The Atheist Experience
The Atheist Experience is a weekly public-access television program and podcast run by the Atheist community of Austin. It is usually hosted by ex-baptist atheist activist Matt Dillahunty, as well as various co-hosts. The show's hosts discuss various religious issues, and take calls from both atheist and religious, usually Christian callers, answering questions and attempt to offer advice, as well as debating on various issues, usually relating to branches of philosophy or theology. The show's hosts make clear that they are not scientists and will therefore usually avoid debates on those scientific facts often disputed between atheists and theists, such as details of cosmology, geology, or biology. Instead they will often direct callers to contact experts in the field in question.
The show is broadcast on Sundays from 4:30 to 5:30 Central US time.
On the show, Matt Dillahunty has repeatedly defined atheism as "a rejection of the premise that a God or Gods exist". He says that this does not mean that he accepts the premise that no God or Gods exist. Dillahunty identifies himself as an agnostic atheist, saying that he does not believe that the truth of what he calls "God claims" can be known.
Multiple hosts have also made statements to the effect that most people are atheists about most of the gods that have ever existed, and that "some of us just take things one God further"
In Matt's own words: I was raised in a loving, Southern Baptist home and was a fundamentalist Christian for over 20 years. After 8 years in the Navy and several years in the hi-tech game, I set out to re-affirm my faith with designs on attending seminary and continuing with a life in the ministry. What began as an attempt to bolster my faith became a continuing investigation into more topics than I ever suspected I'd enjoy.
After the first couple of years, reason forced me to acknowledge that my faith had not only been weakened by my studies - it had been utterly destroyed. The thoughts, writings and wisdom of people like; Robert Ingersoll, Voltaire, Dan Barker, Richard Dawkins, Farrell Till and many others, helped free my mind from the shackles of religion without a single moment of despair. I continue to study philosophy, religion, science, history and the many other topics which have helped me to understand reality and enjoy my life.
Having spent the majority of my life compartmentalizing my religious beliefs to keep them safe from skepticism, it's thrilling to leave the critical, investigative, hungry portion of my brain turned "on". While my own pursuit of knowledge is a powerful driving force in my life, I'd also like to prevent others from wasting another day on irrational beliefs. Education is the key ...and if my work manages to educate even one person, I'm satisfied.
Unicorn In A Box Analogy
On 11/07/10, a caller presented the famous (see: shockofgod) "What Proof And Evidence Do You Have Atheism Is Accurate And Correct?": Matt Dillahunty replied "Didn't I explain this in the email?" and went onto to say it was a nonsensical question and used an analogy to explain his position and show how some atheists view claims about theism, effectively providing a similar example to Sagan's Dragon, but using a different analogy:
I don't know how else i can explain this...but lets imagine that i have this box here [symbolizes a box with his hands] and Don (Don Baker) claims that there is a unicorn in this box and I say I don't believe him. I don't need any proof or evidence that my position is true. my position is validated by the fact because he hasn't presented any evidence for his claim. And when I open the box and look inside and don't see this then he tells me it's an invisible unicorn and i mention it wouldn't fit in this box and he says "no it's an invisible miniature unicorn." well i don't feel it. Well it's also intangible. Oh well how do you know it's there? Well because it speaks to me. Okay that's all nonsense He's made a claim and he has failed to provide rational evidence for it. My disbelief is justified by that.
The ResurrectionOn 7/22/12, Micah, a Christian in Charlotte, after a bit of setup asked Matt and his co-host Traci Harris
"Would you agree that..i'm not saying there is evidence Jesus rose from the dead if Jesus did--if Jesus was dead for three days and he rose from the dead would you agree that would be a supernatural event? That it's not something that we see in the natural world so therefore it's not science?
Matt's answer was
The caller modified his question a bit to further clarify his point. Matt continued:
"I don't know. That's not enough details. One of the things is that death isn't extremely well defined we pull people back from the brink of death so i can't say for sure it would be supernatural i can say it would be certainly be extraordinary and would seem to be supernatural."
"the fact something hasn't previously been observed doesn't mean it's necessarily unnatural what i said when i answered your question is i don't know what i'd would consider it there's not enough information but i am willing to grant is that sort of thing might be perceived as supernatural and could in fact be!"