Are You a One-Person Atheist Billboard? June 6, 2009

Are You a One-Person Atheist Billboard?

I have a few atheist-themed shirts. Like the ones that say, “I found Jesus… he was behind the couch” and “Dinosaurs didn’t pray hard enough”…

I don’t wear them very often. Can’t wear them at work for obvious reasons. I guess I could wear them on weekends if I’m out, but even now, I feel weird about that. Probably because the atheist shirts I like to wear mock religion instead of simply stating that I’m an atheist.

I’ll be changing that soon. Somewhere in my closet, there must be shirts that just say I’m an atheist. There’s no reason I should be worried about wearing them.

Even if it’s not the “safe” thing to do, that’s no reason to not do it. At some point, I just have to let others get used to it. And hell, I consider myself outspoken. How can I say that if I refuse to wear a shirt that says something as simple as “Atheist”?

Dave Silverman used to wear those kinds of shirts in public:

I got feedback — LOTS of fedback, most of it negative. I could hear people talking behind my back (supposedly to each other, but loud enough for me to hear). I got looks, and sneers, and and occasional gesture.

He did meet a couple people who loved the shirt, but not many.

It’s a much different story now:

These days, it goes without saying that the shock factor is totally gone. I am NEVER approached anymore by someone who has never seen another atheist. I ALWAYS get a nearly 100% positive response, and I hand out a lot of cards to those who approach me.

Do you wear pro-atheism clothing?

Do you get responses? What are they like?

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  • Euan

    Wearing an atheist shirt makes about as much sense as wearing a shirt promoting religion.

  • EndUnknown

    anybody know where I can buy some(preferably places in store and not online. I dislike purchasing clothing online. never know how it will fit/feel)

  • mspeir

    I agree with Euan. Besides, in this little north Texas town I don’t really want to be a brickbat magnet.

  • Bruce Critelli

    I have several Atheist related t-shirts that I wear on a regular basis. Being self-employed, I have no dress restrictions.
    Mostly, people chuckle when they read them. I’ve only gotten two negative responses. One from an older lady in an elevator who got very angry when she saw my Bad Religion concert t, and one from my very Catholic cousin to a shirt that stated “God watches you poop.” I wore it to a family function only because he always wears WWJD t-shirts.

  • georgie

    I wouldn’t wear a anything that says I’m an atheist, I find it to be no different than religious people wearing a cross around their neck. Just my opinion to each his own!

  • Ron in Houston

    I probably wouldn’t wear an atheist shirt unless it was funny. I love funny shirts. I’d wear one like you quoted about dinosaurs.

  • I wore a shirt that said, “Smile, there’s no Hell” and my wife’s family freaked out. Like, they really like the idea that God is going to torture people forever for something their remote ancestor did. Give me a break.

  • I had a sticker that said Atheist on the back of my old Jeep for years. The only comment I got was when a guy pulled up next to me at a traffic light and seemed overjoyed that I had it. He said I had “balls of steel” for driving around with it in Georgia. I never got any bad comments about it, though one time I looked in my rear view miror and saw a van load of nuns. I wonder what they were thinking.

  • thiolsulfate

    It’s a nice looking print — thought it screams yay-biology more than yay-atheism.

  • weaves

    I don’t own any myself simply because I am not the kind to wear such casual attire in public.

    However, while out at the bars a couple of nights ago, I came across a guy with the “There’s probably no god, stop worrying and enjoy your life” shirt, same font and colours as the bus add.

    I commented on it and he asked if I was gonna punch him, but I told him I knew all about it and it was the most awesome shirt ever.
    Think I made a friend that night!

    Although the shirt wasn’t obvious unless you were already talking to him, up close.

    He said he had another one called “Jesus is cumming, will you swallow?”…I told him he’d probably get punched for that one.

    (Considering out setting – late at night, many young adults, alcohol, a city dominated by uni students at night)

    and I’ve met another man with the “chain of evolution picture” from chimp to man…ending with the man demanded the others stop following.

    honestly, those are the only times I have come across such shirts. pity.

