Christmas For Atheists…….
As Christmas is traditionally the time of revelations and of general Christian good, I chose this past religious holiday to come out to my family and friends. What better time to impart important news than the festival celebrating the birth of ‘the message’. Although I appreciate that this was a sensitive time to be imparting big news, the response I received to my disclosure was not what I had expected. My wife, ever understanding and long suffering, was pragmatic in her response. She merely stated that she thought I always had been and she didn’t know why I was making such a big fuss. My friends shocked me, many quietly confiding that they were, too, but didn’t feel the climate was right to go public. Some even countered that they would have been angry if I wasn’t! Relatives appeared non-plussed, merely shrugging their shoulders and continuing with their festive rituals, paying my heavy revelation no heed. The fact that I had just renounced God and declared myself to be an atheist appeared to have very little effect at all.
The only noticeable side effect of my bombshell was my difficulty in expressing my newfound confidence in godlessness without using religious metaphors. I kept referring to my ‘epiphany’ and ‘thanking god’ I’d ‘seen the light’. Apart from that, it appeared that the leap from agnostic to atheist was to be a short and painless one. I had failed to grasp what a liberal, sandal wearing, balsamic vinegar abusing crowd my family and friends really were. They embraced my newfound confidence in all things science and took it completely in their stride. Then again, I suppose a Marxist renouncing God isn’t really that much of a revelation.
What I hadn’t countered for was the reaction of other people. Not mixing in religious circles I had no notion of the extreme conservative views held by so many of the general public. Since airing my views to a broader church, sorry I’m at it again, I have been shocked by the hostility and vitriol I have encountered. Apparently, I and my godless cohorts, are responsible for everything, and I mean everything, that is rotten in our world: Rising violence, loss of God, pestilence, loss of god, crime, loss of god, Traffic Wardens, loss of god, etc., etc. Apparently it is far worse to worship no God than it is to worship the wrong God. According to one true believer, who treated my revelation, sorry, disclosure with complete distain, I am committing the ultimate intellectual suicide, whatever that means. I think therefore I die perhaps? By the look in his eye and the twitch in his lip this may have been closer to the truth than I care to imagine. Well I think Tis better to have thought and lost than never to have thought at all, to misquote Tennyson. The only thing us atheists appear to be missing is the slander or slur befitting our newfound lowly status. What do you call an atheist, an athe, perhaps? Non-believer just sounds like you are stating the bloody obvious! What am I, what is my curse? I think that’s a very salient question for an atheist.