Lurkers, Come Out! May 13, 2008

Lurkers, Come Out!

If you’ve been checking out this site but haven’t made any comments yet, consider this an open invitation to say hello and introduce yourself!

All new commenters must be approved/moderated by me, and once that happens, you’re free to comment whenever you’d like. Its always nice to hear fresh opinions, whether you’re religious or atheist.

As long as you’re respectful to the other people (though you can criticize their beliefs all you want), not trying to convert everyone to your religion, and know how to turn off the CAPS LOCK key when you type, we’d love to have you join the conversation on this site.

So devirginize yourself on this blog if you haven’t done so already!

It’d be nice to put that “approve comment” button to use 🙂

[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

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  • Fair enough.

    Really enjoy the blog. It’s one of the few that I read just about every post. Good stuff. Thanks!

  • 1stmakearoux

    Thanks for the invite! I’ve only recently discovered your site. I find it well done and thoughtful and I’ll be happy to comment occasionally.

  • I’m not so much a Friendly Atheist virgin, but I may as well introduce myself since I kind of just popped on here a few months back (even though I have already managed to win a contest!!! Thanks Hemant!)

    My name is Derek Berner. I’m 26, live in Franklin, TN, and write medical transcription software with Base Systems. I am getting married to Leslie Kinnunen in August of this year. Mike Clawson used to be the youth pastor at my mom’s church before he was kicked out for being too postmodern, and I found this site through his blog.

    I listen to Def Leppard, Journey, Weird Al Yankovic, and despite being agnostic I still have a soft spot for Petra. In my spare time I enjoy reading, cooking, more programming, video games, esoteric board and card games, and singing along with the radio (I’ve been told I don’t suck too badly).

    I’m agnostic of the “weak atheist” variety, and I shed the last vestiges of my Christian faith about a year ago in response to a Christian Pastor at my brother’s church in Kentucky pulling me aside against my will when I was due for a movie and insisting on having a deep conversation with me about my relationship with Christ. I decided, foolishly, to be honest, and told her the truth: I do profess a faith in Christ, but I don’t exactly know how closely I hold to that and I don’t attend church regularly.

    As the discussion wore on, despite my fruitless attempts to exit the conversation gracefully, she eventually started pleading with me to shed my intellectual hangups about Christianity and just “let Christ in.” I was finally able to wriggle out of there by asking her to pray for God to lead me to finding the truth. I spent some time praying to God and indeed had one final “spiritual experience” where I thought Jesus was talking to me, but by the time I got back home I was decided that I was pretty much a weak theist agnostic. Since then I’ve kept a blog about my ramblings which you may or may not find interesting, and have spent a lot of time both observing and engaging Christians and Atheists alike on the blogosphere.

  • [delurk] Hi there. Been reading a while, love the blog. [/delurk]

  • Mark

    An atheist glad to say I’m not alone down here. Site is pretty cool, love the contests and the posts. I’m 19 and a computer programmer with a few startups in work, gotta make the money 😉 Look forward to coming back and conversing with other atheists/theists alike.

  • Brock

    Great blog.. It is on my googlereader.

  • *coming out of lurkdom*

    I love the friendly atheist!

  • Aph

    Your alter call to comment was compelling. Here I am.

    Recently discovered your corner of the internet. I have had a good time here so far.

  • Daryl26

    Well, I’ve been a reader for a month or so, so I might as well introduce myself.
    The names Daryl, and I’m from Puerto Rico. Raised catholic by my Mother and Grandmother yet have always considered myself atheist. Probably a direct result of a life spent in catholic school and my father’s constant push toward a search for knowledge. So, I’ve never been a believer. The school year did create a lot of anger and contempt towards catholicism and other forms of Christianity, though ever since entering college, and releasing a lot of steam by preaching atheism like there’ no tomorrow and ranting about God and religion, I’ve calmed myself down and have becomed more of what I really am that remained hidden by so many years of forced belief, just an all around nice guy..I hope.. I’m 19, studying English, the Literature track, though I’ll have my occasional slip up since it’s not my native language. Getting a minor in Film Studies. Can’t really think of anything else to say to introduce myself, so I’ll just leave it at that. Any wan all questions about me, if they exist, I can try to answer.

    Really enjoy the site. Keep up the good work.

  • I’m in no way a Friendly Atheist virgin. I’m more of what you would call a Friendly Atheist slut. Just wanted to say hi to the lurkers as they come out!

  • Hi there! I’ve been a lurker for a little while now. I’m a bartender, magician, skeptic and recent “de-convert” I don’t have time to go into in now, but if pushed, I can give you my story later. 😉

    Thanks so much for the work you’re doing and the great content.

