Religious vs Nonreligious blogs: Freedom of Speech and Allowing Challenge

Religious vs Nonreligious blogs: Freedom of Speech and Allowing Challenge February 6, 2020

I have a very lax approach to banning and censorship here, as well you know. And you may or may not like this as threads do, indeed, get filled up with comments from those we disagree with. Sometimes, I get asked to ban so-and-so, and there can be merit in banning the more trollish ones, but it also comes down to what the definition of a troll is and who gets to arbitrate the definition and qualification.

Sometimes the reaction to certain comments is, “Well, your opinion is sooo antithetical to mine that I find it (morally) reprehensible, and therefore you should be banned.” Quite often, it comes down to axioms: whatever you put into the function machine will determine the outcome. But we shouldn’t just ban people, I believe, because their views are merely antithetical to our own. We should be able to point the issues out, correct them, or at least allow them to hoist by their own petard.

However, the issue is that people generally don’t change their minds but instead tend to entrench in their original positions by employing large dollops of cognitive dissonance. This can mean huge frustration as we seemingly provide ample good reason and counter-arguments, but to no avail. Because positions are so often arrived at psychologically and not rationally.

I can confidently say the following (but please do not confuse it with arrogance): I have never knowingly run away from a difficult conversation, thread or comment that I cannot resolve in my head. I may run out of time, forget about them, or get sidetracked. But there really is no area of philosophy (everything) that presents problems of coherence for any of my beliefs. I am completely honest with myself, and hopefully with my readers. I couldn’t sleep at night knowing that some cornerstone of my entire matrix of beliefs and philosophy was incredibly weak or fraught with issue.

I believe that ost divergence in beliefs actually boils down to ontology. You will find that most people who disagree with me on morality, politics (i.e., morality), God, religion and so on can actually have their disagreement mapped back to ontology. I have written before how conceptual nominalism vs (Platonic) realism is essentially the primary debate, and everything else follows. These are the axiomatic building blocks we feed into our function machines that produce wildly different outcomes. Just refer back to those massive threads here about the Second Amendment and the gun nuts who came here to defend their right to carry and use guns. They, to a man, failed to understand that the thrust of the articles was about ontology – what rights are made of. They happily asserted the conclusion – that natural rights exist – but utterly failed to show that/how such rights exist.

I am really comfortable with my beliefs; they are on solid ground because I build from the bottom up. So many religious people build from the top down.

I have found that, when it comes to commenting, atheists and freethinkers really are more freethinking. As bloggers, we are far more likely to have open threads, less moderation and a willingness to deal with naysayers. We kinda live for it.

On the other hand, and I have been personally on the end of many examples of this, Christian/religious bloggers hardly ever allow open and frank comments and conversations that challenge their cherished views.

I simple terms: the higher your religiosity is, the more blinkered you seem to be. And, basically, religious bloggers are far less open to challenge and freethinking than nonreligious ones. I can tell you this from a Patheos viewpoint: the whole  Disqus filter issue was one that was broadly not an issue for the countless religious bloggers here at Patheos because so many either didn’t allow comments at all, or heavily moderated them anyway. It was all the nonreligious bloggers who kicked up a right stink. It was boards like mine that were most affected. Because boards like mine really do allow free speech. Right-wing, often religious types complain so often about centralised authoritarian behaviour from the left, but they are so often the most guilty. Yes, there are exceptions on both sides, but the averages are clear to see.

I would be interested to hear people’s experiences of religious vs nonreligious comment forums and blogs. Do you agree?


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