Patrick Greene, atheist activist, turns Christian

Christina here…

Here’s an news article in the Christian post about Patrick Greene, an atheist activist who recently turned Christian.

A few months ago Patrick Greene was an atheist who was threatening to sue Henderson County, Texas, if the county didn’t remove a Nativity scene from its courthouse lawn. Today he is a believer in Christ who underwent a radical change of heart that was catalyzed by the compassion of one Christian woman.

In late 2011, Greene joined the fight against a Nativity scene that had been set up outside the courthouse in the town of Athens, Texas, threatening to file a lawsuit over it. Shortly after he made his threat, however, he discovered that his ability to see was rapidly deteriorating and he would soon be blind, so he withdrew his threats and left the Nativity alone.

That’s when Jessica Crye, a Christian woman from Athens, asked her pastor, Erick Graham of Sand Springs Baptist Church, if they could help Greene. As a result of her kindness, thousands of dollars in donations have gone toward helping Greene, who has reconsidered his view of God as a result.

I should mention that atheists donated to Greene as well.

This is what Greene says in his Gofundme post:

I have also decided to study to become a Baptist minister.

I need help to achieve that goal also. I came across new information that convinces me that God does in fact exist. And I am also convinced that Jesus was his son. But I want to study more to become a Baptist minister.

When Rev. Erick Graham and Jessica Crye of Athens, Texas in Henderson County first helped me with my pending blindness, they were acting the way that Christians should act. Now that they and many others have saved us with money for rent and food and bills, now it is time to concentrate on the rest of our life with retirement and ministry.

Rev. Graham and Jessica Crye affected my heart so much, that I decided to go into intense study of the Bible. More than I had done before.

The Christian Post continues…

“There’s been one lingering thought in the back of my head my entire life, and it’s one thought that I’ve never been able to reconcile, and that is the vast difference between all the animals and us,” Greene told The Christian Post on Tuesday, as he began to explain his recent transformation from atheist to Christian. The theory of evolution didn’t answer his questions, he says, so he just set those questions aside and didn’t think about them anymore.

But when the Christians in a town that had reason to be angry with him showed him a gesture of love, he began reconsidering his beliefs altogether. He eventually began to realize that evolution would never have the answer to his questions, he says, and it was at that time he began to believe in God.

“I kind of realized that the questions I [was] asking you just had to accept on faith without doubting every period and every comma,” he said. He later began studying the Bible, both the Old Testament and the Gospels, and also discovered his belief that Jesus is the Son of God.

Aside from the nativity scene issue, the only other thing I know Greene has done was to claim on The Atheist Experience that he planned to sue Ray Comfort over a bumper sticker. Here is what Martin Wagner of The Atheist Experience had to say in the comments section:

There’s something the author of this article ought to know about Patrick Greene and his whole fracas with the atheist community that sent him running into your loving arms. Greene is only an “atheist activist” in his own mind. He never had any presence as a public figure in the community.

Greene’s whole embarrassing history began when he contacted our television show, The Atheist Experience, to announce with great pride that he was suing apologist Ray Comfort for selling a bumper sticker he found insulting to atheists. Instead of the support he expected, he was roundly chastised for his petty litigiousness, and informed that Comfort has every right to sell whatever bumper sticker he pleased. In case any of this hasn’t struck you yet, I’ll repeat: atheists were rallying in DEFENSE OF RAY COMFORT against Patrick Greene’s actions. For those of you willing to risk your immortal souls, you can watch the actual segment at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2O0gZa34wWo

Greene only made things worse for himself by insisting his contact info be made public, hoping to prove the atheist community at large would be on his side. They weren’t, and Greene heard about it for years.

Atheists later donated around $2000 to Greene for his supposed eyesight problems. Those people are now feeling a bit conned. And now he’s come to your side, to sell his sob stories to you. I’m sorry to burst your bubble in thinking Greene’s defection, so to speak, constitutes some glorious moral victory over all us heartless heathens and all. But the person you’ve really ended up with is, by our direct experience, a narcissistic nonentity who’d probably latch onto anyone who promised to give him the validation he so earnestly seeks.

So, I just thought you’d appreciate a friendly heads-up. From your friendly neighborhood atheist.

So, what to make of this? I’m not sure. I definitely don’t support suing Comfort over a bumper sticker – that’s way out of line. If Greene were a person whose reasoning I respected, I’d want to know why he converted in more detail – because maybe I’m wrong. I’d sure like to see a sermon delivered by him…

Update: Greene’s gofundme page, which I linked to above, has now vanished. I wonder why?

Learn more about Christina and follow her @ziztur.

  • http://cafeeine.wordpress.com Cafeeine

    Now I wish I remembered where that was, but in some youtube comment section back when the TAE show in question came up, several people predicted his eventual conversion (or “conversion”) to Xianity.

  • ‘Tis Himself

    Atheists were mean to Greene and now he’s seeing if the other side will be nice to him.

    • Jon Reed

      Atheists in Kansas City are great at treating curiousity seekers, who exhibit any tendency toward belief, like shit.

