Wednesday, April 30, 2008

400th Post - Interview

Greetings P-bloggers! Some of you may already know me. I'm David, better known as camerond44, around here. This is the 400th post in the p-blog. At the end of this blog we'd like you to leave a comment with a link to your blog. Pmomma will then compile a complete list of blog readers and make post number 401 a readers list.
I know Pmom has some fans out here in the blogosphere and I decided to take questions from the last four hundred posts and present her with an interview. Who is this woman we all love? What's it like to hang with the possumfamily? I don't doubt that a question or two may have been answered before. There may be new readers though.
Possummomma, did you grow up an atheist?
Nooooooooo! My parents were Catholic. I went through catechism and communion and confirmation...all of which required CCD classes over the years. I'm not sure that I knew atheism was an option growing up.
When did you realize you were an atheist?
It was gradual, but not...and before you ask what I mean, I'll lay it out there. I was never known to accept any concept without question. While I was a really good kid, by all accounts, I had a problem, even at a young age, with people claiming authority that didn't ring true. As such, I remember being that kid who the nuns and priests would try to ignore as I waived my hand feverishly. But, in 2004, I was hospitalized, in a Catholic hospital, for three months. I was pregnant with P4 and out of total boredom, I picked up the Bible and started reading cover-to-cover. The more I read, the more problems I found.d. But, still...I think that only made me agnostic. It wasn't until the following year that I came to the conclusion that there was no god.
I'm a Christian. Can you explain to me how that felt?
I won't hold that against you. LOL In a way, accepting my atheism was a bit like going through the stages of grief. I had some thought of denial - "oh...this is just a phase. I'll get over it." I think I treated it, briefly, as if it were a test of faith. But, then I got real. Next came anger. Very intense anger! I was so perturbed by, what I saw as, a hoax perpetrated on children. Then, I was angry about the lies I'd been fed and the time I'd devoted to my faith. And, around that time I learned that a priest I knew growing up was a pedophile. I don't think I did any bargaining. But, I did go through a depressed period where I just couldn't look back on my theist life with positive thoughts. That and all my friends were theists and I was a bit depressed about being around them - it's perfectly acceptable for "friends" to talk about church/devotion/their assurance of faith/impact of faith on their lives...but, I suspected that venting about, what I saw as, the problems of belief would leave me friendless. Finally, I accepted that I was an atheist and found some comfort in discovering that there were others like me. Ginny helped me feel comfortable about being a public atheist. I'm glad I met her when I did, because she opened up the door to some great friendships and fellow atheists (such as the Atheist Community of Austin and their members).
What was so important about meeting other atheists?
Well...I guess it's similar to the need to find groups of people we can relate to. I would say that, as a Christian you might compare it to finding a good church community or great Bible study.
Your blog and podcast reflect a love of books. Are you a reader and, if so, what books would you recommend for someone looking into atheism?
I have a voracious appetite for books. I always have. The works of Richard Dawkins had a huge impact on my understanding of the world, evolution, and atheism in general. I was already immersed in the sciences, but The Ancestor's Tale, by Dawkins, clarified the points on which I was fuzzy. But, it's intense reading. You really have to *want* to read it. And, you need some understanding of the scientific method and biology to get the most out of it. Losing Faith in Faith, by Dan Barker, was the first "atheist book" I read and I think it's a great starter book. Although, now, I would recommend the following three books...
1. The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins
2. Letters to a Christian Nation, by Sam Harris
3. God is Not Great, by Christopher Hitchens
All of these are written in a way that's inviting to the theist reader.
I know your husband is an agnostic-Catholic. How is that working in your home? Was he unhappy about your change in beliefs? If my girl friend came home and said she'd stopped believing in God, I don't know if I would be happy with it.
Pdaddy took it well. We'd both voiced criticisms and doubts...I was just the first of the two of us to put time into researching those doubts. And, it didn't change the basis for our relationship. I know some theist couples base their relationship on serving god or putting God first, but we were never like that. And, our children and friendship (between p-daddy and I) have always been the foundation of our marriage so atheism wasn't a deal breaker.
You blog about raising children. What makes you an authority and how do you handle the people who question your parenting?
Well, first, I definitely wouldn't define myself as "an authority". I've been a parent for over thirteen years and there are days when I'm not sure I'm doing it right or well. And, I never ask my readers or friends to parent as I do. Families are dynamic. They're constantly changing and evolving, if you will, into something new and different. I find that to be one of the coolest things about parenting - it's never dull. I don't think theists make bad parents. If you can raise a thoughtful, caring, happy child, then I wouldn't dare suggest you change your methodology. As for the "haters" who comment - it's bothering me less and less everyday. In the beginning, I was so conscious of every opinion left on my blog. I also struggled with the thought that there were people out there who thought I was a horrible parent because my children are so important to me. Luckily, I had that support that we talked about above to help me put the blogosphere trolls in perspective. For that, I have to thank Russell Glasser and Matt Dillahunty. There was a point where I was ready to delete the blog and if it weren't for them, I probably would've.

