My new place.

I’m standing on the porch holding a small cardboard box.  The wood beneath my shoes shows many signs of age and is neither painted or stained.  However, it’s a pleasant change from the overgrown grass creeping up over the walkway and giving the chiggers a springboard up to my calves.

The house itself is a pale yellow.  It strikes me as a little lopsided, so tilt my head a bit to check.  It’s slight, but it’s there.  The rusty mailbox next to the door still bears a stained piece of paper with the name “Libresco.”

There’s a note on the door from Bob Seidensticker.

I just wanted to welcome you as a fellow blogger in the Atheist bin here at Patheos!

I’ve not met Bob.  I need to fix that.  He’s apparently just a few houses down, so I’ll have to make it a point to swing by as soon as I’m settled.

I put the key in the lock, take a deep breath, and turn it.  I’ve already turned in the keys to my old place, so I’m hoping this one works.

The key does, in fact, turn.

The place is simple, no bells and whistles.  I slip my shoes off to feel the wood floors against my feet.  The paint on the walls looks almost like someone chucked it on with a bucket rather than a paint brush.  I trot up the stairs and peek out the window (which doesn’t have a screen) at the Friendly Atheist’s digs.  That fucker has a pool and a tree house.  But he’s a big name, I hear, and he’s been here for a while.  Besides, I really don’t need much to be happy.  This place is new and it’s mine; mine to build up to be whatever I want, and that thought gives me a tremendous smile.

I’ll hang a disco ball in the living room for starters.  I’ll bet he doesn’t have one of those.

Anyway, I guess I should introduce myself to everybody in the ‘hood, as it were.  I’m JT (or “J.T.” if you feel like doubling the amount of keystrokes to get your workout in.  Me?  I’m lazy as hell).  I’ve been an atheist activist for the majority of my adult life.  I believe human beings have a moral obligation to do their best to be reasonable.  I also think religion, particularly faith-based religions, tell people the opposite: that it is ok to be irrational.  Religion seems to be the only institution spreading that idea or, in the case of faiths like Christianity, spreading the idea that you must be irrational and believe ludicrous things (like someone rising from the dead) on faith or be punished for all eternity.  Insofar as unreason is my enemy, so too is religion.

As far as activist things I’ve done that’ve gotten a lot of attention go, when I was in college I co-founded and led what will likely be the largest atheist/skeptic convention in the USA this year, Skepticon.  Also, up until last week I was the high school organizer at the Secular Student Alliance.  I spent twenty months there and the number of high school groups quadrupled.  It was a very good time.  And up until today, I blogged at Freethoughtblogs, which still feels like my home.

I set down the cardboard box I’ve been carrying and start hanging up pictures of all my old friends; Jen McCreight, Greta Christina, PZ Myers, Ed Brayton, Ian Cromwell, Stephanie Zvan, Dan Fincke, Brianne Bilyeu, Ashley Miller…some of them used to be my heroes, but somewhere in the time I spent at Freethoughtblogs they became friends instead.  I don’t have any furniture, but hopefully the pictures will make this new house feel a little bit the same as my old one.

Anyway, I usually write about religion and how it sucks, so I guess the atheist portal is a good spot for me.  I also write about politics, gay rights, mental health (I’m a recovering anorexic and gave this talk at Skepticon last year), gaming, and whatever else is on my mind or pissing me off at the time.

Speaking of criticizing religion, I’m looking down the list of other residents and I see some familiar names…Elizabeth Scalia, Ben Witherington, and Timothy Dalrymple (Christina criticized the same post).  Awkward.  Ah well, I love awkward situations.  Seriously, I thrive in them.  So no worries there.

What else about me?  I’ve been an opera singer, and now do my best to be that guy who ruins karaoke for everyone else.

Here’s the vid of Poor Unfortunate Souls.

Here’s me with CASH in Minnesota a little inebriated, a little sick, and trying to sing.

Moar Josh Groban.

And now getting into Columbus karaoke outings.

I take requests and will often ask for them on the blog if I’m going out.

I’m a public speaker, and will be taking more speaking gigs now that I don’t have a full-time job.  Here’s a recent talk of mine.  There are more on youtube.

