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Atheist Experience
Evangelical Atheism

Evangelical Atheism??? Hey, Ya'll! I stumbled across the cable access show online and really enjoyed listening to a few episodes. I have been an atheist for as long as I can remember. (I have some vague recollection of walking home from a neighbor's house after dark around age six and praying to god not to let anything "get me" before I could make it safely to my door, but that is about the full extent of my religious experience.) My attitude about atheism has undergone many transformations over the years. I remember be secretive about my atheism for a long time. I certainly remember being "militant" about my beliefs. I felt the need to argue with every theist I could find. I had to explain the superiority of my beliefs and the lunacy of theirs. Growing up in the South gave me plenty of opportunity to practice my Thor's hammer approach. As I grew older, I lost the need to lobby for atheism and pretty much just accepted that 1. folks are different & different beliefs are part of that. 2. you can't argue physics with an ostrich. 3. I lost my desire to out-debate, out-reason, or humiliate believers 4. what does it really matter anyway?

Then I spent six years working for a nonprofit agency. I worked very closely with many churches and religious groups which did a lot of good things. They rallied around each other and around their community to make good things happen and truly help make the world a better place. I developed many close friendships with religious people that I have great love and respect for. Although I will ALWAYS be an atheist, I began to see how/why religion can be a good thing.

Recently, I have noticed a huge swell of internet videos, websites, and radio shows dedicated to atheism. It reminds me of my favorite atheist anecdote: Why do atheist need an organization? Do they gather together…meeting commences…do you still not believe in god?...nope…you?...nope…okay, see ya next month. Now I love listening to other atheist speak occasionally. I enjoy relating to like minded people, but I don't require that constantly. I have also found atheist sites great resources for interesting little tidbits about this scientific break through or that piece of world news, because of their never-ending search for more knowledge to "out-argue" the believers. Other than an occasional check in, I usually don't seek out atheist material. I just don't think about atheism that much…it is not my religion…it is my lack of religion. It does not need to be reinforced or strengthened…it is rock solid. I don't need to go to "atheist church" to be filled up or justified…I'm just fine, thanks. I am not interested or impressed with listening to another teenaged kid, who has just figured out that he/she doesn't have to believe in santa or the easter bunny or fairies or mickey mouse or god or any of the other fantasies that their parents may have filled their heads with, rant on about how the bible in not reasonable….ugh. However, I am intrigued that this recent surge of atheist media seems to have a real "call to arms" feel. I hear a lot of evangelical atheism being preached. I have heard/read things that talk about the dangers of the delusions of religion and the need to make people think for them-selves. I am integuied, partly because it sounds like such a religious concept. Converting people. Convincing them that their beliefs are wrong. These are kind of the arguments that I have always heard AGAINST organized religion. What gives? Are these "new atheists"? Are these young people in the "phase" of their atheism where they are wielding Thor's hammer of reason like I did…but it just seems like a surge, because this is an internet generation? I am not here to judge on way or the other; I am just genuinely curious.

Oh, and for the record…my attitude at this particular phase of my life is: Beliefs are beliefs. Beliefs are what YOU hold to be true. I have plenty of beliefs that I have blindly adopted without doing my own research…germs exists…the earth is round…there are really weird fish in the depths of the ocean…all of these things I believe, because a book or a teacher or the Discovery Channel told me so. I never once took any measures to prove these so called facts. So I am not going to judge someone for accepting something they were taught as fact…just because I think it is a bunch of hooey. I believe that many people in the world have a limited range of understanding about…well everything. These people need someone to guide them and tell them how to live their life. Not everyone can be a higher thinker. There are some very nice, very stupid people out there. If they feel a sense of belonging and do good things because a magic wizard tells them to, fine. I think the real problem with society is zealots. If you are so blindly possessed by your beliefs that you feel compelled torment others, you are a subhuman and should be sent to Fanatical Island, where you can duke it out with all of the other hate mongers.

Greetings Sunshine,

One of the nicer aspects of Atheism/Agnosticism is that there are no belief/behavior codes, aside from lacking supernatural beliefs. We are a 'congregation' filled with everything from Agnostics to Militant Atheists. Organizing Atheists/Agnostics is a particularly difficult task because we are generally intelligent, independent, and self-reliant. Fortunately, Atheists/Agnostics, naturally, tend to lean towards the humanist's worldview.

