How To Fight God And Win

How To Fight God And Win

Atheists Must Fight Against GOD

I am a firebrand Atheist, just like American Atheists' former President David Silverman. We both believe—and have believed for some time—that religion is bad for the world. I am the co-founder of the Skepticon conference, which Dave has spoken at, and I have spoken at many American Atheists conventions. 

I have known Dave for years and have had so many great conversations with him that I can’t even remember them all. My day job is to blog about Atheism and activism at

In this line of work, I come across many ideas and hear from different people all the time, but I still learned a lot from reading Dave’s new book, Fighting God. Dave wrote this book for Atheists on the sidelines, the ones who are content to not make waves about their non-belief. 

This is what he has to say to these folks: “We need you, and you need to be in the ring with us.” Using clear, concise language, he convincingly explains to these Atheists that although they may not realize it, religion is negatively affecting their own lives—not just the lives of some anonymous people they’ve never met. 

For instance, he uses George W. Bush’s opposition to stem-cell research to show how religion can negatively affect the physical health of anyone: “[Bush] delayed the most promising research on Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and many kinds of cancer. 

In one fell swoop, Bush prolonged delayed treatments for these ailments, reducing the life expectancy and the quality of life for all Americans, while giving a great competitive opportunity to scientists in other countries to catch up and possibly surpass America in its research (and jeopardizing our patent domination). 

Why? The pope said so, preachers joined in, and so President Bush jumped and obeyed. If you or someone you love has one of those diseases, someone else’s religion has reduced their chance of being helped before it’s too late.” 

While he is clearly, and overtly, trying to motivate sideline Atheists to join the greater movement, Dave also takes great care to list the actions that do not help our cause: violence, lies, or coercion. In other words, it’s never okay to be the jerk he is often accused of being. 

Throughout the book, Dave articulates his call for honesty better than most religions do, even when those religions are at their loveliest. As many of us know, any criticism of religion is often viewed as impolite. 

This standard puts us at a disadvantage from the beginning, even when we want to engage in civilized dialogue. While some tiptoe around the subject of religion in an effort to offset this effect, he dives straight in, treating the frank discussion of religion as casually as if he were ordering a cheeseburger. 

Admittedly, even I was initially uneasy with this approach, as Dave repeatedly asserts that all believers are victims of their religion. His swift defense of this method eventually won me over, but I admit that viewing religious people as victims of their religion still makes me feel uneasy, though I can’t explain why. I guess societal expectations hit all of us to an extent. 

Atheists are often accused of having disdain for religious people, and some of them do. But Dave can recognize a religious person as someone who might be looking for the truth but has had their efforts dampened by religion’s insistence on faith, or as someone who could be exploring their sexuality without guilt or pause if not for their religion’s rules about sex.

While not all believers are victims to the same extent, Dave makes it clear that, at minimum, they can continue doing everything they’re already doing in their lives without believing false things about the world.

Dave’s approach is direct, but it’s important to understand that he adopts this tone out of respect for his audience. He speaks to you directly and leaves no ambiguity as to his position and why he holds it. I actually found his approach comforting. I liked that he wasn’t trying to placate me or massage my thoughts. 

He was simply sharing the honest reasons for doing what he does, which, he argues, should compel the reader to follow suit. Dave also makes it clear that the fight to minimize religion’s impact on the world is not a lost cause. Right out of the gate, he says, “We have no money compared to religion. 

We have no power compared to religion. Yet our numbers are growing while theirs are shrinking, because it’s not just about money or power, but about truth.” Because of the provocative title, it’s possible that the very Atheists who need this book the most will be the least likely to read it.

That’s why every one of us should read Fighting God. It equips us to speak not just to religious people, but to other Atheists who may not yet realize just how much better off the world would be with no religion—and how this isn’t an unrealistic dream. 

Although I was already convinced that religion is bad for the world, I came away from this book with some new ideas and renewed optimism. Let’s face it: since we’re playing from behind, it’s easy to feel that losing is inevitable. 

Fighting God left me invigorated and confident that if we buckle down, work together, and have some fun while we’re at it, we can make a real difference to people in it who, like so many of us once did, sublimate their curiosity and desire because religion tells them to. 

That makes playing catch-up damn near smile-inducing, even though religion has had a head start of a few millennia.


J.T. Eberhard

by J.T. Eberhard

J.T. Eberhard is the co-founder of the Skepticon conference and served as the event’s lead organizer for its first three years. His blog, What Would J.T. Do?, is at

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Cover photo by Lian Rodriguez from Pexels

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