      Keep up the good work. Bahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Drakk

        Evil Overlord List #20:

        Despite its proven stress-relieving effect, I will not indulge in maniacal laughter. When so occupied, it’s too easy to miss unexpected developments that a more attentive individual could adjust to accordingly.

  • MichaelD

    I’m not going to bother speculating about his conversion anything from the cynical to the sincere is possible. I am a little interested though to see what he has to say on it. I can’t say he ever stuck me as a well reason arguer but I could be wrong.

  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/ Martin Wagner

    He’s an irrational man with a deep need for approval from others, and he’s going to where he is getting the validation he so dearly seeks. He certainly was no “atheist activist.” He’s not a Christian now either. He’s a narcissist, in my very humble, who only kneels at the altar of Patrick Greene and His Persecution Complexes. At least we won’t be getting any more e-mails from him, I hope.

    • PossumRoadkill

      Maybe you know this man personally. I don’t, but I would be willing to give him the benefit of believing he is serious about his conversion. Neither you or I can see what is in another man’s heart. You can only make observations of a man’s actions. To say that he is not a Christian is a pretty bold statement just because he did not fit into your definition of being an “atheist activist”. If he had been an activist Christian and converted to Atheism, would your comments be as critical? Doubtful. And your basis for his being irrational is based solely on his conversion from being an Atheist to being a Christian? And he’s the one who is narcissistic? Really?

      • neatospiderplant

        “If he had been an activist Christian and converted to Atheism, would your comments be as critical?…And your basis for his being irrational is based solely on his conversion from being an Atheist to being a Christian?”

        I don’t think an atheist becoming a Christian is unheard of, but the circumstances of his conversion certainly strike me as a little odd and coincidental.

        We know he’s losing his eyesight and has to give up his job as a taxi driver. I would think anyone losing their job for medical reasons and having medical expenses to cover would be a little worried. Then, a church that he is not part of gives him thousands of dollars to help. And you are saying it’s probably just coincidence that he has embraced their views now?

        I admit the possibility that the conversion was sincere, but it would be naive to think that someone in need of money and a job who jumps at the opportunities this church can offer him is completely sincere.

        • PossumRoadkill

          The optimist in me hopes he is sincere but at the same time I realize that people do take advantage of people who only want to help.

  • Marshall

    I have also decided to study to become a Baptist minister.

    I need help to achieve that goal also. I came across new information that convinces me that God does in fact exist. And I am also convinced that Jesus was his son. But I want to study more to become a Baptist minister.

    Is it just me, or does this sound suspiciously like he’s asking for more money from his new friends?

    • Rory

      That’s what really grinds my gears. If he’s sincerely ‘seen the light,’ then hey, whatever, that’s his business. But to suggest that because of this awakening he now needs folks to pass the hat for him seems like crass exploitation.

  • http://giliellthinkingaloud.blogspot.com/ Giliell, not to be confused with The Borg

    The christians have him now?
    Good riddance!
    His persecution-complex will be fed very well there

  • N. Nescio

    An “ex-atheist” would make for a terrific evangelist. Even if they didn’t fool the non-believers, the believers would eat it up and ask for seconds, their wallets open all the while.

    • josh

      They’ve already got plenty of those. See, for example, Lee Strobel. The general template seems to be: raised Christian, drifted away from religious participation as a teenager, then returned to the fold under the influence of friends and family or a personal crisis. Then you can go on the apologetics circuit with your story of what a hardcore atheist you were until you saw the light!

  • Drivebyposter

    My money is on a con-job. Frankly, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see him some time down the road bragging that he outsmarted the Christians by fake converting.

    I am curious about this “new evidence” he has uncovered though.

    • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com Ubi Dubium

      I think his new “evidence” is that xians will give you money and attention if you say you have converted.

      When Phil gave his “dont be a dick” speech, Greene is exactly the kind of guy he was talking about.

      The xians can have this crank with my “blessings”.

  • gratch

    If atheism really were a religion like all the nutjobs like to claim we would all be proclaiming that “obviously he was never a REAL atheist. Maybe he mouthed the words but he never let the love of our Dark Lord Atheia into his heart the way us TRUE atheists do!”

    • PossumRoadkill

      The funniest comment on this page. You may have given a clever Christian an idea for a cartoon, motivational poster or t-shirt. Kirk Cameron may even make it into a movie. You Atheists just keep playing into our Christian Master Plan of World Domination.

      • anteprepro

        That would be fairly ironic if Christians took that comment and ran with it in the name of humor. Considering that the comment was a parody of the kind of arguments Christians make to dismiss the idea that a Christian de-convert was really ever a Christian. It seems odd to provide the argumentum ad absurdum for one’s own side’s arguments, but that’s just my assessment. Maybe it would still be humorous to Christians logic enthusiasts (borderline oxymoron).

        • PossumRoadkill

          You are really over thinking my comment.

  • sumdum

    The vast difference between us and other animals ? What difference would that be? I keep reading more and more news articles about supposed human traits that are discovered to exist among animal species as well.

