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The Best and Worst of Youtube Atheism
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:
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.
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
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.
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)
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.
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 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.
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!