Atheist Genesis

12 February 10

It just so happened that I started my 6th grade in September of 1996. The principle had noted an increase in children’s absence for “religous day”, so he instructed all teachers to make a note of when students celebrates their Slava (a day dedicated to family’s protector saint), the primary “religious day” excuse.

Not much emphasis is put on “personal” in Serbian schools, so our teacher started asking all pupils in the class, one by one, which Slava they celebrate and took a note of it. My last name starting with Č, I was at the end of the register and I payed attention to the entire ordeal.

I grew up without religion. To this day, I never celebrated Christmas, Passover, Ramadan, or a Slava for that matter. At 6th grade I had my idea of religion well defined though: a belief of able-minded adults in a non-existing person, and furthermore, their communication with that imaginary friend. To me, Drop Dead Fred was a deeply religious movie.

So, I felt a bit out of my comfort zone when the teacher got to S and even the guy who’s dad is Palestinian could name a Slava. “I’ll get back to you about that tomorrow”, I said when it was my turn.

Judging from the demographics of my 6th grade class, it’s no surprise that a newly formed organization from Novi Sad, called “Atheists of Serbia” (Udruženje Ateisti Srbije) caused such a turmoil in our media. Furthermore, everybody had something to say when they proposed that atheists should get an equivalent of a “reglious day”, say, Darwin’s birthday.

Prominent “intellectuals” started with their theories about how atheists themselves are religious, or so to say, are no better then religious folks. They got overly defensive.

Before 1990s, it was perfectly normal to be an atheist in Serbia. Overnight though, everybody got a religious affiliation and it became unimaginable to be, say, both Serbian and a Catholic or an atheist and a member of… well, any Balkanian tribe.

If you look at official statistical data of Serbia, you’ll find information that some 95% of people are religious. I don’t think this is because 95% of people has imaginary friends, no. This is because it is normal to have a religion – it is only normal for a Serb to be a member of the Serbian Orthodox Church, just like it is unconcievable that a Hungarian might not be Catholic. And in Serbia, we are all about normality.

This leaves atheist at the mercy of those who decide what is normal. Religious folks are always threatened by somebody, be it a Golden Calf or foreign missionaries. But they are most threatened by atheists – because atheists held the key to the Holy Grail for centuries: turns out the planet is not flat, people were not created out of maze, the world will not end on October 12th and – there is no God.

Drop dead, Fred!

Leave a comment

  1. mary rogan
    Apr 5, 05:54 AM #

    You are my god! hehehehehe
    keep up the wise-cracks… I love them!!

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