Friday, October 7, 2016

Karen Loethen

atheist blog



You are invited to my new blog Carin' Loathen'.
I decided to start a new blog in an effort to keep this blog a generally unmuddied blog about atheist parenting and homeschooling. I enjoy blogging, I love my friends and readers, and I want to expand the topics and issues that I write about. I will feel freer on the new blog to stray from my main niche and to explore anything else. And that sounds fun.



As for the title of my new blog: I have an unusual name, a name that sounds a great deal like the words Carin' and Loathin', so I decided to use that. Kind of weird, kind of silly. Kind of fitting.

Please meet me over there!



Friday, September 23, 2016

Thank You For Reading

atheist blog
Dear Friends, It is time to end this blogging journey I have been taking with you. I sincerely thank you for your time and friendship and good will. I have had the honor of meeting several people who read my blog and we've become friends and that's just so...cool.

Karen





 You are invited to my new blog
Carin' Loathin'
 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Forever College Student

atheist blog
My daughter is in college right now at a local community college and my son will be starting in January. I took a class this summer and I will take another class this January at the same time as John. SO I've been on campus this fall for a number of reasons. I LOVE being on a college campus. Can I please be a Forever College Student?

First of all because the vibe is so fresh and exciting and fun and second because the people are so interesting! And Third because I love to learn things. These three people in the pic are just a few of the really amazing people I met and talked to the other day when I was helping at the brand new Freethinker's Club on campus. You should  meet the two guys who started the club, Kyle and Evan: WOW. These two young men are so amazing. I love seeing their desire to do things coupled with their can do attitudes coupled (tripled?) with their actual actions to make things happen. Very admirable.

Kyle
Liz and John and I have talked about it and they are both interested in the Freethinker's Club and they don't mind if I participate. On one hand I feel as though I might be nosing my way into the club when I should leave it to the younger kids, on the other hand I have met some really nice people, a few of which are older and who I would like to see again as friends, and on the third hand I have some stuff to offer the group. I'm excited about it; it's a far cry from the ridiculous sorority I joined back in the '80s.  LOL

I was also considering participating in another club that I interacted with on campus, though the kids aren't interested in that one at all...am I nuts? Am I reliving my youth? Are you jealous?  :)

My husband is happy for me to have the interest and I'm frickin' delighted that I have the ability to follow my bliss in this way. The Freethinkers Club is very new and I'm excited to see what the new members want to do with it. Will it be more social, social activism, informational, service, educational, political? We'll see.



Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Patheos

atheist blog
What a waste of time.
I was looking at some Patheos posts tonight and I can see that just about anybody can post just about anything. People are posting opinion pieces that read more like uninformed rants than researched and educated articles. I'm glad I don't generally waste my time there.


Even though I had flipped around and skimmed several posts, it wasn't until I got to a piece on homeschooling that I decided to say something here about it. The author of the article is Bert Nobody simply repeating the usual nonsense about socialization, how badly-prepared parents are to teach their children, and, my favorite, how parents already have five years of brainwash time for their kids and now those kids need their parents to lose control of their minds and send them to school, damn it. I'm going to give the author the benefit of the doubt that he is specifically referring to politics and religion, but I think I'm being generous there.

But still, what a crock. The author has no connection to homeschool (from what I can tell) and generally seems to focus his interests on politics, religion, and computer programming. Why should we read anything that he writes about homeschooling? 

For the same reason why you wouldn't read anything I write about Linux or C++.


Another post I skimmed at Patheos was about Josh Duggar. 
Maybe Patheos is a wonderful resource for sharing ideas and exploring current events. But from my few minutes on the site I doubt I'll be back much because it looks more like those newspapers at the grocery store check out lane.

Maybe you know of some good writers on Patheos...?

Saturday, September 3, 2016

I'm Writing a Book

atheist parenting
I can't decide if this is a ridiculous idea or not, but I've decided to write a book for atheist parents. Does that sound crazy? Are there just too many books like that? Do I have anything at all to say? 

I don't know.
I know that the cool thing to do is to work on it and mention it just as it's about to be published...I'm not that cool.
There is nothing like writing to make you quite certain that you, actually, shouldn't be writing. Sorry for the crude metaphor but it's like hanging your ass out of the window and hoping that someone would pay to see it up close. Writing is such a vulnerable thing. Even writing a blog like this makes me feel quite vulnerable at times; now consider an entire book!

Do I have anything fresh to say? Yes, I thiiiiink I do.
Is my writing readable? I don't know, I hope so.

