Who are you, what brought you here, where are you coming from, when were you made aware of AU, why did you decide to join...
Hi and Happy Saturday!
I was born an atheist, like everybody else. When I was three, my parents put me into a nursery school that was run by Christians who told me I had to say a prayer before I could get my pudding. That confirmed my atheism, as it was quite clear to me that the older people were trying to coerce me into something that obviously wasn't attractive in its own right.
I grew up in communities in Upstate New York where Christians commonly and flamboyantly used government to promote their religion. My middle school biology teacher was a right wing preacher who taught Creationism. My high school handed out New Testaments and had Christian revival preachers come to deliver sermons at school assemblies. Yes, these were public schools.
I married a Christian woman and we had three children together. She was constantly trying to pull the family into Christian religious practice, and as a compromise I attended a Unitarian Universalist church with her for five years. Even that supposedly tolerant church was hostile toward atheists and essentially delivered a watered down version of Christianity with only a very rare nod to other religious traditions.
I never told my kids what to believe, but they saw right through it on their own. All three of them are now young adults, and non-religious. Their mother grew angry about this, and the harder she tried to push her religion at the kids, the worse her relationship with them became. This was a large part of our divorce.
I've seen this same dynamic play out at the national level. Christians seem to be panicking as they see the USA becoming more culturally diverse and less centered around Christianity, and in their efforts to push the country back into churches, they're alienating more people, and becoming yet more radical in response, in a cycle that's brought us to the point where many Christian Nationalists are now calling for civil war.
I'm producing a simple podcast called Stop Christian Nationalism to explore this phenomenon.
I'm also conducting interviews with atheists for a second podcast that is not yet released. This second podcast will focus on the values that atheists do believe in, to refute the idea that being an atheist means that you don't believe in anything.
interesting story. About the "don't believe in anything" statement. For me it's not about the anything as much as it's about the belief. I'm simply not comfortable accepting something as true just because someone told me to. Furthermore I try to "believe" as little as possible in general. I'm comfortable with knowing things and not knowing things.
Hi! Glad I found this space. I'd enjoyed Agnostic dot com for at least a year starting in 2019. Many great people had been there, including otherwise isolated heretics. But between the interface that buried substantial talk under chatter, and the usual strains that make virtual communities explode and implode, it got barren. The last time I peeked in there, someone had mentioned AU.
I'm no longer active, but I used to have a lot going on, all in New York City. I started NYC Atheists, which grew into a nonprofit; liaised with other secularist groups; and cofounded a freethought radio show, "Equal Time for Freethought" on WBAI-FM. I donated several thousand, often freethought-friendly books to a couple of hundred local atheist/humanist/etc. groups and to prisoner-reading programs. But eventually I began winding down any such volunteering/organizing, including abortion-clinic defense, public-parks cheerleading, raw-milk smuggling, food-cooperative work, and anticult education (sorry, Raelians).
I'm lucky to have a great home and work (I edit trade books) life, and have focused on that for the past several years. One spouse (we met at an atheist Meetup), one cat.
Good place here, & good to read your story.
Nice to meet you Josh.
Good to read what you had written, an interesting life.