The Atheist Experience

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The Atheist Experience
Atheist Experience Banner.jpg
GenreTalk show
Theme music composerShelly Segal
Opening theme"Saved"[1]
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of episodes1000 (as of June 24th, 2018)
  • Shelley Roberts
  • Frank Paschal
Production location(s)Austin, Texas
Running time90 minutes
Original releaseOctober 19, 1997 (1997-10-19) – present
External links

The Atheist Experience is a weekly webcast based in Austin, Texas. It first aired on October 19, 1997. Rotating regulars Matt Dillahunty,[2][3] Jeff Dee, Martin Wagner, Russell Glasser, Don Baker, Tracie Harris, Jen Peeples, John Iacoletti, and Phil Session host and co-host the program. Frequent topics include religious dogma, morality, ethics and application of the scientific method.[4][5] The co-host often opens with a theme or current event, then takes live calls. Although debates about all theist- and atheist-related views are welcome, because of the large number of Christians in the United States, the emphasis is mostly on Christianity.[6][7][8]

The Atheist Experience is broadcast by the Atheist Community of Austin (ACA), an educational non-profit organization based in Austin, Texas. The ACA has as a central goal the promotion of positive atheism and the separation of church and state.[9]

A YouTube channel which became the official channel in August 2012 has over 220,000 subscribers and over 52 million video views as of August 2018.[10][11][12]


Matt Dillahunty was raised a fundamentalist Baptist[13] and was a Christian for more than 20 years. He served in the Navy for 8 years and spent several years in the hi-tech game industry. After this, he set out to re-affirm his faith with the intent of attending seminary and pursuing a life in the ministry,[14] but through a process of study, no longer believed his previous theistic beliefs.[15] He co-founded Iron Chariots, a counter-apologetics wiki.[16] Dillahunty served as the president of the Atheist Community of Austin.[17]

Russell Glasser is a software engineer in Austin, Texas. He received an MSc in computer engineering at the University of Texas in 2007.[18] Glasser is the producer of the internet radio show The Non Prophets.[19][20] He has a son, Ben.[18]

Jen Peeples is an aerospace engineer. She served in the U.S. Army for 26 years, retiring as a lieutenant colonel, was a military test pilot and left the military as an aviation officer.[21] Peeples is a self-described "foxhole atheist".[22] She is openly gay.[23]

Jeff Dee (May 15, 1961) is an artist and game designer. He is a recognized figure in the role-playing game community and game industry.[24] His illustrative work shows comic book art form and influence. He is the co-creator of Villains and Vigilantes,[25] illustrator of the Dungeons & Dragons manual Deities & Demigods, artist for Master of Orion,[26] art director for Ultima VII, and lead designer for The Sims: Castaway Stories. He co-created The Non Prophets, an internet radio show by the Atheist Community of Austin.[27]

Martin Wagner (April 27, 1966, Henderson, Nevada) is an artist, cartoonist, and filmmaker. Wagner was a prominent figure in the short-lived comics self-publishing movement, along with Dave Sim (Cerebus), Jeff Smith (Bone), and Colleen Doran (A Distant Soil).[28] He self-published the comic book Hepcats.[29]

Tracie Harris (Orlando, Florida) is a graphic artist, cartoonist, and publishing professional who does the Atheist Eve strip hosted on the Atheist Community of Austin web site. She received her BA in Liberal Studies from the University of Central Florida. Harris is a former Christian fundamentalist.[30][31] Harris and Dillahunty were featured on the Religion section of The Huffington Post "facing down an aggressive Christian caller with a shocking view of children who have been the victims of rape."[32]

Don Baker is a PhD computer scientist working in the field of computer-supported cooperative work.[31] He has taught at the University of Texas (Austin) as an adjunct for two years. Baker is a board member of the Atheist Community of Austin. He has a strong interest in the nascent field of memetics and has spent several years exploring the implications of Christianity as a meme complex, expressed in his writings at Christianity Meme.[33] Baker serves as the secretary of the Atheist Community of Austin.[17]

Phil Session became a co-host in season 20, having previously worked as part of the television crew.

