What Larry Alex Taunton Learned from Atheists Isn’t the Least Bit Surprising

Larry Alex Taunton is the executive director of the Fixed Point Foundation, a Christian organization that seeks “innovative ways to defend and proclaim the Gospel.” In his own words, he considers atheism “historically naive and potentially dangerous.”

Taunton recently conducted interviews with several college students who led their campus atheist groups and, while his research isn’t scientific in the least, he claims that he learned some very surprising things about why they became atheists. The results may be surprising to him, but certainly not to anyone who has given the subject any thought. In fact, Taunton provides us with no new insight.

Take this conclusion, for example:

They had attended church

Most of our participants had not chosen their worldview from ideologically neutral positions at all, but in reaction to Christianity. Not Islam. Not Buddhism. Christianity.

Umm… well, yeah. We live in America where Christianity is the dominant faith. Of course we react to it instead of, say, Hinduism.

There’s also this:

The internet factored heavily into their conversion to atheism

When our participants were asked to cite key influences in their conversion to atheism — people, books, seminars, etc. — we expected to hear frequent references to the names of the “New Atheists.” We did not. Not once. Instead, we heard vague references to videos they had watched on YouTube or website forums.

Again, not surprising at all. Unlike some Christians, one book probably isn’t going to change our minds. It’s the constant hammering home of the idea that religion is wrong — which you get from the Internet — that has a stronger impact than, say, a Richard Dawkins book. Even if the books helped, I haven’t met people who were religious when they started one and atheists when they put it down. The books were only one of many factors.

Here’s one I really couldn’t believe made his list:

Ages 14-17 were decisive

One participant told us that she considered herself to be an atheist by the age of eight while another said that it was during his sophomore year of college that he de-converted, but these were the outliers. For most, the high school years were the time when they embraced unbelief.

Maybe this is a shock to him because we weren’t indoctrinated with atheism growing up. Many of us became atheists only when we were finally old enough to understand and question religion. The teenage years are precisely when we develop our opinions on all sorts of issues.

What was he expecting us to say? We became atheists at the age of five? When we were 20? Maybe Taunton is used to hearing six-year-olds say they’ve been saved and he takes them seriously, but you need to have somewhat of a grasp on what religions even offer before you can reject them and, for most people, that comprehension doesn’t come until they’re more mature.

There’s one more that bothered me:

The decision to embrace unbelief was often an emotional one

With few exceptions, students would begin by telling us that they had become atheists for exclusively rational reasons. But as we listened it became clear that, for most, this was a deeply emotional transition as well.

Those two things go hand in hand, so it not as surprising as one would think. I initially began questioning my faith after my family moved and I had to leave my close friends. Of course it was a very emotional time for me. But that’s what started a longer, rational journey to atheism.

Unlike Christians, there wasn’t a moment when I became “unsaved.” I think a lot of us can point to moments when we first began questioning whether God really existed. We weren’t atheists yet, but once we followed that train of thought, atheism wasn’t too far away.

After reading all of this, the only question I’m left with is: Why did The Atlantic see this fit for publication? It’s just promotional material for Taunton’s group disguised as serious analysis of atheists.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Look Up Matthew 6:5-6

    • benanov

      Okay. https://duckduckgo.com/?q=matthew+6%3A5-6

      And when thou prayest,
      thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in
      the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of
      men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou
      prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which
      is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

      This…isn’t relevant.

      • Mary Howerton

        I think he’s responding to the “Lookup 316″ campaign referred to in the article? Makes sense to me, as in they should’ve read that verse instead of standing around with a sign…

        • Frank Mitchell

          On a related note, Fixed Point also claims to “take ideas seriously”. Maybe because they keep one from believing in Jeezus.

    • The Other Weirdo

      That’s like posting up a sign against a helicopter’s window high in the air and have the people in a skyscraper nearby reply “In a helicopter”, then using that reply to map a route to the airport because, even though the answer was technically correct, it was otherwise utterly irrelevant and therefore that meant the skyscraper belonged to Microsoft.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

    I, like most, slowly lost faith. It happened over several years and the internet was used as a resource to further educate myself and to learn I’m not alone. I’m a much happier person overall since I became an atheist and I appreciate life in a way I never did when I believed in an after life.

    • Matt D

      That is quite similar to my experiences as well, and I won’t hesitate to say I’m not only happier, but a better person than I was.

    • TCC

      Same here. In a way, I oriented myself toward freethought in ways that made my deconversion easier (although it was still tricky, mostly because of the stigma and social issues with family and such).

  • cipher

    His utter confusion and surprise over the simplest aspects of this demonstrate what I keep saying: communication is impossible. Our worldviews are too completely disparate, and they’re operating at the developmental level of young children.

    • Free

      Is your response not also “expectedly condescending”? You are right that there are two ways to see the world, reality, and life. This in essence explains and reveals the chasm of faith. Some are on one side and the rest on the other side. Can’t explain to you what I see but I see it. You just see something different. The challenge is that anyone who has eyes of faith, true faith, feels compelled to share what he/she sees as it is radically different from the mundane, calculated experience of most.

      • cipher

        The difference is that I don’t think you’ll burn in hell.

        Yes, I know; I’ve broken God’s law. I’ll say it again; you’re operating at the developmental level of a child, and the arguments you keep offering here were developed by people who, like you, were operating at a primitive developmental level and suffering from pathologically low self-esteem. There is no way in which this can be explained to you.

        As for what you see – subjective experience is notoriously unreliable.

        • Michael W Busch

          you’re operating at the developmental level of a child

          Please do not equate flawed reasoning and believing wrong things with “thinking like a child”, and do not use “thinking like a child” as an insult. It is offensive to the kids.

          • Willy Occam

            Except that a child can’t help but “think like a child”; a grown adult should know better. It’s sad to imagine having such limited critical thinking skills that an adult would retain the naivete and credulity of a child.

            • Michael W Busch

              It’s sad to imagine having such limited critical thinking skills that an adult would retain the naivete and credulity of a child.

              Again, don’t insult the kids. “having limited critical thinking skills” is not the same as “thinking like a child” (although critical thinking is a learned skill, so it does take time to learn).

          • cipher

            Magical thinking, conflating objective reality with what one wishes to be true – these are symptoms of arrested development. These people are operating at the developmental level of children.

