How to Spot an Atheist

Fine-tune your atheist radar and be on the lookout.

How do you know if your neighbor or coworker is an atheist? They’re actually quite easy to spot. Just look for these signs:

1. They look shifty.
Their eyes dart around a lot, looking for opportunities. Atheists don’t have to answer to a higher power. All they have to keep them in check is their conscience and the law. This means that it is open-season for criminal activity. Keep an eye on your wallets, your smart phones and your children. People who don’t believe in God cannot be trusted.

2. They think science is the answer to everything.
Atheism is a belief system, and it believes in science. Secularists will tell you that humans came from apes, that we are nothing more than another animal at the top of the food chain. Yet people who don’t believe in God can’t answer these basic questions: Where did life come from? Where are we going? Why are we here?

3. They’re likely wearing a black shirt or black pants or black shoes.
They may even have black accessories, such as wallets, purses and belts. Note that they are not smiling. Without belief, they have no hope, nothing to look forward to after this life.

4. Atheists are arrogant and unreasonable.
They think they are smarter than believers, and they refuse to listen to the word of God. Instead, they choose to argue about the Bible, the existence of God and the divinity of Jesus Christ. Atheists don’t want you to have faith, so they will employ any means to talk you out of yours. You know the saying: misery loves company. Atheists don’t want you to be joyful either.

5. They will not bow their heads in prayer or allow their children to say the word “God.”
Atheists don’t want God in the schools or in the government. Their goal is to have the word “God” banned from the public sphere and to eradicate religion. They are doing everything possible to take God out of America and to de-convert children.

6. They are not neighborly or friendly.
They hang signs on their door warning visitors that evangelism is not welcome. They will not let you into their homes or onto their property to share The Word.

7. The special tax treatment that religion receives makes atheists angry.
They have started their own churches in response. Non-theists also claim that they miss the community from church. This is only further proof that humans have been programmed by a higher power to seek religion in their lives.

The truth is that non-theists come in all shapes, sizes, colors and even beliefs. They look and act just like your friends and family.

The truth is that one of them may be your friend or family member, and they’re still in the proverbial closet.

The truth is that a large majority of people who don’t believe in God do not care if others believe.

We are not anti-religion. We respect your faith as well as your right to believe. We understand that God means a lot to you and that your traditions and your faith bring you comfort. We actually do not want to eradicate religion from the planet. We don’t think that science has all the answers, nor is it the source of morality. Neither is religion. Only self-reflection and empathy can grow moral humans, and that can be learned regardless of what we believe or don’t believe.

Don’t take our disbelief personally. It’s not about you. It’s between us and our individual conceptions of what and who God is.

We won’t try to talk you out of your faith. Sometimes we will even attend church with family or friends.

We don’t have a problem with teaching religion — all religions and belief systems — in the schools so that children can learn that not everyone believes the same things.

On the other hand, we hope that you will respect our right to live without the pressures and influences of religion in our mutually shared spaces. When we say we don’t believe, that is not an invitation to tell us about your unwavering faith or your amazing church. (Yes, many of us have read the Bible.) When religion is pushed onto us and onto our children, it feels as if you don’t respect us, as if we’re in a parent/child relationship with you, one where you decide what is best and the rules we will live by.

Belief does not make you a good person; lack of belief does not make us bad. We just aren’t fans of the same folk heroes. And that’s okay. We want to make a better world with you anyway.


Image courtesy of Chase Elliot Clark.

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Deborah Mitchell
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  • Domush

    The actual truth is some atheists such as the author arrogantly pretend they speak for all atheists.

    I am opposed to faith, believing something without evidence. It is harmful. It causes people to do all manner of things they normally wouldn’t consider otherwise. 9/11 was caused by people who thought they would live after their death and get lots of sex with virgins. That’s the harm in faith. It takes very little effort to delay until evidence is presented and that delay would mean countless lives would not have been cut short throughout history.

    If someone is atheist and still has respect for faith it only serves to prove atheists can also be wrong and thoughtless, just like believers in sky daddies.

