From Atheist to Christian

I get email:

I went the opposite direction: from committed atheist to Christian. Spent countless hours trying to dissuade Christians on the lack of evidence for Christianity and the truth of Darwin, et al. We dressed like warlocks, entered church services and tried to break them up. Went to “tent meetings” drunk and and drugged, and mocked the proceedings. Favorite idea was to compare and contrast the “compassionate” God with the evil of the world. Perhaps the Calvinist answer fits me: I was never a real atheist? Seriously, have been in the ministry now 28 years. Trying to do something about that evil and actually seeing some results. Take care. John

He sounds like he used to be pretty screwed up. I told him I’m glad he became a Christian, because I’m all for religion when people need it to be good people.

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  • Reginald Selkirk

    and the truth of Darwin

    Warlocks? sounds like a Poe to me.

    And what is his current position on evolution? Is he a Fundie/creationist, or has he found a way to reconcile science with faith?

  • Rayford Smith

    “John” didn’t need religion to become a good person. He just needed to quit being an asshole.

  • JohnMWhite

    I don’t buy it one bit. Not because I do not buy the idea of someone going from atheism to Christianity (I’ve seen it happen) but because I do not buy the outrageous story of about ‘breaking up’ church services and the general anti-social antics. It seems like simply a way to portray atheism as leading to that sort of behaviour and Christianity ‘saving’ him from it. And of course, were this person an atheist who had put the slightest bit of thought into it, they would not conflate Darwin with their theological point of view, even now as a Christian.

    • Jabster

      Have to agree sounds like his story should be here …

    • Custador

      Absolute bollocks, in my opinion. He’s got a fundie Christian’s idea of what an atheist is and does, so he’s made up a bullshit story thinking that it’ll be a really convincing testament to his fellow fundies. Seriously, does anybody know of any incident, anywhere, ever in which atheist broke up a church service?! What worries me about fundies making up storeis like that is that it smacks of an excuse to “strike back”, i.e. to attack atheists.

      • Mark the Pilgrim

        Seriously, does anybody know of any incident, anywhere, ever in which atheist broke up a church service?!

        Unfortunately I do know an atheist online who claims that she has been to Church specifically to mock the people there. I’m not sure whether she is telling the truth though. Although she does have a tattoo of some dude pissing on a cross. Also, I remember reading about some black metal bands who dress up like trolls and goblins and intentionally do ‘blasphemous’ things to Christian symbols. However, I think that this is in the extreme minority.
        Although, with regards to the Atheist-Christian convert, I think the story is possibly bullshit.

        • Ebon Badger

          Except that the Norwegian black metal scene consisted of actual satanists, as well as pagans who decided to “cleanse their old worshipping grounds of the christian invader”. Although it would be more accurate to describe them as angry teenagers lashing out at society, seeing as that is exactly what they were. The people involved have all mellowed with age and got a clue. Doesn’t mean they’re any less pagan or satanist now, they’re just less dickish about it.

          • Michael

            Satanism is not at its core an attack on Christianity, but it does generally see it as evil since it conflates Satan (who they view as a deity of sorts) with the devil (which is a generically evil character). The same is basically true of Luciferianism.

            However, the number of actual theistic Satanists is extremely low; “Satanists” are almost always actually atheists who practice it for any of a number of reasons, including parody.

            But if these people are burning crosses and that sort of thing, they are probably just doing it for attention and specifically to be extreme. Metal bands do that sort of thing. Pretty soon they’ll be biting the heads off bats.

            • Ebon Badger

              Lol, not crosses, churches. Cross burning doesn’t pack anywhere near the same punch :P

              The scene in Norway and Sweden went much further than nomming bats though. It culminated in the murder of Euronymous by “Varg” Vikernes, as well as murders commited by “Faust” Eithun and Jon Nodveidt. The latter two calmed down, and as a result got out of jail early and went back to making music (they’re a pretty good advert for rehabilitation as opposed to straight out punishment). Varg disappeared up his own arse and is now a white supremacist. He got out of jail last year, and is now back to making godawful noise again.

      • GBM

        @ custador

        Agreed; this reads like a fundamentalist who’s never knowingly met an atheist’s version of an atheist.

      • LRA

        Custy- I went to church last Christmas with my grandmother. I wouldn’t dream of doing such a mean thing in church!

