Russell Glasser
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Russell Glasser

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Russell Glasser
The Atheist Next Door
As a child growing up in Auburn, Alabama, Russell Glasser got his reputation as an outspoken atheist before Kindergarten was over.
“After this got out, every day after school for a few weeks, a little gang of kids would come up to me, and one of them would say, 'Do you believe in God?'
I’d just say, '...No.'
And then the leader would turn to the rest of them and say, 'SEE? Isn’t that WEIRD?' Then they’d come back the next day with a different group.”
Russell is a fourth-generation atheist. As a rotating host and regular contributor to The Atheist Experience and The Non-Prophets, he has spent around fifteen years publicly debating with believers of all stripes. During this time he's answered all the questions and heard all the misconceptions about atheists, such as: "Why do you hate God?” “If you don’t believe in God, then who created the world?” "Aren't you afraid you'll go to hell?” "How can you understand the difference between right and wrong without a God? What’s stopping you from going on a crime spree right now?”
Most people grow up in religious households, go to church all their lives, and are surrounded by other people who assume that there must be an all-powerful creator of the universe. Fewer than 2% of all Americans consider themselves to be atheists. Many atheists routinely face bullying and demonization along with basic confusion about what atheism means. Christian talk show hosts accuse atheists of being responsible for the evils of the world, including natural disasters; George Bush Sr. allegedly said that he didn't consider atheists to be real US citizens; and Jerry Falwell openly blamed atheists for 9/11.
But, says Russell, the truth is that a lot of intelligent and ethical people are atheists. Atheists think about the world in a different way than theists do, but that doesn’t make them enemies.
“We all want pretty much the same things: we want to live a good life, and we want to make the world safe for our children, and we don’t want our loved ones to be robbed, or victimized by physical violence. I don’t believe in God. But I believe that it’s possible to be friends with people who think differently from you, and I want to see a world where theists and atheists can come together on equal terms and talk through what’s best for all of us.”