Series / The Atheist Experience

"Theists, we don't hate you, we just think you're wrong!"
— Old Show Motto

The Atheist Experience is a weekly cable access show in Austin, Texas that became popular world-wide with the rise of the internet. The show started in 1997 and is still ongoing.

It's a show meant to educate theists and the general public about atheists and takes calls from believers and non-believers alike. The hosts regularly debate with their Theist callers and sometimes the arguments can get very heated. They can be found at The Atheist Experience, also search for clips on Youtube or their podcast on Itunes.

Interesting Links:


  • Abusive Parents: Matt Dillahunty has given many The Reason You Suck Speeches on the topic. Especially about parents who refuse to get medical treatment for their kids because they think praying will solve the problem.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": "Stotch", a caller who claimed to believe in the supernatural, told the hosts that when he was in Norway, he had met a troll who didn't really have a name and was just called "Troll", eliciting a question as to whether he was not a troll himself.
  • After the End: The episode after the May 21, 2011 predicted apocalypse is done this way as a Take That.
  • Ass Shove: This gem, a response to the infamous Banana Argument, implies this trope.
  • As the Good Book Says: Attempted by some callers who don't realize that the hosts of the show most likely know the book better than they do, leading to many questions exploring the Bible's Unfortunate Implications, and don't accept it as true in the first place.
  • Awful Truth: The Atheist Experience deconstructed this when a caller asked "What's wrong with a comfortable delusion" by arguing that the trauma isn't caused by finding out the truth, but by discovering you were lied to.
  • Bald of Awesome: Current host Matt Dillahunty is bald, as is former host Ashley Perrien; they both carry themselves quite well.
  • Berserk Button:
    • The Atheist Experience will happily debate any theist who calls in... but if Jeff Dee is hosting that week, do not threaten him with Hell, unless you're willing to listen to a long, loud rant about how inherently unjust Hell is.
    • Matt Dillahunty Vs. Any Crazy Parents he comes across.
      • Matt does not like it when theists call science a religion. See?
    • Matt and Jeff both don't like Solipsists. See here.
      • To be fair, the caller in question had been behaving like an arrogant Jerkass for almost seven minutes straight by that point and Matt and Jeff were both blatantly getting tired of dealing with him.
    • Matt is very critical of Pascal's Wager. He's outright called it one of the only religious talking points he'll refuse to deal with.
    • They are not amused with trolls (presumably an atheist in stereotypical Christian disguise) and prank callers.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Some theists tend to think Russell Glasser is the safer host to talk to.
  • Catch Phrase
    • Jeff: "Tortured! Forever!"
    • Jeff: "What's wrong with you?"
    • Matt: "You're done."
    • Matt: "That is asinine!"
  • Easy Evangelism: Subverted, many callers try and fail.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Many people insist that they are this, and would refuse to believe even if some really obvious evidence was right before their eyes (as opposed to the very weak proofs they're offered as a matter of routine). Russell Glasser is even on record saying that in a fantasy world where gods exist, real skeptics would be the ones who follow the evidence and believe in the gods (although not necessarily worshipping any of them).
  • Flame War: Guaranteed in the comments for every video on YouTube. Averted in that they invite people to join them after each show at a restaurant, but ask them not to show up in order to preach or proselytize.
  • Foreshadowing: As much as is possible in a call-in show, one caller in the early years of the show was Matt from Austin, Texas. He would go on to be perhaps the show's most recognizable host, speaker, and debater.
  • God and Satan Are Both Jerks: They have been known to highlight the fact that God has a far higher body count than Satan in the Bible.
  • Hollywood Atheist: One of the purposes of the show is to avert this. Sometimes people assume that they are atheists because of some traumatic experience or they're rebelling against god.
  • Ignored Epiphany: The "Best Caller Ever"
  • Jerkass: Charles, the Solipsist, who calls the show at least twice to let them know they're dangerous philistines. When called to explain, he spends several minutes rambling Meaningless Meaningful Words.
  • Nay-Theist: Some callers accuse them of being this.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Here, for example, a frequent Christian caller ("Pastor George") pretends to be an atheist named "Miles", with an inconsistent fake accent.
    • Here, after starting out with a fake Southern drawl, "Peter" (actually prank caller James of "James Calls In") very quickly slips out of it, entering Not Even Bothering with the Accent territory before sort of recovering it at the punchline. Lampshaded by Tracie: "...he sounded like a troll to begin with - I didn't like the accent; I thought it was a little bit weird on the..."
  • Pedophile Priest: The Atheist Experience (and The Non-Prophets podcast) regularly criticizes Catholic priests and Protestant ministers for this behavior.
  • Poe's Law: Matt's wife has called into the show at least once pretending to be a theist caller with a cookie cutter argument. Good luck picking her apart from the normal callers.
    • A lot of atheist trolls disguise themselves as theists with absurd worldview and make prank calls to the show, to see the hosts' reaction to it. Of course, when the hosts figure out the caller is a troll, they call them off and they let them know that the actual purpose of the show rather than to make fun at stereotypical Christians. But if the discussion is good, sometimes they'll continue it for the benefit of the audience.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Or rather, dye their beards pink. Matt did this when a breast cancer research group he was part of met their funding goal.
  • Running Gag: Serial prank caller James of "James Calls In" likes to start his calls by pretending to be seriously arguing his point, before moving on to revealing himself to be pranking the show by doing something silly, like screaming or making a reference to Harry or Jerry Platypus (obviously a play on the name of the cartoon character Perry the Platypus).
  • Selective Obliviousness: Special mention goes to a caller presented with the idea that the Christian God would have the power to stop child molestation but only waits until after the molester is dead to punish him, whereas the atheist hosts would prevent said molester from forcing himself on a child if they had the power. The caller then tries to assert that they don't know the kid isn't deserving of that treatment.
    Matt: "Goodbye you piece of shit!"
  • Seen It All: The most outrageous statements by the callers will typically get nothing more than a light chuckle or a cool request for clarification, with emotional statements more likely to come in response to especially annoying clichés. A quick run over the archive will show the reason for this: they really have heard everything.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: The hosts know their theology, know their philosophy, know a little about science without being scientists themselves, and aren't afraid to insult or drop a Precision F-Strike when warranted.
  • Spin-Off: Like The Atheist Experience? Check out The Non-Prophets Radio and also Godless Bitches, atheism from a feminist point of view.
  • The Deep South: They tape the show in Austin, Texas.
  • The Reason You Suck: Apart from the speeches related to child abuse mentioned above, Matt severely rebuked caller "Roderick" after catching him in the act of pranking the show in the guise of a "stupid Christian". He angrily explained that the show was meant to communicate with people and educate them and not to mock their beliefs.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Some callers have expressed their disdain for the hosts seemingly only taking calls from ignorant theists who don't know what they're talking about. Said callers are sure they'll do better.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Matt, for one episode, due to a summer camp fundraiser that various atheist groups were raising money for.