My New Year’s Resolution For You December 30, 2007

My New Year’s Resolution For You

A lot of threads on this blog have some great dialogues going on and I wanted to thank you if you take part in those conversations. It makes blogging worthwhile. And I also really appreciate everyone staying classy with your comments.

Well… almost everyone 🙂

For the rest of you, I hope you’ll consider joining in the conversations in 2008.

Consider this your invitation to comment. If it’s your first time commenting, I do have to “approve” you before your comment appears, but please use this thread to say hello and introduce yourself (or just say hello, period) if you’ve been reading the site without saying anything. Hopefully, this will make it easier for you to comment in the future.

Let me wear out the “approve” button!

Have a wonderful new year’s eve, everyone!

[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

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  • In that case, hello! 🙂

  • Dena

    Hemant, I thoroughly enjoy your blog. Take care and have a happy new year.

  • Happy New Year!

  • It’s not my first time commenting, so hello to everyone else, and I hope you have a happy New Year!

  • Cindy

    This is my favorite blog! Keep up the good work and Happy New Year!

  • Sheri

    Hi, Hemant. After I read your book, I found your website, and I check it every day. Thank you for being so consistent in keeping it up to date. You post useful information (I found out Richard Dawkins was in Chicago when I was there for the marathon in October), and I draw much encouragement from the articles on this site since I’m a semi-closet atheist (there, I said it!).

  • scott

    hello there! so far i haven’t really needed to comment on anything, but just to be safe i figured i’d get it out of the way.

    i’m pretty much 100% out of the closet – there’s only one guy at work who doesn’t know, and it’s mainly because it’s better (for both of us) if he doesn’t 🙂

    Happy New Year!

  • Bharat


    To be frank, I do not remember if this is my first comment! But nevertheless, hello everybody. I found this blog in a roundabout fashion from the pharyngula blog, and was hooked. Since then it has been one of my regular stops online.

    Keep up the good work.


  • Hello! I think this is my second post on your blog. I just bought your book and I’m about half way through it. I was reading about your experience regarding your drift from Jainism and I my experience regarding Christianity and they are similar. I only wish I had done this during my teenage years like you and not when I was 24. I’m glad that I am not alone on the Internet, but I fell very alone in my real life. I live in the deep south and I am very scared to tell very many people. Only about 3 people know, one of which I’m about to tell you. I’m still very much “in the closet.”

    Last March, after a direct question “Do you still consider yourself a Christian?” from my minister, I told him that I am now skeptical regarding much of religion, let alone Christianity. This minster has told me how he was very angry and offended by me telling him how anyone, let alone someone he trusted, has rejected that Jesus was Lord and Savior.

    My minister and I have been meeting with some regularity now. He is trying to convert me back to the fold. I have been doing my best to represent a skeptical position of religion. He gave me this offer: he would select any one book for me to read, and I could do the same for him. He selected “Velvet Elvis,” by Rob Bell. I read it and loved it. I told him that there were stories in that book that I was surprised that any Christian could tell. I now recommend that book to everyone.

    I could select anything I wanted. I’ve read “The God Delusion,” and considered it, but after he told me how angry he was after hearing just me question the divinity of Jesus, I needed something that was still skeptical but with a more “Mr. Rogers” feel (if you don’t mind me saying). I have decided on a book. Yours.

    I after reading the first several chapters of your book, I do not regret making your book the topic of our next discussion.

    Thank you for being a someone that I can point to as a friendly atheist.

  • Kevin

    I’ll give it a shot. I classify myself as an atheist (not friendly), if I have to classify myself as anything. Well this 25th of December eve my elder brother’s (who is still a catholic) dog ran away while we were at church eating us some jebus (going to church). My younger brother also went (who I think is also an atheist, but says he doesn’t really think of such things so he’s probably best classified as an agnostic, but I prefer not to classify him as anything except ‘my brother’).

    Long story short, we went to church because my grandfather was around and church is apparently a family event where you’re not allowed to talk to family. My cousin stayed at my parents and waited for his family. They came to the parents house while we were out at church, dog escaped and went looking for my still older brother and wife. Three hours later we call the sheriff he tells us about a dog (similar to my brothers) that got hit by a car, but we never found it.

    Bottom line, either there is no god or he’s evil… or any seemingly infinite number of things between those. It was a completely depressing christmas (a secular holiday whether you like it or not).

    My new years resolution is to never go to church again. I’ll watch dogs, change diapers, whatever is needed but I’m not going to church. It could have been a decent christmas, if I would have just not gone to church.

    FYI, I was an atheist long before this event and have given ‘the god question’ a great deal of thought (more than such an absurd question deserves). Also sorry for the rant.

  • Hi, Hemant and all! Thank you for posting so much interesting information and thoughtful discussion. I really appreciate your friendly approach–too many atheist blogs and the atheist group where I went to school seem dominated by adversarial rather than constructive discussion.

  • Happy Holidays!

  • sasha

    Hey! I don’t comment very much, but I do enjoy reading your blog and check it at least once every day. Hope you have an awesome new year! ^^

  • cg

    You’re doing a great thing here, Hemant, and everyone else. This site has been a great balancer to the fundamentalist religious and atheistic spewings alike. I have you on my RSS reader and drop in everyday.

    Having broken free of a fundamentalist upbringing myself, it’s hard not to be angry about some things and backlash at the religious. Your blog and book have given me another viewpoint that I hope to incorporate. I don’t want to be the angry, evangelical atheist that is there to offend and (de)convert. Your contributions are having a great affect on people like me. Thanks, and have a happy arbitrary rolling over of the Gregorian calendar!


  • Allison

    Happy New Year, everyone! Hemant, you’re doing a great thing here, keep it up!

  • Pat

    Hello everyone!

    Like Sasha and Bharat, I check this blog everyday. It helps me feel less alone as a mostly closeted atheist.

    I was raised by atheist parents and am happily married to an atheist. Both of our adult daughters are atheists, and I have a few close friends in whom I can confide. I am an elementary school educator and must keep my rationalist thoughts to myself at school for fear of losing my job. I love my work but I am frequently frustrated over the need to keep quiet, while my Christian colleagues speak freely of their beliefs.

    This past year I happily discovered the Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast, which led me to Memoirs of a Skepchick, The Friendly Atheist and other rationalist, free-thinking forums. Not only have I enjoyed reading the funny, snarky, often beautifully written musings of other atheists, but I have felt less alone. My sincere thanks to all who create and contribute to these sites.

    Wishing everyone all the best in the new year!

  • Matt


    I read the blog frequently but haven’t commneted before.

    Happy 2008 to all!!!


  • *waves*

    I really must read your book this year.

  • Pam M

    Hi Hemant,
    I seldom comment as I am rather insecure around all of your with-it pals that comment on a regular basis. But I do read you every day. Thanks for bringing so much up-to-date information and I learn a lot from this blog. I respect your “friendly” attitude because I find many athesists as over educated pain in the butts. There I said it!!!!!

    P.S. If I were 40 years younger you would be in trouble because you are a real cutie.

  • Sue

    hoverFrog, you really must read Hemant’s book 🙂 So should everyone else. It was a really important read for me, helping me to let go of all the hatred I have for the Christian church. I’m now trying to pluck up courage to buy my parents a copy!

  • @Sue, hatred? It sounds as if you have a story there. I find the idea of religion fairly silly and I think it creates barriers between people but I don’t think I’ve ever hated it.

    You are quite correct though. I really must read Hemant’s book. Maybe I could borrow your’s after you lend it to your parents? 😉

  • Tim Van Haitsma

    Just getting on the list should a snarky comment come to mind. Loved the book Hement. But I like the blog even more.

  • Sarah H.

    I just introduced myself on the last entry’s comments page, so I guess I showed up a day or so early 🙂

    This blog was a great find, and I look forward to reading and discussing future posts.

  • Josha

    Hello! I love this website because it makes me feel less alone. I am trying to be more open about my atheism but I’ve come up against a lot of disapproval and even some hatred for my beliefs. Knowing there are atheists out there (I haven’t met one besides myself so far) gives me the courage to be open about my beliefs despite the negativity it brings. Hopefully that will change!

  • GoldfishRock

    Love this site! Keep up the good work Hemant.

  • Kevin said,

    but I prefer not to classify him as anything except ‘my brother’

    Jesus couldn’t have said it better himself. 🙂

    hoverfrog said,

    @Sue, hatred? It sounds as if you have a story there. I find the idea of religion fairly silly and I think it creates barriers between people but I don’t think I’ve ever hated it.

    You are quite correct though. I really must read Hemant’s book. Maybe I could borrow your’s after you lend it to your parents?

    umm… I hate religion with a passion. And you know I’m a believer. Go figure! And I’d lend you my copy of the book, but it’s all marked up with highlights and notes. (bad habit I have.)

    Happy New Year, everyone! May the Christians get their heads out their butts this year and see their loved ones as just a “brother,” “sister,” “father,” “mother,” “son,” “daughter,” …and yes, “friend.”

  • Hello Hemant,
    I read your blog almost every day. I have not posted yet but I will the next time I get an idea.

  • Hey, all.

    I’ve commented a couple of times before, but mostly I keep to myself because, like Pam mentioned, there is that feeling of not being part of the “in crowd,” which is ridiculous, I know, but feelings don’t have to be rational. I also try to stay away from debates, because I’m not as good at them as most of the people who participate, particularly if they involve religion. And, sometimes I just don’t have enough interest in the discussion to scroll through 40+ comments.

    I’m not one of those de-converts that has read the Bible cover to cover (of the 66 books in the Bible, I’ve read Genesis, Exodus, and the Gospels). I’m also not a de-convert who was raised in a religious home – I was a Christian for less than 3 years. Overall, I think it’s a good thing that I was religious, because it allows me to better understand the mindset, and realize that they’re just people, too. But, I do wish I could have learned those things without going through so much pain.

    Outside of the Internet, my atheism is almost completely irrelevant, as religion is not a topic of particular interest to the people I spend time with. I say “almost completely” because there are a few times when subjects come up and things are said that I want to reply to, but either don’t have the time or skill to handle well. The one major religious discussion I’ve engaged in since de-converting ended very poorly, and I want to avoid a repeat performance.

    I think that’s all for now, so talk to you later. 🙂

  • Ted

    I think this is my second time commenting, but I don’t comment on a regular basis, so I suppose this is as good a time as any to comment again.

    Hemant, I read your book yesterday, having purchased it with a gift card I received for the holiday I wasn’t celebrating. Growing up, I attended a church much like a few you described in the book. I found your commentary to be very insightful. As an Xtian, I realize I’m not the target audience, per se, but you made a lot of good points and I’m glad I (finally) got around to reading it.

    I’ve been reading the Friendly Atheist blog for much longer. I appreciate the optimism and overall support you provide. Thanks again, and keep up the good work.

  • *waves*

    I’ve been hanging out here for a while, but I generally don’t get involved in the huge “discuss FOO” fracas… Random snark is much more up my alley.

  • Hi, I read you blog on a regular basis and have linked to you from Secular Earth. Keep up the great job.

  • Hello then! I’ve been reading your blog for probably over a year by now, but generally don’t comment. I’ve started/ended a couple blogs myself that never seem to work out due to a lack of urge to write anything on it and a blurry vision for what to write (as it is with most startups).

    Anyway, I hope to read your book in the near future! I haven’t gotten around to it yet, but I have a long list of books to read.. from everything I’ve heard about it though, it is certainly a positive contribution to the recently published atheist literature.

  • fusion duelist

    I stumbled over here after the RSS, Ray Comfort debate on night line, and have been a regular reader ever since.

  • Sara

    Well, I have been reading this blog for about a year now…so I guess I qualify.


  • Ei

    Hey Hemant,
    I found your blog through Dale McGowan’s blog. I was never concerned with what I was or wasn’t really until I became a parent. I was…uninvolved I suppose, or perhaps apathetic about the whole subject matter. As I became aware that “religious upbringing” was yet another way people use to beat mom’s down for their choices, I became more passionate, and interested. I’m a UU humanist (what can I say, I love being a church going heathen-it has just the right amount of being annoying and interesting for me).

    Anyway, I’m still pretty new here so I’ll say hi. I loved the Jib Jab vid.

  • Hi everyone! 🙂
    I’m usually more lurking around than commenting, but I really enjoy the blog (and enjoyed reading your book), keep it up!
    A happy new year to everybody, by the way (2008 is just a couple of hours away here in Italy…).

  • Kate’s Mom

    Hi Hemant,
    I am Kate’s Mom (of Kate the atheist and Erik the Christian fame…). I was actually the one that read your book first and gave it to Kate and Erik to read!! Always looking for books that will create a bridge for them!

    I did not raise Kate as an atheist. I raised her and her brother to think for themselves. She became an atheist and her brother attends Quaker meetings. So, I guess I have done my job.

    Love the site and will continue to follow it in the new year. Keep up the good work!

  • Yours is one of the first feeds I click on every day.

    I’m here, just shy I guess.

  • Ashley

    Happy New Year to All!

  • Richard

    Happy New Year!

  • Ahoy and happy new year!

    I’m just getting my sea-legs, so to speak, in the atheist blogosphere. Hope to comment on and write my fair share of posts in the coming year.

  • Happy New Year.


  • Spurs Fan

    Happy New Year,

    I’m also one of many regular readers of the blog who has not made any comments yet. As a former Christian from the Bible Belt who is happily married to a Christian woman, the blog is a great source of comfort and analysis. I enjoy staying in tune with the current happenings among the “New Atheist” community and look forward to reading Hemant’s book as well.

  • Bobby

    Well you called me out so here I am. My name is Bobby, and I’m an atheist living in the good ol’ American Bible Belt (yuck). I came across your website through a link from SkepChick several months ago. I really enjoy your writing style and pacifistic approach. I appreciate the fact that you’re not trying to cram anything down anyone else’s throat and I wish more people could take that stance. Keep up the good work!

  • Kelly

    Hi 🙂

    I’m a half-in-the-closet atheist. My “life partner” (I’m not gay, I am just against legalized marriage and can’t think of a better name to call the guy I’ll be spending the rest of my life with. If anyone has a better suggestion, I’d love to hear it.), other friends, and a limited amount of my family know… My boss (a thumper) doesn’t know, my mother (also a thumper but is also certifiable, literally) knows but is in denial, my father just re-found Catholicism with his new fiancée so he has chosen to forget (he claims I am agnostic at family dinners during the forced-pre-meal-ritual-praytime), my grandmother would probably put a hit out on me, and life-partner’s parents are suspicious but still unsure (too distracted by the no grand-babies issue to bring it up).

    I’m the only atheist in my social circle/monkey sphere, that I know of anyway. I often feel like I am a huge pussy for not speaking up about it more but the fear of feeling like if someone could read my mind I would probably been burned at the stake totally trumps my need to clarify my position on god (or lack of one, rather) and stumbling upon another atheist. I once did a rushed exist from a Borders because I was getting the evil eye and nasty-underbreath comments from a group of four rather large college aged men when they spotted me in line buying Dawkin’s book. I still hope I am just insane and imagined it. 😐

    I’m glad sites like this exist so I feel a little less alone in a sea of scary people who could not spit out the word “atheist” with more vitriol and venom if they actually had a god helping them… All done without a note of irony.

    So, uh… hi! 🙂
    Oh, yeah. I’m a 28-years-old chick living at the beach in SoCal working in technology. I read the blog via RSS on a fairly regular basis).

    Pardon the babbling above.

  • Autumn

    Hello! My name is Autumn and I am an out and proud atheist living in Charlottesville, VA, but grew up in Lynchburg, VA (Jerry Falwell’s University and Church is here). Growing up in Lynchburg, I knew I had to take a stand for what was right and was fortunate enough to have parents who taught me how to do that. I am currently the Secretary for the Lynchburg Chapter of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. I have been reading your blog for about 4 months now and have found it very refreshing to see a respectful atheist doing so well. I have enjoyed every post and appreciate your helping so many people realize how to take a stand respectfully. Everyone who writes on here inspires me and reminds of what great company I am in. Thank you for all that you do. I look forward to reading this blog as long as you allow us.

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