Friday, October 7, 2011

My Voice

So, I'm a couple of months into this blog thing and I find I'm still trying to find my blogging voice. My instinct and experience tell me that the best way to do that is to just be myself and try to express myself as openly and honestly as I can, but I find myself hesitating. Part of this is just intimidation. The blogs I read are heavy hitters, written by talented and accredited people. I have strong opinions and think I'm fairly well-educated on certain topics, but without a degree or two, and without anything more than a customer service background, I feel a little bit like a fraud. This has kept me from putting my website out there along with any comments I make, because I'm a little bit terrified that someone will see a comment, come back here and then tear me a new one for being stupid.

Which is just a little bit ridiculous. I mean, yeah I might be wrong with my opinions, and I might have gotten some facts wrong, but isn't that part of the point? Aren't I doing this to help improve myself? If I am wrong, shouldn't I WANT someone to come along and point it out to me so that I can maybe become a little less wrong in the future?

I guess this is unsettling, because I don't just want to be myself here. I want to be my BEST self. I want to be contributing somehow to improving the world, making it a little bit more equal, a little bit more fair, and I think I can do that through my writing. I'm not expecting this blog to see thousands of hits anytime soon, but I want to lay a foundation here, a foundation based on good blogging. I don't think I'm there, yet.

Also, part of the problem is that I'm working my way towards becoming a "militant atheist", in the sense that I really don't believe in god, but I do believe that we share one reality with one set of rules, and that it's best to go through life with as much of an understanding of what is real as possible. I've gotten into at least one argument with a self-professed agnostic, and I have to admit I was very uncomfortable and surprised with how the argument went. It got pretty aggressive pretty fast, and I haven't figured out how much of that was personality driven and how much was ideology.

See, I was an agnostic like this guy was, until pretty recently. The stance was more or less "we can't really know if gods are real or not, so making a statement that they aren't is probably foolish." And...fair enough, I guess, but that's not squaring with some principles that I have now that I've been finding I value more and more.

I mean, what kind of a statement is it to say "we can't really know"? Really? We can't? And I know this because.....?

I suppose there will always be a part of me that acknowledges that there's a possibility of some god who started this whole thing off and now lives outside of or as a part of the universe but otherwise doesn't do much of anything (and I like this kind of god, it's neat to think about, especially if you throw in the part about love) but....well, jeez, if that's the kind of god we have, it's kind of worthless, isn't it? We don't really get a benefit to worshipping this vanishing deity, except to maybe feel better about ourselves...

I guess I'm becoming a bit more utilitiarian in my beliefs. I think there are real, serious problems that we ought to be solving. Starvation, prejudice, injustices around the world and at home, inequality, poverty. I think we should be doing all we can to fix these problems, and I think that we should be doing things that work. I don't know that, long-term and big picture, believing in a nonexistant god actually helps. I'm all for it if someone is motivated to help and reach out because of their faith, so long as the result is a net good. But maybe religion isn't the best way to get there.

Anyway, I'm still working this out, and while I flail about I can't help but struggle with this inferiority complex at the same time. I want to be myself, but my self is pretty messy, and just like I'd hesitate before inviting someone into my messy (seriously) apartment, I feel weird about putting up thoughts before they're really complete. But this is a process, right? It won't ever be complete.

Well, here's hoping that I will settle into this blog, and I mean, hey, I have like 1-3 page views any given day (and they're probably all me), so I can relax for a little while more. But if you ARE reading, I hope you get something out of my musings here. And let me know how I can do this better.

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