You already know that I’m a #FTBully. Of all the letters after my name (admittedly, there aren’t very many), those are the ones I’m proudest of. My feeling is, that tells you all you need know about me. Keep reading though.
I’m 22, secular, British, poly, queer, tall, ex-Christian, “left wing and long-winded”, a nerd, a graduate and a keyboard warrior. What that actually means is fallacious discourses piss me off, and so do faulty ideas they transmit. I’m skeptical, you might say, in that sense.
The backdrop to my joining this network is an organised skepticism more divided than ever, teetering toward civil war. I have no problems with that division. If our blogosphere and the community around it become the dogfight expected right now, things will get worse before they get better – but they will, I think, get better. There are problems in our movement – racism, misogyny, transphobia, harassment, wage theft, corruption – that we need to fix, and any chance we take by addressing them is a chance for self-improvement. Should skepticism implode in the coming weeks or months, there’s no point letting it implode again a year or several down the line: the time for staring down internal conflicts, all of them, is now.
Because of that, there won’t just be posts here on UK atheism – that is, on why our image as a godless paradise is unwarranted, our secular community underdeveloped and our strains of fundamentalism growing. There won’t just be posts on leaving extreme religion – how Hallowe’en once terrified me, how my niece was an evangelical at four years old and how I thought aged eight that Satan had possessed me. There won’t just be posts about mainstream and LGBT culture’s myths of sexuality, about sex and relationships, about the nerdsphere or about far-right religion’s fast-forming grip on UK campuses. There will be all of those, sooner or later, but not just those.
I named this blog Godlessness in Theory because I think we need new secular dialectics. I first encountered things like feminism and social justice largely through the atheist scene – I came of age reading Skepchick, Butterflies and Wheels and Greta Christina’s Blog – and I think it’s valuable, vital in fact, to view our movement through those kinds of frameworks. I’m not convinced, though, that it’s enough to switch between discourses as I’ve found myself doing; to blog on atheism some days and queerness others. The most exciting thoughts I’ve had in skepticism have been listening to Pragna Patel, Sikivu Hutchinson or Natalie Reed, in whose work secularity and social justice collide and complete, coherent modes of thinking germinate which speak to both. I love these writers’ work, because this is more than intersectional action; it’s an innovative, synthetic analysis. Pursuing secular synthesis as they have – bringing godlessness into theory, and vice versa – is my long-term stated aim. That’s what I’m here for, and what I think can repair our movement – even, perhaps, make it stronger than ever.
Wish me luck.
For the moment, an overview: if you haven’t read anything by me before, or you’ve read a post or two and you want to read more, the following ten posts are a good place to start.
- “To Paula Kirby: on ‘The Sisterhood of the Oppressed’“, whom starting out as a rookie atheist I hugely admired, in response to “The Sisterhood of the Oppressed” from last July.
- “Queerphobia, bigotry and The Wizard of Oz” - why, classic as it is, that film isn’t the paean to liberation it’s been used as. (Blasting the gay canon is, I warn you, a habit I have.)
- “Creationism at the Keswick Convention” - what happened in my rural English hometown when, at its yearly Christian festival, I saw a ‘Creation or Evolution?’ sign in the street.
- “Going Soul-o: one young atheist’s week at Christian camp“. Religion in Britain can be further-out than you might expect. A series of seven (almost) live blogs, this documents my stay at Soul Survivor, the leading evangelical festival for UK youth.
- “Reasons to be fearful: politics and why queer minorities should care“. If you don’t think politics should matter for LGBT people, especially since gay marriage was introduced here last month, you need to think again: our situation’s worse than you know.
- “A queer atheist’s survival guide: thoughts from my friends’ church wedding” - from when I sat in Oxford’s most hard line church watching two close friends tie the knot, struggled with cognitive dissonance and nigh-on got preached at.
- “Man of Steel: you’ll believe this turkey can fly.” Who says I can’t talk about films? I can talk about films. Nerd culture and pop culture lie close to my heart, as does Superman, but Zack Snyder’s reboot was toe-curling.
- “100 of Britain and Ireland’s secular thinkers you should know about, who aren’t white men“. Breaking stereotypes matters; building a broader movement and better discourse matters more. See the introduction and FAQs for more on why I wrote this.
- “Yes, Richard Dawkins, your statements on Islam are racist” - because alleged leaders aren’t above critique, nor their comments above reproach. We need critique of Islam(ism), but not recourse to xenophobia. (This started a bit of a frenzy.)
- “On Stephen Fry’s letter and Russia: the oppression Olympics“. I can’t not feel good things about Fry – his existence, most of the time, brings me fun, sunshine and love – but his call to boycott Sochi’s Winter Olympics troubled me.
I’m looking at archiving the rest of my past writing here; to stay updated in the mean time, go and Like this blog on Facebook. If you feel like you still want more, browse through my writing in the areas linked or see my blogroll here for the people I like reading. You can also drop me a line via email or Twitter, and believe me, I’ll be reading the comments.
Hello if we don’t know each other. Hello again if we already do. And hello Freethought Blogs – you’re the greatest network of them all. I’m thrilled to be here.