9 Comments

Missionaries, athiests, sewing enthusiasts, and pop art.

Recently while wading in the blogosphere I ran across a few distinct communities. Missionaries seem to be quite active and so are athiests. The missionaries and the Peace Corps people I understand because not only are you experiencing new cultures but you want to keep in touch with people back home, and hey, why not proselytize while you are at it. Athiests though?

Recently I started reading Primordial Blog which I recommend to one and all. He’s a teacher (and recovering Christian) in northern Canada and writes well about many things. He has a very good series on mythology: Ass Kicking Women of Mythology and Sex in “whichever” Mythology. They are funny, informative and enthralling. On his blog, apart from doing my usual dissing of LOTR, I’ve looked at some of the people on his blogroll, and by god, there’s an Athiest Blogroll which I’ve found also on a few of those who link to him. Like all blogs, these vary in quality, but they do seem to have an obsession. It was like wandering into a private club where you are not a member.

Now you could call me an athiest. Its closer than any other religious category but I find these athiest cabals rather strange; kind of like victim support grouips, or propogandists of any stripe, or I guess like missionaries. Given a slightly different bent of mind I’m sure I’d be in there like a dirty shirt but though I too was subjected unwillingly to a fairly religious upbringing, I think of it as a case of “been there, done that” or “yes, it was bad but that was the past and that’s not exactly where we are, is it”? At any rate, I don’t mean to lambaste any particular athiest, as neither would I any particular believer but just the aggregate. People are just a little odder when they clump.

And sewing enthusiasts? Also noticed quite a few people displaying patterns and projects online. If you frequent boingboing.net as I used to and surely will again, you find all sorts of things nerdy, and oddly enough, a lot of sewing projects as well but people are sewing unusual things like hard drives and running shoes. Kind of like a Claes Oldenburg takes up sewing.

oldenburg_clothespin.jpg

Here is his clothespin. I’ve always loved how he makes small things big, or hard things soft (see his drum set).

9 comments on “Missionaries, athiests, sewing enthusiasts, and pop art.

  1. I suppose my own views on the existence of deity could, like yours, be best described as “atheist”. Yet, the question which concerns me more than “Does deity exist” is “Should it matter to us whether deity exists”. So far, I’ve found no compelling reason why it should.

  2. Wow! I’m flattered. I never thought of myself as belonging to a cabal before, but I like it. It makes atheism seem way more mysterious and cool than it actually is.

    Like you said it’s kind of a support group, but for people who like to complain about stuff and who miss getting to tell others what to do, like we did when we were fundamentalists.

    Nitpick Alert: BTW it’s atheist not athiest (i before e except when you’re talking about religion).

  3. Paul, I quite agree. I could be wrong on this but I seem to recall reading something about the Roman concept of gods being along the lines of them leading a parallel yet independent existence to ours. Kind of a celestial soap opera.

    How we treat each other should be derived from our sense of what is right rather than received wisdom. If “good” actions are dependent on external and independent influences, then those influences could just as easily lead to “bad” actions. The problem with all deities is that they are remarkably quiet, and yet have all too many interpreters. Kind of like the empereror’s new gods.

  4. Sorry Brian, and good to hear from you. That was pure misspellling. Don’t know why I didn’t catch that.

  5. I find the atheist stuff kinda puzzling too. Especially the ‘A’ that many of them post on their blog. I guess it’s human to want to define ourselves in the network of a bigger group, but that A looks like the Scarlett Letter.

  6. Precisely, that’s the joke behind it.

    It’s a part of Richard Dawkin’s Out Campaign to take a stand for ourselves. Atheists have long been a mistrusted and despised minority and the best way to change that perception is to be loud and proud just like the gay community did over the last couple of decades.

    Even four years ago, after I had left the church and considered myself something of an agnostic I was shocked when I was talking to this guy and he declared that he was an atheist. I remember involuntarily glancing up at the sky waiting for a thunderbolt. That’s finally changing and its time to let the world know that we are great people and that it is okay not to have any religious beliefs if you don’t want to.

  7. You know I think part of my reaction to it comes from being in a community where it is not too much of an issue. If I did feel persecuted or marginalized I might want to be part of your group. I certainly have the same reactions when I read the Bible; scary stuff (or the Koran, or most religious texts). Still remember being in church listening to hymns all that seemed to venerate being sheep and wondering why? Perhaps I just don’t want to think about that any more.

    Is this related to the Brights campaign at all?

  8. I’m not really sure if its connected to the brights. I’m not much of a joiner and I haven’t bothered to actually sign up myself.

    Sometimes I do feel silly identifying myself by what I don’t believe rather than in what I do think, but labels can be useful at times.

    When I first decided I didn’t believe in the bible anymore and left the church, I cast about desperately looking to see which religion was correct. I researched and read up on about a dozen or so faiths before coming to the conclusion that they were all full of crap. It hadn’t occured to me that I could just have no religion, so finding atheism was a liberating experience for me. I was such a sheep back then and I needed to be told that it was okay, that atheists were not bad people and that the sky didn’t just fall on their heads for stating their unbelief. Changing my belief system entailed changing my entire worldview and there were times when I thought I was actually going crazy. Knowing that there were others who had come to the same conclusions was very reassuring.

  9. […] of “essential” qualities, such as also with Claes Oldenburg‘s soft sculptures (previously)). Ron Mueck sculpture at the […]

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