‘Interview an Atheist at Church’ Day is Growing!

A couple of months ago, I posted about a project that was the brainchild of Kile Jones and Tia Carley. Their idea was to invite pastors to interview an atheist during church. Not a debate. Just a public dialogue to let the congregation understand where the atheists were coming from and to help dismantle stereotypes about us.

Kile just posted an update to the project and it looks like it’s taking off! Admittedly, there are *way* more atheists than pastors interested… but hats off to the pastors who are willing to participate:

Interview an Atheist at Church Day got going even faster after two things happened: I began emailing pastors in the areas where atheists were willing to be interviewed. And Doug Pagitt, an “emergent church” pastor in Minnesota, suggested that we take the “day” literally and set up a nation-wide event for May 5, 2013. “I think churches would benefit greatly from having open discussions with atheists, for many reasons,” Pagitt says. “One big reason — every church I have ever known has atheists in its pews, normally keeping a very low profile. So, Interview an Atheist at Church Day is a chance to hear not only from outsiders, but from people within our churches.

They have 18 interviews already set up and hopefully they will all be videotaped and posted online. If you know any pastors who might want to participate, have them contact Kile!

All the videos and updates to the project will be posted on their Facebook page. Can’t wait to see the results :)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • David

    This is a cool idea. Wonder if I can interest anyone where I’m at (Trinidad)

  • Guest

    I can’t see what’s really in this for the churches.

    • Scooter

      I’m sure they feel that knowing why someone doesn’t believe will help them “minister” to the “non-believer”….

  • McAtheist

    Reminds me of one of those police ‘stings’ where they invite people to come by somewhere to pick up a TV that they have ‘won’. Then they arrest them.

  • Zorntap

    Great idea! We need someone to come to our service and explain how deluded, brainwashed, and hateful we are, and all about the superiority of atheists and atheism over believers and belief. Terrific PR concept.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Keep projecting, bro. You’ll be showing off Powerpoint in a few minutes.

    • SeekerLancer

      I’m glad there are people that actually care about having an open dialog. That is, people who aren’t like you.

  • Robster

    They’re so desperate, so losing the battle with reason and so totally irrelevant that they need something, anything, to get some warm bodies under the age of 80 on their pews. With a bit of luck, perhaps some groovy christian “rock” they may get a few to stay and put a dollar or two in the plate, I’m sure there are some non believers who would like to play Let’s Pretend, which is what churches do best.

  • Robster

    They’re so desperate, so losing the battle with reason and so totally irrelevant that they need something, anything, to get some warm bodies under the age of 80 on their pews. With a bit of luck, perhaps some groovy christian “rock” they may get a few to stay and put a dollar or two in the plate, I’m sure there are some non believers who would like to play Let’s Pretend, which is what churches do best.

    • Zorntap

      Is being unable to punctuate properly part of the whole atheist thing?

      • Baby_Raptor

        Got anything decent to say? If not, leave. Nobody here is attacking you, and yet all you’ve done is insult and be immature.

        • Zorntap

          Right. Stereotyping a group of people as losers in a battle with reason is a compliment, not an attack. And nothing, certainly, is more rational or mature than typecasting a entire, quite huge demographic without any attempt at qualification, which amounts to reducing one’s enemy to a cliche (read: straw).

          Re my comment about punctuation, with so many atheists touting their vastly superior morality, intellect, etc., you’d think that, as a group, atheists wouldn’t find elementary punctuation rules such a challenge. I note this for its irony value.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kimberly.house1 Kimberly House

            *an entire…

            • Zorntap

              Congratulations–you caught a typo. How humbled I feel.

              • http://www.facebook.com/kimberly.house1 Kimberly House

                If you enter a conversation by pointing out one’s writing mechanics, be prepared to then have yours reviewed…just saying

                • Zorntap

                  Oh, oh, I get it. Irony.

                  Now we is getting into advanced territory….

    • SeekerLancer

      Eh, while there may be some truth in there I’m willing to give the participating churches some credit for actually allowing their opposition to speak. There are so many churches that would rather just build strawmen or pretend we don’t really exist.

      At least having one day where someone who challenges your beliefs speaks instead of to usual echo-chamber sermon is better than none. Getting more moderate Christians to at the very least respect our position and our rights is the only way to shut out the fundamentalists.

    • http://www.facebook.com/paul.grimm.14 Paul Grimm

      Except for say 1/6 of the worlds population whose dogma hasn’t changed for 2000 years

      • Dan Linford

        Two things:

        1. Christian doctrine is, of course, absurd (and more than likely false);

        2. It has changed in 2000 years, but many church officials produce revisionist history in which it hasn’t changed.

        If you really think it hasn’t changed, then you don’t know much about the history of religion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.grimm.14 Paul Grimm

    This is a great idea. Assuming both sides respect one another. I can see this going badly too though if there isn’t mutual respect…

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

    it’s a fine idea, but i seriously doubt the churches who need it the most will sign up. likely this will mostly be at liberal and accepting churches, not the fire breathing ones who regularly posit that atheists are the great evil of our times.


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