Wish Fulfillment in a Ghost Town of Atheist Blogs


I have long thought that wish fulfillment is an extremely important part of how religion maintains its hold on so many people despite having precious little evidence to support its wild claims. After all, it isn't difficult to understand the appeal of the idea that some aspect of who we are might survive death. It is even easier to appreciate the pull of the possibility that we might someday be reunited with our deceased loved ones. But as Infidel753 recently noted, there is no ghost in the machine. There is no reason to think that anything recognizable as "us" survives the death of our physical bodies, for we are our bodies.

I recently found myself visiting an atheist blog that had not posted since 2014. I had been editing an old post in which I had linked to it. I wasn't sure it was still there, so I went to check it out. I discovered that it had a massive blogroll filled with what sounded like great atheist blogs. I quickly forgot about why I was there and began eagerly clicking on links in the blogroll. I must have clicked on at least 15 of them. None of these blogs were still active, not a one. It was like I had stumbled into a graveyard of atheist blogs. To be perfectly honest, it made me sad to a degree I found surprising.

I assume that most of the people who once wrote these blogs are still alive. We may have lost some of them, but I'd bet most are still around. Unfortunately, their blogs were abandoned long ago. I suppose a graveyard isn't the right metaphor; something more like a ghost town is a better fit. Most of the blogs were still there even though their authors had abandoned them long ago. Many old posts could still be found, but they were memories of something that was and not reflections of anything that still is.

When we die, that is all that will be left in the minds of others: memories of what was. The same is true when we lose loved ones. We have our memories and little else. Sadness seems like an appropriate response. It would be great if they were "in a better place," but there is no reason to think this is the case. We know where they are, and we know where we will all be before long.

I'd like to believe that several of the abandoned atheists blogs I found will come back, but I know they won't. I'd like to think that they'll be replaced by new and even better atheist blogs, but I doubt that will happen either. The growth in new atheist blogs these days pales in comparison that what it once was. Would I feel better if I managed to deny reality and pretend that what I wanted to be the case really was the case? Maybe I would, but this would be both dishonest and delusional. That's the problem with wish fulfillment.