  • RHawk68

    This is the shirt that I sometimes wear around town (a small Texas town) – when I go walking at the local high school track, when I go to the gym, grocery shopping, etc.

    I like it because of its simplicity. It doesn’t mock, it doesn’t promote, it just states a fact. I’ve never gotten any grief or negative comments, just a few quizzical glances and sideways looks. Hope that helps Hemant!

  • anonymouse

    There’s one from the Onion store that says “Are Your Cats Old Enough To Learn About Jesus?” but I’m not ballsy enough to wear it.

    Here it is if anyone wants it

  • medussa

    I love funny T-Shirts, I consider them to be a political statement. But like anything else, you must know your audience, and take into account what venues you’ll be heading toward.

    A good shirt facilitates communication, gets people to ask questions, make a comment, start a conversation. This could be adversarial, but also like others above have said, affirming.

    I live in the Bay Area, so my gay T-shirts hardly rouse an eyebrow here, but my sole anti-religion shirt gets mostly positive comments: a little girl on her knees as if she were praying, but actually she’s focusing light through a magnifying glass onto a smoking cross. Text below says “I will not be trained”.

    When I travel through the US however, I choose carefully, as the last thing I want to do is get beaten up and left like Matthew Sheppard in Wyoming, found days later. I don’t even take that shirt along. I usually bring female biker themed shirts, as that’s about as controversial I’m ready to be when I’m alone in hostile enemy territory….

  • I wear the Friendly Atheist bracelet you gave me everyday, although rarely does anyone read it. When people have asked me what it says I’ve generally got a lot of really positive responses and apart of me wishes I had something like a t-shirt that more people could readily see because of that.

  • A “friendly atheist” wristband goes with many outfits. Hemant should send Stephen Colbert one since Stephen does where a wristband on his show. Perhaps he would wear it. He could do a skit on the show where he looses a bet and has to wear it. And then be all indignant. 🙂

  • Chakolate

    I think wearing an atheist t-shirt is pretty much like wearing something that denotes your religion. And that’s a Good Thing.

    A couple of years ago, I mentioned to a student (I’m a math tutor) that I was an atheist. He said, and I quote, “Wow! I never met an atheist before.” When I told him that at least ten percent of the population was atheist, and that many were afraid to say so, we had quite a discussion.

    We really need to come out of the closet. If the people you respect are atheists, you’re more likely to question your beliefs. And you won’t know they’re atheists unless they are forthcoming. A t-shirt is a good way to do that.

  • Brian A

    Every day I wear the pendant that Hemant displayed on the site several months ago:
    ‘A Thoughtful Honest Ethical Intelligent Skeptical Thinker’

    It is not very large, so someone has to be close to see it, but I do wear it proudly. I’ll wear other clothing that is ‘atheist positive’ but I try to refrain from things that might be considered insulting, as I really don’t want to piss someone off and get punched in the face.

    I think that more atheists need to ‘come out of the closet’ and be proud of their non-belief. One of the most common things I hear is people who claim they have never met an atheist before, and I usually have to tell them that is most likely not true, they just didn’t know it.

  • A search for “atheist” t-shirts on returned over 3,500 results. A search across all products returned 7,398. I am happy to see so many people taking advantage of these print on demand sites to make custom atheist themed stuff.

  • Vee
  • I honestly don’t have an atheist t-shirt which is odd considering my large t-shirt collection. I do have a Discordian shirt (Sweet merciful fuck, pterodactyls!) and a Subgenius shirt (“Genius by birth, Slacker by choice”) that I ironically got at Wal-Mart. I’ve never got any comments about them, sadly.

    I really really want one of the Teach the Controversy that Wear Science has: I guess I should ask for one for Father’s Day.

  • I wore one once, during one day at Dragon*Con 2007 (it was the scarlet A t-shirt and was very new). Given the preponderance of weird costumes at such an event, I was surprised that it was actually noticed and commented on (favourably, as it happens).

