In case you haven’t heard, Patheos picked up a new Atheism blogger recently: Libby Anne of Love, Joy, Feminism (we snaked her from Freethought Blogs). As a welcome to the neighborhood, we’re doing two Q&A posts today. Her answers are running here on Unequally Yoked and mine are running chez elle. Don’t hold Libby responsible for the questions, I wrote them, and there are two per category (blog-related, personal, and wacky).
Q: What’s the target audience for your blog, what do you try to share with them?
Libby: The audience for my blog has actually changed over time. When I first started blogging, my readers were those involved in combating or questioning the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, most of whom were still very religious. I was actually really nervous about coming out as an atheist on my blog, which I did about a month after I started blogging. Fortunately, my readers didn’t leave me over that. Over time I have picked up an increasing number of atheist readers, many of whom have backgrounds in some way similar to my own and others who are simply curious and want to learn more.
Today I blog about all sorts of issues, but especially about the trials and joys of leaving fundamentalist and evangelical religion, the problems with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the fallout of what I call the “purity culture,” the intricacies of conservative and religious right politics, and the importance of feminism. My goal is to educate those who don’t know much about these movements and ideas, encourage those whose journeys have been similar to my own, and challenge those who still adhere to the lifestyle and beliefs I left behind.
Q: What are a few posts you recommend for a new visitor?
Libby: Someone brand new to my blog should probably read the series I wrote describing my upbringing and why I left it behind, and also my deconversion story. I’d also encourage a new reader to look at the information under my tabs – Christian Patriarchy, Evangelicalism, Christian Right, Homeschooling, Purity, Parenting, Atheism, Social Justice, and Feminism – as I’m trying to set up a sort of resource library of my own posts, supplemented with websites, documentaries, books, and articles. My post important posts are listed under those tabs.
Q: What kind of philosophy do you adhere to?
Libby: This is a hard question because I’m still working it out. Someday when I have time I want to sit down and read through different philosophical theories, etc, and truly understand them. What I can say is that I am a Humanist, and that my ideals and values flow from this. As for my ethical system, I think I currently adhere to a sort of hybrid between utilitarian and rights-based ethics. Like I said, this is something I’d love to spend more time on at some point.
Q: What are some of your other interests that don’t make it onto the blog?
Libby: I’m currently in graduate school working on my PhD, but I put very little – practically nothing – from that part of my life into my blog. I would have said that my current family life doesn’t go up on my blog very often, but this actually isn’t the case because I have found that my readers are fond of reading about my parenting adventures, especially when I compare how I am raising my young daughter (who will be joined by a younger sibling before long) with how I myself was raised. You know what doesn’t end up on my blog very often? My husband. Which is odd because he’s such an awesome guy! I guess maybe I just don’t want to share!
Q: If you could time-travel forward 10-15 years, what social or political development would you be most excited to check in on?
Libby: Religion, actually. Currently, the fastest growing religious groups in the U.S. are evangelicals and the much-touted “nones.” Is this the beginning of a new evangelical era the likes of which we haven’t seen since the nineteenth century, or is this the beginning of a rise of secularism a la Western Europe? I suppose 10 or 15 years wouldn’t be enough time to know for sure, but I’m sure curious!
Q: What text do you wish served as the holy book for a widespread religion?
Libby: The trouble is that I can see how any text could be twisted into something bad as well as something good. I could very well say “Harry Potter,” but someone would surely be able to make Voldemort into the good guy or twist Harry into something evil. As I see it, religion is so tied to culture that the foundational text itself can almost cease to matter – what matters is how people interpret it, based on culture and their preconceived ideas. That’s why you see the kindest sweetest people talking about how they’re “just following the teachings of Jesus” while you also see the most awful, unkind people saying the exact same thing.