February 13, 2008

Crazed Christian Assaults Atheist in Coffee Shop

Kristine at Amused Muse has a disturbing post in which she describes a scary encounter with a crazed Christian. Fortunately, this particular assault was of the verbal variety, but Kristine's tears tell me that it had quite an impact. Her description of the incident reminds us all that this sort of thing happens more than many of us would like to admit.

Kristine's post begins with the following:
I can't imagine a mentality more degraded than someone marching up to us in a coffee shop and saying, essentially, "You'll be sorry that you're atheists!" and asking a person why they exist.
I wholeheartedly agree. What sort of individual would decide that it was acceptable to antagonize a complete stranger in this manner? As I have said before, I think part of the answer lies in the notion that the very existence of atheists is problematic for many Christians. They may be willing to consider us a theoretical possibility living in some distant city but not as their neighbors.

Kristine's post breaks down much of what this rabid Christian said and identifies the many false assumptions. I'm too outraged by the encounter to think along those lines. The man who launched this unprovoked verbal attack may have been mentally ill (referring to the kind of mental illness even Christians would acknowledge and not the variety these same Christians suffer from). But he may have simply been a particularly rabid Christian. Some of us have encountered his sort before, and I'm not sure that every such person can be dismissed as genuinely crazy.

In fact, Kristine's encounter reminds me of several encounters my ex-wife had with similarly rabid Christians while living in Mississippi. I realize that many of us men are going to want to boast about how we would have punched the guy, told him where he could go, etc. Try to get over the chest-pounding for now and simply appreciate what this must have been like for Kristine to experience. This sort of thing is traumatizing, and nobody deserves it.

I cannot imagine more fitting words with which to end than those Kristine uses to conclude her post:
Nature will eventually kill you, but it will never mock you, call you fat, make you feel ugly, call you stupid, humiliate you in front of others, scare you with hell-talk, engage in emotional blackmail, or make you feel like you can never be perfect enough. Nature just is, as I just am, in all our glorious imperfections. Screw the people who are always looking for perfection, an answer, or "meaning." They are more hurtful and incomprehensible than the so-called "meaninglessness" of life could ever be.
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