Thanks and apologies to my readers

TypingAs 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

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About Recovering Agnostic

I'm Christian by upbringing, agnostic by belief, cynical by temperament, broadly scientific in approach, and looking for answers. My main interest at the moment is in turning my current disengaged shrug into at least a working hypothesis.

5 responses to “Thanks and apologies to my readers”

  1. coastcontact says :

    Why do you need to apologize for your beliefs? If the purpose of this blog is to discuss religion then just do it. If you are an agnostic then just say so. Merriam-Webster on line > agnostic: a person who does not have a definite belief about whether God exists or not

    The fact that you ended this post with “Have a very happy Christmas” says you are a Christian stuggling with the ambiguities and contradictions of the religion. You do this because you are a thinking man. Congratulations!

    • Recovering Agnostic says :

      The apology is because I have regular conversations with people who seem to feel the need to defend themselves even though they’re not the target of the post under discussion. Nice, kind, liberal believers who keep coming back even though they see most of my writing as a direct assault on their beliefs. That makes me feel bad, hence my apology.

      But there’s another side to it as well – while I feel sorry for all that, they also need to realise that I can’t hedge everything with precise details of who is and isn’t covered by what I’m saying. A bit of give and take is what I’m suggesting.

  2. ILeftTheFold says :

    I’m sorry you felt you needed to apologize. I find that most of the time the people who comment need to apologize for how they share their beliefs. Everything I have read (I don’t read everything, sorry… that’s part of my journey) I have understood. When a person exposes things that another believes in, they feel attacked. And if people don’t like it, they don’t have to read, right? Keep up your journey…. I’m on mine. Some days I feel like I’ve traveled far and at other times I feel that I still have many many more miles to go. Recovering is a process. Thanks for sharing your deepest thoughts with us.

  3. Sheldon says :

    My audience, judging by comments alone is about 60% atheist/agnostic, with the other 40% being liberal Christians, people questioning, and one moderate Muslim.

    I wish I had more of a mix, actually, it would make for more fun discussions, but those usually happen on my Twitter page, where it’s about 50/50 with the liberal Christians and atheists, and on Google +, which is about 80% atheist (there are two great liberal Christians that regularly comment over there).

    • Recovering Agnostic says :

      I never quite know the composition of my readership, and in a sense it doesn’t matter. But a few exchanges with people who are nice, well-meaning and certainly not in my sights made me think I should try to clear the air a bit.

      I have thought of running a survey of my readers, but it probably varies and I’m not sure what I’d do with the results.

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