If I’m ever in your area, I will totally karaoke with your group.  My next one will be at Rose Hulman University next Saturday.  I’ll be speaking about atheism and morality.

I also have some contributors to this blog.  You can learn about them by clicking the contributors tab up at the top.  They rule!

What else about me?  Um…I’m honest.  Whether I’m saying that you suck or that you’re amazing, you can be sure I’m sincere and maintaining no pretense.  I think frank communication creates a better world, and that a lot of tact is expected just because we’re unaccustomed to honesty.  I am blunt because I care.  Also, the ninth commandment doesn’t mean shit to me, but my integrity does.

So…yeah.  Hi Patheos.  The door’s always open if you want to stop by.  In the words of Tim Minchin: it’s not perfect, but it’s mine.  :)

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Ben Blanchard

    First comment on first post of new blog….

    • Kenny Flagg

      You’re everywhere!

    • Clarissa

      JT should give a FULL and COMPLETE explanation of why he left the SSA.

      In the meantime, I am thankful that he will not be helping organize against Christian kids.

      • Slow Learner

        1) None of your business

        2) What? Do you not understand the word Secular?

      • anteprepro

        Yeah! Because that’s exactly what the SSA did! “Organize against Christian kids”. I mean, it’s not like their actual purpose was to “organize” on behalf of non-Christian kids who occassionally get stomped all over by Christian school administrations in this majority Christian country of ours. That would simply be unthinkable! Nope, it is all about being mean to Christian kids! Like, duh.

      • Makoto

        Why? What does he owe to you?

  • otocump

    Welcome JT! I’m super happy to see you in the new digs!

  • Kirk

    I hope the new digs work out for you! One less reason to go to Freethoughtblogs (though plenty remain) and one more reason to come here.

  • Christina

    I get the big bedroom across from Hemant’s place!

    • jberhard

      Take it. I hear that guy throws parties to the wee hours of the morning blasting Beastie Boys and with lights bright enough to drown out the sun.

      I’m going to go sleep in the living room with my disco ball.

  • basementmatt

    It’s like my next door friend moved away … to the house on the other side of me.

  • Dan

    As someone who used to be in a barbershop quartet, I too enjoy ruining karaoke for the legions of drunk singers ;-)

  • Salo

    “I trot up the stairs and peek out the window (which doesn’t have a screen) at the Friendly Atheist’s digs. That fucker has a pool and a tree house.” I think that just made my day!
    It’s really…blue…compared to the old digs. I kinda like it.

    • jberhard

      Blue is a nice, calm color. Like camouflage for my boundless anger.

  • Kate Donovan

    Welcome to Patheos, neighbor :D

    • JT Eberhard

      *hug* Thanks, Kate.

  • kagekiri

    Seems like I’ll need to finally sign up for a proper commenting account or whatever; too many good bloggers to follow here now to not have one.

  • neatospiderplant

    When’s the blogwarming party? ;)

  • Libby Anne

    I would bring you cookies to welcome you, but that would be too stereotypically feminine. :-P Welcome!

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  • Adam Morva


  • Richard Wade

    Welcome, JT. I hope that you are happy here, and that your blog and all your endeavors prosper.

  • Ethan

    Glad to see you settling in, I will be one of what I’m sure are many of your loyal FTB readers who will gladly follow you wherever you choose to write.

  • YeOldeProfessor

    Hey JT,

    Just submitted this comment on your site at FTB (the post about Ms. Scalia):

    Met you at Skepticon in 2010 and was lucky enough to get some lunch with your dad at a little sandwich joint in Springfield (at least I think it was ’10. Could have been ’09; I’ve slept since then). I look forward to continuing to read your blog over at Patheos. One question: I am a professor at a directional state university in the heart of the bible belt, and I have been approached by a student who wants to start an organization for the non-religious here on campus. Any suggestions as to how to proceed? I’ll step up and be the faculty sponsor, but I have zero and I mean ZERO, experience in this area. I truly am worried that this could have a negative impact on my career. I’m willing and able to fight, but I want to fight smart. You know that FTB (and Patheos) has my email address and I give permission to you and them to divulge it, but only to you. HelP! (Please?)

