Recommends: Atheist Day

This is going to seem a little late to you all in The Future!, but in case you missed this, I enjoyed this peace by Cary: An Atheist's Proposal.

I'm not an atheist, but I was touched by Cary's opening paragraph about hymns. Though I'm not a Christian anymore and I actively avoid churches for all kinds of near-triggery reasons, I still find myself singing "Wonderful Grace of Jesus" and "In My Heart There Rings a Melody", because even though I don't believe the words, I love the melody. And it makes me sad that my chosen religion doesn't really have anything quite like that, though I'll admit that the Mercedes Lackey filk songs tear me up something fierce.

And now I've gone and derailed myself already. Anyway. Link! I liked the post and you may too. Also: space related holidays for the win!

RECOMMENDS! What have you been reading/writing/thinking lately?


JonathanPelikan said...

Always thought religious songs were pretty. Maybe that's why I didn't mind as much that in middle and high school choir we sang them all-the-time.

So. I've had a tumblr for like half a year or something now, and felt the need for some kind of content. Sometimes I'll post parts of my notes or random images/mujsic that I like, but recently I've taken up writing memes and questionnaires. Answering them helps me reflect a bit on my stuff and also, hey. Content!

Doing a 30-day one, and I've already had to play catch-up with a few posts. It has questions about fanfics, RPing, and original literature, or at least that's the way I've been interpreting it.

Probably been doing this since I've made so little progress on any of my million and a half writing projects.

Here's something literary-y and stuff: Genre v. Literature and what that even means in today's world!
This guy's fairly new to Youtube but already cranking out absolutely erudite videos.

So there's this thing called Touhou. It's got eight billion characters and is the sort of setting where literally picking pairings out of a hat is something that works.

Here we have one of that special class of fanfics that deserve to get a book deal from whoever owns the series in question because they're so absolutely amazing.

Naomi Kritzer said...

I love her suggestions of atheist holidays. I'm not an atheist but I love the idea of a celebration for Moon Landing Day (and as it comes shortly after the 4th of July, it could be celebrated with fireworks bought on sale!) November 24th is the day that Darwin's "Origin of Species" was published -- that falls really close to Thanksgiving, however, and the vast majority of atheists I know happily celebrate Thanksgiving as a day to celebrate food, family, and friendship (which is also how 99.9% of non-atheists I know celebrate Thanksgiving.)

For a more sober memorial, the day that Stanislav Petrov chose to disobey orders and saved the world (September 26th) would be a good one:

bekabot said...

"Though I'm not a Christian anymore and I actively avoid churches for all kinds of near-triggery reasons, I still find myself singing 'Wonderful Grace of Jesus' and 'In My Heart There Rings a Melody', because even though I don't believe the words, I love the melody."


My top 5:

A. Catholic (subdivision 1):
1) Stella Splendens in Monte
2) Christe Redemptor Omnium (Monteverdi version)

B. Protestant (subdivision 2):
1) A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth (An Wasserflussen Babylon)
2) Freuet Euch Ihr Christen Alle
3) Wir Setzen Uns Mit Tranen Nieder

Songs are chronologically listed, on a best-I-could-do basis.

Cupcakedoll said...

I totally support instituting Moon Landing Day. The moon landing was the great visible example of We Humans Are Awesomesauce. It's important to remember the terrible things humanity has done (and is still doing) but it seems like a great idea to have a holiday reminding everybody that awesome is possible for us, people, everybody.

What have you been reading/writing/thinking lately?
Reading Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. It's great, or at least the first half is.

Saw the Avengers movie, found it much better than I expected. Superheros exchanged witty banter, villain smarmed around, stuff blew up, fun was had by all.

Writing endless fanfic, pondering the Kids-Returned-from-Narnia idea. They'd be great characters, but I can't figure out what sort of plot would be best. Are they returned searching for a magical macguffin to take them back? Did they return on purpose to be with their parents and just want normal earthly lives? Were they returned surprisingly and don't know why? Are they now magical kids on the run from shadowy corporations that want to exploit them? Each option would lead to a totally different story, but none of them spark in my brain.

chris the cynic said...

I met Lonespark.

We saw the Avengers. I liked it. Though it should be noted that Captain America, apparently, doesn't know a god when one of them removes another from his custody. The captain only believes in one god, but he didn't say which one, so I'm going to assume Mothra. She is a benevolent god, but in the course of her duties has been known to wreak terrible destruction.

I would have been disappointed that Jane wasn't in it, but I had already experienced that disappointment when I came across a chart saying who is in what.


On the writing side of things, half of what wrote in the past week was about the no confidence vote against Selma Botman, my university's incompetent and generally bad president. Spesifically:
I asked the person in the Czech Republic who has been searching for information how they even know about all this and said what little I knew at the time about the timing of the vote
When the vote took place I believed Botman's claim that it failed in spite of getting a 68.8% majority of voters and an outright majority of the entire faculty voted no confidence and responded to that while giving a partial list of the reasons people have no confidence in her.
Shortly after I corrected to say that maybe the vote had passed.
Then I passed on a press release by people who, unlike myself or (apparently) Botman, had actually read the rules.
Finally, after I read the rules myself, I talked about the way Botman achieved her obviously false reading of the rules by comparing it to taking one of the rules of chess out of context and using it to argue that the queen moves like a knight.

Like I said, half of everything I wrote in the last week.