Would there be a market for a book on atheist parenting?
I think so. When I started parenting as an atheist almost twenty years ago I would have paid real dollars for a book like this. There are more books available now. But there are also more people coming out of the closet and looking for some guidance, community, wisdom...


I have to admit that I've been reading some atheist parenting books over the last month and I'm not very impressed with some of them; while I'm super impressed with others... 


So I started this project; I've been working on a book for a week or so and I'm fairly happy with it but I could use some input. What could I write about? What are subjects or topics or questions that interest you? What questions do you still have? What kind of information did you look for? Also, if I posted some questions or polls on this blog, would you answer them to help me out?

YES, I'm looking for ideas for more content.  :)

But even more, would you read a book by me? Would you recommend it to people? Am I too scattered to take seriously? Do I even need to be all that serious? I don't know...
I would truly LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear from you.



Please comment below OR send your comments to me at:
karen.thesecularparent (at) gmail.com


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Mike McHargue

atheist blog
Today on Facebook my friend asked her atheist friends to give her some thoughts on Mike McHargue, this guy who is claiming to be an atheist-now-believer-in-Jesus based on a moment on the beach with an indescribable light, a moment that he considers mystical, a connection with god.
Here's the video my friend posted.

I'd never heard of the guy, but I had some time so I watched a couple of interviews with him and some of his brief media videos. He seems to have a nice little wave of notoriety going on. Seems he has been podcasting for some time on a show called Ask Science Mike. On iTunes I see over 80 podcasts.

I don't know how Mike claims to be an atheist when he's clearly been podcasting as a Christian for over a year... But I admit that I don't know the guy. Maybe he's just building up his audience in anticipation of release of his book Finding God in the Waves: How I Lost My Faith and Found It Again Through Science. Wouldn't it be great if that sold millions? 

Call me a skeptic (OK, you're a skeptic) but this whole thing sounds like a giant set up, a performance designed to capture a very specific audience. Mike McHargue clearly states in a second clip on his youtube channel that he has written this book for people who are in that gray area, in that area where science and social media has begun to get to you, to make sense, to inspire doubt. This book was written for those people who are beginning to see the light...this book is for you. So he says.

This entire campaign seems to me like a carefully orchestrated piece of propaganda designed to snare those people who are struggling with belief. It is a campaign designed to use the word science to comfort those who can no longer ignore science's validity. And I find that loathsome, disgusting, and incredibly manipulative.

Feeling a sense of the sublime, on the beach and whatever his vague claims are, are human feelings. I feel the sublime in many places. Those places, in no way, are a god to me. Pure nature is breathtakingly huge and beautiful and terrible and beyond our current comprehension. STILL, not a god. I promise you, a moment of awe would never make an atheist suddenly become a believer in any supernatural story and no freethinker would ever go back to the bonds of mythology that ensnare religious minds. I despise it when believers claim to be atheists in order to prove that atheism can be overcome by faith.
I do doubt Mike McHargue. I think that he is marketing to a huge group of people today: the people who are watching religious claims receding in the light of knowledge and the people who are openly or secretly doubting what they have been taught to believe...

Just a few cents in a few moments of thought.




Wednesday, August 31, 2016

On Fleek

atheist blog
Or An Fleak
Or En Phlyque.
Or whatever. Which ever way I would write it I would be wrong. It's all about generational identity; I'm not supposed to get it.

Sometime during the late 80s my younger sister and I were at a stage performance somewhere in our small little hometown. She was about 18 so I was about 25. The stage set background had all kinds of hep symbols and things that made the show (which was a very old show) look edgy and cool. Among the words and symbols on the set pieces was the round-shaped word Phish. I asked my sister what that was and she said to me It's an underground band; you don't know who they are.

My rude but obvious reply was Well, there it is. The fun's over; I know about it now.


I assume that most recent generations of teens have their own identifying secret codes, language, music, fashion, etc. My own generation had the cave paintings at Lascaux. We know what that shit means, but we ain't saying. There are hidden symbols among the paintings but you have to know where to look to decode it. It's something that only we know.

I've been thinking about this a bit tonight and I'm thinking that it might have something to do with the general angstiness of the teen years; like even though we don't have anything else we still identify with us. Which makes me wonder if it is a phenomenon that has been around in one way or another forever and for always or if it's a more recent development. Have humans in the teen years always experienced the what is it all about...thing and then have they created meaning and identity in their own way? 

