Every Atheist Needs: Atheos

Aug 9, 2016

I get confronted by a ton of theists every day. Some of them are kind and genuinely curious, asking questions about atheism and how I discovered it. Others are outright rude, dismissive and really try to press on my last nerves. Admittedly, I don’t always respond the way I ought to. I try very hard to be patient, and to rise above even when they insist on dwelling in the gutter, but it doesn’t always work. Sometimes, I get flustered. Sometimes I can’t find the right words. Sometimes I say things I regret.

Talking about religion at all is a fairly new thing for me. It wasn’t until about 2013 that religion really became something I read about consistently, and 2014 until it was something I talked about and wrote about consistently. I’ve never had a religion and never known very many people who took their religion too seriously. It never really came up all that often. But now that I’m Godless Mom, it comes up, expectedly, multiple times daily. I find myself navigating new territory often because I simply have no solid background in discussing religion at all.

So, yesterday when I downloaded the new Atheos app from Peter Boghossian and the Richard Dawkins Foundation, and fooled around with it for way too long, I felt like it was a godsend… no holy. It’s not just taking me through common conversations that I get frustrated with frequently, but it’s also proving, with each step further into the app, that you can deal with these conversations and questions diplomatically.

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27 comments on “Every Atheist Needs: Atheos

  • By a happy coincidence I downloaded this App earlier today and I’ve just finished the first level.

    This little App is brilliant. I definitely recommend it to all those who, like me, worry about making the transition to actually engaging one-to-one with the faithful. The first level is free.

    Atheos takes you through a series of detailed statements and queries that you will encounter when you engage religious people with the idea of understanding them and helping them see their faith from a rational, reasoned, empirical standpoint. It does this by quoting some of the questions and statements that non-believers have heard in recent years and asking you to pick the best of four answers.

    Atheos is based on Peter Boghossian’s approach of trying to help someone, anyone, see their beliefs through the eyes of an Epistomologist (someone who studies how we know what we know). Be prepared for having your point of view challenged – because we all have our little thinking shortcuts that we over-use.

    I’ll definitely be downloading the (payment required) additions. The Bucks go, as I understand it, to the RDFRS. What’s not to like?

    The reality is we all meet people of faith from time to time. If, like me, you would like to engage but worry that you could make a hash of it – and thus create a bad impression despite your honorable intentions – then Atheos is perfect for you and I urge you to just give it a try (no one needs to know ?).


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  • 3
    bonnie2 says:

    @ #2 – …I urge you to just give it a try…

    Ok, but only if it comes with a free word-salad spinner.

    *further to comment #1 – when asked what would he say to skeptics, he replied “the proof is in the pudding!!”. Leaving aside he misspoke (proof of the pudding is in the tasting), that answer is a convenient deflection.

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  • Since I do not have a “device” I will not be downloading this app. Just as well because I do not care if believers “get their back up,” or up their back!


    Does the app have a counter for this type of person, who say “be skeptical, not cynical!”,

    Perhaps, perhaps not but the dictionary has a good counter since these words do not even intimate synonyms.

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  • Another absurd argument is “If you are an atheist you are against God.”

    How can an atheist be “against” something that simply does not exist??? I am not “against” Santa Clause, I simply do not accept something when there is simply NO evidence for its existence. The same goes for the Tooth Fairy, demons, goblins, trolls, and ghosts.

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  • cbrown #7
    Aug 10, 2016 at 11:52 am

    Another absurd argument is “If you are an atheist you are against God.”

    I often reply by asking which one of the thousands of gods?
    Incredulous theists then sometimes try to pretend I am stupid, because I don’t immediately recognise THEIR default god, or version of god, as the troooo one!
    At other times they casually dismiss all those other “false gods” that other people worship or worshipped in the past! – sometimes going on to comically claim that atheists can’t DISPROVE their god!
    A head in a woo-bucket, really does have a VERY limited view!

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  • @Alan4discussion

    I often reply by asking which one of the thousands of gods?

    I’m against that bastard Ares. A big blowhard always causing strife plus he is an cheat cuckolding poor Hephaestus!

    ( I accidentally clicked the like button and it gave me a like—gone now )

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  • @ Neodarwinian

    Can you blame Ares, Neodarwinian? We’re talking about Aphrodite! Plus, she seduced him.