    • Ubi Dubium

      Just go to and hit the “start a group” link. They’ve still got all the information and advice you need, even if JT doesn’t work there now.

  • Nathan Piccolo

    Welcome to your new home JT.

    Tweenky and I will be looking forward to seeing more of you in the coming months whether in-game or in person. We hope to have you down for a speaking gig soon and wish you well as you adjust to the new place.

  • Alex Hawkins

    Welcome to your new home :) Good luck!

    Umm… you might have changed this on purpose, but I just want to let you know that Google Reader only shows a snippet of your post.

  • onamission5

    Welcome to the house down the way!

  • The Flying Atheist

    Hi JT. Followed you here from FTB. Hopefully we will see more friendly faces coming to visit you here as well.

  • Camels With Hammers

    Niiiiiiiice place you got here!

  • Drakk

    First order of business in a new home: Zombie outbreak defense and evacuation plans.

  • invivoMark

    Continuing with your new-house metaphor, I imagine myself to be the alcoholic acquaintance who barges in boisterously just as you’re getting settled in, clearly drunk and tracking mud everywhere, saying, “gosh, some of your neighbors sure are weird!”

    That said, some of your neighbors certainly ARE weird. And wrong. On lots of things. Are you certain you’ll be able to keep up with your angry militant-ism which I have so come to love these past few months, without turning the neighborhood into a hellscape filled with smoking craters and patches of deadly radiation? Here’s to hoping.

    And, naturally, once you announce your blogwarming party, I’ll supply the booze, and you supply the rocktastic buttkicking you do so well.

    Sorry about the mud, I’m gonna head back to Tyria for a bit and then probably pass out in an alley in Lion’s Arch.

    • Drakk

      Those are the neighbours?

      …The neighbours are zombies?

      …Those AREN’T THE ZOMBIES!?

  • Otrame

    Hey, JT. I’ll miss you over on FTB but I have to come to Patheos to read the Slacktivist anyway, so no big deal. Wishing you all the best. You’ve been sounding so much better the last few days. I am happy about that.

    So go get them, young tiger. Kick up some dust. Have fun decorating the place. And don’t forget that we love what you do. (And by the way, we love The Adventures Of JT’s Dad episodes, so don’t forget to leave room for them in the new place. )

  • Ted Seeber

    The problem comes when atheists use irrational means to criticize. One I paricularily battle over and over is the “priest x did such and such to me therefore the entire religion is false” without ever asking the question “is what the priest did within the confines of orthodoxy for his own religion”?

    If the answer is no, then he has no more proven religion false philosophically than a physicist sleeping with a student proves the law of gravity to be false.

    • Otrame

      Funny. I’ve read literally hundreds of why I am an atheist stories in various places. Not a single one had anything about what some priest did to them as an individual. I’ve been an atheist for 45 years, known many other atheists, and NEVER ONCE heard an atheist claim that they were atheists because of the scenario you describe.

      I don’t deny you may have heard some kid say such a thing (though honestly, I kind of doubt it), but if you are trying to dispute the logic in reasons why people are atheists, you need to actually know what atheists, in general, have to say about why they are atheists. I assure you, your comment just made every atheist that read it smirk and wonder why you spent so much “logic” fighting an atheist made of straw.

    • anteprepro

      Serious business all up in here. This straw “atheist for all the wrong reasons” has what significance to this post?

      More seriously: You do realize that this cuts both ways, right? That this irrational atheist argument doesn’t undermine religion philosophically, but the fact that some atheists make irrational arguments doesn’t undermine atheism philosophically?

    • Ibis3

      I’ve never heard an atheist say anything remotely like that. I think you need to bring citations next time you come by.

    • Makoto

      Honestly, I’ve heard a few atheists complain about some Catholic priests being pedophiles – which has been proven. I wouldn’t call that irrational, though claiming that *all* Catholic priests are pedophiles would be irrational.. of course, I haven’t heard anyone claiming that.

      I haven’t heard anyone using such molestation to attack the entire religion, though. Sure, some priests may be bad. Hopefully we can all agree on that. Atheism says nothing about priests, though. I think you’re attacking the wrong targets.

  • Ani Sharmin

    Welcome to your new home, JT! (I bet your parties will have awesome music.)