        I even sang the songs and listened patiently to the Bible verses.

        So, yeah, I think this guy is full of sh*t.

    • Olaf

      I agree, the story sound like anything but an atheist.
      “The truth of Darwin”??? Why would an atheist believe in Evolution theory? It is irrelevant if he believes it or not.

    • trj

      Agreed. Dressing up as warlocks? Sounds like the bizarre idea some fundies have of how playing D&D will lead you to Satan-worshipping and dabbling in the occult.

      We have all the clichés – he used to be a drunk, drugged up, anti-social jerk back when he was an “atheist”, but religion made him put it all behind him. Sounds more like a young guy brought up as a fundie, rebelling the only way he knows how – by mimicking all the strawmen and stereotypes he’s been fed his whole life about atheists.

    • Skippy

      It has all the hallmarks of being an epic load of bollocks.
      1. “Atheist” claims about Darwin? Check.
      2. A “past” which involves probable criminal activity? Check.
      3. Misunderstanding of…well, pretty much everything? Check, check, and check.

      Daniel, just write him back and say what Rayford Smith said: “You weren’t an atheist; you were an asshole.”

  • Ipecac

    Yep, not buying that BS story for a second. I mean, who does that? It’s a Christian’s wet dream over how they imagine atheists to act.

    • Elemenope

      It’s the only way to maintain any sense of oppression when one is so established of a controlling majority. The “scary other” is coming to disturb their peace! Since this doesn’t actually happen, someone has to tell the stories to make it real enough to latch onto.

      • LRA

        Salem witch trials?

        • Elemenope

          Just about, only there the otherizing (and the stories, for that matter) were about even more base motivations than social insecurity.

  • Ty

    Yeah, lame.

    “Drunk and drugged up?” Really? This is as bad as the people who claim to have been atheists and use their former satan worship as evidence.

    • GBM

      Seriously, couldn’t he have gone with “high”, “buzzed”, or “stoned”, etc? $15 says this guy has never seen a joint.

      • Michael

        It’s hard to envision being stoned and going into a church to break up a service. Your weed terminology seems . . . misused here at the least.

        • GBM

          Fair point. All I meant to convey was that I’ve never heard anyone who is associated with drug culture ever refer to being chemically enhanced as being “drugged up.”

          • WMDKitty

            Neither have I. “Drugged up” usually connotes that a person has been medicated, typically with anti-psychotics, and not necessarily of their own free will.

            Ask a pothead, any one of us will use “stoned”, “baked”, “high”, “fucking toasted” (why yes, I am)… but never “drugged up”.

            As for the going to church stoned thing… well… the earth and the sky, the trees and the rain, the mountains, rivers, streams, lakes… THIS is my church, and I try to spend some time each day in quiet contemplation, surrounded by the cathedral of Nature’s beauty.

            Wait… oh… yeah. Dude, going to church and behaving in a disruptive or disrespectful manner is just a dick move. No matter how much fun it would be to run naked through the sanctuary screaming “HAIL SATAN” in the middle of Mass…. it’s just not cool.

  • Yoav

    Sound like the standard “testimonies” fundies keep pushing. No one was just a regular person before being saved they all were evil, drug addict, orgy going, baby eating atheists. I’ll have to join in and call bullsh*t on this one.

  • Jeff Sherry

    I’d be curious as to what John thought committed atheism is or was.

    • JohnMWhite

      Committed atheism is a bit like when someone has rabidly not collected stamps.

      I wonder if the commitment ceremony involves having pasta sauce poured over one’s head.

      • Elemenope

        I wonder if the commitment ceremony involves having pasta sauce poured over one’s head.


      • Kodie

        a bit like when someone has rabidly not collected stamps.

        I kind of did a little bit of that today when I asked to buy a postage stamp and get handed a Mother Teresa stamp, so I say to the guy, get me a different stamp, Mother Teresa is an asshoIe. She shouldn’t be on any stamps.

        • UrsaMinor

          +1 for not collecting the right stamp.

        • Skippy

          But she should be on toilet paper.

        • Michael

          Well played. You don’t collect stamps on principle.

    • trj

      Probably involves Satan. And Darwin. Maybe with a dash of Hitler.

