I was planning to put this up on Thursday, but I was out of town for the long Thanksgiving weekend, and it turned out that I didn’t have wireless access and couldn’t connect my laptop to the Internet. Sorry for the late-itude. I’m home now, and will be back to my regular blogging schedule as soon as I get some sleep.

It’s traditional, on or around Thanksgiving, for writers to write about the things they’re grateful for. Family and friends; happiness and comfort; health and home — these typically lead the pack.

Of course I’m deeply grateful for all that. But I don’t think I have anything very original or interesting to say about it. So I want to say this instead:

I’m grateful for the atheist blogosphere.

(Or, as I’ve been calling it lately, the atheosphere.)

The quote unquote “new atheist” movement, and in particular the atheist blogosphere, has given me the sense of being part of something bigger than myself. It’s given me the experience of participating in an important social movement that’s changing society in ways nobody can predict, and that’s touching people I will never meet or even know about. It makes me feel both powerful and humble… both in really cool, amazing ways.

I haven’t felt this way since I was immersed in the dildo wars, the raging debate over porn and sex toys and bisexuality and SM in the feminist/ lesbian communities of the late ’80s and early ’90s. When I get emails or comments from people saying that I changed the way they think or live, that I helped them out of a suffocating religion or inspired them to write, it gives me that rare flush you get when the chatterbox in your head shuts up for ten seconds and you feel completely present in your skin, and in your world. It makes me feel alive, and connected, and like the meaning of my life is being fulfilled. Being part of the atheist blogosphere makes me feel like part of history; like I’m jumping into the river and helping to shape its direction, instead of just camping out on the riverbank watching it go by.

And it’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

For all of that, I’m grateful.

Gratitude can be a tricky emotion for the godless. When we feel grateful for good fortune that we didn’t particularly earn, we don’t always know who to thank for it. Sometimes there isn’t anyone to thank, and the gratitude just sort of floats out into the ether with no object to attach to, in a way that feels vaguely disconcerting.

But in this case, there are people to thank. And so I’m thanking them.

I’m not going to thank all my favorite atheist bloggers by name. I know I’d miss someone, and that wouldn’t be right. But I am inexpressibly grateful that, when I started to blog, the atheist blogosphere, and the contemporary atheist movement, was here for me to come home to. Y’all rock.


4 thoughts on “Thanks

  1. 1

    I’m also thankful for the atheosphere. It’s a place where I can find out what other atheists think about things and bounce my ideas off of them. It can be lonely being an atheist when one’s family and workplace are steeped in evangelical Christianity. The atheosphere alleviates some of the isolation.

  2. 2

    I’m grateful for the atheosphere too. Even without a physical gathering, you can have a sense of belonging and community, and that’s something I most definitely do have. The Internet is a fantastic tool for helping atheists organize and find each other, and helping us speak out when our real-life circumstances wouldn’t permit it.
    Also, I feel grateful to be able to hear from so many intelligent, expressive individuals. There have been so many times I’ve read someone else’s post that’s given me a new perspective or brought up a point I hadn’t thought of before. There’s some top-notch writers on the atheosphere, and I hope they continue to do what they do best.

  3. 3

    I’m glad it’s around, too. It’s gotten me writing regularly again, for one thing, and, like you, it makes me feel a part of something bigger, a community. I’ll bet that’s how my wife feels when she goes to mass.

  4. 4

    Greta, I am grateful that I discovered your blog. You say everything I think, in a graceful, thoughtful and tactful way that I can never manage to do. You choose your words carefully – I just spout off! I’ve bookmarked many of your articles and used them to respond to theists when having a “discussion.” I just say, “Here, read this, Greta can explain it better than me.”

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