Poly Living Conference this weekend and thoughts on atheist blogging February 6, 2013Posted by Shaun McGonigal in Culture and Society, Polyamory, Skepticism and atheism.
Tags: new atheism, polyamory conferences, religion, skepticism and polyamory, society
I really should be getting to sleep, considering I have work in the morning (11AM, but that’s still morning!), but before I do I wanted to post a few thoughts.
Thought #1: I’m going to my first poly conference this weekend, the Poly Living Conference which is in Philadelphia this year.
I’m planning on taking ample notes, talking to many people, and trying to get a sense of the state of skepticism within the polyamorous community, you know because I’ll be speaking about that in about 5-and-a-half weeks at the Atlanta Poly Weekend Conference.
Centered around this upcoming weekend is some amount of anxiety, because despite a recent comment on this blog, I don’t see a lot of overlap of skepticism and polyamory (especially among those at Loving More, who are running this weekend’s conference). Now, I know some of the people at the Atlanta conference next month are skeptics and atheists, but I am not sure about the people at the conference this weekend, the keynote speaker of which is Kamala Devi (from the recent Showtime series), a person who seems to be pretty into the woo side of things [Feb 10 2013 edit: my preconceptions here ended up not being fair or true. I hold Kamala in high regard after having met her this past weekend, and apologize for the prejudice], including tantra. (information about the speakers can be found here).
I’m anxious because I am interested in the conversation about skepticism in light of sexuality, relationships, etc and want to talk with people about it, but in my experience those on the liberal side of religion, who call themselves spiritual, or who are pagan, tend to be pretty sensitive about criticism in general, and I don’t wish to make the conversation impossible by, well, being myself.
I’m anxious because I really don’t want to dislike the polyamorous community, and in some of my experience I have been rather disappointed in polyamorous people when it comes to skeptical thinking.
Though#2: I’m not sure about atheist blogging, sometimes.
There are some wonderful blogs which are primarily about atheism and skepticism, despite the various splits and interpersonal issues that have surfaced in the last few years. But there are some atheist writers who are still plugging away at the atheism 101 topics, addressing the same old topics that we were all plugging away at back in 2005 or so when this new atheist thing became all the rage.
And there many still be a reason for them to be doing so, because so many still don’t understand this basic stuff, but as a long-experienced atheist activist, writer, etc I find it pretty boring. Those blogs are not for me anymore and I am less interested in addressing the same issues as I did like 8-10 years ago. I think that we should still have those resources available for those interested in those basic questions, but I think that we all need to keep our eyes on the larger prize: an intelligent, informed, skeptical world that tries to address injustice wherever it lives.
Others have moved on to try and not only grow the community, but make it better. By trying to broaden the scope of skepticism and atheist activism, many writers and activists have started to realize that’s it’s not just about being an atheist (which is great, don’t get me wrong), but about helping create better skeptics all around. I will continue to write about atheism in this sense (and possibly, occasionally, in the other sense), and try to make a world where tehre are mature, aware, and quality atheists; not merely atheists.
Those are my thoughts for the night.