The Best and Worst of Youtube Atheism

Introduction

For many of those who have lost their faith or perhaps never had faith to begin with it can be difficult to engage with religious ideas. Some atheists find it challenging to articulate the issues they have about supernatural claims, the burden of proof and bad believer arguments when they are confronted about their unbelief. For many unbelievers it can be socially dangerous to discuss their unbelief openly in public and for some it can even put their life in danger.

Thankfully, however, the internet is one of the few places that atheists can openly and freely discuss their ideas without the threat of social ostracization or violence (for the most part, unfortunately even discussing this stuff on the internet can make you a target of anti-atheist violence).

On youtube in particular there is a community of atheist thinkers who question and critique religious thought. In this hub I want to go through some of the best, some of the worst and some of the most controversial voices in the so-called Youtube Atheist Community.

The Best (Top 5)

Darkmatter2525 – Using blasphemous cartoons to examine religious beliefs and the human conception of God Dark Matter is one of the most consistently excellent atheist youtube channels I've ever found. Some of his content is more on the humorous side but much of it also asks profound questions. DarkMatter2525 seems to be able to show things in a light I never thought of them to expound upon his point in unexpected ways.

Sample of DarkMatter's work:

from back in the day on my blog, an example of how NonStampCollector inspired my bad "Art"
from back in the day on my blog, an example of how NonStampCollector inspired my bad "Art"

NonStampCollector – NSC also utilizes cartoons of sorts although they appear to be mostly stills of MS paint drawings that he does. NSC was a big influence on the horrible “artwork” I used on my very first blog about religion back when I was a newly minted atheist just trying to come to terms with how wrong Christianity is. Like Dark Matter Non-stamp Collector pulls no punches and can really open up new lines of thinking about religious belief and religious arguments.

NonStampCollector video:

TruthSurge - Truth Surge isn't very well known in the community but I feel he deserves far more praise than he gets. His series on the Empty Tomb examining the idea that the Gospels are intentional fictions in particular is fantastic and as well as doing that he is a talented musician and voice actor. Unfortunately in recent times he has fallen into ill health but his videos are still top quality stuff and I hope he finds a way to get better and keep churning out videos for years to come.

Excavating the Empty Tomb

The Messianic Manic - TMM's channel is great for atheists and critics of religion who are just starting out and who would prefer quick, bite-sized, but still excellent, videos. TMM's videos are almost always under five minutes and he packs clear reason and excellent objections to religious thinking in these videos. As with all of the people on this list TMM's thinking has really influenced my own objections to religion.

One of TMM's longer videos

Source

Theoretical Bullshit - While TBS' dayjob as an attractive soap star keeps him away from youtube for obscene periods of time when he does make a video it tends to pack a serious wallop. In particular his ability to pick apart the arguments of Christian philosopher William Lane Craig is simply inspiring as many atheists struggle to pinpoint exactly where Craig's arguments go wrong.

Honorable Mentions

The following are some honorable mentions of those who are just as good as those in the top 5 but whom, for whatever reason, I didn't put there. AntiCitzenX. KnownNoMore (he doesn't do new videos anymore but his backlog of videos are fantastic), Martymer 81 (mostly debunks Spirit Science and new age woo, great channel), Theramin Trees, QualiaSoup, SisyphusRedeemed (actual philosophy professor), Potholer54 (while not an atheist channel, potholer is a skeptic and science reporter, his channel is mostly quiet these days but his videos are excellent)

The Worst

Steve Shives – There was a time just a few years ago that I considered Shive's channel one of the better atheist channels. In particular I followed his “An Atheist Reads” series where he would read a popular book written by a Christian and pick apart the arguments one video at a time.

At some point however Steve became adverse to any ideas that questioned his and thus abandoned his skepticism. In particular Steve bought hook, line, and sinker, into a certain brand of internet Feminism that has since poisoned his ideology beyond repair. Those who disagree with his specific version of Feminism are blocked or ignored or told that they are harassers, trolls or woman haters.

I know of his close-mindedness personally as I was a long time supporter and subscriber. The moment I said a few things that disagreed with his position on youtube I found that I was blocked on his twitter simply for not agreeing with the brand of Feminism he follows. Needless to say I unsubscribed.

Plagiarizing

Jacylyn Glenn - Jaclyn was one of the few prominent women in the atheist youtube community who was later discovered to have plagiarized, word for word, from various sources. Since then she has become a bit of a pariah within the atheist youtube community for that action.

The Controversial

The following are atheists on youtube who I don't necessarily agree with on everything they say but who hold somewhat controversial views. If anything watching their interactions with others is highly entertaining.

Atheism is Unstoppable – AIU or the Atheist Roo as he is sometimes called is best known for calling out Islam and the Regressive attitudes of people like The Young Turks. AIU stirs up controversy frequently by saying things about crime statistics as they correlate to racial background which has gotten him branded a racist by some. While I don't personally think the man is a racist he certainly seems to enjoy stirring the hornets nest and also engages in behaviors, such as revealing people's names, that some consider irresponsible or unethical.