This 'call to arms' is exactly that, sort of. Unless you hid your non-belief during your volunteering days (from the Faith-Heads you worked alongside), then I'm sure you've encountered a majority that looked upon you with a mixture of pity, scorn, and anger.

The problem lies in their power of unity and the power of religious leaders over them. While the number of fundamentalists in a population is relative to the number of Atheists/Agnostics, the corpus of the nation is malleable by faith and rarely reason. Going after Theists with a 'Thor's Hammer' is seldom a productive activity.

As Charles Darwin said, "direct arguments against Christianity & theism produce hardly any effect on the public; & freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men's minds, which follow from the advance of science."

The danger is that religious leaders, and motivated fundamentalists, attack the sources of reason: Sciences and Liberties. While we have crossed the Rubicon, this recent organization is not for the function of slaughtering all religious belief. Faith-Heads have used their power of numbers to take command of the town-square, sacrificing our secular nation upon their god's altar. To raise an objection against this immoral behavior is perceived, by them, as an attack/persecution of their liberties; and we cannot convince them otherwise because their reason/rational is blinded by their dogmatic faith.

The mission of this new humanist allegiance is to beat them back to their doorsteps. Liberty demands that individuals ought to have the right to hang symbols of the supernatural on their doors, but it does not give them the right to erect their icons in legislation or in the public domain.

You seem to hold a relativist position, such that; all beliefs are justified and equal. This is not the case. Neither is it a position held by the religious majority. Creationists pander to the relativists' arena only until they gain domination.

For example, because Faith-Heads know that science has observable evidence (founded) while religion has none (unfounded), they will attempt to put science and religion on the same plane by proposing relativism, such that; all beliefs are true/equal. Once they get their audience to accept relativism, they use their god as a spring-board to project their unfounded belief above the founded belief.

If Faith-Heads were truly relativist, then there would be no need to stand up to them. There is a need to stand in opposition because they have declared war against science, education, secularism, and non-adherents. To be quite honest, Faith-Heads are favored in this conflict because their hands are not tied by honest humanistic virtue and morality. Atheists/Agnostics are not pushing for legislation that impedes the liberty of the religious. We have no intention to slaughter or eject the religious if we succeed in securing this secular nation, although Faith-Heads proudly proclaim these violent intentions towards us if they achieve their Theocratic nation. We fight only with reason and debate, whereas they fight with everything.

Because we are the underdog, both in numbers and total armaments, we must begin the process of organization. United we stand, divided we fall.

Sinisterly, Greenmagi

i am a christian and im not a ostridge (never been a great speller but i know enough about science to hold my ground i think)

see how i see it is since the universe began there must of been something to create it, christians say god never began, so doesnt need to be created, hes always been there.

in a timeless and spaceless place how can energy cause a big bang (i must say first, im not sure i agree with quantum physics as i only really believe in things logic can explain, quantum physics says i could walk outside and fly into the air(this is what im told about it) which i disagree with because i see no reason for this, so please dont say quantum physics, explain your answer and how it would work, what caused it)without some intervention

confused christian...you believe in a lot more than what you state. you believe a book has the actual words of a god in it, making the writings in it infallible. you believe this god impregnated a virgin and she gave birth to a man/god who walked around performing miracles. since that is really the core of your beliefs why don't you just stick with that? i am curious as to why your postings here are about science. is your belief in your book so shallow that you must find a prop for it in the unanswered questions of the cosmos?

you state that christians say god has no beginning so of course that would explain how the universe started. but there are other religions who claim the same of their god. obviously then,explanations for the beginning of the universe have nothing to do with the fact that you are a christian...so why pretend otherwise?

To: Confused Christian,

confused christian said, "i am a christian and im not a ostridge (never been a great speller but i know enough about science to hold my ground i think)

Spelling is very important for communication. Spelling also indicates a person's level of reading. Creationism or Intelligent Design is pseudo-science; it is not science.

confused christian said, "see how i see it is since the universe began there must of been something to create it, christians say god never began, so doesnt need to be created, hes always been there."

