Hello to the Lurkers! April 4, 2009

Hello to the Lurkers!

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! Tell us who you are, where you’re located, what you do, and what your blog is (if applicable)!

All new commenters must be approved/moderated by me, and once that happens, you’re free to comment whenever you’d like. It’s 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 🙂 It may take a little while before I can get around to approving you today, but I’ll do it as soon as I can!

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  • Boo! I’ve been lurking behind the advert in the right column. Now that I’ve stuck my head out I must say that I love your blog Hemant.


    Jeff Olsson

  • iOliver

    Hi i´m Oliver from Vienna, Austria (pardon my spelling). i´m a born and razzed Atheist (third genartion). I love ur Blog. thats all for now keep up your good work.

  • Going by my site traffic, I must have a few lurkers, and I like to pretend they are people that think that what I said was so perfect, they have nothing more to add.

    The internet is good for self esteem.

  • aaagghhhh! Busted. I’ve been lurking for several months now but nothing to add yet. Do keep up the good work.


  • Rami Abulhusn

    Heya. Long time reader from the sandy desert of the Persian Gulf. Been reading the blog for a few months now and I’m a pretty big fan.

    Thanks for trying to draw us lurkmonkeys out of the woodworks!

  • juz kaz

    Hi Hemant,

    G’day from Melbourne, Australia. I’ve been a regular lurker of your blog ever since I read your book. I’ve got to tell you that I was attracted to your book because it has ‘eBay’ on it (I’m an addict!). I never thought about atheism before – it was not an option in the culture I grew up with. But I found your blog (and all the comments that others have shared) very engaging and I simply can’t afford not to read… Thanks!

  • Secular Humanist

    I assume I am already registered since my name comes up?

  • I don’t think I’ve ever commented here, but I’ve been reading your blog for about a year. I do love to read your blog, and although I can’t promise that I will stop lurking for long, I will certainly try to participate more often. Thanks for maintaining a great community!

  • Hello Hello,

    I’m new to the site and looking forward to getting in some heated debates.


  • Well, thanks Hemant. Didn’t think you could see me hiding behind that big scary firewall.
    I’m Duke, a recovering Catholic from Mexico, but now happily living in Finland where religion is rarely brought up, except when I meet the ocassional American who usually happens to be a creationist.

    I’ve been following you’re blog for about a year already, and it’s always the first read off my RSS feeds. I really envy how easily you can approach believers with a friendly yet non-patronizing tone. I can never do that without sounding cynical, sarcastic or condescending.

    I always point believers to your blog when they express curiosity about atheism and what we’re thinking about.

    Great job, and have fun this summer!

    Also if there are any readers here living in Helsinki, would love to meet up for a coffee or beer! Looking forward to hearing from you!

    – Duke

  • Heli

    Hi! I’m Heli from Seinäjoki, Finland. I found this blog not long ago and have been an avid reader ever since.

    Even though I belong to the Lutheran church I have never believed in God. Religion has never been an issue for me. Recently though I have been feeling like a hypocrite for belonging to an institute that I don’t believe in. I’m still gathering courage to leave the church. It is difficult to leave something that has been a part me for all my life.

    This blog has been a great place to read and learn about being an atheist. It doesn’t seem so lonely and scary anymore.

  • Hi Hemant! I may have commented once before, which would make me not technically a lurker – but I can’t remember, so I’ll say hello. I’m a post-Christian atheist/humanist/rationalist poet, and fairly new to the game, as I deconverted less than two years ago.

  • Ou? But how come you decided to make it “by approval”? Nasty comments issues?

    So… I’m not sure how I’m supposed to introduce myself? I rarely comment… mostly just laying back, reading & for most part enjoying it 🙂 (I’ve been following for about 2-3 months now).

  • Shawn

    Heya! I’m Shawn and I’m a social worker in Jax, FL. I’ve been following you and several atheist blogs for the last few months after my final dabble with New Age stuff. Thanks for the content you put up on the site@

  • Hi folks,

    I’ve been lurking for about a year or so. I’ve been an atheist all of my life – I was not raised in a religious household so I didn’t have a “bad” experience with religion.

    I live in southeast Georgia where I am living with my atheist partner, and where I’m raising a 17 year old agnostic son (his choice).

    I really enjoy this blog – keep up the great work!

  • TheDeadEye

    Am I a lurker?

    Guess not. 🙂

  • Catriona


    Hi there! I’m a 21-year old always-been-atheist and up and coming marine scientist from Sydney, Australia. Fortunately the stupid does not flow thick and fast here as it does in the US :p

    Loved the book!


  • Sam

    I think I might have commented before, but I guess I still count as a lurker.

    I’m a teenage atheist in the Midwestern United States. I’ve been reading this blog for a while (when I started using iGoogle).

    My blog is at maybetheblog.blogspot.com. It’s not really focused on anything, more of a personal journal that can be read by others.

  • Greetings from a lurker based in London, UK!

    I’ve been reading the blog for months now and your post was just the excuse I needed to start commenting. Well done for bringing these issues to a wider audience and for highlighting the many, many wrongs being done in the name of the various religions.

  • I have commented a couple of times, and sent some links when I stumbled over them.

    I am Joe, an atheist from Massachusetts. Married, three kids.

    Yup… that about sums me up.

  • IANAL(urker)


    Greetings from Ames, Iowa. Land of the collective gay hangover on April 4th.

  • Perhaps every blogger should distribute a dose of Ex-Lurks.

    I’m an Atheist born and raised, by immigrant parents. I had it easy.

  • Hi! I’m a 28-year-old atheist living in Chicago with my atheist husband. I’ve only recently started reading blogs about atheism and skepticism, but yours is my favorite by far. Thanks for drawing us out of our shells!

  • Hi, I’ve been reading for a few weeks now, I found this while just looking for things to put on my RSS feed. I’m glad I found it, too.

    I am a secular humanist raised christian scientist, but the transition wasn’t very hard, there wasn’t much of a community at my church to begin with.

    I am an engineering student at University of Pittsburgh and recently the Campus Crusade for Christ has been promoting a website “everypittstudent.com” and to make a long story short, my boyfriend and I have launched noteverypittstudent.com to promote awareness of the non-christians on campus. It’s been a lot more successful than expected, too, and might lead to both the formation of a student organization for religious tolerance and one for humanist/freethinkers/whatever we’re calling ourselves.

  • John


    I’ve posted a couple times but lurked much more than a couple times. I’m a 45 year old civil engineer from mid-missouri, USA. <—-As per your suggestion, I did not use the cap lock to capitilize that, just the shift key. As a youngster, I labored under the idea that I should be religious and voluntarily went to different churches on occasion. My mom was religious but didn’t attend much because my dad (whom she met in a church) was an agnostic pain in her ass and would try to verbally straighten her out everytime she went to church. He never did that to me. Since my college days I’ve gone by various labels including agnostic, secular humanist and bright. I have come to the conclusion that its not my beliefs that change when I change labels, its my understanding of what others will think those labels mean that changes. So, I’m not such a big fan of the labels anymore, but when I have to pick one, I try and pick the one that fits the situation.

    I think this is one of the best blogs out there. I’m amazed with how much interesting stuff you come up with.

  • Mike

    Been lurking for about 4-5 months now. I am an atheist from Missouri. I really believe my wife just thinks I forgot to go to church for the last 35 years.