Did Nefertiti's six daughters say to their annoying ruler of a parent It's a SUN thing; you wouldn't understand? Did Tacitus's children tell their respected elder quod suus ' a juventute, with attitude? I know that Galileo had one daughter and I know that she told him Thou aren'tst even close to understanding me, Father. And surely Hermann Göring's daughter lamented es ist außerdem ein Geheimnis, Sie verstehen nicht , Vater. And certainly the Jolie-Pitt children have their own secret language that their parents don't know about. 

Generational identity.
It does seem that these identifying markers are moving quickly, though, rather than every twenty years or so, seems like a new set of cultural markers seem to pop up every five years or so. Thanks to social media, most likely. The usual cultural identities are based on language usage, fashion, music, shared specific values and trends, the general climate and cultural events of an era, poetry/books/film, and a general mindset. I promise you these logger beards won't always be considered so hawt because fads such as this pass so quickly. Just moments ago we were wearing giant shoulder pads and earrings that looked like cough drops. Confidently. 

I'm not sure when generations started being named by the media, surely it started before the Baby Boomers, Generation X, and the Millennials. I understand that the term Generation Alpha is being considered for the next generation already. What if they want to be known as something else? Surely social media has its own power, not just spreading culture but also creating it...Hmmmm.

So if we study generations, do we impact them?  Hmmmmm.
Does looking at the phenomenon of generational identity somehow falsify any knowledge we seem to gain from that study, muddy the waters a bit? Hmmmmm.


Anyway, just a few thoughts after spending a few hours on a college campus today. I was on my own working at a booth at a campus event. My observations and interactions were interesting and so eye-opening. Just not erudite.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Letter to my Son

atheist parent
I'm one of those lucky mothers.
I have a son who is so lovely, lovely in such a way that I must reach my hands over to him to outline his cheek, run my fingertips over his arm, touch his hair. I'm drawn to him. To the smile in his eyes. To the gentleness of his ways. to the way he pulls me in close and puts his forehead onto mine. To the way he looks into my eyes as though I am the only person on the planet.

He makes me laugh every single day. He makes meal times the best time of day. He sits near me and holds my hand. He softly whispers to me I love you, Mom. His heart is so like his father's heart. Incredibly kind, incredibly good, incredibly guileless. He is sensitive. He is confused when others are careless with feelings. He sees my moods, just as his dad does. He brings his sunshine and his pain to me and offers it like a rare gift. He is my boy.

When he and I talk he asks me about my day, how I am, what is on my mind because he really wants to know. 
He really wants to know...

I know that the days are shortening and the time will come when he finds his own way, creates his own home, makes his own family. How is a mother to let go? Though I also look forward to those days of his adulthood; he will make an admirable adult. Sometimes I fear for him. Will the world crush him? Can he bear the heaviness of disappointment and pain that is inevitable when one lives on this planet? Is he resilient enough? Actually, I know he will be fine. More than fine. And I want to tell him these things:


Dear John,
You can do this. When the world is showing its heartless face, you can handle it. Though it is a challenge, you will make a wonderful adult. With your heart and head you will dot your "i"s and cross your "t"s and figure it all out. Always remember that the answers are there for the finding. Read and research and figure it out. You're great at that. So much of the world seems to work against us for some reason. It's nothing personal, you can totally handle it. Find your people and face it.
Choose peace. People will come into your life and will challenge your peace. You and I have talked about this again and again. Remember, you get to choose who and what you keep in your life.  You have the power to make choices and to decide what to keep and what to let go of. Always choose authenticity and peace.
I'm proud of you. Incredibly proud of the way you move through this thing. You notice things. You take risks. You approach people and events with openness and with effort and that leaves you open to the possibilities of darkness in the world, but that doesn't scare you. Instead you feel compassion in such depth and strength and my heart catches just a bit. You have a magnetism to you that draws people to you. Use that well. Believe in yourself. I'm so proud of you.
I believe in you. I believe in that moment when you finally see beyond the pain and confusion to the hope and the self-reliance. I believe in the wonder and power of your incredibly heart and mind. I believe in the ability of your thoughts to bring you into the light and up onto the mountain of your life. I believe in your ability to choose healthy things. I believe in your creativity, your perseverance, and the beat of your own drum. I believe in you, Son.
You are loved. You are SO loved. Your dad and I will always have your back. I hope you always feel it deep within your heart and know it from all that you see. And if a day comes when you feel alone, know that my love for you is as eternal as the star stuff from which you and I are both made. Look up at the stars and know beyond a doubt that Dad and I are still with you. Always. If I can get to you, I will get to you. Always in all ways.


