Often the domain of loud teenage boys speaking out of their parent’s earshot, Stage 1 Atheism is a cathartic rite of passage for anyone waking up to the reality of the finality of mortality.
Stage 1 Atheism is loud, brash, often inappropriate in social situations and frequently inspires the stares and murmurs of the family.
Much like puberty, it is an awakening of a once dormant part of the brain. The teenage boy, often without a job or social status to lose, speaks more loudly about his nonspiritual awakening. As he matures, the mindset doesn’t go away, but maturity sets in and is kept at bay when social situations demand it.
Perhaps talking about Atheism is a lot like masturbation. Once discovered, you do it all the time, then markedly less as you find someone to do it with.
For most, the motivation to be a constant firebrand fades over time and simply melts into your worldview along with your other life experiences. I find myself without this maturity and despite having been an atheist for several years now, I am still having theological arguments with street preachers and talking about my lack of belief at every single opportunity. I only bite my tongue at weddings, funerals, and in the presence of someone very near to the end of their life.
For me, I can’t seem to shake the flow of abrasive anti religious statements that come out of my mouth. I’ve been told that for most people this passes, but for me it has not. Maybe it is because shedding my faith was a slow burn, rather than a sudden realization.
But do I want it to pass? I aspire to speak out more publicly on the topic of religion, so maybe this is something I should embrace. Being the “asshole atheist,” has become ingrained in my personality. Are the activists I so admire stuck in this stage as well, or are they on some higher plane?
Time will tell.