    I really like your attitude. I listened to your non-debate with the Christian pastor and like the fact that there were so many times you agreed. I prefer dialogs to monologs because learning new ideas gives me my reason for living. I like Thomas Jefferson’s quote, “Error can be tolerated as long as reason is left free to combat it.”

    I just like it here.

  • I’ve posted once before, I think, but I’d still consider myself a lurker.

    I’m a 22 year old Canadian who is almost finished a B.Sc. in mathematics.

    I was raised in a liberal Christian household where church was never a particularly important nor a particularly frequent part of our daily life. I had a fairly easy and gradual journey to atheism, with a short stop at deism along the way.

    I read your blog every day and I greatly appreciate the insightful articles and the comments they generate. 🙂 Thanks for creating such a wonderful community.

  • I wouldn’t say that I am a lurker – but I do have your RSS feed in my Google Reader and check (dare I say it) “religiously”.

    I am a junior Physics Major at Carnegie Mellon University, born and raised in Russia, with jewish heritage. I thank communism, for all of its flaws and errors, for preventing my parents from inducting me into any faith. (But I recognize that oppression is probably not the best way to go about it).

    I was at first hesitant to read this blog, as it isn’t quite as humorous as Evolved and Rat/i/onal (which got me started on atheist blogging in the first place), but your frequent updates with world-relevant issues turned my head.

    Keep up the great work!

  • maidden

    You know, that’s really creepy, we’re just hanging out being flies on the wall and all of a sudden you’re talking to us directly? You could startle a person right off their chair.

    Actually, I’m not sure if I’ve commented before, but I don’t think I’ve introduced myself. I’m from Brazil, physics undergrad, born and raised christian, turned pagan for a while several years ago until realizing it’s all bullshit anyway. Pagans at least have more fun with their BS…

    So hi everyone, love the blog, keep up the great work etc. I’m probably going back to lurking now.

  • Kaeti

    I am a former archaeologist who has returned to school to become a high school Earth Science teacher in western NY.

    I was raised in a Lutheran household and atheist blogs have helped me with my deconversion process. Though I tend to lurk at all the ones I read.

  • Hola,

    This is Rebecca, reading your blog from Syracuse, NY (raised in Mexico) since about two years now… I have been an atheist/humanist for 5 years, prior to that questions about belief, supernatural stuff never really interested me.. didn’t go to any church and pretty much had some serious reservations about religions. When a close friend started telling me about her beliefs, supernatural new egy stuff mixed with Catholicism (and in the process admonishing me for being a little skeptic about them), I begun to ask myself if what I thought wasn’t as silly or more than what she believed… So, the unraveling of my own ideas and beliefs took place…which got me to study the history of religions, the scientific method, evidence based thinking… I am glad to say that the journey has allowed me to live a happier life, free of unfounded guilt and with desire to live this life to the fullest because it is my only one.
    I enjoy your blog and come often but never comment.. until today! Thanks for your blog, it is fun, entertaining and informative. Keep it up.

  • I like your kinder, gentler atheist blog!

  • Kay

    Hello from St. Louis! I’m a special education teacher that became an atheist because of the required philosophy and theology classes at my Jesuit university. Guess they made me think a little TOO hard about Christianity 🙂

    LOVE the blog!

  • Santiago

    I think I’ve commented once or twice but I still think of myself as a lurker.

    I’m an atheist from Mexico, went to see the Pope once since our mother made us (if you count 10 seconds of watching the top of the pope-mobile zip past as “seeing” the pope), never understood why we had to go to a special building to pray if our god was omniscient, but was sort of a deist until I read The God Delusion a couple years ago.

    Anyway, hello to everyone and thanks for your blog Hemant!

  • EB

    Love the blog. I was raised a christian, and have been calling myself an atheist for ~ 1 year now. I just missed your talk at Stanford, mainly because of was recovering from my PhD defense a few days earlier.

  • Takma’rierah

    I’m a college atheist in the Wisconsin public school system, and I’ve never, even when I was a kid, bought into religion–however, I only stopped calling myself agnostic after reading here for a while and discovering that we believe the same things.

    Got into my first creationist debate last night with some of my coworkers! Everyone was polite and while we were interrupted midway through we all managed to agree at least that we were trying to convey the grandeur of the universe to each other.

  • Coulla

    Hi there,

    My name’s Andrew, an actor from bonnie auld Scotland.

    Atheist since I realised I could get out of school prayer by saying I was – after a few years of skipping assembelies like this, decided to read up on what atheism actually was and discovered that I actually was an atheist, just didn’t know that it applied to me.

    Lurking over!

  • Lauren


    I’ve only be lurking for about 6 months. I’m in high school, and your blog always makes first period more bearable. 🙂


  • Hello! New commenter, long time lurker here. I found this through Cynical-C and you now have my favorite blog! A long time ago I was duped into christianity, but have long questioned it. Now I’m a proud Atheist!

  • I have been lurking in the RSS feed. I Found this blog through googles recommended links Athiest Bundle.

  • explodingalice

    Ya got me. I’ve been lurking for quite a while now. Generally by the time I get to read the blog, everything that I might say has been said, and generally better than I might say it. So I just nod along.

    Anyway, I run a program for older adults and people with disabilities. I’m an atheist and skeptic, I’m somebody’s mom, and I’m a big ol’ nerd. I’ve enjoyed this blog greatly since I found it – lots of humor, lots of information, and lots of new resources to discover. Keep up the great work!

  • Gerold

    I’m from Thunder Bay, Canada and I just stumbled on this interesting site today, April 4, 2009. BTW – thank you, Rachel, March 19 for The Logical Fallacies Table of Contents website address http://www.onegoodmove.org/fallacy/toc.htm. I’ve been searching fruitlessly for years for either books or websites on logical fallacies. I’m amazed at the scarcity of information. I suspect it may have much to do with the poverty of our Western public education systems and the efforts of our leaders (political & economic) to keep us dumb and ignorant. By the same token, try and find any information, let alone university courses, on monetary theory. Once again we’re being kept dumb and ignorant while the banksters rob us blind.

    I’m several years from retirement unless further economic collapse hastens the event. Once retired, I plan to expand on Julian Jaynes (1976) book “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind” which I highly recommend to anyone interested in the origin of religion and our “need to believe.” I’ve been an athiest for more than 40 years and I’m still amazed at how many “belief systems” I find.

    Until I retire I spend much of my spare time the last two years researching financial and economic news and information. I write articles for family, friends and colleagues on the economic collapse, cutting through the media and government spin and assessing where we are, where we’re going and what the average person can do to prepare for the coming economic collapse and to minimize the pain. I do this free of charge on the principle that if I can help at least one other person (the research is an education for me too) then it’ll be worth the effort. If you’re interested in being added to my email distribution list, drop me a line at gerold@shaw.ca

    I’m considering creating a blog but haven’t done so yet. Although my articles are for a Canadian audience, much of the info is from the U.S. and world-wide, and some of my readers are American. The information is applicable to everyone.

  • Hey there, found your website about 6 months ago through Pharyngula. I enjoy your thoughts and opinions.

    I am a transplanted Canadian, originally from Toronto, Canada, now livign in Gaithersburg, MD. I am a math teacher at Gaithersburg HS. I am also more than a math teacher…I like to think that I am a teacher of critical thinking and logic, math is just a means to get there.

    I have a blog called the Maryland Canuck. I just wish I had more time to update it.

    Thanks for the opportunity.

    Stephen Burrows

  • Ken

    Greetings all, I have been lurking for about a month now. I am near DC in Northern Virginia. I was raised in the evangelical church, have a Masters degree in Religion, and was preparing for pastoral ministry. These days I am an agnostic and leaning more and more toward an atheistic view of the world.

    I really appreciate this blog and find much of what is posted here really resonates with my own perspective. I appreciate anyone who is open and able to examine multiple view points, in the words of Deepak Chopra, I “want to seek the company of those who are looking for the truth, and run away from those who have found it.”

  • HI THERE I’M…ahem *cough*
    Excuse me. Caps lock hairball.
    I’m Mike, I blog (sporadically) as Lab Boy. Located in the very weird state of Florida, USA; I’m a marine microbiologist and I’d tell ya exactly what I’m studying, but that would probably “out” me, since there are so few of us.

    Anyway, I’m a recent deconvert and still a bit miffed at having bought the bull for so long (admittedly in a nearly deistic way), so I tend to get a bit more, shall we say, brash than our Friendly Host. However I have been lurking for a year or so and you, along with the more “Overton Window shifting” bloggers helped me finally let the last remnants of faith go. Thank you for that. It’s brought a bit more mental consistency to my thoughts and has been well worth the (rather small) price.

    By the way, how did you see me through the RSS feed? I thought those things were one-way.

  • Gordon Reid

    I’ve been lurking for about 3 months. Wandered here via fundie christian schools and church, new age cult, deist, agnostic then atheist. It only took 66 years. Also wandered here through church state issues, Pharyngula and other links. I love your blog.

  • Nixxy

    Aw, I stopped lurking weeks ago! Well, I’ve never really introduced myself so…

    err… I’m a 19 year old atheist that was never really raised religious. My parents did believe weird things, though. I tried to believe in a variety of different things, but I had always been skeptical and could never really get myself to fully believe any of it. Then I realized I didn’t have to! And so now I’m a skeptical atheist. (That’s a really condensed version of it)

    Anyways, I’m stuck with NC as my home state but right now I’m in FL for college. It’s a no win, really.

    P.s. I’m also Nix Noctua in most places, in case any of you have seen me elsewhere.

  • angelo

    bon tardi, feliz weekend

    good aftertoon and a great weekend to you, Hemant and all of you fine readers.

    My name is Angelo. I’m from Aruba, a tiny island in the Caribbean, in the northwest of the Venezuelan coast. You may have heard of it, on Fox and CNN during the Natalee Holloway case.

    Anyways, I was raised as a Catholic and became an atheist in 2004. I’ve been lurking for 7 months now and I’m a big fan of your topics.

    Keep up with the good work.


    Angelo Angela
    Sta. Cruz
    Aruba, Dutch West Indies

  • hey Hemant,
    i might have commented occasionally before, but i’m still a lurker on this blog. I mostly browse thru the daily posts … and i enjoy reading your blog.


  • Marsha in TN

    Hi: I think I’ve commented once. Love your blog. I’m 56, a recovering Baptist (24 years now)a librarian at a small private college in east Tennessee, living with my partner of 9 years Amy, 2 dogs and 8 cats. It’s VERY conservative here, but we have a pocket of very liberal friends who keep us from going crazy. It’s great to see so many people here from around the world. I check in every day to see what is going on. Keep up the great work.

  • papercrane

    Hello; I’m Rachel, an undergraduate student of anthropology in Michigan. I was homeschooled for the first sixteen years of my life and deeply indoctrinated into Protestant Christian beliefs; I’m now learning what free thought means, and identify as an queer liberal vegetarian atheist feminist activist. (My parents are just thrilled.)
    I quite enjoy your blog both as a source of atheist news and as a respite from the Judeo-Christian-saturated world I contend with in practically every aspect of my life. Your insights are a constant source of delight.

  • REX

    Hi Hemant,

    My name is Rex, and I am a lurker!

    I am in Arizona. I am 45 years old and I own my own manufacturing company. I have spent about half of my adult life trying to make the world a better place by volunteering my time to a local school district, including serving as a governing board member for many years.

    I have been an atheist my whole life, but only recently have I been really studying why and how and what that means.

    Your blog and others like it have given me words, thoughts, perspective and frankly a clear way for me to begin to properly articulate my lack of belief in a way that is logical and supports my lifelong contention that one does not have to believe in the supernatural to live a good life and have a positive impact on society.

    I am on a daily RSS habit with your site.

    Keep fighting the good fight of shining light into the darkness. It matters.

  • amgentry

    I may have commented once or twice within the past six months, but hi there!
    My name’s Morgan and I live in Massachusetts. I’m a seventeen year-old high school senior. I was raised in the Boston Church of Christ (part of the International Churches of Christ) and, if you’ve heard of its history circa the 1990s, I was part of Kip McKean’s ministry (yikes!). Conservative, evangelical, radical Christians. Baptized at 15, I became an atheist within sixth months and had left the church entirely.

    Several of my best friends from the church (there’s about eight of us, total) have left and become atheists. We now call ourselves “The Band.”

    I’ll be going to Green Mountain College in the fall and can’t wait. Looking forward to becoming a participant in the real life atheist scene.

  • Andreas


    Been reading for about a year, haven’t posted before, so thanks for prodding!

    I’m 37, grew up in 98% Christian Orthodox Greece. My mom was pagan/agnostic/protestant depending on her mood, so I had a role model. Been “out” as an atheist since I was 12. I freely and openly discuss my atheism when the need arises but without rubbing it in people’s faces. Truly, it doesn’t come up that often, so people usually know me when it comes up in conversation.

    Have many devout friends for whom I am the only atheist they know. Some of them thought that atheism was evil before they met me and have confided in me that I changed their mind about atheism. They feel totally comfortable now discussing religion with me in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding. They haven’t changed their beliefs any more than I have changed mine and neither of us try to indoctrinate each other. It’s a nice balance. It’s as much relevant to our lives as difference between democrats and republicans or cat lovers and dog lovers. It really is no big deal.

    The only domain in which my atheism is loud and assertive is politics and specifically in those instances where the levers of state are used to push religion onto free citizens.

  • rbray18

    hi i’m a 26 year old just became a athiest
    found this blog through the unreasonble
    fath’s top 30 blog list wich i in turn foun through slacktivist’s blog. i’ve been sorta losing my faith for a while but all the blogs on the list have helping me learn more bout what i do and don’t believe.
    i doubt i’ll comment much.

  • I’ve posted a couple of times but am mostly a lurker (I always feel like other people say what I want to so there’s no need for me to write anything).
    I’m 28, from Canada from an atheist family (my mother only came out a few months ago though) with an atheist husband. Other than my mother dragging me to church a few times (she thought it would be good for me socially) and having to endure 4 years of Catholic school. I had a pretty easy life.

  • OpaqueWishes

    Hey there! I’ve been reading this blog for a while now, and I have to say that I just love it.
    Um, I guess I should say that I live in Philadelphia… I’m really bad at introductions 🙂

  • Don

    I’m Don from Albuquerque. I found this blog a few months ago and it become one of the few I read daily.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Meredith

    Hello Hemant.

    I live in Seattle. I was raised Episcopalian, started questioning my faith in college, and in my mid-20’s (I’m now 30) decided that I’m an atheist.

    I’m happily married to an agnostic (he’s still getting comfy with the word atheism, though he doesn’t believe in a higher power). Our wedding celebrant was a humanist.

