A backup host will be Bjorn Watland, a 25-year-old computer-systems analyst from Minneapolis.
He said he joined the organization last year as a form of support when his mother “flipped out” upon learning he was an atheist.
Mom has recovered, he said, but atheism still carries a stigma — even among those in his generation.
“The biggest thing I want to get out of the show is tolerance of the atheist perspective,” he said.
Actually, mom hasn’t recovered.
That’s not surprising. A lot of parents have a difficult time dealing with their children’s atheism.
But it can make you rethink what you do.
Bjorn is now asking himself this question:
If I can’t convince my own parents to be tolerant of my thoughts, what hope do I have of convincing strangers?
It’s much easier when you’re trying to talk sense into someone you don’t see on a regular basis. If they reject you, it’s not the end of the world. You move on. When your parents say something ridiculous, it’s much harder to criticize them (at least, if you want to maintain a positive relationship).
Personally, I’ll make a few half-hearted attempts at a response when my family or close friends say something irrational. Unless they persist on talking about it, I usually don’t let my inner voice (“You believe what?!”) come out. I wouldn’t gain much by pointing out why they’re wrong, anyway.
Maybe that’s not the best way to go… (if I don’t call them out on it, who will?)
What are the differences between how you deal with your atheism around family compared to people you don’t know as well? Or do you act the same around both groups of people?