So there I was, talking to and having my picture taken with a well-respected leader in my profession at the national conference last week. She is getting up there in years now, and is a treasure to those of us who use the theories, research, and assessments she developed.
I was waiting to be a guinea pig for one of the tutorials they were putting on at the Expo, when I noticed the lady holding the Bible directly behind me. She said, "Do you want a Bible?" I said, "No, thank you. I've read it. Twice." Then she said, "But it's free!"
Apparently I couldn't resist that. She showed me that the Bible had a part where I could look up a certain issue that I need guidance on, and it will tell me where in the Bible I should go. The irony here is that I am in the midst of several big changes in my life. Things are happening. I have to make some big decisions. I thanked her and turned my attention back to the adjacent booths.
I could not stop myself from saying it because silence must be taken as agreement or acceptance in this case. I said to the lady, "I have to tell you that I will not read this Bible. I am an atheist. I will, however, pass it on to someone who might be able to use it."
She asked, "How did you come to be that way?" I said, "I was raised that way."
"Why?" she asked. Again, I couldn't help myself. I gave her the short version: "My mother was abused by her southern Baptist, alcoholic, lay-preacher father." She replied, "Pray for God to reveal Himself to you."
I said, "That's just it. Why or how would I pray to something in which I do not believe? That just doesn't make sense."
By this point, I know it is futile to get her to just accept me as I am without trying to foist her deity on me. That is alright. I feel good that I politely made her aware of at least one atheist in her midst, and that she heard some of the damage that can be done in the name of, or at least in connection with, the name of Jesus.
Anybody want a Bible? It's free!