More Background on Patrick Greene, the Atheist-Activist-Turned-Christian

Hemant Mehta covered Patrick Greene earlier, prior to new information that has come to light.

The headline goes “Patrick Greene, Longtime Atheist, Announces Conversion to Christianity”. Hmm… what is this new lock-tight argument for Christianity that has converted an atheist? Apparently a few hundred dollars in donations to help him with his vision made the difference. I could say these funds bought his soul, but it’s more inspiring to say the true-Christian show of support opened his heart. Where were his fellow atheists and humanists in his time of need? This is not a rhetorical question — because we seem to have been right there with him all the way.

Patrick Greene

Medical issues and life stress such as those Greene has faced is exactly what a supportive community is for. This is exactly why the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers seeks reform in the military. Greene is a veteran, so I take a special interest in stories like this. Greene is suffering the onset of blindness from glaucoma, and that will take away his already meager livelihood as a cab driver. He’s applying for VA benefits as well. The military offers daily stress of training, combat, and tragedy, just to name a few. A recent Pew study also reiterated the need for community, correlating a 24% improvement in post-war reentry from the combat theater. Greene, other veterans, other atheists, and people in general shouldn’t have to go it alone.

Greene was known as a long-time atheist and atheist activist. After considering legal action regarding a local nativity scene, he was approached by a local church. In a show of support, the church took up a collection to “kill him with kindness” (a nice contrast from the simple “kill him” death threats I and many atheist activists receive). He says Christian kindness caused him to reconsider his beliefs. In his reconsideration, he came to believe, “you just had to accept on faith without doubting every period and every comma.” So he decided blind faith is good? Secondly, he stated that he couldn’t reconcile “the vast difference between all the animals and us.” I’m not sure if he means the majority of DNA, skin, bones, hair, eyes, ears, four limbs, capacity for love, pain, shame, and empathy, or maybe he just meant the human propensity for war. I know he didn’t mean the capacity for reason.

If I’m harsh, it’s because all this seems very fishy (…get it?). He has received donations, has a site for donations, and plans to transfer his new beliefs into work as a minister. Why so quick to go to the Christians? Atheists and humanists have come to the rescue of Jessica Ahlquist, Nicole Smalkowski, Damon Fowler, and Constance McMillen in their struggles. Organizations like Atheists Helping the Homeless in nearby Austin, the Foundation Beyond Belief, and the charitable arms present in nearly every atheist and humanist organization show that we atheists are concerned and capable of helping.

So what is his background with our community? Patrick Greene was featured on The Atheist Experience in 2008. At that time he was protesting a bumper sticker being sold by evangelist Ray Comfort. His legal grounds? People might think bumper stickers are facts. The Atheist Experience essentially excoriated Greene for counter-productive litigiousness. That year he also spoke at a Church-State Rally in Austin. One local atheist suggested Greene start the online fundraising campaign he has now begun and also coordinated to send financial aid. Greene’s most recent effort was to prepare a lawsuit against a local nativity scene on public land, but it’s unclear what the merits of that suit may have been as it was never filed. It seems he has been involved with the atheist movement to a small extent, but his actions seem to have alienated from atheists to the point that he has sought refuge in the Christian movement.

Arguably, this is a black eye for the atheist community because we couldn’t properly help one of our own. On the other hand, Greene was a member of the atheist community for years and had a bumpy ride at best. He did not endear himself to others and engaged in some questionable activism. Now, he’s embraced a Christian community that is willing to provide some financial support and a livelihood as a preacher. The local Christians in Athens deserve nothing but praise for extending a kind hand to someone who seemed so at odds with their beliefs. Greene, like all people, has worth and dignity as an individual. But all-in-all, I think we in the atheist community shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves for letting him slip away. And the Christian community shouldn’t be too quick to take credit for a saved soul until they really get to know Greene.

About Jason Torpy

**Comments at Friendly Atheist do not necessarily reflect the official policy or positions of the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers are any other organizations.** Jason Torpy serves as President of the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers (MAAF), a nonprofit community for atheists and humanists in the military. MAAF also educates military leaders about the needs of nontheists and advocates where necessary. Jason is a former Army Captain and Iraq veteran with a Bachelor of Science degree from West Point and an MBA from The Ohio State University.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=628665833 Bill Santagata

    He tried suing someone for selling a bumper sticker? This guy is obviously missing a few screws. Just because you’re an atheist doesn’t necessarily make you sane.

