Saying Goodbye To This Site… July 11, 2011

Saying Goodbye To This Site…

I’ve been blogging at this website for a little over five years now. And it’s time to move on… kind of.

This is a big part of my life and it takes up a lot of my time (outside of teaching and coaching). I have no desire to stop blogging, though. The opportunities it has provided me with are wonderful and I learn so much from the commenters here and throughout the blogosphere.

A couple months ago, I started having discussions with a website called Patheos, a website that’s still relatively young but growing quickly. They want to become a hub for dialogue about religion on the web. They have what they call religion “portals” so that people interested in learning facts about Islam or Evangelical Christianity or Paganism can do so. Contained in each of those portals are blogs (with their respective opinionated pieces). Much like Scientific American and Discover have their own networks of science bloggers, Patheos is building a network of bloggers from all over the religious spectrum.

Patheos is about to launch its atheism/Humanism section, and with it, I’ll be moving my site over there, archives and all. It’s a decision I came to after a lot of conversations with the people there, other atheist bloggers, and people who have both accepted and declined Patheos’ invitation. I feel good about the decision.

I anticipate some backlash. For example, why be part of a site that provides a home for religious bloggers? Well, there’s no agenda on their part to promote one belief system over another. They’re interested in the “whole conversation” and I’m interested in promoting/discussing atheism over theism, but I like that they’re including our views in their mix. There’s nothing wrong with open dialogue and being associated with religious bloggers in open forums has never been a problem for me in the past (it’s why I sometimes contribute to the Chicago Tribune and Washington Post sites). I’m under no obligation to support anything the other bloggers write — hell, I can criticize them freely.

There are a number of advantages to this switch on a personal level. It’s a new challenge, for one, and I love being part of things from the ground up. It’ll mean more exposure to people outside our movement, the people who need to hear our perspective the most. I’ll get paid for my work, which is always nice. There will be technical support, which is a huge deal for me. (There was a time when this site kept crashing every couple days because of the number of readers. I had to keep increasing the server size to accommodate people and that cost a lot of money. For a while now, it’s been stable, but at a very high price… it’s nice to know I won’t have to worry about things like that.)

What does this change mean for readers? Ideally, nothing (though I hope you’ll forgive the inevitable glitch or two).

  • The type of posts you see won’t change. In fact, my contract with Patheos contains a “no censorship” clause. I’ll continue writing about the things I find interesting, whether that’s religious abuses, church/state violations, or delicious babies.
  • Richard Wade will still be answering your questions.
  • The commenting system will switch over to Disqus, which will be *way* better than the current method of unnumbered, unthreaded responses.
  • The Friendly Atheist Forums will continue running as usual, but the URL may change. (I’ll keep you updated.)
  • All old links will simply be redirected to Patheos — so if you linked to them before, they’ll still work. If you come to in the future, you’ll just be redirected to Patheos.
  • There will be unobtrusive ads in the sidebar (much like there are now) that I won’t have control over, but I don’t think that’ll be an issue for most readers.
  • Your RSS feeds should automatically redirect without you having to do anything, but I’ll let you know if that changes.
  • If, for whatever reason, I decide the partnership isn’t working out for me, I can always return to this site (and bring my postings with me). Hopefully, that won’t be the case.
  • My contact information will be in the sidebar if you have links/stories/suggestions.

I hope you’ll continue reading over there as I transition over. It should only take a day or two for most of the site to switch over, and I’ll be good to go in time to live-blog The Amazing Meeting in Vegas over the weekend.

Thanks in advance for your understanding and support.

"The way republican politics are going these days, that means the winner is worse than ..."

It’s Moving Day for the Friendly ..."
"It would have been more convincing if he used then rather than than."

It’s Moving Day for the Friendly ..."

Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Hitch

    Doesn’t really need my endorsement. Whatever works for you. Have fun trying the new deal.

  • Nick

    Nooooooooo!!! I love this site with its quirky banner and your mexigay (lol, just kiddin’ :-D) smile!
    But in the end as long as the awesomeness keeps coming in, I’m game!
    All the best mate,keep blogging!

  • abadidea

    Completely out of left field, but I’m not fundamentally opposed.

  • Godless Lawyer

    Naturally support whatever you think is best.

    Looking at the existing humanist blog, I see some spillover from their other sections in the comments. I can’t say I like the idea of getting into debates with preaching fundamentalists – it’s not why I come to this site.

    Willing to give it a chance, though.

  • I will continue to read the great content you provide. You have been an inspiration to us all and a different address changes nothing. If you feel this move is better for you and wheat you provide then so be it.

  • Brittany

    Doesn’t sound like much will really change- just a bit of scenery. I look forward to seeing the new stuff.

  • Cool. I read a number of blogs over at Patheos already, so it’s nice to see another familiar face there.

    Congrats on the move, looking forward to seeing what you add to the mix.

  • JulietEcho

    Cool beans. Make sure not to lose anything from the forums! There are several years of posts there.

  • MikeB

    Hemant, I’m excited for you! Good luck with the transition! I think talented bloggers such as yourself deserve to be compensated for their hard work.

    I hope to get a chance to meet you in person at TAM!

  • aproustian

    One of the issues many people had when the Slactivist recently moved to Patheos was the lack of an explicit atheist/humanist space there. So, I’m really glad that they’re addressing that and that you’ll be part of it.

  • Mary

    Good luck. I’ll keep reading. 🙂

  • Dennis N

    Is this the same Patheos that Slacktivist moved over to? I recall them being anti-gay and anti-woman, and I decided not to follow him over to that site, so I no longer read his blog. I like your blog much more, so I will have to give it consideration once again, and do some digging. From what I remember, I did not want to give that site any clicks or support.

  • Best wishes on the change, Hemant. The conversation will certainly benefit from your contribution, and you’ll (continue to) make a fine ambassador.

  • Good luck, see you there!!!

  • Sam

    Not to be a downer, but the comments on one of the Atheist columns over there are mostly made by Christians, something I am not looking forward to. I liked how this site was mostly insulated from that.

  • ShavenYak

    I’ll definitely miss the “horrid design, with illegible Satanic markings next to a picture of a smiling Mexigay”.

    Unless maybe you can take them with you?

  • The commenting system will switch over to Disqus, which will be *way* better than the current method of unnumbered, unthreaded responses.

    I know we readers don’t get a vote, but I’ve had nothing but problems with Disqus (I’ve tried to use it both at home and at several different libraries) and it was a fiasco when you tried to switch over to it last time. The comment section is my favorite part of Friendly Atheist, and if I can’t get it to work, I may not be able to keep reading. 🙁

  • Brice Gilbert

    As long as it’s not wishy washy “let’s all get along” pleading I think it will be fine. Sites like these that seem to attract (by accident or design) a religion/spirituality is truth no matter what you believe kind of person can get pretty annoying. I think it will be a good thing to have someone challenge those beliefs.

  • Jen

    Congratulations! This sounds great, and very progressive.

  • Douglas Kirk

    I like it, it will bring in a lot more novel commentors and hopefully provide the regulars with more vigorous debate. Plus I get a little schadenfruede watching christians squirm when they take their shtick to an atheist site. And a little hope that maybe they’ll eventually realize they’re arguments aren’t up to snuff.

  • GentleGiant

    How will this affect your Facebook page? I usually click over here from when you link the articles there.

    (Hemant says: Shouldn’t be affected. I just have to update the RSS feed!)

  • Chris aka “Happy Cat”

    Good luck on your new venture, Hemant. The mix of faiths could shake up the comments a bit. That could be fun. Prepare for inevitable trolling.

    The main site looks like a Fashion House frantically assembling the most ornate, intricate clothes for the emperor. Your voice is needed.

  • Kelly

    I think it will be great to expose your eloquent writing to a broader audience. I hope that some new people can hear what you have to say, and possibly be swayed to question their own status quo.

  • Matto the Hun

    I hate to ruin your day, but I’m going to have to say no.

    I know, I know, life’s tough, but I’ve put my foot down. That’s just how it has to be.

  • johannsone

    Not to be a downer, but the comments on one of the Atheist columns over there are mostly made by Christians, something I am not looking forward to. I liked how this site was mostly insulated from that.

    Not picking a fight Sam, but that’s kinda what christians do, insulate themselves from the world. Let em come out fighting, ignorance and all. I can’t wait. Learning is all about challenging assumptions. Change is all about stirring the pond. Stagnation should never be an option. I applaud him for his leap. could be good, could be horrible, but it sure could be exciting as hell.

  • zachofalltrades


    Popped over to Patheos to have a quick look and the first blog post that caught my eye: Three Routes to Hell. (not linking because it’s a really short article and it seems to be just garden variety apologetics)

    Good for you Hemant on the getting paid for your work bit (well deserved!) but I’m with Sam in worry about the comments – volatile fundies are pretty rare here and I like that; it’d be a shame to wind up swimming in fundie-spam. I like reading comments that don’t make me want to punch my monitor.

    (and you MUST keep the Smiling Mexigay pic!)

  • Dennis N

    Would it be possible to cross post your articles at both sites? I imagine that would violate your contract by taking clicks away from Patheos.

  • PinkMuslimah

    Goodness, not much change. Ok.

  • best of success to you in your new path.
    Thank you for all you’ve provided on this site and your constant feedback through the years.

  • If we’ve learned anything from religious movements, change=bad. Therefore, this must be a great thing.

    My favorite part is that there should be no change in the RSS feed. Less I have to do!

  • Donalbain

    Patheos is a cesspit of bigotry and hatred. Please, don’t do it.

  • holeydood3

    So where exactly will this Atheism/Humanist part sit in their website? The only place that makes sense is under “Religion Portals,” yet this obviously does not make sense, as this blog is about something that is the opposite of religion. Just curious.

  • Chris aka “Happy Cat”

    I see their experts lean heavily in an Abrahamic direction.

    The more I see of Patheos, the more concern I have. I’m glad returning here is an option. Again, good luck!

  • Claudia

    The annoyance of having a hard time registering for Disqus and the irritation of having to use a username different from my usual commenting name is tempered by the very nice tech-support guy who helped me out on live-chat.

    Oh and yeah, hope this move works out great. I really like the “latest comments” feature. Will it be available on the new site?

  • I like the agreement you have, with no censorship and the unrestricted ability to criticize (and compliment) other Patheos blogs. To be safe, get backups of your posts frequently in case they back out of their part of the agreement.

    The only qualm I might have is part of one of those wonderful double-edged swords. Friendly Atheist will become part of a larger organization which may bring in more readers, but it may also bring in more thumpers who try to dominate (via pure quantity) any discussion thread. I hope that does not happen.

    Kudos to you, though, for arranging to have somebody else handle the techie things, allowing you to do more of what you want to do (vs. have to do).

  • Drew M.

    Look at the two comments on that article.

    Say goodbye to intelligent comments and a decent signal to noise ratio.

    ETA: I’ll never stop reading your blog, but I’m sure the frequency (and assholishness) of my commenting will change.

  • Sad day. I’ve really enjoyed your site, but understand your need to move on!

  • Marguerite

    “I see some spillover from their other sections in the comments. I can’t say I like the idea of getting into debates with preaching fundamentalists – it’s not why I come to this site.”

    This is my main concern. I’d hate to see all the comments on your posts flooded with a bunch of unpleasantness. But I’m new, and just learning my way around here, so as long as the “culture” of the blog stays similar, I can probably adapt:-).

