Just over 3 years ago I started this blog with the idea I would learn to write and share lots of information about ourselves and the world we live in that is diametrically opposed to the old and mostly wrong ideas about same that we have inherited over the millennia from the world’s religions.
I did write a lot. This is post number 400. It is hard to believe I have 400 essays (and many more ultimately discarded half-written ones). It’s frickin’ amazing to go back thru them and find things I’d completely forgotten that I’d written on. I don’t know if I’ve learned to write a lot better or not. This exercise has just been practice with no formal training in journalism, creative writing, nor editorial and grammatical skills. I have to admit, I really give a fuck as well about such formalisms: (not sure if that’s a real word, but it is now if it wasn’t already).
Which is precisely my point. If the information is conveyed, who gives a damn if a new word is coined on the fly or if the commas are in their proper place or not? Is it OK to start a sentence with “And” since it is a conjunction? Should I have looked up the proper uses of colons (after “formalisms”) in the previous sentence to see if this is the correct usage? On both questions, who decides? And what about the fact that usage has changed so much over the decades in what is proper in English phrasing and punctuation, that isn’t it all just dated convention?
Which leads me of course back to religion. I hate grammar for the same reason I hate religion: they are both arbitrary rules imposed on behavior. Mere dated conventions, one silly and inconsequential to the task of conveyance of information from one human to another, and the other a delusional system which often represses human behavior to the point of real pain, even outright ruin of another human’s life. So there, I’ve said it. My disdain of all things grammatical is drawn from the parallels with religious dogma. Both are arbitrary and unhelpful and just get in the way when we take them seriously.
The use of the possessive “women’s” is a case in point. While writing TART (The Arrogance of Religious Thought), I caved in and tried to be proper and conforming in the form of that word. I looked up a number of references and found out its almost 50/50, depending who you source of what is the proper way to refer to “women’s” rights for example or “woman’s” rights. It was ludicrous. Each source made its case why the one form is proper grammar and the other isn’t, so I decided “Bullshit” and varied the usage purposely throughout the book. Evidently usage of women/woman is changing as we speak which just demonstrates the fluidity and creativity of language. It is not static and evolves thru time.
Txting anyone? LOL. Go take a selfie of you holding your grammar textbook from English class. I suspect some grammar Nazi will take me to task on more than one review someday (assuming I market the hell out of this book enough that a lot of folks know of it and read it) with my improper usage of all sorts of shit. Like I said, it is not only not a concern of mine but illustrates the important point about human conventions which are all too often silly and arbitrary at best. What’s kosher today in written communication will be discarded or superseded the next. All you grammarians out there that get their undies in a bunch over my bending of the current rules, please remember that you and I speak and write in the most vulgar of manners to the staid and all too proper guardians of the King’s English from Victorian times. So it is all dated nonsense. Like is said if you understood the message in the milliseconds it took your eyeballs to saccade across the word or phrase in question, who cares if it is “women’s” or “woman’s,” a : or a ;…I mean really.
So I may not have become a better writer, but I do assume a few people learned something from all this effort (a few have very kindly told me so, unsolicited…so grateful to y’all) and I learned one hell of a lot. I tried to cover the secular stories that most atheist websites didn’t. I never saw the British mag The Economist mentioned on anybody’s blog and I drew a number of pertinent articles from their very fine journalistic work, as but one example.
So 400 essays later and hell of a lot of research in 3 years, along with the book (while working two jobs and fixing stuff around her since we cant afford to pay others to do it), its been a fantastically rewarding discipline. I make myself write a post at least once a week, in the early days 3-4. Let’s see 3 x 52 is a bit over 150 weeks of writing and 400 posts gives us 2.6 posts per week on average. That’s a lot. And they are in the vast majority, unlike this free-form essay, but researched articles, full of excerpts, links, and commentary. A lot of work, truly.
I wanted to make sure I gave folks their money’s worth. Despite it being monetarily free, any readers time is certainly worth something.
Most importantly, in all this research and writing, I didn’t discover anything to dissuade me that “religion sucks and then you die” is any less true than when I started. That’s for damn sure.
end religion now
all of them