Notable appearances[edit]

  • Jonathan McLatchie, doctoral student in cell biology, Apologetics Academy (episode #22.31, 2018-08-05), live call-in.
  • David Smalley of podcast Dogma Debate and the American Atheists (episode #753, 2012-03-18), guest appearance[34][35]
  • Greg Paul, palaeontologist (episode #708, 2011-05-08), guest appearance[34][36]
  • Ray Comfort, Evangelical Christian apologist (episode #702), live call-in[34][37]
  • David Silverman, president of American Atheists (episode #701, 2011-03-20), live call-in[34][38]
  • Aron Ra,[39] vlogger[40] and Texas state director of the American Atheists (episodes #648, #668, #703, #875), live guest appearances[34][41]
  • Kathleen Johnson, vice-president of American Atheists and founder of the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers (episode #647, 2010-03-07), guest appearance[34]
  • Darrel Ray, organizational psychologist (episode #645, 2010-02-21; #686, 2010-12-05), guest appearances[34]
  • Kyle Miller, pastor (episode #639, 2010-01-10), guest appearance[34]
  • Matt Slick, Evangelical Christian apologist (episode #593 broadcast February 22, 2009), live call-in[34]
  • Victor J. Stenger, particle physicist (episode #499, 2007-05-06), guest appearance[34][42][43]
  • Mark Loewe, theoretical physicist (episode #393, 2005-04-24), guest appearance[34]


Since its launch on July 29, 2014, The Atheist Experience has been affiliated with AtheistTV, the world's first atheism-dedicated television channel.[44] Distributed through the Roku streaming television network, and available through online streaming through the American Atheists webpage, Atheist TV's playlists and programming include the latest The Atheist Experience episodes.


Documentary film[edit]

Mission Control Texas,[50] a German documentary film about The Atheist Experience, directed by Ralf Bücheler, premiered at the Max Ophüls Film Festival in Saarbrücken in January 2015,[51] and showed at DOK.fest in Munich in May 2015.[52]


