A flat why was all I received when I told the man I was an atheist. You can leave it up to central Pennsylviania - Pennsyltucky, as I so affectionately call it - to have a largish population of people who will get in your face about your lack of religion.
If you're like me at all, you are much worse at articulating yourself in person than you are in writing. When you write, you have time to string a bunch of arguments together to make an elegant web that captures any unsuspecting flies. However, when you're put on the spot to argue with one verbally, there are so many reasons in your head that you try to explain every one of them and end up stumbling over them all.
I'm afraid to inform you that it isn't exactly sexy.
So, pumpkins, I've decided that I've going to teach YOU an easy, succulent method of remembering what to say. Ready? OK. L.I.N.D.A.
That's right. The sassy wife of a southern Chicago metalworker is going to help you be all shiny and articulate.
Lack of evidence.
This one is strangely effective, and for me, has only ever invoked attacks against evolution (but of course, you're the bombdizzle, and you can counter any blow against evolution that they throw at you.) Just don't get too proud and say anything along the lines of "there's absolutely no way there could be a god" - that will get you torn apart.
If there is a god, I'd have no way of knowing if it's the Christian (/Muslim/Spaghetti Monster/whatever the hell Hindus believe) one.
Be careful with this one - with the wrong wording, it can be seen as offensive, which isn't what we're trying to get across here. Try saying something along the lines of "If there is, by some chance, some higher power out there, I have no means of knowing which one it is. There are more religions than there are stars in the sky - I wouldn't know which one in particular to believe in." There's less vulgarity in there than I'd like, but hey.
No need for there to be a god.
The naturalistic viewpoint works perfectly fine, thank you. This will, of course, bring up some objection against evolution, but if you're not willing to go into that, try "Evolution possibly being false does not prove creationism. If evolution isn't true, than there must be some other way of life coming about, and creationism is not the next best theory." Cheeky, huh? Snap right, snap left, snap right. But again, I must stress - we're not trying to start a fight, we're trying to explain why you're an atheist.
Damnation is too cruel for a benevolent god to allow to happen (see: religion is contradictory)
I think we can all agree that eternal damnation is an absolutely atrocious idea, especially when applied just because a person doesn't believe in a religion. Phrase it carefully, "Damnation just doesn't really seem like something a nice god would allow to happen, to anyone, but the Bible says that god is a perfect, benevolent being. That's sorta contradictory, and I can't believe in something that's contradictory." I know, I know, it sounds ridiculously meek, but we're not shooting for aggressive.
Actually, there is no A. It's here so that I have the excuse to use the phrase 'shits and giggles' in context.
Well, actually, I guess it has a point, but you can't use it to explain yourself. Keep your sense of humor. Remember that they're going to try and argue with you. You can't let them irritate you so much that you get angry, because then you'll probably be angry all the time. *nods*
So there you have it L.I.N.D.A. Cool, huh? To leave you with a lasting image, here she is.
Remember. Linda is watching. Keep your cool, play nice, and she won't be forced to assassinate you.