My atheism has come up a surprisingly large number of times. I've been asked by three people on the floor, and each time greeted by a general shock. What do you mean you don't believe in God? What do you believe in then? When you have a problem that men can't solve, who do you ask for help?
I try to explain. I try to say that it might be a comfort but it's certainly a dangerous one. I try to say that I refuse to believe in universal guilt, especially if it comes from an act comitted before the guilty party knew it could be wrong, knew there was such a thing as wrong. That whatever the aims the biblical story strikes me as rather cruel, unable to explain away the misery of the world.
It's really hard to say this in a language I don't speak very well, to a group of people convinced of the rightness of their joint position. It's harder to hear them condescendingly say it's not her fault, it's her culture, if people there don't have faith...
But the hardest thing to bear is to hear my own condescencion. Hear myself thinking that I'm sure I've thought more about my atheism than they about their faith. I've read some Augustine, as well as some Camus and Diderot and other atheist thinkers. Have you? I should not look down on people. Instead I should consider whether atheism might be a luxury of the lucky.