God's has just always been there and he created everything wouldn't answer any questions. Scientists can't answer questions with "it's just always been there" because if they did they would be fired. That's what's wrong with "the god of the gaps" answers - it's not science - and it doesn't explain anything.

confused christian said, "in a timeless and spaceless place how can energy cause a big bang (i must say first, im not sure i agree with quantum physics as i only really believe in things logic can explain,

Is "god has just always been there" explaining anything? I don't think it is logical. There is very good evidence that the universe did come into existence in a big bang, and that the Big Bang itself created space, time, and all of the matter and energy we know today. Discoveries in astronomy and physics have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that our universe did in fact have a beginning. Prior to that moment there was nothing; during and after that moment there was something: our universe. The singularity could have come from a black hole (a void) and the LHC experiments are trying to create a black hole to study this theory. Our universe sprang into existence as a singularity around 13.7 billion years ago. Singularities are thought to exist at the core of black holes. Black holes are areas of intense gravitational pressure. The pressure is thought to be so intense that finite matter is actually mashed into infinite density (singularity) and our universe begun as an incredibly small, incredibly hot, dense, singularity.

confused christian said, "quantum physics says i could walk outside and fly into the air(this is what im told about it) which i disagree with because i see no reason for this, so please dont say quantum physics, explain your answer and how it would work, what caused it)without some intervention"

Whoa! Are you saying that quantum physics states that there is no gravitational pull on the earth, because that's what keeps you from flying through the air? Or does quantum physics infer that you have wings? Quantum physical is the theoretical basis of modern physics that explains the nature and behavior of matter and energy, and is the study of the behavior of matter and energy at the molecular, atomic, nuclear, and even smaller microscopic levels. Quantum theory describes and predicts the properties of a physical system. Quantum refers to units of matter and energy that are predicted by and observed in quantum physics. It is about things with the smallest possible values. It's not about big things flying off the earth into space.

Confused Christian...

If you can say "he's always been there" then I can say that energy has always been there, and there may be an infinite number of big bang, collapse, big bang, that have always been there.

Whenever you postulate an external creator you will run into the 'infinite regress' problem, i.e. who created the god, who created the... If you postulate that (in my mind a cop out) go always existed, or exists outside of matter then I will postulate that matter / energy has always existed to. Basically this is no proof of anything.

Finally, I cannot prove or disprove god, which is why I prefer to say that there is probably no god, and no-one has provided me with concrete, convincing evidence to the contrary! Unfortunately, in your position you not only have to prove your god exists (evidence), but also that all of the many other god's do not exist. It may seem a little unfair that you have to prove both things, but I do not have to prove anything, just be open minded enough to consider your proofs.

Oh, pshaw, I'd be interested in him simply proving the existence of his god. If he can do THAT then we can work on the "all other gods" part of it.

Roger said, "If you can say "he's always been there" then I can say that energy has always been there, and there may be an infinite number of big bang, collapse, big bang, that have always been there."

In developing the theory of relativity, Einstein realized that the equations led to the conclusion that the universe had a beginning. The results of Edwin Hubble confirmed that the universe was expanding (going backwards in time it started out at one point) and had a beginning at some point in the past. The Big Bang theory is a theory of how the Big Bang created space, time, and all of the matter and energy we know today. So, according to the Big Bang theory there was nothing before the Big Bang; nothing was always there before the Big Bang. The Big Bounce (collapsing universes) is a mathematical model with no observable evidence. Some of these new theories of quantum gravity that question Einstein's theories of how light travels in a vacuum were put to rest when a recent experiment involving how light travels in a vacuum proved that what Einstein predicted about how light behaves in a vacuum was correct.

Roger said, "Whenever you postulate an external creator you will run into the 'infinite regress' problem, i.e. who created the god, who created the... If you postulate that (in my mind a cop out) go always existed, or exists outside of matter then I will postulate that matter / energy has always existed to. Basically this is no proof of anything."

We don't have to say that matter and energy always existed because there is very good evidence that they did not. Stephen Hawking wrote about this in "The Beginning of Time" that time, space, matter and energy started with the Big Bang. Scientists do not have to believe that the Universe is infinite because the Universe evolved through natural processes, but theologians have to say God has always been there because otherwise who created God.

Roger said, "Finally, I cannot prove or disprove god, which is why I prefer to say that there is probably no god, and no-one has provided me with concrete, convincing evidence to the contrary!

