When my daughter Erin was in eighth grade, she came home with a story I’ve never forgotten.

“I was at a lunch table,” she said. “One girl asked another one where she went to church. She said ‘We don’t go to church,’ and the first girl’s eyes got all big, and this other guy leaned forward and said, ‘But you believe in God, right?’”

Oh here we go.

So we’re in Georgia, which is red, but Atlanta, which is blue, but the northern suburbs, which are wealthier and whiter than the city and so redder than the city, but bluer than the rest of the state. So you can do the spectral analysis.

Where was I.

Erin continues: “So the girl says, ‘Not really, no.’ And their eyes got even bigger, and they said, ‘Well what DO you believe in then??’ And she said, ‘I believe in the universe.’ And they said, ‘So you’re like an atheist?’ And she said ‘Yes, I guess I am.’”

Listen to the full episode of Raising Freethinkers: “Different Out Loud”

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Dale McGowan is the author of Parenting Beyond Belief, Raising Freethinkers, and Atheism for Dummies. He holds a BA in evolutionary anthropology and a PhD in music.