  • Fellow atheist, good writings!

  • Charlie

    I’ve been lurking around this blog for quite a long time and I find it to be very interesting. I’m 21, female, agnostic and live in Hamburg, Germany.

  • Okay, fine, whatever, heh heh.

    I’m Jeff, a rare breed of politically conservative atheist that doesn’t agree with every aspect of nontheism and is fighting a one-man battle for a little more civility and a little less mockery. I suppose. Or something.

    So hi. I talk about atheism from time to time on my blog, and I’m still trying to get comfortable in my own skin about it while shaking 20 years of Catholic guilt.

  • Josh

    Hey, I love the blog. It’s the only one that I visit every day (for the past month or so) and I have really enjoyed it so far. I don’t know if I’ll leave very many comments as I usually read in the down-time at work, but you might hear from me.

  • I, honestly, can’t remember if I’ve commented here before. But I do enjoy this site and I read it quite often. This is a great site!

  • The power of Hemant compels you! Reveal yourself!

    Hi. Been viewing the site periodically since November, and just started posting a bit within the past few weeks. Really nice place, but still a good amount of debates. The internet is very scary place…

  • Just thought I would say hello. I am one of the lurkers.

  • I’m a lurker.
    One of the many Secular/Atheist blogs in my RSS reader, I occasionaly write about this topic myself.

  • Krista

    Been lurking for a few weeks now. I’ve been an atheist for about two or three years, before that I was an agnostic (I see it now as a searching/transitional period).

    Grew up in a fundamentalist Baptist family and spent most of my life being a missionary’s kid in Mexico. We were pretty much the weird family that dressed funny (“modestly”) and seemed to have their own language.
    We moved to the states when I was fourteen and I slowly became something of an American … when I was nineteen I realized that all of Christianity was basically bullshit. It was a hard thing to go through (especially since I simultaneously realized I was gay) but at the end of the process I found myself liberated.
    My parents weren’t so thrilled and after huge attempts to de-gay me they pretty much tossed my ass and I was homeless for a while. The homelessness itself wasn’t as bad as it sounds.
    Long story short, the family has loosened up a LOT over the years, although they would still be called fundamentalists. We all get along great and I’m running a small business with my mom. They just like to pretend they don’t know I’m a lesbian and constantly try to nudge me into church.

    I’ve only recently become more interested in what it means to be an atheist/atheist issues. I’ve been reading Dawkins and trying to learn something about evolution and science. I had a censored education, being home schooled.

    Anyway, I love this blog! It’s awesome and I read all of it every day. Good stuff. Keep it up. 🙂

  • mlbowman2

    I love this blog, read it every day. Never commented though. Going back to lurking now.

  • skeptimom

    I’ll play. I only started reading blogs regularly about 3 months ago when I went looking for some friendly atheist compatriots. This was one of the first I discovered. Now it counts as one of my must reads every day. I’m not much of a commenter, so many atheist blogs so little time, but I might occasionally delurk myself if I have something to add.

    Love the blog, it definitely lives up to it’s friendly name.

  • I think I’ve commented before.

    I visit this site at least every other day. I very much enjoy the posts, links (love Indexed), comments and ground rules. Thanks for the time, effort and thought you put into Friendly Atheist.

    I’m a gardening, hiking, bibliophilic, ex-accountant. I’m also an atheist, homeschooling wife and mother of two. I live in beautiful upstate SC.


  • Alright I get the point.
    My name is Brayton J. Cameron I came across this site a few weeks ago after the Internet and I had a big fight. I just wanted more from our relationship and was looking for the more respectful and intelligent side of it. Luckily, I found that there is a smart sensitve Internet under that childish exterior.
    A little about me? Well I’ve been an atheist for about 7 years now, though I was never very religious before. I’m looking forward reading and, perhaps, contributing as we go on. If you have any questions let me know, I guess.

  • David D.G.

    I’m not exactly a Friendly Atheist virgin, but I’ve really only done oral here so far.


    Seriously, I’ve posted a few comments, but I haven’t been here that long (a couple of months or so at most). I enjoy the blog a lot, both Hemant’s posts and many of the clever and/or very thoughtful responses by other readers. This is one of the sites I check up on almost daily.

    As for introducing myself, I am an editorial assistant who primarily proofreads peer-review petroleum engineering journal articles and books; though my degree is in English, not engineering, I am a longtime fan of sciences and thus have at least a vague idea of what I’m reading — except for the math, but fortunately I don’t have to vouch for that. (I do wish I did this for something I really wanted to be associated with, though, like the NCSE or something. And working with articles of a slightly less technical nature would be nice, too.)