  • anti_supernaturalist

    But, I say unto you, “Followest thou the money.”

    Where else can an uneducated, self-righteous bigot, and male supremacist find employment?

    Fundie xianity has proven well-paying for lying anti-intellectuals since P/Saul of Tarsus. Look at Pat Robertson, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin. In the US, hate plays and pays very well.

    Religions are ponzi schemes perpetrated by institutional frauds. Priest and televangelist, Pope and Supreme Ayatollah, bishop and imam — Liberty “U”, Focus on the Family, and Faux News are not “God”s proxies. They are political demagogues hiding behind supernatural nonsense, making illegitimate demands for secular power.

    They finance pedophile priests, birth-at-any-price ranters, holy brown-shirts harassing women and murdering physicians. All this illegal activity is bankrolled by fraudulently obtained donations, illegal tax concessions, and taxpayer subsidies. They are aided by complicit judges, prejudiced federal police, fundie dominated state and local governments, perverse school boards of unintelligently designed liars.

    State and local governments are short of cash — let them tax religious institutions as the businesses they are. Tolerance does not include subsidies to intolerant organizations which openly desire the overthrow of the Republic and the establishment of theocracy.

    the anti_supernaturalist

    • LRA

      win, Win, WIN!!! So full o’ win!

    • Michael

      This rant seems totally unrelated to this blog post, though…

      • Elemenope

        That’s how anti_supernaturalist generally rolls.

    • Mark the Pilgrim


    • WMDKitty

      *lifts bong in salute*

      Right on, man.

    • Dan

      I agree. Tax churches and see how quickly their “tithing” support dries up. People will quit doling out free money when it is going to be taxed anyway.

  • LarianLeQuella

    It’s sad to see how much brain damage drugs can cause!

  • The Atheist Geek

    This is one of the reasons atheists roll our eyes at stories of Christians who claim to have converted from atheism. Their stories are usually bizarre, unlike any real atheists we know, or just implausible. Not to say it can’t happen, but come on…this one is a bit of both.

    He could have just started a cosplay group if wanted to dress up like a warlock. Just a thought. Hey, I just got an idea.

    Does anyone know if dressing like a warlock nabs you lots of cosplay chicks?

    • Skippy

      Problem is, people might have mistaken him for Gandalf the Grey instead of John the Jackass.

    • Ebon Badger

      No, but it might nab you a lot of men dressed like cosplay chicks, if that’s any help.

  • Revyloution

    Where is all this hedonistic Warlock robe wearin’, drug takin’, sex orgy, immoral atheist activity happening?

    I’m 40, married for 15 years, never cheated on any girl, never had even a threesome. I’ve never taken illegal drugs, I drink in moderation. I pay my taxes, and most people don’t even know I’m an atheist. Also, Ive never protested any church, or shown up drunk to disrupt the services.

    All of the atheists I know are pretty damn similar. For the most part, we’re fairly normal folk that just don’t believe in gods.

    What the hell am I missing? Where are all the sex and drug infused atheist parties happening?

    • Thin-ice

      Ditto, Revyloution! Truth be told, a lot of younger christians I know practice a lot more liberality in their sexual behavior and drinking alcohol than I do as an atheist. (Although as a fundmentalist I was pure as the driven snow as well!)

      Why can’t I damn well loosen up a bit now, with no God looking over my shoulder???

    • Ty

      I’m exactly the same as you except I have fewer kids and guns.

    • Len

      What the hell am I missing? Where are all the sex and drug infused atheist parties happening?

      In the past.

  • WMDKitty

    In a word: SHENANIGANS!

  • FO

    “The Secret Lives of Atheists”

    Now, please bear my apology, but I have a pretty busy day ahead; we go chanting Evoutionists hymns at the church, and while they are distracted, we steal their babies to eat them afterwards, just before our weekly coke-high orgy.

  • RJTrueman

    Your concluding comment, “I told him I’m glad he became a Christian, because I’m all for religion when people need it to be good people” was very appropriate. I would add, however, that anyone who NEEDS religion to be a good person is demonstrating a serious flaw in his makeup…either psychological, emotional. If you can’t be good without the coercion of a divine Overlord, you’ve got problems. And, in that case, I agree with you, Daniel: whatever it takes! Better a religionist than another A-hole going around mucking it up for the rest of us.