            There is also, as I’ve told you, a growing body of experimental data that is strongly suggestive of a neurological foundation for fundamentalism and authoritarianism.

            I suspect you’re from the evangelical world. I’ve seen it many times – former evangelicals want desperately to believe the friends and relatives they left behind will one day get out as well, and refuse to see their delusion as anything other than a state of being merely mistaken.

            There is an Internet full of evidence to the contrary. All you have to do is a little reading – which you won’t do, because it conflicts with what you apparently want so desperately to believe.

            Now, as I’ve told you before – leave me alone.

            • Michael W Busch

              Magical thinking, conflating objective reality with what one wishes to be true – these are symptoms of arrested development.

              “Arrested development” is not a meaningful term, although it was used several decades ago to inaccurately refer to specific developmental disorders. And since “developmental disorder” has a specific clinical meaning, you shouldn’t use that as an insult either.

              These people are operating at the developmental level of children.

              No, they aren’t. Magical thinking is common in young children (say ages 2-7), but that’s specifically thinking that your personal thoughts can change things without action (i.e. wishing makes it so). That’s not the same thing as believing something wrong about the world, or “conflating objective reality with what one wishes to be true”.

              What you might be able to call Taunton is “delusional”, but only in the colloquial rather than the clinical sense. That may describe what he is doing, holding a belief with apparently strong conviction despite all of the evidence that the belief is wrong.

              There is also, as I’ve told you, a growing body of experimental data that is strongly suggestive of a neurological foundation for fundamentalism and authoritarianism.

              Then cite it. All data I have seen shows that fundamentalism and authoritarianism are almost entirely learned behaviors – learned at an early age but then heavily modified by later experience and education. They’re neurological as much as any other set of behaviors are, but they are not innate.

              This is where the work of Robert Altemeyer and others is relevant. Sample a population of first-grade students, and you’ll see behavioral differences. Sample the same population fifteen years later, and you can correlate some metrics of those behaviors to authoritarianism – but only after you’ve corrected for the much larger effects of the different educations and life experiences that those people have had in the meantime. Altemeyer did the appropriate check: before and after different educational programs, there are large shifts in the distributions of authoritarian behavior and beliefs. And the same applies to early childhood experiences, which the first-graders have already had. Nobody is born a fundamentalist Christian, a fundamentalist Muslim, an authoritarian-follower Marxist-Leninist atheist, or an anti-authoritarian critical thinker. Those are all learned behaviors.

              I suspect you’re from the evangelical world.

              Wrong. As I said already on this comment thread and as you can readily verify since I post under my real name, I was raised Catholic and came to atheism via some exploration of Buddhism and other religions. What I am is a scientist who does not like false claims going unchallenged.

              There is an Internet full of evidence to the contrary. All you have to do is a little reading – which you won’t do, because it conflicts with what you apparently want so desperately to believe.

              Then cite some of it, so that I can read it and understand why it doesn’t show up when I go look for it and all of the literature and data I do find say fundamentalism & authoritarianism are learned behaviors.

              Now, as I’ve told you before – leave me alone.

              I have a problem with letting wrong ideas go unchallenged. So, no, not as long as I see you saying offensively wrong things.

              • cipher

                Okay, I’ve been holding back until now.

                Aside from the fact that you don’t know what you’re talking about, you’re an arrogant, obnoxious little piece of shit. It is a crime against academia that someone was foolhardy enough to give you a PhD. You seem to feel that you can make authoritative statements without any sort of qualification, but if someone makes a contradictory assertion, then all of a sudden you want data – which I would have provided gladly, if you’d asked me a week ago instead of immediately coming at me with “YOU’RE WRONG!” Now you can go fuck yourself.

                Your behavior has gone over the top; it now qualifies as trolling. Frankly, I’d like to write to your parents; either they or someone else has wasted a great deal of money on your education.

                • Michael W Busch

                  You claim things that are untrue, and when I call you on them with citations to the contrary evidence you reply only with significantly-misplaced personal insults. This does not do anything to make your false claims less false, nor does it do anything to justify the bigoted insults I have been calling you on.

                • cipher

                  Why are they untrue – because YOU say so? This is the first time you’ve asked me for citations. As I said, had you asked me last week instead of manifesting the obnoxious attitude that seems to be your hallmark, I would gladly have provided them. Meanwhile, you feel perfectly entitled to make blanket statements about a subject outside of your field without providing evidence. I saw your original comment, in which you told me not to insult your teachers. If this is how you approach science, they obviously made an error in awarding you an advanced degree.

                  I have been good enough to stay out of your way, and have asked you to return the favor. You have refused. This reflects far more upon your character than it does upon mine.

                • Guest Speaker

                  Normally I don’t venture into the comments here nor reply as I’m on a tablet, but I just had to ask the question:

                  Does this cipher dude normally act like such a douche bag?

                  I mean really. Michael challenged his opinion (with a very ironic tone that included a lot of truth) and cipher responded with personal insults. Try being a man and engage in the argument rather than calling names. (And, since we’re throwing names and psychology around, the “Matrix-wannabe” picture, bad language, poor reaction to light criticism and pseudonym all point towards severe narcissism.) Oooh, you’ve been holding back until now… –> followed by a stupid response equivalent to “na na naa naa na”.

      • dad21jedi

        Certainly there must be even more than two ways to see the world, reality and life! And if you think the way without faith is a “mundane, calculated experience,” you don’t know many nonbelievers.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        You’re able to see every single thing we do. You then just tack on things that we don’t see.

        Also, your last sentence very clearly demonstrates what he described.

      • Kodie

        You do not see something different, you just see things differently. The challenge seems to be made for you to explain it to people who don’t need it or want it, and especially people who think there is nothing to it but delusion. It’s been my experience that most religious people, like you, for instance, use weak arguments because they believed weak arguments; there is no proof, it is a parlor trick. I’ve never heard a solid, or even semi-solid argument, so it must work very well on people who do not think things through, and then they’re hooked and convinced they found something the rest of us do not see. It’s not that it looks unconvincing from afar, since many atheists were thick in it before realizing it had nothing to it.

        I can not observe a spiritual realm but of course I have emotions and experiences. I know the difference between “something” and “my imagination,” and you don’t. I have some idea how brains work, and you don’t. You pretend your experience is unique and attribute it to a deity because you’re convinced of it but are fairly inadequate to explain it except to the gullible. You think you see Jesus, but you see a system of living, attribute it to a deity, and for some reason, think that’s the only way. And you’re wrong.

      • Carmelita Spats

        Yes, FACTS get in the way of your Christinsanity. Your beliefs merit condescension. Faith is NOT a virtue and it deserves mockery. Your sanctimonious claim to a “chasm of faith” is ridiculous. The “chasm of faith” should be renamed the “sarchasm” of faith as crazy-ass beliefs offer a wonderful space between the author of sarcastic wit and the wide-eyed believer who doesn’t get it. Faith is obscene because it is a FAILURE to reason honestly…Faith permits people to believe by the BILLIONS what only lunatics conjure up on their own.

      • Geoff Boulton

        Of course, you can choose to spice life up with magical (wishful) thinking, but where does that get you? Cosplay without the costumes, except for a few select ‘wizards’, and without the ability to differentiate between the real world and the fantasy.

      • Reginald Selkirk

        Free: The challenge is that anyone who has eyes of faith, true faith…

        How can we tell which faith is “true” and which is not? Please restrict yourself to noncircular arguments.

      • baal

        hi eric, your personal experiences are not proof. Worse, it looks like delusion to some of us. Here’s the fun mental chew toy experiment. How do you 1) tell if you are personally deluded 2) convince a deluded person that they are in fact deluded? It might be easier to set standards for what counts by imagining a guy in full armor tilting at windmills. He thinks they are dragons and work back from there.

  • Anna

    Most of our participants had not chosen their worldview from ideologically neutral positions at all, but in reaction to Christianity. Not Islam. Not Buddhism. Christianity.

    Well, no wonder. We live in a majority Christian country. It’s just the same for children of Christians who later decide to embrace Christianity. They didn’t choose their worldview from an “ideologically neutral position” either.

    Of course, I’m an exception to the rule, since I wasn’t raised Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or anything else. My childhood was as close to ideologically neutral as it’s possible to be.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    His interviews confirmed what he thought? Hm, there must be a term for that…

  • cipher

    I skimmed the article. Expectedly condescending, although I’m quite certain he would never see it that way – and there was this: “Sincerity does not trump truth. After all, one can be sincerely wrong.” It’s one of their canned responses, one that’s been around for a long time.

    Everything those people say is a catchphrase or a cliche. Everything.

    • Derrik Pates

      And particularly ironic, considering it’s a Christian saying it. Christians (and other religions to varying degrees, but Christians in particular) have joyfully co-opted the word “truth” to mean “this thing I like and believe in really, really hard”, even though I’m pretty sure no dictionary in the known world features a definition like that.

  • eric

    Hate to say it, but I think you’re wrong in seeing the middle two as ‘yeah, duh,’ statements about atheists. This is really biased sampling. Let’s take a look:

    #2. “The internet factored heavily into their conversion to atheism.”

    You’re talking to college students. People born in 1993 or thereabouts. The internet probably factors heavily in all their cultural decisions, because they grew up on the internet.

    Look at older atheists (even older atheists who converted in the last, say, 10 years) and I bet you’ll find a wider variety of factors. Getting one’s society from the web is not an atheist thing, its a young person’s thing.

    #3. “Ages 14-17 were decisive”
    Well, if your sample population is 18-21, what the f**k did you expect them to say? That 22-25 was the decisive age? Your sample basically chops off any likelihood of any other answer.

    • Frank Mitchell

      Maybe he expected people to become atheists at the age of 7, when they found out about Santa Claus?

      Most cultures regard ages between 13 and 18 the age of maturity for a reason. As puberty sets in, human brains physically change, and most “young adults” start making their own choices and questioning everything. It’s a biased sample, but the result isn’t too far wrong.

    • edgar ayala

      Im of the internet generation and I became a non believer thanks to a paragraph in Kurt Vonnegut’s “Timequake”. The internet was the place where I got into the debates and the movement and all that.

  • Matt Potter

    Hmmm, so atheists ‘had attended church’ you say. That’s it, no more church as it only creates atheists!

    • Frank Mitchell

      Also no more Bibles. And really, if people turn atheist “in reaction to Christianity”, we must not raise them Christian. Maybe we should teach children the truth of Osiris and Isis until they reach the safe age of 21.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

        Should teach or should not teach?

        • Frank Mitchell

          I said “should teach” and meant it. Imagine what will happen when we as a culture sit our college graduates down and tell them that, contrary to what we’ve been saying since they’ve been children, Osiris and Isis are just stories, and that the real god is Jesus whom they’ve never heard of before. Won’t they be happy to hear the Good News? Especially the part about going to hell for not believing in the right god?

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

            Thank you for the clarification. Wasn’t sure which way you where leaning at first.

      • Artor

        LOL! I grew up on Bullfinch’s mythology and D&D books. After I ditched Jeebus, I tried Wicca for a while because I really REALLY wanted magic to work. Eventually I realized I was just deluding myself and settled down to rationality, although I still love the old stories.

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          The only “magic” there is that the ritual spellwork can provide a focus, that last little bit of “oomph” you need to get motivated. I wonder if there’s a way to be a secular wiccan?

          • A Portlander

            I still consider myself a cultural pagan, in what I imagine is much the same vein as Dawkins claiming cultural Christianity: I love the mythology and find it resonant on a deep psychological level, my personal values still overlap significantly with neopagan values, and you can’t beat the party calendar. (“Which holiday is it next week?” “The one with the fire and feasting and naked people.” “Yeah, but which one?”)

            • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

              Like we need an excuse to party, amirite?

        • Frank Mitchell

          The comparison to Osiris isn’t quite so random. Christianity was one of a number of mystery religions gaining traction in the Roman Empire, notably Mithraism, the Osiris-Isis-Horus cult, and worship of Aesculapius. Some have argued that they all shared similar features, like stories of miraculous healing, a midwinter death-rebirth celebration, and promises of an afterlife. Some claim that early Christianity dominated due to egalitarianism — a large number of early adherents were women — and an emphasis on good works … later repudiated by everyone from Paul of Tarsus to John Calvin.

