As I mentioned yesterday, while I am not new to considering myself an atheist, I most certainly am new to really thinking critically about it, reading and writing about it. In the past, when I kept a LiveJournal, I would mention it here and there, but it wasn’t something that I particularly engaged people about. Wes also has been an atheist forever and so there wasn’t really any debate about it at home. We both thought the same and were comfortable in that.
When I met Shaun he was wearing one of many atheist themed t-shirts that he owns. He was the first very out atheist I had ever met. Not to say that Wes and I (or a few of our other atheist friends) were hiding it, but it wasn’t something that we actively advertised. When the subject of religion came up, we would always announce our atheism immediately, without shame. But we didn’t have t-shirts and buttons to show it. I used to have a Crazy Eddie’s Electronics t-shirt that I really liked…but…that doesn’t seem to be relevant here.
It was around then that I started adding several prominent atheist/skeptic bloggers to my Google Reader. I asked for suggestions of more and Shaun pointed me here. What I found was, well, a lot of stuff that was over my head on first glance. I would have to read sections of posts over and over again to understand them. As I read and got to know Shaun more, I realized that it wasn’t that these things were over my head, but rather that Shaun (having earned an undergrad degree in religious anthropology and a Master’s degree in philosophy) simply had a breadth of knowledge that would take me an eternity to catch up on. What I’m saying is, I read really slowly and don’t prioritize reading in my daily life. I’ve been trying to finish The Stand for over a year. It’s going to happen! I BELIEVE IN MYSELF. It’s not that I don’t see the value (far from it…I have started to change my bad reading habits this year. I have started with keeping up with several blogs), it’s just that I have a lot going on, so I pick what is the best or most satisfying use of my time at any given moment.
So when Shaun asked me to start blogging here, I think I initially laughed at him. Or, at least, I did so in my head. I do that a lot. I thought about it though and decided that it would be a good experience, and that it would encourage me to write more, both here and on my other blog. He said that he wanted diverse points of view on here, which apparently meant his, Ginny’s point of view fueled by her past and her current master’s program, and my “hilarious” one. OK, I’ll bite. I can see the value in that. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy hilarity?
I’ve written a couple of posts, and I’m happy with them. But seeing them next to Shaun and Ginny’s both cracked me up and intimidated me. Note that it isn’t stopping me, but there was something odd about seeing it in such stark contrast. As I wrote my most recent post, I kept thinking, “Oy, I’m about to make some statement about religion…Do I even know what the hell I’m talking about? Eh, probably not, but once I get into the part about the New Age, well…no one’s going to touch that with a ten foot aura.”
Can one measure auras in feet? Can they be measured in metric, or is that too logical? Clearly they should stick with imperial units, but instead of feet, they should be measured in fathoms…or even better, hogsheads because…what the fuck do you use hogsheads for anyway and why is there a conversion for them in every composition book? TELL ME!
Right, so, intelligent discourse.
So as is the seeming tradition, I was having a morning text conversation with Shaun as I ate my cereal at my desk at work and he commuted to his job. These conversations are an infinite source of entertainment for me as the subjects are never predictable. Today I mentioned my insecurity about being the idiot writer on here and this is what ensued:
Me: Good morning! After reading through your and Ginny’s posts from the weekend, I am once again feeling like the dumb one. But if my role is comic relief, then so be it!
Shaun: It’s not like we are actually smarter, it’s just that we tend to be less hilarious.
Me: I think seeing the posts next to each other showed me the stark contrast. Not that I’m not writing things with depth, I am just aware of how little I actually know.
Shaun: Well, if we were posting on a blog about chemistry or toilets, the tables would be quite turned!
Me: Haha, awesome. I’m glad this is the legacy I have created for myself.
Shaun: Your arcane toilet knowledge is legendary!
Me: You know, it’s something I’ve worked really hard at. Soon bathroom activities will be incomprehensible like in Demolition Man and people will yearn for a simpler time. I will be able to tell those stories. It’s called the Folk Process, or something.
Shaun: So, in the future we won’t take shits? That’s either awesome or disturbing, but either way it is fodder for science fiction.
Me: Dude, I don’t know how the three seashells work either. I’d be screwed in that future.
So, as you can see, Shaun has invited a person who references Demolition Man in text message when it’s really not warranted to write here. Here’s the promise I will make: I will continue to read and learn, and I will always try to back up my statements with evidence. But really, there’s a whole lot I don’t know. I realize everyone can (and should) say that, but I’m talking contextually to the rest of this blog. I think that writing here will inspire me to go after more knowledge. Sometimes gaining this knowledge will drive me nuts (I have been going through a period of growth recently where I keep getting disappointed in people and feeling hopeless about the world, but I think it will result in me feeling stronger), but ultimately, it’s always worth it. Choosing ignorance never makes sense to me. Why would you want to be in the dark when you don’t have to be? Because it’s easier? I suppose, but that never seemed easy to me because I always knew that the answers were there if you wanted them…and I always want them.
Stay tuned for a detailed critical essay of Judge Dredd. Now that will be some fine literature!