I Thought I Saw An Atheist

I thought I saw an atheist, once, walking down the street.
I checked for horns, I checked for tail, I checked for cloven feet;
Began to tremble frightfully—my heart was in my throat—
Then sighed in happy recognition, for ‘twas but a goat.

I thought I saw an atheist, down near a swollen stream
With scaly skin, and blood so cold, I couldn’t breathe to scream!
I looked into his bulging eyes, and prayed “God, grant my wish”
Then laughed in my embarrassment—it only was a fish.

I thought I saw an atheist, with fur and pointed claws,
And wicked teeth for chewing up Judeo-Christian laws,
I ran, and tripped, and fell to earth, then hid behind a log—
It caught me, though, and licked my face—of course, it was a dog.

I thought I saw an atheist, though cleverly disguised
Not giant and reptilian, but human, normal sized,
It looked to be engaging in productive, useful labor;
But no, this was no atheist—this person was my neighbor!

I thought I saw an atheist; in fact, I saw a few!
My neighbor, and the grocer, and the cop, and maybe you!
I even found some in the church, right there beneath the steeple;
It turns out, to my great surprise… that atheists are people.

A few comments after the jump:

Over at Camels With Hammers, Daniel Fincke has a really nice piece up on the need for atheist solidarity and activism. This paragraph is what prompted me to dig into my vaults:

Atheists are people too. We are often alienated institutionally from the religious founts of community, discussion of ethics and meaning, spiritual practices, etc. We deserve a chance to think and meet and debate in common and, specifically, as atheists work out together our views on these sorts of issues the same way religious people get to do but without all that faith-based baggage. There are important parts of our lives we deserve to develop and to help each other with.

Of course, the whole thing is must-read blogging.


  1. amazonfeet says

    I love the poem. I’m more of an agnostic, but was exposed to years of vilification and demonization of atheists, and am thoroughly sick and tired of it. Some of the people who are in my life on a frequent basis whom I trust the most, are atheist. I don’t understand a lot of the debate, as I am only a high school grad, but I actually do have a copy of Origin of the Species, and can understand some of what he said about natural selection, although due to medically related cognitive difficulties, I couldn’t recall them in a debate, especially with holders of doctorate degrees. I also am a fan of Thomas Paine, and have a number of atheist books on my shelf. Thanks for the great website. I hope to be able to learn from it, and you…

  2. says

    (Gnu) A+! It has such unlimited potential, and since I can hear Tweety saying it in my head, I thought I’d have a little go at making one stanza for pussycat:

    I thought I saw an atheist; it frightened me to death!
    An ill thought path through a dark alley, where I smelt its breath.
    Its demon eyes, they pierced my heart and nearly stopped it flat.
    Felt all my troubles brushed away when mewed–a pussycat!


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