Last week I had a couple of discussions, shall we say, with a few theists, specifically Christians, on other blog sites, where the usual canard was dashed about claiming that mass murderers like Stalin killed all those people “in the name of Atheism”. This rankled me, so I dusted off my History B.A., dug around, and then proceeded to argue (debate) with them about the veracity of their claim. One of the debates occurred here in the comments section of a religious post on evolution. How the thread drifted, I’m not sure. But I do know that it sparked me to write my own blog entry, Atheism and Stalin which immediately preceded the instant post.
I had a few nice comments, some disagreements, but generally a thorough discussion of the various points I raised. I was quite gratified, because even though I started writing this blog for myself only, some mildly inquisitive people actually read and commented on some of it. Feedback is great. The level of discussion is quite high, too.
Imagine my pleasure when others started not only commenting, but writing their own posts, on their own blogs, expanding and expounding on the points I raised, essentially riffing off mine. (Not ripping, riffing – it’s a comic book term). First, John B over at Evolutionary Middleman made some good points fleshing out mine, in Genocide and Atheism. Almost concurrently, PB&J over at Mere Humanity Posted what I felt was a nice literary take on the same issues, in A Will to Power – a Response to Atheism and Stalin. I think he agreed with me. 🙂 But, the fun didn’t stop there.
…is doing something in the name of an idea definitive of the idea?
Again, I think he and I agree that the answer is no, but that you can sure learn a lot about the value of the idea by analyzing its source.
Next, today I find that one of my favorite blogs for atheist news and thought, Hemant Mehta’s Friendly Atheist , picked up on the last riff of PhillyChief’s with If A *-ist goes Bad, is a *-ism Wrong?, which sparked a good bit of interesting discussion, and another blog post from Bad over at The Bad Idea Blog who titled his post Who’s with Hitler?: Ism-ism & assault by association”. All this blogging from one post!
Actually that’s not really unusual in the blog world, but it is new to me. I don’t recite all of these variations on the (roughly) same theme in order to toot my own horn. No, I mention it because this is what blogging is about, and because bloggers support each other. Mentioning and linking to everyone else, helps spread important ideas beyond the limited walls of this one blog. They did that for me, by commenting on my post, and I reciprocate.
Blog topics come from other blog topics, for the most part, or topics gleaned from daily life. It is very rewarding to be able to take the germ of an idea, grow it into something that can be given to others, polished so that it is easily understood, and then eventually released into the world for mastication by like and unlike minded people, so as to make the idea better, or have it fall to the side in the marketplace of ideas. Blogging allows we peons to partake in a process previously reserved for professionals. It’s truly a democratic expansion of the right granted to us under the First Amendment. And as an added bonus, we atheists can use it to develop and hone our critical thinking skills.
But more important than that, it’s fun.