  • LesterBallard

    “Unlike some Christians, one book probably isn’t going to change our minds.” One book, basically, changed my mind; that was actually reading the Bible; not every word, from beginning to end, but I read the vast majority of it. That cured me of being a Christian; or a Jew; both logically and morally.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    What makes this all even sillier is that he spent considerable time getting to know ‘an atheist’ and should know better. Too bad that atheist isn’t around anymore to set him straight.

  • Michael W Busch

    They had attended church.
    Most of our participants had not chosen their worldview from ideologically neutral positions at all, but in reaction to Christianity. Not Islam. Not Buddhism. Christianity

    I am confused.

    Does Taunton expect anyone to “chose their worldview from ideologically neutral positions” ? As much as we may and as necessary as it is to try to avoid and correct for them, everyone has biases from their personal history. And, as others have noted, it is entirely unsurprising that in a 75%-Christian culture, most irreligious people had a Christian background. A very approximate demographic model says that remains the case until and unless more than 1/3 of the general population is irreligious.

    Also, in my own case, I was raised Catholic but also investigated Buddhism in some depth and many other religions in less detail. Then – over the span of a number of years – I applied the techniques of science and critical thinking to all of those ideas, and realized how deeply flawed they were. That was an intellectual process. The emotional part for me was fairly subdued, and consisted of leaving the community associated with the church (and, to a much lesser extent, that associated with the sangha). As Hemant says, it’s the community and personal factors of leaving religion that carry much of the emotional weight.

    Switching from ancedote to actual population-scale evidence, just because someone started as a Christian and then became irreligious doesn’t mean they don’t know about other religions. Quite the contrary: in general, irreligious Americans know more about religion than religious Americans. That’s not new information for most of the readership here, but how does Taunton not know it?

    • Frank Mitchell

      Taunton apparently learned everything he knows about non-Christians from Chick Tracts. “Who is this Jesus?” this hypothetical non-believer asks. “I, a member of the most religious First World nation on Earth, have never heard of him. And he said what? And died? And CAME BACK? Jesus, you are my Lord and Savior!”

      Whereas if they’d once been British children hiding behind a sofa during a certain BBC television program they’d find dying and coming back to life just ONCE far less impressive.

      • Michael W Busch

        Not just British kids any more, given Libby Anne’s report: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2013/01/on-doctor-who-sally-and-the-resurrection.html and the number of my cousins and American friends who are Whovians.

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          Doctor Who is a big thing on the US-ian side of the pond.

          • Michael W Busch

            It’s true. My wife is a fairly serious fan (she has a Tardis-shaped cookie jar on her desk), but I’ve never gotten into it.

            • Reginald Selkirk

              You’ve never gotten into your wife’s cookie jar? I have trouble believing that.

      • Geoff Boulton

        11 Wholy ghosts, beat that Christians!

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      Most people like this, especially ministers, live in a bubble. No one tells them they don’t believe. They smile and nod and go on their way. The only atheists they know are the strawmen from religious tracts. They think if they just present them with the gospel that they will fall to their knees and accept Jesus. Not likely.

      • onamission5

        This is how I was raised, that the True Word of Jesus was so powerfully magic, if you shared it with someone and they did not immediately fall over trembling (figuratively or literally) in awe, that meant they were working for the side of Satan and didn’t even know it. The only thing that works on *those* people (unlike the people knowingly working for Satan, usually those militant atheists) is persistence, persistence, persistence, incessant witnessing, testimony, prayer, all with intent to plant the seed of god’s word in hopes it will grow and drive Satan from their hearts.

        Creepy how well I still remember this shit. Also, I keep writing Stan instead of Satan. LOL.

        • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

          I was raised with Chick tracts in my house. They scared the crapola out of me until I was old enough to realize how ridiculous they were. BTW, does anyone else remember the Chick tract that thought Reagan was the antichrist (his three names each have six letters and he supposedly too the oath of office facing the obelisk (Washington memorial) instead of facing the opposite direction as his predecessors had?

          • onamission5

            I have handed out some Chick tracts in my day, but I don’t remember that one at all! The ones they gave us kids to pass out all had to do with drug abuse, homelessness, “loose morals” and such.

  • Free

    Losing faith is inevitable if you do not have a relationship with God. Christianity as a religion sucks. God hates it too. At least Jesus sure said it many times. He hates the pretense, pretending, performing etc… He does however take pleasure in simple faith. He says we must believe that He exists and is a rewarded of those who diligently seek Him. Problem is we have no desire or intention to do so. As a result, we do not see beyond religion. This was me. An arrogant Christian until I saw Jesus. Can’t scientifically take you there but a relationship with Him is more wonderful than any science. I have changed as well not because I am something special but because He revealed Himself to me and I chose to accept. It’s an open invitation to know Him.

    • Michael W Busch

      I have changed as well not because I am something special but because He revealed Himself to me and I chose to accept

      You have had a set of experiences that you chose to interpret as “Jesus revealing himself”. But that does not show anything other than that complex neurochemistry is operating in your brain. Others might interpret similar experiences as a message from Allah or a moment of Nirvana. But there is no evidence for those either. There is plenty of evidence for unusual states in the complex but entirely natural systems that are human brains.

      I can accept that your belief has changed your life. But that doesn’t make your belief correct. There is abundant evidence of people believing entirely wrong things, and changing their lives drastically for the sake of those wrong beliefs.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

        That was a very nice way of saying, you are hearing voices :)

        • Michael W Busch

          Paracusia / auditory hallucination is a specific cognitive phenomenon. The set of things people often identify as religious experiences includes a very much wider range of experiences, many of which aren’t hallucinations or cognitive disturbances at all.

          • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

            You mean there’s a word for that?

            Is there a word for that thing where you see things out of the corner of your eye, but then you look and there’s nothing? (I keep seeing our last — very much deceased — cat lurking about.)

            • Michael W Busch

              You mean there’s a word for that?

              There’s a quite extensive vocabulary for the different ways human senses can report false information. An example: “formication” is the term for the specific paresthesia (tactile sensation without stimulation) of feeling as though insects are crawling on your skin. It comes from the Latin word for “ant”, “formica”.

