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I am a new parent. My interests are secularism, learning, parenting, religion, career planning, and adult education.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thoughts on Expressing my Views

Dale McGowan recently posted a glowing review of The Humanist Approach to Happiness by Jennifer Hancock - a book that I have now placed on my own "to-read" list. A couple of the things that Dale said in this post really resonated with me. The first statement that hit me is one I have often felt myself:

For many years, virtually all of the books for nontheists had a kind of superhuman quality to them — stratospheric works of science or philosophy that blow your hair back with articulate rigor. I couldn’t read The End of Faith or pretty much anything by Russell or Hitchens without feeling both amazed and a little bit cowed by the intellectual horsepower.
I have definitely felt this way when reading Dawkins, Hitchens, Sagan, and Shermer - to mention a few. There are many topics I would like to write about - but whenever I begin to draft a post on a topic that is somewhat controversial like my interest in atheism, science, medicine, secularism, politics, education, etc., I begin to fear that I do not have the expertise to truly address the issue. I am not a hard-hitting scientist (or a scientist at all for that matter), I am not in staunch opposition to anyone who has any kind of religious belief, although I have left my own religious beliefs behind me. I`m just an ordinary person, who having once found myself to be completely accepting and believing of something I later found to be demonstrably false, has made a decision to live my life in a way that honours the values I hold dear without religion and who trys to apply critical thinking, logic, and sound knowledge when faced with decisions that affect my family`s well-being and happiness.

When I came across Dale McGown and his book "Parenting Beyond Belief", I was introduced to a sample of people who seem to be just like me: individuals who think deeply about their place in the world, how to be happy, and how to make the world we share a better place through their own unique contributions - all without religion. It was sooooooooo refreshing. I never doubted that I couldn't be happy without religion - the last 6 years have been great so far! - or that I could raise ethical caring kids without religion, but it was really, really nice to read about parents who are already doing this. Of the author of The Humanist Approach to Happiness, Dale says:

Jen never tries to speak universally. She speaks for herself, clearly and informally, thinking out loud about decision making, simplicity, honesty, body ethics, sex, vibrators, relationships, addiction, self-image, pooping, death, and more. ... The net effect is a conversation about everything with an intelligent, unpretentious friend.

This is how I want to express myself on this blog and I hope I find both the courage and grace to do so without worrying too much about how others may receive my thoughts and opinions. I want to express my gratitude for those who are part of the ongoing conversation and online community who are setting the example for me - many of whom you can find on my blog list.


  1. you said poop on your blog! (cue teenage boy giggling) ...

    i think i undestand - and agree - it is challenging to express an opinion when it is just an opinion. no matter what the science behind something (or the faith if you come from the other side), expressing an opinion is making myself vulnerable to the feedback of others. it is opening a door to my head and my heart that others may mock, criticize or dismiss. of course, they may applaud or support it, too. either way, i need to be ready to be okay with whatever i say. okay. this is turning into my own post ... will stop now!

  2. LOL! yes - I think you get exactly what I mean!


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