13 Things I Like About Atheists

Every once in awhile I try to come up with a list of things I like about other religions. This time, I’m going to try a non-religion, and hopefully it goes better than the Scientology post. [You can find all the 13 Things posts here.]

As you can imagine, the language and concepts in the following videos might offend. Click at your own risk.

13. Tim Minchin

Hilarious.

12. Stephen Fry

Lovely man. He makes me want to be a gay man, just so I’d have a chance…

11. Ricky Gervais

He has the creepiest little smile. The movie Ghost Town is one of my favorites.

10. Flying Spaghetti Monster

Have you been touched by his noodley appendage?

9. Katharine Hepburn

The classiest lady on the silver screen.

8. George Carlin

The funniest atheist of them all…

7. Eddie Izzard

The only man sporting heels I’ve ever gotten the vapors over…

6. Penn Jillette

One of my favorite magicians. Until I saw this first video, I never realized exactly how nauseating Piers Morgan is.

5. Christopher Hitchens

I don’t want to like Hitchens, but I can’t help it…

4. Richard Dawkins

3. Ani DiFranco

I adore Ani with all my heart…

2. Pagan Atheists

They drum with us, they dance with us, they find the earth worthy of reverence the way we do, but they don’t believe in a plethora of ceiling cats. This song is for them.

1. Carl Sagan

Technically I think Sagan is agnostic, but his enthusiasm for science inspires me.

Like many Pagans, I find I have a lot in common with atheists. Militant atheism, which feels the need to attack my non-proselytizing, personal beliefs, irritates the snot out of me, because it is proselytizing and evangelical. However, 9 out 10 times I will find myself siding with atheists on issues that affect me rather than with other religious people.

Being Negative Is Healthy; Or It’s Good To Be An Ass Sometimes
Christians Acting Like Christians: Dissecting Tim Dalrymple’s Comments on Paganism
Practical Polytheism: A Review of Devotio Antinoo
Being Negative Is Healthy; Or It’s Good To Be An Ass Sometimes
About Star Foster

Polytheistic Wiccan initiated into the Ravenwood tradition, she has many opinions. Some of them are actually useful.

  • http://twitter.com/ThornCoyle T. Thorn Coyle

    Star, Eddie Izzard looks disturbingly like George Carlin. Can you fix that? You are ruining my Eddie swoon.

  • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

    Whoopsie! Fixed!

  • Nicole Youngman

    Check out “Atheist Anthems” at the top…http://www.bonepoetsorchestra.com/order.html

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    Well, you know what Lon Milo DuQuette might say in relation to this:  Eddie Izzard is your favorite part of George Carlin!  ;)

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    Loads of people I love and adore here…Although I share your distaste for militant/evangelizing atheists, or as Stephen Prothero and others have called them, “angry” atheists (as opposed to “friendly” atheists), of whom several of the above are, no matter how much I also agree with some of their statements.

    Of course, one other that could be added is Oscar Wilde (though, alas, we don’t have him on film!), who was an atheist/agnostic for much of his life, and had some lovely comments on atheism as a kind of spirituality in De Profundis:

    “When I think about Religion at all, I fell as if I would like to found
    an order for those who cannot believe:  the Confraternity of the
    Fatherless one might call it, where on an altar, on which no taper burned, a
    priest, in whose heart peace had no dwelling, might celebrate with unblessed
    bread and a chalice empty of wine.  Everything to be true must become a
    religion.  And agnosticism should have its ritual no less than
    faith.  It has sown its martyrs, it should reap its saints, and praise God
    daily for having hidden Himself from man.  But whether it be faith or
    agnosticism, it must be nothing external to me.  Its symbols must be of my
    own creating.  Only that is spiritual which makes its own form.  If I
    may not find its secret within myself, I shall never find it.  If I have
    not yet got it already, it will never come to me.”

