Atheists - what's your weirdest reaction?

Several years ago, a customer mentioned that she worked in the office of a cemetary. Just to make conversation, I told her that I wouldn’t be needing her services since I had planned on being cremated. She asked, “Why? Are you Jewish?” (I’m not even going to try and figure that out). “No,” I said, “I’m an atheist.” She actually jumped back about 3 feet and accused me of worshipping Satan (the devil, not the poster). I just smiled and stared at her. She took care of her business and left quickly. My co-workers and I had a good chuckle. The whole not-believing-in-God-but-worshipping-the-devil thing happens a lot. A lot of people think that, because you’re an atheist, you have no morals. I usually point out the assorted evangelists and local preachers of note who are a LOT worse, morals-wise than I. They don’t get it. Probably never will.

I was offered the job of head of the local volunteer organization, hand-picked by the outgoing chairwoman and the main council. I had spent twenty hours a week volunteering there for 7 years.

In the course of the transition announcement planning I let it slip I wasn’t a churchgoer. I didn’t even say athiest.

Suddenly everyone remembered a meeting elsewhere and I never heard from them again. I went to one more meeting, where no one spoke to me, and quit in disgust.

The weirdest reaction I get is disbelief. The idea that I don’t think there is ANY sort of god/goddess/higher power/life force/karma/whatever is just not comprehensible to some people.

To tell you the truth, I rarely bring it up. Being a vocal atheist can be a significant social and professional liability.

I get disbelief a lot. I got the Satan thing once. Mostly though, I don’t get reactions. I live in the Bay Area wheer everyone knows at least one Meth head and at least one Atheist.

I posted this in some ancient thread (whilst argueing with Wildest Bill) but I haven’t the energy to find it, so I’ll recreate it.

When I was in college there was this girl who was actually very nice and fun to hang out with, but she was a devout and extremely vocal Christian. This is a conversation we once had.

She: Do you believe in God?
Me: No.
She: Then you’re going to Hell.
Me: If I don’t believe in God, what makes you think I believe in Hell?
She: It doesn’t matter if you believe it or not, that’s where you’re going.
Me: Well then, it doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not, but when you die you’re going to Cleveland. I have spoken.
She: {huff - puff} {storms away}

I don’t think she liked me very much after that.

Well, there was this one guy who lived in my residence hall…he took it upon himself to more or less stage an “intervention” for me. He and two other guys from his Wesleyan group engaged me in debate to try and bring me back into the fold.

They weren’t up on their science or philosophy. I buried 'em.

Something like a “You’re going to believe in God if we have to beat it into you?”

[Homer voice] Praise the lord… Praise him[/homer voice]

This is highly unscientific :eek: , but is the US very religious?

I know we in Britain have a Church of England* (= State religion; no heir to the Throne can marry a Catholic), but I can’t remember anyone EVER asking me about my religion (or lack of it).

  • yes, I know that’s silly. If you want to know why Britain enters the Olympics, but England + 3 other teams play World Cup football, just ask me.

MaxTorque, are you sure it was Wesleyan, as in Methodist? Most of the Methodists I know, myself included, embrace the idea that everyone is entitled to his beliefs, regardless of whether or not his beliefs are in agreement with our own. It’s called pluralism. Then again, I did say most Methodists, and youth may have had something to do with your experience.

This is equally unscientific, glee, but, whether or not you are truly religious, it is fashionable in the US to equate every social ill with the loss of “That 'ol time religion.”

There is no reason for you to have been following our currect election process very closely, but all of the candidates make a great big deal of their respective faiths. An openly godless candidate would not have a prayer, so to speak, of getting elected.

If I hear George W. Bush mention federal funding for “faith-based programs” one more time, I’m going to hurl.

That’s the experience I’ve had with the few Methodists I knew growing up in Iowa, where everyone was Catholic, Lutheran, or miscellaneous. However, here in Atlanta, as many of my Baptist friends say, a Methodist is just a Baptist who can read :wink:

I at this time am agnostic (or as a friend of mine says, a “freelancer”).

The oddest reaction I ever received was being spat on during a blind date set up by friends of mine (they already knew my beliefs). At the restaurant, my date asked if I was a Christian, I answered [quite politely, as my friends attested], he made some disparagin remarks about by ‘immaturity at not accepting Jesus’, hockered on me and left.

My friends were very apologetic, obviously not expecting such a reaction, and broke off their friendship with the ‘gentleman’ not too long after. [Difficult, as he worked directly with the wife. Don’t know what happened to him, don’ wanna know.] Still friends with them, though, and they paid for the dry-cleaning.

I just love that someone upset at your immaturity, spat on you. Did Jesus teach him that one?

How odd that she would assume you’re Jewish because of cremation. I’m a devout Christian and I plan on being cremated. So does my father. Just seems like a better way to dispose of my body.

I have never had a reaction at all.

Seems we are lucky in Australia that we do not have the level of godbotherers as in the US.

It seems that here a hard-core christian is one who goes to church on other than Xmas and/or Easter.

Then again no-one seems to take anything very seriously here. (but that could be because I live in the tropical bit where they seriously don’t care).

I once worked with a woman who was brought up as a nice Catholic girl, and who never really questioned anything she had been taught. She simply believed what she had always believed, and that was that. One day we had a little conversation:

SHE: What do you mean, you’re and atheist?
ME: I mean that I am an atheist.
SHE: Well, I can prove that you believe in God.
ME: How can you prove what I believe, when I know what I believe?
SHE: I can absolutely prove that you believe in God.
ME (rolling eyes): OK, prove that I believe in God.
SHE: Well if you don’t believe in God (dramatic pause)
ME: Yes, if I don’t believe in God?
SHE: If you don’t believe in God . . . then WHO DO YOU PRAY TO?

She then sat back with a self-satisfied “gotcha” expression, as if she had turned my entire belief system upside-down.

In the entire remaining time that we worked together, she could never accept the fact that some people neither believe in God nor pray.

Welfy, I think the woman was just nuts. Having worked with Jews, I know that, usually, they must bury their dead by sundown the following day, unless there’s some sort of extreme circumstance.

I don’t bring up my beliefs to anyone unless I am asked. It’s not like I say, “Hi there. Nice weather we’re having. THERE IS NO HEAVEN OR HELL!! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!. Didja see “The Drew Carey Show” last night?”

The response I hate the most is, “I’ll pray for you!”

I’ve never gotten a deliciously strange response, which is bad because I would love to have an interesting story to tell in this thread.

The weirdest response I’ve gotten is a few moments of silence, followed by a soft, “Are you really an atheist?”. As if I were lying for some reason. :rolleyes:

Oh god, this thread is hilarious. I wish I had something to share. I’m an agnostic, but nobody has ever asked me about it. I’m not going to go shouting it from the hilltops either, especially considering how ULTRA-Catholic this area is. If I see one “Pray the rosary to end abortion” bumper sticker I’m going to blow chunks. I think I need to get one of those “Militant Agnostic - I don’t know and neither do you” stickers. Yup, that’ll show 'em. :slight_smile: