I have always felt most at home in communities of nonbelievers. In my very first-ever blog post in 2016, I said this for the first time.
The only problem is that I only know one atheist other than myself. I have almost no outlet for my discoveries or my questions. I hope that this blog acts as a way for me to go from being a rogue atheist to a member of a community of individuals who are either in a situation similar to my own or who were brave enough to be able to come out. I intend to share my experiences and discoveries with you as I make my way through works of atheistic literature, learn more about natural science, and form my own opinions and lifestyle choices based on my beliefs.
As I continue to examine the myths the circulate in the atheist community, it was inevitable that I would come across, and have my eyes opened by, God’s Philosophers: How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science by James Hannam (which in the US goes by the title The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution).
Being friends with people of different beliefs and opinions than us is usually seen as wholesome. I used to think this way when I viewed the world as a dichotomy of Christians and atheists. In a way, I had to see it like this because I was an atheist who knew, and therefore was friends with, almost only Christians. No Christian friends would have meant no friends.
For most of the time I’ve spent as an atheist, I’ve also identified as a secular humanist. However, the label of “humanist” has spent most of that time in the backseat. Even though I was a humanist, I preferred to use descriptors like “skeptic” or “curious atheist”. While I am still all of these, I’m beginning to really embrace my identity as a humanist for the first time.
It is a strange position to find myself in, trying to reconcile my values as an atheist and as an intersectional feminist. Allow me to explain.
In the beginning of this month, the French Senate passed a bill that, if made into a law, would enforce a sort of “secular dress code”. This amendment applies very specifically toward the rights of Muslim women, including:
Since I was a kid, I’ve had a tendency to get “obsessed” with various things. I think “obsessed” might be a harsh word for it, but it’s not entirely inaccurate: over the years I have become enamored with different book series, TV shows, and musicians in the sense that one could have thought that my being a fan of that thing was my main personality trait. As I’ve grown older, this zeal has gone more towards things like atheism, paleoanthropology, and most recently, everything Carl Sagan has ever written.
When a person leaves religion or loses their faith, I’ve found that they tend to go one of two ways. Some people lose interest in religion altogether and want to get as far away from it as possible. In a way, I think this is a shame, because I’m one of the people that goes the other way; I decided that I wanted to give religion a closer look. I turned back around after walking away to scrutinize the history of Christianity and determine which parts of it, if any, are really true. And what have I found?
After reading The Demon-Haunted World, I was hoping to find a book that was a bit more fast-paced before moving onto something else academic. I started reading a book that I had had on my shelves for a few months: The Peking Man is Missing by Claire Taschdjian. The Peking Man is a group of fossils that has gone through several names but is now classified as Homo erectus.
As you likely know, I recently finished reading Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark after it was suggested to me by many. For most of the book, I found myself making underline after underline, as Sagan (and in some cases, his beloved wife Ann Druyan) once again captured the awe one feels at the beauty of science and Nature. Additionally, everyone saying that his “foreboding” quotes are so applicable to modern times are correct as well; Sagan explains how only when a society is dedicated to science and skepticism can it stave off the grasp of authoritarian leadership. His stance is so eerily relevant that it feels appropriate for me to be re-reading these quotes on Halloween.
This week I are returning to my series where I examine the claims of everyone’s favorite creationists, Answers in Genesis, about human evolution. The purpose of this series is twofold: I want to learn more about paleoanthropology myself and how to better write about the subject, and I want to act as a resource for anyone who is questioning AiG’s claims but doesn’t know enough about human evolution to refute them.