    I was raised nominally Methodist Christian, but never took religion or the Bible all that seriously — certainly not literally, and I was appalled and bewildered when I first encountered adults who did. I have been an agnostic atheist since my teens, but didn’t really know I could express it that way until a few years ago; I just described myself as agnostic, but it’s more accurate to say that I consider God/gods to be an utterly implausible and certainly unproved assertion, which means that until there’s evidence for divinities, I am atheist by default. I’m open to evidence, but considering the nature of the claims, it had better be darned extraordinary evidence.

    In spite of this, I had a 14-year relationship (until she passed away 3 years ago) with someone who was devoutly fundamentalist Christian, yet certainly was by no means stupid. We occasionally had some fairly intense debates over religion, but never really fought about it. I even attended church with her for several years (a nondenominational “Bible church”), and I think that most of the people I met through her church are really great people, and many of them are highly intelligent. So I know that “theist” does not always equate to “raving idiot.”

    Final wrap-up of details about me: I like to read science and history nonfiction (as well as historical mystery fiction and sci-fi), I play D&D, and I sing in an a capella vocal group that does professional Christmas caroling in Victorian attire and soon will be offering to sing madrigals in the off season (for weddings, etc.). Yes, I do acknowledge the irony of that last pastime!

    ~David D.G.

  • Hi from Ireland! I have been a devoted reader of your blog for quite a few months now after discovering the book. I guess Ireland is somewhat different to the US in that many of the issues that seem so divisive in your country are not so big over here. Nevertheless in a historically strong Catholic country, the cultural traditions remain. We’re a country in transition from the religiosity of the past to a high degree of secularism.

  • Hi – I’ve been lurking for a while, actually, and have really enjoyed your blog, Hemant. There’s a wonderful air of… pleasantness, I suppose. You’re not a closet Anglophile, are you?

    I’m a Zen Buddhist-cum-atheist – I got interested in transpersonal psychology while an undergraduate, and studied it at masters’ level here in the UK… but the more I’ve studied psychology generally, and the more I’ve engaged with my Zen practice, the more I’ve questioned a lot of the naive thinking underlying faith, religion and the field of “transpersonal studies” (which for many – but certainly not all – just seems to be a way to try to legitimise New Age flakiness). I happen to know quite a few parapsychologists, and bump into them at various academic conferences. Great arguments rage, late into the night, and always in good spirit. Essentially, until I actually witness a physical law being violated (dramatic healing, an actual ghost, a voice that could only be from the grave, etc), I just can’t buy it.

    But I’m not a pure materialist – I’ve experienced a few “moments of transcendence” (not all while meditating) that have served to foster some doubt in me. If pushed, I call myself a ‘transcendent materialist’ – there’s something more than mere organised matter, and I don’t know what it is. Does some separate ‘mind-stuff’ exist that somehow interacts with the brain? Is consciousness a mere epiphenomenon? Wish I could tell you! My Zen, though, has over the years made me question the normal safe assumptions of ‘identity’ – what it is to be ‘me’, what that means, and how much of that is manufactured and how that leads to unnecessary suffering.

    I’ve enjoyed reading some of the New Atheists, but I don’t recognise my own ‘faith’ (more accurately it’s a tension between faith and doubt) in the straw men that Prof Dawkins & co set up. I’ve enjoyed your blog, H, because you’ve not gone down that route, and you seem to me to be someone who is willing to tentatively respect others’ experience and try to find a middle ground to engage with them on, without buying into the belief systems they espouse.

    10 points, you.

  • I think I’ve commented here once or twice, but I may have been using my Blogger alias . . . I have a couple of different blogs floating around the internet.

    Anyway, I love your blog! I don’t comment much, but I always enjoy your posts.

  • Well, heck. How can I resist an open invitation? Minnesota skeptic and atheist over here. Howdy.

  • Hey there!

    My name is Roy McKenzie. I am an atheist in the bible belt of California, the Central Valley. I live in Modesto, and I am a member of a newly formed skeptics group.

    I have my own blog at whereI bitch about national, regional and local issues and some personal issues.

    Anyway. Saying hey and introducing myself.


  • Randall

    I’ve never been one to back down from a challenge. I recently discovered your site and find it insightful and amusing so I check up on it from time to time. I’m an agnostic btw.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Stephen


    Just kidding. I just added your RSS feed today when I was doing some research in my ongoing debate with my units’ Chaplain.

    Keep up the reasoning! I believe in you!


