Humans of Tinder: The Christian Atheist

Thursday, October 11th 2018

Last Friday I told you all on Facebook about a guy I nicknamed Vanilla Latte, but as you see, his name changed. I was my usual ditsy, absent-minded-professor self and totally forgot that there was an important lecture from Angela Davis and another philosopher on ethics and language Friday night at 7 pm-the same date and time for our date in the happenin’ Uptown district of Oakland! In my defense, WHO SCHEDULES A PHILOSOPHY LECTURE ON A FRIDAY NIGHT?!

So, I had the awkward task of admitting my error and asking him if we could possibly push back the date until 9 PM for an event I forgot about on campus. His response was that he noticed a lot of people double book dates and he did not want to be the second choice.  What? I was honestly shocked at his response. I am sure there were a few men who have asked me to schedule a date for later time because work caught up with them or something came up and I never gave it a second chance. Well… there was that one time I flipped out on a guy but we knew each other for a long time and… I was young. Hehe. Anyway, him jumping to the assumption that I was pushing back our date because someone better came along rubbed me the wrong way. Was he not confident in himself? Why would he think about his competition? Or even care if I was dating other people? But, I played it cool.

“What event are you going to?” he asked. “It’s a sold out Angela Davis event and I totally forgot it was on a Friday night”, I responded.  He replied that he supposed he could push back the date, but he was planning on going somewhere else if we hit it off. ‘I hope that doesn’t mean what I think it means’ I said to myself.

Of course, the event started 30 minutes late. Jeezus! I had anxiety during the talk. It was good, but it was running over time and the audience including myself was getting restless. I was thinking about messaging him to cancel, but I am a woman of her word so I left the event before it was over and took a Lyft to the bar.

It was a new pop-up bar that did not even have a name on the outside. When he saw me he had a big smile. I guess I do look like my pictures! He said the place was too loud so we walked to another bar. We sat down and ordered some drinks.

He told me he grew up all around the world. He was from everywhere: Texas, up and down the West Coast, and worked in parts of Asia. He had a philanthropic heart as he dedicated much of his life to working for non-profits before landing a corporate job in the Bay Area. In the story of his life, he mentioned many friends who were missionaries and the fact he went to Divinity school. I asked about how he met his missionary friends. He kinda shifted his weight, took a sip of his drink, looked down and said that he used to be religious. He was going to school to be a missionary but now he’s an atheist…. or agnostic… he’s not sure what he is anymore.

So, what made you go from Divinity school to become an atheist? I asked. It was a low-point of his life- a heartbreak that led him to question the existence of God. He was engaged while he was doing the Lord’s work in Asia, but she ended it and never gave him a reason why. He was so sure she was the one and that ordained for them to be together- that he wondered if he could really hear God’s voice. “Is this my voice, my will, or what God has for me?” he asked himself.  It seemed like a reasonable question that probably every believer asks his or herself. I told him that I understood how he ended up at his present state since I too have been disappointed by people in the church and have encountered major life disappointments yet never doubted the existence of God or faulted him for the actions of human beings. On the other hand, I have seen people donning the clerical collar who say they do not believe the stories in the Bible are real, rather the lessons are of value for a code of ethics to relate to one another in the world.

He seemed more comfortable that I understood and did not judge him. He said we had a lot in common because we were both raised religious. If anything, he said he’s a Christian-Atheist. He still believes in Jesus’ vision of the Kingdom of God and is dedicated to seeing that vision come to fruition here on earth. I could dig that. It did not seem contradictory to me from a philosophical view. Interestingly in the talk, the author of the ethics book said that in order to subscribe to a system of ethics, one has to imagine s/he is part of a network- a world that is interconnected and that things have agreed on values. Ethics is a lot like science fiction, he argued where ethicists create another world- an idyllic world. I am not saying the Bible is science fiction. I understand what it means to believe in something and what is required to turn that into action. He has not told many of his friends he’s an atheist- a select few know. He sometimes visits one of his past churches from previous stages of his life, but he goes to see his friends. They don’t know he’s walked away from believing in God.

I felt sad about his heartbreak. When he told me, it confirmed my suspicion that he had an issue when he made a comment about being a second date. Perhaps, his fiance left him for someone or something else. His body language was a little too close for my taste. Clearly, he did not go to a church where the “side-hug” was the closest you could get to touching the opposite sex. Haha! His legs brushed against mine at times. He did it on purpose.

He suggested we get dessert, but I told him I had to take out the dog I was dogsitting one last time and go to bed. He insisted he could drop me off and we continue but I said no, we can save it for another night.  He proposed Sunday. I did give him my name and number which I regret because the only context I would see him again is for a friend. I should have not given him the wrong idea. He seems like a nice guy, but I do not think he are a match. He texted on Sunday that he was on a deadline so he was wondering if Monday or Tuesday were ok. I could have written a snarky response to that text, considering how we started out but I did not respond at all.

On to the next!