Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Monday, July 27, 2020

Why The Name Secular Foxhole?

Back in 2004, why did I choose The Secular Foxhole as the name for my blog, and possible (2020) future podcast?  Actually, I had two names jostling back and forth in my head back in 2004. The 'contest' was between this and Fish Wrap: What else are newspapers good for? Both, I thought, were apropos then, and sadly, even more so today.

I settled on TSF because at the time I felt it had more attraction to an audience, and because of my own thoughts and feelings concerning the state of our society/culture. In my mind I pictured myself looking through binoculars out at the world in the safety of a foxhole. I didn't choose it because I thought I was in a "war" with others or with society. Let's be clear about that.

I wanted to convey the frustration I feel when you know that the things you advocate puts you squarely in the minority and that what I consider irrational is flowing over all of us in waves. 

Fundamentally though, I am still optimistic about my journey. America is the greatest nation in human history and yes, American Exceptionalism is real and worth defending intellectually and morally. This probably puts me at odds with fellow secularists. So be it. 

Let's discuss...

P.S. I actually used the other name for a blog you'll find in the Blogroll at right - which will soon be cleaned up of old links. I haven't posted to it for at least seven years, though.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

My Journey to Reason

I chose to capitalize the letter R in Reason. Not for any particular philosopher's ideas though. I want to emphasize Reason as man's tool of both survival and of knowledge.

As a boy I loathed going to church. I was around eight or nine years old when, being with both my parents and my older brother, I asked my mom why we had to go. You see, I was pretty put-out about getting up early on Sunday morning's and going to what I had already experienced as ritualized boredom. She replied, "What would our neighbors think if they didn't see us going to church?"

Being young and actually being a decent kid, I didn't say out loud, "Who cares?" But then and there, I decided religion was anathema to life. Certainly to my life!

Nevertheless and sadly, off to church we went. 

Yes. Now flash forward some eleven years and after sporadic church going and me becoming an acolyte and reciting scripture in front of the church, on my 18th birthday, I announced to my parents I was not setting foot in another church for the rest of my life. They took it rather well, actually.

Still, being young and without serious intellectual guidance, I struggled for years. I have a vivid memory of driving around the city, by myself, and saying-- I need to learn how to think.

That, is the crux of the matter, isn't it? Learn How To Think. How sad, that after twelve years of "public" education, millions of young adults are left without a clue on how to fend for themselves in the world. 

A few years after that, and not yet learning how to think, I find myself in a different city and different circumstance. Having found a job with a meager wage, I ventured into a local record store and met the manager who introduces me to someone who has now been my friend for over 40 years. 

That friend introduced me to a novel. He loaned me his copy of "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand. There are many words to describe what that gesture meant to me, but it was like tossing a lifeline to a drowning man.

Ever since that day in March of 1979, I've never looked back.