    And not to sound harsh, but it is not our responsibility to donate money for some stranger’s medical problems he advertises on the Internet. If I have a spare $20, I’m going to donate it to an organization that make a difference in many people’s lives, not blindly trust someone I don’t know pleading for help online.

    • Jenngal

      more than a few. I had to tell him to leave my mother alone (after he told her that her sister was dead when she was not, just to get a rise out of her) or I would file for a restraining order or no contact order. He never emailed me back. I am college educated and almost have my Criminal Justice degree. I am an advocate for domestic violence and help those who need help with court papers. I have professional experience in my past employments and contacted him professionally. My “aunt” manipulated me when I was having some problems and lied to me then when I tried to ask her about them, she blocked me and everything without so much as a notice.
      Patrick is a self absorbed, narcissistic, sociopath with severe personality disorders. He’s cruel, unusually creepy as he said if he was younger he would date me…disgusting. He is a liar and a con man, just like my aunt. I’m so sick of him.

  • Nhills

    I had never heard of Patrick Greene before the series of articles on the Friendly Atheist. So his conversion? Maybe not such a big deal.

    • Jenngal

      No deal at all LOL

  • David McNerney

    I say good for him.

    In fact, I’d go further, if he has some kind of information that demonstrates that there is truth to Christianity – I’d genuinely like to hear it.

    Of course, that doesn’t work coming in the opposite direction.

    • Ndonnan

      Information,love those who persicute you,help the orphan and widow,those in need, the down trodden,bless those who curse you,ect ect ect.Of course it works in the opposite direction,its a universal spiritual principal,not reserved for belivers in God only ,but for anyone who will do it.Like titheing,what ever you give,God will return it severn fold,not just money but time,love,support ect,try it it works

      • Anonymous

        What?

  • http://twitter.com/Stooshie Andrew Wilson

    It does seem a bit fishy. I don’t know of any churches that would consider someone for the ministry until they have been a member for quite a long time.

    • Drew

      On the other hand, the ex-atheist gig can be used to secure instant cachet. This man is clearly litigious – perhaps a ministry as an ex-atheist preacher was a more expedient route to his financial goals.

  • Ggsillars

    From the Huffington Post article:

     “Now Greene says he plans to use some of the money he received from good
    samaritans to move out of San Antonio and buy his wife her “dream”
    mobile home, according to the Christian Post.”

    Wait a minute, on $400?  And what about the medical care he couldn’t afford?  Clearly, he must have collected a lot more than $400.  And where did that come from?  From people like us.  Fishy indeed.

    • Jenngal

      see, more lies. She has bad Kidneys, and he can’t buy her anything on his SSI. What a load of crap. They are in Southern CA…well my maternal aunt is and I’m sure his loser self is with her. Until he attempts to leave her again for another jail bird I’m sure.

  • rich h

    I remember this guy. He was on the “Foolish Atheists” show of “The Atheist Experience” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yA96bQfNEKw

    He was suing Ray Comfort about the bumper sticker which read (as closely as I can remember) “April 1, the Atheist holiday”.  Most people figure it is a bad joke and blow it off, this guy was raising it to a federal level.

    • Anonymous

      To add to your comment, Patrick’s call begins at 12:45.

  • M Vanroy

    The guy is old, soon to be unemployable, close to blind, and has a history of questionable causes and projects.  Is it safe to say he might not be right in the head?

    • Nazani14

       Yes, it is right to suspect that.  My Dad went through a similar sudden burst of religiosity shortly after getting a pacemaker.  He enjoyed a few years of potluck suppers and church services with country bands before going into an assisted living facility.  The people he knew from the church quickly faded out of his life, and he’s so blase about religion now he doesn’t even want a funeral service.

  • Jams M

    Didn’t Joe Zemecki and others raise some $2,000 to help Greene with his eye condition?

