Friday, May 15, 2015

Outspoken Atheist?

I'm sure we've all heard the joke in a few different formats, but it generally goes like this: A vegan, an atheist, and a crossfitter walk into a bar. I only know because they told everybody within 2 min.

Okay, I guess it's a bit funny, but it also doesn't make much sense. As far as the atheism part goes, the joke would have you think that we go about bringing up religion constantly out of the blue. But this
hasn't been my experience at all.

By and large, many atheists are closeted. Depending where we live, just letting the fact that you don't believe can have serious ramifications. That said, when it comes to religious discussion, I am almost never the one to start the conversation. I know how annoying it can be when a believer brings Jesus and the Bible up out of nowhere, so similarly I don't bring up my non-belief unless it is relevant. Because of this there are many in my life that have no idea that I'm an atheist.

Perhaps believers act as though we are shouting our atheism from the rooftops because when the topic of religion does come up naturally in conversation, it is a topic that we tend to be very interested in. I know that I love talking theology. It's a topic that genuinely interests me. Sometimes I even find myself hoping the other party asks a certain question so that I have a chance to share a particular thought. But if that question or comment isn't uttered, I save that opinion or though for another day.

But the main reason I think believers may think that all atheists are outspoken is that we are memorable. Out of all the people they meet, we stand out because we have the audacity to not hold the same belief as them, or worse yet, we don't keep it to ourselves. It's comical in a way that a believer may consider me answering a question about belief with "Actually, I'm an atheist." as forcing my beliefs or being too vocal. How is that the case?

If I was asked by the door-to-door proselytizers if I know if I'm going to go to Heaven, isn't their outrage amazingly ironic? I simply honestly answered a question that they asked of me. And here they are going door-to-door, handing out tracts at a festival, or constantly asking anyone who will listen if they've heard the 'good news'. So please tell me... Which one of us is that one who can't shut up about our beliefs?

So, yes... It is a funny joke. But the reality is that it doesn't match up with reality. Perhaps the joke should be 'a Christian, rich man, and a show dog owner walk into a bar...'

-Brain Hulk

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