So I sat down in the chair and copped the usual oral penetration from my dentist. Why they always use those early 19th century metal barbaric syringes to administer the anesthetic injects I will never know. They must scare the crap out of nearly everyone who sees them. I lay back and waited while the right side of my face lost feeling and listened to my dentist telling me about his collection of fine wine and how Murdoch's a rich wanker. He also got onto the topic of his Christianity briefly too.
All of a sudden the dental nurse comes in, and instantly I see her hijab. I note to myself "that's a first. I've never been treated by an islamic nurse." She was really cheerful and chatty, which surprised me a little. It became pretty apparent that she was one of those very moderate muslim women who'd grown up here in Australia since birth.
The dentist was still yacking about his wine collection and how his favourite hobby was pairing different wines with foods. He mentions pairing a french sauvignon blanc with goat's cheese and prosciutto, and asks the nurse if she's ever tried it. I could barely control my laughter but had no choice while I had numerous sharp metal implements in my mouth... He had no idea muslims didn't drink, nor ate pork (not sure on the goat's cheese). Withholding my laughter wasn't made easier when she relied "it sounded good until you mentioned the wine and pork."
My atheism came up in topic during a respite between being drilled, and so began the most interesting conversation I've ever had at the dentist. I'm sure some joke must start with "an atheist, a Christian and a muslim are at the dentist's."
While being the most interest conversation I've ever had there, it became one of the most infuriating while I was being butchered in the chair with my mouth held wide open. I was constantly bombarded with comments to which I had a million responses. Here are some of them:
"Most self acclaimed atheists aren't really atheists, they're agnostics. They don't know if there is a god or not. Atheists are those who preach to everyone there's no god no matter what."
"There's more evidence that Jesus was a real person and did what he did than there is to suggest Julius Caesar was a real person. There are so many 100s of documents and references to him, it's without question he existed. It's whether or not he was who he claimed to be, that's the real question."
"All religious books preach the same thing, the golden rule. So it doesn't matter what you believe as long as you believe."
"I watched a doco the other day on 9/11 and it proved that Osama bin Laden didn't carry out the attack on the twin towers. It was all the US government so that they could go into middle eastern countries for the oil. They used 9/11 to defame Islam and all muslims."
"Those muslims who do terrible things aren't really muslims, they're not reading the Koran right. Killing is against the laws of God."
"What happened with the Bali bombings? Was that because of muslims?"
All the while I was sitting there unable to speak, to reply to any of these comments. I think I almost had a stroke several times, especially while being lectured on what an atheist is and isn't by my dentist ("all atheists are really agnostics"). To my surprise, the dentist generously offered me a beer in the future and to have a further chat about things when I could actually reply to his questions and statements. I might take him up on it, but so much of what he said was nonsense I think I'd be talking to a brick wall.
What a day...
Someone recently showed me this article on a Geelong dentist who started spouting fundi-Christian nonsense in an attempt to convert a patient during a consultation... wow....