November 16, 2015

Atheism Seeming Somewhat Less Important

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Whenever I take time away from blogging, as I did recently, I step away not just from writing blog posts but from reading others' blogs and most other online activities. This recent break was a good example. Aside from quickly checking Twitter periodically for breaking news, I didn't spend much time online. Whenever I do this, something rather predictable seems to happen: it takes me a few days to stop thinking about atheism and closely related subjects. And after a few days, I hardly even notice the change.

When I'm actively blogging, my mind seems to be preoccupied with these topics when it is not focused on anything else. It is not at all uncommon, for example, for me to find myself composing a blog post in my head while showering, driving home from work, or fighting insomnia. But after just a few days of stepping away from the atheist blogosphere, this no longer happens. My thoughts turn to all sorts of other things, and I'm jolted back to atheism and related topics only when I encounter an expression of bigotry, a church-state violation, a proselytizing Christian, or something similar.

I've written about this previously, and I continue to find it interesting; however, my interpretation has changed a bit. I still think I'd rarely consider atheism if it wasn't for the frequent over-reaching of religious extremists, but I also think I need to take more breaks from the whole online atheist world and spend less time immersed in it. For the first few days I'm away, I miss it. I wonder what is going on and what great stuff others are doing that I might be missing out on. After that, I find myself focused on other things. I think that my being more focused on other things is healthy. I'm not sure that my being overly focused on atheism is something I can or want to sustain. I know I'd miss writing if I stayed away from that long enough; I'm less sure that I'd miss writing about atheism if I stayed away from that long enough.

When I referred to post-atheism in a previous post, I wrote:
A different way to think about post-atheism might be a reflection of changing priorities. For example, I could imagine reaching the point where I decide that skepticism, the promotion of critical thinking, and the like are so much more important than atheism that I should focus my efforts there instead. I am not quite at this place yet, but I can imagine that I might find myself there someday.
I'm still not quite there yet, but I feel much closer than I did when I wrote those words in January of 2014. In fact, I feel much closer than I can recall.

In the short-term, I plan to be a bit more sporadic with my posting frequency. I'd like to get in the habit of writing when I feel like I have something to say or just really feel like writing. This probably means that my posting will seem more spread out than usual, with a few days going by in between posts. I've already been making an effort to intersperse posts focusing on atheism with those less directly related to atheism. I don't know that I'll necessarily try to increase that, but I will give myself permission to keep doing it.

In the long-term, I'm really not sure yet what any of this means. As of this moment, sitting here in front of my computer typing these words, I can say that I feel like all this mucking about with atheism is beginning to strike me as a bit less important than it used to seem. Taking the sort of break where I disengage myself from the subject has reminded me that there are many other interesting subjects and that immersing myself in atheism has almost certainly made it seem far more important than it really is. At the same time, I'm not ready to step away just yet. There is more to say about atheism and even more to say about freethought, skepticism, reason, and the separation of church and state.

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