Atheist Programmers

Can anyone tell me why so many programmers, software engineers, web designers and the like are devout theists? I spend a fair amount of my time searching the web for things like plugins, new themes and web design inspiration. Oddly, during these searches much more than half of the sites I come across are overt, campaigning theists. I dont mean they belong to people who “believe” but they are sites with blatant “I love God” type statements all over them. This also leads me to wonder what the other 40% of sites are run by — are Atheists such a minority in IT?

As a recent example, I found an interesting looking plugin (Post Information) which was a good few months old, so I thought I would go to the main blog to see if it was still in use (it doesn’t seem to be) or there was any info on it (there doesn’t seem to be).

However, on the main blog is a vast array of pages with text like:

Jesus Christ has a special place in the unfolding of history. History has a special place for Jesus. In fact, all of history is for Him (Colossians 1:16). He is not just a man nor is He just another religious leader.

Now, I am not going to turn this blog post into a simple anti-Theist post with loads of snide remarks. The person who made this blog did not force me to visit, they did not trick me into visiting, and they are not trying (as far as I saw) to pass of nonsensical woo as science. However, I am curious.

This is certainly not the first time it has happened, in fact it is almost the norm now to visit the home page for a plugin or similar and find lots of “I love Jesus” type messages. I have yet to come across a page which says “I am an atheist.” Is this a sign that designers (programmers etc) are more inclined to be theists? Is this a sign that theists make better programmers? Is this a sign that Atheists are simply more relaxed about their lack of beliefs?

Personally I think it is more the case that Atheists have no need to harp on about their imaginary friends and as a result, they simply don’t. Even if every site I come across which doesn’t have a “I heart Jesus” type thing is an Atheist, there are still a LOT of theists out there…

10 thoughts on “Atheist Programmers

  1. Maybe it is more a link between open source programming and trusting you will somehow get some form of reward for your goodness in sharing.

  2. Strange. Most programmer blogs I’ve seen, at least the good ones, are devoid of any mention of gods. Perhaps atheist programmers don’t care to express their religious beliefs.

  3. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. I’m a programmer but I have trained as a physicist
    and have worked with both science types and engineering/computer types.

    My hypothesis is that people who design things from scratch all day are biased to see a designer.

    Science per se works from the view point of skepticism and adversarial pursuit of truth. It is more condusive to the analyzing of assumptions and working from first principles.

    For what it’s worth sysadmins (who I work with now) tend to be more atheist than programmers since its hard believe in a benevolent deity or intelligent design when you try to manage computer networks, fight computer viruses and configure operating systems.

    My 2 pesos.

  4. Simen: I suspect that is a lot of it. The problem is, the ones which dont meantion God/religion could be either. The ones which do, are.

    I should point out, I am not using this post to attack religion (I save that for other posts…), but to express something which has intrigued me of late. From now on I will try to keep stats as to the number and type of sites I visit and if they have any obvious religious orientation.

  5. Well, this is an interesting referrer! I am the author of the blog and plugin you found.

    First off, I don’t use that plugin in my new theme so I need to change that link. Secondly, the blog with the plugin is my professional site, and the other one is wholly my personal site.

    I have a hard time seeing many programmers as theists, and anyone who perouses sites like Digg and Reddit can see that the loudest majority tend to be atheistic.

    It almost makes me laugh to see more atheists that care about the existence of God than many theists.

  6. Chris, I hope you (or anyone else) didn’t get the wrong impression from my post. This was not meant to be a criticism per se about Theist programmers, simply stating a curiousity that when I go round the theme designers, plugins etc., the vast majority have an overt (normally Christian) religious section.

    The loudest majority on Digg et al may well be atheists, but this is certainly not carried over the home pages I have visited.

    I am sorry I never made it sufficiently clear that it was your personal blog, I am sure few people were confused over this thought.

  7. Strangely enough, I don’t know any theistic programmers, although I know what you means about some of the sites out there.

    I wonder if their god helps them compile faster or gives them some insight into hidden APIs. Perhaps there’s a little known interpretation of the gospels that teaches a better threading or GUI paradigm…

  8. TW: Not a problem! I understood your intent. Let me know if that plugin works for you.

    PS. I’m taking down the link on that page, because I no longer use it on my main site. Good catch.

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