Friday, August 05, 2005

It's just a phase you're going through, right?

Something has happened to me so often that I refuse to believe that it is not a common experience... I’ll be minding my own business when some believer will turn around to explain to me how my atheism is just a phase I’m going through and that I am sure to come back into the fold given time. Somehow, the sheer condescending nature of what they are saying never quite strikes them, even when I feel like I’d just been slapped in the face. It is condescending for two reasons. Firstly, because it treats my beliefs with disdain, as less worthy than their beliefs. Secondly, because it shows a total lack of appreciation for how deeply felt and inherent to my being these beliefs are. And, as is common with condescension, trying to explain has no effect – it just feels like there’s no real conversation – adding to the overall feeling of being ignored. Now, to add to the problem, the people who say this are usually somehow related to me, which means that on the one hand, wanting to avoid a blow-up, I can not just tell them straight out what I think of what they have just said and, on the other hand, have to then go on having something to do with them, even given the awareness of what they (at least sometimes) think of me. I’m left not knowing what to say or do.

You’d think they’d have given up that kind of talk once I’d turned thirty!


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