“To you I’m an atheist; to God, I’m the Loyal Opposition.” -Woody Allen
I’ve participated in NORC’s National Longitudinal Survey Of Youth since it began in 1997. I don’t actually remember how I was selected, only that I’ve been interviewed every single year for the past fifteen years. Typically, a surveyor comes to your house and asks you a bunch of questions, then provides you with a laptop to answer a series of more “personal” questions. The questions range from how much money you make to how many times you’ve had sex in the past month.
Despite living overseas, they were still able to complete the survey over the phone. Since no one actually came to my house, there was no laptop on which to answer the personal questions. Instead, the very pleasant woman conducting my interview asked me all of the survey questions over the phone, including the “personal” ones.
After I got finished answering questions about my sex life and drug use, she then asked me how I identified with regards to religion. She gave me a list of options, including atheist, and I answered that I was an atheist. She paused for several moments and then said “I see” and moved on to the next question.
Discussing my marijuana usage and biking while intoxicated didn’t phase her, but declaring oneself an atheist? Well, we can’t have that.