Yet another Social Networking Site - Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! "You really should join!"
So anyway, I went ahead and joined AtheistNexus. I have too many theistic friends and family on Facebook; I was having to go back to MySpace to really speak my mind, but mostly as a lone voice crying in the wilderness. I've been slightly more assertive on Facebook of late, but it is never far from my mind that one of my longtime High School friends is an Episcopal priest, while two others are Methodist ministers and another is a Houston police officer and devout Southern Baptist.
It turns out, A|N is affiliated with Ning, which I already coincidentally joined in participating in the North Texas 23 Things, a webinar designed to teach new librarians about Web 2.0 technology.
So I figured I might as well, since A|N is the only Ning group I remotely care about.
It's also cool to bump into atheist Librarians who are also out of the closet.
I'm divorced from a former agnostic who reverted back to the fundamentalism (sort of) of her youth. She is one of those "it's a relationship, not a religion" Christians who professes to "hate religion but love Jesus", yada yada yada. The beginning of the end of our rocky relationship was Mel Gibson's snuff film aka THE PASSION, which left me cold, but left her speechless with awe and (I presume) guilt and shame. I was the one atheist "bad boy" in her life, I guess. I don't know. When we hooked up initially it was a big gamble (as any romantic relationship is, especially ones that transition from "just friends" status). I was willing to bet that her agnosticism was on the verge of becoming full blown atheism, and I sincerely wanted to be there for her. She was (and is) a very intelligent person, and brains are as important to me as physique. I can forgive/overlook deficits in physique when they are more than made up for by winning personalities and sharp intellect. Though often Tom Boyish and usually dressed in unflattering clothes, my Ex underneath was not hurting in the physique department.
What saddens me when I look back on our early romantic relationship...and failed marriage...is how someone so obviously intelligent could be so warped by religious ideas and irrational obsessions like creationism. Even when she was approaching borderline atheism, she held fast and firm to creationist ideas and remained zealously anti-abortion in her mindset & value system. The massive waste of celluloid and time known as "Expelled" starring former Nixon staffer turned gameshow host and bit actor Ben Stein spells out my ex's worldview quite perfectly.
Our intellectual discussions at first were very stimulating mentally as well as yes, physically.
I regarded myself as a pessimist, generally, until I married my ex-wife....whose was utterly relentless in her religiously-based pessimism about the "fallen" world, forcing me to become the optimist; A role I was unaccustomed to assuming before.
My Ex is now finishing her own MLS at my university, has a new boyfriend, and is very pregnant and so far unmarried. I have to snicker a little since she did declare once after our divorce that she'd never have sex again unless she was married (even though she broke that rule with me already before our own marriage, including co-habitation). We never had kids ourselves, thank goodness, though we had a few close calls. Part of the reason I got out is because she began refusing to use any form of female birth control and got pissy when I used male protection or just plain wasn't in the mood as often. I wanted to wait until I had a library job and was secure in it, while she wanted a baby *right now*. When I worried about money and how we could possibly care for a child and keep our career dreams on track, she kept saying the Lord would provide, I needed to have faith.
That for me was (and is) just crazy talk.
Anyway, the emotional scars run deep; I have had some quality counseling, and it has helped me confront a lot of issues, etc. I've done my 'grief work', recognized my alcoholism and treated it with Rational Recovery, and consider myself for the most part a well-adjusted, confident atheist.
One thing's for sure, though, I could never, EVER again date, much less marry, a Christian. Not even a moderate one. I just can't. Which I know drastically shrinks my dating pool. I would date a nice secular Jewish-American girl, but if her parents demanded me to convert in the event of marriage, that would be a deal-breaker, I'm afraid. While I did study Judaism for about a year, and found much appealing that was appealing, at least as a contrast to Christianity, I still couldn't accept it for myself as a world view or religion. I respect secular, Jewish-Anglo/American culture, but religious Judaism I want nothing to do with.
I'm not really looking for a long term, committed relationship at this stage. My last post-marital relationship was with a true, noncommittal agnostic who was vaguely pantheistic or deistic. We dated, we had fun together, and if I had managed to find a library job in Houston, I'd still be going out with her. But alas, I had to come back to North Texas to find library work, so here I am, back where the drama all started, with my Ex living in the same town again (she having moved back from her native Louisiana, where she ran off to, to live with her sister, in the wake of our divorce). Mostly, my Ex and I just stay out of each other's way. She did try to "cyberstalk" me at first, but the hidden benefit to being an employee of TWU, the same place where she is an enrolled graduate student, is that she is subject to the TWU Student Code of Conduct, which, yes, prohibits students from harassing university employees, subject to sanction. When I threatened to haul her before the Office of Student Life, she quickly shut the hell up. Apparently finishing her MLS is more important to her than stalking me, which is a very good thing.
I don't like the fact that I will probably keep bumping into her at TLA the next several years (the library world is very small), but I can live with it, I guess.