advice from my readers on how to deal with problems and go about things. So, don’t generalize. Just because you were a know-it-all dipshit when you were my age doesn’t mean we all were. That’s ageism in and of itself.”

CDT: “Awesome. There’s no more beard either.”

Then he blogged about this exchange, because I guess he thought he was being clever? Something about how people were insulting his beard and waah, I called him a dipshit and yada yada. I said:

TA: “Dude, I have nothing against your beard. It was just the first thing that came to mind as I was looking for examples of annoying repetitive phrases. And by the way, I wasn’t calling you a dipshit; I just assumed based on how you described your 18-year-old self that you used to be one. If you’re telling me to not take things personally, try it out yourself first.”

CDT: “I know you didn’t knock my beard, you just mentioned it in your condescending response to my noncondescending comment on your post. I could care less what you call me. I found it humorous, that’s all. Peace.”

I was like, “Noncondescending? LULZ.”

TA: “Oh, sure. Because there’s nothing condescending about ‘I was a know-it-all when I was 18, and so are you, so quit whining.’ (Note the lack of the word ‘dipshit’ this time.) I don’t write rebuttals to comments unless a) I spot a logical fallacy or b) I smell condescension, or general asshattiness. Yours definitely fell into the latter.”

CDT: “Satan has got a hold on on you.”

I thought he was just being sarcastic, because I was still under the assumption that he was an atheist.

TA: “Because relying on non-sequiturs when faced with a valid argument is totally the way to go. Mm-hmm.”

CDT: “You had no argument. There was no condescension in my comment at your blog. Your bitter perspective on life made my comment condescending. Satan does own you. It is perfectly logical to a Believer, but not so much to a skeptic.”

This only confused me further, because apparently he believed in Satan? And like, I’m the one with no argument (“your statement is condescending because [reasons]” = valid argument, FYI), while his retort of “Satan has got a hold of you” is “perfectly logical”? Something wasn’t right here. I didn’t bother replying, because why should I when he’s just saying weird, nonsensical things? (Even though I wanted to say, “Please don’t insult logic by using that word to describe your argument.” Oy, gevalt.)

Then I re-read his “About” page, and he lists himself as a “Christian.” So it kind of irked me that he kept tagging his posts “Atheism,” because ugh, so totally piggyback-riding, you know? Well, haters are haters.

And I admit, I was probably being totally condescending when I exclaimed, after finding out that he was a Christian after all, “Oh, that’s why! Well, I’m glad. At least I can stop wondering, ‘Since when did atheists get this stupid?’ now.” But, condescending or not, I dare you to prove me wrong. The stupidity was rooted in the belief, wasn’t it?

All in all, it was a big waste of my time. Had I known that CDT was a theist — and not just a theist, but an anti-atheist theist — I wouldn’t have bothered responding in the first place. Because, as I have said in my disclaimer: the whole atheist vs. theist thing never goes anywhere.

It’s not a matter of only choosing to argue with atheists. I’ll argue with anyone, believer or not, but once you start bringing Jesus and Satan into your arguments, that’s a dealbreaker right there. Logic only, please.

[Note: May I remind you all: please do not make any attempts to visit CDT’s site. It would be a huge disservice to me. All opinions go in the comments section of this blog post. Thanks, y’all.]