  • Darwin’s Dagger

    Patheos is a cesspit of bigotry and hatred. Please, don’t do it.

    Prove it.

  • I perfectly understand. Good luck and thank you for taking Richard Wade with you!

  • No backlash here; my philosophy is that people on the internet can do as they like. However, this site fell into a convenient gray area as “just another blog” that I could browse on my work computer, and I’m pretty sure would not fly under my boss’ radar quite so well. Good luck in your new gig, Hemant. I’ll come visit occasionally, unless I forget. 🙂

  • NotYou007

    I’m cool with the switch. Just keep us in the loop.

  • You can take the boy of the “Mexigay” but you cant take the mexigay out of the boy!

    Anyway, change is good and I wish you well with the new venture. I’ll be changing my bookmark favorites to the new URL.

    We will get more access to religious folks to deconvert! 😉

  • JD

    Seems odd that you’re saying goodbye to your own site, but I can understand the reasons.

    I say noodlespeed to your future ventures.

  • Cortex

    You sure had me scared with that subject line…

    Glad to hear you’ll be getting some compensation for your work. This has become my favorite blog over the past year. Like the others have been saying, I really hope the great community you’ve brought together here isn’t flooded by believers.

  • zachofalltrades

    @ Drew M:

    Jesus tap dancing christ…it’s those sorts of comments that worry me. I don’t mind challenges to viewpoints at all, so long as they’re at least thought through a little.

  • Aaron

    I think this is awesome. I’ll definitely follow you there, and I really hope it works out for you. It opens this blog up to a whole new audience who normally wouldn’t be caught dead reading it — and hopefully that’s a good thing. It might not be. But in that case, I’ll follow you back here 🙂

  • Stogoe

    I don’t trust the motives of anyone who’s religious (because I’ve been one, and I know), but I’ll continue reading – that is, unless my nannyware filters your new site. This, though, has me concerned:

    The commenting system will switch over to Disqus, which will be *way* better than the current method of unnumbered, unthreaded responses.

    Login systems are fundamentally worse than what you’ve got now, for me at least, because the nannyware routinely blocks most or all login providers. Boo.

  • I hope it increases the traffic of the blog by folks of a religious persuasion. As long as I can keep reading, that’s all I can ask for.

  • When Slacktivist made the move to Patheos there were some confusing interactions with a poster claiming to be a Patheos Admin. After much harrumphing I believe Fred asked for and got almost complete autonomy. We’ve actually had very little problems with trolling from fundamentalists or any of the less tolerant members of the Patheos community, save for the persistance of Monoblade (who I suppose will always be with us…)

  • Ibis3

    My first reaction (just given the info related in the OP about Patheos–never heard of it before and haven’t done any further research), is to consider FA a write off.

    I come here mainly to find out what’s happening “on the ground” in the US with respect to religion’s encroachment into schools & governments. That and to read Richard’s answers. But I’ve always had some disagreements with Hemant on fundamental principles, and this move seems to be a strong expression of one of the things I take issue with (*yes, I know it’s his blog and he can do as he wants and I’m not suggesting otherwise).

    In my mind, I see a site like Patheos as supporting, condoning, and encouraging religion. By joining it, even though the posts themselves may be dissenting, it’s sitting under the “Religion is Valid” umbrella. It’s not quite like discussing the atheist/humanist/secularist viewpoint in a column for WaPo, because The Washington Post (ostensibly) has objectivity and neutrality as its goal. It’s not there to promote ecumenical feel-good religion (or even ecumenical feel-good discussion about religion). This is more like being a legitimate medical doctor doing a column in a publication devoted to homeopathy and “alternative” medicine. If you want to fight against the harm quackery does, fight from your own territory or on public neutral ground. Doing it there is, at best, futile, at worst, counter-productive.

    I may or may not choose to keep coming here after the change but I feel I owe it to you guys to give it a shot. Probation for you and Patheos. If I find a climate of approbation of misogyny, gay bashing, or anti-intellectualism? I’m outta there.

  • Francis Montes de Oca

    I’ve been reading your blog quietly since around the beginning of the year or so. Hemant you’ve inspired me to not only completely come out of the “atheist closet,” you’ve also inspired me to potentially create an SSA chapter at my university if patience and time allows me to. It will be at a university in West Virginia, of all places!

    I will definitely continue reading your blog. After all, you know what’s best for you and your site. Thank you for being so awesome. When you make the switch, see you at the other URL! =)

  • Good luck! Change is hard, but usually for the best. It will be great!

  • Ukulatheist

    Beware the dark side young Luke.

  • scott-k

    Scroll to the bottom of the Patheos main page, and check out their section on humanism… They list atheism and agnosticism as “subtraditions” of humanism. So, all atheists are also humanists? hmm…

    The definitions they give for atheism and agnosticism are similarly “enlightening”

  • Alphager

    Sounds like great news! Just make sure to retain the right to your posts so that in the (as of yet unlikely) event you somehow mant to move away from the new site you can migrate your own content away from them.

  • Ben

    I hope that they don’t try to crush your creativity. lol Hope the new site is a fun and awesome as the old.

  • SeekerLancer

    This site seems pretty confused about what atheism is like scott-k said. I hope your presence will straighten them out.

  • Whit

    I’m looking at the site, and I am not really amused with the first few posts. The last one was about how to slowly introduce skeptics and the like to a church.

    I have always enjoyed your moderate thoughtful writing, and will look into hooking up a feed of some sort. I am surrounded by this type of thinking every day, I have no interest in reading it during my free time.

  • Ewwww… I feel all dirty. It’s like I went to a “Coexist” party and someone put something in my drink. Bye bye.

  • Steve

    I too fear that the comment section will be overrun by Christians, crossing over from the other blogs.