What is it that you think makes the believer-trolls in a tizzy?
I really don't know.

What will you carry with you for life as a result of this blog?
I imagine I'll take many of the friends I've made here along with me throughout life. And, certainly, I'll take the fellowship of those who are like-minded. I've also given a voice to many people who previously didn't feel like they could talk and that is something I'll always feel good about.

What would you classify as the entry that shows atheism in the best light?
There's no question in my mind that the fund raising effort, initiated by Berlzebub, was an unprecedented and bold portrayal of secular humanism. There was a poster who, essentially, dared people to "do something" and boy-howdy did the readers of this blog, and the larger atheist community, *do something*!! It was over-whelming! It still is. Above-and-beyond what it did for my family, it was an enormous, positive signal to the world that atheists are every bit as generous as their theist neighbors. I was humbled. And, what made it even better was that you had atheists and theists working together for this common goal. It was just really cool to watch.

Why did you start the blog? Did you think it would last 400 entries?
I started the blog as a place where I could talk openly about my atheism and how it would impact my family. I never dreamed it would be as popular as it seems to be. I think I really owe it to P1 for generating a buzz. And, I never anticipated that people would want to read about our family or our life.

Have you ever wished the buzz would go away?
At one point, I was, as I said, over-whelmed by certain posters and I felt like the blog was bring more negative into the home than I wanted. But, the majority has been so positive that it erases the naysayers.

If one thing came out of this blog, at the end of it all, what would you want it to be? I just really hope that people read the comments on my posts. My blog is nothing without the comments of everyone who reads it. In fact, there are many, many entries where the comments are better than the original post. I would like for it to be a place where theists, especially those who think atheists are scum, would stop by and read the comments. And, maybe, just maybe...they'll see that we are, for the most part, really decent and genuine people who simply believe in one less god than they do. I hope it is an example of how wonderful life without a belief in a deity can be. So, I guess I would like for it to be something that encouraged tolerance and understanding.

You say the people in the comments are better than your posts. Does that ever bother you?
Never! I would love for every post to become a community discussion. I'm so glad that this blog has become more than words on a screen - it's become a neighborhood. And, that's because of the awesome readers I have (both atheist and theist).

Is there anything else you want to say?
Just "thank you", to the community, for sticking with me for 400 posts. I hope we go on for another 400 posts. And, I would love for people to leave links to their blogs in the comments on this post so I can make a list of "neighbors".



50 comments:

James said...

Congrats on 400 posts! A blagging well done.

I haven't been writing as much as I want to lately, but here's my blog. I hope it'll eventually be as much fun to read as yours is.

Kristin Wenzel said...

I always enjoy reading your blog. It's very REAL. That's what I dig - sometimes you write about deep and pressing societal and political/social issues... and sometimes about your kids, or food, or what you and PDaddy did last weekend. Congrats on 400 posts! I can't imagine posting that many on my blog. O_o

Mumbochick said...

