Episode 33 – Asshole Atheists

This week we explore the idea of the asshole atheist.  What is the difference between an asshole atheist and a plain old normal atheist?  What is the difference between an asshole atheist and a plain old ordinary asshole? We equate the concept with the civil rights movement, feminism and gay rights, which may or may not have been appropriate but hey, we’re edgy!  We use a lot of big words, too.  Hooray for higher education!  We also read Amanda Spektor’s answers to our five questions.

Show notes below the fold:

If you want to see the Urban Dictionary definition of “asshole atheist,” take a look.

For the two of you who have never explored the atheism subreddit, enjoy the experience here!

Here’s an example of a recent e-mail Rebecca Watson received.


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11 Responses to Episode 33 – Asshole Atheists

  1. Hi guys. I’m a huge atheist podcast geek. I’ve been listening to an obscene number of atheist podcast episodes per week for almost 2 years now. I just found out about your show the other day. I’ve only listened the the last two episodes, but I’ll catch up quickly. Great show!

    You mentioned in the most recent episode (#33) that you’d like to talk to a recently out atheist. I don’t know if I fit the bill, as I’ve been out (90% out) for about a year and a half. I was a devout Christian for my first 37 years. Now I’m probably a borderline “Asshole Atheist.” I’d love to be on the show and talk about it though.

    One disclaimer, I have my own atheist podcast, so I can’t say that my motivations are 100% altruistic. That being said, I’d love to come on and talk even if I can’t make a quick plug. Regardless of whether or not you’re interested, I’ll be mentioning your show since I think it’s really good. No guilt trip intended, and no reciprocity expected.

    Keep up the awesome job all.

    • Thanks, Martin! We’ll definitely think about it.

      Hey, why not throw a link to your podcast here in the comments?

    • What Molly said: post a link to your podcast!

    • I third that request! We’d certainly be interested in recording with you at some point but if you aren’t local, it might be a little while until we have technology set up to do remote podcasting. Where do you live?

  2. Albatross says:

    Wow, when Tim is the LEAST assholey atheist in the room…

    So how come someone isn’t an “asshole theist” because they push their “God” on you by saying “God bless you”?

    Would it be fair for me to say “Ksárul bless you” whenever someone farts. When they ask I could say, “In my religion we consider it polite to bless someone when they release something they should have kept secret, so Ksárul, the God of Secrets, bless you.”

    • Albatross says:

      Molly: “minority groups” – yes, the way I put it is “The majority always plays the victim when the minority complains about oppression.” When this isn’t purely cynical – copping a victim posture for sympathy – it is instead an example of Privilege. The majority is so blindly accustomed to its privilege that pointing out the privilege is perceived as an attack. Judeo-Christians are blind to their privilege of being able to accept JudeoChristian premises: a deity exists; it’s named “God;” there’s only one; there is a soul; there’s a soul-scoring symptom called “sin;” prayer exists and does anything; there’s a cursing prayer called damnation, etc. Challenging their privilege to say “Bless you” or “Damn you” makes them feel victimized because they don’t even recognize their privilege in being able to say such things.

      And their privilege is to be taken seriously, despite saying such things. If I say “Ksárul bless you” I lose credibility, I look like a fool. If I say “Manwë damn you” I may not even be understood. But if I say “God bless you” I’m seen as empathetic and caring, despite invoking a character no less fictional than Manwë. JudeoChristians are privileged to be grounded in the culture.

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  4. New listener, decided to tune in for this topic. Atheist assholes make us all look bad. It’s not like we have a great rep as it is. Keep it up!