… and my justifications.
I always take religious pamphlets offered to me
I’ve been inoculated against religion, so it’s unlikely propaganda will affect me. This may not be true of the person who would’ve gotten the flyer instead of me. Maybe that person is susceptible because of a recent personal tragedy. In this case, I may save someone from falling for the comforting fraud of religion.
I click on religious ads*
When I’m reading articles about atheism, I frequently see ads about Christian colleges or other religious things. I click on these and browse around mindlessly so that the religious organization will have to pay $5** for the click. A portion of that goes to the atheist whose article I was enjoying, and the advertising budget of that religious organization is depleted just that much quicker. It’s a win-win.
I talk to proselytizers
I engage them with all the common questions. I ask about their beliefs and the way they were raised. I bring up topics like abortion and gay rights. I keep them busy so that they don’t have a chance to get to the next person, who, once again, may be more susceptible.
I celebrate religious holidays
Think of it as cultural appropriation. I fully embrace everything I enjoy about a given holiday, and I completely ignore everything I don’t like. This is an atheist’s privilege. I celebrate Christmas with tree decorating, sugar cookie baking, gingerbread house making, days of gluttony, peppermint schnapps in my hot chocolate, presents and more presents. Occasionally, I’ll even go to a church at midnight and hold a candle. Especially if there’s a boy’s choir singing. What does it mean to me? Not much. It’s a spectacle, much in the same way that the lion/dragon dances at Chinese New Years are. I also celebrate Easter because I like the idea of a bunny that brings candy. Decorating eggs is fun too.
I’m afraid haven’t found many traditions of other religions I enjoy. The Jews seem to celebrate by fasting or eating unappetizing ceremonial foods. I am not familiar with Muslim traditions besides the fasting month of Ramadan, which also does not appeal to me. If I’ve missed something fun or pleasant, do let me know so I can appropriate more.
Some of my favorite music is religious
Mozart’s Requiem, in particular. One of noted atheist Richard Dawkins’ favorites, Mache Dich, Mein Herze Rein from Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion is also gorgeous. I used to sing in a choir when I was much younger. I hated singing about a god I didn’t believe in, so I would mumble and refuse to say “god.” I realize now that that seems more like the behavior of someone who thinks god exists but is angry or trying to deny it. Now that I’m certain there’s no evidence for god’s existence, I fully embrace religious music. I even have a favorite hymn. When I sing it, I smirk, because it’s my own little empty set joke.
I eat at Chick-fil-A
Despite its homophobic support of groups like the Pennsylvania Family Institute and Focus on the Family and its blatantly religious Corporate Purpose, I would still eat at Chick-fil-A. In fact, I would even encourage everyone to do the same. BUT! Only on days when they’re running free food promotions. I would also encourage my friends to stock up on condiments and buy nothing to supplement their freebies. In this way, we can cut into their profit while still enjoying delicious fried chicken products.
* More generally, I do this with any ad for an organization I disagree with, also to deplete their advertising budget.
** estimated cost of a click