About Me

In early 2010, I found myself in an uncomfortable situation. I was surrounded by family, friends, and old acquaintances who were religious–both in real life and in the ever expanding social media network. Not only were they religious, but they were vocal. I wanted to respond but felt constrained. It can become awkward to tell a friend or family member what you consider a hard truth.

This blog is my compromise where I can respond to bad arguments and even make some positive arguments of my own. I think a lot of us are in figurative foxholes with respect to our beliefs. I hope to create an open forum for these ideas that will encourage others to share. All are welcome to comment here as long as you respect the need for reasoned discussion or have honest questions.

If anyone is concerned with my credentials, I have a degree in psychology with minors in philosophy and religious studies. I am also working toward a Master’s in philosophy. (Ok, so they’re not that great, but they could be a lot worse!) I also occasionally write for the group blog An American Atheist.

 

Why I became an atheist – obligatory for any atheist blog

I do not believe there is an argument that shows the absolute correctness of the atheist position. For me, it was a personal choice, only reached after rejecting every argument in favor of God of which I knew. Eventually in that scenario you run out of reasons to believe. And that is the crux of my becoming an atheist. I could not find any reason to believe. There was no flash of genius, only years of contemplation and struggle against what I had been told all my life.

I was raised a Christian in the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal sect. I wasn’t just raised in it; I was indoctrinated. I spoke in tongues, believed many stories from the Bible as literal truths, laid hands on people with the hope of healing them, went on a missionary trip, and much more. I did have doubts, such as whether we have free will if God is omniscient, but they always led to guilt and prayer for forgiveness. Yet, in the back of my mind, I was still never satisfied with the so-called answers to those questions.

When I started learning about the Bible in college, I was already on the agnostic fence and leaning heavily. Upon finding out the numerous problems in Biblical scholarship that are essentially hidden from the kind of church congregations I had known, the floodgates opened. I realized we could not point to anything with certainty in that or any religious text. I briefly thought about other religions, including Buddhism, but it didn’t last long because I feel they all have the same fundamental flaws. While some arguments are better than others and I do admire a few of theism’s defenders, I feel that religion tends to be based on untestable claims, no evidence, and fallacy-based reasons for belief.

I'd like to thank the Buddha for all his support.

23 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. Anonymous

    I have a Associate degree of liberal arts from the prestigious Saint Charles Community College and I can assure all you readers out there that Mike is of a sound mind and a man of the highest character and is indeed reputable. I can also assure you he likes fart jokes. Jesus loves you.

  2. Anonymously Kyle

    Dude, spellcheck.

  3. Anonymously Kyle

    Also, congrats; this is a pretty cool idea. Its like your own personal journal slash (un)holy war with an arguably (un)real diety. Nice!

    Well, peace be with you and God bless! You know he’s watching over you Michael. He loves you with all his heart and will show you this in time.

    Ps. I’m not a thumper of bibles; but if I see an opportunity to F with you in any way, I feel obligated to do so. After all these years, it’s just become the way I’m wired. As a true friend, I know you’d do the same to me…hence me being sans blog.

    Pss. Is it weird that above I spelled out “slash” instead of putting in the mark? Oh well.

  4. Mike

    Yes, please do. I love a good argument. I invited H (she’s worried about being linked to me/this) to post her comment about how I was a pompous asshole. Her question to me: Was http://www.mikeisawesome.com taken? …Yes, it was.

  5. David Bryant

    I really like this web site. It is very interesting and thought provoking. Mike seems like a nice intelligent young man but, would you want him marrying your daughter?!?!?!?!

  6. A

    Check out Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ. His book is the result of him attempting to prove his Christian wife wrong.

  7. Mike

    Thanks for the comment A.

    I would in turn recommend Robert Price’s The Case Against the Case for Christ. I tried to read Strobel’s book once, but it was hard for me to get through. He presents things in a very skewed light and I know several respected scholars (Christian ones) who would take issue with his claims. I found it to be very deceptive.

