I love writing about atheism and tweeting about atheism and debating about atheism, I really do. Sometimes though, it can be as frustrating as trying to find sense in a Salon article. Here are a few of the frustrations only out and open atheists understand:
1. When the terminally faithful accuse you of calling yourself an atheist just to appear edgy.
I’m almost fucking forty years old with a seven-year-old kid, a teenaged stepdaughter, a court case going on that’s sucking up all my time and money, work that pays very little, a 16-year-old dog who gets up seven times a night and needs to be let outside, endless laundry, mountains of dishes and volunteer obligations that just seem to go on forever.
I have fucking time to concern myself with appearing edgy? Was I trying to be edgy when I was born an atheist? Was I hoping to look edgy when I was an atheist child? Was my Dad attempting to appear edgy when he was an atheist his whole life? What about my grandfather when he drove an ambulance around POW camps in World War Two and didn’t believe in God? All for the appearance of an edge?
Yeah, not so fucking much. You see, not believing in God is the norm for me. There’s no edge to it. Edgy, to me, would be living your life based on the assertion that there is a god for which there is zero evidence, other than a wish, a horrible book and a tingle in your edgy little taint.
2. When theists try to explain to you what an atheist is.
Nevermind that I am one and I know what that means to me. Nevermind the fact that maybe 90% of the people I know are atheists and they know what it means to them. Never the fuck mind the fact that my family, going back generations, were atheists and they all know what it meant to them. Nevermind that all these people have the same meaning for atheism. No, it’s you, my fine little Christmas cracker, it’s you who knows best: the person who was likely fed lies about atheists every Sunday with a side order of angry priest spittle; the person who has never been an atheist and sees the value in reading just one book. You, my fine faithful friend, you are the authority on atheism. It is certainly not us atheists.
3. When pew-buffers insist that being critical of religion is hate.
Nuh-the-fuck-uh. We all know that hate is more aptly illustrated with the image of millions of people across the globe trying to protect a doctrine that actively works to harm people. Criticizing such a doctrine is your fucking duty to your fellow human beings because so fucking many of them are being discriminated against, attacked, locked up, tortured and killed for it. What sort of a loving person watches all of that and says, “Oh, hell no! My book is more important than the lives of gay Ugandans, Iraqi Infidels, Bangladeshi bloggers, Saudi apostates or my neighbour’s right to marry! I must protect my book no matter how many people die!”
That is real hate. Standing up to lies that harm people, is precisely the fucking opposite.
4. That knot in your stomach when you meet someone new and the fact that you’re an atheist comes up.
You know those moments. You get in a defensive stance, one foot back and one in front. You’re on alert to turn your head should any fists come flying. You’ve familiarized yourself with the nearest exits. You let the words slip out, softly, gently so as not to upset the holy rollers in the room…
I’m an atheist.
Silence. Your stomach turns. The walls start moving towards you. Palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. You wonder, how are they going to respond? Do you prepare yourself for the recoil? Do you hope they’re atheists too so you can high-five and have a new heathen acquaintance? Are they going to completely lose it, pull holy water out of their purse and start shrieking, “The power of Christ compels you!”?
It’s okay, heathen. You’re not alone. And you’re brave. Be proud of yourself no matter how it turns out.
5. Not knowing what the fuck to do during grace.
Nothing is more awkward than being invited to someone’s home for dinner, sitting down around a delicious looking feast and getting your first forkful within an inch of your pie hole before you hear,
“Dear Lord, we thank you…”
You do one of these:
Then one of these:
Then, inevitably, this:
If you make it to dessert without getting chased out with a crucifix, you’re doing just fine, infidel.
6. When you’ve just had a wonderful day and your spirits are high and some babbling Bibler appears before you to assure you that atheists do not experience near as much joy as the god botherers do.
Nevermind the fact that they congregate in halls adorned with tortured and dying bodies in the middle of an execution. Forget the fact that their goofy-ass book describes them all as broken in need of healing and sinners in need of saving. Just ignore the fact that the book they so dearly revere is gorier than Saw III. No, we’re the joyless ones. The ones with the freedom to explore all the possibilities without eternal punishment; the ones who fear no god and love people even if a book says we shouldn’t; the ones who can examine what it means to be human and sexual and animal without a heavy shame looming over us; the ones who are living for life rather than death.
Right. No one who is full of joy, would go around telling others how little joy they feel. Infidels, only you know how joyful you are. Fuck the prayer-afflicted if they tell you this.
I know most of you can relate to these. What are some of the most frustrating things for you as an outspoken atheist? Let me know in the comments!