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Posted by on May 6, 2013 in Atheism, Personal | 5 comments

The Early Days of Internet Atheism

We’ve all heard that the internet is where religions go to die and it’s true. Recently, VJack over at Atheist Revolution published a great post about his struggle to find information on atheism before the internet. It got me thinking about my own struggles in the early days of they called “The World Wide Web.”

While I became an atheist when I was 13 due in no small part to the Problem of Evil, I didn’t really become active in atheism until college. When I was 13, I started to tell people that I didn’t believe in God anymore and someone told me that I was an atheist. I hadn’t heard that term before, but I accepted it nonetheless.

However, there were no open fundamentalist believers where I lived so I didn’t have the need to learn any religious counterarguments. When I started college, I met fundamentalists who fit all the worst stereotypes. The need arose and I was put in the position of having to defend modern science and reason, while at the same time refute ridiculous religious claims.

The internet was pretty new then and there weren’t many atheist websites. The sites that were out there were just lists of various articles. They were difficult to navigate and I spent hours in the wee morning reading as much as I could find.

Most of the time, I had to reinvent the wheel and think of how best to refute Christian arguments on my own only to find out later that philosophers and science educators have already had refuted these silly arguments long ago – sometimes even hundreds of years before Christianity even started. Fortunately, learning how to think critically gave me an advantage.

One atheist website I stumbled upon was called, “WhyChristiansSuck.com.” The site doesn’t seem to exist anymore, but at the time it was one of the best resources for me even though I don’t agree with the title of the site. If it were my site, I would have probably called it, “WhyChristiantiySucks.com.” The difference is subtle, but important.

Still, the site was very informative and I remember having great conversations with the site creator who only referred to himself or herself as, “N.” I never did find out who “N” was, but I know that he or she feared coming out of the atheist closet at the time. “N” allowed me to write a column on the site called, “Philosophy Corner.” It was actually my introduction to atheist blogging.

What and when was the first atheist website that you found? Was it helpful?

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  • http://www.atheistrev.com/ vjack

    Thanks for the mention. I think I first started looking for atheist websites in 2003, give or take a year. The Raving Atheist was one of the first – if not the first – I found. Strangely, the author is now Christian. Daylight Atheism, Stupid Evil Bastard, Friendly Atheist, and God is for Suckers were other early ones. I only remember finding a handful that regularly addressed atheism, and this was part of what prompted me to start Atheist Revolution in 2005.

    It certainly is encouraging to see how much the atheist blogosphere has grown since then.

  • MosesZD

    Mine came with USENET, FIDONET and KESHERNET. All BBS webs that existed before the Internet. Some of that transferred over to the Internet; for example, The Panda’s Thumb originated out of a USENET forum.

    • Phasespace

      Yeah, I was going to mention USENET. There were several fairly active atheist/agnostic related newsgroups in the alt.* hierarchy that often cross posted to talk.origins. These places were where I encountered my first real intellectual atheists, whose logic busted away the last vestiges of an ill considered agnosticism that I was holding onto.

  • John Loftus

    Internet Infidels was available early on. It grew into a huge resource:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Infidels

  • ncovington89

    Hmm, evilbible.com has a section from a website that went under called “The Church of theists suck.” Could that be the site you’re referring to?

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