I'm used to being surrounded by Christians at work, only know of one other atheist (and one who pretends not to be). The co-worker I'm closest to (physically- cube-neighbor) is wonderful, but a Jesus freak; the one I'm closest to friendship-wise is an open-minded Catholic who's a great sport about listening to my disgust with religion.
The women on the other side of the cube wall often reference God and Jesus in their conversations (which are frequent and loud but often funny.) They are friendly with my manager b/c they sit nearby.
The manager was talking yesterday about how she has to start house-shopping this weekend, and was saying that she and her husband would find it, "if that's what God wants." The way she was talking, you'd think that God was the realtor!
The other women were of course in agreement, "mmmhmmm if that's what He wants, then you'll find it." I texted my Catholic co-worker to express disappointment in all the God talk- no reply, he was probably encouraged if anything.
Manager goes on to tell a story about how her friend was once house-shopping, fell in love with a house, was outbid, and didn't get it. The friend later heard about how the house eventually burned down, killing the family. Conclusion? "Everything happens for a reason." Yikes!!
If I were included in the conversation, I would've asked if God was on the side of the friend who was outbid, and felt that it was appropriate to KILL THE FAMILY that outbid her?! Jeeeez louise.
Religious people really don't hear themselves, but if you point out the glaring problems with what they say, they'll claim you're a pessimist, negative, talking about evil things, seeing a half-empty glass, whatever.
Ask your co-workers about a true story that happened to me. Got divorced from my 2nd wife (she had turned into an alcoholic). Mind you, I was at the time, and still am an atheist. We sold the house to a good Christian family. Two months later, a tornado took the thing off it's foundation. Why did he punish the Christians and spare the atheist? Is it so I could spread the word of reality?
Cube-neighbor. Sounds a bit dystopic.
'Today I and my cube-neighbor received 12.3 units of recreation and media consumtion time. We watched a holo-projection of wrongthinkers being used as reactor shielding. It was very funny.'
Seriously, though. What is the difference between a theist and an atheist who both lack empathy and moral sense?
None that really matters, I would say. The difference may perhaps be that the atheist who acts, speaks and thinks without empathy in the way you describe may be forced to deal with the psychological blowback of being a terrible person himself, without the 'god-buffer' to blame everything on.
Regardless of my background, I often reference god and Jesus but in a swearing way. Others point out that this is proof of their existence because the devil makes you swear against them, so they must be real. People don't swear by other god names, the christian says. Really? Hey, this dumb logic is what led to god beliefs in the first place.
Then recently I'm watching a movie where the 2 families always get together for a big holiday meal every year. It comes time to pray and then dine and I hear, "Oh heavenly father we thank thee for gathering us together here today." I was dumbfounded! Did god send out the invitations? They gather there every year, so did some of them have physical limitations and couldn't arrive on their own? Did god round them up? Were they unsure of what they were doing?
Theists say the damndest things!