Monday, August 22, 2016

My Gift to You

atheist blog
I've been doing some reading and research tonight for a project that I have started to work on, when a sudden thought came to me; something that change EVERYTHING: my deconversion from religion actually affects my descendants! Being an open and determined atheist means that my children and my children's children and their children will not have their eyes closed by belief. It means that they may never have to endure the process of breaking out of the mental shackles of religion.

I'm absolutely thrilled knowing that my difficult deconversion may have set up future generations to have freedom and open minds and most importantly, the absence of mythology that blocks reason and logic. I am giving the beloved children of my descendants the freedom to choose what makes sense to them instead of having the burden of an inherited belief system.

They won't know it. These beloved scions won't know that my husband and I have given them this gift. But that's OK, I don't need the recognition. I'm truly moved, though, knowing that our freethinking will positively affect the trajectory of those who come after us. I'm proud to be the transitional generation, the generation that does the hard part, shoveling out the stalls of bullshit and leaving clearer thought and rationality.


Additionally it makes me think about how essential the internet has been for so many voices to be out there, available for anyone to hear, so that anyone can explore outside-of-the-box thoughts and opinions...what a world where humans can finally learn more about lifestyles (and so many other things) that are outside of the majority. So many populations of people are coming out of their many private closets into the light of freedom. Just a decade ago it wasn't OK at all to be openly atheist. This past ten years had been a HUGE transition and I'm so proud to be a part of it.

Think about that! Have you ever thought of that?
What a gift to give to our future.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

K-POP

atheist blog
If reading this blog has, in any way, interested you in the music genre' of K-pop, then you will appreciate my newest project. Elizabeth and I have been working together to write a book about K-POP, available now on Amazon.com for PC or Kindle.

We have been working hard on getting this darn thing right. I've been making many mistakes as I learn both the Adobe products and the formatting for Amazon. I think we've finally gotten it right.


K-POP Biased for PC
K-POP Biased for Kindle available in 24 hours
And, hopefully, properly formatted

If you are interested, here are a few links you might find interesting, some of Elizabeth's fan fic.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

ABSOLUTELY FREE TEXTBOOKS!

atheist homeschool
Maybe you are a great homeschooling parent, already familiar with and using OpenCourseWare, or maybe you are like me, unfamiliar. Let's look at these programs. OpenCourseWare (OCW) are lessons, lectures, textbooks, teaching materials, and more created by universities and published online in digital form for free access. Projects to provide free access to educational materials of this nature have been around since the 1990s. I don't know where I've been.

Tonight I ran across information about OpenStax, a global collection of educational materials completely coordinated by volunteers and maintained by generous donations by philanthropists like Bill and Melinda Gates, Andrew W. Mellon, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and others under the auspices of Rice University in Houston. The entire collection is available completely free of charge. It can be downloaded in various digital forms and can also be remixed and edited. WOW.

Make sure you check out OpenStax K-12 materials here. I haven't used it and I haven't vetted the site. So if you know anything, please comment below.

MIT also has Open CourseWare here
In my fantasy brain, I'm at MIT.

Has anyone tried Homeschoolsciencegeek?

I'm fricking' amazed that these humans and foundations have funded this program. YES, if my husband and I were zillionaires, we would TOTALLY do something like this.

Thanks to those who have made getting education materials into all hands a priority.


Monday, August 8, 2016

Fall Travel

atheist homeschool
We're all looking at changes in our upcoming schedules as we approach the end of a wonderful summer. And with that change, John John and I are beginning to plan our fall travel plans.

As he will be starting college courses in January, this will be the last time he and I can take this kind of trip together. Our plan, at this point, is to go to Washington DC for a week or so, maybe longer if we decide to visit friends on the east coast. Our plans are not set in stone, but we do want to spend a day or two at the Smithsonian...maybe take a drive to Virginia...and the many, many places to visit in DC.


I do plan on getting White House tickets...who do I need to contact here in Missouri? Our governor or something?

John is not as excited as I am yet, but he will be once we do some more history and geography lessons and other prep work.  ;)


Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Interweb: A Freedom, a Mirror, a Community

atheist blog
We are the lucky ones because we get to be alive at the beginning of the World Wide Web, the WWW, the internet. Don't take it for granted...it's amazing. It is a wonder. It is the beginning of something I can't even begin to imagine.

For the first time in EVER people can look it up, compare it with their neighbors, connect with people from nearly every corner of the planet. We are the first generation EVER, in the entire  history of this planet, that gets to learn ideas outside of our tiny little square of homeland.