              Is there a word for that thing where you see things out of the corner of your eye, but then you look and there’s nothing?

              There probably is, but since I am not any medical kind of doctor, I don’t know what you’d call that beyond “disturbance of peripheral vision”. It may not even be a disturbance, if your brain is picking up slight motions of anything at the edges of your vision and then momentarily interpreting them as “there’s the cat” based on previous experience.

              • indorri

                “formication” is the term for the specific paresthesia (tactile
                sensation without stimulation) of feeling as though insects are crawling
                on your skin.

                Gods, I hate that sensation.

                • John

                  Change one letter and it’s a much more pleasant sensation ;)

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              Both those things are common and usually harmless, though it is very unpleasant to hear the voice of a dead loved one in an idle moment or think you see a lost pet.

              I’ve had both happen, and know quite a lot of people who admit to one or both. I also occasionally experience the LOVELY phenomenon of hearing incredibly loud, novel, and utterly imaginary sounds sometimes when trying to fall asleep. It’s probably preferable to the lost voices, though. >.>

              • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                I’ll take the lost voices, those I can, at least, get to do something entertaining.

              • Freak

                Is that Exploding Head Syndrome?

            • Artor

              Just a garden variety hallucination. People think the word refers only to visions crazy people have, or someone on drugs, but anytime you see something that isn’t there, you’re hallucinating. When you KNOW what someone is thinking just from a casual look, you either know that person really well, or you are hallucinating; imagining something, (the state of someone else’s mind) that you couldn’t possibly perceive. It’s pretty normal, and for most sane people, they can tell which things are real and which things can’t possibly be real.

              • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                Gracie (our current feline mistress) gives a lot of Meaningful Looks, and I do KNOW (most of the time) what she’s trying to communicate. I swear if she could use words she’d be talking non-stop. (And she certainly does “talk” as it is!)

    • jdm8

      Christianity is a religion, even if you do believe you have a personal relationship with God. Don’t pretend they’re mutually exclusive.

    • ortcutt

      It’s hard to have a relationship with someone who doesn’t exist.

      • RobMcCune

        Because no one would feel good about religion if it wasn’t true

        • ortcutt

          I’m sure there are lots of people believe they have a “relationship” with Soap Opera characters and Edward from Twilight, but it’s an imagined relationship not a relationship with someone.

          • RobMcCune

            They are deluded heretics who have rejected the Truth of Team Jacob.

          • Michael W Busch

            And yet such imagined relationships can still have great emotional significance attached to them (which is particularly creepy for the stalker-fantasy parts of Twilight).

          • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

            Having a personal relationship with a deity is the most glorified of all delusions.

        • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

          LOL So if I imagine I’m in a relationship with George Clooney and that makes me feel good, then it’s true?

      • Matt D

        Not if you revert to your childhood.
        Having a relationship with an invisible friend is something we can observe children doing, as do adults. An imagination is all that’s required to start.
        While talking to yourself is seen as a social stigma, you don’t need to say anything aloud to do it, and it’s disturbingly easy to roleplay a diety speaking to you, especially when rough times abound.

        • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

          I don’t know about you, but none of my imaginary friends condoned slavery or genocide or send millions of people to eternal torment.

          • Vanadise

            It sounds to me like your imaginary friends were booooring.

        • Anna

          When God Talks Back is a fascinating book about how people learn to form highly-interactive “relationships” with deities.

          http://www.amazon.com/When-God-Talks-Back-Understanding/dp/0307264793/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

    • Matt D

      Uh….you’re STILL arrogant…..spending your time preaching to Atheists about your experiences when we didn’t ask you to do so, is one example of this.

    • Sven2547

      As a result, we do not see beyond religion. This was me. An arrogant Christian until I saw Jesus. Can’t scientifically take you there but a relationship with Him is more wonderful than any science.

      Is this meant to be so wonderfully ironic?

    • badgerchild

      I’m sorry, honey, I simply do not believe you. I don’t say that with rancor. I just remember when I and other atheist friends were Christians, and I put myself in your shoes, and said to myself, “Uh, no”. I don’t think that you having actual experiences that lead to those conclusions is a state of affairs remotely as likely as you just trying very hard to convince us with a load of wishful thinking.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      We’re well aware that some Christians like to pretend that “REAL” Christianity isn’t a religion, thanks.

      The actual issue that virtually none of them get is that Christianity isn’t the religion of Jesus. It (the religion you follow) is a religion about Jesus. It’s an epic myth, like Gilgamesh, with some circular memes built in to ensure compliant thinking.

    • Rain

      At least Jesus sure said it many times. He hates the pretense, pretending, performing etc… He does however take pleasure in simple faith.

      A simple faith that can move mountains and walk on water and a bunch of other things. Peter could walk on water for a minute there until he lost his simple faith that he could walk on water. So let’s see some empirical mountain moving or water-walking, otherwise let’s not quote only the Jesus parts that aren’t completely ridiculous. Because that leaves out a lot, and it also it makes us a hypocrite and delusional. I gave you a thumbs up for courage or trolling. One or the other. :D

    • Kodie

      Distinguishing what you seem to have from religion doesn’t really help at all. I don’t think anyone is confused that religious people believe they have an imaginary friend who guides or comforts them personally, i.e., nobody thinks it’s all about sitting in church at a specific time of the week or wearing a cross around your neck, or even helping out in a soup kitchen because you’ve been taught you’re supposed to. Everyone knows it’s all about thinking you have an invisible best friend who loves you even though you think you’re a pile of crap, forgives you for being rude and arrogant all the time, and instructs you to make it your business to get in everyone’s business. Nobody is confused, we don’t need you to clear it all up for us.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      that would be compelling if it weren’t for the fact that people have similar “experiences” with other deities. Even if I accept your assertion that there are gods in existence, which one is the real one?

    • Baby_Raptor

      Oh, look…Free is going on about how he’s omniscient and knows everything about everyone again.

      1) Christianity as a religion did not exist when Jesus was alive. There’s no way he could have said it “sucks.”

      2) Your god, if he even exists, doesn’t “take pleasure in simple faith.” He purposely hides, provides no evidence of his existence, does nothing to help his creation, and then supposedly rewards people who continue to believe in him despite all evidence pointing to his not existing by letting them spend eternity kissing his ass. That’s sick. It’s sociopathic.