    One or two at the time can be a nice and a welcome diversion, but too many would ruin everything. The comment section is one the best parts of this site

  • corhen

    i read the title, and went NOOOO, then i read the article, and went “oh, hes just MOVING the site, not quitting blogging.. Carry on good sir!”

  • Austin

    You get paid now? Hells yeah!

  • Inthewater

    Your blog and your choice. I wish you the best in the new place, but see a lot of opportunity for issues and believers from all those other sects ganging up on us.

    We’ll see, glad you have left a good escape plan in place.

    I’d like to be surprised and have this end up being an awesome move for you, I really would.

  • Justin Miyundees

    Can I stay Justin Miyundees over there? It’s what I wanna be.

    Best of luck in the new venture. I hope it pans out – you deserve more recognition and less tribulation.

    I’ll look forward to watching you razz & dazz even more folks over there.

  • I love reading your blog, Hemant and will continue reading it on a different site. I hope all goes well!

  • Larry Meredith

    oh boy… that’ll make the comments much different. Interesting.

  • Good luck! Hope it works out well for you and for us readers.

  • Zygrot

    Ya, the site is clearly run by religious folks. The definitions currently given for atheism, etc, aren’t exactly informed. Agnostic and atheist not interchangable? And why does the atheist definition bring up Marx, Nietzsche and Freud? Why not Jefferson, Russell, or any of the contemporary atheist authors? Clearly this site needs your help to clarify what they’ve very badly got confused.

  • Heartfout

    I can’t say I’m that fond of Patheos as a site, although I will give it that it is at least trying to get away from its conservative Christian groups.

    Having more atheists on there would definitely be helpful, since apart from the token humanists, most references to atheists are of the `They have no morals` variety, which isn’t particularly nice. They are also very slow to change; I wrote to them asking to change the content of the atheist and agnostic library pages when Slacktivist moved over, and although I have been assured that they will definitely be a revamp of them (since they are…fairly inaccurate, shall we say), they’ve taken their sweet time about it.

    Hopeful your voice will help shift the Overton window, at least. But I suspect that this will get a lot more attention than Slacktivist, so be prepared for lots more vitriolic comments, particularly at the beginning.

  • Devin Leaman

    As much as the headline terrified me I read through and I’m feeling better. I honestly wish you the best of luck Hemant and I will follow your blog via RSS so long as you are blogging. Keep up the great work and again, best of luck.

  • Trace

    I wish you, Richard and all your other guest bloggers the best.

  • flatlander100

    Went and looked around. Jaysus, it’s a pretty god-soaked host, H. Not a place I think I’d be comfortable or interested in hanging around much.

    From the general tone of things, home page included, I have this sneaking suspicion that the goal of inviting more atheists in is to have them available for proselytizing.

    Your site, your call, but this may not work out as you hope. We shall see.

  • Regarding the Slacktivist concern (mentioned by a few people) that did involve massive drama with Slacktivist’s movement over there. It wasn’t so much that there were problems with the Patheos community but that they do have some bloggers there who are pretty anti-gay and arguably quite sexist. While that got blown all out of proportion with massive, free-wheeling internet drama, there was a legitimate point: does one want to be part of a blogging group that includes such bloggers? Frankly, I’d be pretty uncomfortable in such a position.

  • CosmicThespian

    Adding my three cents from a long time reader and very infrequent commenter: I think this is a good experiment. One of my main concerns with organized skepticism and atheism is the echo chamber effect. We all just talk to each other and the broader themes of getting critical thinking to the public at large rarely break out of our bubble. It’s great to have a place to come together but the “big picture” goal should be one of broader education. If this gets the ideas of skepticism to an audience that would not otherwise be exposed to it on a regular basis, isn’t that commendable and worthy of at least the attempt?

    Misconceptions of atheists abound because of a similar echo chamber in organized religion. The spirit of efforts like the “Out Campaign” and billboards is to get theists to realize that atheists are not the immoral, cynical, satan-worshipping, kitten-sacrificing malcontents that is commonly assumed. This move, to me, seems like yet another avenue for progress on that front. And it is consistent with Hemant’s philosophy of constructive dialogue where possible.

    I don’t think there’s any real potential for loss here. If it doesn’t work out, FA will return to its old home and we all can carry on the same as before. I look forward to the new endeavor! Best of luck!

  • Regina Phalange

    I don’t comment here much as I am usually more of an observer than a speaker, but I am an avid reader, so I was very relieved that you aren’t giving up the blogging. Thanks for the momentary panic though!

    I would imagine this takes up a lot of your time so good on ya for getting paid now!

    I understand the fear of having the comments overrun by absurdity…it seems quite possible. But as long as it doesn’t go completely off the wall, I would think it’s always healthy to expose yourself to more than one point of view. Other wise it’s too easy to fall into a rut. Perhaps this will be good. And the idea of exposing the religious to strong and well thought out arguments seems to be nothing but good as well.

    All things considered, I can’t see why you shouldn’t give this a shot. Especially considering the fact that you can go back if you need to.

    Good luck and we’ll see you on the other side!

  • runawayuniverse

    Loved being a lurker here and will read what you link to in your tweets, but just glancing at that site made me not want to visit it ever again.

    Good luck

  • Larry Meredith

    I’ve been coming to this site every day for a year or something now. This is the only atheist blog I frequently follow and it’s been a very nice thought-provoking part of my life. I’ll follow you over to Patheos and become a regular there too. I like that your message will be getting more exposure to religious people and I’m not opposed to having fundis entering the comment section. It sounds very interesting and I’m excited to see how it works out.

    Will Richard be getting paid too? What other atheist bloggers did you talk to who rejected the Patheos invitation? Not that this is any of my business, I’m just curious.

  • Congratulations. Hopefully the comment threads remain intelligible. Definitely keep us posted!

  • Ah, you a joining James McGrath at Patheos — you have good neighbors!

