Just wondering.... more than 30,000 members. At most, I am guessing 20 or 30 or so post discussions or get involved in discussion. Not that I keep track.
That's the size of a mega-church. Sorry for the analogy. It's about the size of the town where I grew up. Also not a good analogy, that town was a sorry excuse for an over-sized septic tank. Let's just say it's a lot of people.
Anyway, I wonder what happens for the folks who sign on and don't post. I hope this site is useful for them. I suppose if 30,000 people were all posting and discussing it would be kind of overwhelming. Maybe page-views generate some funding for the site?
I also wonder about people who used to be very active, then.... poof! vanished! There are a bunch of them. Did they get bored? Found Jesus? Get busy and no longer had time? Found peace with being atheist, the need was met, move on?
Just speculating. I sometimes welcome new members hoping to inspire involvement, and others do a lot more of that than I do.
What I wonder in relation to this topic, is why the wife, husband, or companion of an active member never participates. I've often wanted to ask you and others that question, but don't want to be nosey where it's none of my business.
I'd say my wife is a nominal liberal Christian. She hasn't attended church in years, at least in part because of a back problem. But the last I heard, she still considers atheist a bad word. I belong to a local (Albuquerque) humanist group; there are no more than five active couples. Others are single, but others are like me.
Actually, we hosted the annual winter solstice party at our home once. She mostly stayed upstairs, but happened to be around when a young, new member (who only stayed a few months) delivered a diatribe about how totally stupid religionists are, and wasn't smacked down by other members. (We just don't do that; we agree or disagree, but only a few of us will take on others.) So she decided the group is like that. As to "tell her to have an Open Mind ... " you don't know my wife. We don't tell each other what to do; we might not have made it to 58 years if we did.
Freethinker31, don't tell her, that would raise my resistance if someone told me to do something. Offer the opportunity and accept, without comment, a yes or no. Then do whatever seems right for you. Couples do have different interests and need time on their own. Support that.
On the other hand, if there is a problem that needs addressing, I say, deal with it as soon as possible.
Gee Jerry, when I first read your post, I thought that "I" had written it! Sounds similar to my situation. And no, I don't belong to any local group. I am semi-housebound because of 8 years of illness, but we have been married over 50 years now, and hold many similar beliefs, but.......I never talk to my wife about my deepest beliefs, nor does she to me. Like myself, she sees all the hypocracy within most "people of faith" and chooses not to participate in any of them.
It is an interesting question. I'm curious to know also. It might be nice if someone that decided to leave would post their reasons. Of course, many probably don't know they're going to leave for good.
If I decide to leave, I will probably give the reasons.
I think a lot of them have moved on. Some come back to use from time to time, but not often. I really enjoy this site but not everybody is a Tyson or an Einstein. I have problems with some who think they are, so I give up and stop trying to respond to them, then just move on to other topics.
What's of interest to me on A/N might not interest everybody. That's also why I think some have moved on. We all want to get in our 2 cents worth, but I can't discuss Edward Snowden forever. I'm also not good at telling you how to nueter your cat. Most of my type of discussions would center around religion and supernaturalism, and maybe anything coming out of those in some way.
I'm often just floored by those who claim not to believe in god, but they tell you something else they believe in that is supernatural. None of this is pick and chose to me. It's logic, reason, and evidence. It appears that some atheists don't even get that.
One option is that people are so busy trying to put food on the table and a roof over their heads, they don't have time for small-talk and haven't time to think about large-talk, or whatever one calls discussion of serious topics.
Another option is new atheists discovered there were others thinking as they, and they no longer felt the need for support on the internet.
Or, perhaps, there was information overload.
Or, they were not comfortable writing their thoughts.
Or, they were afraid of having their privacy invaded.
Or, they were scared off by the fear-mongers who took out after us when we wrote some criticism of religion. (old timers know this, but I received a phone call from someone reading my Atheist Nexus material and he threatened me with rape with a blow torch if I continued to blaspheme his god.)
Or, they wanted a community of local people with whom to share ideas instead of virtual friends.
Or, they missed the community of the church and returned to the safety of the known.
Or, they were so radicalized, the discussions were not militant enough.
There are some I miss and wonder how they feel and what they think. I have reached out to a couple but nothing came of it. I have some deep concern about those in Afghanistan, Egypt, and the Middle East who no longer keep in touch. One young man was so excited about the Egyptian Spring, writing of his hope and dreams. He has gone silent. So has the man in Afghanistan.
Joan, your first thought applies to many people I think: "people are so busy trying to put food on the table and a roof over their heads, they don't have time for small-talk and haven't time to think about large-talk, or whatever one calls discussion of serious topics."
I like the phrase "large-talk".
Spud, from my own relationship, he just isn't interested. His primary identification is with his Chinese family and origins, and he is online a lot staying connected there.
A better question is why does my interest sustain? I don't know. I really feel like people here are my friends, I've never had atheist friends or family, I am surrounded by religious people and religious comments every day, and this is really a stimulating environment for me.
Michael, I also cant tell you how to neuter your cat. And I'm no Einstein or Tyson. Although Tyson's face tattoo is interesting, and he seems to have turned around since quitting prize fighting.
Joan, those all sound valid to me. I'm horrified about the phone call you received. Truly horrified. For some of those issues, that is why I use a nom de internet. Because it would not be possible for me to speak freely here, while people are looking over my shoulder from my day to day and professional world.
Daniel, I have been called so many names since 1974, I should have kept track of them because they were really funny, looking back on them. At the time I cried. My former father-in-law told me I was a baaaaad woman and he bleated it as a sheep would bleat. My former mother-in-law cald me some name I can't even remember now, but I was devastated. My father told me I wasn't strong enough to take the beatings ... meaning he was disappointed in me. My mother hated me because I left and paid the price for leaving. She had divorced my father twice, married him three times. It wasn't until she read a copy of my master's thesis, Toward a Theory of Family Violence, that she understood what I was doing. My aunt told me to get out of her house because was telling the truth about my father's brutality direct3d toward my mother.
Others have called me names as I marched for feminist, or black, or gay causes. So what. Their name calling said more about them than about me. I have a photo on my wall of the whites screeching at blacks as they walked in the public schools with that bantam rooster of a governor being pushed aside by U.S. marshals.
My skin is so thick, it is like cowhide. I thought things through very carefully and know what is fair, just, and right for me without causing others harm. The wonderful people on this site challenge me when I think fallaciously, and give me ideas they support with reason and evidence.
When I was in my doctoral training at Gonzaga, my advisors and professors were mostly priests. I was writing my dissertation, A Splendid Heresy, in which I demonstrated how the church maintains and perpetuates violence against women, and keep women in a powerless, dependent, subordinate state. They harshly criticized my work. I wrote and re-wrote until I could get the language that would satisfy them, get me an "A" grade and I remained true to my notion that women have rights and responsibilities and men have no authority to pass judgement on me. I am pro-woman, pro-choice, anti-religion, and hold anti-domination/submission beliefs. I completed my training and received only "A"s in all my classes. When it came down to the degree, they refused to give me a doctoral degree because I did not vomit out their rhetoric. One of my priest-committee members told me I had come closest to changing his mind about contraception and abortion as anyone had. I asked my committee how they could deny their sexuality, wear dresses and refuse to give me my earned doctoral degree. No answer that made any sense was forthcoming.
I am grateful to the institution of the Roman Catholic church for not awarding me my earned degree because it provided just one piece of evidence that the institution of the RC church is closed minded, fail to meet the needs of modern women and men, and do not provide a viable alternative to a better way to live life.