It is logically impossible and logically contradictory to require another person to prove that something does not exist. We can only prove that something exists; nobody can "prove" that something does not exist. Falsifiability is the logical possibility that a claim can be shown false by observation or a physical experiment, but this never applies to religious claims. Therefore, it is not unfair to expect scientists to prove a theory is true, but it's unfair to expect the same thing from apologists, and that's because they can't do it. All God/s are omnipotent supernatural beings, and there has never been one shred of proof that confirms the supernatural or that anything supernatural exists. The Bible (scriptures) and all of the holy books are based on supernatural explanations for the existence of god who created everything. The supernatural does not exist and that fact eliminates belief in any god/s.

There was plenty of "cosmic evolution" of the Universe presented in this discussion. However, Confused christians' "quantum physics" will be news to anyone familiar with quantum physics. In addition to that, 'confused christian' has produced not one scintilla of evidence for his claims. Scholars have proven that the Bible contains errors, plagiarism and forgeries and is seriously flawed, so it can not be considered evidence.

Roger said, "Unfortunately, in your position you not only have to prove your god exists (evidence), but also that all of the many other god's do not exist. It may seem a little unfair that you have to prove both things, but I do not have to prove anything, just be open minded enough to consider your proofs."

As for proving his god exists or proving that other god/s do not exist being unfair; they have never proven that anything supernatural exists. They have never proven that anything supernatural caused anything, no matter how many gods. It is not unfair to expect them to prove their claims that they want everyone to believe are actually the truth. However, many apologists know that if the truth ever came to light about all religions the public would dismiss it outright.

We could all waste a great deal of time trying to prove that things for which there is no evidence do not exist. However, even with the absence of evidence and the scientific discoveries, religion can prevail without any evidence in the face of overwhelming evidence that it is bullshit, now is that fair? Does it make sense to apply these (religious) standards to other things that we consider real or not real? No, because it doesn't make sense.

I do not believe in God/s or Supernatural Beings because there is a preponderance of "no evidence" for their existence. What's real is what's still there when you stop believing in it. If the fanatics can not prove the existence of the "supernatural" they cannot prove their claims. As long as the religious cannot prove the supernatural exists, they cannot affirm the existence of any god/s.

Suppose that God is everything we cannot observe, such as the origins of this current universe, the possibility of infinite universes, dark energy and dark matter, etc.

If God is that which we cannot explain, then God is, by definition, incomprehensible. Hence, assigning qualities to God such as "God loves you" is completely irrational and defies the definition of "that which we don't know." So... what's the point of believing in something when you don't know what that something is? Seems odd to me. [scratches head, shrugs shoulders...]

Tongpa-nyi said, "Suppose that God is everything we cannot observe, such as the origins of this current universe, the possibility of infinite universes, dark energy and dark matter, etc."

When we don't know something attribute it to "god". Just fill in the blank with "god" whenever you don't have the answer to. The problem with the "god" answer is that there is no reason to believe the answer is true and it doesn't explain anything. It's a useless explanation that will only last until the actual answer is found and then the apologists will have to find some other unknown to use the "god" answer on. It's just reaching at straws. Maybe dark matter is God? The only thing that would explain is why He's so hard to find. Ha!

The first evidence for dark matter came from a study of galactic clusters. An investigation of the Bullet Cluster, which is composed, of two colliding clusters of galaxies, provided important evidence for the existence of dark matter. Dark matter is made of massive particles, is much more plentiful by mass than ordinary matter, and it exerts a gravitational influence on itself and ordinary matter. This attraction is thought to be how stars form.

The origin of galaxies can be traced back to slight differences in the density of the hot, early Universe; traces of these differences can still be seen as minute temperature differences in the cosmic microwave background (CMB). The variations we observe in the ancient microwave sky represent the imprints that developed over time into the cosmic dark-matter scaffolding for the galaxies we see today. We can actually measure with gravitational lensing how the dark matter has collapsed and evolved since the beginning.

Tongpa-nyi sad, "If God is that which we cannot explain, then God is, by definition, incomprehensible. Hence, assigning qualities to God such as "God loves you" is completely irrational and defies the definition of "that which we don't know." So... what's the point of believing in something when you don't know what that something is? Seems odd to me. [scratches head, shrugs shoulders...]"

The word "god" came from holy books that claim to be the inspired writings. All Scripture is given by inspiration of god; every religion has an inspired holy book, and the bible is the holy book of the christians.