    (I’ll take the greek myths over the dreary Bible any day. Ate them up as a kid.)

    My non-theism never comes up, so I don’t need to come up with clever retorts. (I also stay away from most people!) If someone were to verbally attack me, I’d just nod my head and say “yeah.” If it were a deluded yet intelligent believer who really wanted to discuss the matter in a rational way, I’d welcome it. I could talk about God and other philosophical issues (like nothingness – a closely related topic) for hours, and never get bored.

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  • I downloaded this last night and worked with it until bedtime, and felt I did quite well, but will continue until the paywall. From what I’ve seen so far it could be an excellent resource for Christians to help us know where anti-theists are coming from. It’ll enable us to be ready for the questions you’ll be asking us in response to the questions we’ll be asking you in response to the questions you’ll already have asked us in response to the questions we’ll already have asked you. I guess it could be quite fun really!

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  • Cantaz #4
    Aug 9, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    Anybody willing to guess how long it will take for ken ham & co. to come >up with the flea version (“THEO”) of this app?

    I think Smithy could offer speculations!

    CumbriaSmithy #11
    Aug 11, 2016 at 4:32 am

    Christians to help us know where anti-theists are coming from.

    I’m not sure about the “anti-theists”!
    I thought it was aimed at atheists engaging in a simple level of discussion.
    Anti-theists tend to already be well versed in questions and likely answers.

    It’ll enable us to be ready for the questions you’ll be asking us in response to the questions we’ll be asking you in response to the questions you’ll already have asked us in response to the questions we’ll already have asked you.

    I’m not sure that theists are likely to agree on answers.
    It is a feature of beliefs held on faith, that testing for consistency, or consistency with evidence, is not included in the process. –
    Hence the diversity of religions and denominations of religions.

    Consistent answers from particular organised religions, tend to come straight from the dogmas and doctrines of that particular faith, but such quotes of such texts, do not really answer the questions about the original sources of such information, or why they are not self-consistent or consistent with those of other faiths.

    I guess it could be quite fun really!

    Debates can certainly be fun, but can have deeper implications about real life decision making.

    One of the worst aspects of “faith”, is when faith is placed in untrustworthy persons or untrustworthy sources of information.

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  • …It’ll enable us to be ready for the questions you’ll be asking us in response to the questions we’ll be asking you…

    You got this backwards. We do not avoid questions by asking other questions; we answer questions.

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  • bonnie2 #14
    Aug 11, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    @ #8 – A head in a woo-bucket, really does have a very limited view.

    As in a ‘pet cone’?!?

    No! no!
    A pet cone has a view of the real world out front, and only a restricted peripheral view!

    A woo-bucket is a total enclosure, with a nice shiny mirrored interior, which reflects projected delusional images right back to the observer, where they are mistaken for a panoramic view of the outside world!

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  • “Anti-theism”

    An interesting concept. Not for me. I am anti-anti-theist, and a non-theist (or atheist – why not?) myself. I suppose I an an anti theist in so far as I’d like everyone to have the freedom to choose to extricate themselves from what I consider to be limiting, often destructive, and educationally pernicious delusions, and be able to think for themselves; most theists have been inculcated; but the phrase “anti-theism” suggests, to me at least, a crusade. — It implies coercion or force, as opposed to the influence of reason – combined with compassion and a desire to understand people who think differently. It implies intolerance.

    (In the political and legal arena, aggressive action does have its place. )

    “I think Smithy could offer speculations!”

    Funny. Neodarwinian alluded to Hephaestus, the god of the forge (smiths). Maybe not so funny.

    (“I will forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.” —James Joyce)

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  • Dan #16,
    If anti-theists suggests crusaders against theists, anti-anti-theists suggests crusaders against anti-theists (so allies of the theists).
    You can be a-theist without being anti-theist and vice-versa. (Though if you’re a-theist and not anti-theist it suggests a certain lethargy or dispassionate ennui.)
    Perhaps you’re a non-theist and a non-anti-theist. But I don’t think (as you’ve described yourself) that you’re an anti-anti-theist.

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  • MadE,

    Ha! You got me with that one! Good job. Okay, let me explain where I’m coming from.

