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

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

From Point A to Point B, and how I got there September 18, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in backstory, issues, rants.
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Let’s get one thing straight: I wasn’t born this way. I was actually born and raised Roman Catholic, but my family isn’t one of those incredibly controlling types that make children want to rebel. Atheism was a choice I made for myself. I didn’t stop believing in God just to spite my parents; come on, I’m not that shallow.

There was a time when I used to believe, when I used to turn to God for everything. This was, of course, was when I was much younger and more naive. Slowly, I realized that leaving my fate to some unseen deity was kind of foolish (to me, anyway), and I began to doubt. It wasn’t just one defining moment when I decided “Bam! I’m atheist!” — a long thought process was involved.

My family used to go to Church a lot when I was younger, but a few years ago those visits stopped altogether, although we would still pray before meals and celebrate Catholic holidays. I’m not sure I could give you a straight answer if you asked me whether or not my family had something to do with my decision to become Atheist. They probably had some influence. I’d give more credit to Bill Maher, though. I worship the guy, and I agree with most of what he says. Hell, he could tell me that the world was made entirely of fire and I’d be inclined to believe him.

There were a lot of things about my former religion that I was unhappy with. (more…)