During this past Sunday’s service, we went over Matthew 5:38-48. The pastor focused most of his attention on the last verse, in which it says: “Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” Interestingly, we were told, the word for “perfect” there is telos, which could be alternatively translated as “whole”, “the end”, “the purpose”, “the goal” of it all. One can appreciate this interpretation of the word “end” by contrasting the titles of two recent but completely different books, The End of Faith by Sam Harris, and The End of Christianity by William Dembski.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about what I want the purpose (or after church this week, the telos) of my blog to be. Like many bloggers, I would gather, I’m torn between two poles. The two poles are writing for the sake of writing on what interests you vs. getting blog hits. These poles aren’t necessarily opposing, but they can be. For me, they are.
I read quite a few other blogs that are in the area of science and religion, some of which get high volume and some of which don’t. Many of the ones that get the most traffic write solely about science and religion as science vs. religion. Science should displace religion as those that still cling to old out-of-date religious myths should grow up, face the facts, and well, evolve. Alternatively, other high volume blogs in science and religion focus solely on evolution and creation specifically, either as promoting one over the other or promoting accommodation and then railing against those that think they’re opposed. Either way, it sure seems like you’re at war.
As I ask the same question of my own blog, I can’t help but also ask what is the “telos” of these other high volume blogs? What is the goal, end, or purpose? If one is writing that science and religion are at war or that evolution and creation are incompatible than the telos is likely to either win the fight (to me, bad) or prolong the fight (to me, worse) so that the traffic on your blog will remain indefinitely, or at least until you decide to stop writing (1) .
I mentioned above that the two poles, writing on interest vs. writing for blog hits, don’t necessarily have to be in opposition. For me, it sure feels like they are though. Traffic in science and religion often comes with shouting and name calling and battle stances and war metaphors and that’s not the tactics nor model that I believe in. Alternatively, to generate blog hits I could write about evolution and creation until I’m blue in the face, seeking to show people that yes, they can be compatible (and thus, rant against the “anti-accommodationists”) and hope the comments are civil and that a real discussion will be had, unlikely as my pessimistic self projects that to be. Unfortunately, the controversy doesn’t interest me enough to make a life solely of that, nor do I think that for Christians (which I am, so I have to write from that viewpoint) this is an area worth the amount of attention it’s afforded. There are so many other topics of great interest that draw upon both science and religion, topics that frankly would scare the bejesus out of Christians if they knew enough about them.
And so I’m torn. Should I write about what most interests me or should I write for blog traffic? What should the telos of this blog be? Those with experience that are clever, better writers than me, and perhaps lucky, are able to combine both. Only time will tell if I can do the same.
Moving forward, my telos, which feels as though it’s in ink, will be attempting a dialogue between or the integration of science and religion in those areas that speak most dearly to who we are as humans… blog hits or not. Sure we’ll talk about evolution now and again (as we are this week), but I’m not going to limit the blog to that or even focus on that. The post I wrote that has gotten the most comments was one in which I asked for science and religion topics for a course I’m teaching other than evolution and creation. Perhaps there’s enough interest or even need for a forum in these other areas? We shall see.
For other bloggers, what is the telos behind your blog? Are you torn like I am? How do you deal with these potentially opposing drives? Have you found a compromise?
(1) For some, if we’re honest, this may be, in part, driven by ad money or prestige/reputation.