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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