Atheists of Portland Suburbia used to meet every fourth Wednesday at the chocolate café. I don’t think they meet there anymore. I haven’t seen them for a long time. It has occurred to me, however, that we have a lot more Christian book clubs meeting there now. There’s a Christian book club meeting there every time I go in (and I go in every Wednesday). It’s not the same Christian book club, either. At least I don’t recognize any familiar faces. When I’m not sitting next to a Christian book club, I am sitting next to a pair of Christians who happen to be in a deep discussion about God. I’m not kidding. I don’t know if these are budding Christians meeting with their sponsors or what. But there are always Christians there. Always. I wonder if that’s why the atheists stopped having their meetings there. Maybe it was becoming a hostile chocolate-eating environment.

I confess that I prefer the Christians to the atheists, but only because the Christians are quieter. I wouldn’t have minded the atheists if they’d been quiet, but they were always very loud. It wasn’t really their fault; there were just so darn many of them. They took up the whole back room. The Christians are in pairs and small groups, so naturally they are quieter. But it seems kind of funny. When did the chocolate café become the hot spot for Christians? It should be the hot spot for Mormons, since Mormons can’t drink coffee and therefore are less inclined to meet at Starbucks. But there are no Mormon book groups meeting there that I know of. Well, there might be. Maybe they’ve staked out Thursdays. I don’t go to the chocolate café on Thursdays very often.

It’s possible that the atheists became such a large group that they could no longer fit in the chocolate café. Maybe they’ve had to start holding their meetings at Red Robin. Who knows? Or maybe they all realized there’s only so much you can say about not believing in God. (I know, because I had to listen to them saying the same three things very loudly every month for three years. Or was it four? Time flies when you don’t give a crap.)

When the atheists first started meeting at the chocolate café, they were a relatively new group with some definite goals for influencing the greater community. An evangelical atheist group, if you will. I suppose it was destined to fail, in that case. As time went on, they talked a lot less about their goals and a lot more about just being atheists. Let this be a lesson to you aspiring atheist missionaries: less chocolate, more pounding the pavement. Keep your eyes on the prize.

I don’t know, maybe with Barack Obama getting elected, they were all less scared about the country becoming a fundamentalist Christian dystopia. That is also a distinct possibility. Maybe that is the explanation for all the Christians now! I know that I have more reason to drown my sorrows in chocolate these days. But that’s just because I’m a Republican. It has nothing to do with my religious beliefs.

When Jesus comes again, will he visit the chocolate café? I hope so.