Well folks, it’s been a long time with no posts, mostly because I haven’t had any good questions to answer – either directly or indirectly (through other blogs, discussions, and so on). So I guess I’ll relate a bit of a story:
I started a new job this year – nothing spectacular, nothing close to helping cover our expenses, but it’s honest work, and it’s better than no work/income at all. I’ve been doing it since late March. I won’t go into detail about it, other than to say that it involves working in a retail environment.
A new employee started just yesterday. We’ll call her Sharleena, after the Frank Zappa song – but that isn’t her real name. Sharleena recognized me instantly when I walked in yesterday, because she’s known me since I was about three years old. She was our landlady until I turned 24 and moved away.
Sharleena was (and possibly still is) a devout Baptist, and I can remember the animated discussions she and my mother would get into over the differences between the Baptist and Catholic faiths. I can recall one discussion in particular when she asked my mother why it was necessary to have a set of beads to pray with, and my mother becoming rather frustrated trying to give her a sensible explanation.
I also recall the tracts and bits of Christian text that she would post in the office where we paid our rent, things that didn’t bother me much at the time, because I was a believer then. One was a lengthy description of what Hell was like. Constant burning and torture, flesh-eating worms that never get their fill, and so on – stuff that was obviously not in the Bible at all, someone had made it up whole cloth, but since it was a great tool for scaring folks into believing, the rule about not adding or taking away from the Bible could be overlooked.
But I digress. I was very happy to see Sharleena, and I gave her a hug and told her I had missed her. Which I had. I pass by my old residence often, and whenever I would see the office where she worked, I wondered how she has been doing. She was happy to see me as well, and told me that we needed to catch up. I agreed.
Eventually, we will end up having a lunch break together, and talk about what has been going on in our lives. During that discussion, she is likely to ask me if I am still going to church – in fact, I’d say the odds are well in favor of it.
I’m seriously considering telling her the truth, that I have been a nonbeliever since 1992. I’m considering coming out as an atheist to an old friend who has known me since I was a toddler. I guess I’ve been a bit emboldened by recent encounters where I’ve openly admitted to being an atheist, or maybe I’m just not comfortable about lying to her. Or maybe it’s a bit of both.
I’m really not sure what the outcome will be. But if it happens, I will post the details here.