Hi. I’m Angie, and I’m an atheist.
Wait! Come back!
Look, I get it. You’ve heard some bad stuff about atheists. Maybe you’ve even met a couple, and they were total pricks. Condescending, rude, dismissive…hell, I want to punch them just writing this description.
But this isn’t that kind of atheist site. I’m a nice atheist (most of the time). I’m not here to put anyone down. I’m not here to preach the “gospel” of atheism (since, really, there is no gospel of atheism, contrary to what you might have heard).
So, why does this blog exist? Excellent question, rhetorical reader. I’ve got several reasons:
1. I overheard the conversation I posted in the sidebar.
In case you’re on mobile and can’t see it, here’s a conversation I overheard recently (slightly paraphrased):
Christian A: “So, have you met that new guy, Greg?”
Christian B: “No, not yet.”
Christian A: “Well, he’s an…” [trails off]
Christian B: “…Asshole?”
Christian A: “No, the other a-word.” [dramatic pause] “He’s an atheist!”
Christian B: *gasp*
Okay, so I might have embellished a bit with the *gasp*. But it was implied, as though “atheist” was the dirtiest thing Christian B had ever heard someone call someone else.
And, after I got over the urge to call them both a couple of big meanies and run off crying (sometimes my inner 5-year-old tries to assert control), I started wondering.
Would either of these fine Christian ladies take the time to get to know Greg? Would their opinion of him change once they realized he’s just a working schlub like everyone else? Would the realization that Greg isn’t a lying, cheating, scoundrel in spite of his lack of belief plant a tiny seed of tolerance toward atheists in general?
In short, would knowing an atheist remove some of the mystery and stigma around that other a-word?
Those questions led me to my next reason for starting this blog:
2. Acceptance starts with knowing an atheist.
Actually, you probably already know an atheist, even if you don’t think you know an atheist. Wanna know why?
They’re apprehensive — or downright afraid — to tell you.
Maybe they think you’ll disown / shun them. Maybe they’re worried you’ll fire/evict/otherwise financially hurt them.
Maybe they’re afraid their admission will hurt you. Many Christians believe that non-believers will suffer for all eternity, and that can cause some serious emotional trauma when you find out that the suffering non-believer is someone close to you.
Don’t believe an atheist could possibly be that compassionate? Well, that brings me to Reason #3 to start this blog:
3. There are a LOT of myths out there about atheists.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one:
An atheist walks into a bar. The bartender says, “Hey, brother, can I–” but the atheist screams, “I HATE GOD!” and storms out.
I know. I suck at telling jokes. I never deliver the punchline right.
Anyway, “Atheists hate God” is a pretty common trope. (This also goes for “Atheists are mad at God” — I’m looking at you, God’s Not Dead.) It’s untrue. I don’t hate God…because it’s difficult to hate someone you don’t believe exists. I’m not angry at God for the things that have happened in my life, any more than I’m angry at Thor for not actually being Chris Hemsworth and not actually being in my living room baring his abs right now…crap, now I am angry at Thor. Dammit, Thor, you ruined my argument!
I’ll go into more mythbusting in a future post, maybe (I say “maybe” because I am, after all, hoping this blog as a whole will be a sort of mythbuster). But can we make a deal? You try not to demonize me for not believing in any gods, and I’ll try my very best not to generalize Christians, put you down, or belittle your views. Pinky swear?
At the end of the day, I guess I just want to improve perceptions. Because, let’s face it, the word “atheism” has a stigma attached in many people’s minds. And that stigma makes it difficult for non-believers in ways believers might not even think of.
Even if you don’t want to grant me that point, I hope I can convince you of just one thing: “Atheist” does not have to be a swear word.
Until next time, Future Bestie (hey, we atheists can be optimistic, too – another myth BUSTED!).