Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What If An Atheist Was One of Us?

On the most recent Freethought Radio podcast, guest David Mills spoke one of those little truths that's almost too obvious and yet, I think, very valuable: that one of the most powerful things atheists can do by way of outreach is to show that we're just regular people. We go to work; we hate paying so much for gas; we hang out with our friends; we try to keep our kids out of trouble; our television sets tune in all the same crappy programs; we glue our fingers together with Krazy Glue, etc. We're no better and no worse than anyone else out there. We're not only like your friends and neighbors, there's every chance that we are your friends and neighbors.

So while I have my quirks, I think I'm a pretty regular person in most ways, so here are a few mundane details plucked from the recent tedium of my life that serve to show it.

  • As of last week, I am on a new medication to treat narcolepsy. It's not working, but I am told that it will accumulate in my system over several days so I should resist drawing any conclusions about its efficacy until Friday. Clearly I have gone ahead and drawn some conclusions about its efficacy and yet it's not Friday. That shows how good a patient I am, which in turn lends support to my suspicion that the doctor is just feeding me the several-days-of-accumulation line to buy himself some time during which I won't pester him.
  • The men's room situation I mentioned before is terrible, just terrible. Traffic is diverted to the men's room the next floor up, so it smells like an open sewer, it's almost always crowded, toilet paper supplies are chronically low, I feel like I'm spending inordinate amounts of time walking to and from it, and I would like to use this last item in the comma-delimited list to re-mention the sewer smell.
The point is, the next maddeningly normal person you encounter might not believe in god. Note the absence of horns. We all want better-smelling public restrooms.


Anonymous said...

I honored that you listened to the program and, especially, that you mentioned it on your excellent blog.

David Mills


Dale said...

David, thank you for stopping by. And I loved your book!