    I could care less if religion is wiped from the planet, but I’m certainly fighting to ensure people realize it carries the same truth value as Lord of the Rings or Dungeons and Dragons. It’s bloody, death filled fiction and teaching it to children as though it were true is sadistic.

    Beliefs inform actions and religious beliefs legitimize awful, hateful actions which would normally have no justification in the secular world. If you want to perform any manner of evil I can find a bible verse to condone it in order to shirk responsibility. Secular life has no easy out for accountability, we must answer for our own actions.

    The author of this article needs to spend less time speaking for other people and more time educating herself in the affects of the things she promotes.

    You can be sure I’ll turn you away from preaching to me at my doorstep. Your being dumb enough to believe in nonsense doesn’t trump my property rights and certainly isn’t worthy of my time. Go take your crazy elsewhere, I have some reality to do.

    • shanan187

      You obviously didn’t read to the end….

      • Bryan Lewis

        I did, and I agree with him.

        While your satirical list was so spot on, and your made a point to say that we come in all shapes and sizes, you phrased the rest of your article as if you speak for all non-believers, when a simple cursory look would tell you otherwise.

        Are you aware of the vast plethora of atheist, non-believer, ex-Christian, de-conversion, etc. communities? Visit a few. You’ll immediately find a wide variety of attitudes and opinions among non-believers regarding religion, the majority of which are probably at odds with your incredibly respectful and accommodating stance. Yes, there are some, maybe many, who would agree with your stance completely, but the point is, your position doesn’t represent a plurality of non-believers. Heck, it probably doesn’t even represent a majority.

        You shouldn’t imply otherwise.

        However, while I agree nearly wholeheartedly with domush’s brand of non-belief , He was a bit hard on you.

        • saneandreasonable

          The guys a jack ass, and if he wants to have that attitude, have at it. If you agree with him you are just as much a jerk as he/she is

          • mobsie666

            I think you need to change your user name. Perhaps to pompousandoverbearing?

    • rxcjr

      Domush, like you I am not happy that Deborah did not specify that she does not speak for all atheists however I would not say she did it with arrogance.

      For the atheist cause, it would be beneficial if we stuck together and didn’t try and bring one another down but instead, elaborate and expand on previous statements or assertions.
      We have a lot of work ahead of us if we want to move towards a secular society. Name calling and degradation of theists, in my opinion, will not get us far. We need to calmly, logically explain why a belief in any god is irrational. (It’s hard to stay calm I know) Of course the theist will immediately defend their position but if they are honest with themselves then they will think about what you said and take it into consideration. That’s all we can ask for.
      Also, I’m fairly certain the expression is “I couldn’t care less…..”

    • DG

      Moses and St. Paul believed in God because of the evidence of their own experiences of Him. Who is anyone else to say they had no such experiences? And what is wrong with anyone believing that they did, and therefor believing in God because of them?

      • Tom from North Carolina

        It’s doubtful that Moses existed. Many of the letters that Paul wrote are now believed to have been written in his name. And even if they all were written by Paul, his descriptions of Christ are completely imaginary having never met JC personally.

        Basing one set of myths (the creation story) on the statements of a fictional character (Moses) is not evidence for the existence of god.

        • DG

          At the Transfiguration of Jesus, Moses and Elias appeared to Peter, James and John. So either those three were liars, of Moses did indeed exist.
          Paul met Jesus in visions, according to Paul. So either Paul is a liar, or he did encounter Jesus.
          Frankly, it’s a bit much for me to believe, without a shred of evidence, that Peter, James, John and Paul, and all the rest of the Apostles and Evangelists, were all just liars.

          • Tom from North Carolina

            Just the fact that you believe Peter, James and John actually wrote some of the books of the bible requires a huge leap of faith. Some unknown author, describing a hallucination about mythical people is not what I would call evidence.

          • DG

            Only to the same extent that it requires “a huge leap of faith” to believe that Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence.

          • Tom from North Carolina

            You’re equating 250 year old historical accuracy with 2,000 year old documents by unknown authors, passed down verbally for generation after generation without any knowledge of who eventually wrote them. Within the world of biblical study, there have been so many fragments found that contradict each other than we don’t even know which documents are the closest to the original because we don’t even know what the original documents said.

