Year's End, And a Preview

As the final hours of 2006 draw to a close, it’s a fitting time to look back on the passing year and sum it all up. Without a doubt, 2006 has been an eventful year for nonbelievers: the downfall of Ted Haggard, the conviction of Kent Hovind, the spectacular defeat of the Republican party in the midterm elections, the rise of the freethought movement with several best-selling books by prominent atheists leading the way, and more.

We have made great gains this year, and despite the great violence and suffering still occurring around the world that give reason for sorrow, I cannot help feeling as if there is a new spirit of hope in the air. Perhaps it is foolish optimism, but I feel a growing confidence that the direction of events is changing. In the year to come, we friends of reason may be able to achieve a great deal of good.

My own life has seen great change for the better as well, both personal and professional. Daylight Atheism continues to grow at a rate that has surpassed all but my most optimistic imaginings, with December’s total traffic more than ten times that of its first month, February, and no upward limit in sight so far. It’s astounding to me that this site has now been in existence nearly a year, and yet I’ve touched on no more than a small fraction of the topics I want to discuss! I have a long list of ideas for posts, some of which have been waiting since this site’s inauguration, that I want to write about eventually – and rest assured, I will.

In the new year, I intend to continue writing for Daylight Atheism and to continue guiding and nourishing it through whatever future growth it may see. I have not forgotten the discussion from last October about the possibility of writing a book, and it is still my plan to do so. As this progresses, I will provide further updates on it. Until then, readers, for your curiosity and as a prod to myself, I will offer a preview of some of the new topics I intend to write about in 2007. This is a very tentative list, and I may not get to everything on this list – but its existence, I hope, will encourage me to do so.

  • A critical view of the “prosperity gospel”, the “Quiverfull” movement and other recent and troubling outgrowths of fundamentalist Christianity; plus, skeptical analyses of Hinduism, Wicca, and other strange and curious sects.
  • Do You Really Believe That?: Bizarre and irrational assertions made by the world’s religions that even believers should find hard to swallow.
  • How to Think Critically: In the Observatory, I’ve already debunked many popular delusions. But more important than shooting down each new bit of superstition is teaching people how to think and reason correctly so they do not commit such errors in the future. This series is intended to be a friendly introduction to the principles of rational thinking for people who may not be familiar with them.
  • Know Your Theocrats: To make effective political progress, we nonbelievers should know who stands against us, what they advocate, and what resources they command. This series will profile some of the more prominent allies of theocracy in the American political scene today.
  • On the Morality Of…: This year, I wrote The Roots of Morality, laying out a framework for non-supernatural, non-dogmatic moral reasoning. Now it’s time to build on top of that framework. In this series, I’ll apply the principles of universal utilitarianism to vexing moral issues.
  • Finally, and most tentatively, I have plans to publish a serialized novel in the Loft – not the book I am planning, but something new and different: a work of fiction. Of all the ideas I have listed here, I am least certain that I will get to this one, but the seed of an idea is already in my mind. We will see if it is destined to flower.

Finally, I want to extend my most humble and sincere thanks to you, gentle readers. I am only one person; it is your contributions that have made this site what it is, and I am grateful to all of you for them. In the coming year, I hope that, with my writing, I will be able to repay you for your time and attention and to make your continuing visits worth the while.

The time draws near, and I’ll now draw this post to a close. I hope that 2007 will be a year of peace and reason, and to all my readers, I wish you happiness and prosperity in the year to come and in the future beyond.

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