    • LRA

      This is why churches are actually *not* safe for families.

  • Jacob

    Getting coked, dressing up as warlocks, and crashing bible parties always seemed to get results for me. Maybe he just needed to take off his fundie undies.

  • blotonthelandscape

    Given the hilarity in the above comments I feel a bit out of place saying this, but I think there’s a lot of “no true atheist” going on up here. I’m willing to believe that the guy is telling the truth about his behaviour and conversion (not all religious people are born that way). Not that it makes a difference to the stupidity of his behaviour, and an unfortunate consequence of his conversion is that he gets to go around equating all other atheists to himself; it also circumvents productive discussion on secular morality.

    Still, maybe I’m just jealous that while I was being all pious in my socks and sandals, he got to wear a warlock outfit.

    • Mark the Pilgrim

      I don’t think anyone is saying that it is impossible per se, but the fact is, quite a lot of atheist to Christian converts do embellish how they used to behave whilst atheist (if at all). Also, this guy mentions that he is in the ‘ministry’; a lot of them do add in stories of occultism, depression, drug abuse and general hedonism to adopt some sort of Saul like redemption story. While not impossible, it does raise concerns over the veracity of the tale if it conforms to the very stereotypes that Christian Fundamentalists have of atheists.
      So yes, I think we can throw doubt on it. I’m not dismissing it entirely, but I am definitely taking it with a pinch of salt.

      - Mark the Pilgrim

      • blotonthelandscape

        It’s a fair cop I guess; although it borders on cynicism, it’s probably justified. To me I think I’d rather call it cynicism about his pre-conversion life than say he was probably never really an atheist. But then I like quibbling and being a contrarian.

    • DDM

      I think the problem with the testimony is that it doesn’t say how he was converted to Christianity. Perhaps if we knew that, we could get a better grasp on things.

    • Heidi

      Here’s the thing. If there was ever any amount of warlock-attired church-service-busting going on in America, why was it not on the news? Seriously? Don’t you think The Bad, Bad Atheists Stage an All Out Attack on All That Is Good and Holy would make the news somewhere? If it happened today, Fox News would be all over it complete with cell phone videos.

  • Eric Mac

    Reminds me of the movie, “40 Year Old Virgin”, where Steve Carell describes the feeling of boobs like a bag of sand.

  • noyoyo

    for atheist,,,
    you neither hate nor like God but you hate religion which make in fact prooved that you guys also hate each other, you condemned people converting to a religion, worried of increasing religious trend
    what does that make you differ from other religious fanatics?
    i suppose we’re all just human

    • UrsaMinor

      you neither hate nor like God but you hate religion which make in fact prooved that you guys also hate each other

      I love a good non-sequitur with my second cup of coffee. Thanks for providing it.

    • trj

      Yes, worrying about increasing religious trends is just the same as hating and condemning people and being a religious fanatic. Well spotted.

    • Sunny Day

      “what does that make you differ from other religious fanatics?”

      Because we’re willing to change our minds if you show us the evidence.

      Tits or GTFO!

      • Custador

        Cool story /b/ro….

  • Jacob

    for unintelligible person,,,

    ther is a diffrence bwtween interaction between social groups and reasons for belonging to those groups. Just because atheists want more people think the same way they do, doesnt mean the reasons for being atheist are the same as those for being religious. in fact they are different.

    I suppose some of us care about having consistent moral justifications for our actions and for society, and others are just humans.

    • Nzo

      for unintelligible person


      • Jacob


        • Nzo

          “Pot, meet Kettle”

          Idiom used to accuse a person of being guilty of the very thing they are pointing out.

          I found out later that you probably meant to respond to the post above; regardless, I find your post to require more assumptions to gather meaning than is truly necessary.

          tl;dr – your post wasn’t clearly written.

          • Jacob

            I was going for mockery, so I’m not sure if your post implies success or failure. I am going to go with success.

            • Nzo

              Your entire post was meant as a nonsensical mockery? I find that a little hard to believe, but if that’s the case, then yes, it was a smashing success.

              Troll points: 10/10
              Mockery points: 2/10
              Refutation points: 0/10

            • Sunny Day

              I got the joke.

              The comment nesting screwup confused things.

              Troll -5
              Mockery +5