  • AndyTK

    Fishy or not we should our argument and theirs should not be based on the conversion of a person from one side to the other (though I do take some pleasure when highly trained preachers discover they are part of a con).  The proper response from Atheists should be “So what?  This is only a story because it is so rare, we’ve got at least 10 people that were Christians that are now Atheists for every one the other way”.  (Does anybody have a citable number instead of my off the cuff value of 10?)

    • LutherW

       And the argument that ‘Christians were nicer’ has nothing to do with proving some god exists.

    • Jenngal

      I don’t need to cite proof for him. He’s been my “uncle” since I was 4. There’s your valid source right here.

  • Gunstargreen

    Oh man this is the bumper sticker guy? I remember that call clearly because it was so intensely crazy. Good riddance I say. This guy is a loon. He belongs with crazy litigious groups like WBC since his thought process is incredibly similar.

    • Jenngal

      he belongs in a psyche ward period.

  • Gunstargreen

    Oh man this is the bumper sticker guy? I remember that call clearly because it was so intensely crazy. Good riddance I say. This guy is a loon. He belongs with crazy litigious groups like WBC since his thought process is incredibly similar.

  • Anonymous

    As usual, Christian “charity” is nothing of the kind and comes with strings attached or just exploits the person receiving it

    • OverlappingMagisteria

      That is likely true in many cases but I see no reason to think it was in this one. The Christians did not donate to Greene with the expectation that he would convert. He seems to have done that on his own accord.

  • Nick Warner

    I’m a little appalled at the character assassination going on here. He’s an old guy who changed his mind. We may not agree with him but it is his business what he believes. We should wish him well rather than make “we’re better off without him” comments. It is this sort of attitude that gets us labelled as arrogant and puts people off.

    • Jenngal

      No he isn’t. He’s a pain in my family’s side. He’s a sick SOB who plays mind games. He came from a classy family and has done nothing short of killing them himself. He wished they were dead as they “disowned” him. He plays the victim all the time. It’s not character assassination when he is a flat out liar. I am in the family circle so I know things other people don’t.
      And yes everyone is better off without him. YOU know absolutely nothing about this sick and twisted individual.

  • Nick Warner

    I’m a little appalled at the character assassination going on here. He’s an old guy who changed his mind. We may not agree with him but it is his business what he believes. We should wish him well rather than make “we’re better off without him” comments. It is this sort of attitude that gets us labelled as arrogant and puts people off.

  • Johannsone

    Well he finally has someone to place the blame on when he goes completely blind. Hate to tell him, from past experience, the converted Christianity honeymoon period leaves one whirling about in an ecstatic state, but it is woefully short. The falling down period, post conversion, is sad and lonely and quite actually most times can be suicidal. If I were a friend, family member, neighbor or nearby veteran, I would keep an open door and an open mind. He needs support and help, not attempts at placation with endearing words from a fantasy novel.

  • http://twitter.com/DangerousTalk Staks Rosch

    I e-mailed Patrick Greene, and he sold me on God. Here is my blog post on the conversation – http://www.dangeroustalk.net/?p=2861

    • OverlappingMagisteria

      Yea his reasoning is completely sound. (eyeroll)

    • Anonymous

      Well, whatever he was or is, he certainly ain’t a rationalist!

  • http://twitter.com/DangerousTalk Staks Rosch

    I e-mailed Patrick Greene, and he sold me on God. Here is my blog post on the conversation – http://www.dangeroustalk.net/?p=2861

  • http://wading-in.net/walkabout Al Denelsbeck

    It’s interesting to see how many different things are at work here. I’m one of those who still feel the term ‘atheist community’ is intended to leverage emotion, rather than representing anything in particular. Atheism is just a standpoint, like preferring a certain band (or, I guess, not liking music at all ;-). There is no particular ideology to form a community around, nor is drawing another line around a group of people very useful. In a way, it’s simply an acceptance of the lines the religious draw to separate themselves from others in the first place.

    Second, Greene being an outspoken atheist means nothing to most atheists, I think. We have no priests, and one person converting means very little without hearing any details about why they converted. Got some proof or convincing evidence of god? Fine, trot it out. But atheists are, on average, far less likely to fall for “all the other kids are doing it” – we’re already surrounded by people who aren’t influencing us by numbers, and a .00001% increase in those numbers probably ain’t breaking the camel’s back, you know?