There are so many contradictions that I would think everyone would be scratching their heads. A book that is inspired by god/gods should have no contradictions. Jeremiah 32:27 and Matthew 19:26 god is all-powerful. In the Book of Judges 1:19 god is not all-powerful, as he helped rid Judah of inhabitants of the mountain, but could not drive out those in the valley "because they had chariots of iron." Jeremiah 32:27, Matthew 19:26 God is all-powerful. God's attributes are revealed in his works Romans 1:20 god's attributes cannot be discovered Job 11:7. 1 Kings 8:12 god dwells in darkness Timothy 6:16 god dwells in light. Exodus 33:23 Ex 24:9-ll Genesis 3:9,10 Genesis 32:30 god is seen and heard. John 1:18 Exodus 33:20 god is invisible and cannot be heard. Genesis 9:25 Matthew 13:12 god is the author of evil. Lamentations 3:38 Jeremiah 18:11 Ezekiel 2025 god is not the author of evil. John 12:40 Isaiah 63:17 god is to be found by those who seek him. Matthew 7:8 Proverbs 8:17 god is not to be found by those who seek him. Exodus 15:3 and Isaiah 51:15 God is warlike Romans 15:33 and 1 Corinthians 14:33 god is peaceful. Jeremiah 13:14 and Deuteronomy 7:16 and 1 Samuel 15:2,3 1 Samuel 6:19 God is cruel, unmerciful, destructive, and ferocious. James 5:11 and 1 Chronicles 16:34 and Ezekiel 18:32 and 1 Timothy 2:4 and 1 John 4:16 god is kind, merciful and good. 2 Samuel 21:8,9,14 and Genesis 22:2 and Judges 11:30 - god accepts human sacrifices. Deuteronomy 12:30,31 god forbids human sacrifices. Deuteronomy 6:4 there is one god. Genesis 1:26 and 3:22 and 18:1-3 and 1 John 5:7 there are more than one god/gods.

The scriptures inform us that man is made in the image and likeness of God. Man is not that likeness if god is supernatural.

That should bring on some serious shoulder shrugging; belief in god/gods and religion are not based on knowledge. Those who claim that there is a god have no actual valid evidence or information. Therefore it is impossible to say anything that is true (provable) about god except that it doesn't exist. What we know about things that we can observe is fact. What we do not know about things that do not exist don't matter. The explanation or theory of the origin of the Universe does not require a creator. It's not a matter of saying we don't know what god is, or what god is like, the fact is there is no reason to believe there is a god.

Anyone who wants to invoke god as an explanation for dark matter or anything that we can't observe is hardly a "skeptic" by any standards. The question should be what is dark matter and what does it do. Those same questions should be asked about god.

Nobody can prove anything about something that is not perceivable and that's why they make up hypotheses about god that can't be proven. If it can't be proven or falsified we do not need to consider it plausible. Scientists don't look for things that they could never find, and it serves no purpose, since ancient mythology does not apply to the modern world. However, if people stop believing in myths they might have to start thinking instead of letting someone else do their thinking for them, but that's way too much to ask. Especially since other people's thinking has worked so well for the Clergy.

No, dark matter is not god; dark matter explains why galaxies are spinning at their speed and haven't flung apart, something must be there and this is called indirect observation, the same type of indirect observation that is used to identify atoms in particle physics. Some people should go read a book on dark matter and stop spreading uneducated beliefs.

I used to live and let live...

But religion justifies / forgives / and promotes subjugating others.

Unlike policy or community it does not make agreements with others.

It just dominates.

This is NOT "live and let live..."

This is DO OR DIE

I care about this world...

I must save as many people as possible from religion.

As an atheist father of two young kids, I can tell you why I decided to become more active and why I support atheist activism: Equal rights for my kids.

If my kids decide to be atheist when they get older, I would like for them to live in a more accepting world. My life experience is kind of the reverse of yours. I used to be apathetic about my stance, but now I find that I do care and that it does matter.

Aside from that, religion IS very restrictive and I do believe that humans would be much better off without it in our society. As Matt D. likes to say, and I paraphrase, there is no good that religion does today that cannot be done through secular means. There is, however, much bad that religion can cause to happen. Surely as an atheist you are aware of this.

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From the officers:

The audio and video from Steve Bratteng's July 13th lecture are now available.