Thursday, January 26, 2012

"...For an Atheist"

I don't think I can count the number of times I've had someone tell me incredulously, "It's amazing! You're really a nice guy even though you're an atheist!" or "Wow! It's great that you're so open minded, especially since you're an atheist!" and my favorite, "You seem so happy and morally sound for an atheist!"

I was sure at those times that these statements were given as sincere compliments, and I gratefully accepted them as such. It was nice to know that I was providing a view of an atheist that didn't fit the stereotypical sad and lonely, angry-at-god, lost soul atheist that so many theists picture in their mind. Something in the back of my mind itched a bit though.

"...For an atheist?" What if the word "atheist" in those sentences was replaced with some other word defining a different segment of our population? Try inserting "Jew" or "Muslim" or "Christian" or "black" or "woman" in place of "atheist" in those statements. They don't sound like compliments any more, do they?

So if you have said anything similar to the examples I provided in the first paragraph, thank you. I do appreciate the sentiment. Lets just leave off that "for an atheist" bit from now on, m'kay?