Atheist vs. Starbucks Barista

Atheist Darryl walked into a Starbucks recently wearing an OUT Campaign t-shirt.

He didn’t have the most intellectually fulfilling conversation with the conversational barista on duty…

Here’s how it went down:

Barista: “The Out Campaign!”
Darryl: [Smiling] Yes.
Barista: What is that?
Darryl: [Pointing to “A”] Atheist… I’m an…

Barista: WHAT?! You guys are as much a religion as any other religion!
Darryl: Well actually, no, that’s a common misundersta–
Barista: NO! You are! You are! You’re proselytizing!
Darryl: Tall, dark roast, please… No, it’s actually the absence of religion.
Barista: No — not at all. The buses?! What about the buses! With those signs… You guys are proselytizing now. I wouldn’t be surprised if you guys met regularly and had sermons. You do, don’t you?
Darryl: No. Tall dark-roast, please.
Barista: Yes you do. [Laughing] It wouldn’t surprise me.
Darryl: How’s that dark roast coming?
Barista: What size was it again?
Darryl: Tall.
Barista: Yeah — with those buses… and the books — you guys are basically a religion.
Darryl: Have a nice day.

Darryl’s been mulling this over for days now and still hasn’t come up with a good way to have that conversation.

He writes:

How can you possibly argue “Yes, you are — No, I’m not — Yes, you are — No, I’m not”? I need a quick gun-slinger, conversation-ending, intellectual atom bomb with which to drop on arrogant Christians. Got any?

How would you have dealt with this barista?

If someone wants to have that conversation in this sort of forum, how can you explain what atheism is (and what it isn’t)?

What can you say to the person that could actually be effective?

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