Today marks my 250th blog post. Throughout these 250 posts, I have branched out to a lot of different topics, from reviewing books to exposing pseudoscience to debunking creationism to explaining how the atheist community can better practice their values. I know that there is some common theme that ties these topics all together (beyond the fact that it’s what I feel like talking about), but I have a hard time finding a way to sum it all up.
I challenged myself a few days ago to think of a single word that encompasses everything that my blog has been about for the past couple years. The best word I could come up with is “humanism”. As I said in a recent post, humanism encompasses nearly everything I stand for: progressive values, appreciation of science and skepticism, and living a fulfilling life without religion.
So humanism best explains me and what I stand for. While I wholeheartedly think it is a great thing to be a humanist, I feel that it is not really my goal to persuade others to become humanists as well. Instead, I have been adamant about trying to instill in people the values of curiosity and skepticism. So many of my posts, which often take hours of contemplating, ultimately ended up with the lesson of just being skeptical. This doesn’t mean being an atheist, it just means using reason and logic to determine what seems true and what seems suspicious. It means it’s fine to believe things, but not to the extent that you can’t question your own beliefs.
I believe that skepticism and curiosity go hand in hand. They work best when used together. Curiosity is the drive to go and search for answers and come to your own conclusions, and skepticism is what keeps you from getting carried away if those conclusions land you at the farming supply store buying ivermectin.
Both curiosity and skepticism have been incorporated into my blog’s branding at one point or another. Until December of 2020, my blog’s name was The Curious Atheist. When I then changed the name to She Seeks Nonfiction, I had wanted to be able to incorporate both “nonfiction” and “skeptic” into the title, but I couldn’t find a way to make it flow. Instead, “skeptic” made it into the tagline: “A Skeptic’s Quest for Science, Wonder, & Books”. Grammatically, I couldn’t really make “curiosity” fit anywhere, so “wonder” was somewhat of a stand-in.
Even with curiosity and skepticism as the two biggest values of “my brand”, after writing several posts that go against various beliefs that are seen as canon in the atheist community, I realized that there are some values that many of us are generally missing. I don’t have anyone particular in mind, but it seems that so many people have an issue dealing with the fact that they could be wrong. From what I’ve seen, this is an especially toxic and prevalent issue in communities of educated white men.
No one is immune from being wrong, and it can be harder to change your mind when you’re always convinced you’re right. Being an atheist usually adds another layer of feeling that you’re smarter and more moral than everyone else. It’s just dangerous. As an atheist woman, I really want to help our community shed this hubris.
I realized that I needed to incorporate the word “humble” into my motto. Until this revelation, I hadn’t really had the goal of developing a motto, but I thought it would be amazing to make it so that when someone thinks of me and my blog, they are reminded to be curious, skeptical, and humble. If there’s anything you get out of my writing, get that. I want this to be my message to the world; I want to be known for promoting these three things.
With this, I introduce my new tagline: Be curious. Be skeptical. Be humble.