This is what Mr. Jeff said to me as we were leaving Timeless Tattoo on Saturday. Jeff and I went to support Papa Bear, but we couldn't resist getting our own ink. Jeff's was quick; he was in and out before either Papa or I got started. So he sort of hung out between us talking and snapping a few pics. He's pretty open about his atheism, not that I keep it in the closet, but I don't generally bring it up in just any conversation. So when Jeff said a couple of things against religion, and the guy doing my ink started to question him - I thought this might be kinda bad for my arm. They got into a discussion about the existence of a deity. I mostly stayed out of it and hoped my tattoo wouldn't read "Jesus Saves" when all was said and done. Turns out the guy was really cool. The conversation ended with both saying that at this time we just can't know either way.
Homeschooling and vaccinations were other topics that came up. I thought the whole experience was a lot of fun, and it's just another example of how lucky I've always been in my atheism. I've never encountered any harassment. But what I found most encouraging with this particular conversation is that despite a difference in religious beliefs, we could move on to other topics that we did have in common, and offer advice and encouragement. That's how it should always be. Don't discount an entire person because of one difference. I think we all do this sometimes, but it's worth trying to overcome.
For the record: My tattoo seems to hold no secret messages. ;)
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