    I’m proud to self-identify as atheist when I have the opportunity, such as when asked or on any social networking sites when asked to fill in my religion.

    My brother is also an atheist. Interestingly, my parents both turned to being very religious late in life (Catholic and Baha’i). My husband’s parents are not religious. His father is probably atheist; his mother is more of a non-practicing Catholic.

    Love your stuff!

  • lindsey

    I’ve commented once or twice but I still mostly lurk.

    I’m Lindsey, I live in Seattle. I just graduated college two weeks ago. I grew up Mormon and I was expelled from BYU.


  • CO Athiest

    Howdy, I am a lurker. Thanks for the invite to post.

    I have been an atheist most of my adult life(over 15 years). I am lucky in that most of my close friends are also atheists or at least non-religious. I also live in an area that does is not too pushy when it come to religion(Northern Colorado).

    That being said, my family has a pretty long tradition in religion. My grandfather, uncle and brother-in-law are/were all ministers. But they and the rest of my family are not pushy in trying to convert me back. I have discussed my stance with them on a number of occasions and they respect me, so they respect my beliefs. That does not keep them from “praying for me”, but if they want to waste their time, it is theirs to waste.

    OK, so I guess I am no longer a lurker?

  • Jonas


    I’m Jonas from Sweden, atheist since i was about 5 years old and saw through what the priest was babbling about in church. I like to keep myself updated about all the crazy things theists in the US does. I have no blog of my own.

  • Anomuumi

    Hello from Finland,

    I’m a 34-year-old father of two wonderful kids. I come from a fairly religious background. As a kid I was often taken to church and related activities. I can remember that I was not yet in school when I started suspecting that the adults were wrong. I remember feeling happy when I noticed I had solved their “riddle”. I was sitting in a religious service, and suddenly I just figured out why most of it did not make sense.

    I must say I’m happy that although I shared my views with my parents when I was very young, they never punished me for my views, or forced their religion on me. I myself will not push my views on my kids. I will be brutally honest if asked, but I will let them decide by themselves. The best lesson we can teach our kids is to teach them to think for themselves. Indoctrination is bad, no matter how noble the goals.

  • I have lurked a couple of times. Guilty! I live in Madison WI. I have been an atheist since I was 7-8 yrs old.

  • MeagD

    Hi there.

    My name is Meag and I’m a graduate student from London Ontario Canada. Born and raised atheist and have been lurking atheist blogs for about 4 months now. Really enjoy the blog. Keep up the good work.

  • Hank Bones

    Hi all-

    I try to not lurk too much, but its nice to get to know everyone, so here’s me:

    I’m a 22 year-old Minnesotan atheist temporarily living in Arkansas. I’m a lab rat type at the moment, although I’m thinking about going to optometry school. Lab work is too lurk-intensive for my tastes, I suppose.

    Good to see so many Midwesterners here! I didn’t know any “out” atheists growing up in MN/WI. On that note, I suppose I should out myself to my family at some point soon.


    Oh, as a P.S.- My vision for the atheist community, in the words of D.Eggers: Something needs to happen. Something huge. The taking over of something, a building, a city, a country. We should all be armed and taking over small countries. Or rioting. Or no: an orgy. There should be an orgy.

  • Ciao,

    this is Enrico from Switzerland (but I’m Italian).

    I read regularly this blog since I stumbled upon it, more than a year ago.

    I was born and raised in a catholic family, but I’m atheist since I started thinking by myself, when I was a teenager.

    Keep doing you’re good job, I’ll keep lurking!

  • Joe No Halo

    Greetings from the left coast… San Jose, CA to be exact. Have been reading your blog, Hemant, for about a year and I now look in about three times a day. I can always count on learning something here!

    I’m 54 and have been an atheist since I was 16 after being raised Catholic. Now I “look up to” the activists that help the world understand that atheists are moral, progressive, lovers-of-life that have a growing positive voice. Like you!

  • vj

    hiya, everyone. i’m vj, recent athiest currently residing in the evangelical protestant lands of southeast texas. i attend a deeply conservative, overwhelmingly christian university, complete with preachers recreating “sinners in the hands of an angry god” in our main plaza, earnest random proselytizing, young-earth creationists derailing science lectures, and other wacky things. i keep myself sane by reading blogs that remind me i’m not the only skeptic/agnostic/atheist out there (as it sometimes seems in my neck of the woods). this one is among my favorites, and i’m enjoying hanging out here. 🙂

  • April

    Hi! I’m April, and I’m a lurker. I’m an atheist who was born and raised in the south, but never bought into the religion thing. I now live in Los Angeles. While my immediate family knows I am an atheist (and don’t really care) my in-laws, who are rabidly religious, do not. I love your blog, I love knowing that there are others who feel the way I do.

  • Dean


    I’m an atheist from Arizona. I left the mormon church three years ago. After dedicating way too much of my time and money to the church, I finally discovered some interesting facts on the internet. I’ve been spending the last few years trying to get caught up with reality – as opposed to angels, prophets, and miracles.
    Thank you.

  • Kevin Charleston

    Raised a catholic in England & Johannesburg South Africa. Agnostic 17-43 (just didn’t think about it). Atheist for the last 4 years. Living in Cape Town SA, & hellbound according to my family – but it looks like I’m in good company 😉

    Bin lurkin’ for the past year. A bit like the child who didn’t talk until he was 5 – when his mother burned the food – nothing to complain about until then.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Jess

    Hmm. This is Jess in California, early 40s, professor. I’m an Episcopalian who lurks here occasionally. Not actually an atheist (no matter what the schismatics say ;-). I always like reading your posts–after digging about in places like TitusOneNine you’re like the ginger palate cleanser. 🙂

  • Robin

    Hi, I’m Robin from RI/MA. I drop you a line occasionally, but never introduced myself. I’m currently a grad student getting my teaching degree. I have no blog. 🙂

    I like to read a lot of your stuff and the comments, but find it a slightly weird and distant way of communicating. Maybe I am just old-fashioned that way.

  • Faffer


    Been lurking on here for the last 4 or 5 months, mostly reading the stories straight off the RSS feed. I don’t remember exactly how I came here – I think it was a matter of Google Reader throwing me this as a recommendation, and I’m glad it did!

    18 (few weeks until 19) year old currently attending college at Texas Tech University. Relatively new to non-belief — I was pretty hardcore Christian up until I was 17. “Coming out” caused a lot of difficulties for a long time, and I still have family members and friends subtly (at least, they think they’re being subtle) trying to bring me back, but for the most part things have evened out.

    I’ll try contributing to discussion from now on 🙂

  • I’m a sophomore at UW-Madison. I’ve been reading this blog for years via Google Reader, but rarely comment. Maybe it’s because it takes a few extra clicks to get from the Reader to the actual post… which sounds quite lazy. Actually, it’s mostly because if I ever do have a comment to make, the thought has usually already been posted.

    Thanks for the awesome blog, Hemant!

  • I’m Ray from Lawenceville, GA. I’ve been an atheist for about 15 years now. Married to a very devout christian, so religious matters are always at the forefront of my mind. I’m a SysOp for a Alpharetta company specializing in Intelligent Software Agents. I’ve submitted a story once but seldom comment. Keep up the great work. It always helps when one is feeling overcome.

  • Eric Z

    Wow, big thread, guys!

    I’ve only posted a couple of times on particularly frustrating subjects, but I’ve been a long time reader.