  • erinairout

    …officially delurked.
    I love this blog! As a high school student myself, I really appreciate your involvement with young atheists/agnostics/freethinkers.

  • Sea

    I’ve been lurking around here for a few months, I’d say, but apparently I’m shy enough that I needed to be asked before I would show myself. Here I am!

  • Roe

    I’ve commented here in the past so I guess I’m not technically a lurker. I am an atheist living in Idaho. I am also an ordained Atheist Minister with the First Church of Atheism 😉

    So there ya go!

  • While I have been reading Friendly Atheist for some time, I don’t remember if I ever commented….. So, I guess that would make me one of those lurker-types. I will have to try and remember to post more comments in the future. As for an introduction…….

    I am a Canadian who is currently living in the US working on my Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering. As for the religious side of things….. I was baptized as a Roman Catholic, but that doesn’t mean much, since I haven’t been to church since I was six or seven years old (well, apart from weddings and funerals). Apparently my parents felt that there were too many hypocrites and such at the church and decided to stop going. So, yeah, I guess I would have to say that I am most definitely an atheist. Other miscellaneous info….. I like reading books on quantum mechanics, string theory, cosmology and neuroscience. My favourite fiction authors are Douglas Coupland and Chuck Palahniuk. And I probably watch too much TV and too many movies for my own good.

  • AV

    If I haven’t commented here for months, is that sufficient to classify me as a “lurker?” Or is that like reversing one’s virginity?

  • Just calling in from Denmark here 🙂

    Impressive amount of lurkers indeed.

  • Creet

    Been lurking for a few months now. I’m an atheist living in northern California. I read the blog almost every day, so keep up the good work.

  • emilyelle

    I think i’ve commented once or twice here, but not too much. Anyway, I’m Emily, i’m 18, and i live in Canada. I’m done high school in a month and in September i’m going to the University of Toronto for linguistics and psychology.

  • Dylan Armitage

    @Roy McKenzie: you’re not alone!

    I’ve been lurking for quite a while, and I just get too caught up in reading people’s comments to post comments of my own. 😛

    I, too, am from the Central Valley of California. Fresno, to be specific. Although I would have to say that the areas I am in the most are a healthy mix of religious and non-religious. I know that other atheists exist in Fresno, from the Letters to the Editor in our newspaper, The Fresno Bee. I also know that there are quite a deal of the crazy religious types, also from their letters. It seems though that most people in my city are largely tolerant, or at least indifferent, to many [non]religion[s].
    Of course, it could just be the areas that I frequent, since they’re usually primarily “artsy” areas, like the Tower District and my school (a performing arts school). Usually I just lay on the down-low, to avoid confrontation, since I do know several rather religious people.

    I’m a senior in high school, with aspirations to go into medicine to become a cardiothoracic surgeon. So really, my atheism has been solidified with the amount of scientific reading and research that I have done.
    But it all really began last year, at a friend’s party. I drank way too much alcohol, which, of course, caused me to start vomiting. Another friend stayed with me for most of the 4 hours I was at the toilet, and one of the things he said was “you know, most people just say they’re atheists because it’s cool, but they’re not really. They say that, but they’re still afraid of hell.” That got me thinking (when I could start thinking again) about my own beliefs. (And just so you know, that one experience was enough negative reinforcement that I haven’t had any alcohol since then. I’m on an aspirin & coumadin regimen (long story), so all that vomiting caused a huge abrasion in my stomach, which caused me to bleed for several days. Huge blood loss, had to have two (or three) transfusions.)

    Up to that point I had been raised Episcopalian. Baptized, and even Confirmed (not in this diocese, if it means anything to you). My attitudes towards other people didn’t change much at all. Actually, it’s quite possibly my raising that really influenced my “liberal” “let it be” attitude (Episcopalians are notorious for that).
    Oh, and I also went to an Episcopalian school for preschool up to kindergarten, and Catholic school from 1st grade to 8th.

    Sorry about the extremely long first comment. I like to write, especially about my life. 🙂

  • Reynvaan

    Hello everyone. I’m a big fan of this blog. I’ve been reading it on and off for about a year now, but only started checking it daily about 2 months ago. My real name is Mike, but since I know there are already a couple Mikes posting here, I’m using an alias.

    I’m 20 years old and I was raised in a very (politically) conservative, Christian household. From a very young age I believed in Biblical literalism, original sin, heaven, hell, and all the rest. I always had a terrible feeling of doubt, though, because I never felt forgiven, and I never once had an experience I would have considered to be God/Jesus talking to me or directly working in my life. This doubt led me to feel that I was somehow inadequate in God’s eyes, so to compensate, I would evangelize, preaching to friends, family, and (at my absolute worst) random kids on the school bus. My reasoning was that my faith without works wasn’t enough to gain God’s favor, so surely bringing more sheep into the fold was the way to go.