  • Joe No Halo

    The shirt I wear the most says “Viva La Evolución” under a chimpanzee wearing a beret, ala Che Guevara. All feedback so far has been positive unlike some frowns directed my way when I wear my Darwin fish shirt.

  • Joe No Halo

    Oops! My link didn’t show up.

    I bought the above mentioned “Viva La Evolución” shirt at “”

  • «bønez_brigade»

    Most of my attempt-at-humor shirts are science (astro/evo/chem/phys) or tech related, but I also wear some Landover Baptist shirts. One of the latter ones (that just says “Godless”) has pissed off at least one drunken Christian at a bar — an odd, hour-long encounter that would’ve been worthy of a blog post, had any of us been bloggers. I’ve another shirt that says “Get your ass to church”, but that’s only worn when I’m with a group of people (safety in numbers, that is).


    D*C is a great place to observe witty shirts in their natural element, especially at the science & skeptics tracks.

  • Brian Westley

    Here’s my favorite atheist T-shirt:

  • Jeff Purser

    My wife and I have two shirts we wear on a regular basis.

    We bought them from the Freedom from Religion Foundation of which we are members.

    One reads, “Freedom from Religion” while the other is “Friendly Neighborhood Athiest.”

    People will often approach us and quietly ask where we got the shirts. The only negative reaction I’ve received is from a few fundie neighbors who tried to convince me I’m not really an athiest. These are YECs who went to far as to show up at my front door with a copy of Ray Comfort’s book, “God doesn’t believe in Athiests.” I agreed to read it if, and only if, they would agree to read “Letter to a Christian Nation.” We swapped books. I read theirs, but to this date I have no idea if they read mine. (I did invite them to come over for a discussion of the two books when they were finished with “Letter” and I suspect they are avoiding having to do that.)

    Religion’s pervasive penetration of all realms of society is due, in part, to a combination of childhood indoctrination AND ongoing marketing thru the display of religious symbology which reassures members of the various groups that they have made the right “choice.” (Even though we all know that in most cases there never was a real “choice” made.)

    If you think “flying the colors” of being an athiest is the same as a religious person wearing a cross, you are right. That’s why you should do it.

    Then, again, I’m an old fart. One of the advantages of growing older is you don’t have to put up with all the crap you have to deal with when you’re young. I’m PROUD to have thrown off the shackles of myth and supersition.

    The next shirt I’m going to buy will have a picture of the collapsing WTC and the text will read:

    Faith – It can’t move mountains but it sure made a mess of these buildings.

  • I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a tattoo of “atheist” on the inside of my left wrist and “vegan” on the inside of my right wrist.

    So if I ever get put into an adult foster care home in which I am unable to communicate my wishes it would be known not to ship me off to church and not to feed me meat. Other than that I think I wouldn’t mind at all having these tattoos.

  • benjdm

    This is the one I wear. Many favorable comments.

  • Eliza

    I have (& wear) some science T-shirts and some skeptic T-shirts.

    “Th In K” (using entries from the periodic table)

    “circular reasoning works because” (with the words in a circle)

    “Hello! I am SKEPTIC” (in what looks like a nametage sticker)

    Photo of earth taken from space

    “You are here” – Drawing of Milky Way galaxy w/ arrow off to one edge (at parties, I sometimes write “Eliza is” and put the sticker over the “You are” on the T-shirt; helpful for when I forget where I am later).

    I have several bumper stickers (from Northern Sun) on magnetic strips, so I can remove them whenever we drive to the conservative part of the state. My favorites of those:

    Buckle up! It keeps the aliens from sucking you out of your car

    Don’t believe everything you think

    What if the hokey pokey IS what it’s all about?

    (I do have a few T-shirts which I wear infrequently, only when I know I’ll be pretty much exclusively around other atheists. My favorite of those is a takeoff on the part of the Sistine chapel with God-touching-Adam; mine is God touching the outstretched paw of a grinning black Lab (dog).)

