Why I Do What I Do

Posted in Blogosphere, Writing on  | 10 minutes | 6 Comments →

Every now and again it's helpful to ask oneself why one does the things they do. Recently, I found myself asking myself why I actually blog, and more particularly, why I comment on other blogs. I encourage you to skip this post, actually. It's not about epistemology or consciousness or potency or any of the more stimulating things we've been talking about these past weeks. I just needed to think some stuff out, and figured, why not do it in public? [weird little interview with myself follows]

1. Why did I start blogging?

The primary reason I started blogging was to afford the opportunity to practice. By trade, I'm a writer. That means books, screenplays, pilots, articles, episodes, web content, contract work, code, or whatever comes down the tube. Since it is a form of writing that almost requires basic coding skills, blogging is good practice for my livelihood.

Once TWIM actually got going, the interpersonal dynamics proved an unforeseen influence that made it easier to write than not. Annoying tussles and genuine friendships started to bloom. No longer did I wonder what to write about! No longer was writing "just me and my text editor," or "the pen and I!" Not that creativity's ever been a problem; I disbelieve in the superstition they call "writer's block." It's just that these blog circles we frequent are their own little communities with a daily rag that updates every ten seconds. As far as inspiration goes, I think we can all agree that the internet is overkill. 

A second reason I got into blogging was to test beliefs and ideas: primarily my own, but also those of whoever else is willing to put them out there, and especially those who do so with a chip on their shoulder. Ours is a crazy world with all sorts of plot twists and turns, and many salesmen of truth. Shysters and suckers are taking and getting taken as we speak. Actually debating these things in real time with other people offers a way to test one's ideas that simply isn't possible via any other method. Hands down, the blogosphere is a great place to test beliefs and ideas, and to hone one's skills as a debater.

A third reason I blog is to share my beliefs and ideas, and to hopefully encourage others that they are worth believing. The Bible's promises and the world's spiritual traditions as I believe them are good, how could I not try to strain them from the muck they're often delivered in? That I believe them to be true, and that I believe truth is worth sharing, obligates me to share what I believe. I realize that conviction entails a certain accountability, as it should, because people who believe in the solidity of their own conclusion about anything are in a vulnerable position. They must continually discard their laurels and avoid the temptation to conclude they've figured out all there is to know in a world where today's impossibility often becomes tomorrow's reality.

I guess I'm really looking for what you might call a balance of reason in a world of unreasonable extremes. If you are a believer or at all open to God, I want to encourage you that, "Hey, you can believe in the Bible and not have to just roll over when some smarty-pants atheist or skeptic unleashes their insults and supposed 'debunking' of your faith." If you're an atheist or skeptic, I want to encourage you that, "Hey, you can believe in the Bible and not become the typical Ned Flanders, unintellectual, anti-science, anti-reason Americanized believer." Either way, paradigm-shift is only possible where there is fluidity. 

A fourth reason I blog is because of the overlap with certain entertainment and publishing projects I occasionally try to get into. I'm about to publish a book that's specifically on subjects related to (a)theism, but we'll get to that some other time.

So, that's what has motivated me to blog in the past: practicing writing, coding, and debate; testing beliefs; sharing beliefs; and honing arguments for an upcoming book.

2. Why did I start commenting on other blogs?

At first, it had to do with the aforementioned reasons for blogging. For example, commenting on other blogs is also a good way to practice writing, test or share ideas, and hone arguments for books. Also, I was motivated by a sort of "youthful idealism" that led me to believe bridging the gap between believers and atheists was possible. What they call "getting the name out" was another motivating factor, at least in the beginning. Careful what you ask for, you just might get it! These days, I mainly comment on other blogs to let on-the-fence readers know that there is a diversity of opinions out there – a diversity many atheists seem to want silenced. 

