Daniel Dennett (a la Jeff Foxworthy) Does the Routine, “You Might be an Atheist If…”

The American comedian Jeff Foxworthy has a well known comedy routine called “You Might be a Redneck If,” where he lists the self-mocking possibilities that answer the question. For example: You Might be a Redneck If …

  1. Your wife has ever said, “Come move this transmission so I can take a bath.”
  2. You own a homemade fur coat.
  3. You think a subdivision is part of a math problem.
  4. You’ve ever financed a tattoo.
  5. You have ever used lard in bed.

The philosopher and cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett picked up on this schtick when speaking at the Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne, Australia. And he asked a series of questions meant to show that people might be a little less religious, or a bit more atheist, than they might care to admit. So here it goes: You Might be an Atheist If…

  1. You don’t believe that Jesus is literally the son of God.
  2. You don’t believe God actually listens to each and everyone’s prayers.
  3. You don’t think God picks sides when countries go to war (or when football teams play each other).
  4. Or, to put things differently, If you believe God isn’t a personal God, but rather is a benign force, a concept that enriches people’s lives.

You get the gist. By the time you’re done with the 45 minute talk, you’ll know whether you’re indeed a theist, or perhaps an atheist after all. It’s a reality check either way.

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Comments (12)
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  • Ilka says:

    I have a problem with this. I thought atheists did not believe in God at all. I thought believing in God but not in Church was being agnostic, not atheist. Different things.

  • John says:


    Yes there is a difference-

    Atheists tell themselves and usually others that “there is no God” where Agnostics basically say God is unknowable.

    You might be an athiest if you spend the majority of your adult life fighting against something you say does not exist.

  • JG says:

    You might be an athiest if you spend the majority of your adult life fighting against something you say does not exist.

    Nice and trite, but it shows an asinine misconception of what life’s like once you’ve shaken off the shackles of superstition.

  • Ian says:


    While atheists believe that God doesn’t exist, I assume their issue is more with the concept of God, which is obviously alive and well.

  • rigo says:

    so it’s a concept? like a marketing then.

  • Durpadurp says:

    Yeah, if you disagree with a theory, you can still voice your disagreement with the theory.

  • Russ says:

    He does prove the stereotype that militant atheists lack a sense of humor.

  • Kmuzu says:

    I’m agnostic, which I am comfortable with – which I guess means that I am not blind but maybe myopic.

  • Reality says:

    Being Agnostic means your too scared to say your an atheist.
    Either you believe in god (theist)
    Or you don’t (anti theist(atheist))

  • Tom Thumb says:

    You might be an athiest if you spend the majority of your adult life fighting against something you say does not exist.


  • Bill jaken says:

    Looking at the etymology of the word atheism, “a” being without, “theism”– belief; one can then say that atheism is not a belief system, it’s the absence of belief, in this case, a supreme being. What makes more sense, to say I believe that leprechauns don’t exist, or to have the absence of belief that they exist because there’s no evidence to support their existence?

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