This past Saturday I was at the table again, but only for a couple of hours. It was another beautiful day, pleasantly warm and dry. However for purposes of writing an exciting report, it was another boring day.
The main characters are:
The Reasonable Catholic and The Dude to his Right
The Blessing Lady
Yet Another Atheist
So once again most of the people coming up to the table were supportive of our cause. What's our cause again? There are a few: total separation of church and state, removing negative stereotypes of atheists, and inviting other atheists to join the organization.
The first interesting character was The Reasonable Catholic. He was very interesting to talk with and seemed quite open minded. Actually I think we agreed on a lot, so I wasn't sure what part of Catholic doctrine he actually believed in. He had to leave so I didn't get to ask him if he really believed in transubstantiation, or the literal resurrection of Jesus, etc. We did talk about the possibility of a universal moral law.
My idea is that maybe life in general, when it evolves into social beings like us tends to converge onto certain set principles. So aliens somewhere else might also think murder is bad, and helping others is good. Of course I don't know this for sure, or necessarily believe it. It's just an idea. He saw that converging as evidence of a driving force, ie. a god. I saw it as a natural emergent phenomenon. (If it even exists.) However, he was even open to the idea that a god may exist that is completely unlike any of the gods various religions have proposed. In the end I couldn't really figure out why this guy was associating himself with the Catholic church. Maybe I'll get a chance to talk to him in the future.
The Dude to his Right was just that. I wasn't sure if he was a Christian too, but he seemed to have some crucifix around his neck. I didn't get a good look at it. He didn't say much, but also seemed like a reasonable guy.
How boring for my report!
The Blessing Lady is a common character type. She swoops in, says some random religious utterance, and zips away. I think this one said, "I just wanted to let you all know that God blesses you and I'm praying for you." I think she made some kind of cross sign to by chopping her hand in a karate like fashion. I was kind of busy talking to this other person, and everyone else pretty much ignored her. I'm not sure what these kinds of people get out of saying these things. Does she really think she accomplished something? If I had a chance to reply to her I would have asked:
"Are you saying you can tell Yahweh what to do? You can tell him to bless us?"
"How does this "blessing" work? Is it like a good luck charm? What effect does it have on an atheist like me?"
"What are you praying for? Are you saying you can persuade Yahweh to do something? Doesn't that seem odd?"
Dan Barker said his snappy comeback to the often heard "I'm praying for you", is to say, "Then I'll think for the both of us." I'm not sure if I like that one so much. I rather ask what people mean since I have a feeling they just chant these sayings without thinking about their meanings.
I finally had a nice chat with Yet Another Atheist. I will need to shorten that to YAA since there are so many of them here in NYC. We agreed a lot on many topics, which again, does not make for an interesting post, so I will end here.