Bullshit Philosophy

Half-assed political and religious commentary from a cynical left-winger

BLAST FROM THE PAST: Are You a Hardcore Atheist?

Posted by Kevin on December 20, 2008

[originally posted 12/16/08]

[UPDATE: Hemant added a scale to the list, and my ranking apparently is: “11-20: You are, literally, a ‘New Atheist.’ But you now have something to strive for! Go for the full 50!”]

From Friendly Atheist:

How serious do you take your atheism?

Let’s find out.

Copy and paste the list below on your own site, boldfacing the things you’ve done. (Feel free to add your own elaboration and commentary to each item!)


If you’ve done more than 35 of those things, I’d say PZ Myers will soon be taking lessons from you.

Here’s the list, with my annotations in brackets:
1. Participated in the Blasphemy Challenge.

2. Met at least one of the “Four Horsemen” (Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris) in person.

3. Created an atheist blog. [Granted, not entirely, or even mostly, about atheism, but still…]

4. Used the Flying Spaghetti Monster in a religious debate with someone.

5. Gotten offended when someone called you an agnostic.

6. Been unable to watch Growing Pains reruns because of Kirk Cameron.

7. Own more Bibles than most Christians you know. [I don’t know enough to say for sure on this one. I do own three. And that’s not counting the various other religious texts I have.]

8. Have at least one Bible with your personal annotations regarding contradictions, disturbing parts, etc.

9. Have come out as an atheist to your family. [If you count my in-laws, as Rebecca says I should. That includes her devout Christian mom. No one in my actual family knows, though. I’m not hiding it, but I don’t advertise it, and they’ve never asked about it.]

10. Attended a campus or off-campus atheist gathering.

11. Are a member of an organized atheist/Humanist/etc. organization.

12. Had a Humanist wedding ceremony. [No, I got stuck with a religious one thanks to a pushy mother-in-law. Don’t get me started on that.]

13. Donated money to an atheist organization.

14. Have a bookshelf dedicated solely to Richard Dawkins.

15. Lost the friendship of someone you know because of your non-theism.

16. Tried to argue or have a discussion with someone who stopped you on the street to proselytize. [No, but Rebecca has! Back in undergrad there were people on campus handing out Chick tracts, and she debated them. “That made my day. I think I needed someone to try to convert me to Christianity,” she said.]

17. Hid your atheist beliefs on a first date because you didn’t want to scare him/her away.

18. Own a stockpile of atheist paraphernalia (bumper stickers, buttons, shirts, etc).

19. Attended a protest that involved religion.

20. Attended an atheist conference.

21. Subscribe to Pat Condell’s YouTube channel.

22. Started an atheist group in your area or school.

23. Successfully “de-converted” someone to atheism.

24. Have already made plans to donate your body to science after you die. [Much to Rebecca’s chagrin…]

25. Told someone you’re an atheist only because you wanted to see the person’s reaction.

26. Had to think twice before screaming “Oh God!” during sex. Or you said something else in its place.

27. Lost a job because of your atheism.

28. Formed a bond with someone specifically because of your mutual atheism (meeting this person at a local gathering or conference doesn’t count). [Actually, I don’t even think I know any other full-on atheists. A few agnostics, but that’s as close as it comes. Not even Rebecca’s an atheist, although she’s probably even more hostile to organized religion than I am.]

29. Have crossed “In God We Trust” off of — or put a pro-church-state-separation stamp on — dollar bills. [Ok, so I totally did that just now so I could mark this off. But in my defense, I read about this a few weeks ago, thought it sounded cool, completely forgot about it, then read it here and thought, “Yeah, I should actually do that.]

30. Refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. [Not specifically because of the “under God” thing, but more broadly because of my opposition to nationalism. But still…]

31. Said “Gesundheit!” (or nothing at all) after someone sneezed because you didn’t want to say “Bless you!”

32. Have ever chosen not to clasp your hands together out of fear someone might think you’re praying.

33. Have turned on Christian TV because you need something entertaining to watch. [Do Christian radio stations count?]

34. Are a 2nd or 3rd (or more) generation atheist.

35. Have “atheism” listed on your Facebook or dating profile — and not a euphemistic variant. [Technically, I have “Bright” listed on my Facebook profile, but I don’t think that falls under “euphemistic variant” because it’s a more descriptive term than atheism.]

36. Attended an atheist’s funeral (i.e. a non-religious service).

37. Subscribe to an freethought magazine (e.g. Free Inquiry, Skeptic)

38. Have been interviewed by a reporter because of your atheism.

39. Written a letter-to-the-editor about an issue related to your non-belief in God.

40. Gave a friend or acquaintance a New Atheist book as a gift.

41. Wear pro-atheist clothing in public. [I don’t really have any clothing, but I do have atheistic stuff on my car. Does that count? I don’t think it should; it’s not quite as direct and personal as clothing.]

42. Have invited Mormons/Jehovah’s Witnesses into your house specifically because you wanted to argue with them. [No, but my father-in-law has!]

43. Have been physically threatened (or beaten up) because you didn’t believe in God.

44. Receive Google Alerts on “atheism” (or variants).

45. Received fewer Christmas presents than expected because people assumed you didn’t celebrate it.

46. Visited The Creation Museum or saw Ben Stein’s Expelled just so you could keep tabs on the “enemy.” [Ok, not yet, but I’m marking this one anyway because Expelled is on my Netflix instant queue and I plan on watching it sometime when I need a good laugh. So it’s really just a matter of time]

47. Refuse to tell anyone what your “sign” is… because it doesn’t matter at all.

48. Are on a mailing list for a Christian organization just so you can see what they’re up to…

49. Have kept your eyes open while you watched others around you pray.

50. Avoid even Unitarian churches because they’re too close to religion for you.

So I have 18 out of 50, or a bit over a third of the list. Is it bad that now I want to use this as a checklist and try to check off more?


One Response to “BLAST FROM THE PAST: Are You a Hardcore Atheist?”

  1. Warren Cohen said

    Hm. Lifelong atheist. Except for no.49 and 50, I don’t think any of these apply to me. Mostly because I don’t give a shit. I don’t think that makes me less of an atheist

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