Three Years And Counting

Today marks the three year anniversary of my first post and the beginning of this blog. It’s not an event as momentous as, say, the Birth of the Country, or the anniversary of the opening of Disney World, or even my own birthday (at least to me) but it is three years, the beginning of my fourth, and that’s a big deal to me.

I now have over 300 posts (319 with this post, to be exact), most of them written by me, over 7,400 comments and more than 300,000 visits. Not quite Pharyngula, but no small change. In the course of the writing and posting, I’ve gotten to know quite a few people I happily now call friends (and hope they think likewise) and even one I’ve met in person. The best part of maintaining this blog is meeting some wonderful,  intelligent and witty conversation partners, even if it’s only in the cyber world. My life, and my intelligence, as inconsequential as it may seem to others, has been enriched in the process.

When I began this, I stated

This blog is more for me, to test my thinking on relatively simple matters. The best way to test it is to hold it up to scrutiny. I think that’s the best service a blog can provide me. Other blogs have helped me in the process, but there’s nothing like trying to put one’s own thoughts on paper (or in this case, in cyberspace) to clarifying one’s thinking.

I’ve never changed that attitude, and I hope I’ve held true to the ideal. I really don’t care (too much) what others think of me personally. My only concern has been what’s on the blog and whether it makes sense. This is my own personal flagpole, one I get to run things up, hoping someone out there will salute them. Or burn them, as they see fit.

There have been things I’ve written that I’ve changed my mind about after receiving comments. Some obvious, some not so obvious. I never expected that this would be a place where I would set forth a monolithic set of principles that I would unshakably expound on, come hell or high water. I’ve always been flexible and amenable to change, and in the end, the writing and comments of the last three years finds me a better thinker, albeit a slightly different one than I was three years ago, and maybe even a better writer.

Which is good.

I’ve stoically yet happily born the brunt of criticism, because constructive criticism is the lifeblood of commentary. I can criticize and, hopefully, take criticism. This being a blog written from an atheist’s perspective, I think my atheism has borne up well and has been strengthened in the process, despite the criticism, or, more likely, because of it. Three years ago I was only a few years from admitting to myself that I was actually an atheist, so this blog was an attempt at the time to either test my commitment, or admit I might be wrong. Not surprisingly, I find after three years that I’m a stronger atheist than I was then.

I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for three years! Over 5% of my life.  Time flies when you’re having fun, and this has been fun. I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t. I try to inject humor in even the most serious posts, and of course humor (and its cousin, ridicule) is a wonderful tool for exposing the foibles and folly of religion, not to mention the vacuous nature of its thinking. It’s fun in an intellectually stimulating way, but I like to think it’s not all boring rants about religion, as my wife characterizes it. If you think otherwise, well, fuck you! (That was humor) 😉

So I want to thank everyone who has ever come here, read something they liked, or didn’t like, commented, and became part of the participatory process of this blog. Regardless of whether I agreed with you or not, you’ve added to the experience in a positive way.

Except you, Gideon.

To celebrate, I think that this is as good a time as any to “come out”, as they say. I’ve been pseudonymously writing as Spanish Inquisitor, because at the time I started this, I wasn’t that comfortable letting others know how I felt about the religion I was born into.  I live in that part of Pennsylvania that James Carville compared, unfavorably, to Alabama, so you know how important religion is to the people here, and how they might react to finding me in their midst. But I’m no longer concerned.  In addition, a certain family member would have been severely disappointed with me, but with his death this past year, I am really unconstrained to embrace open atheism.

As I alluded to above and for the past three years, I’m far more confident, indeed certain, that gods don’t exist, and that belief in them is simply a sociological exercise in self-delusion. So, world,…

…I’m an atheist.

But you already knew that. What you didn’t know, is my name.

John Purcell a/k/a Spanish Inquisitor

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24 thoughts on “Three Years And Counting

  1. Hello Mr. Purcell. Congratulations on making it through three years and MEGA-congratulations on identifying yourself.

    I’m proud to happily continue to call you my friend, even though I’ll probably also continue to call you “SI.”

  2. Congratulations, John. I hope you’ve had as much fun writing this blog as many of us have had reading it. Looking forward to what the next three years will bring…jim

  3. Congratulations on the anniversary thing and the debutante thing.

    After tiptoing around it, I finally started writing anti-theist posts not too long ago. The last time I visited my parents, my mother confronted me about it. It turns out she had been reading my blog and took offense at my atheistic claims. She honestly believes that atheists are somehow mad at the god. As she ranted, I was trying to formulate a reverse of “You can’t reason a man out of a position he didn’t reason himself into.” I just let it go, as my wife was obviously uncomfortable with the conversation.

    But now I think that makes me “out.”

  4. I live in Altoona, Fundy Central, I suppose.

    I play some Purcell on my harp every once ina while. Any realtion? Hank, is the guy. He, too, was a “stealth religionist” I guess you’d say.

    But thank you for what you provide us. You are a most attentive host!

    • Thanks Sarge.

      Ol’ Hank’s from the English side of the family, while we trace our lineage to the western shores of the Irish Sea.

      And you know, I’ve lived in this state for almost 56 years, and can you believe I’ve never been to Altoona? Nor Erie.

  5. Well, I’ve been to Erie, and Presque Isle Park is prety nice, and I just love the Niagra. It’s beautiful in full sail.

    No reason to come to Altoona unless you like looking at the fossils of the railroad industry. Some do, though.

    Ol’ Hank turns out to have been a “stealth catholic” when it was, well, treasonous to be so. Sort of like Shoshtakovich, he hid little messages and comments in his music.

    One piece, he discribes a redeemer coming from the sea, or across it. He is alluding to the king of Spain at that time.

  6. Great to be at your coming out party. You’re an excellent writer and I love reading your posts. Congratulations on your 3-year anniversary. May there be many more.

    Is the move to a conventional avatar part of “coming out?”

    • Is the move to a conventional avatar part of “coming out?”

      Are you trying to insinuate that my previous, somewhat risque avatars were somehow unconventional?

      Actually, to a point you are correct. I think I got that provocative stuff out of my system, sort of like when I swore off the Three Stooges in favor of the Marx Brothers. It took me three years, but I’m better now, thank you. 😉

  7. Congrats on 3 years. I think of you (along with Philly, Larry and Chappy) as being the old established blogs. Then I find out you haven’t been around much longer than I have.

    Your writing is far better though.

    And your logic.

    And your arguing skills.

    And you had Gideon.

    I guess having it all isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

  8. Hey, John, you’re out in public! Good for you. I don’t pop in and read your blog often enough, but I’m glad you write it.

    With lots of atheistic fondness,


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