One of Us
The first time I went to an atheist event, I was moved to tears by the vibrancy and diversity of the group. There were old men bent over canes, black women sporting fluffy afros, college students from India and Mexico, moms and dads and singers and scientists.
I was amazed to realize it wasn’t just me, and that there were other folks beyond the pink-haired, boy-crazy, former Bais Yaakov girls* of my youth, who had the balls to challenge religion.
After years of feeling like an outsider, it’s delicious to realize you can belong to a community, with its own social scene, intellectual and cultural life and ideas. Although the atheist community is generally more loosely collected than the religious one, I still get a nice zip of nachas when one of my people achieve something notable or represent our ideas in a compelling way – like this article on myths about atheists, debunked, that I saw on a friend’s FB feed. The author’s got a great clear, assertive but very calm tone, throwing some nice twists into an old debate.
I particularly love this one:
There are no atheists in foxholes. There are many variations on this myth, but the basic idea behind it is that atheism is a luxury of the problem-free, and as soon as they feel fear or weakness, atheists will run straight into the arms of religion. This myth irritates atheists, because it tries to make a virtue out of preying on people’s weaknesses in order to sell them a lie. If you heard a marketer brag that he targets people who’ve been diagnosed with terminal illnesses because they’re easier targets, or a guy say he likes to cruise funerals because grieving women are easier to pick up, you’d think that person had no morals at all. But targeting people in moments of weakness to sell them religion is regarded as a normal and even virtuous strategy for proselytizing.
How true! Yasher koach, sister!
*no judgment intended. I’m all for those chicks.