Thanks and apologies to my readers
As you may have noticed, I tend to be a bit down on religion. Not entirely, and I hope not without good reason, but it’s largely due to the nature of my story. I’m still on a journey from my former conservative evangelical beliefs, with various stops along the way, and a lot of my thoughts are directed towards ideas I used to hold and am now questioning or rejecting.
I know that I have a number of followers who are religious in some form or another, generally with a sensible, progressive or liberal approach and an awareness of the various problems with the sort of beliefs I usually criticise. I respect them both for their beliefs (even if I disagree) and particularly for their interest in reading things that are often less than flattering about religion. They are a valuable addition here, and I’m grateful for that.
My apologies are offered because I often hear comments of “I don’t believe that” and similar. This tells me it’s highly likely that I’m either making my point badly or making people feel defensive by insensitively banging on about particular religious traditions. It’s not my intention to cause guilt by association in people whose beliefs aren’t in my sights, so I’d like to see if I can clarify my intentions.
Some of my writing is general, but a lot is addressed to specific targets, or at least written with them in mind. That might be Christians of one form or another, but it also includes certain kinds of atheist, not least those who are vehemently anti-religion. Recently, I’ve written quite a few posts in response to specific arguments made here, on this blog, by people trying to persuade me of their point of view.
I repeat, I argue against things that people actually say. If you don’t believe in what I’m arguing against, it means we’re in agreement, not that I’ve invented something to have a go at just to annoy you. If I criticise Pat Robertson, everyone understands that I’m not having a go at all Christians. If Richard Dawkins is in my sights, it doesn’t extend to all atheists. It’s just the same if I’m writing because a comment here needed a comprehensive rebuttal. The only difference is the lack of a famous name to hang it on.
The complaint has more justification when I’m writing generally, as opposed to issuing a specific rebuttal, but the principle is similar. I can’t cover the full range of every single belief, so I focus on beliefs that are mainstream, or specifically known to me. Again, if that doesn’t describe you and your beliefs, it means I’m not talking about them. I do my best to make that clear, but it’s entirely possible that I don’t always manage it as well as I’d like.
So I hope this clarifies my approach. I do care about accuracy, and I don’t want to employ a scattergun approach against any and every religious belief, but nor do I want to have to spend hundreds of words in every single post attempting to precisely define who I’m talking about and who’s excluded.
I hope we can agree that I’ll do my best to be clear about my targets and intentions if you can accept that sometimes I’m talking about beliefs that you personally don’t hold or agree with.
Have a very happy Christmas.
Image courtesy of hoboton, used with permission