    I’m out of Salt Lake City, UT and, like all people here, I was raised Mormon. I’m now 27, but I left when I was 17 and I’ve never looked back. All (and I mean all) of my family is still LDS however and I don’t know anyone else in Utah who’s an atheist, so if anyone wants to chat, let me know!

    It’s good to finally hear from everyone and get an idea of who all the other readers are.

  • Jeff

    Longtime lurker, first time poster.

    I’m 40, happily married, live in Chicago and write software for a living. I’m not sure if that makes me the most “average” Friendly Atheist reader, but it seems like I have lots of company in those demographics. I can’t pinpoint a time when I became an atheist, I’ve never really believed. I was raised in a not-very-religious protestant family that attended church for weddings, funerals, baptisms, etc. In my late teens I took the couple small steps towards full-blown atheism.

    So while I have been a long-time atheist, I have only recently made a conscious attempt not to be a smug jerk about it. Your blog helps.

  • Hello! I’m Andy Welfle, a blogger over at Freethought Fort Wayne, a freethinker’s group in Fort Wayne, IN. Your blog is awesome, Hemant. Although people like PZ Myers are fun and entertaining to read, sometimes they can lose their perspective in the fervor of their message. You are always concise and easy to approach, though you are always true to the atheism message, while avoiding the “angry atheist” stereotype.

    I’m also on Twitter, and my personal blog is here.

    Thanks for the opportunity to say hi!

    — Andy

  • Andrew

    Long-time lurker here. I think I added your page to my daily rounds a little over two years ago. It gives me a line into a less in-your-face style of atheism, and I appreciate that. I used to read about half a dozen atheist blogs, but have whittled down to two for one reason or another.

    I’m a 26 year old Vet and college student from Texas, but I’m moving to Hawaii for a job this summer! I’ve been an self-acknowledged atheist for a number of years now, and a public atheist for almost three. Most people really don’t care, so it doesn’t come up often. But I am continually surprised by the people who do care… you never know. I had a stoner buddy tell me that the Bible was one of the most “historically accurate” books still in existence… lol.

    Keep it up Hemant.

  • Andy G

    Hi all!
    I made two comments before, but I thought I would introduce myself.
    I’m a 19 year old Chemical Engineering Student at Northeastern University in Boston.
    I’ve been subscribed to this blog for a few months now on Google reader and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Keep up the good work!

  • Raveyn

    Hey there,

    Lurker Ravelyn here,

    I’m a 28 year old Phoenix atheist. I was raised by a single mom to be a very liberal catholic. very, very liberal. i have a science degree, and eventually all that critical thinking spilled into my religion (about three years ago).

    I work for a very diverse national service organization and am dissappointed at the number of religious nonprofit organizations. where are the freethinking 501(c)(3) organizations??

    I am pretty closeted at work, and i haven’t reached out to our great atheist communities here…but i’d like to soon.


  • Nick

    Hi. I’m a writer living in the Chicago suburbs. I’ve read The Friendly Atheist for about six months. From now on, I’ll be sure to should stop “lurking” so much and finally join a discussion or two.

  • Charles Miinus

    Hi there:

    Been following for a few months since I added your rss feed. I appreciate how active you are in keeping up your blog. I am an old f***, been an atheist longer than most of the people reading this have been alive. Have graduated from being a passive atheist to being a real religion hater. I think it was Ayeen Hirst Ali’s book _Infidel_ that put me over the top.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Amber

    why, hello! i’m amber from charlotte, nc. i found this blog by joining the atheist bundle in google reader, and couldn’t be happier with it!!! its always nice to find likeminded people who can’t stand idly by while the religious crazies screw up our society. i don’t remember exactly when i ‘became’ an atheist, but i was lucky in that my parents aren’t religious people and never forced me to go to church or believe in anything (though there was that one stint with wicca when i was 15, but the craft had just come out so i think i get a pass for that. who doesn’t want to control the elements and curse people and change their hair color on a whim?!) anyhoo, since you’ve called us lurkers out, here’s my comment 😀

  • QuestionMark

    Is this Lurkers Anonymous?

    I’m Mark from Montreal Canada. Raised Jewish, I never really believed but, never questioned myself about it either. In the last year or so I began to try and figure out what I really believe. I came into the Atheist/Humanist/Brights/Agnostic etc. online community via my skeptical interests. That is, my interest in skeptical issues, not the skepticism that I have interests.

    I have been following your blog for months now and I may have commented a couple of times but mostly I lurk. I have to say I love your approach. Keep up the god good work.

  • I don’t think I’ve ever commented here before… I’m a nearly-twenty-year-old from Southwestern BC, Canada. I’m a university student (linguistics/Japanese). I was raised agnostic, but am currently leaning more towards atheism. I’ve been following your blog for… not sure how long, actually. A while. Maybe a year.

    Thanks for writing this awesome blog! It’s always interesting to read!

  • flocculus

    I’m a psychiatrist from Szczecin, Poland. I am atheist since I can remember 🙂 Anyway I’ve been reading your blog for about month, and I must say I really enjoy it. Reading yours texts, I found that USA are even more christian than Poland, it surprizes me…

  • Abner Cadaver II

    You’ve forced me out from the undergrowth. I’m from Portland, Oregon (currently in Ashland, Oregon). I’m a 19 year old sophmore biology student (though that could change, I’ve waffled around on my future major for months now). I’ve been lurking here for a few months now having followed a link from Pharyngula.

    I started openly characterizing myself as an atheist after my grandfather (a former Presbyterian minister) lent me the God Delusion. The only religious person in my family is my father, a very liberal Christian, so my upbringing was thankfully not dogmatic in the least.

  • My name’s Cole, I’m from Kentucky, and I’m a stay at home mom of 2 girls (ages 5 years old, and 23 months old). My husband works for a company that clears trees out of electical lines and a volunteer firefighter. I run a parenting community, LimeTwists.com ..

    I was raised as a Christian, and was officially saved and baptised when I was 16 – the summer before my mother died. In my early 20s I realized that religion was 1 part make believe, 1 part talking to myself, and 2 parts absolutely ridiculous. So I called it quits.

  • anti-supernaturalist

    ** No junk-food faith

    Anti-supernaturalist. Yep, that says it all.

    Magical thinking, ghosts, goblins, godlings, gods, God must be erased from a vast store of human arrogance and special pleading. That’s all junk-food faith.

    Being fond of randomness, I only reach this site via StumbleUpon.

    Hegel supposedly claimed that “logic cannot lure a dog away from a warm stove.” Religion offers psychological comfort and human warmth. But. . .

    Whatever lured you away (or didn’t attract you) you’re free now.

    Sudden freedom may lead to giddiness or nausea.

    Here, however, is “a clean well-lighted place” in exactly the sense Hemmingway intended.

  • I think I’ve commented on a few occassions, but I’ll make it official.

    I’m an ex-fundamentalist-Christian atheist living in rural Indiana. I’m female, 40 yrs old, and I’m a software developer. Been reading this blog for a few months. Pleased to meet you all!

  • Will

    Hey, Hemant sorry for lurking so much haha. I’m from Indiana and I’m a freshman at Purdue University. I’ve been reading your blog ever since I heard about you coming up to speak. I really enjoyed hearing your story and your suggestions on improving the Atheist image.


  • I’ve commented a few times, but never introduced myself.

