THE “A” WORD

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Everyone knows what an atheist is.

That’s a person who doesn’t believe in their god. If a group of atheists ever get together, then it’s a non-prophet organization.

But where are they hiding?

It’s been often said that there are no atheists in foxholes. But if there are atheists in foxholes, they are more likely NOT doing the praying. Most forms of prayer requires both hands to be clasped together.

An alternate form of praying calls for the hands to be raised in the air. But since that gesture is also a sign of surrendering, it is not recommended, unless one would want to be captured and get out of the foxhole.

You probably won’t find an atheist in a church, monastery, synagogue, mosque, or any other place of worship. Unless it is to support a loved one who does go to a place of worship.

Again, they are the ones not praying.

So where they?

They work at jobs, shop at grocery stores, attend college, sporting events and art classes, serve in the armed forces, and visit libraries, public parks, beaches, social events, weddings, funerals, and can be found everywhere else.

So how can we identify them? Christians wear crucifixes, Jews wear the Star of David, and some Muslim women wear burqas (although it would hard to identify at least some of these women).

There is no one symbol that identifies an atheist. Nor do they have secret handshakes, or code word, or even a unique hairstyle.

And getting together a bunch of atheists to agree one thing (except that there is not a god), is like trying to get a bunch of cats to all do the same thing. Some quotes will illustrate this point.

“I would like to see anyone, prophet, king or God, convince a thousand cats to do the same thing at the same time.” – Neil Gaiman

“Indeed, organizing atheists has been compared to herding cats, because they tend to think independently and will not conform to authority. But a good first step would be to build up a critical mass of those willing to ‘come out,’ thereby encouraging others to do so. Even if they can’t be herded, cats in sufficient numbers can make a lot of noise and they cannot be ignored.” – Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

“Never try to outstubborn a cat.” – Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

Again, I don’t know if this is a problem. We need at least a few free-thinkers in this world.

Sometimes atheists seem to have a problem with just talking with religious people.

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I would like to point out that the penguin (Opus) is the one who is amazingly calm throughout the strip. Maybe there is something in common with penguins and atheists.

But atheists may have other problems than just lacking in self-promotion and communicating with bead-wearing religious fanatics.

Atheists are not allowed to be adult leaders in the Boy Scouts. The BSA is considering allowing gay men to be adult leaders, but so far no word on atheists. 

And although different oaths are available, atheists are asked to swear on a religious book and to a god they don’t believe in when they give testimony in court or when taking the oath of office.

This problem is made more complicated, and perhaps made moot, in seven states of the Union. Atheists are not allowed to be public officials in ARKANSAS, MARYLAND, MISSISSIPPI, PENNSYLVANIA, SOUTH CAROLINA, TENNESSEE, and TEXAS.

Which again, may or may not be a big deal. It is questionable question. Why would an atheist want to be a public official in the Bible Belt? Why would ANYONE want to be an elected official?

In religious wars, which side does an atheist fight on? More likely, the atheist is a target of both sides.

But, and finally, there are more serious questions that still and must addressed for atheists.

Like, can an atheist get insurance against acts of god?

And what does an atheist say when making love?

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“I am what I am

I am my own special creation.
So come take a look,
Give me the hook or the ovation.
It’s my world that I want to take a little pride in,
My world, and it’s not a place I have to hide in.
Life’s not worth a damn,
‘Til you can say, “Hey world, I am what I am.”
I am what I am,
I don’t want praise, I don’t want pity.
I bang my own drum,
Some think it’s noise, I think it’s pretty.
And so what, if I love each feather and each spangle,
Why not try to see things from a diff’rent angle?
Your life is a sham ’til you can shout out loud

I am what I am!
I am what I am
And what I am needs no excuses.
I deal my own deck
Sometimes the ace, sometimes the deuces.
There’s one life, and there’s no return and no deposit;
One life, so it’s time to open up your closet.
Life’s not worth a damn ’til you can say,
‘Hey world, I am what I am!'”

La Cage aux Folles Soundtrack Movie, 1990

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