    I’m interested in a shirt that says, “God made me an atheist. Who are we to question his judgment?” but don’t know if I’d wear it.

    I fantasize about making up a T-shirt that says, “Ask me about Jesus”, but I know I wouldn’t have the guts to actually wear it (because of the responses people would undoubtedly have to my extremely skeptical remarks about J, should they be the type to actually go ahead & ask me about Jesus).

  • Katherine

    Hmm, well…

    I think most “statement” shirts look sloppy – in terms of attraction, a centered sentence thrown on an ill-fitted tee would inspire little more than a raised eyebrow, if that.

    …or so says my inner fashionista who has OBVIOUSLY watched way too much What Not to Wear.

    In actuality, my eyes laser in on the word “vegan” printed anywhere. Just today, walking across a busy Wicker Park intersection, I saw a bicyclist out of the corner of my eye zooming past with a Food Fight (vegan grocery store) sticker on his helmet. It was something I immediately recognized and identified with and, in a split second, I assumed that I would get along with the rider because of it.

    This flash judgment on my part seems to show that an easily identifiable logo will go far to create a sense of common purpose and community… even amongst judgmental assholes like me. And some of the aforementioned shirts – the Charles Darwin and “Science!” ones in particular – are pretty attractive design-wise.

    I would imagine that a t-shirt would be less effective at informing believers but, again, I think simply identifying similarly minded folk in a (statistically-speaking) theistic crowd is heartening.

  • Jason

    I live in the same town as EvolveFish and Focus On The Family so naturally I have a Darwin fish on the back of my Jeep. It sits right next to my Iraq Campaign Veteran decal. Not a single fundie has said a word. I also have several EvolveFish shirts I wear around but they’re not overtly negative or demeaning. I feel if the religious can have their say, I can have mine, too.

  • Solitas

    @Jeff Purser: Idea shamelessly stolen and posterised. *grin*


  • T

    I have the OUT Campaign ‘A’ tattooed on my right calf.

  • llewelly

    I obtain nearly all of my clothing used, and I’ve become accustomed to the low costs. So the prices of new t-shirts with messages make my skin crawl. (This means that if I have the money for something atheism related, it will get donated or spent on a book.) I have one t-shirt I got from donating to a local non-profit radio station. Other than that – I have never owned clothing that has on it any written message I agree with.

  • Brooks

    I don’t have any atheists shirts sadly, but I wish I could get one of those “Thank God For Atheists” t-shirts.

  • Jeff Purser

    @Solitas – Thank You!
    I just may pay to have that baby printed up.

  • I don’t have any atheist t-shirts. I do have a Darwinfish ( on the back of my car, however.

    I only ever had one comment about it when I was about to get into the car in a car park, another car stopped and asked if it was a humanist symbol.

    A friend of mine, who has one on her car, did get abused by a bicycling Christian who shouted at her through her car window when she was waiting at lights once, tho’.

  • Wendy

    I wear an sweater that says “THERE’S PROBABLY NO GOD, now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” I get looks everywhere I go, but I’ve only ever had two comments and they were both positive.

    I was a little nervous about wearing it at first, but now it’s my favourite piece of clothing and I wear it at every opportunity!

  • Wayne

    Got a computer? Make your own T’s. I make, “Nothing Fails Like Prayer”, “Doubt is the Beginning of Wisdom”, “What can be assured without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence”, “If you can’t eat it, drink it, or fuck it, piss on it.”

  • I live in rather small tourist town in south, central Ontario, in Canada and if I wore a t-shirt that said, “I’m an atheist”, I can almost guaranteed verbal abuse because there are SO many churches, some of which are evangelical fundamentalists. The jehovah’s witnesses because of THEIR beliefs, walk around the “two-by-two’s” I call them, sometimes a child is with one of the adults and the last time two women appeared at my door, she told me who they were and I said, “You’re here to convert and you’re not “preaching to the choir”.
    And this will continue until whenever.
    To be openly lesbian/gay or feminist….same thing. In a cosmopolitan city like the city two hour’s south of us, almost anything goes. It just doesn’t matter…here in the Muskoka region, it does. I haven’t got the emotional energy to combat the potential for verbal bashing or even the rare possibility of being attacked, that’s how ANGRY the locals who are or pretend to be…christian, would react.

