Conversations while traveling

On the shuttle to the airport yesterday I wound up sitting next to a pastor who told me he admired Christopher Hitchens.  He gave me his card and I may swing by his church sometime.

On the plane into St. Louis I was sitting next to a middle school teacher from Memphis.  On our descent the pilot informed us the weather was rough and that we should expect some bumps.  The following conversation ensued.

JT:  Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Teacher:  I guess we just put it in god’s hands.

JT:  *laugh*  Not me.  I’m an atheist.

Teacher:  Oh, that’s too bad.

JT:  No it’s awesome!  I get to sleep in on Sundays!

Teacher:  Oh…that’s…good.

It’s not the first time I’ve gotten that reaction, and it’s not surprising.  Preachers and figureheads of Christianity often tell their congregations how miserable it is to be an atheist.  The look on that lady’s face was priceless when she saw me happy in my atheism.

It’s not only the fear of social consequences that keeps people in church, it’s buying into these stories of what it means to be an atheist.  Don’t just come out of the closet – celebrate it!  Show the world that sleeping in on Sunday rocks.  Show the world that guilt-free sex is better!  Tell them how saving 10% of your income makes for a happier day!

In short, don’t be afraid to tell people that life is good without faith.  Hell, tell them life is better without religion and its constraints.  :)

CHARITY: Humanist family’s 10 year old daughter has a brain tumor. Let’s help with expenses.
PERSONAL: Cancer sucks.
PERSONAL: Cancer sucks.
About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Jen

    While at work yesterday I found myself, once again, discussing beliefs with my very devout Catholic coworker. When the subject of demon possession came up I stated that I did not believe in demons and would assume that anyone showing signs of possession was most likely suffering from a mental and/or physical disorder, possibly exacerbated by being in an environment in which this behavior was reinforced by those purportedly trying to help.

    My coworker knows I am an atheist and responded with, “I suppose it’s nicer to live in a world where you don’t believe in demons.”

    I don’t suppose; I know it is.

  • otrame

    There is some wisdom in the Bible, you know. That is where we get the phrase “the truth will set you free”. It really does.

  • Gordon

    I need to start more conversations with “Wheeeeeeeee!”

  • cag

    If the theist has a warped concept of atheism, ask them “what other lies were you told”.

  • anteprepro

    Well, on the issue of putting things in God’s hands, it’s not much better being a theist than an atheist. Because if God exists and often has things put in his hands, He’s got an incredibly slippery grip.

  • lordshipmayhem

    JT: No it’s awesome! I get to sleep in on Sundays!

    Teacher: Oh…that’s…good.


    Warn me next time – I almost exhaled ginger ale on my keyboard. ^_^

    • NathanDST

      Sooo, trigger warnings for things that might make you laugh?

  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    I have to gripe a bit about your comment about “saving 10% of your income.” Being an atheist doesn’t remotely entail this. I haven’t believed in God for at least 30 years, but I still donate money – it’s just that I choose non-religious charities that are doing work I believe in. I know I’m happier for having done this.

    Do we really want to be spreading the message that atheism means being happy not to contribute to the welfare of one’s fellow beings?