The Return of The Brother From Another Mother

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water… I’m back. I tried to get out, but they pull me back in. Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. Enough movie quotes yet?

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away (sorry had to), I wrote a blog. It went by the name, “Life Without Faith,” and provided a tremendous venue for this ex-preacher to vent his frustrations. It was the conduit through which the non-theist world became acquainted with me, and the albatross which hung the moniker: Brother Richard around my neck. (I’ve given up trying to get away from it, and the title of this blog marks my embracing.) It was even because of the blog that I ended up becoming the president of Atheist Nexus.

As my responsibilities expanded with Atheist Nexus, I regretfully decided that it was necessary for me to temporarily walk away from the world of blogging. For Nexus to be successful, I wanted to keep it from being branded with my personality, opinions, and worldview. I thought I would return within a couple months, but as it is said, “A year passed. Winter changed in to spring. Spring changed in to summer. Summer changed back in to winter. And winter gave spring and summer a miss and went straight on in to autumn.”

So many crucial events have transpired in the nontheistic world since I’ve been away. We have seen countless individuals come to terms with their nontheism, and they have begun to come out of the atheist closet. The number of freethought conventions has exponentially increased throughout the world, and in America we had a wonderfully successful Reason Rally in Washington DC (of which Atheist Nexus was a proud sponsor).  We have suffered the loss of the unfathomable Christopher Hitchens, and the “lion of humanism” Paul Kurtz. All of these stoked the embers of my blogging fire, and I came close to returning.

A couple months back, Atheist Nexus began its fourth year, and a decision was made that it was acceptable for me to return to blogging. After hearing nothing but positive evaluations from my friends Hemant and JT, I decided Patheos was the best place for me. I have always been intrigued with Patheos. It has provided a wonderful refuge for those desiring to communicate and discuss issues of faith. And let’s face it; what we have here is a failure to communicate.

So, In case I wasn’t clear, let me begin with a disclaimer. All the views expressed in this blog will be mine and mine alone. I’m not speaking for Atheist Nexus, Patheos, or any other great atheist organization in which I am involved. Of course, I think I’m right, and I’ll love arguing my point. However, I do not presuppose that everyone who thinks differently than me is automatically wrong. Many issues are black and white, right and wrong, but many issues emit innumerable shades of gray. Or, are there actually 50 shades of gray? Perhaps I shall write my own soccer mom porn and entitle it “Mostly Gray and Balding.” But I digress.

I’ll leave you now with a quote from our favorite Mormon (before Romney), Stephen Covey. He said, “Seek first to understand, and then to be understood.” We all, especially in the atheist world, would accomplish much more if we attempted to live by these words. Do you agree? Do you disagree? Post your comments below and I’ll try to respond; at least to those who are attempting to fulfill this motto.

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  • Jesse Weinstein

    Mainly just a welcome back to blogging, and thanks for your work in the atheist movement.

    Regarding first seeking to understand, before trying to communicate — I think that is a good way to achieve many things, but not all. It is good for reaching truth, for facilitating dialog, and those are very important things. But it presupposes a degree of available time, physical and intellectual resources (and good faith) on both parties, that is not always or even typical in some situations, such as politics or large-scale social change. Dialog is important, but simply standing and being counted, providing encouragement and support (including blowing off steam) for each other — these are important also.

    • Richard Haynes

      From your keyboard to no god’s monitor Jesse.

  • Norm

    Hi there Richard,I will be interested to follow your blog and occasionally drop in for a chat.Im a Christian so you will understand quite well where i am coming from.I look forward to what you have to say.

    • Richard Haynes

      Thanks Norm. I’m always available for my Christian brothers and sisters.

  • David

    Welcome back, Richard! FYI, I added your feed to the blogroll on my site, The Humanist Resource Connection ( If that’s not cool, let me know and I’ll remove it.

    • Richard Haynes

      Awesome. Thanks David.

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  • BubbaRich

    I kinda like your moniker, because it reminds me that you’re not me, except my moniker is just a redneck version of your own.

    • Richard Haynes

      Ha! Very true Bubba.

  • Rosie M.

    I just stumbled across this today! I’ll be reading more of it, I’ve always liked to read/hear what you have to say. I miss the AtheistNews podcast, but I understand you have a lot going on. Thank you for all you do!

  • Pofarmer

    I stumbled onto Patheos a couple of months ago. I had come close to Atheism in College, then got sucked back into Christianity by my wife, who is Catholic. The absolute craziness of the Catholic Church got me searching again, and wow, has it been a ride. Not sure where I am, but sure am glad of the folks on Patheos of all faiths, although reading the Catholic Forums makes my head explode.