Since my deconversion I have spent a lot of time thinking and writing about why I no longer believe. Most of this expression has occurred online as this is the place where freedom of expression has few limits. A part of this process has been the search for a community to belong to. I have written before about the need to have secular replacements for community.
This search has turned out to be more difficult than I expected. The community of non-believers is a many splintered thing. In fact, the term community does not really apply and the word factions leaps to mind. There are many factions often competing and often hostile to one another:
- Those who never believed
- I know quite a few atheists and non-believers in real life but their experience is more like water to a fish. Belief and unbelief is not something they are interested in.
- Those who are aggressively anti-theist and anti-religion
- Think “new” atheists (fairly or unfairly). More so than the famous authors are the everyday twitter warriors that take it as their personal responsibility to disabuse believers of their faith.
- Those who are focused on legal maters pertaining to secularism
- These are the groups like CFI, FFRF, Secular Coalition that are doing work I agree with but have little to do with community building.
- Those who reject the fundamentalism but not the faith
- This is the new hotness, deconstruction, not throwing the baby out with the bath water. I have met many many new friends in this category.
I find I don’t quite fit into any of those categories. My experience and particular brand of unbelief will forever be informed by my former faith. I have no desire to convince believers to abandon their faith. I have mentioned I am still a bit angry at apologists but I am not interested in taking down the average theist. I believe in a secular society and I support those causes but they do not inspire me. I find no joy in them. And finally, though I have met new friends who are in the deconstructing crowd, if I am being honest, I don’t get it. When I let go of faith I felt no desire to hold onto the trappings of faith. In fact, it was freeing to abandon them.
I am starting a new series about communities of unbelief. I’ll be tackling the following ideas:
I believe as humans we need community. It is a basic need. Those of us who have walked away from our faith have often also lost community we relied on. Hopefully, the series can help answer: What now?
Let me know what communities or factions I have missed, where I am being unfair and most importantly which communities you are a member of.
Check back often to read my explanations for these important questions.