Your writing reminds me of a younger me. I love your fiery opinions and your ability to stand firm in your thoughts and opinions. Here's my blog http://bonnie-fitts.blogspot.com/

Half rabbit said...

Ah 400 posts of possumy goodness. Now if you can only instantly post another 400 as your blog is a joy to read.

I wonder if anyone will do a 400th comment in this post. :)

Here is my blog, though I wouldn't read it since it has basically nothing on it

Aldacron said...

Congratulations, PMomma. I've enjoyed keeping up with your blog over the past several months, since I first stumbled across it. I look forward to the next 400 posts! And I never miss a chance to leave a link to my blog :)

Ticktock said...

I'm new to your blog, but I enjoy every post. I write a science-based parenting blog at http://www.skepticdad.wordpress.com

Maggie Rosethorn said...

Happy 400, Pmomma. I was so happy to find you, via Pharyngula, when he posted P1's paper. You and your family are wonderful and I just wish we weren't on opposite sides of the country!

I haven't reactivated my blog yet. Perhaps when Child #2 is off to college in the fall I will. I have a lot of ideas for posts, just not the time to do them.

Alice said...

Congrats! I'm more of a lurker than a commenter, but I enjoy what you've got to say. Maybe one day I'll come all the way out of my closet. Kisses to all the possums. My blog -

http://www.elegantthimble.blogspot.com/

Cheers!

lesliepear said...

I followed you over from LJ!

http://www.livejournal.com/users/lesliepear

Poodles said...

Congrats on 400! Now, just do a bunch of posts of Youtube clips and you will be at 500 before you know it! :)

www.poodlesplace.wordpress.com

Sorry, I'm a link retard, the above will have to do.

Katie said...

I don't comment as often as I'd like to, but your blog is one of the first FSS feeds I check at night. Thank you for being open and honest about atheism, your life, and your family. It's a hard thing to do and I don't know how to say how glad I am that your blog exists, helping to make atheists more human and less alien and scary to theists.

Thank you. That's not enough, but it's a start.

My blog

Karen said...

I'm just a reader, not a blogger, but I've always enjoyed your posts, Pmomma. I wish I could have been raised by such a superstition-free mother, and your attitude is a healthy alternative to the helicopter parenting I see so often among my colleagues here in Silicon Valley. (Not having children myself, I'm sort of a parenting-voyeur. :-)

Three cheers for the Possums, Pdaddy, and the fabulous Possummomma!!!

Christine said...

Congratulations on 400 posts!

corsair the rational pirate said...

As someone who has been doing this for more than six years I congratulate you on your 400th post.

I have slowed down a little of late (it turns out that my rambling statements have, in fact, not changed the world as much as it needs to be changed) but you can see what I am up to here:

Corsair the Rational Pirate

Country Wife said...

Congrats on your 400th post!

I've enjoyed getting to know you and the possums via your blog.

You can find me at
http://countrylifewithcountrywife.blogspot.com/

Tonette said...

Congratulations on your 400th post! I have been checking all week for it. Through your interview I see we have had a similar experience with religion. I look forward to reading the next 400!

arana-suteshi said...

Congratulations on 400! I don't comment much, but I check in at least once a day to read posts and comments. ^_^

My blog is --> steshamccue.spaces.live.com <-- though it is more of a family-update blog. I keep my religious and political views away from it. And I think if you click on my name, it goes to my LJ, which is where all the stuff I can't say on the other blog goes. Though, I steer clear of religion and politics there too. I'm just boring. :)

the agnostic rationalist said...

Congrats on your 400th post !!

Doing the interview for the 400th post was a great idea. I loved reading your answers.

I'm a frequent reader your blog and I've found a lot here to think about and a lot that has helped me on my journey from growing up in an absolutely insane Baptist church to being an agnostic.

There is nothing on my blog yet, but the url is theagnosticrationalist.blogspot.com.
Hopefully, I will have enough time in the near future to get the blog up and running.

Thank you for all you do here on your blog. Keep up the good work !!