            I don’t see much of a comparison between the declaration of independence and any books of the bible. No serious biblical scholar that I’m aware of has concluded that the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were actually written by the apostles of the same name. Do you have evidence indicating otherwise?

          • DG

            The early Church accepted the authorship. I see no reason to presume they were idiots or dupes. They were 2,000 closer to the issue of authorship than are whatever “serious” biblical scholars you refer to.
            It is simply hubris to declare that the authors are unknown.
            Contradictory fragments (if indeed truly contradictory ones exist) are irrelevant. Of course errant versions can exist. That’s why Jesus founded a Church, not a bible society, to promulgate the Gospel. The Church wrote the Gospels, and it is the Church that has the authority to declare which versions, or scraps, are authoritative.

          • Tom from North Carolina

            The early church accepted witches as the devil’s agents and burned thousands at the stake in response. It also believed the earth to be the center of the universe, blood transfusions to be in violation of god’s plan, mental illness to be caused by demons and a host of other “truths” that would be rejected by a 5 year old today.

            What the church thought 2,000 years ago has little relationship with facts as we know them today. You are welcomed to pray to god to keep you healthy. I’ll get vacinations and listen to my doctor.

    • JoeLorenzo

      Where did DNA come from Domush? That is the question isn’t it? Was it designed? Was it happenstance? What I do not want to hear are deductive errors like
      ‘no Santa = no god’
      ‘Christians kill = god is bad = there shouldn’t even be a god’
      ‘page 20 of the bible is wrong = no god’

      Just tell me where DNA came from. I’m only interested in answering that question. Please make sure your answer is repeatable, observable, etc.

      Please give me the facts or your beliefs. Once we see your response we will determine if you are truly absent of beliefs or if you are being all shifty about this too.

  • LanceThruster

    Very cool! (I’ve heard of that book, btw – up and coming famous author)

    “I see a pattern where the randomness of human actions can be directed through probability for an overall cumulative and positive effect. All throughout our society there is a butterfly effect that we are most always oblivious to…I guess my message is to go boldly forth and increase the peace and love and know you are not alone. You may not always be aware of the others choosing to follow this same path as you, but they’re out there, and they’re making a difference.”

    ~ LanceThruster

    [from Deborah Mitchell’s book “Growing Up Godless” – Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.]

  • Doug Wilkening

    It’s a shame that articles like this even have to be written. Why can’t people just respect one other? Is that too much to ask?

    • DG

      How can I respect someone like mobsie666 (above) who regards religious education of children as child abuse?

      • Doug Wilkening

        I don’t know who any of the commenters here are, but I like to give them all a read. Maybe some person here was abused as a child or knows somebody who was. Or maybe just reacting to what they read in the news. Or maybe just used to dealing with people who need to be shocked a bit before they’ll listen. Some people come from tough backgrounds, but we need their voices too.

        I come from the old line New England town meeting tradition, where everyone is entitled to a fair hearing. Very often it’s the town grouch who has something valuable to say.

        Besides all that, there’s a lot about religious education methods that can be improved in the light of what we now know about early childhood learning and cognition. My own church puts professional public school educators in charge of the Sunday School whenever possible (I mean Christians and church members who are also certified public school teachers), and I think we’re the better off for it.

        • DG

          Sure, but. When someone accuses me of child abuse solely on the basis of my educating my children in religion (he knowing nothing about my methods), that’s a non-starter for dialogue. Some ‘dialogue’ really consists of a refusal to dialogue.

  • mobsie666

    I am very much anti religion. You don’t speak for all atheists. There’s no point in a moderate opposition to what is effectively child abuse.

    • DG

      You provide an example of how there might be no common ground between believers and some atheists.

    • JoeLorenzo

      You may want to get some help Mobsie.

    • PhillyJimi

      FACT – Some Catholic priests are child abusers.