    I think it’s great that he got help with his medical condition, though it sounds like he might’ve gotten more than that. Should “we” have stepped up? It certainly would not have hurt, and would have made atheism look a little better, perhaps. Or, perhaps not – donations from or about secular causes are roundly ignored, certainly gaining nothing like the attention given to this particular case. Which is interesting, since churches on a daily basis, worldwide, collect money as an organized process exactly for such uses – it seems interesting that this one should be considered worthy of so much special attention. Wasn’t he just one of, what, dozens, hundreds, helped within any given community? That’s what churches are for, right? That’s how people get into heaven.

    Hey, if religion wants to buy conversions, that’s their right. Gonna get expensive in the long run, methinks – especially when atheists convert for free. Flip-flopping could be a way for any prominent atheist to keep the money rolling in. “Mehta converts once again back to christianity. ‘It was the Chick tracts this time,’ avows the newly-resaved activist.”

  • http://wading-in.net/walkabout Al Denelsbeck

    It’s interesting to see how many different things are at work here. I’m one of those who still feel the term ‘atheist community’ is intended to leverage emotion, rather than representing anything in particular. Atheism is just a standpoint, like preferring a certain band (or, I guess, not liking music at all ;-). There is no particular ideology to form a community around, nor is drawing another line around a group of people very useful. In a way, it’s simply an acceptance of the lines the religious draw to separate themselves from others in the first place.

    Second, Greene being an outspoken atheist means nothing to most atheists, I think. We have no priests, and one person converting means very little without hearing any details about why they converted. Got some proof or convincing evidence of god? Fine, trot it out. But atheists are, on average, far less likely to fall for “all the other kids are doing it” – we’re already surrounded by people who aren’t influencing us by numbers, and a .00001% increase in those numbers probably ain’t breaking the camel’s back, you know?

    I think it’s great that he got help with his medical condition, though it sounds like he might’ve gotten more than that. Should “we” have stepped up? It certainly would not have hurt, and would have made atheism look a little better, perhaps. Or, perhaps not – donations from or about secular causes are roundly ignored, certainly gaining nothing like the attention given to this particular case. Which is interesting, since churches on a daily basis, worldwide, collect money as an organized process exactly for such uses – it seems interesting that this one should be considered worthy of so much special attention. Wasn’t he just one of, what, dozens, hundreds, helped within any given community? That’s what churches are for, right? That’s how people get into heaven.

    Hey, if religion wants to buy conversions, that’s their right. Gonna get expensive in the long run, methinks – especially when atheists convert for free. Flip-flopping could be a way for any prominent atheist to keep the money rolling in. “Mehta converts once again back to christianity. ‘It was the Chick tracts this time,’ avows the newly-resaved activist.”

    • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ miller

       IIRC, Hemant is not ex-Christian, he is ex-Jainist.

  • http://www.facebook.com/maik.both Maik Both

    I see his gofundme page is (not surprisingly) now gone, and google’s cache just has the skeleton of it, no real info. However, I do remember on that page (I visited it twice) he started off asking for one amount, and then later upped the amount once the lower amount was reached. Taken with the information above, this looks a bit fishy to me.

    If one was of the mindset that they really needed money, no matter what, then I can imagine it being much more lucrative being Christian / religious then not. I mean, look at all the evangelists pulling in crazy amounts of money for themsel… oops, I mean their ‘church’.

  • http://thefloatinglantern.wordpress.com/ Tim Martin

    Well said.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rich-Rodgers/1621390164 Rich Rodgers

    Wait- the last I saw the numbers atheists had actually given more $$ than the theists. Not that it matters. After listening to the guy I wouldn’t have given him a dime. Not that I don’t feel bad for his situation, but I daily meet people in every bit as hard of a situation, who aren’t actively fighting against freedom of speech. This is not a “character assasination” as was suggested above, because I had this opinion of him long before this latest clownery. 

  • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    I don’t think there are any atheists who are secretly Christian. But it’s certain that there are many (self proclaimed) Christians who are secretly atheist.