  • Karmakin

    It’s all going to end in tears.

    I don’t think it’s a mistake, per se, and I’m not going to tell someone else what they can or can’t do, or even what they should or shouldn’t do when it comes to things like this. But all the same, I think it’s only a matter of time before they show you the door.

    FWIW, on an aside, I stopped reading Slactivist when it was made clear that he has no idea or care on why putting “faith” over “works” is such a negative thing in our society.

  • Your blog, man. Your choice. I’ll happily follow you (and the community you’ve built here) to a new site.

  • I’ll hold my opinions for after the transition, I can’t honestly say if a community site is boom or bust. I’ll miss the “smiling mexigay” design, but hey, change is good. I’m thinking Hemant is a smart guy and I figure there’s probably more good than bad to come with the transition

  • Revyloution

    Congratulations on resisting ‘The Big Sort’.

    I’m happy every time I see our community integrate themselves into the larger world community of thought. Atheists have far too long sat quietly in the back of the room. It’s time for everyone to make room at the table for us.

  • To be honest, I will probably end up ignoring all other parts of Patheos besides your own blog. Listening to religious people is a worthwhile endeavor, but one that I’ve personally become less and less interested in.

  • sailor

    I hope we wont have to register to comment

  • Todd

    Here’s hoping that it all sucks and you’ll be back in a week!

  • Patheos is lame. I don’t want to give those clowns a platform by patronizing their site. I’m finding myself put off by an emerging pattern of accommodation – interfaith, “Challenge the Gap” and now, Patheos. I probably won’t be reading as much, but best of luck.

  • Lisa

    delicious babies.

    Mmmmmmm baby.

  • Annie

    Best wishes to you Hemant. I hope the transition is smooth and anxiety-free. I look forward to reading the old you at your new home.

  • Richard P.

    I hope the Igoogle gadget will still function.
    Good luck on the move and I think this is a great idea.

  • Mimi

    I am more of a lurker, I rarely post but I come here every day. I wish you the best of luck, and I am sure I will head over to the other site. I prefer to not have to be around religious folk too much, but if that is the only way i can read your blog, I will try!

  • todwith1d

    doubt I’ll come.

  • DaveS

    I hope this works out OK. I’ve never been to the Patheos site before – so I headed over and looked around.

    I don’t want to go back there.

    It was scary.

    I’ll persevere though – for you Hemant, but I don’t have a good feeling about this.

  • Sinfanti

    Big change, but I’ll give it a try with as open a mind as I can manage. Good luck.

  • Nancy

    Good luck on the move. I’ll be there as soon as I can.

  • People who are talking about the Slacktivist drama: instead of just describing what happened, could you give links? I’d be interested to see what happened for myself.

  • Chris

    I’m afraid it would feel like holding an atheist meeting in a church. It’s always been comfortable to come here…don’t know if I’ll follow or not. Thanks.

  • Best wishes. I’m all for expanding your efforts to new venues.

  • @Joshua Zelinsky

  • The gig question is whether out token Christians Nathan and Blacksheep (Ana a couple of others) will follow us over there as well. 😉

  • Wow. I have to say this comes as a surprise, but I hope it’s for the best.

    Also, I think Disqus rocks. I look forward to being able to read threaded comments instead of combing through hundreds of replies to figure out who’s talking to who.

  • Gliewmeden

    Oye….. I freaked when I read you’d be “leaving”. You are one of my 3 main blogs I read over latte every morning. You, PZ, and Jerry Coyne.

    So glad I can still read you.

    Congratulations to moving on to new things! All the best.


  • Thegoodman

    Like a few posters here, I am bummed out by this change. I love the personal blog feeling of Friendly Atheist and I have always felt like it has been very accessible and simultaneously attracted right minded people. Now wading through piles of bullshit to get to the good stuff is going to be annoying at first and ultimately not something I’ll deal with for long.

    From a higher level, I don’t think atheism should be included in religious discussions. “Joining in the fun” gives credence to religious claims as if it is an opposing political or theological view. I don’t feel like atheism is a topic worth discussing in itself, and stacking it up as if it were just another religion undermines all free thinkers and also gives religious points validity that are undeserving.

    This is like ESPN opening a section on their website for reading. Reading is not a sport as atheism is not a religion.

  • Jay

    I have no tolerance to support a website that caters to delusional belief systems even if they do carve out some small spot for Atheists. I never bought into the whole “we can all get along” bullshit line of thinking and providing click-throughs to those that do is not a responsible thing for me to do.

  • Glad to see some positive change! Best of luck!

  • Dan W

    As a longtime reader and occasional poster, I’ll still read this blog when it moves. I already read some of Slacktivist on Patheos, so I’m a little familiar with that site.

  • Drakk

    Patheos sounds a little too accommodationist-interfaithy for me. But I will keep reading the blog.

  • SecondClassCitizen

    As long as I can keep reading the articles more or less completely via RSS, not giving the site any advertisment clicks, I guess it’ll be ok.
    My long term fear is still that the blog will be diluted and trolled to irrelevance over time. Contract clauses are all fine and dandy, but in the end that site has it’s own goals.

  • SlipperyWhenWet

    As long as your content remains the same, do whatever the hell you want!

    I come here for your great posts, so as long as those will keep on coming, that should be fine for everyone.

  • Guffey

    I’m glad it will help you to move (money and otherwise). I hope you will consider the comments section over there when you are determining whether to stay or move back.

    Obviously, just my opinion: FA is one of the few blogs I’ve read where the comments are usually relatively civil and… dare I say it… even “friendly”. I’ll give it a try over there but after reading a few articles, well, I’m not hopeful.

    Thanks to you and Richard and the others for a great read.