      FACT – Raising a child in a faith isn’t child abuse unless you refuse to seek medical attention for treatable problems because you believe in faith healing. Every parent does a certain amount of damage to their children it is just part of growing up and being a parent.

  • BM

    DO NO HARM!!!! Now go do something more interesting than worrying about whether there is a god or not.

  • DG

    “We want to make a better world with you”. But how can atheists and religious believers agree on what would constitute a better world? Even believers don’t agree among themselves as to this. To answer the schlock question ‘why can’t we all just get along?’– because we don’t agree on things, of course.

    • robert chacon

      Do you believe it could be possible to develop a “national” set of ethics and character that we as believers could agree upon?

    • Tom from North Carolina

      While we might not agree on all things, we can agree on some basic and common moralities. For example would you agree that actions you take that reduces suffering is probably a good thing?

      Can we also agree that freedom as long as it doesn’t come at the costof reducing someone else’s freedom is also good.

      • DG

        Would you agree that ending the suffering of unborn babies from abortion is a good thing?

        • Gonnagle

          Once they have a nervous system and can feel pain yes. But I a much more in favour of education and contaception to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place..

        • Tom from North Carolina

          Depending upon the stage of that unborn baby will determine whether any suffering is possible. Certainly in the first trimester there is no developed nervous system and thus no suffering.

  • Salero21

    Atheism is a Cult-like system closely related to Idolatry. Their fanatical reliance on “science” is also Cult-like. The Bible describes them well. 😉

    • PhillyJimi

      Exactly what other reality based system to live one’s life by would you like atheists to rely on? There really isn’t another option here? Make believe supernatural or science? Exactly what else is on the table here?

      Science is the only repeatable system human beings have developed to explain the world and the Universe we live in. Science has replaced the need for gods to explain the natural world around us. If science makes mistake it will admit to the mistake, learn from it and move on. The 2000 year old book of zombie god born of a virgin isn’t going to change ever.



    ANS There is only one thing one should believe in and that is Truth. For instance, either you believe in the laws of Mathematics or you live out of sync with the Universe and all that exist in it. The same necessity follows for God’s Natural Moral Law (NML)…

    Man may not believe in the same Religion although there is only one true religion instituted by the Creator, the Catholic Church (CC).

    To protect man from human error, so that no one may be misled, God created the Catholic Church (CC) and endowed it with INFALLIBILITY. That means its universal teachings are without error. Anything that contradicts them is in error.

    This infallibility is indoctrinated in the Scriptures (Matthew 28:18-20; •Matthew 16:18; John 14, 15, and 16; •I Timothy 3:14-15; Acts 15:28 sq.). God is Truth and Truth cannot contradict Truth. Therefore His Omniscience makes all other religions that contradict the CC’s teachings in error.
    Consequently man may in good conscience choose what he can believe provided he sincerely seeks the Truth. However, man has no choice in his belief of the (NML). These laws are implicitly and explicitly inscribed in man’s conscience, the Ten Commandments and Scripture. Their principles are infallibly taught by the CC’s universal teachings. Society’s success is directly proportional to its reliance on these NMLs. The NML determines the rise and fall of nations; therefore they are necessary for the Domestic Tranquility and the Common Good.

    Because of man’s effort to sincerely seek the truth, he may not perish, but in respect of Morality man either complies with God’s moral laws or he is an obstacle to society, the social order, and a frustration to his Human Nature. Hence, what we believe matters.

    • Tom from North Carolina

      Is ou said god is not subject to errors and yet you believe a perfect god created this world. This world only lasted a couple of generations before god decided to reboot the world and start over again. This doesn’t sound like a particularly good design to me. Does it?

      Your idea of truth is simply a matter of belief and has little to do with reality.

      And I don’t really understand why you think the 10 commandments are perfectly inscribed laws. According to the Moses stories, god gave Moses the 10 commandments three times; the first was orally, the second on tablets that Moses destroyed, and the third on tablets that were Not destroyed. What is funny is that all 3 versions only have 20% in common. Did god forget what he wrote Or recited each time.