    Maybe this guy became a Christian, maybe he didn’t. If he really did, he may never have been an atheist at all, in the sense of really thinking about his beliefs. Maybe he just liked being contrary, and doesn’t have any deeply held beliefs at all. Maybe he’s still an atheist, and just likes the community that can come with being a Christian. Who knows?

    In the end, it’s silly to play some kind of tit-for-tat game with “conversions”. We know that many atheists became so after previously being Christian. We know that very few Christians were formerly atheists. The fact that there are a handful of “former atheists” claiming to have converted to Christianity is interesting… mainly because of the rather desperate way that some Christians drag them out as examples. It’s not very convincing (especially when most of the cases seem to be old, sick people who are probably not operating at the peak of their critical mental skills).

    • Rosemary Lyndall Wemm

       Christians who claim that they are “Former atheists” or “lapsed atheists” rarely, if ever, used that title to describe themselves prior to their (emotional) conversion.  The label is retrospectively applied to a condition that is better described as “apatheism” and/or normal adolescent rebellion against authority and the adult development of personal responsibility.  There previous “atheist
       belief set is so unlike that held by people who use the term to define their current position that their apologetic stories have no discernible impact on any but those  who have never seriously questioned or investigated the validity of the claim that the Christian god exists.  Their arrogance in assuming that their arguments make sense to the rational atheist simply underlines their unconscious ignorance of their ignorance.

  • Gus Snarp

    As was noted in the last blog post on this guy, something is wrong here. Maybe he’s mentally ill, maybe he’s just an attention seeker, maybe he’s just confused, maybe he’s having difficulty accepting his age and decline. But the fact that one guy who has filed frivolous lawsuits against Christians on behalf of his view of atheism and showed some signs of instability has now made a public conversion to Christianity in the wake of being given $400 bucks by a pack of religious do-goooders says nothing about Christianity, nothing about religion, and nothing about atheism. There will always be people who convert, particularly at the end of life, for one reason or another. It certainly doesn’t mean that they’re right, or that the majority, or even a large minority, of reasoning, considered atheists will convert when confronted with their own mortality.

  • Alice

    Where was this criticism before his conversion? If this guy is a looney, he was looney all along. I’m disheartened that this community seems to be in the habit of either pointedly ignoring member’s flaws or defaming apostates.

    • Gus Snarp

      Here is the criticism from before his conversion:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2O0gZa34wWo 

      http://atheistexperience.blogspot.com/2008/07/patrick-greene-checks-in.html 

      There’s also some questioning in the comments to the earlier post on him on this blog before his conversion was announced. Link to that post is at the top of this blog post, right below the title.

    • Shouldbeworkin’

      “If this guy is a looney, he was looney all along”

      Uh, no. Mental health doesn’t work like that. That’s like saying that someone who develops Alzheimer’s disease never knew how to put on a sweater.

      • Jenngal

        But he has been “loony” all along. I’ve known him my whole life and never ever wanted to be alone in a room with him. I’d follow my aunt or my mom at 4 to keep it that way. He does nothing but talk trash about my mother, me and my grandmother. He is trash.

  • http://www.facebook.com/don.gwinn Don Gwinn

    I donated at his GoFundMe page.  I hope that money went to what he claimed it would, rather than buying a dream home.  But caveat emptor, right?  It was my decision to donate.  I must agree, though, that nothing in this case has much to do with the relative merits of either Christianity or atheism.  In the long run, I’m out $20 and maybe a little wiser, having paid a little stupid tax.  Oh, well.

    • Anonymous

      He definitely lied about the use of the funds on GoFundMe. He said he was going to give the excess over the original amount to animal shelters. Now he’s buying a dream home instead. Which is definitely fraudulent.

  • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

    There’s a simple lesson in this: hearts are won with kindness rather than alienation. As human beings and as emotional creatures, the simple act of repeated social contact and companionship can work greater wonders than a series of logical arguments. That same principle can be used to dismantle the majority’s distrust of non-believers. However, ridicule, mockery and contempt won’t do much toward those ends.

    However, I guess that people will respond with the usual assertion that we need those who are kind and those who will mock. I’m not sure that alienation and kindness are compatible bedfellows.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t think his heart was won, because he lied about what he was going to do with the money, and now he’s looking for more money as a pastor. This stinks of a scam at this point.

  • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

    I’ve heard many atheists complain that after the converted to non-belief, their Christian friends and family dismissed them by saying, “Well, she wasn’t a real Christian anyway.”

    I see something analogous going on in this very comment thread.

    Ah, humans.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Weaver/100000377905225 Mike Weaver

      I agree. Seems Atheists and Christians have more in common than they realize.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alexander-Wilkins/1409733600 Alexander Wilkins

        Except nobody has said he wasn’t an atheist. People are saying he wasn’t rational nor are his reasons for conversion rational. Big difference.

        • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

          Yes, people were saying that he wasn’t rational–that’s mostly what I was referencing. To be labeled as irrational/unreasonable retrospectively in atheist circles is analogous to people saying, “Well, he was never a true believer anyway.” New atheists tend to value logic and reason above all, do they not? It is as core to atheism as belief in the resurrection of Christ is to Christians.

           However, I was also referencing this quote by C Peterson:

          Maybe this guy became a Christian, maybe he didn’t. If he really did, he
          may never have been an atheist at all, in the sense of really thinking
          about his beliefs. Maybe he just liked being contrary, and doesn’t have
          any deeply held beliefs at all.

          • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

            “Rational/irrational” refers to ways of thinking, while “atheist/theist” refers to beliefs (or lack of). You can arrive at the same belief as another person using either rational or irrational thinking. I don’t really find that analogous to the “not a true Christian” concept. 

            “. . . in the sense of really thinking about his beliefs” is pointing to the possibility that he might not have been an atheist for rational reasons. Although, I do disagree that this would mean he wasn’t actually an atheist. 

          • Edmond

            To be fair, that quote has a lot of “maybes” in it, and ends with a “who knows?”.  It certainly never stoops to making any assertions about Greene.  It’s very much in the “skeptic vein” to speculate on a broad range of possibilities, and yet acknowledge that they ARE speculations, with no conclusions made without definite evidence.

            • Dschiff

              Given his position on animals and humans, it is likely he didn’t understand evolution well enough.

              So while he was an atheist, he may very well have been an irrational and not fully examined atheist.

              This is revising our views in light of evidence (the very essence of rationality), not committing a no-true scotsman fallacy.

              • Jenngal

                He’s not even educated. I don’t even know if he graduated high school, but that’s as high as he got if he did. He’s an arrogant idiot. You should see some of the hate mail he has sent me…his own “niece” what kind of human tells his niece that her mother is the enemy all because I love my mom.

          • Anonymous

            No. I’ve made a point in my comments here in the past of acknowledging that many, if not most atheists are irrational. You don’t need to believe anything to be an atheist so I don’t know where this “true believer” stuff come from.

            I do think to may people are over investing in the atheist label. Their is no atheist community in the sense Hemant uses it. There are communities that are atheist on the other hand.

  • Anonymous

    I’m with the character-assassination-post-conversion-sounds-like-sour-grapes crowd.
       Also, I’m leery of this charity-as-buying-people talk.  
    Not that you can’t critique  charity, but this isn’t really a critique of the power imbalance of charity and its consequences.   Both atheists and Christians gave money to Greene as charity.  Why is atheist money genuine giving and Christian money have an ulterior motive?  What about when atheists give money to a Christian or church in need? Remember the fundraiser for that was vandalized Metha started;  if anyone came out as an atheist at the church afterwards, would atheists have bought their conversion?  Would their change to atheism seen as a cool fiscal calculation or an emotional but unreasonable response?

    • Gus Snarp

      I’m just not sure how you can call it character assassination after the fact when the strongest criticism of him happened in 2008. 

      • Anonymous

        Maybe character assassination is the wrong word choice?  It’s the attitude of “Well, he’s not an atheist anymore, but he was an idiot anyway so good riddance.”  It stands out more when the  previous article(s) on this site were very neutral on his character while he was still proclaiming to be an atheist.