    Around age 17 or 18, I began to see my religion for what it really was: empty and self-destructive. Instead of the joy and peace I was promised, I spent most of my time tormenting myself, living in fear that I wasn’t good enough, or I wasn’t “doing it right”. I would pray for guidance and deliverance, but of course, nothing came. Eventually I began to shed my Christianity, and after high school I met a friend in a similar “not quite a Christian anymore, but still clinging to it out of hope” situation as myself. We went through deconversion together, and through him I was introduced to the study of other religions. Study of the Abrahamic religions gave me a better understanding of Christianity, but what really got me were the new, foreign ideas and concepts in Hinduism and Buddhism, and of course, science.

    These days I still consider myself a spiritual person, but my spirituality is more naturalistic and transtheistic. I hold Theravada Buddhism and the Hindu school of Advaita Vedanta and in very high regard, though I’m not a practitioner of either. But maybe someday; who knows? 😀

  • philosophia

    It’s nice to be invited ;o) I’ve been lurking for a few weeks after I found my way over from Pharyngula, but this is my first comment here. Hello from New Zealand!

  • Rolando Aguilera

    Well, i’m one of those lurkers out there. Actually I visit a lot of pages but don’t write comments because:
    1) I have to improve my english in order to mantain a good conversation
    2) I don’t have the time to enter in blog discussions.
    Anyway, congrats on your blog, it’s one of my favorites. I’m 34 agnostic married with one kid. Im from Tamaulipas, Mexico and really close to the USA border (about three hour) so call me if you are going to have a party at the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. I like going there for shopping.
    Keep doing the good work
    see you

  • Michael

    Hi my names Michael. Been lurking for a few months now. I’m an atheist living in Ottawa Canada. I currently go to the University of Ottawa in an undergraduate Biochemistry program. I think your doing a good job keep it up. Now back to lurking.

  • raatrani

    I’ve commented before, and really only post when I have something to add to a conversation – I’m not one for the echo chamber, you know?

    Stats: Female, 25, Single, 2 cats. San Diego, Represent!

    Creds: Former local of the now-defunct socio-political blog at DefCon (Campaign to Defend the Constitution). I’m using a new handle now, but if you lurked there as well, you would know me as Stephanie. I also occasionally post at Pharyngula and a few other random sites.

  • John Major

    Las Vegas – just saying hi to all.


  • I don’t think I’ve commented here before, but I comment all over the place….

    I’ll mention that I’m very proud of my stepdaughter; her maternal grandparents are Scary Baptists who once told her that if she didn’t start going to their church she wouldn’t see her relatives (including her little brother, whom she adores) “in heaven.” She not only told them (respectfully) to suck it, she’s been trying to get a secular student group started at her high school and recently turned down a potential college roommate for being too religious. She found an atheist replacement, and they’re getting on famously.

    Makes a mommy proud. 🙂

  • Jackie

    Jackie from Ann Arbor, Mi. I’m going into my last year for Materials Science and Engineering at the U of Michigan. I’ve been an atheist for 6some years now. The contests are definitely my favorite.

  • David Crespo

    Hey, I’m a graduating high school senior from Miami. As we speak, I’m choosing between the University of Chicago and Princeton to study physics (it’s going to be Chicago, I’m pretty sure).

    I’ve been reading FA for about a little over a month. I think I’m going to start an atheist group at UChicago (or join Interfaith Alliance if that seems like a better idea). I’m definitely of the “strong” atheist variety, feeling no attachment whatsoever to religion after having been raised in a wholly religion-apathetic household by a Catholic and a Jew. “Catholic” and “Jew” are more like it, really (with the quotes).

    I was prompted to more rigorously define my lack of faith by my IB Theory of Knowledge course, and I became fascinated by the mindset of the religious. I got into atheism through some Richard Dawkins lectures, and I think Christopher Hitchens is hilarious, but I’ve definitely come to see the need for more tact. I think that’s what the Friendly Atheist really stands for: tact.

    Thanks, Hemant.

  • Idrill

    I’m one of those lurkers who just needed an invitation to participate.

    I’m a second generation atheist, married to an atheist, and the proud mother of two fabulous atheist daughters. I’m also an elementary teacher who is much loved and respected by my school community, and yet I would likely lose my job if it became known that I am an atheist.