    “Anti” is a word whose meaning, like the meaning of all words, is based on context. Anti-theist. It has certain objectionable connotations and I referenced them. “Anti anti” just means that I am personally opposed to that approach. No crusade against anti theists either.

    “I suppose I am an anti theist in so far as I’d like everyone to have the freedom to choose to extricate themselves.”


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  • I am an atheist because I don’t believe there is any such thing as god(s). I’m an anti-theist when I think about the horrible harm that religion causes in this world. The victim class is huge. This is why I encourage anti-theism. Because religion just gotta go.

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  • I have no need of a cell phone. I could not afford one even if I did. However, I have a very powerful desktop computer. There should be some way of running these apps on a desktop, or automatically creating a desktop version of the app.

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  • Laurie, others:

    I am an anti theist in a sense, but people need to get to this on their own, organically, from within, need to become their own anti theists. I believe we should try to understand and appreciate the inner experiences of others, and not be cavalier and aggressive. I want people to be free. I am an anti theist, in a sense.

    Man, words can be troublesome. Let me hand the mic to Aesop:

    The Wind and the Sun Fable

    The Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger.

    Suddenly they saw a traveller coming down the road, and the Sun said: “I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveller to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger. You begin.”

    So the Sun retired behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveller.

    But the harder he blew the more closely did the traveller wrap his cloak round him, till at last the Wind had to give up in despair.

    Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the traveller, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on.

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  • There are lines which are repeated every time an evangelist opens his mouth. For example the phrase, “Let me ask you this…” No. Don’t let him ask you. Another line line, “I just can’t see how X…… therefore God did Y” He can’t understand something therefore the opposite is true. uh, yeah. Stop them in their tracks on these talking points so they can’t continue their twisted line of memorized argument.

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  • Dan #21
    Aug 12, 2016 at 12:09 am

    I am an anti theist in a sense, but people need to get to this on their own, organically, from within, need to become their own anti theists.

    I am not an anti-theist per se.

    I am a scientist, and as such I am anti-pseudo-scientist, and will certainly be very anti, assertive science deniers and reason deniers!

    I am an atheist. Religions and gods are irrelevant to my thinking, EXCEPT when their followers decide to cause problems and suffering for others, and when they promote fallacious thinking, to try to pervert honest information, so as to make it comply with dogmatic, unevidenced, or false, delusional claims and revised fake histories.

    Theists love to promote their false dichotomy by throwing the “anti-theist badge” at atheists, but in reality, for any one religion, there are far more followers of other religions disputing their claims, than there are atheists!

    The misappropriate attribution anti-theist badges, is usually a pretence of religions holding some consensus view opposing atheist views, – along with an attempt to paint atheist real-world views, as those of an insignificant minority.
    Theists frequently want to create diversions away from giving deep consideration to their specific claims, by making controversial assertions which need to be challenged, or by answering questions with questions, thus changing the subject if others fall for this distraction technique!

    YECs for example, usually describe themselves as “Christians”, to give the impression of their views being widely held!
    Catholics claim to be the “universal” representatives of supernatural beliefs!

    All the “universal”, “infinite” and “omnipotence” hype, simply illustrates the inflated importance, god-delusions award themselves, along with the utter inability to realistically quantify any actual measurements!
    (Think of trying to apply a real tape measure to the “Emperor’s New Clothes”!)

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  • Yeah, I agree with all of that, Alan. Do you like my Aesop’s fable? (21) Nice, insightful message, right? Isn’t that a better way to “persuade” people? Let them shed their cloaks willingly. How this will be achieved is not clear to me. Education? …. Just saying: “it’s not true! It’s not true!” until we’re blue in the face won’t work, will it?

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  • Dan #24
    Aug 12, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    Do you like my Aesop’s fable? (21) Nice, insightful message, right?

    I’ve always liked Aesop and a selection of his fables used to illustrate moral issues and human attitudes.

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  • I have purchased Atheos™ and have reached level 7 so far.

    I wish I had done that before I wrote comment #2 on Question of the Week 08/10/16.


    I am confident (and have been so for a number of years now) about my understanding of the
    epistemic bases of atheism and theism. In fact, I have done quite well in answering the
    app’s questions so far. But that is not the point. The app is allowing me to take a different look at the way I usually go about having a conversation with a theist. I am now starting to consider changing certain aspects of my approach that may be counterproductive.

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