        IN REPLY TO TOM/ NC: God did create a perfect world. Try reading Genesis 1. God made man perfect with only one test to prove man’s love for God, but Adam screwed it up and suffering, pain, and death entered the world. Adam brought evil into the world, not God.

        “Man was created innocent and good; sin came to him from without, and it was quickly followed by a severe punishment affecting not only the guilty pair, but their descendants and other beings as well.

        “One man has transmitted to the whole human race not only the death of the body, which is the punishment of sin, but even sin itself, which is the death of the soul [Denz., n. 175 (145)]. As death is the privation of the principle of life, the death of the soul is the privation of sanctifying grace which according to all theologians is the principle of supernatural life. Therefore, if original sin is “the death of the soul”, it is the privation of sanctifying grace.

        “Sanctifying grace therefore enters into the moral order, not as an act that passes but as a permanent tendency which exists even when the subject who possesses it does not act; it is a turning towards God.
        Adam and Eve were created with preternatural gifts–infused knowledge, a reason that had superior control over its concupiscence. After the Fall, which Herb Segal, another Atheist, mockingly calls nonsense, man lost this superiority these gifts entailed and now is engaged
        in the war against his base appetites, viz. the Seven Deadly Sins which are adverse to his human nature and disorder it..

        • Tom from North Carolina

          You seem to demand that Adam and Eve be held to a higher standard than you do god. Where was god in all this? It’s not like he had millions of prayers to answer. Since A&E didn’t know right from wrong, how could they possibly be expected to know that this voice (god’s) is to be believed and followed while this other voice (Satan) is to be ignored. Doesn’t that level of judgment require the ability to distinguish who to believe?

          My moral code would blame god in this case since he didn’t adequately prepare them to be able to make the decision as to who was telling the truth. Without a knowledge of right and wrong can one really be expected to be able to tell truth from lies? Of course, this assumes the entire story is anything other than pure fiction designed to explain to primitive people, why the world is so harsh. But even as purely symbolic, this story like many other biblical stories demands nothing of god, even when he had nothing to do but protect 2 people; something he failed to do.



    ANS: If I were a clerk and you bought something for $1.00 and gave me a $100 bill and I returned you $2.00 for your change would you insist on your right change? Communists like Stalin are Atheist; should he had been pressured and influenced to stop? I think so. Under Communist Secularist values some 300million people have been murdered.

    In addition, under Secularist principles some 55million unborn have been murdered by Abortion in America and over 400m in China. Is that copasetic with you? Today, Secular values justify the undermining of Marriage. Marriage is the glue that unifies the family. The family is the foundation of all society. Social values affect the lives of everyone living in that society. Wrong values destroy societies.

    Secularist have undermined our Inalienable Rights when an amoral Court ruled that the Right to Life, the most important Inalienable Right of all, was no longer Inalienable when the Court decided to legalize Abortion, the murder of the unborn. By trespassing on one Inalienable Right, the Court, in effect, disavowed inviolability of all Inalienable Rights.

    Is their any space for an arsonist who burns down neighborhoods in your neighborhood? I don’t think so. Consequently, there is no space for error when error is a danger to society.

    Man is subject to error in judgment; God is not. God’s established a Church (Catholic) and endowed it with Infallibility in its universal teachings of its moral doctrines and beliefs. What contradicts these teachings is in error because God doesn’t make errors; He is Omniscient and Prescient. However, man has a free will to choose to live in error but he doesn’t have the dispensation to live in errors that threaten society as Gay Sex, Abortion, and Contraceptives do.
    Edmond Burke wrote, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Somtimes the Truth is necessary to be fought for.



    ANS: Special Tax Treatment is given the Churches because it is the foundation for the morality of its entire people. Secularism offers no social values it undermines the State’s posterity and stability of Marriage.

    Our Constitution was based on our Christian Heritage, not a Secular Muslim, Hindu or Pagan heritage. Thus, the founder of Harvard Law School, and Associate Justice to John Jay, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, wrote: ““The real object of the (First) Amendment) was not to countenance, much less advance, Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects (denominations).” —Original Intent, by David Barto.

