This morning I was at the grocery store and overheard a man talking to a stranger about God. Most of the country is Christian, so while I thought it was pretty rude of the dude, I just ignored it and went about my business. However, it turned out that the man was in front of me at checkout and the woman he had approached was behind me… and he wouldn’t shut up about God.
At one point he was saying that the world would be better off if everyone believed in God and that those who don’t are pawns of the Devil. This was too much for me to keep quiet about especially since I was now literally in the middle of this one-sided conversation. So I said in a very nonthreatening way that I was a good person without believing in any of that stuff.
The guy then said that his daughter is a doctor and she was like me and believed in science. I tried to explain to him that I don’t believe in science, I accept the evidence that science has presented. He then started to back away a little and started rambling on about how God created the stars.
At one point before I had jumped into the conversation, the cashier had said that she believes in “all the trumpet stuff,” but that she didn’t believe in Hell. She said that Earth is Hell. I found this a little disconcerting. I can easily write-off this guy as a crazy person for spouting off about God to strangers in a grocery store, but the cashier saying that she believed in “the trumpet stuff” is pretty far out there.
Who knows if she actually believes that stuff or if she was just saying that to him to find common ground. That is why it is important to speak up. Religion is some crazy shit and if someone starts talking crazy shit and no one challenges it, others might start to accept it as sane. When I came into the conversation and politely challenged this crap with reason, it presented those around us with a stark contrast of ideas: The religious guy talking about God’s trumpets and Hell vs. me talking about the weight of scientific evidence and pointing out that there are good people who don’t believe in religion. Personally, I would have liked to have a more structured conversation than this one, but the guy was an older person who was ranting rather than conversing.
Atheists are the minority in the country and far too often religious believers have no problem talking about their crazy beliefs publicly to perfect strangers. Most of the time, we just shake our heads and walk away when this happens and that’s okay. But sometimes it is important to step in. It’s socially awkward and maybe even dangerous in some places, but when more atheists start speaking out, fewer religious believers will spout off religious nonsense in public.
- Batman’s Real Super Power Revealed – Dangerous Talk (skepticink.com)
- Bolt the Superdog: A Story of De-Conversion (skepticink.com)
- Atheism Isn’t a Choice (skepticink.com)
- How People Can Believe In Slender Man – Dangerous Talk (skepticink.com)