One month at Patheos, looking back

One month at Patheos, looking back October 3, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 1.18.22 AM It’s been a little more than a month since our humble blogfam joined the atheist channel here at Patheos. The entire process moved very quickly—Dale McGowan, the Managing Editor of the atheist channel[1. AKA our blogdad] reached out to us to see if we’d be interested in relaunching NPS at Patheos. Though Chris Stedman, the founder of our blog,[2. AKA our other blogdad] had moved on to blogging at his Religion News Service site and couldn’t join us, we all agreed to join the network.

On the first of September, just about three weeks after we decided to get the ball rolling, our first posts went up.

Before this, I hadn’t written about atheism regularly since last October, after I became increasingly frustrated that atheist communities seemed dominated by a narrow set of views which, on the whole, didn’t seem to match up with what atheists most often actually believed. It’s been a small struggle to set a balance of involvement that accomplishes what I want without being too taxing on my mental health.

So far, it seems to be going well. We’ve put up nearly 60 posts in this past month, though I’d be lying if I said that it hasn’t been a lot to juggle, especially on top of my day job[3. which can be demanding, particularly at the start of the semester], social life, dog-owning responsibilities, sleep, and so on. While the last month has added a lot of stress, it’s also been extremely rewarding to have that effort met so warmly, especially by voices who’ve felt driven away by what currently dominates online discussions of atheism. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard friends and strangers use the phrase “necessary voice” to encourage me.

The response hasn’t always been positive, and I wasn’t expecting to be met with no hostility, but our reception has by far exceeded my expectations. Our posts have been covered by Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish, referenced at NPR’s 13.7: Cosmos and Culture blog, and picked up by Time. Somehow, I managed to publish a story in The Daily Beast which, as of writing, has been shared more than 10,000 times.

I’ve been even more delighted by the thoughtful content our writers[5. AKA my blogsibs] have produced. Dean Roth gave us some moving advice on how to care for our loved ones with depression. Wendy Webber discussed volunteering abroad. Stephen Goeman challenged us to look more broadly for Humanistic inspiration, specifically urging atheists to love Kanye as much as we do.[4. I fucking love Kanye so much] Sarah Jones wrote about struggling to deal with anger as an atheist and ex-fundamentalist. Andreas Rekdal asked if the word “atheism” is even worth rehabilitating. My brother Alex, who has always pushed me to be a better writer if only through his own example, has popped out several fantastic posts about religion, violence, and the background premises of our blog.

Personally, I’ve written a lot about morality (a lot about morality), dogs, some hipster shit, and why I don’t really care about deconverting believers. I’ll be writing about broader issues, I swear. As we keep moving forward, we hope to have even more voices joining us, particularly focusing on interfaith engagement. We’re excited to push that angle of the blog even more.

And lastly, we’re always looking for more writers, even if it’s just for a guest post. We particularly want to help elevate the voices of people who don’t feel they have a space in mainstream atheism, especially sexual, gender, or racial minorities. While this is partly motivated by wanting to take some of the writing load off of my shoulders, it’s mostly just the case that NPS was never meant to be the Vlad Chituc blog. We want this to be a forum where we can broaden what it means to be an atheist, and I doubt my perspective is much broader than anyone else’s. Please reach out to me on Facebook, Twitter, or if you’re interested.

Thanks again for the support everyone. Constructive feedback, even critical, is always appreciated.

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