Atheists in Love
A couple of months ago, I was at brunch after the radio show. PZ and Mary Myers were in town on one of their many airport trips and joined us for the meal. Mary and I were having a fun chat about, among other things, her first few dates with PZ. (I’d be more specific, because there’s a great story there, but it isn’t mine to tell.)
Then someone new joined us and wanted Mary’s attention. I turned back to the conversation between PZ and the very earnest young man sitting across from me. He had come to atheism relatively recently and with great relief, and he wanted to give something back. He was shy, though, and diffident, and didn’t know what he could do to help. He asked PZ.
Now, I’m not a big talker. It takes some wind up for me to get to the point of even opening my mouth. However, this time, I interrupted before PZ could answer.
He looked confused.
“One of the best things you can do to promote a positive view of atheism is to live a happy, healthy life as an out atheist.”
I don’t know whether PZ agreed with me, or whether he was simply shocked that I wasn’t tiptoeing around the big-name local atheist. Either way, he didn’t disagree.
Of course, how could he? He was sitting there after taking one of his adult children to the airport to go do something fun and productive for the summer. He was having a pleasant breakfast with the woman he calls his trophy wife despite having been married to her for more than two decades. He was living my advice, whether he’d ever heard it before or not.
Since that brunch, it’s been heartening (and terribly, terribly sweet) to note how much atheist love is out there. I have been privileged to watch the developing romance of two of my favorite online people, DuWayne and Juniper. Their love is relatively new, but watching it grow from hints of respect and admiration to giddiness to that beautiful, simple confidence in one another has been an experience I treasure.
Jodi and Jason are a bit further along in their romance. Owning a house together, they were already committed to one another, but Jodi decided it was time to take things another step. So she delighted thousands of atheists and skeptics and science fans by proposing to Jason in an intricate online dance. He said, “Yes,” thousands rejoiced and a bunch of people started talking about how religion and tradition, though often mentioned in the same breath, don’t have to be associated.
Then there is the beautiful and funny wedding that happened this month at The Amaz!ing Meeting in Las Vegas. Skepchick Numero Uno, Rebecca Watson married her sweetheart Sid Rodrigues onstage in a surprise wedding ceremony during a recording of The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe podcast. Not only did they have an auditorium full of their skeptical friends to share the moment with them, but the ceremony was streamed live and is still available for viewing. What few dry eyes there are in the atheist blogosphere belong to people who haven’t watched the video or read Rebecca’s post about the wedding.
Minnesota Atheists’ own Bjorn and Jeanette didn’t get married online, but they still shared it with us. I wish I’d had access to their post on their humanist wedding ceremony when I got married, but it’s available for another generation planning their own weddings. And it seems to have worked, too. Bjorn and Jeanette are coming up very soon on their first anniversary. Congratulations, you two.
Greg and Amanda have just a little bit further to go to reach their third wedding anniversary. As they’re friends of mine and I’m privy to more than they might want to share, I won’t go into much detail, but the way they talk about each other is, frankly, not much different than the way Juniper and DuWayne talk. They may be a little quieter, but they are truly a conspiracy of two, which is what a married couple should be. And you should see them when someone brings up their newest conspiracy.
I could go on, of course. There are happy atheist couples around me in all stages of their relationships, and happy singles too. One of the most important parts of the recent shift to vocal atheism is the opportunity for everyone to see that happiness. It isn’t pushed in anyone’s face, but it can’t help but show through. And how can the myth of the dour, miserable atheist stand up against this much love?
This entry was posted on Friday, July 17th, 2009 at 8:02 am and is filed under Stephanie Zvan. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.