In preparing to attend TAM this week, I have been doing a lot of thinking about my elevator pitch about skepticism. On FB, I posted a link to a very helpful blog post by Emily Finke about this subject.
How best to articulate something that often has layers of complication, based on personal experiences of the skeptic and whomever comprises their audience? I’ll be thinking about this for the next 24 hours, as I’ll be in full traveling to TAM mode.
In the meantime, my mother sent me another of her fantastic emails, and I really feel like sharing this one because it’s relevant to this situation. Plus, she sends me the most encouraging words, and I love to brag on how awesome my mom is.
When I was a kid I was sometimes aggressively urged to attend summer Bible school. Okay, make that forced. I remember listening to ‘stories’ about Jesus and his crew. I was interested only when they told the story of the disciple Thomas. Good old doubting Thomas. The one disciple who not only questioned Jesus’s story, but went so far as to actually probe the wounds with his fingers. The ‘teachers’ expressed regret with Thomas and his need to question and his inability to blindly believe. But I liked him. Like Thomas I am a ‘prober’. I have to question and evaluate and sometimes stick my hands in the wound. I don’t like being told something must be accepted on blind faith. I have to see and, sometimes, touch.
My dad used to tell the story he was told by his grandmother regarding his mother. When she was a little girl his mother asked her mother “Who made us?” Her mom said, “God made us.” She thought about that for awhile and then said “Okay, if God made us, then who made God, and who made the thing that made him?”
So, you come from a long line of skeptical women. Make us proud. (But not too much probing. That can get messy.)
Funny, my main goal for going to TAM is to learn a lot, to break down my own misconceptions about things that I don’t even realize are wrong, and to make as much positive out of the experience as possible. Oh, how I dwell in possibility! Much of the skeptical thought process is important to me, in life, and in my thesis research. I want to prove myself (mostly to myself), that I earned the grant I received, that I deserve to be going to this event, and that I can turn this experience into a stepping stone, from casual skeptic observer to finally finding my skeptical woman’s voice.