Flux said...

happy 400th post!!! glad i got to follow you over here. :) your blog has really helped me to challenge some of the beliefs that i was raised with. thank you for that, and for being a friend. *cue golden girls theme*

in addition to the old LJ (which i almost never update anymore), and myspace, i'm now blogging here.

Stargazer1323 said...

Congratulations on having such a long-lived and amazing blog! Until now, I have been just a lurker here, but I follow every post and every comment thread. You've really brought together a great community of people here, and I know it will only get better for the next 400 posts!

Since it was the openness and down-to-earth honesty of your blog that inspired me to start one of my own, here is the link to it. There isn't a whole lot there right now, but I do post on it occasionally, and I would be happy to be recognized as one of your "neighbors." Here's to another 400 great posts!

Betsy said...

Congrats! This was the first blog of an atheist parent I found after becoming an atheist myself and it's done wonders for me. Thank you for that!

My blog, which I don't know how to make a simple link. Sorry! It's:
http://ondfly123.livejournal.com

redd said...

I have no blog, but I enjoy reading them. This one,especially. I check it everyday, morning and evening, and I always read the comments. This is a great space to "see" other atheists, parents, and just folks.
May you have 400 more, and then 400 after that..and so on and so on.

Calladus said...

In a way, accepting my atheism was a bit like going through the stages of grief.

That's exactly what I went through - over a period of several years! It was a very stressful time for me. I call my process, "deconversion".

ZugTheMegasaurus said...

Congratulations on the new milestone! I check this blog every day; keep going!

Here's a link to my new blog, Humanly Human. My last blog was a bit depressing, so I'm trying to make the new one better (though the few things on it aren't exactly upbeat).

Carla said...

Congrats on the 400th post!
I check for new posts daily!
My atheist blog is: http://atheistmomma.blogspot.com
I don't post near as often as I have ideas because I am usually busy with my 2 young children and family. I also stay very busy updating my family blog.
I have yet to merge the two and unsure if I will. They ultimately serve different purposes.

Donna said...

To me it takes more faith to believe in atheism and the absence of a creator than it does to believe in God. I just cannot believe this is all one big accident. Kind of like break a computer down into molecules, putting it in a box and shaking it until a working computer creates itself. It is too much of a stretch for me. I do enjoy your blog and read it about once a week! I like that you make me think.

graylor said...

Congratulations! I can't remember if I've ever commented here, but I do enjoy reading rational discussions of religion and religious themes (I'm an agnostic with both atheistic and pantheistic tendencies. I guess that makes me a Unitarian. ;-p).

I don't know if you'd call it a blog, but I do have an lj where I try to draw together my random interests.

Natasha Yar-Routh said...

400 posts! I'm impressed and deeply envious. You are one of the people who helped me take the next logical step and go from agnostic to out atheist, thank you.

For any one interested in my rambling views they can be found at A Gender Queer View

americus said...

@Donna,
To me it takes more faith to believe in atheism and the absence of a creator than it does to believe in God.
You just had to say that in a congratulatory post, eh'? Do you require more faith to believe that unicorns don't exist?

I just cannot believe this is all one big accident.

Where have you ever seen an atheist claim that this world is an "accident"? The only thing you're showing us is how little you understand atheism. You claim to read here weekly, but that seems unlikely given your run-of-the-mill misperception.

Kind of like break a computer down into molecules, putting it in a box and shaking it until a working computer creates itself.

That's not what atheists or evolutionists would claim happened. Your analogy fails because you started with an object, broke it up, and claim it was magically rebuilt. That's more like creationism than evolution.
It is too much of a stretch for me. I do enjoy your blog and read it about once a week! I like that you make me think.
With the ideas you've created about atheism I'm sure it is a stretch. Sadly you've not got it yet.

April said...

Congrats on your 400th post! I admire and respect you so much and don't usually feel I have much to add to your posts, but I'm going to start reading the comments more - sounds great.


It's All About Balance

the chaplain said...