The situation leading up to the no confidence vote was in my mind back when we were talking about Harry Potter, and I finally committed to writing some of the thoughts that had germinated. Not a lot there, just some thoughts about having a magic school where the real problem is a bad administration, not the evil-of-the-book.

I wrote two more things on the zombie apocalypse team thing. Both of them out of order. The first was a version of a conversation from the climactic confrontation of Deus Ex, that I wrote mostly because how Bella would respond to, "I will burn like the brightest star," popped into my head. The second wasn't as far out of order, I think it's part 4 so the only problem is that I have yet to write part 3, it's a conversation with Bella in the New York City underground of Deus Ex's 2051.

I returned to Deus Ex, writing about Ana Navarre and the section of the Training mission in which she first appears.

Finally I wrote about... I'm not even sure what. It wasn't exactly the most focused post, but it was definitely something related to not knowing whether people are alive or dead when they fall off your radar.

Will Wildman said...

I have mixed feelings on the idea of Atheist Day, because it feels like it's acknowledging institutions that publicly amplify religious tribalism as a problem and proposing to solve it by adding more tribalism. It's like when a religious friend remarked that they were henceforth going to start referring to atheists as Atheists, because all the other religions get the legitimising capital letter, and I (and several others) said "No, see, we're not an organised group. The capital letter is neither accurate nor desired. It's cool, no worries."

But I do think that basically all of the days that people have suggested would make great holidays - I just think they're less desireable as 'atheist days' and moreso as 'secular days'. We should have days of celebration and days of atonement and days of reflection that are not related to religion, war, or royalty (here in Canada, Victoria Day is coming up).

Though I do admit that 'No-god-mas' would be a hilarious holiday. So maybe there's room for both?


Relatedly, I have just now been listening to the Lord of the Dance hymn, and thus discovered that it is the origin (?) of the phrase "It's hard to dance with a devil on your back", which I am more familiar with from Florence + the Machine's excellent Shake It Out, which has been observed to have a lot of religiousy elements (gospelish choir, heaven/hell imagery) while pretty much remaining secular.

Brin Bellway said...

And the crashes are heaven for a sinner like me?

(I have been meaning to listen to more Florence and the Machine. Thanks for the recommendation.)

Will Wildman said...

And the crashes are heaven for a sinner like me?

Is it weird that the song you quote (Never Let Me Go) does feel more religious (i.e., Christian) to me, while Shake It Out doesn't? I think it has to do with internalisation/externalisation. Never Let Me Go talks about unexpected 'devotion' and asks for 'deliverance' from an unspecified outsider, while Shake It Out is directed to the listener, exhorting them to put to rest their old issues and regrets and get on with a celebratory life. NLMG is about needing something more from someone else; SIO is about realising that you're okay and that's good.

Also, if you're listening to more of Florence, you must not miss Landscape, which contends with Cosmic Love for my favourite of all her songs.

Cupcakedoll said...

Thanks Chris, now Cap is going to be a Mothraist in my mind forever! ("Captain, why do you have a dollhouse?" "It's not a dollhouse, it's a shrine for the tiny twin avatars of my goddess. They may choose to visit any believer.")

Lonespark said...

Clearly I must learn more about Mothra.

I read a pretty neat thread about how that line made a bunch of people think maybe Cap could be Muslim and how that would be interesting.

I also kind of wonder how Pagans would react to the Asgardians. I expect a lot of conversations along the lines of "Ha! These humans worship me as a god!" "No, I don't think so. I met Loki on a shamanic journey and he was more complex and interesting than you are. Perhaps you are some manifestation of a universal energy filtered through your world's culture...with really pretty eyes..."

Storiteller said...

I love the song Lord of the Dance! My husband's Catholic church used to always play it on Easter and I find it sad that our church's music leader doesn't know it.

In terms of the Avengers, I find it somewhat disappointing that Marvel (in the comics and movie) turned Loki from a trickster god into an out-and-out villain. I'm reading Anansi Boys right now by Neil Gaiman, which also deals with a trickster god, and there's a lot of very interesting things you can do there. Relatedly, one of my favorite blogs poses the idea of the Doctor in Doctor Who as an alchemical anarchist of time and space, particularly in his 2nd and current incarnations - not quite a trickster god per say, but pretty close. His post on Second Doctor episode The Mind Robber is a good example.

In terms of what we've been working on, I wrote a post on who should (or perhaps should not) be allowed to or encouraged to speak in a movement and about what topics. I welcome anyone's thoughts on the topic because it's particularly complicated in a complex, weird movement like environmentalism that's tied up in a lot of other cultural issues.

Cupcakedoll said...

My friends and I had the same Loki discussion in the theater lobby, and the consensus was that movie-Loki is there for the comic geeks and will annoy the mythology geeks. Though movie-Loki did get the whole "Son, you can't be king because you were adopted by kidnapping from our enemies who are another species." which might be enough to send a guy from chaotic neutral like mythology-Loki seems to be, over to chaotic evil like movie-Loki.

chris the cynic said...

But good god* is he a sympathetic villain when you meet him in Thor. Even in Avengers when he's somehow managed to go further to the side of evil than he was when he was trying to carry out a genocide in Thor (I think it's about motivation maybe, it's not like the acts are all that different) he still has plenty of moments where I desperately want him to turn good.

Unrelatedly, your second link goes to the same place as your first link. You might want to fix that.


* bad god?


Clearly I must learn more about Mothra.

How much/little do you know?

Storiteller said...

Thanks for the heads-up on the link - I copied and pasted the URL twice by mistake. It's fixed now.

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