    • PossumRoadkill

      As a person who spends a lot of time around animals, I see many traits that we share with them. Most animals are smarter than people give them credit. I don’t think we are all that special in the animal world really.

    • John Horstman

      This was what struck me, too. Ironic juxtaposed with the above comment – while he could very well have been a *real* atheist, he clearly wasn’t overwhelmingly rational, since there simply aren’t vast differences between humans and non-human animals, and evolution very elegantly explains the differences that do exist.

      • PossumRoadkill

        This was what struck me, too. Ironic juxtaposed with the above comment – while he could very well have been a *real* atheist, he clearly wasn’t overwhelmingly rational, since there simply aren’t vast differences between humans and non-human animals, and evolution very elegantly explains the differences that do exist.

        I didn’t say there aren’t vast differences between human and non-human animals, I just said that I don’t think we aren’t that special in the animal world. Within the vertebrates, humans, apes, dolphins, and even birds it’s easy to see the similar physiology and behavior. When you compare humans with a Humboldt squid or giant tube worm, you are seeing a vast difference in physiology and behavior. I’m not denying evolution. It’s easy to see the evolution of the current day squid species with a past common ancestor. I can see the evolution of modern homo sapiens from older species as well. However to link modern day homo sapiens to something like a Humboldt squid is a pretty big stretch.

  • eric

    Why was there so much of a physical difference in the animal kingdom between us and all the other mammals? Cats, dogs, dolphins, whales, elephants….and humans.

    And gorillas. And chimpanzees. And bonobos. And fossil australopithecenes. And….

    Of course if you ignore the group of mammals most closely related to us, you will wonder why there are no mammals closely related to us. [/facepalm]

  • Bryan

    “He eventually began to realize that evolution would never have the answer to his questions, he says, and it was at that time he began to believe in God.”

    Well, there’s your problem Patrick. You’re looking to evolution to answer questions about life, the universe, and everything. The only question evolution answers is…well, a lot of questions, but certainly none about the origins of life or how it was “made” or what deity to believe in or not believe in.

  • Yellow Thursday

    As PZ said, he’s been bought. Whether Greene’s conversion was real or not, he’s using (abusing?) his new religion to make money. He’s found a more gullible group to sponge donations from.

  • baal

    Compassion and honesty often seem mean.

    Given the general (usu. low level, we rarely we get shot(T.Martin) or bombed (PP in WI this week)) abuse towards atheists, out atheists tend to rough speaking.

    Now if you could be so kind as to not call out a group of atheists for their tone while doing a typed evil villian laugh (non-ironically?)), I’ll be so kind as to not call you a hypocrite.

    • baal

      hrm, /reply fail.

      I was responding to Jon Reed up at the reply to comment 1.

  • anteprepro

    I came across new information that convinces me that God does in fact exist.

    And, as typical of believers, this information will most definitely NOT be given. Just use your imagination. And remember, it would be mean and unsophisticated for us atheists to assume believers are stupid enough to think that the following quote is pretty much the only kind of “information” that they have, even when it is the only kind that they give:

    When Rev. Erick Graham and Jessica Crye of Athens, Texas in Henderson County first helped me with my pending blindness, they were acting the way that Christians should act….
    “I kind of realized that the questions I [was] asking you just had to accept on faith without doubting every period and every comma,”

    Seems like perfectly logical reasons and “new information” to me! I mean, I’m sure he has more “new information” tucked away elsewhere. That’s why he mentions that he needs to accept things “on faith”, right? Because that’s what all people with “information” “convincing” them of a “fact” do, right? Bueller?

  • http://www.sinned34.com sinned34

    Good for him. It sounds like he’ll be able to make a sufficient living bilking believers out of money, where he was unable to garner much support from those nasty skeptics. I suppose someone facing a debilitating disease could do a whole lot worse.

    Anybody else see the film “Marjoe”? That’s what Greene’s conversion reminds me of.

  • http://sciencenotes.wordpress.com/ Markita Lynda—it’s Spring after the Winter that wasn’t

    I think “sells out” is the appropriate term–his brain for a mess of pottage.

  • http://sciencenotes.wordpress.com/ Markita Lynda—it’s Spring after the Winter that wasn’t

    AronRa: “Why don’t mammals have ethics? I don’t know! Why don’t apes have ethics? Well, why don’t you?”

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  • Rukymoss

    Isn’t this the guy that`wouldn’t go see an eye doctor because he was sure surgery would fail? And since when does a detached retina in one eye (what he was claiming ti have) cause blindness in both eyes? His story was medically fishy back when he was still supposedly an atheist.

  • James K

    “Atheists led by Joe Zamecki later donated around $2000 to Greene for his supposed eyesight problems. Those people are now feeling a bit conned.”

    That says an awful lot. Atheists feel conned because they helped someone out, but then that person ‘defected’. They were prepared to help out someone because they were an atheist, rather than because they were a human being.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

      No, atheists feel conned because they helped someone out, and he seems to be abusing people’s goodwill. NOT because he converted.

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