    I was born and raised in south Louisiana. My grandmother, and my mother and stepfather – who had custody of me – are Jehovah’s Witnesses and raised me in that faith. The majority of my family, however, were Roman Catholics, so I recived a healthy dose of Catholicism as well.

    I first started having doubts/questions around the age of 13, stopped going to church at 14, and by the time I started college I considered myself an atheist. I’m now a 28-year-old father of two, husband of one, recently laid off but keeping my chin up. I work in I.T.

    Part of the reason I started a blog is to figure out what subjects keep me interested and/or what subjects are worth talking about. It’s a bit helter-skelter at the moment but I’m beginning to lean toward atheism/skepticism/freethought. (Not sure if another atheist blog is required, but there’s no shortage of theist blogs, so why not?)


  • Aldora

    I’m Allison from Maryland, currently a freshman in college. I’ve never commented before (I’m a lurker by nature :D). Yours was one of the first and best blogs I found when I started looking for atheist blogs a couple years back after deconverting.

  • Dallas

    I’ve commented a few times before, but I’m kind of a lurker.

    I’m Dallas, I’ve been an atheist since I was 11, and I’m currently an undergrad majoring in Biology and hope to become a evolutionary biologist one day. I’m also interested in starting a secular organization at my college, but haven’t got around to it yet.

  • Mike

    Breaking the fourth wall with your lurker audience eh?

    I’ve been reading for a year now, and just last month I was looking through my yearbook and you were all over it! Leave it to the yearbook club members to make sure they’re on 20 different pages.

    Mwahaha! I’ve got Hemant’s embarrassing high school photos and columns!

  • Hi, I’m Kat, 28 years old, in Northeast IL. My husband and I both read your blog via Google Reader. I started reading less than a year ago after a friend shared an article of yours. Love the blog, good read. Thanks!

  • Nathaniel D

    Hey, read your blog every day and I’d show up if you came to talk at ASU (hint hint).

    I’m Nathaniel and I go to ASU for Computer Systems Engineering and I work part time at the Mars Space Flight Facility on campus as a Jr. System Administrator. I’ve been an atheist since I was about 12 I think, but I don’t ever remember I time when I thought there was a god though I was raised Jewish by my mother.

  • Jeff

    Dang! You caught me. I’ve reading this blog for about a month or two. I was a Baptist minister for 15 years. Never could reconcile a good God with all the suffering. I saw this firsthand with visiting people in hospitals and nursing homes. Read a lot on astronomy, and it became obvious that a 6 day creation event and a 10,000 year old universe was insanity. Eventually left the ministry and the faith in 2004. Read more and more in archaeology and evolution, and thus came to see the Bible as a flawed and mythical book. I’m not a hard atheist, but I’m certainly not a believer anymore. Love the blog and your thoughts enrich my intellectual life. Thanks.

  • I’ve commented a few times before but I’ll go ahead and introduce myself anyways. I go by the internet de plume Iason Ouabache because my first name is Jason and I grew up near the Wabash (Ouabache) River. I currently live in Indianapolis (the Circle City) and will turn 29 next month.

    I run the blog ChaoSkeptic where I try to cover all things both Discordian and Skeptic. Drop me a comment if you like the blog. 😉

  • Pinoy Atheist

    I’m a Filipino ‘lurker’ for quite sometime. I do enjoy visiting your website. If you happen to give a talk, do a book signing or something here in the Los Angeles area, I would love to see you.

    Best regards.

  • Hello! My name is George and I love reading your blog. I live in Canberra, Australia and I just turned fifteen. I go to a Catholic school, but it’s great to get home and read about other people like me.
    Keep up the awesome work!

    PS I would reccommend allowing less comments to load first time. I tried to write this comment from my phone, but it took me five minutes just to scroll down.

  • Hi, I’m Anna, 31, from the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve been lurking here for, oh, about six months now. I can’t remember where I found your site, but I think it was linked from Dale McGowan’s blog.

    Anyhow, I’ve been an atheist my whole life, but it’s only been within the past 10 years that I’ve started exploring the atheist community online. I used to post quite a bit on alt.atheism, but that group seems defunct now.

    I’m always interested in atheism being presented in a more cheerful, friendly way, so I like your blog quite a bit. I also enjoy the focus on atheism as it relates to daily life, relationships and pop culture.

  • Hermant, What a great way to bring out the shy ones! I teach philosophy in Petoskey, MI, have enjoyed your blog for some time now, and have recently started one of my own (Minerva’s Howl). Thanks for all the great info.

  • Hello, I have made 2 comments before and am new to this. I just started my blog , please do visit to learn about me (see “About”). I am an ex- of lots of things including Christian. I specialize in foolishness.
    I have a question, how do I get my avatar to show here? (let’s see if it does — if it doesn’t could someone let me know).
    Thanx, Sabio

  • Sabriel

    Hey! I’m from Allentown, PA. Been reading the blog for a few months now. Google Reader and Twitter are fantastic tools. I was raised Catholic but have questioned, and subsequently lost, my faith from the age of thirteen. Just thought I would introduce myself (since you’ve called us out of the woodwork) and thank you for your blog.

  • Hey,
    I’m Jeff from Baltimore, Maryland. I’ve been a pastor for eight years, but I recently left the church because I am frustrated with certain aspects of religion. I love your blog. I’m not looking to convert anyone. I simply want to hear the opinions of others. I’m looking forward to reading your book.
    Thanks, Jeff

  • i am a dodt

    I have commented before, but really haven’t introduced myself. Originally from Illinois, working on my master’s degree in Boulder, Colorado (which is why I don’t comment often– too busy).

    Raised christian protestant, started to lose my faith at 14, was forced into a catholic high school (under threat of homelessness if I disenrolled myself) as well as my parents’ church on Sundays. I saw more and more bigotry and hypocrisy. It isn’t what made me an athiest, but it did open my eyes, that I needed to leave the church. Now at 26, I still have a relationship with my parents. It is better now that I am no longer a minor, but they are in denial about my atheism. I am out to sibling, friends, and acquaintances.

    Anyway, I could write a whole book about that, and probably will. I can waver between “friendly” and “angry” in regards to my atheism, and need a good balance of both in my blog reading.

    Thanks, Hemant. This blog is the one I read most frequently.

  • Felipe CC

    Greetings from the tip of the continent.

    Felipe Cuadra
    Santiago, Chile

  • Philippe

    Hi, I’m a student at Berkeley and have been lurking for a few months, I really enjoyed the talk you gave on Wednesday.

  • Charlie

    Been lurking since before your last draw out the lurkers post. I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb among the lurkers after glancing through the comments, but I am a Baptist pastor in Mississippi, so there’s one in the plus column for me right? I enjoy your site and particularly your non-debate with Jay Gamelin from a few weeks ago.

  • MysteryMonkey

    Hello fellow lurkers…I am a 41 year old married mother of 2 young sons trying to raise religion-free children in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I found this blog while searching for other parents with a similar approach to children and religion. Not too many parents I know willing to be honest with their children about their beliefs (or more accurately – lack of beliefs), much to my chagrin.

    Our 8 year old was asked (by a teacher in his public school)to tell the class what his family’s religion was – his reply? ‘Reality.’

    Wish I had been there to see the teacher’s face…

  • Another Atheist Mom

    I am a stay-at-home atheist mom in Northern Wisconsin. Most of my friends IRL are xtian of one flavor or another, so it feels great to stand here “in the back row” and listen in on topics that I don’t get to discuss too often outside of my home!

