Saturday, September 6, 2008

Introducing Myself

by writerdd

Hi everyone! This is my first post on The Atheist's Way blog and I'm so excited to be here. Some of you might know me as writerdd from Skepchick, and others may know me as Donna Druchunas, the author of Arctic Lace and Kitty Knits, and to many of you, I may be a stranger. I hope we won't stay strangers for long. This message is a short introduction. If you have any questions about who I am or my background or what I think about atheism, feel free to ask in the comments.

I've been an atheist for about 14 or 15 years. I was raised as a Christian, was born again at age 9, baptized in the Holy Spirit at 14, and dropped out of high school to attend Bible School instead of college. I slowly lost my faith after I stopped attending church in the early 1990s, and I've never looked back. Obviously there's a longer version of that story, and I will probably share bits and pieces of it with you from time to time. 

For the first few years of my faithless life, I didn't think about God or church or religion very much at all. Then George W. Bush got elected, planes crashed into the Twin Towers in New York City, and Sam Harris wrote The End of Faith. I found myself getting sucked into religion again, this time as an critic, rather than as a follower. I've been blogging about atheism and skepticism, following politics closely, and reading a lot of blogs by the prominent atheist figures for several years. 

To be frank, I'm getting tired of it all once again. It hasn't been any more fulfilling than going to church was. I don't care who believes in god(s) and who doesn't. I am not interested in making fun of believers, laughing at pictures of Jesus on toast, or deciding what form of religion -- fundamentalism or liberalism -- is more authentic.

What I am interested in is something that I call spirituality without superstition, and that's the topic I intend to discuss here. I want to explore how we unbelievers, those of us who don't believe in gods or spirits or maybe even souls, can experience the same wonder, awe, and exhilaration that believers find in the sanctuary on Sunday morning. I want to talk about how we can make meaning in our lives without having to depend on a holy book or a sage to show us the way. I want to explore ways to talk about spirituality without using the words that have been co-opted by religions and superstitions.

I was thrilled when Eric Maisel sent me an early copy of The Atheist's Way to read, because this book touched on the very topics that I find most important in my own life. I hope you will join me on my continuing journey to discover the joys of living without gods.


cognitive dissident said...


I'm somewhat in the same boat: at first, I was overjoyed to read Harris, Dawkins, and others taking the fight to the theists, but have lately been yearning for something more than just rebutting the same nonsense over and over again.

I haven't read The Atheist's Way yet, but I found Comte-Sponville's The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality to be an intriguing book. I'd be interested to know if you've read it, and what you thought of it if you did.

nurse annie said...

I'm glad I found your blog today. I am in much the same place as you, and look forward to your ideas. Anne

Donna said...

@cogntive dissident: The Atheist Way, by Eric Maisel, isn't out yet. So I'm not surprised that you haven't read it.

I did read Comte-Sponville's book and it was interesting, but I'm not really a huge fan of European philosophy and that's what it reminded me of. Eric's book has a real down-to-earth American feel to it.

Don't get me wrong, I love Europe and I actually want to live there but I can't right now for various reasons... but I do feel more affinity to American philosophers and I like books on spirituality that are more practical.

@nurse annie: welcome! Glad to have you and hope we can have some interesting discussions in the future!

Jim Aikin said...

I have the impression that Taoism and Zen provide a foundation for "secular spirituality," if you'll forgive the term.

Zen is very contemplative, though. I tried to get involved with the Unitarian Church (where atheists are at least welcome, though perhaps not embraced as enthusiastically today as they would have been 30 years ago). But I found Unitarianism not very moving or invigorating; after a few Sundays, I found myself wanting to drop down to the Baptist church just to hear some shouting!

Donna said...

Hi Jim, I am less interested in groups and gatherings than I am about personal development, meditation, and such although I know a lot of people find fulfillment through groups and community. I found the last chapter of The End of Faith to be very interesting and I would liek to see Sam develop those ideas more. I am typing with my thumbs, so tafn.

druidbros said...

I would also suggest " The History of Doubt". I found it to be uplifting because I saw there is a skeptic strain thru recorded human history I am proud of. We are not alone.

Donna said...

Haven't read that, but yes, it is good to know you're not alone. Sometimes it's easy to forget that, especially for those of us who live in certain areas.

Ordinary Girl said...

Donna, I've been reading you for a little while and I'm glad you're following your own path. I have a friend who wrote a post recently about secular spirituality that you might find interesting.

And I hope you're still planning on publishing your book someday soon. I look forward to reading it.