Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Shifting Focus

I haven't written anything here in a while now—seven weeks, to be precise. There are a few reasons for that. One is a reduction in free time now that I have a full-time job on my plate. Another, frankly, is laziness. I still have a decent amount of free time, but I spend far too much of it on television and internet browsing. But perhaps most importantly, the original purpose of this blog has been accomplished: I've laid out in some detail why I'm no longer a Christian, and I'm (partially) out as an atheist.

So, what now?

Well, ever since I created this blog at the beginning of 2011, the subheading has been "My Reasons for Leaving Christianity." At the time I came up with it, I didn't yet consider myself an atheist yet—that happened a few months later.

But at this point I have more than enough reasons for leaving the religion I was born into. Despite my lingering bias towards Christianity, I feel I should be shifting focus a bit now that I really have migrated fully to the other side. And just what is the other side, anyway? Well, that's now answered explicitly in my new blog tagline:
Leaving Christianity and Embracing Skepticism
Although I call myself an atheist, it doesn't mean very much in itself to "embrace" atheism. It's only a stance on a single question, so I wanted a more positive and encompassing term to describe myself. I would also consider myself a freethinker and possibly a humanist, but "skeptic" really captures the basis of what I think atheism should be rooted in: applying proper standards of evidence equally to all claims, not just theistic ones.

I'll still have plenty of criticism for Christianity here—after all, it makes sense to stick with what I know. But the harm religion causes is just a small part of the harm caused by credulity in general. Fundamentally, it's the notion that belief can be justified without sufficient evidence that opens the door to belief in everything from vaccine denialism to faith healing to repressed memory therapySo sometimes I'll be delving into a skeptical topic that's unrelated to any religious theme. But it'll all be for the same basic purpose: to help, in my own small way, to build a more informed and rational world.

In the past I've also tried to funnel my efforts into very detailed and involved posts. But that high bar has been a big part of my drop in motivation, and I'd rather have shorter, simpler posts than none at all. That doesn't necessarily mean a drop in quality; it just means that the deep analyses will be interspersed with pithier observations.

With these two changes, I hope to start posting a bit more often. Welcome to the next chapter of Reflections from the Other Side!

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