Atheists need a gang sign. Gangs, regardless of their business endeavors, have it right: a simple hand gesture that identifies members. No questions needed. Someone flashes you the sign they’re in the same club. I was in a fraternity as an undergraduate (I prefer to think of it as a charitable organization) and we had a secret sign and handshake. I’m not suggesting a secret handshake, though not necessarily opposed to one. A hand gesture is something you can identify from a distance and, speaking for myself, I think there are hygiene issues with too much handshaking. 


What brings up this reflection on gang signs/secret hand gestures? You see, I’ve been trying to get a local atheist group going and it hasn’t been easy. When I’ve been in social situations with people I don’t know very well I use my mad Jedi skills to determine if they are one of the Godless. For example, I was at an 8 year olds birthday party with my son. I was talking with one of the dads who is a local high school science teacher. Now, asking someone if they’re an atheist straight away is bad form. After the prerequisite conversational “stuff” (weather, kid related issues, etc) I asked him about the Wisconsin teacher situation, touched on the local high school’s robotics team (it turns out we have a competitive squad), mentioned my recent Darwin Day party, and then we talkedon what we’re currently reading. He replied he was reading a biography on one of the separatists (religious dissidents who wanted to be separate from the Church of England) from the colonial period who advocated for a strong church/state separation.


I wasn’t unhappy. He had many signs of being an atheist: strong interest in science, did not flinch when I mentioned the Darwin Day party, and has an active interest in church/state separation. I felt comfortable with mentioning, in an oblique way, that I write an atheist blog.






No reply.


It was like I asked a girl for her number (I dimly remember those days) and getting … well, no response.


Maybe he was just surprised that I said it out loud. Perhaps he’s an agnostic or a liberal Christian. Who knows?


I then figured it out: we need a way to easily identify ourselves.


I did a quick search and found the American Sign Language gesture for atheist, and it’s pretty complicated. I checked out the signs for skeptic and bight, but they too lack simplicity. American Sign Language is designed to be an out in the open, look at me system. What we need a gesture that is fast and obvious only to those who know the sign. I humbly suggest the sign for the letter d  (for doubt) over one’s heart. It’s easy and it’s kinda badass.




You may say this is just a bit and I’m playing this for a joke.




This is my humble suggestion…


from Purgatory.


Views: 235


You need to be a member of Atheist Nexus to add comments!

Join Atheist Nexus

Comment by Andrew Hall on March 5, 2011 at 7:58am
@ Robert Moore, sure if people feel comfortable wearing atheist clothing all the more power to them. However, once you get outside colleges and cities there is more pressure to conform to the God is OK  attitude. Also, people who work may be afraid of descrimination if they wear atheist stuff at their jobs. 
Comment by Andrew Hall on March 5, 2011 at 7:54am

@ Gary, I thought about a zero, but my concern is that it may appear too fascist. The small d is fist like without actually being a fist.

Comment by David Maxwell on March 4, 2011 at 7:43pm

Actually I think Gary Gibson may be on to something. As I was reading all the comments I also thought of “zero” as a symbol. Although I was thinking of more the kind that was in that Tim Burton movie Mars Attacks, when one of the Martian’s granted the public an audience and he traced out a large circle with his arm outstretched.

One of the people said “he’s making the universal sign of the doughnut”.

Comment by zeeman barzell on March 4, 2011 at 3:45pm

Funny Gary. I like it.

I have the American Atheist symbol tattooed on my wrist. It's pretty hard gang sign to miss. The religious have no clue what it means, but "our kind" are pretty quick to wink and nod.

Comment by Robert Moore on March 4, 2011 at 12:57pm
Just where a shirt saying you're an atheist. You openly tell anyone willing to read what your belief is without making a sound. The readers who disagree may avoid you, or the shirt may draw some debate. However, those who are similar will at least acknowledge that there are others and may approach for friendly conversation.
Comment by Brady on March 4, 2011 at 10:51am
hahahaha... nerd level +10
Comment by FeminAtheist Mumbo Jumbo on March 3, 2011 at 10:57pm
I have a "A" necklace by surlyceramics.  It's kind of a chickenshit gesture because my first name is Alicia.  It's obvious to those that know what to look for though... right?  :)
Comment by Alona Naga on March 3, 2011 at 9:10pm
good idea I say we make it a zero for how many gods we believe in.



Update Your Membership :




Nexus on Social Media:


© 2018   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: Richard Haynes.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service