The Many Ways I’ve Discredited Myself As An Atheist

I’ve seriously doubted the existence of god (a.k.a., God) ever since I was a kid, but didn’t officially start calling myself an atheist until CBS cancelled Northern Exposure in 1995.

I’ve never been one of those vehement non-believers who gets angry with anyone and everyone who shows faith in a higher power. I still acknowledge there is a tiny iota of a sliver of a chance that I’ve got it wrong. However, I’m not prepared to cop out and start calling myself an agnostic. My feeling is that if you’re a bear, you might as well be a grizzly.

That said, I often unintentionally discredit myself as an atheist in my everyday discourse and actions. Through slips of the tongues and involuntary responses, I bring my serious doubt into serious doubt, causing others to disbelieve my disbelief.

Following are just a few examples:

1) Shouting “Jesus H. Christ!” whenever I see a giant anti-abortion and/or pro-gun billboard while driving in Texas.

2) Declaring “Oh, HELL no” whenever a Mormon, Hare Krishna or Seventh-Day Adventist comes to my door ignoring the “No Soliciting” placard that greets all visitors.

3) Breaking into tears when I saw La Sagrada Familia for the first time in Barcelona. (I always make a concerted effort not to let church architecture move me like that, but GODDAMNIT that’s one beautiful basilica.)

4) Muttering “Good god, again?” every time I hear a rumor that a new sitcom starring Matt LeBlanc is in the works.

5) Growling “Burn in hell” whenever I see a priest entering/leaving a Toys R Us or a candy shop.

6) Inadvertently making the sign of the cross while wiping powdered sugar or cocaine residue off my Nietzsche tee shirt.

7) Pleading, “Please god, not HIM” whenever Mitt Romney is shown on one of the 25 giant plasma TVs at my gym.

8) Planning on rooting for the Jets even if Tim Tebow is named starting QB.

9) Whining “God hates me” whenever an ambulance, fire engine or other emergency vehicle screaming through an intersection causes me to miss a green light.

10) Exclaiming “Oh god!” whenever just about to climax, which I do invariably — unless my wife is in the other room or I’m watching Rachel Weisz on screen in a crowded cinema.

11) Sighing “Heaven only knows” whenever I’m asked why the hell I chose to make the protagonist of my debut novel a poet.

12) Adding “As god as my witness” whenever vehemently denying my wife’s accusation that I watch “Cougar Town” on Hulu when nobody’s looking.

13) Saying “I’ll pray for you” whenever a friend tells me they’re taking the bus.

14) Getting on my knees and actually praying that Rachel Weisz responds to one of my letters or emails. TC mark


More From Thought Catalog


    This article should have been called “I’m A Smug Atheist Who Isn’t Funny.”

    An Atheist

    • Troncat

      Funny, I was just thinking the same thing about your comment.

    • blah

      Living life being a humorless bore must be tough. You should totally take it out on funny articles.

  • tillthemusicends

    It’s sad how much I relate to this.

  • ckanowsk

    I may get neck tattoo that says, “If you’re a bear, you might as well be grizzly.” That’s marvelous.

  • Michaelwg

    I’m the mad type… I try not to be, but it’s reactionary. #5 being an example.

  • Joe

    I don’t believe atheists exist. Sure, you can SAY you’re an atheist, but where’s your proof, huh?

    • blah

      There isn’t any proof that unicorns don’t exist. Do you believe in them?

  • Rachel Pavilanis

    I had the same reaction with ‘La Sagrada Familia’ – I cried because I was marveling at the fact that human beings had created something so massive and amazing.

  • David Allen

    How does any of this discredit someone as an atheist? I love bluegrass gospel music; that doesn’t make any gods real.

  • Genny

    Not everyone that believes in God is a Republican from Texas that loves watching football and hates people that have abortions. Oh, I’m also not shoving BBQ in my mouth and knocking on people’s doors telling them they should give the church money.

    I’m a vegan, a Democrat and my cleavage is usually out, oh, and I happen love Jesus.

    PS – Pascal, Descartes, Newton, Mendel…they all believed in a higher power. Also, Eintein recognized the impossibility of an non-created universe.

    Take that atheists.

    • flan

      Okay, cool.

      • Genny

        Very cool!

        I made some grammatical errors in the above, it must be because I’m a Christian.

    • Katie

      In response to your PS: Nope, not the case. However, there are tons of out-of-context quotes from those people that have been photoshopped onto inspirational-looking images or iconic portraits and pasted up around churches and parochial schools. Your lack of further investigation into the matter is very Christian of you.

      I love facts. Take that Christians.

      • Genny

        Hm, that is interesting. I have actually never seen an inspirational-looking image or iconic portrait pasted up around my church or any school that I have ever attended. Trust me, I’ve spent years investigating and came to my own conclusion (rarely do I even go to church). Not saying you have to agree by any means, just making a point about how not all Christians are your stereotypical conservative anti-homosexual crazies that don’t consider science or facts.

  • John

    Personally I’m discrediting myself by reading Paradise Lost; the Norton Critical Edition with all the explanations and other Milton writings and criticisms and Bible excerpts. I’m also following the related notes from the Milton course at the Yale open courses website. Years from now I’ll dishonor my atheism further with reading of The Divine Comedy.

  • Trizo

    I like this… I once caught myself saying “Oh, Lord!” in frustration. I never said it again, not only because it sounds ridiculous on its own, but because it made me sound ridiculous being an atheist. Stupid culture… infiltrating me!

    It sometimes wonder whether the statements you mentioned can just be considered a general pop-culture term, rather than a specifically religious term. Either way… it still sounds ridiculous. I wonder if religious people ever think how dumb it is to say such things.

  • duncansomerside

    obsessed. So brilliant.

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