On Being Obsessive: Finding Community

I'm not quite sure what happened, but the last seven days have felt like I"m on to my next great obsession.  I've seen this happen on and off over my life, when a passion hits me and I just can't get enough.  I'm not necessarily thinking this is a bad thing, but am noticing a pattern within myself and feel it's worth attending.  My obsession is soaking in all things atheist.  Something happened suddenly and without warning, and now I just can't get enough of reading, watching youtube, joining online communities, and blogging.  Every moment I"m in the car, I'm listening to this or that podcast.  Every moment at home I'm researching this or that.  I love it!  What I don't understand, is why now?

This would all make sense to me if I had recently deconverted.  However, it's been about seven years.  I actually can't remember the moment.  It was like the reverse of what CS Lewis describes in "Surprised by Joy", I went to bed one night believing that god exists, I woke up the next morning and no longer believed god exists.  It wasn't passionate.  It wasn't angry.  It was a whisper of a thought accompanied with a wry smile.  God doesn't exist.  

It actually took me a little while to call myself an atheist.  That seemed to be "all in", and I didn't feel passionate enough to be all in.  I listened to audiobooks of The God Delusion and God is not Great.  I listened to Julia Sweeney's Letting Go of God.  And life continued on as normal.  I didn't seek community, although I thought about it.  I've been signed up with Meetup.com for months, always planning to attend but not making it happen.  I'd not even explored what was out there on the webs to see how to find community.

As a brief digression, my social group had collapsed.  This was not for reasons of being an atheist.  Most of my social group actually collapsed after going through a divorce.  Between my other married friends and church community, I had only very few social contacts.  

I had considered downloading podcasts for several months.  Finally, I pulled the trigger and listened to my first episode of The Thinking Atheist.  I felt immediately drawn in to a community.  I had a release of endorphins that was so similar to my feeling of walking in to church that I almost balked.  This was true until I realized that what I was feeling and what I had felt all along was the body's response to community, and the sense that I was on a team.  

I love being obsessed.  

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Comment by Sentient Biped on August 20, 2013 at 11:31am

Glad it's been a good experience for you. 

I have a habit of liking something, overdoing it, then getting tired of it.  I think it's a common human trait.  It's like a fad-of-one.As I age, I'm trying to learn to pace myself. 

Some of my enthusiasms are life long.  Some wax and wane. 

My enthusiasm for nexus has lasted for almost as long as the site has been online - 2008 I think.  A lot of people have come and gone.  I often hope to see some of the earlier members return.  I imagine part of that process is, they because enthusiastic, but after a while it cooled off.

Glad you are enjoying your journey.

Comment by Stephanie Morgan on August 19, 2013 at 10:46pm

Thank you Loren Miller for the videos.

Comment by Loren Miller on August 19, 2013 at 9:53am

Well, if you like teams, here are a couple of our heavy hitters, being Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry, arguing against the motion: "The Catholic Church is a Force for Good in the World" [cha, right!] at the 2009 Intelligence-Squared debate:



ENJOY!

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