Congrats on your 400th post. I read your posts often, even though I don't comment as regularly as some of your other readers. My blog can be found here, An Apostate's Chapel. Hope to see you and your other readers there soon.

Joe said...

Count me in on the faithful readership. Sorry I'm an html dummy.

www.diceshooter60.blogspot.com

ryner said...

Hello, I'm a faithful (not that kind) lurker.

~Julia, atheist and library girl

ryner said...

Hello, I'm a faithful (not that kind) lurker.

~Julia, atheist and library girl

Ami said...

I read every time you update.
The post that stands out in my mind the most was the one (too lazy to go searching) that you wrote to the teen who was soon to have a baby.

So very compassionate.

I'm at amimental.blogspot.com

Janet said...

Congrats, P-momma!

Thank you so much for everything.

http://sader-mama.blogspot.com/

Seven Crows said...

400 posts! Wow My poor neglected blog Seven Crows a Journey may never reach that number.

I'll be interested to get a look at other readers blogs.

musingsofanaddict said...

You know I love your bog, and value you highly as a friend. You are wonderful!!

I'm in the processing of starting a second blog, to focus on atheism/food/life/family. But it's not ready yet, so I'll just stick with my card blog for now!

http://musingsofanaddict.wordpress.com

Nicholas said...

Congrats on 400 posts!

I enjoyed that interview. It's strange for me to reads about people for whom atheism was a gradual dawning, or even a traumatic revealation. For me it was just a logical part of growing up.

ozatheist said...

well done on 400 posts, looking forward to the next 400.

I don't always read all you posts, but I check your RSS feed daily. Posts I do read, I don't always comment, but I always read all the other comments.

There have been some very interesting and entertaining posts and comments, keep them coming everybody.

My little blog OzAtheist's Weblog

sha said...

Your blog is really wonderful and I enjoy reading it and following you through thought and life.

My blog however... I sort of got bored with my theme on blogger so I'm not going to link it.

I will link this blog though. 15 Minute Lunch. It's not mine and this post might make you and some of the others laugh. I am still rolling at the Jim Caveziel reference.

Perpetual Beginner said...

Congratulations P-momma!

I blog at Perpetual Beginner ( www.perpetualbeginner.blogspot.com ), which is such a huge surprise :-P No real religious talk, mostly karate, knitting and family stuff.

Humanist Mama said...

That was a great 400th post! I really enjoy your blog. Keep up the good work. Although my blog is not nearly as thoughtful and intriguing as yours, here's a link.

Amy said...

Congrats to Pmomma on 400 posts! I love reading the blog :)

Mine is: http://anthroamy.blogspot.com

Klaxor said...

Congrats on 400 posts!


I'd link to my blog, but it hasn't been updated in almost 9 months, and isn't that great anyways. More of a way to keep in touch with friends than public.

So I shall give you a link to another blog that I read instead. Smaller-than-life

Bill said...

Congratulations!

I've been reading your blog for most of a year, since my sister, perpetualbeginner, told me about it. I have occasionally posted, but mostly I lurk. Though I'm a theist (Baha'i) myself, I think the world is a much better place for having you and people like you in it. :-)

I'm user wh44 over at www.allbeliefs.com. Though I post a lot, my blog only has one entry.

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

Whoa! 400,

Well congrats PM. You blog was one of the first I subscribed to and continues to be a daily read(Apart from the bit where i miss your 400th post :(...)

Here's to another 400
Sean the Blogonaut.

RickU said...

Congrats on 400 posts!

RickU from http://www.unscrewingtheinscrutable.com/

spiffykt said...

Hey! I just started reading recently, mostly for your posts on the FLDS things, and your blog is really interesting! Congrats on 400 posts!

Here's my blog. I'm afraid it's not very awesome at all, but I'm getting better!

Berlzebub said...

Congrats on making it to 400 (and I'm sorry I didn't see this sooner), and thank you for mentioning me in your interview. The fund raiser is something that I'll always be proud to have been a part of.

By the way, if you ever make it out to the Cincy area, you have a standing invite to our home.