You ever been sitting around, chillin’, maybe snacking on the eucharist, praising Jesus, when suddenly some guy bursts into your conversation and says, “Your god is just make believe, I hate him, and you’re all retarded for believing in him.”
I hate when that happens. You know, like all the time.
That is a common perception though, that atheists are loud party poopers. You can’t just enjoy what fulfills your life without an atheist coming in and having a tantrum about how terrible god is. This view is fed by religious media, or the media efforts of religious people. Some examples (some of which I’ve linked before).
Kevin Sorbo of Hercules and Andromeda fame playing an angry atheist who wants to ‘steal’ away the faith of christians because he is pissed at god.
A Black man comes out as an atheist, and the show justifies considering him undateable for that reason.
Dane Cook’s ‘memorable’ stand up routine about a stuck up atheist when he tries to say ‘god bless you’. You can find little examples like this everywhere.
It isn’t anything major, it does add up. It creates an idea, one I’ve heard repeated. That atheists are angry, intrusive, and don’t want to let your life continue like normal.
Some of that is true. I’ll divert things a little to explain. Have you ever thought about what it means to be a minority group? Some of you are, so it doesn’t take much imagination. As a straight person, I see straight couples in all media, shown in every which way from positive to homicidal. Straight couples are the norm, and normal life is seeing straight couples doing the nasty in my TV shows, movies, cartoons, commercials, food packaging, abstract art, whatever. How much would it suck to be gay, and not see the sort of nasty you like to do represented anywhere.
“Is that two dudes kissing? Oh no, just a guy kissing an extremely androgynous woman. I guess that will have to do, for now.”
Atheist life can be easy in many places. In others, it can be terrifying. Rarely is it the norm, especially in America. We bless our food, say prayers over sporting events, bless each other when we sneeze, slap crosses on everything, thank god for our nation, have god on our money, have god in our national pledge, and that’s ignoring christian imagery and messages pushed in all the media I mentioned before.
That stuff is, for America, the norm. It is also intrusive on the lives of someone who doesn’t believe in Christianity. Having people constantly bombarding you or inconveniencing you with a message you do not believe in. Many Americans wouldn’t put up with being stopped before they eat to stop and praise Allah, or going over the words of the Buddha. Once they might find it quaint, the 10th time and they would have a conniption.
On top of that, Christians are rarely the bad guys, outside of maybe anime (the evil church trope is strong there). Even when the church, or christians, are ‘evil’, it usually takes a ‘true believer’ of the same faith to save the day. This ‘they are doing it wrong’ correction doesn’t happen with atheist characters, no one comes up and reminds everyone, “Look, Kevin Sorbo is just going through some things. Most atheists just don’t believe your god exists, deal with it.”
What I’m trying to get at is, YES, I don’t like having to hear god bless you every time I sneeze. NO, I’m not going to attack you over it. NO, I’m not going to bless you just because that is what you’re used to hearing. If that happens, I’m not attacking you, I don’t care, I’m just not going to pretend to use your occult rituals and sayings (and that is what it is) just to comfort you.
If an atheist doesn’t bow their head while you bless your food, they aren’t spitting in your food. They just aren’t participating, because they don’t care about your ritualistic chanting. They don’t hate your god, they don’t think it exists, which is on a whole different level of not caring. To tell the truth, I find most christian practices intriguing, but hilarious.
I mean seriously, someone sneezes and you bless them? That is some goofball level stuff. You’re asking god for favor before a basketball game, while the other team is doing the exact same thing?
Through all of this, atheists used to stay silent. It used to be that atheists would hide who they were, and just let the christian or religious majority do whatever they felt like doing. That probably should have stopped about when Christianity helped justify being a good slave during the African slave trade. Instead it took until recently, with voices like the always offensive Christopher Hitchens, for atheists to speak up and say, “Wait, some of this stuff you’re saying is pretty stupid.”
Unlike the past, where the atheist allowed the Christian majority to intrude on their lives at all points, and took it with minimal resistance, this was a dramatic change. Now the Christian cannot just pretend that everything is okay, they have to actually hear that there are people, even many people, that don’t like the rituals they perform.
You ever just been sitting around, being straight, enjoying heterosexual images of lust, when a gay guy busts in and tells you that you’re just a disgusting breeder, and you’re ruining the planet?
Well no, but at least now we get to see homosexuals in the media (I love me some Anderson Cooper, those pretty eyes), we are reminded not to put down homosexuality as an idea, hating on homosexuals is properly defined as hate speech. Homosexuality has penetrated the bias bubble. We even have things like this:
To put it short, people don’t like atheists, because they can see them now. We can talk now. We can talk to each other now. They can’t shun us now. All the dirty laundry is out in the open, and the first ones to air it are the non-believers.