  1. ^ "The Atheist Experience Technical FAQ". Atheist Community of Austin. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  2. ^ New group helps students understand atheism, University Star, Retrieved 2012-06-02 Archived March 6, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ WTAMU Lecture to Debate Christian and Atheist Doctrines, West Texas A&M University, Retrieved 2012-06-02
  4. ^ Understanding Peer Reviewed, Benedictine University, Retrieved 2012-06-02 Archived May 5, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Atheist Skeptic and Freethought Podcasts". Holy Koolaid. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  6. ^ Gallup, "This Christmas, 78% of Americans Identify as Christian", December 24, 2009. Accessed February 8, 2011.
  7. ^ American Religious Identification Survey 2008 Archived May 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. U.S. Religious Landscape Survey: Religious Affiliation: Diverse and Dynamic. February 2008, pp. 5, 12. Accessed February 8, 2011.
  9. ^ "The Atheist Community of Austin". Retrieved 2012-04-03.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "The Atheist Experience". YouTube.
  13. ^ The Source of Human Morality Debate, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Retrieved 2012-06-02 Archived November 15, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ Eileen E. Flynn (March 18, 2007). "Preaching his own gospel of atheism". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved February 3, 2012.
  15. ^ "Saving believers: Former Christian finds calling to preach the good news of atheism". Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. March 21, 2007.
  16. ^ "Profile of Matt Dillahunty". The Atheist Experience.
  17. ^ a b "Board of Directors". Atheist Community of Austin.
  18. ^ a b Russell Glasser, personal profile
  19. ^ "PBS MediaShift – Public-Access TV Fights for Relevance in the YouTube Age", Mike Rosen-Molina, December 17, 2008 [1]
  20. ^ "Profile of Russell Glasser". The Atheist Experience.
  21. ^ "She later earned a commission and spent 9 years on active duty, first as a Field Artillery officer, then as an Aviation officer." "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 1, 2012. Retrieved April 9, 2012.
  22. ^ "Profile of Jen Peeples". The Atheist Experience.
  23. ^ Atheist Experience (September 18, 2011). "Atheist Experience #727: Defunding Planned Parenthood". YouTube. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
  24. ^ Olivo, Benjamin (March 9, 2007). "Leatherface to rev up ChimaeraCon action", San Antonio Express-News, p. H16.
  25. ^ Jebens, Harley (September 21, 1995). "Game central". Austin American-Statesman. p. 38.
  26. ^ The Atheist Experience on IMDb
  27. ^ "Profile of Jeff Dee". The Atheist Experience.
  28. ^ "Biography for Martin Wagner"
  29. ^ "Hepcats by Martin Wagner". Comic Genesis.
  30. ^ "Profile of Tracie Harris". The Atheist Experience.
  31. ^ a b "Freethunk – Atheist Eve"
  32. ^ Bennett-Smith, Meredith (January 8, 2013). "'Atheist Experience' TV Host Shocked By Caller's Statement About Child Rape (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post.
  33. ^ "Profile of Don Baker". The Atheist Experience.
  34. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "The Atheist Experience Show Archive"
  35. ^ "Dogma Debate with David Smalley"
  36. ^ "The Atheist Experience #708 of May 8, 2011, with Russell Glasser and Don Baker. Topic: "Greg Paul and Atheist Civil Rights." Russell and Don talk with sociologist/evolutionist Greg Paul about atheist civil rights and healthy societies.", YouTube [2]
  37. ^ "Matt Dillahunty and Russell Glasser with guest Ray Comfort. Interview with Ray Comfort. Matt and Russell have a conversation "across the divide" with professional apologist Ray Comfort." [3]
  38. ^ "Atheist Experience #701 20 Mar 11", YouTube
  39. ^ "AronRa (L. Aron Nelson) is a YouTube atheist and activist." Archived March 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  40. ^ "AronRa – 1st appearance on the Atheist Experience, ep #648 [..] 2nd appearance on the Atheist Experience, ep #668 [..] 3rd appearance on the Atheist Experience, ep #703" [4]
  41. ^ The Atheist Experience TV Show #648: Interview with AronRa, Host: Matt Dillahunty, Guest: AronRa, YouTube Celebrity, 2010-03-14 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 2, 2012. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
  42. ^ "Vic explains the scientific case against God's existence".
  43. ^ "Oct, 29 Thu Austin TX, 6:30 pm, Threadgill's Old Number One (Longhorn room), 6416 North Lamar, Austin, TX. Atheist Community of Austin. Don Rhoades. The Atheist Experience. Interview with Don Baker. On web." [5]
  44. ^ D'Addario, Daniel (August 9, 2014). "I spent a day watching AtheistTV – and it was horrifying". Salon. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  45. ^ Cline, Austin (2012). "Readers' Choice Awards, 2012". Guide.
  46. ^ "Best of Austin 2012: Best Public Access TV Show: The Atheist Experience". The Austin Chronicle. November 9, 2012.
  47. ^ "Best of Austin 2011: Best Public Access TV Show: The Atheist Experience". The Austin Chronicle. October 14, 2011.
  48. ^ Cline, Austin (2011). "Readers' Choice Awards, 2011". Guide.
  49. ^ "Best of Austin 2010: Best Public-Access TV Show: 'The Atheist Experience'". The Austin Chronicle. September 3, 2010.
  50. ^ Mission Control Texas (2015) on IMDb
  51. ^ Filmfestival Max-Ophüls-Preis " MISSION CONTROL TEXAS, Saarbrücken Interaktiv, 2015, retrieved May 19, 2015
  52. ^ Festival program: Mission Control Texas, DOK.fest München, 2015

External links[edit]