Skip to main content

Two Types of Atheist

By Rudy --

Recently I have been reflecting on the difference between me as a not-yet-deprogrammed atheist for 35 years and me as an almost deprogrammed atheist. I first became an atheist in 1975 after studying evolution in college. I kept my beliefs to myself, although if anyone asked, I would admit that I was atheist. I never read any books about atheism and I never learned much more about my atheism, until recently.

The New Atheists @ Creepy LibraryImage by ~C4Chaos via Flickr
As a not-yet-deprogrammed atheist, I was not upset by religion. I could easily go to church for a friend or relative without any negative emotions. In fact, after having two sons, I joined my wife's Catholic Church so that we could be together as a family and my sons would get training in "morals."

However, just about the time the priest pedophile scandal started to gain visibility, I started to have feelings of disgust about priests and going to church. I continued going to church until my sons grew up and I found out they had both independently decided that there was no god.

Now that I know what damage religion has done and is still doing to the world, I have become passionate about my atheism and anti-theism. I have never in my life been so passionate about anything that did not have to do with my family or me. Once I knew my sons were atheists, there was no reason for me to hide my godlessness. I read Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett. I began befriending atheists on and and getting up to date in the latest in atheist thought.

Now that I know what damage religion has done and is still doing to the world, I have become passionate about my atheism and anti-theism. I have never in my life been so passionate about anything that did not have to do with my family or me. I am really a different kind of atheist than I was a year ago or 35 years ago. Although I do feel more anger and disgust than I used to as a still-programmed atheist, I definitely feel it was worth the anger and disgust because now I feel more like myself than I have ever felt before. I feel like I have been hiding or being someone else for 35 years.

Before my new awakening, (dare I say re-birth?) I still had remnant religious thoughts. For example, as a not-yet-deprogrammed atheist, I use to believe:
  1. Overall, religion is good because of the good things churches do, such as giving food to the poor.
  2. It is okay to pray to yourself because it is like giving yourself positive affirmations to improve your life, e.g. “Help me be more successful.”
  3. Religions help people be good by giving them morals. The Bible teaches people good ways to live.
  4. Jesus existed and the historicity of the bible is pretty accurate.
  5. The universe has some fate for me and is giving me signals as to the right direction to take.
Although these troubling thoughts still creep into my consciousness, at least now I know that these beliefs were blatantly false and I can easily detect them and reject them when they enter my mind. Now I wonder how many other not-yet-deprogrammed atheists there are in the world. I give Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett a lot of credit for helping to elevate atheists from the not-yet-deprogrammed to become deprogrammed atheists.

One reason why I am publishing the blog, beside its self-therapeutic value, is that I thought it would be beneficial to find a better name for these two types of atheists. Not that we really need more labeling in this world, but being aware that these two types of atheists exist and being able to discuss them might help people advance from not-yet deprogrammed to deprogrammed. I am looking for a better way to describe these two types of atheists. Some of the ideas I have had are as follows.
  • Not-yet-deprogrammed atheist: Naïve atheist, infected atheist, uneducated atheist, programmed atheist, or recovering atheist.
  • Deprogrammed atheist: Informed atheist, educated atheist, cured atheist, recovered atheist.
Does anyone out there have some ideas for what to call these types of atheists?


Popular posts from this blog

Are You an Atheist Success Story?

By Avangelism Project ~ F acts don’t spread. Stories do. It’s how (good) marketing works, it’s how elections (unfortunately) are won and lost, and it’s how (all) religion spreads. Proselytization isn’t accomplished with better arguments. It’s accomplished with better stories and it’s time we atheists catch up. It’s not like atheists don’t love a good story. Head over to the atheist reddit and take a look if you don’t believe me. We’re all over stories painting religion in a bad light. Nothing wrong with that, but we ignore the value of a story or a testimonial when we’re dealing with Christians. We can’t be so proud to argue the semantics of whether atheism is a belief or deconversion is actually proselytization. When we become more interested in defining our terms than in affecting people, we’ve relegated ourselves to irrelevance preferring to be smug in our minority, but semantically correct, nonbelief. Results Determine Reality The thing is when we opt to bury our

So Just How Dumb Were Jesus’ Disciples? The Resurrection, Part VII.

By Robert Conner ~ T he first mention of Jesus’ resurrection comes from a letter written by Paul of Tarsus. Paul appears to have had no interest whatsoever in the “historical” Jesus: “even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, we know him so no longer.” ( 2 Corinthians 5:16 ) Paul’s surviving letters never once mention any of Jesus’ many exorcisms and healings, the raising of Lazarus, or Jesus’ virgin birth, and barely allude to Jesus’ teaching. For Paul, Jesus only gets interesting after he’s dead, but even here Paul’s attention to detail is sketchy at best. For instance, Paul says Jesus “was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” ( 1 Corinthians 15:4 ), but there are no scriptures that foretell the Jewish Messiah would at long last appear only to die at the hands of Gentiles, much less that the Messiah would then be raised from the dead after three days. After his miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus—an event Paul never mentions in his lette


By David Andrew Dugle ~   S ettle down now children, here's the story from the Book of David called The Parable of the Bent Cross. In the land Southeast of Eden –  Eden, Minnesota that is – between two rivers called the Big Miami and the Little Miami, in the name of Saint Gertrude there was once built a church. Here next to it was also built a fine parochial school. The congregation thrived and after a multitude of years, a new, bigger church was erected, well made with clean straight lines and a high steeple topped with a tall, thin cross of gold. The faithful felt proud, but now very low was their money. Their Sunday offerings and school fees did not suffice. Anon, they decided to raise money in an unclean way. One fine summer day the faithful erected tents in the chariot lot between the two buildings. In the tents they set up all manner of games – ring toss, bingo, little mechanical racing horses and roulette wheels – then all who lived in the land between the two rivers we

Christian TV presenter reads out Star Wars plot as story of salvation

An email prankster tricked the host of a Christian TV show into reading out the plots of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Star Wars in the belief they were stories of personal salvation. The unsuspecting host read out most of the opening rap to The Fresh Prince, a 1990s US sitcom starring Will Smith , apparently unaware that it was not a genuine testimony of faith. The prankster had slightly adapted the lyrics but the references to a misspent youth playing basketball in West Philadelphia would have been instantly familiar to most viewers. The lines read out by the DJ included: "One day a couple of guys who were up to no good starting making trouble in my living area. I ended up getting into a fight, which terrified my mother." The presenter on Genesis TV , a British Christian channel, eventually realised that he was being pranked and cut the story short – only to move on to another spoof email based on the plot of the Star Wars films. It began: &quo

Why I left the Canadian Reformed Church

By Chuck Eelhart ~ I was born into a believing family. The denomination is called Canadian Reformed Church . It is a Dutch Calvinistic Christian Church. My parents were Dutch immigrants to Canada in 1951. They had come from two slightly differing factions of the same Reformed faith in the Netherlands . Arriving unmarried in Canada they joined the slightly more conservative of the factions. It was a small group at first. Being far from Holland and strangers in a new country these young families found a strong bonding point in their church. Deutsch: Heidelberger Katechismus, Druck 1563 (Photo credit: Wikipedia ) I was born in 1955 the third of eventually 9 children. We lived in a small southern Ontario farming community of Fergus. Being young conservative and industrious the community of immigrants prospered. While they did mix and work in the community almost all of the social bonding was within the church group. Being of the first generation born here we had a foot in two

Morality is not a Good Argument for Christianity

By austinrohm ~ I wrote this article as I was deconverting in my own head: I never talked with anyone about it, but it was a letter I wrote as if I was writing to all the Christians in my life who constantly brought up how morality was the best argument for Christianity. No Christian has read this so far, but it is written from the point of view of a frustrated closeted atheist whose only outlet was organizing his thoughts on the keyboard. A common phrase used with non-Christians is: “Well without God, there isn’t a foundation of morality. If God is not real, then you could go around killing and raping.” There are a few things which must be addressed. 1. Show me objective morality. Define it and show me an example. Different Christians have different moral standards depending on how they interpret the Bible. Often times, they will just find what they believe, then go back into scripture and find a way to validate it. Conversely, many feel a particular action is not