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.
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!
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.