[Caveat: Gentle readers and friends alike, this is a potentially angry-ranty post. If reading about non-belief is not your thing, I'm cool with that. There are other fine non-charged posts on this blog which I'm sure you'll enjoy. but if you do decide to stay and read, please remember this is me being human below... and that I thank you for choosing to sit this out with me.]
I will say it now, and have it be over and done with.
Mr. Taxi Driver, I like you. You’re a pretty cool dude, I appreciate your great command of English, and that you’re quite the charmer.
But please please please, for the love of rapport and all that is swag about the common commute, do not cry over the fact that I am an atheist.
Most specially not in front of me.
Fact: there are atheists in this world. and Yes, there are also atheists in — horror of horrors! — the Philippines.
Fact: Atheists can also be very cool, awesome, and most importantly, good people.
Fact: Atheists do not worship the devil, or are on an express-way to hell. Both of these ideas are very, very contradictory to what an atheist is all about.
Fact: You are reading the post of an atheist right now.
Yes, I am an atheist who loves drag queens, lolita fashion, otaku things, gorgeously delicious food, lovely and profound art, hand-made beauty, mind-blowing shows, the glorious complexity of the natural world, The English language, philosophy, reading, music, and so much more, in no particular order.
I also love my family, my friends, my pets, and a wonderful, wonderful man who adds more meaning and joy to my life everyday.
So yeah, Mr. Taxi Driver, you are now crying over an atheist who you just compared notes with over pet care, shared your dreams for your kids with, and who just tipped you twenty bucks more.
When you asked me whether I believed in “the Devil of the world”, I gave your question a bit of thought. I pointed to my temple and told you “the Devil is here.” And I do stand by what I told you that day. The Devil is your thoughts, the thoughts that turn into decisions and actions that step on people’s basic rights and dignities. These thoughts and actions are your responsibility, and you are very much accountable for them, as I am with mine.
When you chased a cheery “God bless you!” after me as I ran for my office, I didn’t take that against you. You believe in God, and owe your job, your sideline, your marriage, and your education to him, and I’m cool with that. That’s just the best way you know to express your goodwill, and that’s alright by me. It just feels odd for me, thinking that you owe everything you yourself worked for to Santa Claus, but hey. If you’re happy, I’m happy. Really.
Just please do not look at me with those sad, sad, so-terribly-sorry-for-you eyes when I respond to you quite honestly and respectfully (as this is the polite way to go about with a conversation, is it not?) that I am very much an atheist.
You wouldn’t behave that way around a Muslim, a Buddhist monk, a straight or gay person. You sure as hell shouldn’t be behaving that way around me. Manners, please; we are still very much members of the human race.
It’s sweet that you wish we’d meet again. That means more money for you, and a chance for me to arrive at my destination in comfort and peace of mind, un-accosted in every manner possible. Let’s please keep it that way.