‘I’m an atheist, get me outta here!’

Religion should not be a subject for entertainment programmes.cartoon

These were the words thundered by Hamza Aktan, Chairman of the High Board of Religious Affairs in Turkey, after he learned details of a game show aimed at converting atheists into believers.

Those competing to lure 10 non-believers from the path of godlessness will be a Muslim imam, a Christian priest, a rabbi and a Buddhist monk.

In Penitents Compete (Tovbekarlar Yarisiyor in Turkish), the religious leaders will seek to convert at least one of ten  atheists to their respective faiths.

According to this report, those that crack will win a pilgrimage to the spiritual home of their newly-chosen faith; Muslims will go to Mecca, Jews and Christians will go to Jerusalem and Buddhists will go to Tibet.

Religious authorities in Turkey are not amused by this barmy twist on the reality game show format – and the Religious Affairs Directorate is refusing to provide an imam for the show.

A team of theologians will ensure that the atheists are truly non-believers and are not just seeking fame or a free holiday.

Said spoil-sport Hamza Aktan:

Hamza Aktan

Hamza Aktan

Doing something like this for the sake of ratings is disrespectful to all religions.

But the makers of the game show are unrepentant and reject claims that the contest, scheduled to begin broadcasting in September, will cheapen religion.

Kanal T TV chief executive Seyhan Soylu said:

We are giving the biggest prize in the world, the gift of belief in God. We don’t approve of anyone being an atheist. God is great and it doesn’t matter which religion you believe in. The important thing is to believe.

Some 200 people have so far applied to take part in the show and the ten contestants will be chosen next month.

22 responses to “‘I’m an atheist, get me outta here!’”

  1. Hannah - 20 says:

    This spawns a debate on if not beleiving in god is a belief or not. i think we can still have belief, and not believe in god. I think its highly offensive that he says that he doesn't approve of anyone being an athiest. surely the choice of a religion is as important and life-changing as choosing not to believe in any god. Perhaps the choice to be an athiest could be seen to be exactly the same as the choice to be muslim, christian, jewsish or buddhist.

  2. Neil says:

    I hate when people say, "The important thing is to believe."

    Faith is only a virtue if you like getting conned.

  3. barriejohn says:

    Did he really say: "God is great and it doesn`t matter which religion you believe in"? I`m speechless – a very rare occurrence!!

  4. Talitha says:

    Of course it matters which God you choose.
    There is only one choice.
    If you're wrong or if you don't believe you go to Hell.
    Deuteronomy 4:24
    For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.


    Bathe in the warm blood of Jesus Christ and get Salvation.

  5. Callisto says:

    I didn't choose to be an atheist. I was born that way and grew up that way, with a mind of my own to think for myself and see the vacuous lying gullible deluded garbage that religion really is. the biggest poisonous self-pitying self-righteous con job ever enacted against the human race, ever forced into the clear unsullied minds of children.
    If he doesn't approve of people being atheists, then let his god come and convert me, not some bird-brained game show host. Let's see how well his all-powerful god does when put up against this very mortal atheist. Come and get me, you useless non-existent imaginary thing you

  6. Stonyground says:

    That argument is known as Pascall's wager, it has been comprehensively refuted but for some reason, no matter how many times you shoot it down someone always stands it up again.

  7. barriejohn says:

    Yes – I can just see the victims of Bernard Madoff`s gigantic con subscribing to this view as well!

  8. barriejohn says:

    But Sister Talitha and I KNOW that the Bible`s true, Mr Stonyground, because THE BIBLE tells us so!!!

  9. Rozi says:

    They've done similar things in the UK; 'Make me a Christian' 'Make me a Muslim'. Why don't they do one called 'Make me an Atheist'? Just to redress the balance.

  10. Talitha says:

    Why Mr Barriejohn I do believe you have brought a few tears to my eyes.
    Your words are like a breath of fresh air.
    I do believe I can make a Born again, again True Christian™ out of you yet.

  11. barriejohn says:

    Have you seen the cartoons at yet Sister Talitha? They will have you wetting your Mormon undergarments!!

    (PS You have to scroll down a bit to see them now!)

  12. MarkPogue says:

    Anyone with a thinking mind would never believe such crap.

    Trying persuading him into believing in Santa while you're at it.

  13. MarkPogue says:

    That's my place and I'll always point out the ridiculous there.

  14. Angela_K says:

    What, the TV companies make a balanced programme for a change – no they don't know how.

  15. barriejohn says:

    It`s a great site!

  16. barriejohn says:

    When I was a Christian there were people who, without any irony whatsoever (fundmentalists being VERY deficient in the humour department!) came up with Pascall`s Wager as a serious argument for belief in Christ!! (They thought they were being very clever, actually.) Quite apart from (a) the weakness of this argument as a compelling reason for committing your whole life to a belief system of such importance: (b) the total lack of any awareness of sin, or repentance, both of which are necessary precursors to conversion in the New Teastament: and (c) the fact that it is quite demonstrable that belief in a complete delusion has NOT in millions of cases enhanced people`s lives down through the years, and has caused many (myself included) untold psychological damage – there is also the rather inconvenient fact that, having said "OK, I`m going to believe in God just in case He does exist, as a sort of insurance policy for the hereafter (if I then find that it does, in fact, exist)", you are now left with another problem – which of the thousands of gods put forward as being in existence do I actually "believe in"? You can`t worship them all!!

  17. William Harwood says:

    The DLYCs at the BBC and ITV (as in North America) lean over backward to pander to the 10 percent of the population who are Catholic, the 6 percent who are non-Catholic Christian, the 15 percent who are Muslim, and even the 0.003 percent who are Jewish. (Whether they have started showing any respect for the 10 percent who are gay, I am uncertain.) But they blatantly and callously discriminate against the 36 percent who are nontheist. Is it because they are aware that only nontheists can be trusted not to firebomb their buildings or perpetrate other atrocities against those with whom they disagree? Or it is simply because they are terrified that their imagnary Sky Fuhrer will zap them with a thunderbolt if they fail to fellate it correctly?

  18. GNG says:


    It's been 2 days since you posted this message. How did god get on? I'm guessing you're still an Atheist. He's really not very good for an omnipotent being is he?

  19. GNG says:

    Isn't there another little problem with this idea Barrie. This god is able to read your thoughts. There is nothing you can hide from it therefore, it knows you're only choosing to believe because your scared not to and not because you actually accept it as you lord and god and saviour and all that crap. So, despite choosing to believe and wasting your life on this garbage, you're doomed to the big bad fire anyway! You might as well just go with your feelings and at least enjoy your life here before you are tossed into the lake of fire rather than have a miserable life repenting and singing hyms before being tossed into the lake of fire!

    Godless not gormless

  20. barriejohn says:

    I think I covered this with (b) the need to be genuinely "converted", GNG! You have to have a genuine change of heart to be a "believer", which is what is so ridiculous about so many people in the UK saying that they are "C of E". What on earth do they really mean? If they really believed it all then their lives would be VERY different!!

  21. GNG says:

    Sorry if I missed something barrie but I have to say that the (b) I can see above says:

    "(b) the total lack of any awareness of sin, or repentance, both of which are necessary precursors to conversion in the New Teastament"

    Do you mean this is what you meant by this or have I missed something entirely!?

  22. barriejohn says:

    I thought you were saying the same thing – that you need to be GENUINELY converted. You can`t just say: "I`ll believe in this drivel, just in case it proves to be right!" It would be a bit like dressing up an orang utan in a guardsman`s uniform and putting him on parade – quite convincing at first sight, but not likely to fool people for long!!