    I don’t comment because I generally have nothing to add, but I enjoy the discussions and check in frequently!

  • Beth B.

    Longtime lurker, love the blog. I may or may not have commented here before, but if I have, it was a while ago. (The name and email fields for commenting seem to remember me, so I guess I have.)

    I’m from Virginia but am currently located in the godless heathenistic paradise of L.A. I’ve been an atheist for about 6 years, formerly was Southern Baptist (fun, fun).

    Anyway, keep up the good work! Hemant’s work is a great addition to the public face of atheism.

  • almostirish


    I’ve been a lurker here for awhile now. I’m Emily, an art student from Chicago. I was raised Roman Catholic and just recently came “out” as atheist to my friends and family. I don’t have a blog (yet?), but I hope to join in the commenting!


  • i’ve commented a few times, but nothing major. i’m the hindu with a hole in my skull who believes in impossible things, but prefers the company of athiests to that of most believers.

  • J Myers

    I have a question, how do I get my avatar to show here? (let’s see if it does — if it doesn’t could someone let me know).

    Gravatar. Create an account, upload a photo, and somewhere between 5 minutes and 3 days, your (gr)avatar will appear (and it’s retroactive, IIRC, as long as you register with the same email address that you used to comment here).

  • openedUp

    Hi, I’ve been following this blog forever, but never actually commented on anything.

    My name is Tyler. I have lived my whole life in central Oklahoma, namely Oklahoma City and Norman. I am now a freshman at the University of Oklahoma, and went to Dawkin’s speech amidst all of the hub-bub from the Oklahoma Legislature. Im also in President Boren’s (the president of the University) government class where he laughed at the legislature for ever proposing that bill.

    My mom was Catholic and I went to a Catholic church til I was 12, then to a Baptist church with one of my friends til I was 14, then to a Methodist Church til I was 16, when I finally really admitted to myself that I was an Atheist. Ive never really looked back sense.

    Thanks again, and keep up the great work!

  • I admit it I lurk 🙂 I also blog. I think I have posted a couple of times here but I admit I enjoy reading what others have to say. If I am particularly moved by something, or if I think I am being witty I will to, but the majority of the time I lurk.

    I am an atheist in the Mormon holy land of Salt Lake City. It is fun being an atheist in a city so full of holiness.

  • Radical Pragmatist

    Am I a lurker?

    Okay, maybe I’m a lurker, but I”m mostly just a reader. Sometimes I lurk while I read. Sometimes I just sit at the back of the cafe looking very shifty-eyed.

    No, seriously, I love the blog. I’m an Atheist and a Tennessean. I don’t comment much, because I rarely feel the need. Thanks for the shout out though!


  • Just posted my first comment. I like your blog so far and I look forward to reading more. My blog is strictly for my own personal amusement so don’t go wasting to much of your time on it 😉 I’m Canadian and American (thanks to my Mom) I live up here for the healthcare benefits. The only religion I truly hold is it’s better to laugh then cry.

  • Daryl

    Hi everyone, for the most part, I should be a raging theist, from small town texas, joined the navy in 1990, have one year left till retirement and everyone I work with is a raging Conservative fundamentalist, as is with most people in the Military. Anyway, been lurking around here for about a week and have been an atheist for about 4 years now since leaving fundamentalism.

  • Hello people,

    I’m Rolando, an ex-catholic from Mexico (the 4th in this page, viva mexico, wooo!). I studied physics and have always been close to science (I grew up watching tapes of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos) but it still took me about two decades to let go of gOd. (<– I lurk a lot)

    I haven’t come out to my parents, on account of my mother being deeply religious and it would needlessly worry her. I’ve tried local communities but haven’t been satisfied, and so I follow these blogs.

    I promise to stop lurking and start posting.

  • Calico

    Hello. I’m a fairly new reader (been lurking for two months, I think, give or take a week), and I’m enjoying this blog tremendously. Since I’m not in college anymore, the community I’ve found online has been helpful, even though I haven’t engaged in it much yet. Maybe I will soon.

    I’m from Tupelo, Mississippi, (home of the American Family Association) but had the good fortune to be raised heathen, and I never really felt like religion or spirituality had a lot of practical bearing on my life. Over the past few years I’ve had occasion to think about it more, though, and came to the conclusion that I actively disbelieve all that religious mess. Then I decided to start reading, educate myself, etc. So here I am. Gettin’ educated. Thanks!

  • I might have posted here a time or two, but never properly introduced myself. I’m thirty-six, and I have been a seeker for a long while, an “out” atheist for about six or seven years. I’m from Philadelphia, and I guess I see atheism as influencing how I feel about politics, human rights, and a lot of other worldly concerns. I have a rarely-visited blog, myself, probably largely because my message is rough around the edges.

    I appreciate what you’re doing, Hemant, by showing a positive and friendly atheism. I like how this website has attracted a kind of diverse community of collegiate and young adult and new-ish atheists–it’s appealing, and I think I keep tuning in not just because you always have new content, but because you find more connections to other atheist sites and link to polls and other websites that help inquiring minds explore. This site is always interesting, and always worth visiting.

  • Addi

    Hi there!
    I’m Addi from Pittsburgh. I’ve been lurking for a while now and have really enjoyed how thought provoking your blog is. I grew up Christian (two United Methodist pastors as parents) but now identify as agnostic (since college, about 8 years ago).

    As you may have heard, there was a tragic incident in Pittsburgh yesterday where 3 police officers were shot and killed by a young man named Richard Poplawski in Stanton Heights (about a mile from my home). This saddens and disturbs me for obvious reasons, but I find that I am far more disturbed by the reactions I’m hearing from others.

    A group has already formed on facebook to “petition” for the charge to be capital murder instead of homicide. I don’t really know what that TRULY means, but based on the comments, people want this guy to fry for what he did.

    As you can imagine, a lot of people have commented that we need to pray for the families of the fallen. Some have stated that we need to pray for the offender as well, but one comment states, “i aint wastring (sic) my breath praying for his ass…he deserves to die for whatr (sic) he did!”

    Two issues pop into my head when thinking of this:
    1. Have you ever addressed the topic of capital punishment from religious AND non-religious standpoints to see how they compare? I personally am against it for many reasons, and am curious what others think.

    2. Wouldn’t Richard be the FIRST person Jesus would pray for in this situation?

    I realize this is a lot for a first-time post, but it’s weighing heavily on my mind and thought you and your readers were just the folks to hash it out.

    Keep up the good work.
    – Addi

  • Silvia

    Hi everybody! I’m an atheist from Italy, but I’ve been living in Switzerland for a few years now. I’m 30 and I have been raised in a non-religious household; I’ve never been religious but I only recently started to identify confortably as an atheist (thanks Prof. Dawkins!).
    I stumbled upon this site a little more than a year ago and I’ve been reading you very often. I love the friendly attitude around here and the mix of religious and non religious people who sometimes are even able to talk about religion in an amicable way – very rare in my experience! Also the topics are very interesting and often thought-provoking; I find some posts a little puzzling for non-Americans, but that’s even more fun!
    Thanks Hemant for setting this up and mantaining it! Keep up the good work!

  • Calla

    Hi all,

    I’m 23, a university student, and a happy atheist. I’m from Espoo, Finland, and religion has never played a big part in my life.
    I don’t remember how I got here originally, but I’ve been reading the blog for at least a year now. Never posted before though, so thank you for this opportunity to introduce myself and for keeping the blog interesting!