We are the first generation EVER that gets to find out how to do it ourselves, that has information available to us at the touch of a finger, that no longer has to worship at the alter of whoever holds the knowledge, that has it within our ability to learn how to improve ourselves and our community right here and right now. We are the first generation EVER to have the necessary information available for free or for next to nothing. 

We are the first generation EVER that can research claims. We can find evidence. We can compare philosophies. We can make claims and have them refuted or proven instantly. We can learn about any subject that interests us. We can create or join communities of like-minded people. We can examine and study every esoteric bit of knowledge that anyone can claim. 

We can learn about every single country, habitat, dynasty, people, culture, theory, and field of study that our species has knowledge of. For the first time EVER the average human being can get news for free from nearly every country or city on the globe. For the first time EVER, people who are introverts or anxious or depressed or handicapped or unable to move around can have connections with people and can form true friendships. People can get advanced degrees affordably and without leaving their homes. People can shop without leaving their homes.

For the first time EVER, the little voice can be heard without being silenced. The littler voice can speak out without having the louder voice erase it. Drown it out, yes. Erase, no. People can be OUT about who they truly are. People have access to endless platforms for their opinions and questions and questionings. People can find other people. For the first time EVER, and this is exciting, people who are trapped in small places can talk with other people and find how how do you do it, am I weird, is this normal, how can I get out?

For the first time EVER people can share music and art and writing and images of every sort freely and with those who are interested in them. Fame and infamy without ever leaving your home. People, for the first time EVER, can create their own travel plans with vast amounts of information available to them for making choices. People can share and barter and trade and sell freely, globally.

For the first time EVER in the history of humanity, medical knowledge, scientific knowledge, political knowledge is available to the common person without a middle man. Searching for information is easy! Historical documents are available to read for the first time EVER, at our fingertips. Financial data and trends are available easily for the first time EVER, without having a third party necessary to access or interpret them. 

If I want a recipe, a movie time, a definition of a word, an explanation of an event in time, a write up on a person in history, easy comparisons of products, a way to sell my product or idea, a way to share my thoughts, to inform myself on something I worry about or don't understand properly, I can go online and get information to answer my questions in seconds.

We are the first people in the history of people who get this. Up until now so much information was given to us by spoonfuls (if at all) through a middle man or some other gatekeeper, at exorbitant and preventative prices. Knowledge is now available to many many people on this planet easily and affordably. This is a truly momentous time.

This should change EVERYTHING.



You're So Beautiful

atheist blog
A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about human beauty called Beautiful. In that post I talked about how I personally respond to beautiful people and how humans in general tend to give extra credit to those people who are considered truly beautiful. 

I wondered why no one commented on that post; it is because such a confession is too weirdly TMI? Is it because it's an awkward reality that many of us can relate to but prefer to not discuss? Is it just that the post wasn't interesting or didn't seem relatable?

Anyway, I haven't stopped thinking about beauty and human attractiveness. We all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that beauty is also a cultural phenomenon. What is beautiful here in St. Louis might not be the same beautiful in Mali or Uruguay or Nepal or Finland or Siberia or Unalaska or Laos or Hokkaido or Kyrgystan or the Ivory Coast or Djiouti or Patagonia or the Maldives or Egypt or Togo or Turkey or Tunisia or Texas. But I wonder if the truly beautiful and youthful people still experience that star struck thing from people around them, regardless of where they live.

Me and my sister Linda
What about we normal folk? We don't get those perks. We don't have the benefit of being assumed to be successful. We are hired less often and get lower wages and get better raises. Children are less trusting of us. We don't get the privilege of the truly beautiful. No fair.

Back when I was younger I was fairly pretty. At that time I was able to talk my way into and out of trouble. People did do things for me because of my appearance at times. I did get perks. I did get attention and I knew it. I also noticed when it stopped as I got older, heavier, less attractive. It was weird how hard it was for me to lose it in the beginning. 

So I've been on all sides of this thing and I still don't understand why beauty is such a powerful thing for us. And why can the absence of beauty actually lower our opinion of a person? Plainness is frowned upon. It's WEIRD and such a waste of humanhood. So many of us are your average-looking human being...yet so many of us are remarkable as hell in our various ways. 

Unattractive people, how dare they inflict this aesthetic neutrality on other people. 

Actually, there are interesting and very real benefits to being plain. When someone likes me, I know that they like me for the person that I am. I also know that I am less likely to think I need plastic surgery or any sort of surgical body improvement because I sincerely know that I am just fine as I am and that I have no one to impress. I have discovered my value and what I have to offer that have absolutely nothing to do with my appearance. I know a few attractive people (and a few people craving to be attractive) who still have this to learn.

