The young atheist has a reluctant champion.
Anyhoo, blog = talk about whatever I like- yes monkeys, whatever I LIKE. Real world = Far more reigned in and considerate of others and their various opinions. That's the way it ought to be no?
But yesterday I was forced out of my shell of mild mannerisms to address what I saw as a rather pitch fork wielding moment.
A dear friend phoned, and as I am wont to do I just let the phone ring. But the paramour was here and he answered and after a moment of pleasantries dropped the phone into my office where I was forced to accept it.
This dear friend- let us call her R- calls me about once every two months. We went to the same college and have remained casual friends over the years. We meet up for lunch every few months or so. I like her, I do. She likes horses, me too. She likes dogs, me too, she likes books and films, HUZZAH, me too. She likes god a lot. Er, okay then.
Now see, this was never a problem for me, mostly because I didn't know anything about it. God talk is not something I would specifically engage in, anywhere. I don't wear an atheist cap or badge, so unless someone asked me, 'Say Fatcat, are you an atheist?' I would have no reason to divulge it.
Certainly R and I have never discussed religion over the years, so it was with a furrow dropping sigh I listened to her complain about her nephew and his atheism yesterday, how his disbelief was 'making her father sick' and his refusal to attend mass was 'making a holy show of the family.'
'What age is the lad?' I asked.
'Sixteen.' said she.
'Ah.' I said.
'Well a natural age to question beliefs.'
'We don't mind him questioning, but this lad refuses to accept a word anyone says. My mother even had the parish priest have a chat and nothing.'
'Your mother called the priest in?' I admit I was astounded.
'Just for a talk.'
Anyway in heel of the hunt, it turns out the lad- being like most teenagers, is chaffing under the yoke of parental control and also like most teenagers, is a little know it all, quoting Dawkins and Russell's teapot at ever attempt to corral him back into the Catholic/God fold. I admit I laughed, imagining a lanky youth, sneering gently at the parish priest as the god talk drifted right over his head. I attended a Catholic Boarding school you see, I was that youth.
I said so to my friend.
'What do you mean?' She said.
'Well, I'm an atheist, but less militant than I imagine your average teenager would be ho ho ho.'
A long silence followed. Then.
'You don't believe in God either?'
'Well no, I don't believe in any deity.'
I detected an incredulous note.
'What do you believe in then?'
Then I had a short, but slightly tense conversation about why I did not believe in an all powerful creator god who makes women from ribs, dudes from dust and could be called upon to help pass driving tests or find missing house keys while letting millions starve elsewhere. It seemed illogical to me, I said. I believed in nothing supernatural, I said.
We said our good byes shortly thereafter. But I admit, I was glum. I found the paramour changing into football gear and explained that I thought I'd been scratched off another Christmas card list.
'Is she the girl that sent you that book on angels' The paramour asked.
'No, that's the other one.' I said, growing ever glummer.
'Oh well,' Said he, 'Another one praying for your soul.'
'I'm going to start carrying a card. 'Good day to you, Fatmammycat, Next of kin. 0 Neg, please use organs, Atheist.'
Sigh, I wish I had a scrap of sneering teenage vigour in this quagmire of life. Oh wait, I have this place. That will have to do.