3. What don't you like about blogging?

I can honestly say that I like absolutely everything about running this blog. TWIM definitely gets some traffic, but like anything else, commenters come and go, and are no indiciation of an argument's value. Still, I could not be happier with the regulars who comment here. There are some that have left for various reasons, who are always welcomed to return, because they had intelligent things to say. Even the pesky ones.

Another thing I don't like is the whole "official story" thing that goes down. Refutation by denigration and marginalization is an easy way to ostracize somebody, but certainly not impressive. What I mean is, people make all these assumptions about other people's motives, then those things get repeated, then they become the official cover story. Yet, none of us knows the other person's motives. I don't think people realize that I can and do genuinely see the good in people, even my most spiteful detractors. They think that when I say something positive I'm trying to "kiss up" to them, but I'm just being real. People are a mixture of both pleasant and unpleasant traits, and nobody deserves to be painted with half a brush.

4. What don't you like about commenting on other blogs?

It depends on the blog and the cast of characters, for sure. In particular, atheists who belittle believers and extoll the superiority of their own position tend to strongly dislike me, and these types often lurk at the popular atheist blogs. It's the whole proselytization thing in reverse, which is to be expected since many atheists are deconverted believers who just haven't shed their religious thinking yet. The pattern is often the same: I'll leave some comment for an atheist blog owner, then anywhere from 1-6 of his or her commenters will have something to say about it. So I answer them, out of courtesy and the desire to defend my statements and be thorough, then they resist more, then voila! We've got a whole soirée of insanity, and I get blamed for other people's inability to control their own selves. I wish those who complain about my pervasiveness would realize that they themselves encourage it with their mouths. It's really a simple concept to grasp!

I've had some really bad experiences on more than a few atheist blogs, and have been banned from 5 that I know of. My detractors like to use this as evidence for their character attacks and libelous accusations. I just say that nobody's perfect, and though most of their accusations are simply baseless fabrications they consistently fail to produce evidence for, I can acknowledge certain points my detractors have made and actually sustained with evidence. For example, writing some unusually verbose comments in the early days, and maybe even some that push the limit now.

I launched TWIM in May 2007, but really didn't "delve fully into" blogging until about a year later. Coming from screenwriting where each word is supposed to tell a thousand pictures, my original attitude was that blogging afforded those oppressed by "word economy" the chance to let loose. So, I often did! One day, the Exterminator – a detractor of mine who has a writing style I like – clowned me by saying I had a "bloated style." Ouch! Given most of the comments he'd seen from me at that time, though, he was right. Disagree where we may, I admire the man for his frankness, from which I learned that blogging is like any other written medium – the more you can do with less, the better.

Even today, it's still tough to find that perfect balance between just enough and too much. I eventually want to reduce all my comments on other blogs to single-sentence questions. On the one hand, the atheists I typically converse with seem to have a special disdain for clear, "yes-or-no" questions, perhaps because of the clarity and accountability such questions encourage. On the other hand, a thorough fisking often seems appropriate, and when discussing nuanced subject matter, sometimes things deserve more detail. The point is to acknowledge that whether a Ph.D. or just some guy, verbose comments tend to encourage the perception that one is a grandstanding idiot.

Mind you, everything I've just said about commenting on other blogs represents recurring instances with a select group of atheists. The "Feedback" sidebar on this blog testifies to the one-sidedness of my detractors' assertions. Any verbose comments I've left in the past represent an earlier phase of debate, before I realized that most atheist and skeptic arguments can be effectively challenged with single sentences and concise paragraphs.

5. What are your plans for next year, blogging-wise?

I'm still thinking that out. A few days ago, I was about to call it quits as far as commenting on other blogs was concerned, but now that certain people have made a pact to ignore me, who knows? Maybe I can finally speak my peace in peace? As the reasons I gave above testify, I'm not into blogging for the knock-down-drag-out. The less my detractors say to or about me, the better.