    I read Hemant’s blog everyday, along with Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe (love their podcast!), Skepchick, Pharyngula and No God Blog. These sites keep me updated on what’s going on in the atheist/skeptical communities, as well as help me feel less alone.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share!

  • Kira

    Not sure if I’m technically a lurker, since I’ve entered a contest here before (and got in the top ten, I was very proud of that). I’m an atheist at a high school in Los Angeles, and have been reading your blog for a couple months now, it’s one of my favorites. Thanks for the opportunity to introduce myself!

  • James Fothergill

    Thanks for living up to your blog’s name. I enjoy how upbeat it is and you are. It is on my IGoogle Atheism tab. Keep up the good work. I hope you get more responses than you have time to approve.

  • Gevaudan

    I’ll bite. Been reading your site for about a year now. Figured now was as good a time as any to pipe up.

    Just saying “Howdy” – I have this site and a few others with an atheist bent on my googlereader and keeping up with things is one of the few things I try to make sure I do everyday.

    I’d call myself an atheist when I happen to feel I need a label; otherwise, religion isn’t much of an interesting topic so I rarely feel the need to think about it. It seems fairly obvious to me that there is no god and religion is just a security blanket most ppl can’t or won’t divest themselves of. Whatever. Works for me. Leave me alone, we’ll get along fine. Except my wife. She’s a pretty confident Catholic but we manage to not kill each other. We just don’t discuss certain topics very often.

    Anyway…I’m here. I’m watching. I’ll try to chime in now and again.

    Another time, then.


  • Karen

    Welcome, lurkers – it’s great to see you! It’s also really, really nice to hear positive comments about how tactful, pleasant and friendly we are – we so often get the opposite reaction from newbies who pop up here. 😉

    Couple of comments I wanted to respond to:

    (I do wish I did this for something I really wanted to be associated with, though, like the NCSE or something. And working with articles of a slightly less technical nature would be nice, too.)

    I would recommend that you volunteer to do some proof-reading or writing for the NCSE and/or some other secular and atheist organizations. Most of them run on a shoestring and might at least consider accepting your services as a volunteer. If you impress them and make yourself invaluable, you might end up doing some paid freelance projects for them and from there … who knows?

    Grew up in a fundamentalist Baptist family and spent most of my life being a missionary’s kid in Mexico. We were pretty much the weird family that dressed funny (”modestly”) and seemed to have their own language.
    We moved to the states when I was fourteen and I slowly became something of an American … when I was nineteen I realized that all of Christianity was basically bullshit. It was a hard thing to go through (especially since I simultaneously realized I was gay) but at the end of the process I found myself liberated.

    Hey, I’m one of the moderators of an ex-fundy online support group for people who have deconverted or are considering it. We have someone in the group with a background very much like you (she also did missionary work in Mexico with the fundy Baptists). If you – or anyone else who used to be a fundamentalist (of any religious persuasion) – would benefit from support and encouragement from other likeminded people, please jump into our group.

  • Might as well come out of the dark 🙂

    I’m a high school junior from Vancouver, Canada. I haven’t been a reader of FA for that long, just the last couple of months. Love it so far!

  • J

    I think I’ve commented before but I might be wrong. Either way, I figured I should say hi.

    I’m a student at the university of delaware. I would love to join the secular student assiciation here, but every semester this year and last year, their meetings have been in the middle of my frisbee practices (I play competitive ultimate and love it!) Hopefully next fall I’ll be able to join them.

    I was pretty much neutral on the topic of religion (I didn’t believe in god and really didn’t bother to think about it much) until the end of high school, when I started dating my current boyfriend and his parents decided that it was inappropriate for him to be dating an atheist. They tried to get him to find a “nice christian girl” but he refused to dump me over religion. I feel awful watching his parents brainwash his 4 younger siblings into their evangelicalism without being able to say anything (and I don’t… I’m on shaky enough ground with them already). So I suppose watching their family really pushed me to become more outspoken about my lack of religion.

  • Eegaddz

    Finally coming out of my shell and stepping into the light! I don’t know why it took me so long, but I finally have a voice here.

  • Ubi Dubium

    Well, I’ve been here only a few months, so I’ll introduce myself. (Even though I have two Friendly Atheist wristbands now, I still feel new here.)

    Middle-aged mother of two lovely daughters, in the DC suburbs. (Currently obsessed with Harry Potter and Doctor Who.) Raised Presbyterian, spent my teenage years doing tons of youth group and youth choir activities. In college, majored in Physics, and shed all the religion. I realized the only part I really liked about church was singing, so I kept singing, and dumped all the rest.

    I’m still pretty much in the closet in my community, since I am an officer in my local chorus, and many of the church musicians in the group would not take it well if I openly proclaimed my total lack of belief in their religions. My only obvious outward sign of atheism would be the pirate fish on my car.

    Now I’m trying to raise my children to be open-minded, thoughtful, critical thinkers. They keep encountering Fundie relatives and schoolmates, and I am trying to help my girls deal with all the preaching and proclamations that they are going to hell. I’ve been haunting the atheosphere, including pharyngula, venganza, de-conversion, daylight atheism, and here, for wisdom and insight, and some really good laughs. I comment occasionally, but I am here every day.

    Oh, and I’m pretty sure that the Bad Astronomer was in my 6th grade class. I wonder if he still plays the trombone.

  • Well, I can’t resist such a nice request….

    I’m Freya, or that’s what I go by since I’ve had to relocate to another blog to continue my writing anonymously. Over the years I’ve always said I was “raised a Jehovah’s Witness” because in my mind I never was one. As early as four I remember being shushed because I wouldn’t stop asking “but why? that doesn’t make sense?” Today, when my six-year-old says those things words I groan because I have to answer her fearless questions, but at the same time am not surprised at all.

    So yeah, not a JW, stopped pretending I was one when i was a teenager, and consider myself a an atheist. I live in a Southern California city/valley area jam packed of churches and all their signs aligning the roads. I’d think it was funny if it wasn’t so annoying when they take over my favorite Starbucks in the evening.

    Not sure how I stumbled on here but I’m glad I did about a month ago. As much as I love to write I’m not very confident when it comes to my position on many things, but I love how everyone here seems to say theirs so eloquently. So, good writing, awesome wit…oh, and the picture of Hemant sealed the deal to keep bringing me back. 🙂

  • Ulrich

    Hi everyone! *de-lurks*

    I’m a 26 year old computer science student from Germany. Raised in a liberal Catholic family, I haven’t been a really religious person since my childhood. For a long time, religion just was a non-issue for me. Last year, finally, I somehow felt the need to think about it again, and quickly realized I had been an atheist all along. And – I liked it this way.

    It was then that I subscribed to a couple of atheist blogs, this being one of them. The friendly and open atmosphere make it a very nice and interesting place to visit. 🙂 I must say, though, some of the stories I read really make me glad that I live in a country where relligious fundamentalism is rather insignificant. Good luck and more power to those less fortunate!

  • You’re in my RSS reader but I’ve never posted. I’m an atheist from Florida. I’ll be honest with you, I skip over half of the things that are written here. It’s not because of anything that you’re doing wrong it’s because most of the time I don’t care anything about religious issues. What I do care about is the separation of church and state and when believers try to interfere with science.

    I’m pretty sure I found this blog trough Skeptchick when you were writing about the atheist who was suing the military for discrimination.

  • I’ll take this invitation; thanks!

    I’ve been lurking for several months now, and occasionally considered commenting, but never actually have. Now that I’ve done so once, I’ll have less excuse not to do so in the future.

  • Alright, you convinced me.

    I’m a 30 year old atheist. Most of my life thought religious was weird. My family wasn’t big on the church going. We went to a Friends church for a couple years when I was late in elementary and that was it. My Boy Scout troop was at a Lutheran church, and I dated a few strong practicing Catholics at the en dof high school and beginning of college. So the more exposure I got the more it just seems sort of pointless.

    I was probably more of a deist due to the influence of my father and his believe that God started things then left us to our own devices. But it took me until college to move to agnosticism and then by the time I was out of college I was considering myself an atheist.

    So ummm hi!

    Oh, and I have a “Proud To be An Atheist” sticker on my car and have only gotten flipped off once.

  • David D.G.

    Karen, thanks for the suggestion. I’ll look into it!

    ~David D.G.

  • I dunno if I have commented before, but I have definitely been reading for quite some time. I am the Nicest Girl & Destroyer of Planets OR Izzibeth depending on what website you’re on (I like to proclaim myself the only “Izzibeth” on the whole wide internet… I think it might be true). I also write a blog but it’s nowhere near as good as this one or a bunch of others that I read. I barely ever comment on blogs because the ones I read are full of such agreeable people and I simply find myself repeating what everyone else is saying. ^_^

  • MizBean

    I must say that all this openness and comraderie is making me feel like an old stick-in-the-mud fraidy-cat snob, so here’s my Hello!
    I’ve been reading Hemant’s blog for about a year; it was my introduction to the wonderful world of atheist/skeptic/science/political blogs. It felt a lot like coming home.
    I gave up any pretense of religiosity when I was about 9 and never looked back, even though I was treated like a mutant (not a cool X-Man either) throughout school. As an adult being an atheist was something that came up rarely, so I mostly never sweated it, until I had a child after moving to Georgia.
    Now it’s hugely important to me to “rear ‘im right”, especially because we’re embedded in Bible Belt culture, including my Jesus-loving, preacher’s-daughter MIL.
    So many thanks to all of you for giving me the intelligent, warm, strong environment I need to think well and be a better woman and mom.

