Recently... Well not exactly recently. For quite a while now I have this odd experience from time to time. I just came across this site today and it seemed like the best place to ask. It's not the kind of thing that's easy to google. I call it the Twilight Zone Phenomenon due to it's resemblance to an episode of the aforementioned show.
So here's the setup. I'll be going about my business. Perhaps walking to or from classes on campus. When quite out of no where I am hit by the overwhelming realization that I am surrounded by people who actually believe in god. Not like, "Hey we have debates about whether there's a god or not". To the contrary it's more like, "Wait, these grown, adult people are actually talking about make believe stuff like it's real". Perhaps someone standing close by is talking about what "the heavenly Father" wants from us all. In that moment there is almost a sense of vertigo. Like I've slipped right off the rails into bizarro world. One thing that puzzles me about this is the fact that I used to believe that same nonsense. In a way it shouldn't seem so surreal and alien to me, but it does. Sometimes so much so, that it takes me a few minutes to make the 'M.Night Shyamalan twist ending' feeling go away.
So I'm extremely curious about the experiences of other Atheists with regard to this sensation. Is it common? Does someone have a better word for it than 'surreal'? I'm trying to come up with a better description. Something that captures the intensity of the event without having to make a dozen pop culture references.