        • Anonymous

          Most people don’t even know who he is and are only now researching him to find out he’s kinda kooky is all. Plus going from atheist to preacher in two weeks stinks like a rotten fish. It is too convenient. That and going from unable to support himself to buying luxury goods. It’s now obvious he was lying about something. He asked for $500 to get by for a little while and even said he was going to donate any excess to the animal shelter, but now he’s using it to buy “dream” possessions.

          • Jenngal

            Kinda? He’s a crazy, idiotic, manipulative POS. Trust me, I know. When you are family you know more than the general population.

    • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ miller

       It may seem like people are criticizing Patrick Greene only now that he’s converted, but there is an alternative explanation.  Patrick Greene hasn’t been in the news for a few years, so why would we be criticizing him when we’re not even thinking about him?

      • Anonymous

        Well, he was in the news & blogs when he started the latest lawsuit, and again when he found out he had glaucoma and dropped the suit, and again when the church first gave him money.  The third story is the one that was talked about on by Metha, which is admittedly a different author than today’s story and had a different perspective.  

      • Jenngal

        Lucky for you to not have to think about him. He won’t leave my mother alone with his stalker behavior, all because my aunt (my mom’s sister) is a lying jealous old …..ugh.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    None are so blind as those who see what isn’t there.

    • Ndonnan

      except of course those who dont see what is there

      • Anonymous

        Oh, where? Show us.

      • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

        I’ve been looking and looking with open eyes, and when I see nothing in particular, I turn to the people who insist that something is there, and they say, “Well, you can’t actually see it. It’s a feeling in your heart.”  So I’ve been feeling and feeling with an open heart, and when I don’t feel anything in particular, I turn to them, and they say, “Well, you have to listen to the Word of God with an open mind and heart.” So I’ve been listening and listening with an open mind and heart, and when it makes no sense at all, and it has no particular effect on me emotionally, I turn to them…

        So far we have covered seeing, feeling and hearing. The last two of the only five senses I have, tasting and smelling, they haven’t talked about yet.

        • Ndonnan

          Good to hear that Richard,keep seaching,you will get it, personally it seems to me the more intelectual or academic people are the harder it is to see the spiritual.

          • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

            Yeaaaaa, um, there might be a reason for that, you know. 

            I think you might be missing the point Richard’s making.

  • Fargofan1

    Didn’t something similar happen with Antony Flew? I remember the same type of arguments then.

    • Ndonnan

      No,as a sceintist,he objectivly looked at DNA and creation and knew evolution was an impossability.He finally saw what was there.

      • TCC

        Flew was a philosopher, not a scientist, and even then, I don’t recall him rejecting evolution. (I would be open to evidence to the contrary, of course.)

      • Anonymous

        That was a fact free comment.

        • Ndonnan

          Not according to the interview with Flew

  • http://www.facebook.com/gmillar Gavin Millar

    Get money get paid.

  • Troy Truchon

    Like alot of the folks here, I don’t really care too much about this, its not like Dawkins converted for crying out loud. 

    That said, I wasn’t all that impressed by his sob story, it stank of someone demanding a hand-out with no intention whatsoever of ever getting himself on his feet and taking care of himself and his wife. He was given quite a lot of money by both atheists and christians for the self stated goal of letting himself become a cripple, no surgeries, no retraining in a job skill he could perform while blind, and when he got that money, he came up with a scheme to continue getting handouts (something the Christian community decries in government, but seems perfectly happy to give for every preacher running the circuit).

    You see thats whats attractive about the embrace of christianity to this guy, he can get paid for life without having to better himself, or work for it in any way, all he has to do is go from church to church (in the dream mobile home) and tell his little conversion story to a cheering (and paying) congregation. 

    Way to go christians, you gave a troubled and unambitious man a free lunch and he decided to stay around for a few more free meals. 

    • Jenngal

      all that money went to pay for antibiotics apparently. According to my aunt, his wife….he just had an eye infection. Lying bastard.

    • Jenngal

      all that money went to pay for antibiotics apparently. According to my aunt, his wife….he just had an eye infection. Lying bastard.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Book deal?

  • Anonymous

    Didn’t Matt Dillahunty just talk about doing exactly this two or three weeks ago on The Non-Prophets? I find it extremely questionable that there is a man that becomes the ex-atheist preacher so quickly after the idea was presented by a very well-known person on a widely listened to podcast. Especially considering Greene is so close to retirement, I simply can’t think of a better gimmick for a guy with no other avenues for income to attempt.

