August 21, 2020

Atheist Bloggers Should Only Write What I Want

Entitled Brewing Entitled IPA
By walknboston [CC BY 2.0]

As you know, atheism is an incredibly narrow topic. I think that if I were to start a blog with the goal of having 100% of my posts focus on atheism and nothing else, I'd be lucky to keep it going for more than a few months. I'd be out of things to say after that. Fortunately, I've never approached Atheist Revolution in this manner. I've addressed many topics on the periphery of atheism (e.g., secular activism, skepticism, freethought, reason, religion, politics) and some that have nothing at all to do with atheism. I have no plans to change that.

Giving myself the freedom not to be confined by writing only about atheism has produced at least one unanticipated consequence. I regularly hear from people (most commonly on Facebook) who seem to get angry whenever I deviate from atheism. I used to find it strange to think that anybody would angrily tell me what I should or shouldn't write about on my own blog, but I've become somewhat used to it. I still find it strange, but I am much less surprised by it than I used to be. It seems that there is a subgroup of atheists who exist primarily in order to tear others down.

Every so often, I find myself writing a post in which I address these complaints. Here's an example of one I wrote so that I'd have a response ready to share whenever the complaint surfaces or as a periodic reminder to head-off some of the complaints. I haven't used it much because it seems easier just to ignore the complaining. This is one of those things that I never imagined being necessary when I first started blogging.

I am curious whether this is something those of you who write atheist-oriented blogs have encountered. Do you hear from people who seem to get upset the moment you write about anything that isn't focused on atheism? Do you have people angrily demanding that you write more about one thing and less about something else? Maybe I get more of it than some because of the name I chose for this blog.

I am not sure what motivates this behavior, although I have noticed that the criticism usually comes from conservatives and is most likely in response to something I've written related to politics. I'm not forcing anyone to read what I write. I'm also not collecting money from anyone in exchange for what I write. If somebody doesn't find my posts relevant or would prefer not to encounter ideas that may differ from their own, they can easily opt not to read them. As for why these complaints seem to happen on Facebook more than anywhere else, my best guess is that it might have something to do with the platform being designed to keep users in a state of persistent outrage.