The idea to create a space like this, a voice for the too-often-voiceless, was born out of two main things: many of us in the Caribbean who had shed our religious beliefs felt alone and often quite seriously wondered if anyone else in our island (if not the entire archipelago) thought like we did; and those of us who tried to look online to see if any other skeptics in the West Indies existed found that virtually nothing existed online, either. For a while, anyway. If you looked harder, you would find a few blogs written by daring persons from the region, like David Ince and Seon Lewis; and if you were on Facebook, you might discover the thing that united many of the people now writing for this site, a Facebook group simply called “Caribbean Atheists.” The mere idea that such a group might exist at all surprised many of the members there, myself included; and, though the members were from a large number of different islands, including Dominica, Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad, many of us felt, for the first time, a sense of community as skeptics in the Caribbean. We had found other people like us. And, with this newfound sense of not being isolated, some of us who had kept our skepticism secret began to be more vocal.
But some of us in that group wanted something more. We wanted to create a space online where we could get our message across to a wider audience, a space that would represent our community, a space that would say, We exist, and we aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Because the idea of not being religious was so foreign to so many of the people we knew around us, be they government officials or family or friends, we wanted to prove that we exist—and, beyond that, to get our message across to as many people as we could, a message we felt was needed now more than ever. And so the Society was born—with less assistance than impediment from the Holy Spirit.
This site is not a place where anyone’s beliefs will be forced upon anyone else; it is rather a space for discussion, argument, and investigation. Here, you will find people talking about contemporary events, historical events, events in their heads and far beyond the reach of the pale blue dot that is our planet. There will be jokes; there will be scholarly studies. You’ll also find links galore, including links to projects members of the Society are involved with: podcasts (such as the Freethinking Island podcast, one of the first, if not the first, podcast devoted to Caribbean freethought), videos, interviews, and more. In short: good stuff awaits you. And there will be material from guests very often, as well; feel free to submit pieces that you would like to be featured on the site, and, if you’re lucky—I’ll say nothing about praying—you just might find your piece gracing the front page.
This is a diverse group. I’m a writer from Dominica, currently working on getting a PhD in Fiction from Florida State University, and I’ve written a few pieces on skepticism in the Caribbean that you can find linked online. The same is true for many of the other writers on here, whose excellent blogs and articles you can find linked to on here, as well. There are people in the sciences, the arts, in business; there are people who live far from the islands now and those who have rarely left the island in which they were born. Some of us were born overseas and moved to the West Indies; some of us moved out of the West Indies overseas. But, wherever we are at the moment, we are all linked by our common desire to make our views heard, to make our presence better-known in the island.
Welcome, once again, to the Caribbean Freethinkers’ Society. I think you’ll like it here. And, on the off-chance you don’t, make sure you stick around, anyway.
Jonathan Bellot, Editor