I have been reading The Dish for a long time -- at least a decade.
An aspect of your character that I have long admired is your urge always to seek MORE information, rather than less. Over and over, you demonstrate a willingness to consider -- and share with your readers -- a wide range of commentary on any given topic. I believe that I have been influenced, for the better, by your unfailing generosity and fair-mindedness to those who hold positions different than yours.
So. Encouraged by this sense I have of your strong character (namely, that you won't get offended by what I'm going to say, but on the contrary will understand it correctly as meant with respect) well, I'm going to come right out with it:
The religious aspects of your blog are, I am sorry to say, beginning to discredit the rest of it for me.
In the past, as you might expect, I was able to cordon off your religiosity from your political commentaries and philosophical musings.
To each his own, right?
I just skipped over the stuff about God and faith altogether. (Unless, of course, you were denouncing "Christianists" or exposing Muslim fanaticism, or something else we could agree on...)
But now I am finding that I can't cordon your religious beliefs off. And I have a feeling that this development may be bigger than you or me.
This is why I am sharing it with you, Andrew. You follow the zeitgeist better than anyone I know. And as I say, I am convinced there's... something happening here...
Atheism is growing up, I think.
As many people like me are moving away from any need to grapple with religious thinking, I suspect that our frame of reference is changing accordingly. It reminds me of the gay marriage debate, how fast it turned.
All that religious stuff, even the formerly interesting dialogues you hosted or provoked, between people of "faith" and those skeptical of it... it seems more and more, well, silly. A waste of time.
Just for moment, put yourself in the position of readers like me.
There's this blog that you really, really enjoy... But the writer happens to be a devotee of... Zeus.
Zeus? Yep. Takes it quite seriously too.
It would embarrass you, would it not?
In 2013, if someone you respect greatly did this?
You might begin to read that blog with a kind of squint, hoping that there would be none of that high-minded writing about Zeus and Apollo and Athena in it. Right?
Come on, Andrew. Join us.
Let go of the old Bronze age myths and fables, in the generous and thoughtful way that you generally do things. Prove to me that you can recognize bullshit when you see it.
FOLLOW-UP TO THIS POST:
Andrew Sullivan has been writing often in recent weeks about Pope Francis. I wrote Sullivan an email on this "extraordinary Pope" -- seen from an atheist perspective, and he quoted it in full!
Once again, evidence of Sullivan's willingness to consider and publish opposing viewpoints.
I talk about elves, not Zeus, this time, but my words are just as blunt as in this earlier "open letter." Here's the link. I'm the "atheist" reader who starts: "It is strange, being a non-believer..."
I will confess. I still worry about the bullshit quotient, but I can't quit reading Sullvan's blog because of its wide-ranging intellectual and cultural curiosity... and because he writes so damn well and with such heart.