Atheist venting

Coyote, a bloggy buddy, had an anecdote about an awkward atheist encounter. Four people were hanging out playing board games, when an atheist realized that the other three were all Christian. For whatever reason, the atheist decided this was a good time to confront everybody about Christianity and/or defend atheism. Coyote described it as “delivering a predetermined spiel”.

I feel like I’ve seen that before. For example, one time the local atheist student group met up with some Christians for lunch, and there were a few students who really launched into spiels about why atheism is more fulfilling and stuff. Whereas my initial reaction was to ask about their majors and to figure out where they were on the political spectrum.

I’ve also been on the receiving end. Back in the day I’d table for the atheist student group, and sometimes people would approach the table and just start monologuing about how science is the greatest and religion is the worst. Then they’d walk away before I could respond to anything. Okay? Happy to lend an ear?

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Specialness personified

One difference I’ve noted between me and my robot boyfriend is that he wants to celebrate holidays on the designated day. I, on the other hand, don’t particularly care if our celebrations are off by a week or more. In fact, I just don’t get holidays in general. I never would have thought to invent them myself.

Holidays are all about declaring a particular day special. And then we go on to do something special, or maybe we just talk about something special. Sometimes it’s nice to have some variety in the things we do and what we talk about, but it’s only nice. It’s not special to me at all.

Another thing I don’t get are graduations. While variety is nice, dressing in a gown and receiving a piece of paper is not really the sort of variety I ever would have thought to ask for. I find it bizarre, and thoroughly unpleasant. And yet I’m still expected to participate and express enthusiasm about it. People seem to operate under the belief that everyone finds graduation special, and if I admit I don’t find it special, then I’m being ungrateful.

This is also a metaphor for religion.
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Before you mock celibacy, listen

Asexuality is not the same thing as celibacy. This is something we can agree upon. However, when people mock celibacy, it can be done in a way that is particularly unfriendly to asexuals. This is a particularly common occurrence in atheist spaces, where people often make fun of clerical celibacy.

Nearly ever time I’ve ever raised the issue, the defense is that asexuality is not the same as celibacy. While true, I want to show why it is uncompelling as a defense.

The bottom line: It is okay to not have sex. First corollary: it is okay for asexuals to not have sex. Second corollary: it is okay for literally anyone else to not have sex.

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Student groups and volume

Fellow blogger Crys has a good series on cultural differences, particularly between Italy and other countries. Something I like to think about are cultural differences between atheist groups and queer groups.

Back when I was an undergraduate, I joined both atheist and queer student groups. The most obvious difference between the two was that the queer groups were very quiet, and the atheist group was very loud. Queer groups would often have awkward moments of silence, where everyone was hoping someone else will choose to speak. The atheist group was full of interruptions, even when we’d try to impose moderation.

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Who shows up, and who doesn’t

Atheist communities tend to be male-dominated, and that means that the women who show up tend to be atypical in some way.  Those women have some personal background, some personality trait, that lets them cross the barriers that keep most women out.

The same is true of many minority groups.  Atheist communities don’t have many Asian Americans, so the ones who show up are atypical.  There aren’t many vocal aces, so the ones who show up are atypical.  I showed up, so I am atypical.

Here’s something you may not have known.  Atheist communities are dominated by men, but ace communities are dominated by women.  Men make up 12% of the online anglophone community.  I have data!

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Explaining atheism for aces

Since I’m best known for being an ace blogger, perhaps a few of you expect me to explain asexuality, preferably in an easily digestible blog post, preferably in listicle format. Pffff, wait your turn. Have you considered that I have ace readers, and the ace readers want to hear me vulgarize atheism instead?

What is atheism?

Atheism is defined as the lack of belief in gods. This definition, of course, is a political fiction.
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