For many, the realization that they don’t believe in god–that they have *gasp* become an atheist (!)–is a significant moment. In many cases, it is accompanied with some sadness, possibly anger, and of course the realization that now one can finally eat those babies guilt-free.
And following the necessary subsequent orgy, such a person will return to life and re-join society as an outsider, because they now view their former co-believers as silly, deluded, mindless fools who are only worthy of mockery and derision.
Ah, but I am getting ahead of myself.
That comes much later. That comes, when they finally graduate to the upper echelon of atheist, the elite, the creme de la heathen. See, those silly atheists who are not willing to mock, openly, the beliefs and lifestyles of others with whom they share not opinions metaphysical are not real atheists.
Surely, the realization that one does not believe in god says little to nothing concerning not only what they do believe, but what types of behaviors they will exhibit upon accepting this fact. Many will remain quiet, and they may not even reveal this piece of personal revelation to anyone except close friends, and then only when the question is relevant.
In short, what one does with this lack of belief varies.
I, for example, will tend to be more confrontational, direct, and open about my lack of belief in gods. I am, as Jerry Coyne has ‘coyned’ it, a Gnu Atheist.
(Here’s a little clarification, for those who are interested in the meaning of and history of such terms.)
But how do you know you are, in fact, a gnu atheist. Well, it is not enough to merely not believe, but you have to be viewed, specifically by other atheists, as being aggressive, obnoxious, or rude. And for many atheists, there will be a moment where you are attacked, spoken rudely to, or criticized by other atheists, for attacking, being rude to, or criticizing religious belief.
This happened to my lovely lady-friend just yesterday for the first time. Yesterday, in other words, may be her graduation day for becoming one of the elite, Gnu atheists. So I dedicate this post to her great achievment, a perch from where she can look down upon both religious and accomodationist alike.
Having been attacked for being rude (rudely), and for having spoke her mind to someone who didn’t think it was appropriate to do so, and so therefore spoke his mind, I verily grant thee, Ginny, with the title of Gnu Atheist, with all the powers and responsibilities that come with such an august title.