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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Is it really that surprising I'm an atheist?

One unexpected outcome of attending the American Atheist conference is that it forced me out of my "don't ask, don't tell" closet with my coworkers because what does everyone ask you on Monday morning?

"How was your weekend? What did you do?"

My answer: "It was great, I attended the American Atheists Conference"

The response: crooked smile, unsure laugh, "Really?"

"Yeah,"

"Uhhh, how was that?"

Now, in my coworkers defense, it would be my style to say something really crazy with a straight face and try and fool them, but is attending an atheists conference so crazy?

I also told my Dad this weekend under the same circumstances, he took it fairly well - he already knew I had "left the fold" but I'd never said the A-word to him before.

This started some interesting conversations and I re-discovered the power of semantics. Friends who balked at my atheism went on to call themselves agnostic, which to me is essentially the same: not believing in a god because there is no evidence for one. The two terms are not really different intellectually but powerfully different in perception.

I think I'm gonna stick with the label atheist. There's a stubborn little beast in me that wants to buck the perceptions and using the label agnostic feels like selling out.

4 Comments:

Blogger Tommy said...

Hi Zeolite.

My Roman Catholic dad blanched at my atheism, but being as I was the only one of this three sons who was responsible and not always going around with a cup in his hand, he had no choice but to accept it.

I have to say that I am lucky in that I am not in a situation where religion is omnipresent and that I felt pressured as an adult to have to conform. The only annoying thing is that a lot of my Filipina wife's relatives and friends wear their religion on their sleeves.

Last year we went to the house of one of my wife's cousins. They were throwing a birthday party for their son. We got there about an hour late, and when I walked up the stairs to their floor, everyone was sitting or standing there deathly quiet. I was like "Is this a kid's birthday party or a fucking funeral?"

One of the kooky things Filipinos like to do is have house blessing ceremonies, so my wife's cousin decided to have it that day in combination with the birthday party. When they were following the priest around the house chanting and carrying lit candles, I was like "give me a friggin break!"

25 March, 2008  
Blogger Tommy said...

By the way, I like your blog a lot and would like to add you to my Brothers & Sisters in Disbelief blogroll. I use that for the atheist blogs I frequent the most.

25 March, 2008  
Blogger Zeolite said...

I would be honored to have my blog added to your blog roll! Thank You!

Its an odd path to walk with the whole atheism thing, sometimes it seems like such a non-issue and then at the oddest times it's a huge deal.

25 March, 2008  
Blogger Psychodiva said...

good for you!! you stick to your guns- I can empathise with that stubborn little beast lol :)

28 March, 2008  

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