  • 7fta

    Hemant is like a good indie rock band getting picked up by a new label. It may work out well and it may be a bad experience, but hey as long as the band stays together other opportunities will arise and the fans will follow! Stay true to your vision Hemant! Rock On!

  • Colin

    Definitely will follow you over there, especially if I don’t have to change anything I’m doing to follow you there!

  • thrift

    I get this blog thru the “atheism feed” google reader.

    does anyone know if this move will affect that?

  • dwasifar

    Ugh. An atheist blog included in a religious site is kind of like a Democrat signing up as a commentator for Fox News. It helps them look balanced, with little risk of anyone’s mind actually being changed in the core audience.

    This site is well respected and widely linked. Subsuming it in a religious mishmash is a tragic waste. Atheism blogs belong in the religion category about as much as nudism belongs in the category of “clothing.”

  • I used to administer a website that contained discussion areas for almost all of the world’s religions. The site was founded by an atheist. If your new site goes anything like that one, you’ll now have plenty of opportunities to discuss religion with various believers. This could be an opportunity to reach a broader audience.

  • Claudia

    Having visited Patheos I’m now a lot less confident that this is a good idea. On the front page right now there is a link to an article defending Sharia. It makes the very fair point that many people opposing it have not the slightest notion what it actually is, but it also somehow manages to forget the Sharia rules for apostasy, or homosexuality. Another article on the front page tries to find a way in which condemning people to Hell can be just. It’s not as horrifically terrible as you might imagine at first blush, but it’s still painful to see someone try to marry “just” with “Hell”.

    I’m not even going to go into some of the stuff I saw when I did a search for “homosexuality”.

    Apparently, despite being one of the most numerous groups around, we don’t make the cut for the front page of the “Library of World Religion and Spirituality” (I guess we’re just less relevant than the Pagans, New Age folks and the Scientologists). In order to find atheists, agnostics and Humanists, you have to go to the “more traditions” link, where we can be in the company of similarly relevant groups like “Ancient Greek” or small sects of the major religions. The definition of atheism includes this gem:

    Atheism assumes and often attempts to prove the impossibility of the existence of gods. Atheism has often been associated with agnosticism, but these two ideologies are not interchangeable. Atheism is distinguished from agnosticism in that the latter allows for the possibility of the existence of the divine whereas the former claims an absolute rejection of the concept.

    So the definition of atheism was written up without even the benefit of a routine Google search. Awesome. Apparently our champions were Marx, Freud and Nietzsche. I suppose I should be happy it’s not Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot. Agnostics should not be happy either, as I suspect there are aspects of their definition they’d object to (did you know you believe knowledge is only possible through experience?).

    I hope this works out Hemant, but let’s just say you’re going in to what is decidedly a mixed bag.

  • Donalbain

    If you are going to go to patheos and use Disqus, please please please turn off the threading option. If you don’t, then when a thread is more than about 4 or 5 comments,


  • Ubi Dubium

    I’ll head over to the new site with you, of course. This is a very real version of “challenge the gap” or the “out campaign”, in that you are putting your very blog on the line, and the least I can do is help keep the comments from being a barrage of nothing but godbots.

    If they are ever going to see us for who we are, and not just who they think we are, we have to have a visible presence among them, in a forum where they might actually listen to us a little. So kudos for trying this, and I’m very glad you have the option of pulling out if this is not a success.

    You will have the power of bannination for recalcitrant trolls, yes?

    And maybe I’ll be able to access the new site from my work computer. Right now its security software blocks this site as “occult/cult”!

  • @donalbain,

    That would prevent pissing contests that sometimes occur. Although, sometimes they are interesting.

  • Brian Macker

    The front page of the website is nothing but religious drivel. They put atheism under “Humanism” which is completely wrong. I just realized how much I hate that humanism symbol not that it’s being forced on me. It looks like it should be on the mens room or one of those “Wet floors” signs. Put it on the side of a ladder and all it needs is the red circle and slash to indicate, “Don’t tippy toe and reach up from ladder”.

    Alright this is outrageous. I just followed the link from Humanism->Atheism and thought I’d get a bunch of atheist blogs. Instead I get a list of “Quick Facts” about atheism that tries to pound the the round peg of atheism into the square hole of religion. “Atheism Ritual, Worship, Devotion, Symbolism”??? Get real.

    Plus get this, “Atheism assumes and often attempts to prove the impossibility of the existence of gods.” No, atheism doesn’t assume anything.

    WTF, it continues: “In the 19th century, Karl Marx championed another form of atheism labeled “materialism,” which stands in opposition to the metaphysical claim of “spiritualism.” Marx claimed that “religion” and concepts of God were political and social constructs. Materialism claims that knowledge and truth are only available through nature and the material world. Materialism rejects the existence of a spiritual world and any knowledge that claims to come from it.”

    Makes it sounds like the rest of us non-commies are just a different form of Marxist. That somehow Marxism arose out of my beliefs.

    Bullshit, I’m not wading through this ignorance. It’s bad enough having to deal with all the ignorant, fundamentalist, and/or irrational atheists out there, the new agers, the Marxists, and the Objectivists, on atheist sites.

  • Troglodyke

    I’m afraid it would feel like holding an atheist meeting in a church. It’s always been comfortable to come here…don’t know if I’ll follow or not. Thanks.

    This is kind of my feeling about it, though I will for sure give it a try.

    I absolutely understand needing to free up some time, and get paid for your work. Your motives are not in reproach.

    I enjoy reading comments that are reasoned and make me think. Most “Xtian” commenters on blogs cannot do that, as far as I’m concerned. I mean, “reason” is pretty anathema to religion, so is it prejudicial to think one will encounter commenters that may have good intentions, but will “hit the ceiling” at some point because they cannot truly embrace reason?

    I can only hear apologetics so many times before I leave the computer in disgust.