  • Patterrssonn

    No he doesn’t understand the word secular, he doesn’t even understand that the theory of gravity makes no claims to morality. And the question for me is, is the priest a product of his religion.

    Swearing on your first post? Excellent.

    • Rory

      I think the problem is that we are often told that Christianity (or at least, some form of religious belief) is a prerequisite for moral behavior. Atheists are often told they cannot be “good with god;” we’re accused of having no morals, or of being purely hedonistic. We’re told that only faith allows us to be good people. And then we see a priest accused of molesting a child. That doesn’t invalidate religion, of course–as you point out, his behavior is wildly at odds with the moral teachings of his church. But it certainly proves that faith isn’t sufficient for morality. And when other people in the church provide cover for a child molestor–concealing their crimes, moving them to another parish to avoid controversy, claiming that priests are the ones being seduced by children–then it really starts to look like the moral failing isn’t just on the part of the one man who committed the crime, but on the part of the whole institution.

      So no, a priest can commit any kind of atrocity imaginable and it doesn’t invalidate their faith, but when their church provides top cover for their crimes rather than denouncing them and submitting them for secular justice, it becomes a lot harder to take any of their moral claims seriously.

      • Nate Frein

        Exactly. When I see people speaking out against abusive practices by the Catholic church (and not just pedophilia and pedophila coverups. The political clout of the local Catholic dioceses is obscene, and the work they do world wide hindering access to contraception is sickening), it’s not in the context of “you do bad things, therefore your religion is wrong”. It’s much more a case of:

        a) How do you justify financially supporting this kind of behavior?
        b) How can you claim a moral superiority when your priesthood engages in this behavior and you continue to financially support it?
        c) How can you justify this in the context of the teachings you espouse and claim make you morally superior?
        and lastly,
        d) How can you justify letting the priesthood off the hook for crimes and even blaming their victims?

  • KirikaSena

    Welcome to the new place, JT! ^_^

  • Ubi Dubium

    Nice digs. I’d have brought you a plant, but I couldn’t figure out how to upload it. So I updated your new address in my blogroll instead.

    You might want to check with your landlord about the formatting of your front page, it’s confusing and hard to figure out the chronology of the posts. But otherwise this place is pretty spiffy-looking, and I’m sure you’ll have a Pirate Ship in your backyard pond in no time.

  • peicurmudgeon

    I first discovered you when you went to FtB. I have every intention of keeping an eye on you here as well. I haven’t been to Patheos much, and looking around, you’ve got some great neighbours and some that seem kinds strange to me.

    Given the range of beliefs here at Patheos, I imagine you’ll find some really, really, flakey comments on some of your posts. Oh well, nothing you can’t handle I’m sure. Best of luck on being a full time writer and speaker.

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  • Katie

    You’re coming to Rose? I can’t believe I didn’t hear about that. I also can’t believe you were invited. A couple days ago I had to walk through a church recruitment fair to get into the cafeteria… Do you know what time or when you’ll be speaking?

    • Katie

      That should be what time or where, sorry

  • abb3w

    Further developing the new-house metaphor, you might want to try to get your address put in the local directory, to make it easier for visitors to find you. Sure, the neighbors are pointing the way over at the moment, but howsoever friendly they may be, that’s only going to last just so long; and going back to your old digs to find the forwarding address is a bit more of a hassle than looking locally.

  • Sneffy

    Hey JT, I know that you have a lot to do with the new blog, but here’s something you might want to put on the to-do list; making it so the RSS feed shows the whole post, not just the first few sentences. It makes it easier for those of us that use smart phones, and I know it’s possible because Hemant and Libby-Anne do it.

    Anyway, I wish you all the best with your new digs, as long as you keep writing, I’ll keep reading!

  • Alix

    Mother-God-Friggen-dammit, JT! This is the third move I’ve had to chase you after. Stay in one place! *shakes fist unenthusiastically*

  • Pascale


  • Rebecca

    Old friend, just in case you start getting some funky international hits, I have referenced you to some friends on this side of the pond. Happy fall, hasta luego.

  • Hope

    I’ve only come over to Patheos to follow JT – he’s totally worth it :)