      3) Your god can insist til the cows come home that we “must” believe he exists, but he provides exactly zero evidence or incentive.

      4) You have no idea whether or not people seek god. *You* might have had issues conjuring up the desire to look for him at one point, but that doesn’t mean everyone does. Again, your problem of claiming to speak for everyone when you can really only speak for yourself bites you in the ass.

      I spent several years studying everything I could get my hands on, talking to everyone I felt I could trust and begging god to make my issues with him make sense. He did nothing. So, I decided he must not be up there and I left the religion.

      My boyfriend is going through the same thing now. He desperately wants god to be real. He’s spent the past year doing everything he can to find answers, and some sort of proof that the faith he was raised in is real. But god just isn’t there. He’s getting nothing. And it kills him. If your god was truly open to people seeking him, crap like this wouldn’t happen.

      5) You’re still an arrogant ass; don’t go pretending you’ve changed. Anyone spending 5 minutes talking to you can see that you’re a self-righteous, simple-minded person that can’t handle people who take differing views. You deliberately insult people for the mere action of having different needs than you.

      6) Science is not a relationship, nor is it a religion. Your statement about how it compares to a relationship with your sky daddy makes no sense, and it’s just yet another way for you to pretend you’re better than everyone else.

      7) See 5 again.

      8) There’s no “open invitation” to know someone that deliberately conceals their existence. There’s no way to know someone that purposely will not talk to or in any way reveal themselves to you.

      And before you even start, no. The fact that you’re convinced that you have a relationship with this being does not mean that the rest of us are lairs, or we “didn’t try,” or any of the other common blow offs we’re so used to hearing.

    • Willy Occam

      “…but a relationship with Him is more wonderful than any science. I have
      changed as well not because I am something special but because He
      revealed Himself to me and I chose to accept. It’s an open invitation
      to know Him.”

      I hear you, Free! I feel the same way about Zeus. And really good bourbon.

    • Carpinions

      Ugh, seriously, do you think that stuff works on us? Do you really think you’re the first to try? Do you think you’re the last?

      Your affected, haughty, harrowing tone and prose are a plainly obvious ploy.

    • DavidMHart

      Two questions:
      1: What kind of evidence would it take to persuade you that the Jesus you are experiencing is imaginary – that it is all generated within your brain, and not actually coming from a supernatural entity outside yourself?

      and 2: What kind of evidence do you think it ought to take to persuade, say, a Muslim who claimed that they were experiencing a personal relationship with Allah, or a Hindu claiming a personal relationship with their gods, that their experiences were imaginary in the same way?

      If your answers to 1 and 2 are the same, then even if some kind of supernatural forces exist, there is no reason at all to pick Christianity, other than personal preference.

      If your answers are different, then I suggest that you may be operating on an unjustifiable double standard.

      And if your answer to 1 is something along the lines of ‘no conceivable evidence could possibly change my mind about this’, then you reveal yourself to be completely unconcerned about whether your beliefs bear any relationship to reality. Please don’t pick that as your answer; it isn’t a credible position.

  • Rain

    Now that he knows what turned people atheist, he will now be able to de-convert them and they will love Jesus again!

  • Rain

    Taunton has actually been on this shtick for a while. He mostly blames bad authority figures for the “problem” and backs it up with biased anecdotal evidence to back it up. His big thing is that people don’t ‘splain the Bible good enough.

    • RobMcCune

      From reading his article it seems to me his cherry picked stories that confirmed his prejudices against theologies, beliefs, and opinions he had problems with already in order to blame them for these students’ deconversions.

      • RobMcCune

        Another interesting thing about his so-called study is there don’t appear to be any links to it on his web site, only a cross post of his Atlantic article.

        • Rain

          He says if he had 60 seconds to say one thing to an atheist, it would be to tell them to read the Bible. Yeah, he’s full of it. He didn’t learn anything from atheists.

          • Michael W Busch

            Already did that, several times. Does he have any other things to say?

            • Rain

              Well I can tell you what he would say to that. He would say you didn’t read it objectively and it’s your fault for not being uncritical. (Because the Buybull is spayshul an’ true if’n you jist reed it.)

              • badgerchild

                When I became an atheist, it was on Easter Sunday. Something was wrong with my car and I couldn’t go to church. I picked up the Bible determined to find out what God meant for me. I put it down after a while convinced that it was all hopeless nonsense and God either wasn’t in there, or wasn’t what I’d been taught.

          • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

            I read the whole thing twice. (parts of it more but 2 complete cover to cover readings) That two more than almost every Christian I know. If you want to put cracks in a believer’s faith, have them actually read their holy book.

          • closetatheist

            omg, is he TRYING to look like Colonia Sanders? I literally laughed out loud when I saw him. His advice to simply “read the Bible” makes me suspicious that he’s never listened to a d@mn word any atheist ever said to him – atheists find the book laughable, irrelevant, and have probably studied it more honestly than him. THAT WILL NOT WORK, SIR.

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

        Srsly, the whole thing is dripping with confirmation bias. Phil leaves Christianity when his Bible-focused teacher is dismissed; Phil appears to think the timing’s a coincidence but Taunton doesn’t. Stephanie didn’t see the connection between social justice and Jesus (and it’s implied that this is because her Church didn’t emphasize the right message). Michael only respects Christians who have the conviction to try to persuade others. Nearly every student tells them they left for rational reasons, but Taunton arbitrarily decides this must be a front.

        The message he seems to want: People are leaving Christianity because of liberal Christianity, emotional events, and the internet.

        • RobMcCune

          My guess is Taunton just kept prying until he got them to express some initial dissatisfaction with Christianity, then fixated on that, ignoring the rational reasons these students decided to become atheists instead of just nones.

          • Michael W Busch

            My guess is Taunton just kept prying until he got them to express some initial dissatisfaction with Christianity,

            If he’d done that for me, it would have been something like 3rd grade, when I chopped up the Genesis creation myth and rearranged it to make a more logical sequence of events.

            • RobMcCune

              I’d tell him that in Kindergarten I liked dinosaur books better than bible stories. At that age I decided they couldn’t both be true.

