Is there an atheist version of "gaydar"? In other words, how can you tell?

With so many 'coming out' stories about atheism, I was wondering if there is a way that atheists can identify one another without asking. In the gay world, it's 'gaydar' - noting the way that someone walks, talks, dresses, interacts with others, or somehow just "is".

I've had a few people, out of the blue (at work) volunteer to me that they are atheist. I didn't ask why, it just seemed like a topic for conversation at the time. Even though it's a very busy workplace and we don't chat much at all.

So I'm wondering, if there is a atheist version of 'gaydar'? Something that makes us think "that person looks like an atheist!". Maybe it's a lack of interest in Xmas, or that is the only person who never mentions going to church, or... what? Seeing that evolve-fish on their car - well, that's obvious. There must be something more subtle.

I've seen a similar situation with Mormons here. Fairly quickly, they seem to identify one another by mentions of their son on a mission, or their trip to Salt Lake City, or, I don't know, their most recent jello recipes. Key words, or key concepts, and maybe mannerisms, seem to help some like-minded people identify one another.

If there is such a 'early detection system', what is it called? Or what should it be called? Somehow 'heathenar' doesn't have that snappy sound.

Tags: coming, gaydar, out

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I too am Australian and all three of my kids went or go to a church school but they're all atheists! As you say, most of us are. The problem here is the opposite one, to identify the religious before you have said something too offensive. If you just tell a believer you're an atheist they will cope, but if you have said something which makes clear your contempt for religion then it can get a bit nasty.

I usually explain something bad which has happened to me by saying "god hates me". The religious will always reassure that he doesn't, the atheists will laugh.
I think so, at least, I can usually tell when they are fundamentalist. To tell if they're atheist or not, I find a reference to Dawkins will usually identify them as such.
Well, shoot! I thought of A-dar, too, before even clicking on the thread. I was hoping to add it to the list of words that *I* have coined.

The reason we can't tell who is religious is that most people live as though they are not. They buy insurance. They save for the future. They sleep in on their supposed mandatory religious attendance days. They cling to life like a cartoon cat sliding down a roof, just like everybody else. I think this is because most of the people who say they are religious lie. They lie. They are liars. Big ones. The more holy than thou, the more they know it, too.

Understanding this helps in understanding a lot about how they behave. Knowing this also helps us to realize something about their trustworthiness. And, they *know* that we can see right through them. It's a big part of why we make them so uncomfortable.
I agree. Anyone who really believed what Christianity teaches would immediately sell everything they own, give it all to the poor and prepare themselves for the next life by doing nothing but pray and preach. It will last for eternity, so you'd better get it right!!

And what's more they'd be so keen to die that they'd do anything to get ill and refuse all treatment so as to get to heaven asap.

They pretend to believe but they don't really.
I find that it's not that hard to identify non-believers since those that are religious waste no time in bringing god up. They just assume that everyone they meet also subscribes to their funny comic book. Now, to identify an actual atheist may be a bit harder.
There really is no way to just look at someone and be able to tell their beliefs. You have to spend some time with them to know. Too bad, because I would probably have a lot more friends if that were the case (95% of the ppl in my area are religious). It's very frustrating.

If we can invent a functioning A-dar. WE WILL MAKE MILLLLLLLIONS!! After all, I don't believe in gods, just $$$$$. JK.

Lets get the scientists working on this immediately, CHOP! CHOP!
Hi Daniel

This is my first reply on AN as I just joined today. I drive a taxi around the streets of Glasgow, Scotland nights. In this job I get to meet about forty different people every night. Through the general chitchat, if I think they are like-minded, I mention that I am not interested in religion, or I'm not religious, and if they are Atheist, then they jump in right away and say "Neither am I, mate, not at all!" Then, I know I have met a kindred spirit, if you'll excuse the pun.

The other side of the coin is if they mention they have been to church, or something about Jesus, or the lord, I know I'm wasting my time trying to communicate.

Love your line about jello recipes by the way. That made me laugh.

Regards

Gerry
My skepty senses are tingling. This is a question that has baffled me for years also. I've finally come to the conclusion that there is no way to tell without them saying it directly or just asking them if they are religious.
"Adar" pronounced "aydar" (from the A in "atheist")

Where I am, if someone's incredibly intellectual and seems to have poured themself into an actual moment or piece of intellect, I think they're an atheist. Of course, many more slip by me totally unidentified.
Hmmm. I generally only need a few minutes to tell if someone is "religious" or not but a true devout atheist I can't
Now the mention of church attendance shouldn't serve as an automatic religious marker. Ya gotta ask what church.
My son and I attend our local UU church fairly often, and we are both very atheist. Living in Georgia, it's a great way to get the fundies off my back. The so baptists really dislike UUers...but at least it's a church, right?
Of course, the fact that our local UU has a happy thriving atheist percentage makes all the difference. ;-) We wouldn't attend otherwise.
Kate, that's remarkable! I never thought of going to church as camouflage. It's quite brilliant if you have to get along with a local community.

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