    If this is successful, then Dillahunty needs to sue Greene. I don’t know the grounds, nor do I think it would be successful. But really, this guy is capitalizing on somebody elses idea, the guy who first thought of it really deserves a piece of that pie.

  • Rieux

    Nicole Smalkowski? What did we do for her? (Honest question; I’ve heard about the troubles she’d gotten from the Oklahoma community her family lives in, but not any broad atheist efforts to help her.)

    Anyone know how she’s doing these days? Last I heard, she was worried about not getting an athletic scholarship because her asshole public school had hounded her off their basketball team—but that was five years ago.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

    I give him a C- for execution.

    Whether the project was to deceive people into believing you were atheist through activism or to deceive people into believing you’ve turned Christian from kindness, it was done sloppy. His record of activism as an atheist has shown to be unreasonable and laughable.

    Any of us could do this and do this, and do it far better than he did. Just make some standard-quality youtube videos about reason, critical thinking, science, atheism, religious stupidity, get pictures with and speak publicly with well-known atheist activists at conventions or whatever. Then make the switch and spend the rest of your life making money as a preacher, touring the country going to Christian conventions. I’m surprised more people aren’t doing this. Even those who don’t care about religion at all could see the big financial payoff of it.

  • Skyweyr

    I went to his facebook page. He didn’t say anywhere that he was a christian now. I think what you interpretted to mean he’s a christian now was a actually a carefully worded statement that he realizes christians aren’t all so bad after all.  I could be wrong but then so could you.  Let’s not string up one of our own on baseless assumptions.  I liked reading “the friendly atheist” because you didn’t used to hatemonger. I hope this isn’t a trend.

    • Anonymous

      Oh, you went to facebook, did you? Such intensive research, not to be dismissed lightly!
      Hey, before you go tossing accusations of hatemongering around, make sure you know what you’re talking about. We’ve got it from the man himself. http://www.dangeroustalk.net/?p=2861

      Give Hemant & co. some credit.

      (Incidentally, I’m from the camp that think Hemant’s too soft. But I respect his opinions, and come here to get a perspective different from my own. Does that make me, or hell even PZ Meyers, hateful?)

  • Keulan

    The guy’s an irrational moron and I’m glad he’s no longer one of our number.

  • Anonymous

    “Arguably, this is a black eye for the atheist community because we couldn’t properly help one of our own. ”

    This is nonsense. What exact community did this guy belong to that also included me? None. I’m thinking he’s got some con going because he’s gone from “I can’t meet my bills” to “I’m buying my dream X” in a matter of weeks, from atheist to pastor. There are dishonest atheists and I think he is still one and playing everyone as chimps, atheist and theist alike

  • Elbonio

    They can keep him.

  • bismarket

    It’s obvious to me at least what probably happened with this old geezer. He’s getting old, the Glaucoma brought that fact home to him hard, he’s probably had a few lingering doubts (remember, fear of hell indoctrination is damaging & powerful) & he’s all of a sudden got a lot of new friends who seem to want to help come into his life. Not everyone can be as strong as the Hitch & his desperation for cash has tipped what was probably a precariously balanced scale over to Christianity. He’s probably got loads of defense mechanisms set up now against any attack &/or ridicule. Leave him be, chalk it up to one mans weakness & good riddance. If there is to be any kind of Atheist movement it need wishy washy types like this like a hole in the head. (D’ya like my metaphors?)

  • Rich Lee Hartley

    I like his cat. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/ellenbeth EllenBeth Wachs

    Well, if he was looking for attention, we are all giving it to him, aren’t we?  Having been on the receiving end of some rather harsh criticism from my fellow atheists who didn’t know MY story and didn’t bother to ask, I would ask you give him the benefit of the doubt until it is proven he doesn’t deserve otherwise please?

  • Jenngal

    He’s disgusting. He’s a lying con man who does nothing but harass my mother. His wife is my aunt and they both are horrible people.

  • paulalovescats

    He got help with his vision, and now he believes in “blind faith”? Okay……he can’t be all bad. Note cat in picture.


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