Atheists at some time or other in their career as humans feel like the kid on the playground no one wants to play with, like the last kid to be chosen for the pick-up sandlot baseball game, or the first one to get nailed out of dodge ball.
Well, there’s a way to boost your confidence in yourself and your beliefs, a way that’s guaranteed to make you feel like Einstein or Feynman or Heisenberg without the uncertainty. And no, you don’t have to frizzy up your hair or write complex equations on chalkboards.
All you have to do is find a good coffee shop, like Starbucks or your local favorite, get a coffee of your choice (Godless Italian Roast is good), and wait. If you’re lucky, sooner or later two or more Christians will take a table near you and begin to argue.
This morning a Rational Christian and an Evangelistic Proselytizing Christian did the honors at the local Starbucks. Rational guy spoke confidently, dipping into the edges of logic occasionally but as usual never quite getting there. He was pitching against the sort of fundogelical nonsense that had thousands of these people confidently waiting to rise into the heavens last Saturday as the Earth wrenched itself into oblivion. Proselytizing guy was less vocal, more certain of his belief, pretty much convinced the other guy was going to burn for eternity (but being polite about it).
Listening to these two was like listening to Fox News, where the on-air personalities (you really can’t think of them as newspeople) offer as news their uninformed opinions on lies that they make up and pretend are facts.
It was like listening to asylum inmates in adjoining cells arguing over whether Plato was five feet tall or six feet tall and going blank when asked what Socrates said about anything.
Or two third-graders discussing the Theory of Relativity in terms of Aunt Melinda and Uncle Harry and Cousin Marvin.
Or two geniuses sharing a pint at two a.m. on a downtown street and trying to figure out how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, then deciding that it depends on the angels’ shoe size, congratulating themselves on their intellectual achievement, and passing out.
Find yourself a couple of Christians, preferably from different sects (that’s pretty much any two Christians), pour yourself some coffee, and try to pay attention while they argue the merits of whatever airhead beliefs they’ve been told are The Truth. You’re going to feel like a genius within five minutes. Never again will you feel bad about being picked last for the baseball team by these guys.
But a word of warning. Don’t talk with them, don’t try to engage them in argument, and don’t attempt any of this in a bar if they’ve been drinking. Depending on the political climate you will either be completely ignored, hounded into their pointless discussion, or beaten to death for not being just like them.
Full disclosure: You don’t actually need two Christians. They’re just handiest and easiest to find in the United States, like fleas on a mangy dog. Could just as easily be two fundo Muslims (oxymoron?) or two fundo Jews. They are all equally delusional and equally ego-building for eavesdroppers. You might get by with Hindus or goddy Buddhists (but not pure Buddhists) or some other practitioners of supernatural shtick, but the monotheists are really the best for this sort of thing. Way better than a shot of vitamin B or an injection of double espresso.
Of course, this method of building confidence in your intellectual prowess and choices is not foolproof.
You might miss the finer points of the conversation because you’re gagging.