  • Zoe

    I’ve been reading forever. Well, not forever but for a long time. You’re in my blogroll and have been for forever, yeah, well for a long time. 🙂

  • one3rd

    I just started looking through this blog today, and I really like the friendly, intellectual atmosphere. I think I’ll keep coming back.
    I’m a 24-year-old Shinto Buddhist in the Marine Corps. I also try to adhere to Bushido as closely as possible. I really enjoy studying religion, philosophy, culture, language and the way they interact and influence each other…also the ways they don’t. It’s important not only from a military perspective, but also for my personal understanding of the world.

  • Lauren

    I’ve been lurking for months and months.

    My name is Lauren, I’m a Christian, and I’ve found your site to be a really interesting place for me to hear and understand more about the atheist viewpoint. Clearly, I don’t agree with everything I’ve seen posted here, and sometimes my feelings are a bit hurt, but I am generally so impressed with the kindness and openness both Hemant and the other posters show daily. I admire the community you are working to create for yourselves!

    back to lurking…

  • Carlos

    Just yesterday I was about to post a comment for the first time (about coincidental meetings), but got caught up with work. I guess I can’t ignore this invitation.

    I’ve always been atheist (born that way, right?) but have recently become more aware of and interested in the issues we face as non-religious people in the United States. My baptism (Catholic) was probably the last time I actually took part in any religious ceremony. My mother always wished my brothers and I would go to church, but we were never forced to go, which was probably due to my father being atheist.

    Growing up in the diverse population of a university town (Ann Arbor – Go Blue!), I was not overtly aware of the extent to which I was an anomaly. Whether coincidentally or by subconscious measures (ooh, maybe it was Divine Providence!), my friends tended to be non-religious if not atheist, or were simply private about their faith.

    I now live in Washington (the state), about 30 minutes north of Portland, OR. While the Northwest is considered one of the least “churched” regions of the country, I have found that, particularly in the smaller cities and towns, people seem to be quite dedicated to their religious beliefs. There are certainly times when I feel a bit out of place in the small towns where I live and work, but it is far from inescapable.

    I am thrilled that there exist places, both on the internet and in real life, where we atheists can freely exchange ideas with like-minded people. Especially the friendly ones.

    – Carlos

  • Kaitie

    I lurk no more!
    I think I might have commented before, but its been so long since I have that I still consider myself a lurker. I enjoy reading this blog because its funny and friendly atheism is certainly the best kind =] I live in small town Missouri, so, needless to say, I know very few other atheists personally. Now that I think about it, I’ve only ever met one atheist who wasn’t emo/alternative/trying too hard not to be mainstream. I’m 18 and will be graduating high school next week (OMG) and think I may just be the first ever inspirational speaker at my high school’s graduation that will not include a bible verse in my speech =]
    Oh yeah, and I’ve officially considered myself an atheist since I was 16, before that I was skeptical for quite a while, and before that I was really into christianity and church and stuff but never really felt a connection like most christians I know. Anyway, done rambling. Nice to meet you all!

  • Ah, go on then. Twentysomething atheist from the UK here, still just getting started with all this “skeptical community” malarkey, having realised that it exists only a few months ago. I’m still generally commenting much less than I’m lurking, and doing actual blogging even less than that, but making an effort to ramp it up from time to time. Big fan of the site, been stopping by every so often for a while now. (Tried to post this from work a little while back, pretty sure it didn’t go through but apologies if I’m repeating myself.)

  • Hello! I’ve commented once before, but I consider myself a lurker anyway. Hemant Mehta is something of a hero of mine. I think this blog really advances the human aspect of the conversation between theists and atheists, and even amongst atheists ourselves.

  • I can’t remember if I’ve ever commented before, but I really enjoy this blog. So, hello! 🙂

  • Mark

    I’m not really a “lurker”. I came across this website when doing a google search for “atheist virgin”. Most results were either atheists bashing the virgin birth story or religous fanatics bashing liberals for not being able to get any (?). There was also this chick who is having relationships problems with her mother. In any event, it was one of the most disappointing google searches I can remember. Goodnight.

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