Generally, I'd like to keep pursuing this discussion of anomalous phenomena we've had going for some time now, and get to the point where I can link to one hundred examples of evidence that I've reported here. I'd also like to hit the "hundred post mark" with the False Arguments series, and review more books (I'm still stuck on David Mills' Atheist Universe). I'll probably connect the upcoming book to the blog, too, meaning add some sort of page to facilitate discussions that grow from the book, if any.

Specifically, I'd like to cite more published papers, and bring their authors here when possible to answer questions. I think it's odd that my detractors make all this pretense about knowledge, yet, when I bring them the author of a published paper, they apparently don't have any questions to ask.


  1. “Also, I was motivated by a sort of “youthful idealism” that led me to believe bridging the gap between believers and atheists was possible.”
    Oh it’s possible, just not on any grand scale as of yet.
    I can’t remember if I ever pointed you in this direction: http://www.doxa.ws/forum/
    Some really good discussions go on there between people of all sorts of world views.

  2. Gideon


    cl, blogging is one of the most profitless, thankless, time-consuming undertakings there is, and you’ve chosen one of the worst themes – religion – to boot! Another is politics.
    However, if you really want to lose friends, family and self-respect, try an esoteric theme…
    I’ve done them all… and look at me!
    Any questions?

  3. Karla


    I’m glad you are out here blogging and commenting. I initially started blogging when I was encouraged by published authors that I ought to have one as a writer. I just started writing what I liked to write about and found that atheists had some great articles on their blogs worth commenting on as I like to be challenged to think beyond my worldview. Pretty soon I had a readership of atheists and started catering my post to that audience most of the time. It’s been fun. I am really glad I started one. And I’m glad to have entered the blogging community of atheist and thinking theists.

  4. Gideon


    “Pretty soon I had a readership of atheists and started catering my post to that audience most of the time.”
    Catering? Interesting word.
    What did you sell for that (readership) to happen?
    If you’ve got infidels hanging on to your every word, you’ve compromised something, somewhere.

  5. cl



    ..blogging is one of the most profitless, thankless, time-consuming undertakings there is, and you’ve chosen one of the worst themes – religion – to boot! Another is politics.

    Well, like anything, blogging is pretty much what you make of it. It hasn’t been thankless or profitless for me, despite all the undesirables. I agree it can become time-consuming if one lets it. I’d also agree that politics can be an ugly theme for a blog. Again, though, this whole ‘religion and politics’ stigma is one that could use deconstructing, in my opinion. People need to learn how to coexist and share their beliefs intelligently, and if we just lock those concepts into a little box and avoid them, we can’t do that.
    Many of the posts here do tie in to concepts that could fall under the category of ‘religion,’ by no means is that any sort of exclusive or guiding theme. I write from the hip and things change daily. There’s science and philosophy, and history, too. Not to mention little bits of art and stuff like skateboarding that only certain people care about. I try to cover a range.

    If you’ve got infidels hanging on to your every word, you’ve compromised something, somewhere. (to Karla)

    That atheists hang on to a believer’s words doesn’t entail compromise. By ‘catering’ to them, I assumed Karla meant she took their questions as genuine and worthy of address. To me, that’s a good thing.

  6. Gideon


    “Well, like anything, blogging is pretty much what you make of it.”
    You’re absolutely right, cl. At this point in time, and in my life, blogging is entirely pointless and useless. Add that to the fact that my tired old warhorse of a computer has finally given up the ghost, and I’m reduced to using public connections, my time online is fast drawing to a close.
    I’ve deduced that people are going to believe whatever they want. Seven years of blogging on various themes has shown me that those of us that actually reach the blogging stage, i.e. putting our thoughts to text in a public forum, are not likely to change, myself included. As you will no doubt do with this, I once challenged that notion. No longer. At any rate, I don’t care. While it remains a ‘free’ country, I’m willing to concede everyone’s opinions to themselves, and good luck. I’m off to ride out what’s left of my life in the “New World Order.”
    So long, cl. I hope you always remain your optimistic self!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *