Did your Values Change when You Became an Atheist?


Something I’ve never considered very much is whether, when I became an atheist, that my values in any way had changed. Sure, people change their minds on certain topics all the time as they become better informed, but in general, does being an atheist mean I am not the same person I was before?

The reason I’m thinking about this today is a podcast conversation I listened to this morning. The podcast was lengthy (for me) but somewhere more than mid-way through, the topic came up about atheists being more left wing and should atheists encourage conservatives to become part of the fold.

I don’t want to misconstrue the conversation, it’s one reason I’m not mentioning the actual podcast, but my understanding was that atheists should (as a group?) define their values and that it seems those values should lean to the left. So, I had the impression that conservative atheists were probably not welcome.

As I said, I may have misunderstood the conversation, maybe there was some context I missed , but, being that it was recorded, I actually backed it up to listen one more time and I think that I heard what I heard. Of course no one said conservatives are not welcome, but the conversation made it clear that having a particular set of values was preferred.

I found this to be a bit shocking as earlier, the person being interviewed spoke about how people would judge each other based on whether or not another was 100% with them. To paraphrase, you’re either with me or against me and that being 95% with someone was equivalent to not agreeing at all.

Strange huh? I’m trying to not mischaracterize anyone here but each of these statements seem to be diametrically opposed to each other.

It also seemed to me to least that neither of these knew what a conservative actually was. I’m not surprised as most atheists I know confuse conservatism with religion. Yes, there are religious conservatives but not all conservatives are religious.  Do a web search: plenty of articles and websites about being a conservative and an atheist.

So, diversity is good within atheism, but not if you’re a conservative.

Another reason I didn’t want to link the podcast is an early part of the conversation where both people complained about how things they said on social media or wherever else were often misconstrued by people just looking for clicks. I’ve never been like that, even though I have in the past linked to other blogs. Others have done the same with mine.

I’m sure that if either of them happen to read this post, they’ll say the same thing. I’m not worried as I doubt they’ll ever see it, much less respond to correct where they believe I misunderstood what was being said.

As much as these two enjoyed talking how it’s important to have a discussion with even those they may disagree with, it seems that that pool of people may be very small.

2 thoughts on “Did your Values Change when You Became an Atheist?

  1. If viewpoint diversity is a good thing in general, then surely it is a good thing among atheists too. Although I suspect that not everyone would agree that it is a good thing in general, I believe it is. Thus, it makes no sense to me why we wouldn’t welcome conservative atheists.


    • Something I didn’t cover in thr piece was how the guest on the podcast discussed how he grew up a very conservative Christian, but after becoming an atheist (as an adult, I think) his “values” became different. To me, if a person’s values are that malleable then that person. probably doesn’t hold any values other than the group he/she identifies with at the moment.


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