A couple days ago I posted a Conversation I had with a Christian about God and the value of religion and I’m still thinking about it and hoping I didn’t notably hurt any feelings. I actually wrote to the Social IQ Lady, my favorite atheist blogger, and twelve hours later she’d written a thoughtful post about it. I asked her if it had been worth my time, but maybe what I was thinking more of is was it worth the hurt feelings? (It never occurred to me that the term ‘Dude’ could be derogatory but now that she points it out, it makes perfect sense.) Writing a blog post about a general concept is a lot different than arguing directly with someone because there’s no way to avoid the sense that you’re attacking and having a little battle.
The reason I like the Social IQ Lady so much is because she’s found a way to be mostly positive, avoids anything that’s purposefully insulting, but still manages to make meaningful atheist points. Most other atheist sites I’ve found either dilute their message, or resort to insults and accusations of evil. I used to read BlagHag, but after elevatorgate 2011, I couldn’t handle the nastiness anymore.
One major reason I never revived my previous website was because it had become so negative. It was marijuana-focused and atheism was a side-issue, so most of my readers came looking for info about weed, then the religious ones got offended by some of my articles and would say nasty things, then I would try to show my superior writing skill by out-insulting them. Then the next person would see those posts and it would serve as an invitation for more nastiness. (Ironically my first website started as a celebration of God and faith but it turned into anti-religious nastiness.) I’m doing a whole lot better with kalinbooks. I can’t think of any point where I’ve been purposefully hurtful, though in a lot of ways I’m saying things that are more harsh than I did on my previous site. I have not received one death-threat since I revamped this site in 2010 so I’m not doing too horribly.
But still, I’m so negative all the time. While i don’t say anything deliberately hurtful, all my posts seem to be about what’s wrong with things. I talk about police brutality and all the things that are wrong with criminal justice. I talk about atheism, but instead of focusing on the benefits of mental freedom and equality, I focus on the ways religion has harmed myself and society. I really want to write a series of posts about my vision of a Utopian society and outline how humans could live peacefully without laws and religion. I have so many ideas in my head, but instead I just attack our current society without offering alternatives 🙁
I keep thinking about another negative post I want to write about Ted Bundy and how reading a couple books about him cemented my anarchism, explaining how criminal justice inspired him to kill and how the police helped him get away with it.
But there’s a part of the Ted Bundy post I need to remember to include. Most people don’t know that he actually volunteered and worked tirelessly at a suicide hotline, saving possibly as many people as he killed… but even fewer people know about the story of one of the women who got away.
Ted Bundy, in the midst of his killing years, stopped to pick up a young female hitchhiker. Once she realized he had lied about where they were going, he admitted that he intended to rape and murder her. Something about her state-of-mind, however, was different than his other victims. Perhaps the situation was so surreal that her brain somehow skipped over the fear. Instead of screaming and crying and calling him names, she started talking to him like a person, asking him about his childhood, about his motivations, about how he feels when he’s killing people, and how he thinks his victims feel. Despite the fact that he was about to brutally murder her, she remained relatively respectful and continued calmly talking to him about the situation until finally he pulled off to the side of the road, told her that she’d earned his respect, and let her go.
Part of me wants to ask how it’s possible that someone can admit to a random stranger that he’s a serial killer and the cops still can’t bust him, but what’s really important in this story is the fact that one woman did in a half hour conversation what millions of dollars of criminal justice could not, and the key to her success was the fact that she respected him, despite what a monster he was. This is the kind of thing I want to talk about on this site, those beacons of hope, and the fact that so few people have faith in these days, that every person, no matter how evil or insane, can still be reached through communication and compassion. I have no idea if I’ll succeed.