When I was younger and cuter my sister was always commenting on my appearance. She was like a cheerleader to my hair, my face, my eyes. I was always so uncomfortable with that in those days; her cheers seemed to come out of the blue. Nowadays her compliments mean so much more to me: You are an amazing mother. You have such a good heart. I can always talk to you honestly.

It is inevitable for all of us that we lose our youth and our attractiveness. It is all very fragile. For the truly beautiful, unless they have had time to deal with the psychological nature of appearance and have learned to appreciate their inner beauty, getting older and less attractive is a difficult journey.

If our beloved country would work to stop objectifying young bodies and young faces, I think that more of the beauty of the hearts of our unseen plain people would begin to shine. Imagine that! Valuing the heart, the mind, determination, the character. Now those are qualities that don't fade; they only grow.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Guest Post: Lizzie Wants World Peace

atheist blog
Guest post: Lizzie Wants World Peace

A couple of months ago in April, Lacey and I went to Chicago to see a Korean pop band called B.A.P. While the concert and trip itself were AMAZING and worth an entire post or eight plus pictures, there was one part of the concert that really stood out to me.

There was one part of the concert, somewhere in the middle, when the lights went red and the word "WAR" was on the screen, large and clear for everyone to see. After about a minute and a half of looking at the word, it gets smaller and suddenly all of the wars from the past 100-150 start scrolling past nice and slow. There are a lot, and past the mid 30's or 40's the scrolling speeds up and there are STILL more and more wars. I just kept going and going until the 2000's, where there were more names. The list was staggering. Every time you thought it was going to stop, it just kept going and going.
In the documented history of humans there have been approximately 286 out of  3,400 years of peace. Of no war whatsoever. Just 8% of our recorded history has been without war and it kind of struck a chord in me. 


The boys then performed One Shot which I have linked to with English lyrics. The song itself is very powerful and the music video is very intense and rather upsetting to some, but it surely gets the message across. 



How long are we all going to hate each other? How long are we going to have to fight over things that should be human rights? How long do we have to fight for what is clearly not ours? Why do we have to have country borders and hatred between them? Why do we simply hate people because they don't believe that a man in the sky exists? Because of who we love? Because of our god damned skin color. We're all different, but that's what makes it all so amazing. We have so much to learn from each other, so why does it always have to resort to years of fighting when something goes wrong? Why do people enjoy the concept of war anyway? What is the romance of bombs, bullets and death? Why can't we all get along? 

B.A.P is right. We only have one life, one chance at it, so why are we spending all of our energy hating people because of such trivial things? Why don't we spend it loving and learning and traveling without having to worry about what would happen if our country loses whatever war is going on now? Why is war the only way to decide things? We have one damn shot at life, and we need to make it worth something. We have to make it happy and healthy. Some of us have more time than others, so we have to make the most of every moment. Let's not waste time fighting.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

I've Got a Few Goals

atheist blog
I'm no longer really finding it necessary to find atheist/secular homeschool materials, so this blog's function in that direction is at an end. I'm no longer struggling with finding my way as a first-gen atheist parent in this very Christian culture. I'm moving into a different phase of my life. So why am I still blogging?

Because I still have some things that I want to accomplish, some objectives to this fairly public venue of a blog.

One goal I've had, more of a drive, really, is to stay openly atheist. To be THAT person who can be counted on to call it out: I'm an atheist and I won't sit by quietly, not speaking. So many atheists or doubting believers live in quiet places, places where they feel absolutely no freedom to be honest about their skepticism. And why? Because people would treat them differently, badly. I know people who are completely in the closet about their apostasy for fear of how they and their children would be treated.

YES, you read that right. I know and care for people who are fearful of being openly science-minded, logical, rational. I find it so weird and tragic that in this country people have to actually hide their intellect, who must keep their rejection of mythology under a bushel. How can this be? How can this country be so steeped in Christianity that informed and educated people feel the need to keep their children close and their atheism hidden?


So I'm on a mission. In every way I can, I will represent atheism to my small part of the world. I will be the face of atheism for as many people as I can, people who are fearful of atheists, people who think they have never met an atheist. I will be that person. I'm good and kind and I have a gorgeous face: I'll put it out there without fear. Through this effort I think more and more people will figure it out: atheists are people worth knowing, not the fearful people the church claims.

