Why Can’t Atheists Stop Talking About Atheism?

I hear this all year ’round, but it’s particularly well-used around the holidays, when Christians in the US start to really feel their own privilege and attack just about anyone that doesn’t have Jesus tattooed on their face.

“Why can’t atheists just stop talking about atheism? Why do they have to be “in your face” about it all the time?”

I have several actual answers to this question, and then a follow-up answer on how you’ve imagined the whole damn thing.

Now personally, I live in Texas, where atheists are few and far between and we live in very hostile territory.  But even nation-wide, atheists are a rare breed.  Since we are so rare, it can be difficult to find others to talk to about our philosophy of following evidence and reasoning over superstition and ancient dogma. In fact, many of us believed when we were kids that we were the only ones.  I can remember getting kicked out of Sunday School because I kept asking questions and pointing out that the answers given made no sense.  Because of this loneliness and isolation, when we do find others who think like us, in person or in internet forums or social media, perhaps we overcompensate.  But it’s very nice to find you are not alone in what can, at times, seem like a crazy crazy world.

Some atheists are former believers who have come to realize that what they have been taught all their lives is simply a glorified mythology.  Those atheists experience a kind of conversion fervor, and just like religious converts, they feel so happy and right about it that they want to share that with others.  They want to talk about it and try to help others see what they have seen.  I can’t blame them for their enthusiasm, but I can see how it might annoy believers, just as believers trying to convert me would irritate me.  Look, I sympathize, but trust me, they’ll calm down eventually and settle in to their new outlook on life.  Be patient.

So there you go, a couple of reasons why you might hear atheists talking about atheism a lot.

Only you won’t really hear that.  More than likely, you’ll almost never hear it.  The reason you won’t hear it is because it’s drowned out by the non stop expressions on belief given by believers all day, every day, everywhere they go, and in every single thing they do.

When I wake up and check Facebook in the morning, I get to read the daily religious affirmations of every believer I know.  I turn on the television and am greeted by television shows with religious themes, commercials for Christian services, news showing political figures who are all believers and all discuss the effect of God on their lives.  Every radio show is brought to me believers who tell me every good thing that happens is by the grace of God.  This includes morning shows and musical broadcasts.  I pass churches on every street, with Biblical quotes and other affirmations.  Bumper stickers on a vast majority of cars are emblazoned with expressions of belief.  When I enter a business there are Christian samplers and religious symbols on the walls.  My local donut shop has an open Bible on the counter, turned towards me.  People wear religious t-shirts or carry expressions of belief.  They talk about it openly everywhere.  If someone sneezes, another person will say “GOD bless you”, sometimes putting a strong emphasis on the word ‘God’.  When I leave, I am told to have a blessed day.  Recently, I gave a co-worker of mine some advice she thought would really help her.  She told me I should be a minister.

I never stop to ask any of these people why they feel the need to be so “in my face” about their beliefs or why they talk about God non-stop.  That is considered normal and perfectly accepted behavior in society.  It is I who am the odd one.  I am afraid to talk about being an atheist or to let people know it.  I would never wear clothing that proclaimed it, and I wouldn’t DARE to show it on my car.  When my co-workers talk about God or church as they do every day, I can only smile and nod. I dare not give my opinion.  I don’t know any other atheists in my daily life, and it’s possible this is because others are afraid to say anything either.

Trust me, we are not going around talking about atheism all the time.  We bend over backwards to never be “in your face”
about it, while tolerating a never-ending onslaught of religion every day.  So if you happen to have found a tiny pocket, a safe haven where a few atheists feel comfortable finally lowering their guard enough to give their opinion on something, give them a break please.  We only want a tiny semblance of the comfort you have every day.  We’re not trying to take it away from you, and clearly, we couldn’t make a dent in the mountainous privilege you enjoy, even if we tried.

Sound fair to you?

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4 Responses

  1. Spot on!

    • Why do you have to be so “in your face” with that username?? Haha. 😉 Thanks for commenting!

  2. This is a great post. I grew up in the UK which has a very large atheist population so I never thought much of it. When I lived in the US though I had to remember to try to rein in my jokes so as not to offend anyone. It took a while to get used to. It really was a blessing to grow up in a country and in a family that encourages open mindedness and diversity when it comes to spirituality.

    • Yep, definitely! Thanks for the comment!

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