The other day, at the end of his post about Billy Graham’s advice column on the “ rise of atheism,” Hemant made this remark:
We need a syndicated atheist advice columnist. I nominate Richard Wade. Any reader who checks out his comments on this site knows what I’m talking about.
At first I just laughed. Hemant’s kidding, right? An advice columnist? An agony aunt? But then my imagination started running. I love reading this blog and interacting with people here every day. I really can’t stay away. I comment about the posts or other’s comments far more often than I post my own articles. I much more prefer to respond to the issues that others bring up, and I especially like the “people” issues, such as atheist-Christian marriages, the problems of coming out as an atheist to loved ones, or the feelings of grief sometimes felt early in an atheist’s emancipation from god belief.
So I thought, okay, why not? I’m a retired marriage and family counselor, I’ve counseled tens of thousands of people, I’ve heard and seen things that would shock most people into tears and retching at the same time, and I’ve survived many more days of life than most of the readers who frequent this site. So maybe I can help someone, and with the input of others, we can help each other and have fun doing it.
So we’re launching a special section, “Ask Richard: Advice from an atheist”.
Anyone, atheist or not, can anonymously send in a detailed description of some life problem that is vexing and perplexing you (No, I can’t help you get your browser to work right), and I’ll respond with as much respect, compassion and clarity as I humanly can. Including pertinent details such as your age, sex, financial situation, etc. will help me be more precise and less “iffy.” The problems need not always be atheist-oriented, and my responses might not always be strictly an “atheist” response per se, whatever that is. My viewpoint grows from a lifetime of skepticism, rationalism and a pragmatic attitude that life should be faced with equal measures of courage and humor.
Although I’ve been known to joke around often, I’ll be taking your questions seriously, so I ask you to not submit frivolous or contrived questions that don’t represent a real situation that you’re facing. I’ll respond to those privately via your email address, but I won’t publish them if I think they’re B.S.
Unless you clearly state otherwise, your identity will be kept strictly confidential. Give yourself a pseudonym that is related to the problem you’ve presented, like those you see on newspaper advice columns.
There will be a comments section after each posting for readers to agree or disagree with my advice, but much more importantly, to offer their own ideas and experience on the topic.
I think many of us can enjoy and benefit from this.