Loser Letter Nine
My Turn to Atheism, Part Two. An Internet Café in Portland, the Little Debbie Tea Party, and You.


Mary Eberstadt

Editor’s note: Atheist convert A.F. Christian returns again to National Review Online this Friday with number nine of THE LOSER LETTERS, a Screwtape for our screwed-up time.

In the latest round over God, A.F. Christian explains the True Facts in the actual Sequence of her conversion to atheism — and no digressions or jokes this time, swear to Loser . . .

Dearest Fellow Brights among Brights,

Drum roll, all You leading Atheist Guys — this finally is it!! The moment Everybody’s been waiting for! Part Two of the true Facts in the actual chronological Sequence of what exactly turned this Former Christian to godlessness!

I’ve just got to share with You before starting today, this place is the craziest rehab I’ve ever seen. I mean, I knew I’d end up someplace serious after what happened that night two months ago. But here? If those whiners on Intervention could see this detox, they’d never touch anything stronger than Red Bull again!

As mentioned, for example, the Director here is a midget who wears a red cape. And even though I’ve talked to him like twenty times, I’ve never really seen his face, because he keeps the hood up. He’s the one who gave me Rosetta Stone German, You know. He said studying it would help me to understand atheism. And then for no reason at all today, one of those creepy attendants of his took away my whole language kit — no explanation, no apologies, no nothing! They said the Director ordered it, and that he’d explain why when he sees me next week. How totally stupidly random is that?

And just when I was making lists of all kinds of Scientifically significant German words to put into this Letter to You, too! Words like Rassenhygiene (racial hygiene) and Minderwertigkeiten (inferior) and Krankheitsanlagen (diseased traits), for instance. They’re from the history of Social Darwinism, You know — the Applied Evolutionism that was so influential in certain circles in Germany not too long ago. I have to admit, just reading auf Deutsch about what happened in Darwin’s name there got me a little freaked on Our behalf. Now I totally understand why none of us Brights ever mentions that history voluntarily! And to think about all those atheist attacks on Pius XII, for what he supposedly did during World War II! Holy chutzpah!

Now back to what I was explaining: As if the Director in here isn’t snarky enough, there are also the so-called attendants. Those guys — if they are guys; they’re so metro I can’t tell — freak me totally. They don’t go around in those bright colored scrubs like the orderlies do in some regular old rehab, but in some kind of weird shimmery gray robes. And they don’t wear those fake smiles all the time like orderlies and nurses do, either — you know, like the ones who come in chirping like, “Good morning A.F., I think you’ll be very happy with our crafts project today!” when the only thing I’d want out of that stupid crafts class is glue and lots of it if You know what I mean.

No, the attendants in here don’t act like anything like that. In fact, they don’t even have real facial expressions. They’re not happy. They’re not sad. They just look totally alert. They’re like that New Yorker cartoon of the tragedy mask and the comedy mask — You know, where they’re both wearing the same exact look, and the caption just says “Botox”? Well, that’s how these orderlies or nurses or whatever they are look, too. That must be some stash back of Botox in the Director’s office, don’t You think? If I weren’t so busy writing these Letters to improve our new atheism, I’d probably be wondering what else he has in there!

But now let’s get back to our real reason for Being here — Part Two of Your one and only atheist conversion story! And no more digressions or little jokes this time, swear to Loser.

It’s interesting, don’t You think, given all the attention we Brights devote to the question of what draws the suckers to theism, that so little has been said about the opposite — i.e., what might tempt people to atheism? Oh, of course a handful of the Dulls — mostly the very worst backstabbing enemy cranially supersized ones — have thought to address just this question of motive. I’m embarrassed to report, by the way, that their answers for why people turn to atheism don’t remotely line up with Yours. Not one of them seems to think that going godless has anything to do with succumbing to Reason and Logic, for example — not at all.