On Thursday, I had an exit interview for a Women's Studies class. I arrived on campus about an hour before the interview. I found a nice chair, sat my ass down, and combed through one of my books. As I was doing that, 2 women, 1 Asian, 1 Black, approached me with caution and I believed they were about to ask me for directions. I did not notice the set up until after both women scurried off. The Asian woman walks up and spoke with a soft tone such that I or anyone they approach would lower my/your defenses and the Black woman is the bullhorn and is ready to offer a rebuttle if she is prompted. I'm asked for a moment of my time and since I had some time to kill, I granted the request. The Asian woman asks me "Are you a Christian"? I replied "No". She asks "Do you belong to another religion"? I said "No". She asks "Are you spiritual"? Again, "No". She looked confused and with each passing "no", she leaned her body away from me. I wanted to clear up her confusion and I told her I'm an atheist.
Meanwhile the Black woman is sitting in a chair next to me and playing on her iphone but when she heard me say I'm an atheist, she suddenly sprang to life (is there an app for that?). She screamed, "REALLY, WHY"? At that point, I was a little bewildered. Her loudness prompted a crowd of students and custodial workers to tune in to the festivities. By that time, the Asian woman was looking at me as though I was about to burst into flames. I explained to both women that I'm an atheist because I have/had not seen or been presented with any compelling evidence in favor of their God. the Black woman says "well scientists believe.....", and before she could finish, I said "I don't care what scientists believe. Simply because some may believe, that in and of itself is not evidence in favor of the existence of that god". She said "okay", and for a brief moment I thought the discussion may be fruitful. She asked me if she showed me the evidence for the existence of her god would I then believe. I held out my hand, smiled and said "give it to me". Instead of presenting me with evidence she said "The Bible says....", and I had to put a stop to her.
Why should I privilege the Bible over other "religious" texts? And the Bible is the source of a claim, not the proof of/for it. Confusion rears its head again. The Asian woman is about to perform an exorcism on me and the Black woman is flustered but trying to put forth a cogent reason but failing. She reaches for history, prophecy, and in both cases her claims were so murky and fallacious, I told her to "fix the fallacies". I told both women, I have read the Bible from cover to cover. I enjoy reading the Bible, just like I enjoy reading the Odyssey. Then I was told I read the Bible incorrectly. Can one of you good people tell me how it's supposed to be read? (I didn't say that to them) Both women were so uncomfortable that they both said "it's clear you are strong in your beliefs" (I had not stated a single belief I possess), and they RAN OFF. I had a nice chuckle to myself and the crowd enjoyed it too. The custodial workers told me that those women approach people in the building all of the time. I'm aware of the men who preach in Woodruff Park and yell to students and faculty about our impending doom and how we're destined for hell, but they usually don't walk up to you and if they do, a well placed finger and a "fuck off" does the trick.
This exchange is an example of Christian/religious privilege. Believing in a god, no matter how you define it, can be used as a social license to annoy other people. I understand they were trying to fulfill their obligation as stated in 1st Peter 3:15, and they have a legal right to be on campus, but when you cannot satisfy the demand put forth to you, that's when you should tip your cap and move on with the show. I'm in the Bible belt and both women assumed I believed in some "higher power". They thought they'd have a friendly venue to spread their version of good news and they did have a friendly venue........but they were met with questions and a demand for evidence. When they could not offer it, they decided to press the point with fallacious appeals, obfuscation, and bullshit, but they are can do it because their position is the majority one to hold and they expected compliance and received tempered resistance. Of course I play a role in this whole deal too. I could have told them to buzz off sooner and I incorrectly assumed they were just "lost". But then you would not have this post to read.
Moral of the story; when you cannot prove your case, SHUT UP.