Part of the 10 Questions with an Atheist series.
I have some good news. And I have some bad news.
First the bad news…
I was this close  to an interview with Gawd Almighty.
However, I was told, at the last minute that Gawd often drinks with other deities, therefore, he felt awkward being labeled an “atheist.”
So, I got the next best thing–The Postman–Gawd’s personal messenger.
Basically, The Postman runs a blog called Gone Fishin’: Postcards from God where he publishes letters from Gawd…a being who’s been absent from “work for the past several jagillion years,” yet still manages to read the newspapers or peruse the “Interwebs.”
And so it’s when Gawd scans the headlines that he decides to write a “letter” and take humans to task for misunderstanding him.
A letter, I assume, the Postman is obligated to publish.
Regardless, The Postman is real. By that, I mean, he puts on his shoes the same way you and I do. He eats cereal. Probably flips through magazines.
In addition, he has a heart. And feelings. And beliefs…that might differ from yours…which makes him a good target for the 10 Questions with an Atheist blog series. That’s why he’s here. And that’s why he answered the following questions. So, without further delay, meet The Postman.
1. How would you describe yourself: atheist, agnostic or skeptic? Explain.
My knee-jerk reaction to this question was “Atheist. Full stop.”, but it would be much more accurate to say that I am all three. I’m skeptical, not just of deities, but all manner of woo. ”Alternative” medicine and astrology, for instance. I’m agnostic because there’s no way anyone can definitively prove or disprove some form of deity. I’m an atheist because evidence and experience point quite strongly toward an absence of supernatural beings.
Most often, though, I self-identify as an actor and/or a writer, not an atheist. I am, like most atheists, a [fill in the blank], who happens to not believe in gods, elves, tooth fairies or the great Pumpkin.
2. When did you know you were an atheist? Did it scare you or was it a non-issue?
Actually, I really didn’t think about it beyond noting that I didn’t much like how religion is so stifling. I come from a quite religious family and, in fact, spent my first year of college at a Christian university which shall remain nameless. Once I got out of there, I pushed it from my mind.
Years later, I was dating a recovering alcoholic and we got into a discussion of the “higher power” concept that AA is so fond of. She pressed me for my religious views and I responded as I had for years that I was an agnostic. She felt that the answer was a cop-out and called me on it. As a result, I began to actually put some thought into it. Eventually, I realized that I was, in fact, an atheist.
I don’t want to say that it scared me, but because of my upbringing, there were times that I would get an unpleasant frisson over the superstitious thought that Someone was listening to me scoff.
3. Ever suffer persecution as an atheist?
Unless you count a look of horror in my mother’s eyes when she found out, (in the middle of Notre Dame Cathedral–who says I don’t have a sense of the theatrical?)–then, no. Not at all.
Annoyance? Quite often…but never persecution.
4. What do you want to accomplish with your life?
Oh, you know. Like everyone, I want to be wildly rich and famous… er… I mean, well-respected in my chosen profession and perhaps raise a little Postperson.
5. Who are your heroes? Why?
Phrew! Where do you start? Without giving you a long and tedious list, my rule-of-thumb is: People who speak truth to power, people who invent and discover and writers who make language their b*tch, (from Wodehouse to Kerouac).
6. What would you like to accomplish with your blog?
The flip answer is, “If I can make one person laugh at the idea of an Intelligent Designer, my work is done.” The serious answer is, “Ditto.”
7. What’s your favorite part about being an atheist?
The chocolate-covered coffee beans? Beyond that, probably the freedom from a sense that someone is peeking over my shoulder all the time and the relief that I don’t have to believe things that I find to be, frankly, unbelievable.
8. Are there any Christian concepts that you respect?
The Golden Rule; although I’d bet it was around long before Christianity.
9. Does it irritate you when Christians try to share their faith with you?
Immensely. Seriously, just about as much as poking a fork into an exposed cavity while rolling through a briar patch in lemon-juice-soaked underpants.
But as a result, I’m pretty careful not to go around spouting, “Blah, blah Atheist this and blah, blah Atheist that.” Outside of blogging, I talk about it with a few close friends, but that’s usually in the context of, “How’s the blog going?” Even when people ask me about religion or lack thereof, I usually don’t go beyond a statement of disbelief.
In fact, I’m so sweet-tempered, (if I do say so myself), that I read something at a friend’s wedding recently that mentioned God. I felt silly and slightly hypocritical, but not enough to dictate what someone else has read at their wedding. On the other hand… if someone starts proselytizing at me, I consider them fair game and will mercilessly ridicule them.
10. Were you ever a Christian? Would you go back?
I was and I wouldn’t.
Postman, it was a delight. I appreciate your honest, fun answers and look forward to hearing what others think.