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AtheismPlus

August 23, 2012 1 comment

AtheismPlusAlthough I am an atheist and subscribe to so many of the sentiments I hear expressed by many online atheists / skeptics, I dislike assigning labels to myself, because:

1.  A label has little explanatory value:  it rarely stands alone without further explanation;

2.  Labels gather  “connotations” and “assumptions” along the way;

3.  Others using the same label are not necessarily expressing opinions I agree with.

Having used a label, I probably won’t be given the opportunity to explain or even be aware that an incorrect (to me) assumption has been made.  Equally problematic is if one person says something that I vastly disagree with from my “group”, I am put in the position of either defending it or explain why I distance myself from it.

So, by using a label for myself, say atheist, I still have to explain that it means only “no belief”; I still need to explain (or demonstrate) that I’m not evil or without morals; and I have to be clear that I am not advocating for Ayn Rand or necessarily agree with Thunderf00t, DJ Grothe, Richard Dawkins, Paula Kirby, Alain de Botton (and the list goes on).  Ultimately, I may even have to decide at what point to remove myself from the label.

On the other hand, I do have many convictions that, to my thinking, result from or are informed by, being an atheist – I’m not even sure if these things can be disentangled.  The values expressed by some organizations, say the Centre for Inquiry (CFI) for instance, are things to which I definitely ascribe – at the motherhood level, but, I have been tricked before.  In fact, the week I decided to become a card-carrying, paid up member of CFI Canada, the President, Michael Payton, made some twitter remarks that I found distasteful and disturbing.  This after years of sitting on the fence!  It wasn’t just the comment, but the thinking behind it that made it possible to say – from the President no less.  I almost revoked my membership immediately.  However, he did make a retraction and apologized though, but I think it is still problematic if I was planning to become more active in CFI, which is unlikely now.  It is dangerous territory.  What to do?  Continue on alone and invisible, try again to find a group that fits or just remain independent and ineffective?  It has been okay being quiet as a fish, but I don’t care for it any more.  There are real issues out there that I want to address and sitting at my computer slapping my forehead and rolling my eyes is not doing anything except implicitly allowing it.

So, once more into the breach…I have decided after some deliberation to put my trust in this label AtheismPlus.  I’ve always liked what I hear from all of these individuals and agree with and have learned from them for a number of years now.  So, for what it is worth, sign me up!

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Categories: Atheism, AtheismPlus, Social Tags:

Perspectives

July 31, 2012 Leave a comment

I’m 5′ nothing, but I’ve never felt short.  In fact, I’ve always felt rather nimble and compact.  I like being my size.  It’s perfect for me.  My husband on the other hand, is 6′ 2″.  He is also comfortable with his height – it suits him.

A few years ago now, he grabbed the video camera (it was usually me behind the lens) and did an impromptu taping of my Mum, sister and me (among whom I’m the “tallest”) goofing around one Christmas in the kitchen.  He slowly walked into the kitchen, panned across the top of the fridge and cupboards, then angled down to capture our silliness.  As I reviewed the footage of the evening, I gasped in amazement at the short clip.  I’d never seen the top of the fridge or viewed the cupboards from that angle.  When the camera angled down over the tops of our heads and we all looked up at him – way up – it seemed so strange.  We looked different.  I was struck immediately by this amazing glimpse into a world I had never imagined. It was all laid out and happening beneath him.   What a place it was – the room was familiar and yet so different. Even the people seemed different too; smaller and more vulnerable somehow.   I felt rather large and grandiose from that angle, more in control with almost a feeling of power, arrogance…and that was from 5 minutes of footage.   I looked over at him in amazement and said, “Is this how you perceive the world all the time?”  He looked surprised and said, “Yes, don’t you?”

He goes through a world slightly small for him.  Everything is in easy reach.  Most people look up to him.  I realized that although we see and hear the same things, we experience the world through such a slightly different lens  and  it interacts with us differently.  How could this not affect us?  We have often talked about this eye-opening glimpse into each other’s world in numerous conversations over the years.  I have an appreciation of how the world appears to him and vice versa.  In this context, some things make more sense to each of us.  It takes a bit of effort, but it is possible to see the world as someone else does, but first you have to be aware of that difference, even if it is sometimes a bit more subtle than the height difference between my husband and I.

To say that harassment doesn’t happen because you don’t see it is not being skeptical.  It is being oblivious.

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