    That being said, I am all for reading the work of apologists like Strobel, but then you should also read their critics. In the end, I guess you have to decide who makes the better case. I’ll make a note to discuss The Case for Christ on the blog some time, since I know it’s popular.

  8. FreddieWo

    Great site. We have similar backgrounds, and have come to the same conclusions. Nice to see you over the edge of my foxhole!! Thanks for this.

  9. Mike

    Good to have you on the Dark Side, Freddie.

  10. kayakgrandma

    At first I was confused by your name – “foxholeatheism.” Years ago Christians referred to “foxhole Christians” as people who find God when they are stuck in a foxhole on the battlefield with bullets and bombs flying all around; then when the danger is gone, they find they don’t really need God. Applying that would mean people turn to God in a crisis, etc. And, of course, there is the old saying, “there are no atheists in foxholes.” So I was trying to figure out how a person in a foxhole would turn to atheism and then give it up when the danger was over. But now I think I get your reference. I have been reading your archived blogs and I find them interesting. I have to admit that some of the blogs are a little too intellectual for my old brain (and I wonder if you’re still speaking in tongues), but they are thought provoking.

  11. Mike

    I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it. I’ve considered changing the name because I don’t want to be falsely identified with the military, but I think I’m stuck with it now. I essentially was in a position where I felt like I was surrounded by Christians, including family and friends. So that’s where the inspiration for the term arose. I felt I couldn’t lash out at these people on Facebook, etc. so I ended up creating this site.

  12. Hendy

    ,—
    | Eventually in that scenario you run out of reasons to believe. And that is the crux of my becoming an atheist.
    | I could not find any reason to believe. There was no flash of genius, only years of contemplation and struggle
    | against what I had been told all my life… I was still never satisfied with the so-called answers to those questions.
    `—

    Well said. I went through my own deconversion just about two years ago and relate a lot with this. You mentioned it being a personal choice. I didn’t exactly experience it that way; it just slipped away as I thought and read. I don’t think there was any choice in the matter — you can’t believe in what you don’t believe. I stumbled on your blog a bit back and have been following since I found it.

    ,—
    | I was surrounded by family, friends, and old acquaintances who were religious–both in real life and in the ever
    | expanding social media network. Not only were they religious, but they were vocal.
    `—

    Yes, this. My entire life centered on religion. It’s now gone and I have friendships that have passed through something of a transporter with bits and pieces that feel rearranged and not always quite right. We still get along and have fun, but there’s something in the silence that was never there before, at least for me. This hidden palpable mutual understanding that we’re now fundamentally different. Lonely times, at times.

    Great writing and thanks for contributing. Take a look at my blog if you’re interested. See you around!

  13. Mike

    Thanks for the comment, Hendy. I’m not sure if choice is the right word either, really. I can’t think of a clear point in time when it happened. It’s just at some point, none of it seemed believable any more.

  14. eduard

    I am Pantheist. I’m not sure if you’re one of the people who tag that under atheism. Anyway, i doesnt matter. I just want to share how hard it is specially I’ve been a Christian (Catholic) my whole childhood. Now, there are times that i lost contact of my naturalism and revert back to being a theist (personal God), and there are times, specially when I’m deep in thoughts or just staring outside, I plunge back to antheism/pantheism.

  15. Mike

    Hi, Eduard. I would assume I’d agree quite a bit with most pantheists since I don’t think what they mean by the divine is the same thing as the average Christian. I don’t worry too much about who to call an atheist. The more important thing is that we’re all here to have an honest look at arguments based on a mutual respect for evidence and reason.

  16. mdejess

    I like to ask you to start with the question whether you know you exist and you have evidence of your existence.

    Now, next ask one of your friends whether he knows he exists and has evidence of his existence.

    Tell me, what have you found out, that you and your friend know that you both exist, or you both are not certain that you both exist, or you both are certain that you both exist and each know the other to exist.

