Grundy, the author of Deity Shmeity, has had the opportunity in the past to interview great bloggers like Vjack of Atheist Revolution and Hemant Metha, aka the Friendly Atheist.
I'm honored to be a part of this series alongside such great people that I read and admire. Grundy asked some really hard hitting questions about my and my past. He is a regular reader of this blog, and he was curious, wanting to know more about my background. Some questions were honestly tough to answer.
Read the interview over at Deity Shmiety, An Interview with Sheldon Cooper.
His interview of me inspired me to interview him, there had been some questions that I had been pondering for a while after reading his blog. I sent him some interview questions, and he was gracious enough to respond. I hope you enjoy both interviews, here's what Grundy had to say in response to my questions:
1. Where did Grundy, your blogging name, come from? Does it have any specific meaning?
Solomon Grundy is a shared villain of my two favorite superheroes, Superman and Green Lantern. Grundy became my handle for everything from AIM to Starcraft and eventually became my college nickname. Some people never even knew my real name. Grundy seemed like the perfect alias to use for the blog in that it wouldn’t show up in connection with professional endeavors, yet most who know me personally would be able to guess I was the author.
2. A regular feature of your blog is the Atheist Interview segment. I have to say I’m rather impressed by the line up of bloggers that you have interviewed, some are very popular in the atheist blogging world, like Hemant Mehta, aka the Friendly Atheist.
How do you approach these bloggers to ask for interviews? What do you say? Have you ever been surprised that some of them have responded to a request for an interview?
Most, like yourself, I came across organically--introduced by prior blogging connections. With Hemant, I entered a contest to design his audiobook cover (I was a runner-up) and he since published my Infideli Menu on his site. Names like the Friendly Atheist certainly lend credibility to the interviews.
I don’t usually have an expectation to manage when I ask for an interview. The closest to a surprise was when Tom Rees of Epiphenom agreed, just because he was on of my few “cold calls” and I really enjoy his work.
3. You talk about your Catholic upbringing and conversion to Christian Science on your blog sometimes. Can you explain to everyone what Christian Science is? What originally drew you into that organization?
Christian Science is a vaguely systematic way to follow Jesus as outlined by founder Mary Baker Eddy. Just as the Bible shows Christ’s disciples could heal by following his example, so can we. A Christian Scientist’s ability to heal through Christ is seen as proof that their faith is the correct faith. My parents drew me to the organization.
4. Do people often confuse Christian Science with Scientology when you talk about your past?
If so, does that become frustrating?
Yes, that happens often. When I was a Christian Scientist, it was very frustrating because Scientology was a crazy stupid belief while mine was completely rational. Now that I’m an atheist it doesn’t bother me, because I see them both as crazy stupid beliefs...one just substitutes aliens for Jesus.
5. Was the decision to reject Christian Science something that was a gradual process, or did it happen suddenly? Did you have any doubts, or guilt about your choice when you left?
I can’t remember ever being completely convinced, but that might just be due to my awful memory. The proof of healing I heard so much about in testimonies I simply never experienced. I chalked up most of what people said up to confirmation bias before I even knew it was called “confirmation bias.” On a whole, it was gradual, but a summer-long camp experience was probably the nail in my gullibility coffin.
I was counselor-in-training my first trip to a prominent CS camp in Michigan. It was the first time I was surrounded by everyone of the same faith for a long period of time and was struck by how little said faith factored in. There was a general positive attitude, but there were also the average number of injuries you’d expect from an active boys camp and they were treated in the expected fashion. I mean expected for a normal person, not expected from a CS point of view. It was prayer in addition to first aid, not in place of it. This was great, but not what the church teaches. I guess the camp’s owner knew enough about liability to not go full Christian Science.
When the rubber hits the road, smart money is still on modern medicine. Waiting for angels to lay hands on you is only practiced by the most devout and, usually, the shortest lived. When I heard a sermon kiddingly show how using CS was like using the Force, I was convinced. Star Wars, while awesome, was fictional, and so is Christian Science.
6. I have noticed that you enjoy a good debate, especially on Google +. What is the worst argument/statement you have ever had thrown your way in an online debate? Is there any that stick on your memory as the most ludicrous?
Someone explained how the fall of man retroactively introduced evil into the world thereby creating the serpent that encouraged the fall. It was circular logic in it’s purest form. I slow clapped.
The most common worst argument is the claim that God is needed to explain morality. It’s fallacious, based on nothing, and insulting to every social animal on the planet--including the person making the argument.