I do sometimes tire of the constant drama he finds himself embroiled in and the petty fights he often ends up in with others online however he is one of the few youtube atheists who goes after Islam and it's connections with terrorism and was one of the first I saw going after the so-called “Regressive Left”.

The Amazing Atheist – TJ Kirk, the Amazing Atheist, is a bit of an acquired taste that I've never quite been able to acquire. He is one of the first openly atheist youtubers to talk about religion on the site and has managed to remain popular for a long time. His brand of humor doesn't really connect with me however I will still occasionally watch his stuff. He has said things about Feminism, transgender people and other groups that obviously will stir up controversy whenever you mention them regardless of what you have to say on the subject.

Sargon of Akkad – While not particularly billed as an atheist channel make no mistake that Sargon is an atheist. His channel is controversial because his main focus has become inter-sectional third-wave Feminism. He is an open critic of people like Jessica Valenti, Anita Sarkeesian and other popular internet Feminists. Sargon is a classical Liberal who is often accused of being a Conservative because he criticizes the “Regressive Left”.

Thunderf00t – Once far from controversial Thunderf00t got his start making videos about Creationism that really got me thinking back when I discovered them. When I had first found his videos I was still very skeptical about evolution despite having left behind Christianity years earlier. I found his explanations of evolution and dissection of creationist claims refreshing. At some point however Tf00t also discovered that the internet had bred a brand of rabid Feminists who did not reflect the better nature of the Feminists who came before them. This new wave of Feminists is what he spends most of his time criticizing and ridiculing today thus making him one of the more controversial atheists on youtube.

Conclusion

There are probably many other names that could have ended up on this list but these are the big players whose videos I still tend to watch to keep abreast of all the goings on in the community. The constant drama and controversy that crops up is more than a little tiresome but I think it stems from the fact that it is hard to find Christians or believers of any stripe who are all that willing to debate. Gone are the days of Nephilimfree and Venomfangx. That and the fact that atheists are unified on only one point, that they do not believe in God, and so any group of atheists will hold all sorts of different views on other issues.

Between all these channels there is hours of content, information, education and entertainment to be found.

Thanks for reading and let me know what your favorite skeptical channel is the comments below!

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Comments 19 comments

Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 9 months ago from Michigan, USA

A good list, Titen! I also, sadly, found myself un-subscribing from Steve Shives' channel a few months ago, much for the reason you did. Worse, it appears he's now also become an apologist for Islam.

I should also add that, quality-wise, Qualia Soup is a much better channel than "honorable mention," though he no longer creates new material, so I can understand why he's rated lower.

I would like to a few more suggestions, if that's okay:

The Thinking Atheist (an excellent channel & podcast, hosted by Seth Andrews):

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeYP27qLtfUMY1b1C...

The Friendly Atheist (officially known as The Atheist Voice):

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheAtheistVoice

Another channel I'd suggest as an "honorable mention," though it's a satirical (and often funny) site that can get pretty raw:

Creationist Cat:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQpltQMhYFvyeS5M6...

Another good channel which, sadly, is also no longer updated:

Philhellenes:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh9g56Xhr_OKqZKxN...


Link10103 profile image

Link10103 9 months ago

No ArmouredSkeptic or Logicked?

Double Unsubbed for eternity :(

I think I saw one video of Shives, and it was basically him being whipped by his feminist wife with a spiked crop. I've heard of the other undesirables but never really bothered...


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 9 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Obviously, I am not the hardcore atheist I thought I was. I have only heard of Jackylyn Glenn. I like some, but not all of her videos. Now I know why I might not like all of them. But I do like her sassy style.

I have seen NSC, but not on YouTube. I shall look it up.

Thanks for this info! I now have some new stuff to watch.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 9 months ago from back in the lab again Author

Thanks Paladin, I am subscribed to all of those you mentioned except for Philhellenes I'll have to check his channel out.

I saw Shive's video regarding Islamaphobia and was honestly not surprised, there seem to be a subset of atheists who, though their intentions seem noble enough, want to shield Islam from the same criticism and ridicule that everyone gives Christianity. They seem to think that because some people are racist or fear-mongering that any legitimate critcism or mocking of Islam is not allowed and is somehow a cover for racism. These are the sorts of people who would be on Ben Affleck's side rather than the side of Sam Harris in that now infamous clip of Real Time with Bill Maher.

My list could have been far longer but I cut it when and where I did based on my own personal preferences, there are many many more I could have included.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 9 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Titen

Enjoyed this hub that showed me 'in a nutshell' some of the best and worst of the Atheists on YouTube.

I've come across 'Dark Matter' and a couple of others but didn't like the ones criticising Craig as they seemed to be insulting the man (I also hate it when 'Christians' do the same to the likes of Richard Dawkins). If someone has the courage to state their beliefs then we should respect the person (provided their beliefs don't harm others!)

Good pointers for the 'sound bite' but let that drive to deeper study as the sound bite doesn't win debates.

Good stuff

Lawrence


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 9 months ago from back in the lab again Author

@Link

I am subbed to both of those channels. I considered including Armoured Skeptic but as he has moved on from the whole atheism thing into doing movie reviews and a bit of mansplaining similar to Sargon of Akkad.

Logicked is great and all but he does tend to pick on the low hanging fruit of Kent Hovind's creationist nonsense.

For the best I wanted to focus on the more intellectually rigorous and less on the funny channels that just make fun of religion which is why people like Creationist Cat aren't on the list.

And obviously there are plenty more I could have included such as CoolHardLogic, The Bible Skeptic, Profmth (from way back in the day), Aronra, the Thinking Atheist, Matt Dillahunty and the Atheist Experience and so on and so forth.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 9 months ago from back in the lab again Author

@Austinstar

I used to like her as well until I found out she had pretty much word for word ripped off several other people's videos. She later apologized for doing so however by that time the damage was done to her reputation.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 9 months ago from back in the lab again Author

@ Lawrence01

Craig presents himself as an uber intellectual and often times when he addresses the arguments of internet atheists he is very condescending and rude or simply misrepresents their arguments.

The bottom line is that Craig's arguments generally aren't very good yet he has a very pompous attitude in his debates and makes himself out to be some serious intellectual. I think that any hostility directed toward him is a direct result of the way he carries himself.

Take for example the videos by Theoretical Bullshit, there is an entire video detailing how Craig misrepresents TBS' argument on his blog and then Craig dismisses it with a great deal of arrogance on display. Meanwhile this soap opera actor deconstructs Craig's argument like it's child's play. I think he deserves to call Craig out after the shit Craig pulled on his blog.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 9 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Aw geez, that DarkMatter guy is TOO logical! hahaha


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 9 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Titen

He can come over as arrogant so fair point.

Personally I do like to watch the debates and noticed a bit of arrogance from some, Berlinski is one who comes over as arrogant as well but I think it's just his personality!


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 9 months ago from back in the lab again Author

In particular Craig's debate with biblical scholar Dr. Bart Ehrman he seemed very arrogant in, so much so that I believe Ehrman refused to debate him again because of Craig attempting to embarrass him. At one point in the debate Craig refers to something as Ehrman's Egregious Error and then makes a laughable attempt to prove the miracle of the Resurrection through bogus formulas.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhT4IENSwac


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 9 months ago from Michigan, USA

Sorry, but I just thought of another excellent atheist channel -- one that is, I suspect, largely unknown and hugely underrated:

NumberOneSon:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAdLiE4lruGhOqdha...

He doesn't appear to be as active as he once was, but his "Losing God" series is far and away the best deconversion account I've seen thus far.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 9 months ago from back in the lab again Author

Ah yes, I remember him, been a while since he did a video but some great stuff there. It is always important for deconversion stories to get out there so others shedding their faith know that they are not alone.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 9 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Having said that earlier two that I do like the styles of are Stephen Meyer (Discovery institute) who does at least seek to discuss the science and John Lennox a mathematician. His debate with Dawkins (on the God delusion book) was pretty animated and good humoured, you can see they respect each other even though they don't agree!

I've read some of Ehrman's blogs and he's pretty good though he does think the resurrection to be 'visions' and not necessarily real!


Jack Baxter 9 months ago

I'm subscribed to al of your top channels aside from TruthSurge, and I plan of checking his videos out now. Jaclynn Glenn and Thunderf00t are channels I like but I've started going off them recently. I know JG copied a Theoretical Bullshit video word for word but I was unaware of any others she had copied, although lately her channel quality is going down and it seems to be turning into buzzfeed. TF does great science videos but I wish he would just stop doing so many videos on third-wave feminism. Several times I have considered unsubbing. I unsubbed from CultofDusty because I couldn't stand his approach to things, and I watched two AmazingAtheist videos and decided to never watch any again.

I would add Finite Atticus and 3vid3nce for best channels, because they each have fantastic conversion series about how they became atheists, although 3vid3nce is no longer active, so I suppose that would be more of an honourable mention.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 6 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

OMG - You should add this guy to the list! Trae Crowder on YouTube is freaking hilarious! An atheist redneck, who knew?


Say Yes To Life profile image

Say Yes To Life 5 months ago from Big Island of Hawaii

I've been watching these videos. I have only seen one from DarkMatter2525, Jacklyn Glen, and The Amazing Atheist. I subscribed to DarkMatter2525.

I have also been viewing videos about Harold Camping and his doomsday prophecy. It's FLABBERGASTING how brainwashed people cling to their beliefs!


B M Gunn profile image

B M Gunn 7 weeks ago from A Place Outside Of Time And Space...Somehow...

I think putting Jaclyn Glenn among Steve Shives as one of the worst atheist Youtubers is a tad harsh. She has publicly recognized and atoned for her mistakes, and has since been much better about stating her sources.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 7 weeks ago from back in the lab again Author

Keep in mind this article was posted back in February. I haven't kept up with Jaclyn or her channel since I wrote this. Glad to hear she's changed her ways and perhaps I will post an update to this hub at some point in the future.

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