    If you are certain that you both each one exist and you each know the other to exist, tell me what is your evidence for each one of you knowing yourself to exist and also knowing that the other exists and also you both know that you both exist.

    Tell me what evidence you have.

    Please reply to me by putting your answer in this section for comments, and email me that an answer is available already.

    Mdejess

  17. Mike

    Mdejess,

    How about in the interest of time you just go ahead and make your point? You may assume that I’m already familiar with the issues of skeptical dilemmas and the basics of epistemology.

    Thanks.

  18. Neil C Reinhardt

    Those make stupid ass comments like “Do a spell check” when what is written is clearly understandable are nit picking retards who have too much time on their hands.

    As a Agnostic Athiest Activist and an 101st Airborne Vet, I shall state: While I love your blog, I was expecting it to be written by someone who had been an “Atheist in a Foxhole”

    NEXT, A QUESTION I HOPE YOU ANSWER

    And I am asking it as you have degree in psychology. It is “Do you have the slighest clue why MOST Atheists are JUST as apt to DENY any facts which PROVE they are WRONG as the Programmed Religious Robots of the Far Right on if Evolution is a fact?

    you can send your answer to me at

    religionsucks@webtv.net

    Thanks

    Neil

  19. Mike

    Neil,

    I’m sorry for the misunderstanding. It certainly wasn’t intentional.

    To answer your question, I think the answer simply is our tendency to confirm our pre-exsting biases. That’s a pretty well understood and documented psychological phenomenon. Whether it’s about religion, politics, an argument with our significant other, etc. we stick to our guns in the face of resistance and the harder the resistance (more heated the argument) the more we dig in our heels. It’s something we should all guard against, including atheists.

  20. Neil C Reinhardt

    Hi MIKE,

    While Thank you for your answer, I submit it either does not apply to all us or some of us take pains to assure it does not. To the best of my knowledge, I
    have never denied any fact on any subject.

    When I replied here before, forgot to mention that due to my years of service in the Nat. Guard/Active Army reserves and the 101st Airborne, while I’ve been in a few foxholes, I was lucky enough to have never been in combat.

    Still as I have nearly been killed quickly many times and very close to dying slowly at least three times, I know that when I am in deep do-do, I do even think of asking some make-believe god for help, much less actually doing so.

    Last, I am hoping all Atheists who read this and who not yet members of one or more of the following Atheist groups will join us. After all, the more who do, the more we can do to fight against the stupidity of religion in general and the Christians in the US in particular.

    These are the Atheist groups I am a dues paying member of:

    http://www.Atheists.org/
    (Since the 1970’s)

    http://www.AtheistsUnited.org/
    (Founder and Charter member)

    http://MAAF.info/
    (Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers)

    http://www.Atheistalliance.org/
    (An International Organization of Atheist Groups and Individuals)

    THANK YOU!

    Neil

  21. Keith

    Mike-

    What are your thoughts on the Jesus Myth Theory? I stumbled across this talk on youtube by Richard Carrier. It is at Missouri State oddly enough. The whole talk is done in a tongue-in-cheek style and pretty funny. Link is below if you are interested.

    http://youtu.be/pX4LvKvIWJw

  22. Mike

    I went to a presentation of his at a different conference there. It was more around Bayes Theorem and its application to historical research. My overall feeling is that it strikes me as implausible, but I’m open to the possibility. I think there are a few main impediments (and I’m wondering now if maybe this deserves a blog post). One is that there are multiple letters of Paul that are believed to be accurately attributed. Even though Paul never met Jesus, he would have known several who had. The second is that too much weight is perhaps being given to the magic stories. People made up magic stories about Pythagoras too, but he still probably lived. It’s difficult to say, but overall I just think it’s hard to imagine this religion beginning like it did without a figure. Hercules myths and such came about in a different way.

  23. adwords management

    It’s fantastic that you are getting ideas from this article as well as from our argument made here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.