For that reason and for a few other reasons, my daughter and I have been looking into the Secular Student Alliance (SSA). The first time our family knew of the SSA was through the Skepticon, the atheist convention put on by the SSA members at one of the universities in Springfield MO. We were impressed with the SSA people and we've enjoyed Skepticon many times.

So Elizabeth and I are looking in to connecting up with an SSA chapter near us...we'll see.

The Secular Student Alliance is an organization whose goals are to educate students on high school and college campuses about evolution, the scientific process, reason, and the intellectual basis of secularism in its atheist and humanistic programs and efforts. The organization is national and offers many resources to its chapters, leaders, and members.

I'm also still blogging because I enjoy this community of people. I enjoy the many people who have become a part of my life through this blog and these writings. I intend to keep it up as long as I enjoy it!

And finally, I blog because the world is a weird and wonderful place, because the human mind is so very interesting, and because I love to learn...however small my little world is.

SO, those are my goals. 
Do you have any?


Saturday, July 30, 2016

I've Come to a Few Decisions

atheist blog
In the past two days I've come to two very important decisions. Two subjects that I have an inordinate amount of thought into, both subjects that are both either/or, black/white, no middle ground. Those decisions are rare. Those decisions take time and I'm delighted to finally figure myself out.

For my first major decision...drum roll...
I'm pleased to report that I have decided to stop coloring or highlighting my hair. I've decided to just let the grey happen. I am lucky enough that the grey is happening slowly and it's just time to embrace the graceful grey once and for all.

And finally, finally, I've decided to put myself fully behind Hillary.

In the beginning of her serious presidential run I had to admit that I didn't trust Hillary Rodham Clinton and I was also certain that I didn't know exactly why I didn't trust her; was I one of the millions of victims of the so-called media smear? I was willing to acknowledge that I didn't know Hillary except for what I'd read in various media sources. Of course, there's no way to know her any other way. So I decided a few months ago to open my eyes and ears and to really listen.

Anyway, now I'll finally get some sleep tonight.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

So...What if YOU are Wrong?

atheist blog
A surprising number of adults that I know frighten themselves so much with belief in supernatural things. Demons and scary afterlives and ghosty things and evil doers. The fear of these things affects their lives so strongly that they have nightmares and anxiety and distress. And worse, these fears limit their ability to truly love people and to foster peace and connection. Belief in these things also make some beloved people seriously concerned about my complete atheism, thereby bringing themselves even more concern and vexation. I want to ask them one question: What if you are wrong?

What if there is no such thing as magical realms and spooky spells? What if the only evil is intention? What if the end of our physical life here on Earth results in our molecules rejoining the sublimity of nature and this infinite cosmos? What if all of the entities that you fear, every single one of them, is a figment of the fearful imaginings of Men? What if our species was more ennobled by pride than by guilt?

What if there was only earth and stone below us and above us only sky? What if the only one who knew the deepest contents of our heart was us? What if no unseeable spirit was judging us? What if there was no such thing as magic, luck, blessings, curses, or damning? What if we discarded the concept of sin and focused more on character? What if logic and reason were valued above faith? And, even more, what if all things were knowable and faith was not required or even praised?

What if our intentions were more powerful than any overseeing entity or church? What if each heart and mind trusted itself to make decisions based on justice and humanity and intellect? What if our species wasn't limited by age-old doctrine and dogma that seems to have no basis in reality? What if we revered and honored intelligence, kindness, effort, achievement, and innovation? What if all of the words spoken to an unknowable entity actually fell onto the ground, yet still helped you to discover answers and peace? 

What if all humans are truly created equal and no doctrine or claims could change that? What if this moment here, now, is the most important moment of your existence? What if the utter humanity of suffering was comforted and loved with kind hearts? What if the moments of your existence are utterly finite and counting down? What, then, would you change? 

What if every bit of war, rancor, divisiveness, hatred, and hostility over philosophical or religious doctrine would disappear in an instant because they no longer made sense in a secular world?

What if black cats and full moons and four-leaf clover were simply equal parts of our natural world and contained no special meaning? What if we stopped judging people on their adherence to black-and-white doctrine and started judging people on their ability to bring peace and love into their lives and the lives of others. What if we were to acknowledge the long timeline of our species and find awe in our continued survival on a frequently inhospitable planet in our imperfect carbon-based bodies? What if we were free to honor every form of life equally?


What if we were to discard the utter fear and horror of imagined existences after our death? What if we, instead, embraced the beauty and fragility of each moment of our lives and sought to elevate our selves, our community, our species? What if we broke down the limits of imaginary morality and, rather, researched, explored, and celebrated all ethical options available to our stretching imaginations and our growing comprehension of reality?

