The lunch started out pleasant enough, then it happened.  The conversation innocently turned to religion.  It wasn’t any kind of deep discussion about theology, just an innocent passing remark.  Then, I was asked if I went to church.  Easy answer, “No.”  Lots of people don’t go to church, so I didn’t have a problem telling the truth.  Unfortunately, it didn’t stop there.

“Why?”

“Because I don’t want to.”

“Why?”

“I just don’t want to.”

“But why?”

In exasperation – “I don’t believe in “God”.”

The shock and dismay was evident.  And that is fine, I have known many people who were surprised by the news.  But then she just kept saying “that is so sad.”  It was all I could do not to cry in the restaurant.  And, I am not even sure exactly why it was so upsetting. I have been irritated and frustrated with many people’s reactions to my beliefs, but, usually, it just rolls off my back without a second thought.  This time, for some reason, it just devastated me.  I thought sure she was never going to want to talk to me again. I think she finally realized how upset I was because then she started back tracking. 

I pick and choose who I tell for the most part, because I don’t want to get into a theological discussion with anyone and because I don’t want to upset anyone.  Unfortunately, it is not something I could comfortably lie about, so when asked so directly, the truth comes out.  Everyone has different beliefs, beliefs which come in all varieties and degrees.  Mine is not so extreme that I am suing the state because the city’s name refers to something explicitly christian.  I am however, atheist to the deepest depths of my soul.  But I don’t want to be asked why.  It is what I believe, it is who I am. Just as there are those who believe in God, solely based on faith.  Mine too, is faith based and I shouldn’t have to reason it away to anyone.  Nor do I need to be disrespected by being prayed for.

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