            • Willy Occam

              Taking after Thomas Jefferson, cutting up your bible like that! :-)

        • Space Cadet

          Reading the article I got the impression that Taunton was trying to make some “angry at god” connections without coming right out and saying so.

  • ortcutt

    For me, becoming an atheist was a realization that the evidence for the claims of religion is completely lacking. That part wasn’t an emotional response. The emotional response I had was disappointment and disgust at the fact that people I trusted to educate me were trying to indoctrinate me with what were obvious absurdities. It’s a “You expect me to believe that?” moment.

    • Willy Occam

      Of course, those people who were indoctrinating you were themselves the products of brainwashing when they were young. That’s the most insidious thing about religion, it’s like a contagious disease that can be really difficult to cure, especially when you are always surrounded by others who are infected.

      • Kodie

        And are so offended when you don’t believe them.

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

    Taunton’s article didn’t teach me a thing about atheists, but it’s a decent case study of the sort of things people don’t understand about atheists. Like if I wanted to blog about stereotypes and misconceptions about atheists, this would be good source material. Thanks Taunton!

  • Nate Frein

    I’m not sure how common my case is, but I never really “lost” my faith because I never really had any.

    I was raised Catholic, but I used my confirmation as a way to feel superior to my brother, who was better than me both socially and academically.

    I used my faith as a way to seek approval from my father, and as an outlet for (mediocre) talents that I could get applause for at mass (like singing or reading).

    It was really more of a decision to be honest with myself and to stop playing games that were actually rather harmful to my attempts to come to terms with the fact that I was bisexual.

    • allein

      I’m not sure how common my case is, but I never really “lost” my faith because I never really had any.

      I would say the same…my parents took us to church as kids, I did things like junior choir and youth group and even confirmation mostly because I had friends there; my parents mostly stopped going when I was in high school so I stopped going then, too. Later in HS I volunteered in the church nursery but that was just because I liked to play with the kids. Then I went off to college. We did Christmas and Easter for several years, I kept doing it mostly for my mom for at least a few years after college, but I haven’t even done that much in more than 10 years now. My parents went back at some point but I never did. It wasn’t until about 7 or so years ago that I really started thinking about it, though. I started reading some Dawkins and others and it wasn’t so much a deconversion as just a simple realization of “oh, well this makes sense.”
      *any typos in the above are the fault of the cat who has decided she loves me right now.

    • baal

      I”m not sure I really had faith but having had all the catholic upbringing, I wasn’t personally ‘done with that’ until 11.

  • cipher

    Evangelicals and orthodox Jews are very much the same in this kind of situation (as they are in all contexts). It’s unthinkable that there could be anything wrong with the belief system, so they assume we must have had bad experiences or been disappointed by the authority figures involved.

    • Willy Occam

      Then there’s the question “Why do you hate God?”

      • Geoff Boulton

        Just ask them why they hate Thor or Zeus. It can be quite funny when they answer back ‘I don’t hate them, they don’t exist’ and I haven’t once heard anyone add, after a moment’s pause, ‘Oh! I see what you mean. How silly of me to think you hate God’.

  • Rain

    Presumably if he really wants to learn about atheists, he will read the over 1000 comments to his own article. It’s a sure bet he will ignore all of it and carry on with the same old shtick. Since this is actually an old routine of his, and not anything new as he would have us believe, one cannot rule out the possibility of a con artist at work here.

    • Artor

      Uhh…he’s a preacher. I assumed this was the work of a con artist from the start.

  • Miss_Beara

    The internet made me feel like I wasn’t alone in my unbelief. I doubted the existence of a god when I was about 12. I tried to believe, but it wasn’t working. Then I read that other people had the similar or much more serious (like atheist in the bible belt) experiences.

  • Mike De Fleuriot

    Their dismissal of Youtube, Social media and the internet is their downfall. As the saying goes, “The Internet, where religions come to die.”

    • Carpinions

      I wouldn’t say they’re ignoring those media. There is without question truckloads of apologetic, creationist, and assorted theist material on Youtube. They are also on social media, as someone I know from work who is now a pastor uses FB quite often to “spread the word” and communicate with his churchgoers. In fact, the Patheos blog network is evidence they are very much not ignoring the Internet.

      Their problem is that the Internet is searchable and traceable, so their bad arguments can’t hide. So they can preach online all they want. Nobody is watching over every churchgoer or kid who’s checking what his pastor says on Sunday on Monday, Tuesday, etc.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    I credit Dawkins’ The God Delusion for my deconversion. it’s not that he convinced me that theism was an unproven claim, but the book convinced me that it was okay to identify as an atheist. I hadn’t believed in years before that although I often continued to go through the motions. It was accepting the duality of belief: you either do or you don’t that helped me accept that I didn’t and that was a turning point for me. I was a lot older than 17, btw.

  • SeekerLancer

    Kind of hilarious that he expected to hear stuff like “New Atheist” literature turning people against religion when in reality the bible has produced more atheists than all of those other books combined.

    • Willy Occam

      Amen to that! ;-)

  • DougI

    Historically naive? Atheism has been around a lot longer than Christianity.

  • Goatless

    What about those of us who never actually had a faith at all?

    My mother is a lapsed catholic – and by lapsed I mean she’s basically an atheist in all but name – as a child I had no clue who this Jesus guy was or why the hell he was important and if somebody had told me I probably would have said they were dumb. I learnt about religion in RE lessons and through the general cultural osmosis of living in a mainly Christian society.

    I attribute my atheism to three things.

    1. Lack of childhood indoctrination – As seen above, I never went to church as a child, my mother never even mentioned the bible. To this day the only bible we have the house is my great aunt’s old King James. Which I only keep because it’s a family heirloom that’s over 200 years old. And it’s gorgeous.

    2. Voracious reader – Combined with the first thing, by the time somebody thought I should probably be Christian I loved novels but I was well aware that they were fictional. Stuff that happened in the bible was like stuff that happened in fictional novels. I didn’t believe one was real, why would I believe the other one was.

    3. My interest in history – The one thing they teach you, the further you go into studying history, is how to critically assess your sources. Not only that but when you study older religions that Christianity it quickly becomes obvious why primitive people believed in something and why that belief may have stuck around.

    After that it’s hard to look at a book and go ‘I know this to be absolute truth’ without any corroborating evidence.

