Hard Core Atheist Checklist

My hardcore atheist checklist is below the fold. I award myself forty one points, including extra points for doing things to missionaries and such.

1. Participated in the Blasphemy Challenge.
2. Met at least one of the “Four Horsemen” (Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris) in person. Dawkins and I spoke at the same event and since we had a lot of mutual friends we all walked around on the campus for a while together. Not much, but enough to bold this one, I think.
3. Created an atheist blog.
4. Used the Flying Spaghetti Monster in a religious debate with someone.
5. Gotten offended when someone called you an agnostic.
6. Been unable to watch Growing Pains reruns because of Kirk Cameron. Never heard of growing pains.
7. Own more Bibles than most Christians you know. If I count non-family Christians.
8. Have at least one Bible with your personal annotations regarding contradictions, disturbing parts, etc. sort of. My notes are electronic. And I’ve written about it.
9. Have come out as an atheist to your family.
10. Attended a campus or off-campus atheist gathering.
11. Are a member of an organized atheist/Humanist/etc. organization.
12. Had a Humanist wedding ceremony.
13. Donated money to an atheist organization.
14. Have a bookshelf dedicated solely to Richard Dawkins.
15. Lost the friendship of someone you know because of your non-theism.
16. Tried to argue or have a discussion with someone who stopped you on the street to proselytize.
17. Hid your atheist beliefs on a first date because you didn’t want to scare him/her away.
18. Own a stockpile of atheist paraphernalia (bumper stickers, buttons, shirts, etc).
19. Attended a protest that involved religion.
20. Attended an atheist conference.
21. Subscribe to Pat Condell’s YouTube channel.
22. Started an atheist group in your area or school.
23. Successfully “de-converted” someone to atheism.
24. Have already made plans to donate your body to science after you die. (Organ donor precludes this.)
25. Told someone you’re an atheist only because you wanted to see the person’s reaction.
26. Had to think twice before screaming “Oh God!” during sex. Or you said something else in its place.
27. Lost a job because of your atheism.
28. Formed a bond with someone specifically because of your mutual atheism (meeting this person at a local gathering or conference doesn’t count).
29. Have crossed “In God We Trust” off of — or put a pro-church-state-separation stamp on — dollar bills.
30. Refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
31. Said “Gesundheit!” (or nothing at all) after someone sneezed because you didn’t want to say “Bless you!”
32. Have ever chosen not to clasp your hands together out of fear someone might think you’re praying.
33. Have turned on Christian TV because you need something entertaining to watch.
34. Are a 2nd or 3rd (or more) generation atheist.
35. Have “atheism” listed on your Facebook or dating profile — and not a euphemistic variant. except its not really a dating profile. Just a profile. I’m a happily married atheist.
36. Attended an atheist’s funeral (i.e. a non-religious service). See notes above about meeting Dawkins.
37. Subscribe to an freethought magazine (e.g. Free Inquiry, Skeptic) Have published in Skeptic. Two extra points for me.
38. Have been interviewed by a reporter because of your atheism.
39. Written a letter-to-the-editor about an issue related to your non-belief in God.
40. Gave a friend or acquaintance a New Atheist book as a gift.
41. Wear pro-atheist clothing in public. I’m going to have to get one of those “A” shirts.
42. Have invited Mormons/Jehovah’s Witnesses into your house specifically because you wanted to argue with them. Technically no but I’ve done the equivilant while living among missionaries. Or more. In fact, I get two extra points for what I’ve done in that context.
43. Have been physically threatened (or beaten up) because you didn’t believe in God.
44. Receive Google Alerts on “atheism” (or variants).
45. Received fewer Christmas presents than expected because people assumed you didn’t celebrate it. People at work assume I am anti-Christmas because they know I’m a radical atheist. This is, of course, not true. I just find skipping out on the xmas party to be very convenient when there is a snow storm coming.
46. Visited The Creation Museum or saw Ben Stein’s Expelled just so you could keep tabs on the “enemy.”
47. Refuse to tell anyone what your “sign” is… because it doesn’t matter at all.
48. Are on a mailing list for a Christian organization just so you can see what they’re up to… Two more points for me on this one. I’m on several mailing lists both electronic and paper. Both to see what they are up to and to make them spend resources uselessly.
49. Have kept your eyes open while you watched others around you pray. See upcoming blog post on the topic.
50. Avoid even Unitarian churches because they’re too close to religion for you.