  • JamesG

    I just purchased a WWJD (What Would Jesse Do) shirt from the Mr Deity site. I do plan on wearing it, but feel a bit apprehensive about offending. OTH, I am offended by many of the Christan slogans I see.

  • The Philadelphia Reason & Religion examiner wore several atheist t-shirts through a week-long drive down South, and seemed surprised by the non-response his shirts got him.

    He blogged about it and got jumped on by hundreds of commenters. Not because of his shirts, but because his stated intent made him sound like an arrogant prick.

  • I regularly wear several of the designs I sell ( as well as embroidered hats with the A-Theist logo. Some have the A-Theist logo on the front with a saying on the back, (ie: “I was born of stardust, and to stardust I will return”).

    I am also the designer and gifter of the T-shirt Dr. Dawkins mentions on page 250 of “The God Delusion”.
    I’ve gotten a few comments, usually just questions, but once a woman said, “I can’t believe you have the audacity to wear that in public”. She then stormed off as if I would contaminate her.

  • I think you didn’t hear what she said immediately after. “For crying out loud… Comic Sans!!!”

    i keed, i keed.

  • Alex

    Here’s another one from the site mentioned below with the Darwin shirt. You might need to carry a weapon if you wear this one out.

  • If I’m not in uniform, I am wearing an atheist shirt. If you want to put a stop to xtians wearing crosses, wear a cross with a red circle and line through it, it will draw a complaint (or many) and you can argue that it is only an expression of your belief and if you can’t wear it, then crosses should also be prohibited

    xtains want special rights, not equal rights

  • Carol


    In the small town where I live, I’m in the minority as a feminist, an atheist and lesbian/gay friendly.
    To wear a t-shirt announcing I’m an atheist…I don’t have the emotional energy or strength, not any more. You know, in thinking about it, if I had one, I just might wear it and if I was harrassed, I’d call the police. Freedom of expression??

  • Carol

    I don’t differentiate between a woman or man wearing a “t” necklace around their throat proclaiming, quietly, their beliefs and….wearing an atheist-type necklace showing my non-beliefs. I thought North America was a democracy. Canada is more so, I believe than the U.S. is although the Humanist Network News is from Albany, N.Y. Why should christians have the monopoly on wearing ‘crosses’ around their necks to show they’re christians any more than atheists IF there was available atheist jewellry. Personally, I’d like to find an apatheist necklace, a person who doesn’t care about the ‘god’ thing. Even though in Canada, we have the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the freedom of religion on which both Canada AND the U.S. was founded, DOESN’T mean that every single North America teenager or adult IS a christian. There are far more atheists, even though they’re a large minority who face verbal persecution for NOT believing in a so-called, ‘higher power’.

  • heathen

    hey medussa
    where did you get your “I will not be trained” t-shirt? i’ve been looking for it for the longest time.

  • avowedatheist

    Hi Hemant Mehta,
    I’m an atheist but “in the closet” so to speak. Where I live in central Ontario, Canada, there’s a questionnnaire asking about what the residents of cottage country think about their community and one of the categories is “Family Values”. It doesn’t say traditonal family values, simply Family Values. That’s open to interpretation.
    If I wore a shirt that said, “I’m an atheist” I KNOW I’d be hassled, either verbally or….even physically threatened.
    Atheism, like being gay or feminist, is not considered a “family value” in the small town, 50,000 year round.
    Being socially and….morally non-conformist where I live….is difficult and a professional person I see, she’s also a feminist and she has to endure traditional female language but she has a like-thinking support circle.

  • J.S.P

    I have a shirt that says “I’m Doing God’s Work, because That Lazy Bastard Never Does It”

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