Ineffectiveness of atheist internet outreach

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Stephen Prothero wrote an article in 2008 concerning the ineffectiveness of the New Atheism which also applies to atheism internet evangelism (see: Internet atheism).

In a March 10, 2008 USA Today article Stephen Prothero stated the following regarding the impact of the "New Atheism":

Numbers lie, but they also tell tales untrustworthy and otherwise. So the key question stirring around the much discussed U.S Religious Landscape Survey released in late February by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life is what tale does it state about the state of the union.

For some, the story of this survey, based on interviews in multiple languages with more than 35,000 adults, is the strength of American Religion.

Not too long ago, I wrote that American atheism was going the way of the freak show. As books by Christopher Hitchens and other "new atheists" climbed the best seller lists, I caught a lot of flak for that prophecy. But atheist make up only 1.6% of respondents to this survey....[1]

A prime reason for the ineffectiveness of the New Atheism and internet atheism is the shallowness of its material. For example, even atheist philosopher Michael Ruse stated that Richard Dawkins' book The God Delusion made him "embarrassed to be an atheist".[2]


Atheism losing adherents in terms of the global population

See also: Atheist Population and Resources for leaving atheism and becoming a Christian

The internet is a global medium which growing rapidly in usage throughout the world.[3] In 2011, the American Spectator citing research published in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research reported that atheism is on the decline as a whole in terms of adherents.[4]

The American Spectator declared:

The report estimates about 80,000 new Christians every day, 79,000 new Muslims every day, and 300 fewer atheists every day. These atheists are presumably disproportionately represented in the West, while religion is thriving in the Global South, where charismatic Christianity is exploding."[5]

Atheism internet evangelism contrasted with Christian internet evangelism

See also: Christian internet evangelism and Evidence for Christianity

Global Media Outreach is the internet evangelism arm of Campus Crusade for Christ International (CCCI). Recently, Global Media Outreach has seen a dramatic increase in the results of their internet evangelism efforts. [6] In addition, in August of 2010, Global Media Outreach announced it is combining forces with Joni and Friends International Disability Center to recruit Christians with disabilities who would like to spread the gospel and minister to others via the internet. By combining forces with Joni and Friends, Global Media Outreach benefits by having access to some 650 million people with disabilities worldwide.[7]

In 2006, Alan Beeber of CCCI predicted that internet evangelism will result in more conversion that all other forms of evangelism for CCCI combined.[8]

Unlike Christianity, which is supported by a large body of sound evidence (see: Christian apologetics), atheism has no proof and evidence supporting its ideology. Also, there have been notable atheists conceding there is compelling evidence for the existence of God and becoming ex-atheist. As a result, atheism often relies on asserting fragile assumptions that are contrary to the existing evidence.[9] In addition, atheists/skeptics do have a tradition of making assumptions that later have proved errant.[10]

Internet atheism and quarrelsome atheists

See also: Atheist factions and Internet atheism

In 2010, the Christian apologetics website True Free Thinker wrote:

Scienceblogger Chad Orzel described the commentators on PZ Myers ' site Pharyngula, and other commentators, as "screechy monkeys."[11]

Richard Dawkins' battle with online fans

See also: Richard Dawkins' battle with online fans

In February of 2010, the news organization The Telegraph reported Richard Dawkins was "embroiled in a bitter online battle over plans to rid his popular internet forum for atheists of foul language, insults and 'frivolous gossip'."[12] Given that Wired Magazine and Vox Day declared for various reasons that atheists tend to be quarrelsome, socially challenged men, it is not surprising the online dispute was bitter. In addition, Richard Dawkins has a reputation for being abrasive.

Demographic data of atheism websites

Prominent general atheist websites appear to receive significantly less traffic from women

The website run by the organization American Atheists organization has significantly less women trafficking their website according to Alexa and Quantcast.[13][14] The Internet Infidels website, the Secular Web, has significantly less woman trafficking their website according to Alexa and Quantcast.[15][16] The British Website New Humanist Magazine receives significantly less traffic from women according to Alexa and Quantcast.[17][18] Atheist Ireland also has significantly less women trafficking their website according to Alexa (there is no web traffic data from Quantcast).[19]

New Atheism websites appear to receive significantly less traffic from women

The four most prominent writers of the New Atheist movement are Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett. Like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris has his own website. According to the website tracking firms Alexa and Quantcast women frequent the website of and significantly less than men.[20][21][22][23]

Secular Web website

The Secular Web, owned by Internet Infidels, is one of the principal websites for those who advocate atheism, agnosticism and skepticism on the internet. Christian apologist JP Holding wrote: "The Secular Web has a few intelligent people, but overall has long been a haven for every skeptical know-it-all to pronounce judgments upon matters outside of their expertise."[24] Although JP Holding has written rebuttals of the more well known members of the skeptical community such as David Hume[25], Friedrich Nietzsche[26] and G.A. Wells[27][28], Holding has also written rebuttals of lesser well known members of the secular community who publish and/or are featured on the Secular Web such as:

Dissension at the Internet Infidels forum

See also: Richard Dawkins' battle with online fans and Pharyngula

In 2007, it appears as if the Internet Infidels forum had a significant amount of internal dissension which caused some forum members to depart.[37]

Internet atheism and obesity

See: Internet atheism and obesity

See also

General articles and resources:

Specific topics:

Satire and comedy:


  1. American Faith: A Work In Progress by Stephen Prothero, USA Today, March 10, 2008, page 11A
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