  • Glenn Davey

    You’re doing the wrong thing, and in time you will regret it.


    Mark my words.

    You will kick yourself for going down this path in ways you can’t even imagine right now.

  • Marguerite

    “I enjoy reading comments that are reasoned and make me think. Most “Xtian” commenters on blogs cannot do that, as far as I’m concerned.”

    This is definitely a concern. Even if people aren’t actively trolling, they won’t really be adding to an intelligent debate if they just keep insisting that atheists have turned away from god because of the evil in our hearts, or because we’re afraid of going to hell, or whatever. It would be nice if moving your blog over there helped change some of these misconceptions, but I’m afraid they’re just too deeply rooted in many people to change. I don’t want to see your comments overrun by xtians saying the same sort of foolish thing over and over again. That’s my main concern.

    But we’ll see how it goes!

  • Brian, that’s a really good point. There summary of atheism is at best inaccurate. It sounds to me like that was written by a theist who just doesn’t get it or who actively has a problem with atheists. It almost reads like the sort of thing written by someone who would next complain about the atheists taking away prayer in schools. The thing about Marxism isn’t just misleading, it is just wrong. No one uses the term “materialism” as a synonym for communism. Ugh.

    Hemant, if you are going to do this could you maybe get them to change their absolute crap summaries about atheism?

  • Mriana

    I’m glad we don’t have to miss you on the net. It sounds almost similar to what I’m doing where I post articles- opinion, informative, newsy, etc. I have my own humanist section, while there is another person with a Xian section, another Wiccan, and so on. We do well and I suspect you will to on your new site, Hemant. Good luck and hope to see you around soon. 🙂

    Oh, I just realize, we may have competition with this Pantheos. Well, nothing new, I’m sure.

  • ACN

    You should ask them if you can re-write their whole “atheism” intro. Brian is spot on. It is drivel.

    I would like to believe that they aren’t willfully misrepresenting the position, and my experience has been that typically when theists of various flavors write things like this, that is the case. But just because it’s a product of ignorance doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.

  • parv

    Disqus is horrible (Wired experience). I don’t care to create a YAA (yet another account) for the purpose of leaving feedback|comment.

  • ACN

    Not to bludgeon an already dead mule, but their ignorance about this is basically inexcusable. Wikipedia has a fantastic article on secular humanism. All they had to do was copy-pasta and cite wikipedia and they would looked fine. Instead, their intros on secular humanism and atheism are bewilderingly poor.

  • Pensnest

    Eh, I suppose it happens.

    I don’t know how much liberty you will have to select design elements on your Patheos site, but the new Slacktivist site has the comment link at the top of the post, which is unfriendly design if you want people to leave comments. Also – and it may be just me – when I page to the second or subsequent page of comments there, it opens in the middle of that page. Which is irritating. So I’m not altogether with you on the superiority of whatever it’s offering.

    However, it’ll be interesting to see how the humanist/atheist section works out.

  • Synapse

    One change that is inevitably going to come with this – with so many theists around, kiss the baby-eater jokes goodbye.

  • Drew M.

    @Jeff P.

    The gig question is whether out token Christians Nathan and Blacksheep (Ana a couple of others) will follow us over there as well. 😉

    I hope so; I rather like Blacksheep. I also hope that they do not get drowned out by the less polite, truly ignorant Christian commenters that are sure to flood us.

  • Nicoline

    Good for you! Best of luck, Hemant!

  • Thegoodman

    I went to Patheos yesterday and was unable to find the Atheist portal under their portal section. I sent some questions to

    David Charles responded rather quickly and nicely to my questions.

    Thegoodman: “Question 1: One of my favorite blogs has recently decided to join the Patheos website. I was unable to find a portal that was related to atheism. Is there a launch date for an atheistic portal on Patheos?”

    David Charles: “We are excited to welcome Hemant (and his readers!) to Patheos. We have an atheistic portal in development. The exact launch date mostly depends on the set of contributors and editors we’re able to line up in the near term. We appreciate any suggestions you might have for additional atheist bloggers and columnists. (Also: We expect to be able to build out the atheism section of our library this fall.)”

    Thegoodman: “Question 2: Is the intent of Patheos to consider Atheism a religion? Would it be possible to have a religious and non-religious section for portals? There are many ideologies that guide persons through life that are not a religion, are any and all philosophies going to be given their own corner on your website?”

    David Charles: “Great question on the vision of the site and how atheism fits in. From the very beginning (when the site was initially planned nearly 3 years ago), the intended set of portals was broad but finite, and included an atheist/humanist portal. (We’re debating which name to use for the portal.) The info at the following link is dated, and the formatting is messed up, but it gives an idea of the reasoning behind the portal choices:

    I should add that there’s no 1:1 correlation between portals and bloggers or other writers on the site. Some bloggers are featured on multiple portals, others aren’t on any portals. Do we consider atheism a religion? Depends on one’s definition of religion… We want to host a broad and constructive conversation at Patheos on faith, spirituality, philosophy, etc. — and the atheist community is a vital part of that conversation.

    We encourage honest but civil conversation, in which beliefs aren’t watered down, nor is there any imposed interfaith dialogue. Our blog communities tend to be largely self-contained, with strong loyalty to the blog author and fellow readers. We always hope that readers will find other content on the site that’s engaging and of interest, but everyone’s free to hang out in the particular corners of the site they enjoy most.

    There’s already a fair amount of diversity in viewpoints on the site — more than one might think at first glance — both among our contributors and our readers. (Many of the Slacktivist’s readers, for example, are atheists or sympathetic toward atheism.) We hope the arrival of the Friendly Atheist brings new readers with their own take on life to the Patheos community.”

    I am not sure what sort of answer I was looking for, but I suppose this is a decent one.

  • Gilraen

    Long time reader, rare commenter, here.

    It’s your blog. You can do what you want with it.

