A.T. Heist's Blog (22)

Insightful article from Godless in Dixie

I think Neil Carter is right on point in this article. I know, every time in my past that I've come to grips with my disbelief, I wonder how I could ever have believed ridiculous things so easily? 

Why Do Intelligent People Believe Nonsense?

Added by A.T. Heist on September 1, 2016 at 9:00am — 4 Comments

Fun with Christians!

Last night, the staff of the church which I serve as Director of Music had a fundraising dinner that was a tremendous amount of FUN. And honestly, even though it was a church event, I don't think the fun we had was even remotely related to religion. We, the staff, served our guests dinner and participated in various games that were inspired by games featured on some late night TV shows, including a fairly epic Lip Sync Battle (a la Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show). I did "Dream On" by…


Added by A.T. Heist on August 29, 2016 at 9:37am — 7 Comments

Non-believers in church

How Non-Believers Can Make the Most of Religious Services

The above post from Patheos.com got me thinking: I know most atheists probably don't care to attend church, for obvious reasons. But how many non-believers DO attend church regularly, to support a spouse or friend, for social benefits, or just because they still haven't "come out of…


Added by A.T. Heist on August 26, 2016 at 9:46am — 1 Comment

Sudden realization

Just over a year ago, I managed to get a new church music job: it pays better (and I've gotten two raises in the past year); the people I work with are very cool; my kids and wife love it there, and truthfully, I love it there. There's just one thing I realized today: in my heart of hearts, I don't actually believe in God. I pray out loud with my choir every week, I participate in Sunday School and talk about the Bible with other Christians, I often pay a lot of lip service to God. It's part…


Added by A.T. Heist on August 24, 2016 at 3:18pm — 6 Comments

Breaking Free

I'd like to share a little more about my history, to elucidate some of the reasons why I remain a closet atheist, besides the financial and familial reasons I've already described on this blog.

I was raised Lutheran, but my parents were not very regular church-goers.  I went through Confirmation, and was a regular church attender and choir member as a teenager.  Then I went to college, and immediately stopped attending church.  So when I got out on my own in my early 20s, I continued…


Added by A.T. Heist on August 20, 2014 at 9:56am — 5 Comments

Carl Sagan's The Varieties of Scientific Experience

I was at the library the other day, and decided to check out a book that I had skimmed through several years ago: Carl Sagan's The Varieties of Scientific Experience. The book, published a decade after Sagan's death in 1996, are taken from a series of lectures he gave in 1985, the Gifford Lectures in Natural Theology at the University of Glasgow.  For any theists who accuse atheists of being unable to speak eloquently about matters of "spirituality," I would challenge them to read…


Added by A.T. Heist on August 14, 2014 at 10:22am — 3 Comments

Living in the Closet: It's Dark, Yes, But It's Also Warm and Cozy!

For anyone who hasn't read my blog posts, I am still a "closet atheist": I don't publicly identify as an atheist, and in fact, part of my income comes from church music.  I am Director of Music at a small Methodist church in Nashville, TN.  That's right...the buckle of the Bible belt!  I honestly can't see myself admitting my atheism to anyone in the near future, as my family's harmony and financial security rely partly on my keeping my church job.

Being honest with myself, however, I…


Added by A.T. Heist on August 11, 2014 at 3:00pm — 24 Comments

What a Douchebag

Has anyone seen this article?

Alabama Supreme Court Justice Believes 1st Amendment Only Applies to Christians

What a douchebag!  The dude is wrong in so many different ways, it's ridiculous. Not only does he have very little idea about comparative religion (he apparently thinks Buddhists believe Buddha created everything, and Muslims believe…


Added by A.T. Heist on May 5, 2014 at 1:48pm — 4 Comments

Dawkins Scale of Theistic Probability

My interest in Richard Dawkins has long been kind of on-again, off-again.  Don't get me wrong, I think he's brilliant, and most of his ideas about religion and its value (or lack thereof) are quite sensible.  However, he sometimes strikes me as a bit naive about religion, at least as it is practiced by many people in everyday life. In other words, in interviews I've seen, he adopts an attitude of being completely unable to understand how any sensible person can believe in a god, any more…


Added by A.T. Heist on February 12, 2014 at 12:35pm — 7 Comments


"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" -Douglas Adams

I guess that's really the point, isn't it?  Differing worldviews.  Christians often ask, "How can an atheist look at the sky or a newborn baby, and not believe in God?" Atheists ask the opposite question about Christians.  I remember a woman who considered herself a Christian saying to me, "Where do atheists think all the blessings come from?"…


Added by A.T. Heist on February 11, 2014 at 11:03am — 2 Comments

Life after death? I don't think so.