    Plus the science stuff. Which I don’t really understand but, unlike religion, I know I could if I wanted to.

    And the fact that I think it’s ridiculous the number of people who were supposedly created just so god could send them to hell. A little bit pointless maybe.

    • Frank Mitchell

      Like it or not, though, most of us had some amount of religious indoctrination. Mine didn’t take, in part because only my mother was Catholic; my father honored Catholicism more in the breach than the observance, and most of the family were Lutheran or unspecified Southern Christian. The seed of doubt is more thoroughly sown when the Baptists who dominate Texas insist that only THEY are the true Christians. Add in public television (science documentaries, Monty Python, and Doctor Who) and I was pretty skeptical by the time a Jesuit prep school tried to make me a good little Catholic.

    • Anna

      That sounds very much like my childhood. My parents never mentioned anything about religion one way or the other. I learned about it on my own, through books, television, movies, and random snippets of conversation. I think lack of indoctrination (and remaining unaware of the god-concept for much longer than most American kids) was what allowed me to remain an atheist as I got older and encountered the religious beliefs of others.

      • midnight rambler

        Same with me. Occasionally my dad will make a snide remark about some preacher or organized religion, but even though I’m now 40 and my parents are in their 70′s I still have no idea whether they believe in god or not. It’s just never come up.

  • Carpinions

    I became an atheist around the age of 30. I stopped going to church years before and was more of a passive deist. I didn’t really identify with that position because I just didn’t really care about the issue yet to begin with, and I always took some solace in the old chestnut “One day we’re all gonna die and realize everyone was worshipping the same guy the whole time.” I also felt that the whole god-drives-evolution thing seemed a fair option for someone who came out of a youth filled with religion, but felt there was still some higher power even if a particular religion didn’t fit.

    The Internet is absolutely what changed the game.

    Somehow I got involved in defending evolutionary theory (in a very layman’s sort of way) in online forums and found myself at PZ Myers’ blog daily. Within a few months of reviewing tit-for-tat arguments between atheists and theists about evolution, and tangentially about everything else under the sun, the more I read from the theists, the more atheist I became. After about 6 months I finally said “Fuck it. I’m an atheist” That sounds irrational, but reviewing all those arguments against evolution, in support of Christian positions, seeing even Christians defend evolution, seeing patently absurd apologetics and defenses of the indefensible, etc. It was one heck of a self realization that I really had nothing to lose from dropping religion, and there were plenty of people with great arguments that already had, right at the tip of my mouse cursor.

    The Four Horsemen came a few years after that, and I was already convinced by that point, so God Is Not Great was purely for pleasure, though still informative. Atheist podcasts came after that. Then atheist blogs and local atheist meetups. And here I am.

    • Michael W Busch

      That sounds irrational

      Actually, it sounds entirely rational. You reviewed the evidence and the arguments and changed your mind when sufficient evidence was provided.

  • Yoav

    I left this comment on the linked article

    but in reaction to Christianity. Not Islam.
    Not Buddhism. Christianity.

    That’s a sampling issue, due to Christianity being the prevalent
    religion in the US. I grew up in Israel so the reference for my atheism
    is Judaism just like the reference for Indian atheists would likely to
    be Hinduism and for Egyptian atheists Islam.

    Ages 14-17 were decisive

    These are the ages we start thinking thing through and build our
    ideas in many areas such as politics and yes religion. You may think
    that because you pushed 6 year olds to proclaim they except Jesus as
    their savior they actually made a choice rather then just say what their
    parents and pastor told them they chose to say but in reality, with
    some rare exceptions, people are not mature enough to make this kind of
    decisions at this age. While I was never a believer it was around this
    ages when I made the choice to consider myself an atheist.

    The decision to embrace unbelief was often an emotional one

    Giving up on something that was a large part of your life and knowing
    this decision may cause you to lose some people you thought were your
    friends, not to mention the ChristianLove™ that often show itself in the
    form of death treats and such, can be an emotional issue, your point
    exactly?

    The internet factored heavily into their conversion to atheism

    Many religious communities make a concentrated effort to isolate
    their members from any information that wasn’t stripped of any idea that
    might make them question the validity of the claims made by the
    leadership of said religion. It is therefore unlikely that books like
    The God Delusion would be available in many religious homes for the kids
    to read, and given the freakout you often see over having Harry Potter
    books around probably also not in most school libraries. In spite of the
    effort by religious (and sometimes political) leaders to control it the
    internet allow people access to unfiltered information and for someone
    who grew up in a conservative small town may be the first time they
    encounter the existence of people who don’t just take the bible as fact
    without thinking about it. In addition the fear of being ostracized (as
    well as violence) make many people questioning their faith weary of
    mentioning it to anyone, the internet allow these people to realize
    they’re not alone and provide them a support system, making it harder
    for the church to bully them into just going along and pretending they
    still believe in order to keep it’s power.

    While as a study this wasn’t quite as bad as Ken Ham’s “did Noah had
    fire breathing dragons on his magic boat, sure because the English
    translation of the bible used this word” the difference isn’t that
    large.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      since the study was of college students, the ages of 14-17 would indeed be crucial. Some of us didn’t deconvert until later. I was heavily into contemporary Christian music and my youth group at 16-19. so obviously I’m a late bloomer (and just about that).

      • baal

        I was an early bloomer. Around 11 I figured out my parents didn’t put my well being at the front of the universe and it wasn’t very long after that I dropped pretty much every authority figure down several notches. God and his buddies did substantially less for me and still part of that short while, looked like god did nothing so *poof* there he went.

  • ORAXX

    Many Christians operate under the delusion that atheists simply lack information. In reality, it’s believers who tend to lack information and “historically naïve and potentially dangerous,” is a far better description of conservative Christians than it is the atheist community.

  • ed8101

    After reading several similar articles, I would have to conclude that athiests (if, indeed, there truly is such a thing) are desperately afraid of the truth. There is nothing more I can say.

    • Ann Onymous

      Please explain. From what I can tell, you’ve read a few articles full of obvious material, and have now concluded that we atheists are scared of the “truth” about something or other. You’ve also questioned the existence of atheists. Explanation, elaboration, and evidence (hey, alliteration!) would be much appreciated.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X