I would say that 2020 has been a roller coaster for me, but honestly, the entire life of this blog feels like a roller coaster. This is because what I write about (which is all this blog is) changes and evolves as I change and grow up. I began The Closet Atheist Blog in November of 2016 with slight apprehension that I might one day run out of things to talk about in my specific niche of atheism, and I wondered what I would do then. Should I just end the blog? No, I would first change it—the content, maybe even the name?—instead of leaving it behind altogether.
As you know, I did just that. In May of 2019, I renamed The Closet Atheist to The Curious Atheist, and began using my real name, Rebekah K, instead of simply calling myself The Closet Atheist. This was a liberating change in name that followed a gradual change in both my content and in my heart over the previous months. I wanted to emphasize how my atheism acted as a door that led me to a greater curiosity about the grandeur of the natural world.
Perhaps selfishly, that didn’t end up being enough. For a while now, I have felt like only the “curious” part explained my blog, as the “atheist” part became less and less salient over time. If you scroll through my posts from the last six months, you’ll see that I have not written anything that is strictly about why God doesn’t exist or about why religion is toxic. If you scroll back further, the toxicity of the fundamentalist evangelical Christianity of Ken Ham and Rick Warren will rear its head. I chuckle at my past self when I realize that what I’ve been criticizing is a very niche, very specific—and yes, very harmful—flavor of Christianity, but thanks to the progressive Christians in my life and in my feeds, I’m learning that that’s all it is. Any Christian with a modicum of empathy or logic might actually relate to my skepticism, my social justice commentary, and my passion for science. That is to say, religion is not my enemy. Not anymore.
I want to pause here and share with you two things that might explain better where I’m coming from in shedding the blog name The Curious Atheist altogether. The first is my unintentionally bi-annual posts introspecting who I am as an atheist, as a blogger, and as a person. That’s here. (Start with the oldest post and work your way forward.) The second thing is this YouTube video by Jimmy Snow, formerly known only as Mr. Atheist, explaining why he decided not to have “atheist” in his channel name anymore. I obviously can’t relate to every single reason he has (like trying to get sponsorships and collabs as a YouTuber), but a lot of what he says explains exactly how I feel.
So since “atheist” can be a turnoff for people, I don’t want it to be the reason why people are afraid to read my posts or buy my merch, especially since I think anyone with an open mind can relate to my content. I’m still an atheist, but my identity as just an atheist has been overtaken by my identity as a skeptic, a liberal, a science lover, a reader, and an inquisitive person.
That being said, I introduce to you my blog’s new name… She Seeks Nonfiction: A Skeptic’s Quest for Science, Wonder, & Books! If I’m being honest, I had a hard time coming up with a name, because I don’t know how to encapsulate my wide range of topics and interests into a title that portrays them all. (For example, I wish I could have included both Nonfiction and Skeptic in the title itself, but I couldn’t find a way to make it flow.) Here’s why I think She Seeks Nonfiction is a good fit…
Reason #1: Altogether, it acts as a subtle nod to my previous subtitle under The Curious Atheist, which was Freely Seeking Truth. I also liked the idea of including “She” as a way to show my pronouns and imply a little bit of feminism. Furthermore, I decided to break away from the format of “The [Adjective] [Person]” so that there wouldn’t be any confusion that my name and my blog’s title were interchangeable.
Reason #2: “Nonfiction” is my way of being openly against things that have no evidence. As always, this can include parts of the bible and the myth that America was founded as a Christian nation, but it can also encompass my condemnation of any unfounded tomfoolery, like astrology, societal myths, and conspiracy theories. Unfortunately, one can be an atheist and still believe in some really sketchy ideas, so I’ve found that applying skepticism only toward religion falls far short of really freely seeking truth.
Reason #3: On the flip side, seeking nonfiction means to me filling in that space that opens up for a person when they’ve found that they don’t believe what they used to. I haven’t believed in God for years, and I’d say my new beliefs have been pretty established by now. But more than just believe in this or that, I love to learn what there is to know. I want to learn all I can about astronomy, paleoanthropology, evolution, and the history of science, Christianity, racism, the United States, the human race, and the universe at large. How do I do this?
Reason #4: Books. Of course, when you see “nonfiction”, the first thing you think of is books. My blog has largely centered around books for almost four years, but its title has never given that away. One of my problems with my old Curious Atheist Instagram account was that I posted almost exclusively about books, but no one found my account because you had to get past that scary title of “atheist” first. I hope that this can open up my writing to be about whatever I want to delve into that day, without feeling that trace of guilt when I never actually mention atheism, only skepticism and curiosity.
Even more than the title itself, what I will miss most will probably be my old CA logo, a form of which I have used since the very beginning. Obviously it wouldn’t have made sense with this new title whose initials are SSN (yeah, yeah, not a very sentimental acronym), but I was actually very excited to change up my logo even as I mourned the retirement of the old CA one. I’m a graphic designer, but illustration-based logos are one of my weakest skills. That said, I’m very proud of what I came up with!
With the same color scheme and line-art style as the Curious Atheist logo, I wanted this to be my first logo that expresses what my blog is about to potential readers even if they haven’t seen the name. Hopefully it speaks for itself, but I was glad that after many hours I was able to communicate how books open my eyes to science and can be my means of getting to the stars without having to go anywhere. More importantly—and this is what I’ve always loved about writing—this blog is my way of taking that wonder that I feel and passing it on to you.