Atheism: The We-Don't-Play-Golf Club

I thought it might be worthwhile to open a discussion for members here to ask about atheists and atheism. I am a moderator/owner of a large atheism community on Google Plus, and I think this has given me a very broad experience with people who consider themselves atheists. I will try to answer any questions as honestly and objectively as I can. Here’s a few starters:

Atheism has been likened to a “club for people who don’t play golf”. (I think I learned that from @Patrick.) I describe it as a negative trait, meaning one that is lacking rather than “bad”. Atheism does not describe any qualities a person may possess.

“Atheist” is itself an odd term IMO, because we do not general describe groups of people by attributes that do not apply. Ex: A-golfers, A-bowlers, A-vegetarians, A-philatelists, etc…

Atheists do not “believe in nothing.”

There are a lot of sub-groups that fall under the umbrella of atheism. To name a few:
anti-theists (the angry bunch)
ignostic (can’t even define God)
apathists (don’t care)
Laveyan Satanists (rare)
Raelians (rare, and weird)
(send suggestions, I will add)

Atheists often disagree about just what it means to be an atheist. It’s a common argument. :slight_smile:

As far as I can determine, atheists trolling Christian online communities is about as common as Christians trolling atheism communities. It’s equally bad behavior either way.

According to some published studies, atheists score higher on Intelligence testing than religious people. This may be technically true, but the average is only a few points on the IQ-scale, which is practically meaningless. This difference is likely due to education rather than inherent intelligence (atheists tend to have more education). I shoot this one down whenever I can, and you should too.

Atheists never eat babies. (No, Never? Well, hardly ever).


Sounds very entertaining.

I believe you.

We will find a way to avoid both types of trolls here :smiley: , or attract both types :frowning_face:. I hope we figure this out soon.

Do you find this to be true? One social science study found that predictors of atheism are:

  • Not having a religious identity (including those who identify as atheist or agnostic)
  • Praying infrequently
  • Belief that the Bible contains at least some errors
  • Not identifying as a political conservative
  • White ethnicity

The Recipe For Creationism - BioLogos

Most of these are just restatements of them are just statements of belief and behavior that are hardly fixed quantities. Except race that is. Why is it that race is a predictor of atheism, at least in the united states?


Historically, the black churches were very important to African-Americans.


No. Not true in any practical sense. For two randomly selected people, one atheist and the other religious, the odds of the atheist having a higher IQ might be 55/45 instead of 50/50. A few points of IQ doesn’t amount to any practical difference for the average encounter. There are smart people on both sides of the fence.

IQ scores aren’t really a very good measure of cognitive ability beyond analytical thinking, and tend to have many biases.


Thanks for your note. What do you think of Randal Rauser’s discussion of Jonathan Rauch’s “Let it Be”, “In Defense of Apatheism, Sort Of”?


Thanks for that link.

I have been calling myself an apatheist (and an agnostic). And it is indeed that charitable reading of apatheism, as discussed by Rauser.


I kinda like apatheism. Maybe I’ll convert from atheism to apatheism.


Freethinking Apatheism? Wow @patrick, are we having a bad influence on you?

@Randal_Rauser, I like this article on Apatheism. Will you let us know how the conference goes?

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yes Freethinking Apatheist would work. It is a kinder, gentler atheist.

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Hmmm. You are kinder and gentler, but will it last? This would be the second time you get a title change too. Are you in an identity crisis? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

No, just refining my non-faith. :rofl:

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3 posts were split to a new topic: Why Black Churches?

Patrick: This would be helpful if you would do so… Every since you agreed to tutor me in all things scientific, I have secretly been trying (quite unsuccessfully) to convert you to Christianity (without your ever knowing, of course.) I’ve found this to be a difficult task. However, this conversion to Apathaeia seems to be only a short evolution to Apnea (two or three mutations, only), for which a simple machine is the cure. It’s said to give you a better night’s sleep and to help oxygenate the blood, which allows you to think better (more open-mindedly) which, no doubt, will help you to hear God screaming to you!! God does work in mysterious ways!!



Hi Michael, I had sleep apnea for years. Used CPAP every night. Then I lost weight by diet and exercising and amazingly no sleep apnea and no need for CPAP. I sleep soundly now, no God screaming at me. :rofl:

Also, you can email me with the science questions but now we have bright young grad students here in a lot of science subjects so they are much more advanced than I am on the latest in science.


Thanks for your note. What do you think of Randal Rauser’s discussion of Jonathan Rauch’s “Let it Be”, “In Defense of Apatheism, Sort Of”?
"In Defense of Apatheism, Sort Of"--Review by Dr Rauser - #6 by jasonbourne4 - Faith & Science Conversation - The BioLogos Forum

I’m not familiar with the author or the article reviewed. Does that make me an apathist? :slight_smile:
I will hold off offering my opinion until I can get caught up. Except for this …

The link between 9/11 and the new atheism is well-established, but that terrible day also spurred another lesser known response to religious zeal.

New atheism and 9/11? Clearly I’ve missed some previous discussion on this. What about the link between new atheism and YEC and the way they feed off each other?


I’ve been referring to myself as an apatheist. Is “apathist” just a spelling variation or is there a distinction to be made?

I’m just not interested in or drawn to any of the religious concepts I’ve come across but happy for those who do find some comfort in religious belief.


I’ll go with spelling variation, or I could post it to my group and see if a fight breaks out. :wink:

I suppose that it could be these very kinds of bloody wars fought over atheism or anti-theism that could finally drive @Patrick to religion. :open_mouth:

I’m glad, though, that the Raelians have been moved to the other side of the card. :slight_smile: A few years back, a woman was sitting next to me on an airplane and noticed the book I was reading. Some piece of Christian literature, I cannot recall what it was… and she struck up a conversation about what I believed. I told her and then asked what she believed… she told me that she was a Raelian and that they believed that there was a clone planet earth on the other side of the sun where people just like us (maybe even duplicates…) lived. I was so surprised at what she believed that I had no idea what to say next.

People are sure willing to associate with some incredible ideas.


911 is used by many atheist groups to say that atheist can’t be silent any more as religion isn’t harmless, it can be deadly to society. Atheist must speak out against religious extremism everywhere. The more vocal atheist become after 911, the more the Christian right pressed its case. That is how atheism has gone to be against the Christian Right in most social issues. With the Nones in society among young people approaching 40 %, the power and money are shifting away from the white elderly males of the Christian Right to the brown, young , men and women of the Nones.


You can have them back any time! They never invite me to their orgies anyway. :rofl:

We have one on Facebook who … not worth explaining … He is not well, I think.

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