    @Duke: I live in the metropolitan area, would be cool to meet you!

  • Darn it! You’ve caught me, too. Today (5 April), I featured a post from you on a blog I’m the chief writer for (on the really serious, burning, vital question of whether Tinky Winky is gay, and why we, the British public, ought to be told!), and this blog is soon to be featured (favourably) in a magazine I have some editorial input into. But I’ll be telling you about that separately, Hemant.

    Meanwhile, let’s say I like this blog. It pushes the right buttons. It has humour as well as the serious stuff. You draw attention to things that people should know about. That’s what a news/events-based blog is about, surely.

    I have you bookmarked and will be coming back for more.

  • Collin

    Thanks, Hemant, for your wonderful blog. I have been a faithful lurker for almost a year with this being my entry of introduction. Your subject material and the comments of your readers (special thanks to Richard Wade and Siamang) provide me with daily mental and emotional excercise which I generally share with my my wife and 16 year old daughter. As an American living in Helsinki, Finland (hi Duke) and the recipient of a religous upbringing I find this site informs and supports me in clarifying my own thoughts while also helping me as a father with the challenges of bringing up my daughter to embrace humanism and critical thought. I admit to harboring guilt and bitterness toward the way I was brought up and deal with that baggage all the time. I admire you and your readers for the well, “friendliness”, and hope for myself that one day I can be less angry. Thank you all for your participation!

  • Eric K.

    Hemant, how did you see me lurking there? You must have supernatural powers.

    I’m a lurker from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – married (to a liberal Christian), no kids, though we’re hoping to adopt soon.

    One interesting undiscussed topic for us is adoption – it’s annoying how many adoption support groups and agencies seem to have a strong Christian identity, and far worse how many unwed mothers looking to place their babies want Christian or churchgoing parents.

    I suspect many of these requests are fueled by parents / grandparents, but one wonders whether any identify the cognitive dissonance associated with bringing a child into the ineffectual “value system” that didn’t prevent them from getting pregnant to begin with.

    Anyway – keep up the good work!

  • Thanks for calling us out. I have been lurking around your RSS Feed for about 6 months or so and very much enjoy your blog. I am a 24 year old student in NC working on a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Religion. I am a (liberal?) Christian and, like many other commenters, very much appreciate the attitude with which you approach your blog and your work.

    Moreover, though not an atheist, I find myself identifying with atheists on a much more regular basis than with some fellow Christians. I too am dismayed at the actions and comments of many Christians and continue to be hurt by the pain and intolerance that they spread. I’m so glad that people like you are out there that spread critical thinking, tolerance and understanding.

    Sorry for not commenting before, I will try to be better about that.

    You can check out my website here or you can check out a religion podcast that I co-host on a weekly basis here where me and another baptist (the show is called Thinking Baptists) regularly talk about other religions and atheism in ways to try to build tolerance and understanding.

    I guess I should stop now.

  • I think I’ve commented once or twice before, but I mostly lurk. Currently, Bloomington, IN is our home. I feel lucky that we can be in an open-minded college town in the mid-west where we have many non-theist friends.

    I enjoy your blog and especially like the title. 😉

  • Dave

    Hi from New Zealand – I’ve been lurking for about a year – this blog is one of my daily addictions!

    I’ve been atheist for about 20 years, and was agnostic for about 10 before that from the time I was about 14 even though still attending Anglican (Episcopal) church services. I find the different attitudes to atheism around the world really interesting – here I have never found it a big deal, and the idea of ‘coming out’ never really seemed to apply. In NZ we have political leaders including our last Prime Minister who are openly atheist, so there really isn’t the same stigma attached here.

    One thing your blog (and some others like it) has made me do is become a more active atheist – for most of my life my atheism has been passive.

    And since I’m posting, I guess I should apologise for my countryman Ray Comfort – it is really embarrassing that he is one of us!

    Keep up the good work.

  • I think I might have commented once or twice, but I usually lurk. Hi!

    I’ve been an atheist for about 8-9 years now, an agnostic for a few more than that, and I haven’t been a Christian for a…very long time. Married, with a 7-year-old daughter, and living outside Littleton, CO. Not the most progressive place on earth, but I did see an atheist bumper sticker or two in the parking lot of my daughter’s school.

    And now I’ll go back to sitting quietly in the corner….

  • OK, well, hello then. My name is Shaun, I’ve been an atheist many times, I met Hemant at the AAI convention in 2007, I write about atheism, have worked with the Rational Response Squad, and I have an MA in Philosophy.

    So, check out my blog if you like and leave me some comments.

  • Netwyrm

    Hi, I’m a grad student from Ontario, and am a relatively new lurker to this blog. 🙂 I was raised in an unobservant household, and most of my immediate family now identifies as atheist.

    I love the blog, keep it up.

  • AJ

    Hey! I’m a lurker and I like lurkin’.

    I guess I’m more of a learner here than a teacher, so I haven’t really spoken up.

  • PhysicsPhaery

    Hello from lurksville!

    I promise that when I have something worth saying I’ll say it loud and clear, but for now I’m really enjoying reading the blog and the current commenters. Thanks Hemant, and everyone, for keeping me entertained and educated too!

  • Lisa


    I’m a relatively new lurker on your site. I learned about you from my mother who has been an avid reader (lurker) of yours for months. She told me I simply had to check out your blog!

    I have to say that I love your approach – attack the beliefs not the person. There are a lot of wonderful religious people out there that are simply misguided, including several that I love dearly. If you attack these people indiscriminately, you will simply prove to them that all atheists are insensitive and mean. They will invariably grasp at the smallest reassurance that whatever fallacy they have been taught about atheists is right.

    It might be amusing to ridicule religious people along with their bizarre and contradictory beliefs (and boy is it ever fun), but in the long run it causes more harm than good. I can only hope that I am as friendly an atheist as you!

  • Erica

    Hi there! I’ve been lurking for a year or so – I might have commented in the past, but I can’t remember. Anyhow, I just wanted to say hi! I love your site and enjoy following you on Twitter as well.

    That is all, for now. 🙂

  • Hi! I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now, lurking in the shadows. Never was terribly religious; now I’m just trying to get up the courage to admit to the world, not just a select few, that I’m an atheist. I’m teetering on the edge, I think I just need a little push… And thanks for finally getting around to signing up on Twitter! (I’m skepticalbunny, by the way.)

  • DeafAtheist

    My name is Troy and I’m a deaf single dad in Minnesota. I’ve been reading your blog fairly regularly recently and have commented in a few posts, but haven’t ever formally introduced myself.

    I used to have an atheist themed blog but lost the motivation for posting it after my son was born last summer then the site I was blogging at crashed. I haven’t gotten another one started up yet.

  • Hi! I’m Edward Miller (Eddy for short). I’m an 18 year old freshman (technically sophomore now) college student at the University of Tennessee. I am majoring in Sociology with a concentration in Environmental Issues and Globalization, and minoring in Philosophy.

    I run a blog (http://addicted2reason.blogspot.com) on Atheism and various other things. Although there have been a lack of updates, I expect to be posting more often this summer, possibly with the help of a couple of my friends (one Atheist and one Agnostic).

    I’ve commented here once or twice but never introduced myself to everyone here. So, hi everybody! I look forward to commenting and contributing to this fine site in the future 🙂


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