  • http://omo.peacockfairy.com/ Ruadhán J McElroy

    I tend to only like Penn Jillette out of “performer mode” in the instances where he’s talking about religion and atheism.  Also, agnosticism is simply the belief that the full knowledge of deity is unknowable; it’s perfectly valid to be a Christian agnostic, for example,  as one would simply believe that there is a singluar God and Jesus and all that, but acknowledge that the true nature of this deity, even whether or not this sort of deity actually exists, is unknowable.  To be agnostic is to basically admit that you don’t know, regardless of whether or not you believe in Deity.  Sagan is clearly agnostic, but I’d say more on the Deistic or Pantheist side than atheist; in an episode of Cosmos (sorry, brain-farting on which episode), he gives his personal definition of deity as “the whole of the cosmos” and the collective consciousness of the universe, so he’s clearly not an atheist in the purest sense, and more importantly, not only did not self-identify with the term, but strongly discouraged others from identifying him as an atheist, and made many public statements disowning and divorcing himself from the term — so ultimately, he’s not even an atheist at all.  (Sorry, had to fan-boy for a second there.)

  • http://omo.peacockfairy.com/ Ruadhán J McElroy

     Yes.

    Take out Sagan (who was not an atheist) and add Wilde.

  • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

    Already pre-ordered a copy!

  • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

    I said Sagan was agnostic.

  • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

    I gave serious thought to Terry Pratchett. Sometimes I think he understands Pagans better than we do ourselves.

  • http://omo.peacockfairy.com/ Ruadhán J McElroy

    OK….?

    And I’ve simply explained that “agnostic” doesn’t mean “undecided” or “atheist lite”; there are both theistic and atheistic agnostics.  There are deistic agnostics, there are pantheistic agnostics.  Could you please point out what I said that obfuscated this, so that I can avoid doing it at a future date?  :-)
    :-) I also explained that Sagan was not an atheist, so he’s clearly not an agnostic atheist; he disliked being described as an atheist, and he gave his personal definition of deity to be an essentially pantheistic one.  He still was agnostic, but clearly not an atheist one. :-)

  • LezlieKinyon

    Thanks- my partner is an avowed atheist.  He believes in pumpkin pie, good friends and blues and I’m as Pagan as it gets.  Our favorite atheist of all time is John Lennon.  A visionary if there ever was one.  “JL: At one time I was so much involved in the religious
    bullshit that I used to go around calling myself a Christian Communist,
    but as Janov says, religion is legalised madness. It was therapy that
    stripped away all that and made me feel my own pain.”  (1971 interview – http://www.counterpunch.org/2005/12/08/the-lost-john-lennon-interview/

  • http://www.facebook.com/christopher.bingham1 Christopher Bingham

    Sagan maybe didn’t like being called an atheist, but he pretty much lived in Spinoza’s camp – if there is a concept of god, it’s more like the totality of all the laws of the universe – and that sending up a prayer would be “like praying to the law of gravity.”

    His dragon in the garage analogy is pretty clear about standards of proof. As you say, agnostic is not atheist light, it simply means “We cannot know” rather than “I don’t believe.”

    If Sagan encountered affirmative proof that there was a god by everything the data said, he’d have bought it. He did not believe in any kind of anthropomorphic god. He was also an avid skeptic.

    For pretty much any practical purpose, he was an atheist.

  • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

    Awesome! One of these days I might just settle down with a good atheist guy. Two Pagans in the house might be a bit too much!

  • Cara

    Going to have to disagree.  However someone chooses to self-identify religiously, I’m going to honor that.  He was very clear that he was an agnostic (which Star noted) – but not an atheist.  

    He felt there was certainly something out there bringing order and chaos, but felt the stereotypes that organized religions used were lazy misrepresentations of the vast Oneness that exists.

  • http://www.facebook.com/christopher.bingham1 Christopher Bingham

    Well, on a good day, I self-identify as a genius, but may or may not fit the actual definition. :-)

    He was certainly good a communicating his awe and wonder at the universe, which was also highly skeptical. When he coined the phrase “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” he was talking about god.

  • http://www.facebook.com/christopher.bingham1 Christopher Bingham

    You should have your copy by now – I sent it a week ago Friday. Thanks for buying a copy!

  • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

    I’ll check my PO box. Thanks!

  • LezlieKinyon

    It’s a challenge – especially at holidays – but we manage. 


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