Instantly, I feel a slight bond....
Instantly, I think they are more intelligent....
Instantly, I think there's more to them....
It's not right to stereotype, but that's how I feel.
If they don't meet those instant and probably, unfounded, prejudgements, I feel somewhat disappointed. But I still think somewhat unconsciously, they are sort of a member of my tribe.
I know I shouldn't get the impression that they're more intelligent just by learning that they're an atheist but for some reason I do. It's the fact that they are more likely to give a rational response to my thoughts that I don't feel I need to be guarded around another atheist. I'm not assuming that they're more intelligent about the sciences, history, or any other area of expertise; rather that they are more intelligent about handling their feelings in a rational way as not to be swayed by fear or uncertainty.
The word 'open' comes with 'truth'. In this world, we need the truth. And that is what we prefer to make acquaintance with them.
Closet atheists are like liars, they always fight shy of truth.
G, before you say that, spend some time in Mississippi ... or Tennessee ... or Texas. Spend some time with people who are so suffused with the holy spirit that they would swear up, down and sideways that they know god and Jesus and they play golf with them on Thursdays ... and that atheists are baby-eating swine who can't possibly have ANY morality at all, because Psalms 14:1 says so.
Believe me when I tell you, these people keep the (lack of) faith ... but to come out in such places as I've listed above would not be social suicide.
It'd be the real thing.
They know ... and I don't mean a secret handshake or the nod and a wink which identifies us. They just KNOW. They've cut through the lies and the prevarications and all the bullshit and indoctrination. They've rejected all of that in favor of something much harder, something far more difficult and unyielding, something which the average Joe either doesn't know or doesn't want to know and would be scared out of his skin to acknowledge:
The Truth - there is no god.
I think the same way - but keep the feeling inside. It is so nice to meet people of like mind.