What if we stopped limiting ourselves because of our fears and we started stretching ourselves with our creativity, adaptability, experience, peacemaking, and community building? What if the millions of people killed or simply limited by religious institutions were, instead, elevated? What if you are wrong about all of the things you fear and that all of the time you spent on fear and guilt could have been used in productive and happy ways? What if thinking outside of the box rather than limiting yourself within the doctrine of a tyrant was possible? What, then, could you accomplish?

If you are wrong, Dear Believer, what, then, could your life be?


Monday, July 25, 2016

As I Get Older...

atheist blog
Me, 1980
Getting older is not an option, yet so many of us fight it tooth and nail. And no wonder. Our country fetishizes youth. Photoshop and everything related to marketing and social media hypes us up to want to look thinner, younger, more perfect, inhumanly thin/young/perfect. It's weird and hurtful and I have no idea what to do about it.

I've talked with the kids about the impossible standards that social media puts out there for appearance and the kids both seem to get it, but I would understand completely if either one of them felt inadequate, too fat, too natural, etc. The pull of the false images is unmistakable. Some adults even fall for the falsified images of what being human should look like.

I'm so grateful the pictures during my youth were largely unretouched. But appearance was a huge issue back then too. (Back in the dark ages.) Maybe it always has been. But because of a number of personal experiences during my youth I have never had the desire to remain young. Instead I have always had a strong desire to be older, wiser, more legitimate, someone to be listened to. And that's saying something because I was pretty cute back then.  *wink*

But I wasn't taken seriously and I needed to be.
I was twelve when my parents divorced, leaving me the eldest female in the house. For a variety of reasons, that put me into a pretty parental role in the house, especially for my two younger sisters. 

The world-at-large, however, didn't accept my parental role; they weren't convinced. (And who can blame them; I was twelve!) But there were still times when I was the one calling the school, the doctor, making appointments, signing things, being there for them, making sure they had what they needed, household management. * Although I was the de facto parent to my sisters in many situations my parental role wasn't publicly sanctioned or understood. Or believed.  For that reason I was constantly battling for legitimacy from an early age. 

SO, getting older is actually such a good feeling to me; it feels right, like I'm finally the age that I feel inside.



Sunday, July 24, 2016

Atheism and the Sacred: A Useful Concept?

atheist blog
The minds
of our children

What is sacred?

In the strictest definition of the word, or at least according to dictionary.com, sacred's primary definitions include: devoted or dedicated to a deity or to some religious purpose; consecrated, entitled to veneration or religious respect by association with divinity or divine things, holy.


In that sense of the word, there is absolutely nothing sacred on the planet.

However, in the secondary definitions of the word sacred, using the same dictionary means: reverently dedicated to some person, purpose, or object; regarded with reverence; secured against violation, infringement, as by reverence or sense of right, sacred oaths, sacred rights. And reverence: deeply respectful.

Under that definition I would propose that there are, indeed, several sacred things on this planet, purposes and objects worthy of deep respect. First two important caveats: no one and nothing is automatically and universally deserving of worship and nothing I say here represents anyone except for me. And no one at speaks for atheists. I speak for myself. This post is about what I deem to be sacred, things for which I am reverent, purposes and objects that I consider ...sacred.


  • A Child's Mind - It is my belief that we should respect the minds of our children by giving them every tool we can possibly offer them for healthier living, for critical thought, and for tremendous personal power..
  • Freedom and Equality of every sort - By freedom and equality I mean the absence of every -ism on the planet. No more racism, sexism, classism, ageism, abilityism. Only humanism..
  • Potential - I strongly believe in the potential of the good people of this planet. Therefore I believe in supporting quality of life, knowledge, freedom, choice..
  • The Universe - The universe requires no word from me to announce it's grandeur, but I am completely reverent toward it. That includes our planet, our atmosphere, our oceans, us.


Some hardcore atheists' knee jerk react to the word sacred and I completely understand that. We have witnessed our boundaries transgressed terribly and frequently by the assumed power and imagined sanctity of words such as sacred.

And that is why I'm here again to say that I claim my part of this word and every single word that has ever been usurped by the religions. There are better words than sacred, but I will continue to feel free to use this word and every word in my language freely, wisely, and decidedly.

This is my list. Every other human on the planet is entitled to their own distinct list. Isn't that lovely? Do you have a reverence list? I would love to hear it.