    Moreover, our basic freedoms rest on this Christian Heritage, viz. “that all men are created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights endowed by our Creator”. Inalienable Rights for an atheist are impossible because to be inalienable there must be a transcendental authority that exceeds the authority of man.

    De Tocqueville wrote, “Liberty cannot be established without morality, or morality without faith.”

    America’s first Chief Justice John Jay agreed: “No human society has ever been able to maintain both order and freedom; both cohesiveness and liberty apart from the Moral Precepts of the Christian Religion. SHOULD OUR REPUBLIC ERE FORGET THIS ONE PRECEPT OF GOVERNANCE; MEN ARE DOOMED.”

    Further Thomas Jefferson wrote, “If not the Church, to whom shall we seek for our moral guidance?” Certainly it is not the Court that undermined the 10 Commandments, legalized murder of the unborn and sodomy, or a Secular government that has spawned the Sexual Revolution.

    Thus, the compass of the Ship of State is the moral and ethical principles of Christianity. Without them the Ship of State would have no rudder and no port or destination. Hence the Church is an invaluable asset that the State must nurture, protect, and preserve..



    ANS: “The Ten Commandments are precepts bearing on the fundamental obligations of religion and morality and embodying the revealed expression of the Creator’s will in relation to man’s whole duty to God and to his fellow-creatures

    They are found twice recorded in the Pentateuch, in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, but are given in an abridged form in the catechisms. Written by the finger of God on two tables of stone, this Divine code was received from the Almighty by Moses amid the thunders of Mount Sinai, and by him made the ground-work of the Mosaic Law. Christ resumed these Commandments in the double precept of charity–love of God and of the neighbor; He proclaimed them as binding under the New Law in Matthew 19 and in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5).

    Jesus also simplified or interpreted them, e.g. by declaring unnecessary oaths equally unlawful, by condemning hatred and calumny as well as murder, by enjoining even love of enemies, and by condemning indulgence of evil desires as fraught with the same malice as adultery (Matthew 5).

    There is no numerical division of the Commandments in the Books of Moses, but the injunctions are distinctly tenfold, and are found almost identical in both sources. The order, too, is the same except for the final prohibitions pronounced against concupiscence, that of Deuteronomy being adopted in preference to Exodus. A confusion, however, exists in the numbering, which is due to a difference of opinion concerning the initial precept on Divine worship.

    The Supreme Law-Giver begins by proclaiming His Name and His Titles to the obedience of the creature man: “I am the Lord, thy God. . .” The laws which follow have regard to God and His representatives on earth (first four) and to our fellow-man (last six).

    The precepts which follow are meant to protect man in his natural rights against the injustice of his fellows.



    ANS: What is unreal to you about the Commandments? Is the 4th “Honor thy Father and Mother” unreal to you or. Is the proscribing of Adultery, Theft, and Lying” unreal for you? Is the precept that “All men are created equal unreal?” Maybe it’s the precepts of “Love your neighbor as you love yourself,” and “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

    Further, do you object to the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy?

    Are you forgetting that your Inalienable Rights are based on a Transcendental Authority, viz. God, who endowed each man with certain Inalienable Rights? Secularists are quick to enjoy these Rights, while at the same time,they are undermining them. In addition, Secularists have no basis for defending the Rights. Without a God, these Rights can’t exist.

    The Constitution is based on our Christian Heritage which is the basis for our Bill of Rights. Our Heritage has made America the greatest nation in all history because when it was founded it was founded as a Theocentric government.

    Christianity has been vindicated by the fruits it bears. When these fruits have been compared to the fruits of Atheism, a.k.a. Secularism, they portray the difference between the Free World and the World of Secularism that is personified in totalitarian and despot government regimes. The regimes boast of such luminaries as Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Kim Jong-Il, Robespierre, Idi Amin, and are contrasted to Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln, and Washington. Totaltarian regimes reject the Natural Moral Law and write their own Commandmends. They legalize Murder and supress freedom of speech and the owning of property.
    Secularism is the unreality, not Christianity; it distorts the reality of human nature and consequently Society.