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The extent of my truthiness (TM Stephen Colbert) September 23, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in friends, issues.
Tags: , , , ,

As I’d previously mentioned, three of my friends know that I’m an atheist. One, whom I shall call Fred*, is somebody I might consider a little batshit crazy. I’m not sure if he’s an atheist like me, because he flip-flops a lot, but I knew he wouldn’t care in the least whether or not I was, so I told him. Another friend, Tyler*, is the friend I consult with all my hyper-dramatic teen angst problems (read: family problems). He’s one of the most sensible, honest people I know, which is why he is my go-to guy. One catch: he’s religious — some form of Christianity that I don’t know how to translate into English, let’s just call it Protestantism until I can find a better-fitting label (er, Jehovah’s Witness? Man, I stray further and further from “politically correct” with every word I type). The third friend, Camille*, is a friend residing overseas whom I exchange wacky anecdotes with on a daily basis. She lives in California, which is generally a more open-minded place than my Predominantly Christian Country, so I felt comfortable in telling her. She didn’t mind it; she told me that a lot of her friends in California are atheists, too.

Obviously, I’ll be talking about Tyler today.

Remember the text-message altercation I had with my younger brother, Pete? At the end of it I was at home, reduced to tears, and not just the silent tears that I normally cry. I’m talking serious caterwauling and crumbling to the floor here. In dire need of some reassurance (because up until that point I had seen Pete as my best friend), I crawled to the phone and dialed Tyler’s number.

After babbling endlessly about how Pete trampled all over my ego, I finally admitted to Tyler the root of the problem: my atheism had forged a divide between myself and my pseudo-religious brother.

“You’re not a bad person,” Tyler assured me, and I believed him. But then he asked, “Are you absolutely sure you’re an atheist? For good?”

Knowing Tyler’s God-centric nature, I lied. “No. I’m always open to believing again.”

“See? You’re a good person. Your brother is just upset because he looks up to you, so it’s a disappointment for him to find that you don’t believe in God.”

Look, independent of his religion and his bias against atheists, Tyler is a wise and kind person, and an indispensable friend to me. I have a feeling that if I’d told him the whole truth (that I’m probably going to stay this way for the rest of my life), he might have been convinced himself that I was as “evil” as Pete said I was, so for the moment, I’m going to have to keep up this half-truth. Until I can find another wise, advice-giving friend who is more tolerant of atheists, the ball’s in Tyler’s court.

*not their real names