First, the Religious Prohibition thread, since that's the one everyone seems to be in a tizzy about.
I stated up front that everything in that post was, for the time being, purely speculative. I was musing about the possibility of a losing battle in completely eliminating religion and wondering if encouraging healthier approaches might be more beneficial. Apparently, one commenter either didn't understand or chose to ignore the "speculation" disclaimer, because I got this comment:
The questions asked and tone set in this post is decidedly different than that of your post 'To the Lost Sheep: It's ok to run!'.
A few excerpts from that post: "I have no intention of coming across otherwise [that is to come across as being derogatory towards religion]. "I have no intention of playing nice with religion." "to be blunt, I think it is poison and it needs to be eradicated if we're ever going to progress."
So, in the span of barely a month you have gone from 'live and let live' to 'we must eradicate religion because it is poison' to just needing a healthier approach to religion. I am confused. And it's quite feasable that all the lost sheep that you promised to help out are confused as well. So, are all the lost sheep now ok in their religion so long as they take a healthy approach to it? What is that healthy approach supposed to be? You came out of the gates early on in this blog sounding like this great liberator from religion to now saying "well, now I'm not so sure."
Are you even sure how you feel about religion?
I said this in my response on the thread, but I'll say it again here: I am not confused on my stance on religion for myself. I place myself at a 6 on "The Dawkins Scale." I can't think of any evidence that would convince me that an intelligent god exists, although I don't discount the possibility of some evidence outside the realm of my imagination turning up in the future. But, for the time being, "I cannot be certain, but I think God is very unlikely, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there."
I do think an ideal world would be one without religion, and I will continue to advocate for an atheistic worldview, but I'm also a realist who sees the very real possibility that religion may never go away completely.
I'm highly dubious that the "lost sheep" that I'm aiming to reach were at all confused. These "lost sheep" are no strangers to doubt and speculation and reshaping their beliefs based on new information. For all of you who are so happy in your faith, not that I'm not glad to have you reading and being exposed to a new perspective, but I am a little confused as to why you're reading. My target audience is people who are unhappy in their religion and are searching for a better way. Most of them have already reached the conclusion on their own that something smells a bit fishy about their religion's truth claims. And it's not just those gosh-awful Mormons. I've heard from readers who are or were Baptists, Jehovah's Witnesses and Catholics who have said they were thankful to have found my blog. And it's not because I'm writing anything earth-shattering or new. Most of the time, it's just because they're happy to see someone else articulating publicly the conclusions they reached on their own privately.
Another commenter said, "Your 'healthier' approaches would just make religion a superficial hobby." Perhaps so, but perhaps that's the proper place of religion. I'm probably gonna go to church tomorrow, for no reason other than that I think Christmas carols are pretty and I really like singing them. I adore yoga and meditation, not because I think I'm communing with the universe, but just because it feels good. Religion has stumbled on to some valuable things. A. J. Jacobs pointed out some examples, like taking one day a week completely off from your work or cultivating an attitude of gratitude. By all means, let's keep what works, but please, let's jettison the bullshit. Thou shalt pick and choose!
So, my exciting conclusion after thinking about it: It's not an either/or proposition. My approach will still be to discourage adherence to religious dogma altogether. I'll leave reform to the religious moderates. My ideal world would be populated with atheists and religious hobbyists, but in the meantime, I'll take lesbian bishops over creationists.