About

This blog presents a view of life from a naturalist perspective. There are three messages I wish to convey here:

First, I hope to dispel misconceptions about atheism, which is a necessary consequence of naturalism. Because I was a Christian for many years, I understand some of these misconceptions, so perhaps I can dispel them more effectively.

Second, I wish to turn an unflinching, honest spotlight onto religion, in the hopes that believers might see their faith from a different, thought-provoking perspective.

Third, I hope to convince believers that morality can have a logically sound, objective basis in a wholly natural universe.

What is naturalism?

Naturalism, at least in the context of this blog, has nothing to do with doffing one’s clothes and getting in touch with nature. Rather, it is the view (taken provisionally, based on the available evidence) that humans are fully part of the natural world, and that no supernatural entities appear to exist.

Naturalism is therefore atheistic, and I happily identify myself as an atheist. However, my view of the world is not a mere refutation of the existence of gods. This is only a starting point. Rather, I see naturalism as an ongoing adventure of discovery, both scientific and ethical. There is a richness of complexity in the natural world, be it in the vast spaces of the cosmos, or in the tangle of neurons and synapses in the brain. To immerse oneself in the delights of this world is to get a piece of the real action, and that’s the journey I am on.

For more on naturalism, I refer the reader to the thoughtfully expressed views of the folks at the Center for Naturalism.

A bit about me

My name is Keith Harrison, and I’m a scientist living in the U.S.A. I was a Christian for some three decades before going through a gradual (several year) period of re-evaluating my beliefs. My views on religion are collected into an essay here, and you can read more about my history here.

As you can tell, I don’t feel justified in running this blog anonymously: I do not wish to evade responsibility for anything I say. However, I realize that other bloggers have good reasons for remaining anonymous: they may fear physical threats, or perhaps they don’t wish their views to be revealed to family and friends. Each case is unique.

Please enjoy the blog, and leave whatever comments you have – I’m always ready to engage in conversation.

12 Responses to About

  1. sTiv says:

    Heya old friend,

    Saw the link to your ruminations on Facebook. Contentedly distracted from CAD drawings and roof pitches.
    Miss you. Miss lying on a compass and talking shit.
    Half thinking about saving up to come and visit next year…
    Sending this so I can get emails of your thoughts, ‘cos i’m hopeless at followup on websites / blogs unless they have pictures of sexy guys in them. (heh.)

    “Fatboi” originator,
    sTiv

    • kpharri says:

      sTiv!

      Thanks for visiting the blog! I have no idea what will become of it – it’s mainly a place to put some of the essays I’ve written, and the shorter posts are mostly just a way to think aloud. There are tons of blogs out there on the same subject, and getting one’s voice heard is nigh impossible.

      I miss you too! Those were the days, right?

  2. These are great objectives for your blog! I am especially intrigued by “Third, I hope to convince believers that morality can have a logically sound, objective basis in a wholly natural universe.” I completely agree, as a Catholic. I love logic and reason, and am especially interested in natural law theory, which plays a huge role in Catholicism.

    Naturalism only seems to be one part of the puzzle, trying to explain how the world moves and shakes without allowing there to be any supernatural outside force. I look forward to reading more, thanks!

  3. Watchman says:

    Hi kpharri. Just wamted to say thanks again for checking out my blog. I find your material quite interesting and also humorous. I am also intrigued by the fact that you were a Christian for many decades. You sound very passionate and convicted about your beliefs and that is admirable. I look forward to learning more about your lifeviews and hopefully sharing mine in the process.

  4. As I’m getting to know you better through the back and forth we engage in, I see that you are a fine person, Keith. Please accept this sincere compliment when I tell you that as an atheist you are a unique individual to come across, in that I’ve encountered the opposite so many times in this virtual world. You give me hope that perhaps all is not as bad as I thought? Maybe there’s still time to change things..

    It’s a nice dream. I do have hope.

  5. I’m just curious about something, Keith. As I’ve been reading through your blog over time, I’ve noticed that there do not appear to be any essays about your journey as a Christian and what that was like for you. I was wondering if you might be willing to fill in the missing blanks in this regard in a future post or series about your experiences as a Christian, with God, salvation, prayer, and Jesus Christ. Thanks so much for listening.

    Adrienne

  6. Keith says:

    Interesting observation Adrienne, that’s something I will definitely consider doing.

  7. Larry Who says:

    Keith,

    If you were a Christian, how did you get Jesus to jump out of your heart? How did you reverse all of the cross’s works in your heart? And how did you destroy the “New Creation” within you?

    You see, I’ve never met one person in my life who has been able to do this.

    So, my guess is that you were a pew sitter and not a Christian, right? That’s sort of like walking inside a barn and calling yourself a bale of hay.

    • Keith says:

      Larry:

      I come across your line of reasoning quite a lot. Christians simply cannot fathom how one of their brethren could possibly lose their faith. I’m not really sure what to tell you: it’s possible. I was not a pew sitter. I was always actively involved in the church, and I honestly believed that God was real and that I could “talk” to him in my thoughts.

      Also, to be clear: it’s not as if I left Christianity in anger. I didn’t shout at Jesus to “jump out of my heart”. It simply became apparent to me, after careful thought, that what I had believed for so long was not actually real.

      • Larry Who says:

        Actually, Keith, my words are based on the Bible. Yours are not. If you really were saved by grace so that Jesus lived in your heart and you were actually a new creation, you couldn’t get Jesus out of your heart with sticks of dynamite and a bulldozer.

        The Old Testament would have referred to you as a “God Fearer” or one who thought maybe God was real, but still you were not circumcised. It was too painful.

        So, you went to church, sat in pews, thought God was real, but you never gave your life to Him, never made a commitment. Probably too big a step and too painful for you.

        Well, big deal! Your were a Christian pretender and now you’re a whining atheist. Over the years, I’ve met countless atheists like you who spout silly rhetoric and then point at nations who actually follow their ideas, like North Korea and China.

        At least, you wouldn’t end up in prison in both of these nations. That’s reserved for Christians who then are forced to eat rats and cockroaches to survive. These prisoners don’t suddenly realize Jesus is not real, but instead, they awaken each day and say, “Thank God He lives in me.”

  8. Keith says:

    Larry:

    You are quite right that your views are backed up by the Bible and mine are not. I don’t regard the Bible as any more of an authority on morality or the supernatural than any other book. As a result, I don’t take my worldview from the Bible, and I’m happy – even proud – to admit it. (If you’re at all interested, my views on morality are laid out in fairly extensive detail in the “Morality” essay in the “Essays” menu of this blog.)

    Finally, I realize that it comforts you to draw conclusions about my personal life based on one or two verses from the Bible, even though we have barely exchanged two or three posts. In my experience, to gauge a person’s real feelings and history takes a lot more effort than that. But, if it makes you feel better to put me in the simplistic box that the Bible has set aside for me, please go ahead – I don’t mind much!

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