A Letter To Our Subscribers...
A Letter to Our Subscribers, Users and Fans
To all TTA page fans, subscribers and supporters:
In May of 2009, when my YouTube page was created, I could count the subscribers on one hand. I had just written and produced a video called \"The Invisible God\" in my spare time, not really having an audience for it. It was mostly an exercise...a bullhorn to amplify some of the freedoms and frustrations I was experiencing. I just needed to get it out.
"The Invisible God" wasn't a masterpiece by any measure. A clumsy first swing by a rookie at bat, it still filled me with a tremendous sense of liberation as I clicked "upload."
In my circles here in the Midwest, challenging Almighty God simply isn't done, at least publicly. And atheists are known as those evil people who live outside of the safe, secure, enlightened, moral, joyous bubble that believers abide in. Atheists are dangerous. Tainted. Immoral. Deceived. Rudderless. Angry. Hopeless. Dead.
Being an atheist is a terrific way to find yourself conspicuously absent from the guest lists of social gatherings. To become ostracized from family. To be avoided, misunderstood, feared and often despised.
And as I took my first public stand in the late spring of '09 with "The Invisible God," I remember thinking, "To be an atheist is to be alone."
Now, as I flash forward in anticipation of 2011, I'm amazed at how wrong I was. About everything.
I used to see my website, YouTube and Facebook page as an outlet for one guy combating isolation in a religious community. The videos and links helped me cathartically deal with my own demons (pardon the expression) while hopefully helping a few others out there in their own struggles, but the conversation was almost completely one-way. I'd just upload something and move on.
Now I can see how short-sighted I was. And while I'm immensely proud of my video work, warts and all, that pride multiplies tenfold when I see thousands of people acting, reacting and interacting together as free-thinkers inside the TTA community. The polished content made the sites look good. But it took something far greater than my own contributions to give them life and make them compelling.
I can't tell you how humbling and gratifying it is to have read emails from men, women and even children from all around the world who found the TTA community in a time of need. People tell me heart-wrenching stories of confusion, separation and heartbreak. They give incredibly transparent windows into their personal struggles with parents, spouses, children, friends and co-workers. They speak about specific videos that resonated with them or encouraged them. They call into the podcasts from all over the world with intelligent opinions and lots of laughter. They fill the comments sections of my YouTube pages with frank (and often funny) ammunition against the trolls. They post Facebook links, articles, interviews, blogs, photos and videos that help us think and make us laugh. And at the end of the day, they thank me for this eclectic, intelligent, funny, warm, friendly, wonderful community of like-minded people they discovered online.
Of course, the thanks goes to all of you. It's a strange world we live in, where many of us remain (at least emotionally) in isolation because we've decided to reject the superstitions of our cultures. And yet we've connected in a real, tangible, helpful, wonderful way with thousands of others whose faces we've never seen, whose voices we've never heard, and whose real names we may never know.
I know the site, videos, forums and pages are far from perfect. And I know your humble host is even less perfect. But as we enter 2011, please know how immensely grateful I am for you. I am the admin of this site, but you are the life blood. You are a constant source of encouragement, enlightenment and inspiration to me and to thousands of others out there.
You remind me how far we've come as free-thinkers in a crazy world. You keep me honest when I get something wrong, and you help me become better. You encourage me and make me laugh when cynicism and sadness threatens to take over. You support me in so many ways I honestly don't deserve.
And most importantly, you remind me of a tremendously powerful truth:
I am not alone. And neither are you.
May the New Year bring you all happiness and success.