Can’t nobody tell Brother Sam nothing about the abuse gets heaped on atheists every day. I’m a goddamned authority. I figure I get abused as much as about anybody short of Brother Richard Dawkins himself. But you don’t have to be any full-time professional God slayer to feel the cold sting of stigma that comes with proclaiming yourself an atheist. There isn’t a one of us that hasn’t been talking to someone and, having divulged our atheism, gotten the look, the one that says You might as well just save your breath because I quit listening back when you dropped the A-bomb.
Even Brother Sam can see why so many atheists are casting about for a tag that isn’t so off-putting to the believing class. As for me, I personally do not give two shits. The believing class can accept me as I am or kiss my atheistic ass.
But some atheists dislike the way the word itself defines us by our relationship to God. And that is a damn good point. But if you can’t use atheist for that reason, you can’t use non-believer or non-theist, either. After that, the euphemistic pickins go to getting slim.
I say, let’s just call ourselves “A’s” and have done with it. And yes, I understand that some people will accuse us being elitist. So let’s all agree that the A just stands for atheist and not being at the front of the line. God forbid atheists should ever be at the front of the line.
Believers can be B’s. It’ll do ‘em good.
We A’s need a symbol. Can’t nobody compete with the B’s when it comes to symbols, so we’ll have only one. And since plenty of atheists already use the Scarlet A, (Brother Dawkins’s Come Out campaign is big on the Scarlet A) Brother Sam is prepared to throw his full support behind adopting it as our entire iconography, although we might want to consider changing the color to blue or green so the B’s don’t mistake us all for adulterers.
And speaking of Richard Dawkins, he thinks atheists should be called “Brights.” But the idea of referring to myself as a bright gives me the creeps. Whatever my secret notions of my own braininess, I would stop short of just coming right out and saying I was bright. If I was Richard Dawkins, maybe. But I say it, and I right off sound like a horse’s ass. Anybody who goes to mixing personal pronouns with the word bright gets me thinking that they’re not half as goddamn bright as they think they are.
But I have no problem with calling believers non-brights or not-brights. And what’s wrong with dulls? Darks is out of the question for obvious reasons. And I’m not saying that the B need stand for Backward or Behind or Below or Boob or any other pejorative. Surely a simple dignified “B” is to be preferred to any of those.
More troublesome is what to call agnostics, “A” already being taken. Under Brother Dawkins’s naming scheme, they could be not-so-brights or sub-brights or less-than-fully-brights, demibrights, semibrights, hemibrights, or brightitos. Dims.
And just so my agnostic sisters and brothers know, trying to affix an indentifier to agnostics is not easy, especially when you eliminate all the letters of the alphabet. What I came up with is the schwa, which as you know looks like an upside-down little “e” and is pronounced, and this the part that really embodies agnosticism, uh. See? You don’t have to actually call yourselves Schwas. For y’all nothing changes. Somebody mistakes you for an A or a B, you just look at ‘em and say, I’m an uh—
And if you can’t abide the schwa, which I think more than does you justice, you’ll have to settle for C. Confused.