Apparently I've graduated into the ranks of real bloggers. We start off talking to ourselves, then we slowly build an audience, then we get a modest readership, a few people answer us. But we keep slogging away, wondering if the day will ever come that we have an actual impact on anything. Well, last Tuesday was apparently my day.
I responded to a Catholic blogger, Matt Archbold, who wrote a snide and condescending blog about atheists in the nation's oldest Catholic newspaper. He criticized atheists for forming their own Haitian charity, claiming atheists have no real morals and are just trying to emulate Christians.
Normally Mr. Archbold gets a dozen or so comments, and almost all are from Catholics and other Christians. But last Tuesday, he was inundated by comments from other atheist readers as outraged as I was, and it appears these were mostly my readers.
I was also very pleased at the lively debate that broke out between the few Christians who normally respond to Mr. Archbold's blogs and the atheists. There was some great stuff there, from the origins of morality to the circularity of arguments for God's existence. And it wasn't the flame war, name-calling fest that you sometimes see – these were good, solid debates.
I doubt we converted any Christians last week, but you never know. For every Christian who wrote, there were probably 100 who were just readers. A lot of Christians are normally insulated from honest debate, only exposed to the dogma of their own religion. But last week, they got a dose of real debate, a glimpse of honest, rational thinking rather than appeals to their faith, fears and desires.
Maybe it made no difference, but maybe it did. Maybe there's one more person out there today who is reading non-Christian philosophy for the first time.
And that's why I'm here. Not necessarily to convert religious people, but to at least ask them to think about religion, to ask questions, and to understand that there are two sides to every question.