Update

I’m once again only posting an update in response to another podcast appearance – but it’s a little different this time.

A few months ago David at The Graceful Atheist podcast reached out to me about doing an episode after I had endorsed his show in an earlier post. I put it off for a while but then in early April my dad suddenly passed, and I realized that doing the show might be a helpful step in the grieving process – for me, and possibly others. You can listen to the episode here.

As hinted at in the podcast, I don’t know what the future holds for this blog. My dad was a force for good in large part because of his faith, not in spite of it. I don’t want to participate in potentially taking that away from anybody, so I don’t expect to be engaging with apologetic type content in the future. But I also don’t want to bury the past, so I don’t foresee taking anything down. I don’t know what the path forward here might look like, but I do know that I want to error on the side of building up, not tearing down.

Me and my dad, 41 years ago
Me and my dad, c. 1979
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9 thoughts on “Update

  1. Oh man I’m sorry to hear about your father passing Travis, I wouldn’t have asked you about doing a Podcast with me so soon had I known. That said, I look forward to listening to this and I hope that doing it was helpful on your end 🙂

    If it was helpful, then just know that I’m having you in mind for upcoming shows on RSM once I’m ready as I know you missed out on the Klaas Kraay show. but again, only if you feel up to it, if not let me know and I will be happy to give you any time you need.

      • Awesome, yeah you’ve done a lot for me in terms of coming on Podcasts and just fault out bringing some substantive sanity from the Skeptic’s side of the debate since I started up on S&S, so I got your back as you go through these struggles. I will for sure keep you in the loop and support whatever you decide 🙂

        I know it doesn’t mean much on your end given you don’t believe in God, but for what it’s worth I will be praying for you during this tough time.

        Til then, take care and all the best my friend 🙂

        Dale

  2. Hi Travis, I too want to send my best wishes and sympathy for the loss of your dad. And as a long term reader of your blog, and occasional protagonist, to encourage you in your decisions about its future. I have never seen your questioning of my faith and your arguing for a different view as negative or tearing down. Of all non-believers I have engaged with, you are one of the friendliest, most thoughtful and most open-minded, and I never thought of you as the “enemy”. I have learnt a lot from our discussions and your blog.

    But I also think the scene has changed in the last decade. 15 years ago it seemed like there was antagonism and bitterness between christians and atheists, and others in between, but we can be glad that now seems to have mostly passed. New generations seem to be more tolerant and less argumentative (probably because more postmodern). And the whole forum and blog scene has changed, with far fewer people wanting to engage in the way we all did back a decade ago. So that too changes the potential for blogs like yours, and mine.

    So I wish you well as you work through your feelings about your loss, and what is constructive to the human race and to you. I would hope we would run across each other from time to time, but maybe that won’t happen. (e.g. I seem to have lost contact with Nate, which makes me a little sad.) All the best!

    • Hi Eric,
      Thank you for the kind words and well wishes. To be clear, I am not concerned that I am being adversarial, but rather that simply by putting the information and arguments out there to be discovered by others, I could be contributing to the “tearing down” of somebody’s faith despite the fact that it may be important to their well-being and to the good that they’re doing in the world.

  3. Thanks for sharing that Travis. I think what was most heartening to me is how you and your wife have been able to maintain a strong relationship without trying to change the other, and even if things were rocky for a while. To me that shows a rare depth of character in each of you.

    I was never truly indoctrinated myself, though my parents did take my brother and I to church occasionally. Things got serious for me at 8 or so when a good friend in a highly religious family informed me that our kind eventually go to Hell. With this motivation I decided that I did fully believe, though by the time I was 13 or so I found too many cracks in the narrative for it to make sense. So I came clean to my parents about this realization, telling them that I didn’t think there was a God. It turns out that my dad had become a full atheist in his college years, and my mom was at least agnostic!

    I think there will be progress in science regarding consciousness, and even given structural difficulties in our mental and behavioral forms (not to mention philosophy), which make them “soft” today. Just as past ignorance regarding topics in physics and chemistry can seem amusing to us today, people in the not too distant future should smile at our current ignorance regarding consciousness. They should have a hindsight perspective regarding how science eventually worked much of this out.

    I personally suspect experimental evidence will demonstrate that consciousness emerges through the electromagnetic radiation associated with certain types of synchronous neuron firing. One way to test this would be to see if technological EM radiation that mimics the frequencies and magnitudes of actual neuron firing, can noticeably alter someone’s conscious experience (since if consciousness exists as certain kinds of EM waves, then similar waves should alter someone’s consciousness for report). In any case we naturalists suspect that science will find a brain based explanation “of this world” some day.

  4. So very sorry to read this, Travis. Unfortunately, we lose the ones we love far too soon. Sending healing thoughts.

  5. Just wanted to give my condolences, Travis. I lost my mom last year, but it wasn’t sudden, so I can imagine how hard that must be.

    Wishing you the best, brother!

    -Robert

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