  1. #1 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    December 17, 2008

    I just wondered if I could have awarded extra points for taking my kids to PZ’s lab. I also thought I should get extra points for being the radio host when he did his first in-studio radio show. judges?

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    December 17, 2008

    I was going to award myself extra points for being interviewed on your radio show, so I totally approve of you getting extra points for actually having the radio show.

    In fact, there should be an additional item added, or perhaps inserted to replace an existing item (like that stupid one about having sex): Have you ever personally hosted an atheist radio show, edited an atheist newspaper, or similar such thing?

  3. #3 idahogie
    December 17, 2008

    Our local UU minister is one of the best people I know. Do I lose points if I’m giving her a Christmas gift?

    It is funny that UU services are depressing to me. I’ve attended many LDS and Christian services, and they are interesting (at least in moderation). However, watching a bunch of people go through similar religious ceremonies without having the strong theological conviction behind them really depresses me. I feel like people who waste their Sunday mornings like that should really believe that they’ll go to hell unless they participate. Otherwise, it’s a group of people who want to perform ceremonies.

  4. #4 steve s
    December 17, 2008

    Hmmm…I got about 5 points, despite being solidly atheist. I’d say a lot of this list is not so much hard-core atheist, as activist atheist. I don’t have the time or the interest to be an activist. I just don’t see the cost/benefit and the opportunity cost as working out in my favor.

  5. #5 Brad
    December 17, 2008

    51: Made up a religion just to make fun of religion. Now that I’m a Bobian I’m more at peace with myself. Bob doesn’t expect much of his followers as he’s a low-achiever himself. And yes, deep down we are all just Arrogant Worms…

  6. #6 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    December 17, 2008

    Oh, hey Brad, I’ve done that, too. I called mine “Mikism.” It’s a religion of one. The disciple is the master and the master is the disciple. And neither can be ex-communicated. The doctrine is ill-defined and their is no deity involved. It’s kind of a fun religion, even if the pay is non-existent.

  7. #7 Salad Is Slaughter
    December 18, 2008

    12. My wedding had Mark Twain quotes and most of the ceremony was created from doing a google search on atheist weddings.
    31. Whenever someone says “bless you” to me, I respond with “no thanks.” Does that count?
    33. Those shows tend to disgust me more than entertain me.

  8. #8 csrster
    December 18, 2008

    It’s a bit americanocentric for me. I don’t go around changing currency to dollars just so I can cross off “In God We Trust” from them.

  9. #9 Laurent
    December 18, 2008

    It’s a bit americanocentric for me.


    Plus living in a country where a-gnostics/-patheists/-theists are almost 75% of the population, we really don’t care about the religious any more. It doesn’t even occur to us to have this coming out as a social option when meeting people.

  10. #10 Steve Klemetti
    December 18, 2008

    How can you argue with Jehovah’s Witnesses for atheism when atheism has nothing to argue for it?

  11. #11 Stephanie Z
    December 18, 2008

    Oh, Steve. Okay, now that I’m done laughing, I’ll give you an answer. Three, actually. (1) There is plenty to argue for in treating this life, planet, etc. as the only one we get. (2) There is also plenty to argue against being a Jehovah’s Witness, and the people who like to do this sort of thing are very well versed in it. (3) You assume that the point of arguing is to win the argument. Silly proselytizer. A part of the point is to let JW’s who’ve been indoctrinated from birth know that there is another way to think and live, but much of it is to waste their time so they bother fewer people.

  12. #12 CyberLizard
    December 18, 2008

    meh, 24/50. Some of them weren’t exactly “hardcore”. If I were going to pick a religion, I’d probably lean towards Discordianism. All hail Eris!!! Fnord

  13. #13 Greg Laden
    December 18, 2008

    The real reason to invite them into your house is to waste their time.

  14. #14 Jeremy
    December 18, 2008

    I scored 25/50. Ha, beat CyberLizard by 1 :D. I think people from outside of the US like me (Australia) are bound to score significantly lower due to the questions and also the lowered amount of interaction with religious people. There were quite a few where I would like to do the thing in the question, but have never had the opportunity.