My brother died almost exactly 7 months ago, at the age of 40. I understand my parents are still grieving, so logical thinking is not coming naturally to them at this point.  But some of the things they do and say are really bothering me. I am trying to let them work out their grief in their own way, but here are a few odd things that have come up:

  • They visit his grave every single day. I guess it helps them feel like they still have some connection to him, but…

Added by A.T. Heist on February 10, 2014 at 10:13am — No Comments

Confessions of a Closet Atheist (continued)

Wow, it's been months since I realized I really didn't believe in God any more.  And nothing's really changed.  I still don't believe, but I still do a pretty good job pretending I do, for the sake of job and family. I've gotten the occasional comment from folks here at TA that I'm doing a pretty horrible thing, living a lie, etc.  I appreciate your interest in my situation, but sorry...maybe you have the perfect little atheist life, where all your friends are atheists, your job is great,…


Added by A.T. Heist on February 7, 2014 at 11:36am — 8 Comments

It was bound to happen sooner or later...

Because I clearly don't understand how Facebook News Feed works, my wife just found out about my newly discovered atheism, before I had a chance to bring the subject up by my own choice.

I had posted a comment on Sam Harris's Facebook right after the little girl in Effingham, IL was murdered (see my earlier blog post).  So I got in a small Facebook argument with a Christian who disagreed with my take on prayer.  Well, it turns out my wife saw my post, and responded with a bewildered…


Added by A.T. Heist on September 24, 2013 at 11:58am — 10 Comments

Missa Charles Darwin: A Secular Mass by Gregory Brown

Just for shits and giggles, I decided to type "Charles Darwin" into the Spotify search bar, and I came up with this intriguing piece: Gregory Brown's Missa Charles Darwin.

And no, this is not a joke;…


Added by A.T. Heist on September 20, 2013 at 12:30pm — No Comments

XTC- "Dear God"

I've long found XTC's "Dear God" to be a heartachingly beautiful song. (Even as a believer, I appreciated it--how much more so as an atheist?)

Dear God, hope you got the letter, and...

I pray you can make it better down here.

I don't mean a big reduction in the price of beer

But all the people that you made in your image,…


Added by A.T. Heist on September 20, 2013 at 11:39am — 2 Comments

Julia Sweeney on What She's Learned

Interesting article.  And (spoiler alert!) I suspect a lot of parents can empathize with what she says toward the end about Santa Claus.


Added by A.T. Heist on September 18, 2013 at 10:23am — No Comments

Working in the church as an undercover atheist

If you've read my earlier blog posts, you know that I don't believe in god, but one of my current jobs is directing music at a small Methodist church.  It's so interesting just how your perspective on a church service changes once you remove belief in god: things that previously seemed quite ordinary now seem absolutely ludicrous.  I mean, there are the obvious things: the Lord's Prayer, prayer in general, the scripture readings (yesterday, no joke, we actually read aloud Psalm 14, which…


Added by A.T. Heist on September 16, 2013 at 11:15am — 3 Comments

Douglas Adams- American Atheists interview

I've long been a fan of Douglas Adams's books.  Even when I was trying so hard to be a believing Christian, I enjoyed his books, even though he clearly thought God was a silly concept.

This interview with American Atheists was reprinted in the posthumously released Adams book The Salmon of Doubt: …


Added by A.T. Heist on September 13, 2013 at 11:47am — 2 Comments

Top Ten Reasons I Don't Believe In God by Greta Christina

Just finished reading this excellent article: http://churchandstate.org.uk/2012/04/the-top-10-reasons-i-dont-believe-in-god/.  It summarizes the points so well, I thought it was worth sharing.  Enjoy!

Added by A.T. Heist on September 12, 2013 at 9:55am — No Comments

Prayer Fails AGAIN

[Okay, I'm gonna try this again. The first time I did this post, everything disappeared except for the first paragraph.]

A couple days ago, a 7-year-old girl in Illinois went missing. Of course, a Facebook friend (a Christian) posted a plea for prayers for the missing girl.  The next day, a body was found, and it turned out to be the murdered little girl.  Her uncle is being held in custody, presumably as a suspect in her murder.  So the Christian Facebook friend…


Added by A.T. Heist on September 11, 2013 at 10:01am — 11 Comments

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