    But I’m not looking forward to the crazies who will inevitably post ignorant drivel. I hope you can kick some of that ignorance in the ass.

    I’m going to bet they refuse to update their FAQs and definitions.

    I’m also going to bet that you will spend more time deleting posts there than you do here on admin stuff.

    I don’t expect a good outcome.

  • grumblekitty

    I wandered over there, and discovered it was difficult to find your work there. I had to do a search for your name. Is there going to be a regular spot for your articles that I can bookmark? Someone mentioned you have a feed on facebook, so I’ve liked that, but I would still like to have a bookmark.
    Although, as others have said, after wandering around Patheos for a few minutes, I feel icky. It IS like having an atheist meeting in a church. Not pleasant.

  • Saltyestelle

    Ugh… I need to go shower. I will follow and try, but browsing the site did not inspire optimism so much as heebie-jeebies. The article on keeping up the fight against marriage equality written by the founder of NOM was particularly depressing.

  • Ugh, that site makes me very uncomfortable. I’ve been lucky with Disqus so far as no one seems to care about my little brief “about me” statement, but I feel like going there I’m going to get smashed over the head with Christian fundies calling into question my gender identity and sexual orientation…

    Hopefully I’m wrong. Although I can’t log into Disqus here at work except on (ew) Internet Explorer.

  • mingfrommongo

    I feel unclean. The only information I found about atheism was that they hope to have something up by the end of 2011. But I did find an article about god’s vengeance (I’m sorry – god’s justice) and Casey Anthony and another that says “Gay marriage is not inevitable.” At first glance, this site appears to be a clearinghouse for the worst of all religions.

    Hemant, I understand your mission to engage people in discussion and to make sure that there is an atheist voice in debates about religion in our culture/society. I’m just not as engaging as you. I thank you for what you have done here and wish you the best, but I don’t think I’ll be following you.

  • GlenG

    It is certainly understandable given the time required to keep up an active blog. Good luck in whatever you do, thanks for creating this site!

    Maybe it will actually be for the better. As much as I enjoy the intelligent ideas and writings I find here it is sometimes sad to think that we are (not) preaching to (not) choir. Maybe we’ll attract some believers who may get better ideas here than in church.

  • AxeGrrl

    Great about the getting paid part Hemant!

    I’m completely unfamiliar with the new site, but given some of the negative comments from others, I take comfort in this part of your post:

    If, for whatever reason, I decide the partnership isn’t working out for me, I can always return to this site (and bring my postings with me).

  • Darwin’s Dagger

    The sky is falling! The sky is falling! This is the worst thing to happen to atheism since the invention of the elevator.

  • Good luck on your new venture.  I look forward to the new venue and stimulating conversation. 

  • Anonymous

    Looks like the main page is still working out the kinks :). Look forward to the finished look. You seemed to catch some flack on the decision to move, but you owe nothing to others for your decision. We owe you our thanks for holding our interest and making your blog a regular stop for many of us. Hope you achieve the same results at your new abode.  

  • Anonymous

    And so it begins, whether for better or worse! Good luck.

  • Anonymous

    I hope this works out.

  • Jeff P.

    Good luck with the new venture

  • Jeff P.

    Good luck with the new venture.  You must be in heaven now not to have to worry about technical support 😉

  • Alcia

    Too bad you didnt get rid of the satanic font on the banner that noone can understand 🙂 Anyways I look forward to continue reading you blog.

  • Anonymous

    Found your new home and added to my Google Reader feed.

  • Dan W

    Already posted on this thread on the old site. This is just a test post.

  • Testing

  • Testing2

  • Wow, this site is wonky in IE8… but I can’t login on Firefox…

  • Anonymous

    Liking the comments is a definite plus.  🙂

  • Hitch

    Good luck

  • Hitch

    Good luck

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    non-optional threaded replies!!!

  • Argh. I dislike ’em, it’s hard to spot newer replies in default view.
    And just how much nesting is allowed?

  • Argh. I dislike ’em, it’s hard to spot newer replies in default view.
    And just how much nesting is allowed?

  • Argh. I dislike ’em, it’s hard to spot newer replies in default view.
    And just how much nesting is allowed?

  • Anonymous

    Hmm, I think I finally figured out the ‘post as guest’ issue….wheeeee

  • Anonymous

    Hmm, I think I finally figured out the ‘post as guest’ issue….wheeeee

  • Jude

    I’m not sure why this depresses me.  Perhaps it’s because it no longer feels like our hangout.  But as long as it works for you, I suppose that’s what matters.  

  • Jude

    I’m not sure why this depresses me.  Perhaps it’s because it no longer feels like our hangout.  But as long as it works for you, I suppose that’s what matters.  

  • Jude

    I’m not sure why this depresses me.  Perhaps it’s because it no longer feels like our hangout.  But as long as it works for you, I suppose that’s what matters.  

  • Francis Montes de Oca

    Glad it looks very similar to your old site! =)

  • Francis Montes de Oca

    Glad it looks very similar to your old site! =)

  • I was skeptical, but so far so good as far as the comments go. Hope it keeps up, though haven’t seen much evidence of too many new readers. Innteresting…

  • I was skeptical, but so far so good as far as the comments go. Hope it keeps up, though haven’t seen much evidence of too many new readers. Innteresting…

  • Anonymous

    good post this one..well good thinking of this one..very nice to see this here..and the posted is very well..thanks for sharing here with us..reikireiki

  • Anonymous

    How do you find FA from the Patheos site?  I thought I’d take a wander through the site to see how accessible it was and I can’t even find a mention of Friendly Atheist or even atheism.

  • moosedapoop

     That’s HILARIOUS!
    An atheist telling an atheist/God hater, that he’s in heaven. Ha, Ha, Ha!

error: Content is protected !!